Awesome People - Ep 75

BD, prospecting, customer acquisition

Hi fellow founders and VC Friends!

Each week we deliver one awesome person to your inbox. These are the people you need to know—the marketers, sales gurus, engineers, ops wizzes— who give your startup superpowers 🚀. The best part is, everyone is hireable on a part-time basis.


Please meet Richard Purcell, Your Part-Time BD Hire! ✨

Richard was introduced to me by Tory Reiss, a dear friend, sales leader, and 3x fintech founder. When I asked Tory who he loved for GTM and BD partnerships, he recommended Richard.  

Side note: Tory’s current co, Equi, helps you diversify your financial portfolio. They have a huge waitlist, and Tory kindly offered to jump our community to the front of the line. Here’s the link to apply for early access and here’s a webinar on the portfolio. Full disclosure: I’m a tiny angel investor 🚀

Back to Richard!

Over the course of his career, Richard has closed clients like Expedia, Square, WeWork, and Airbnb and has worked at the Rebel Fund. Most recently, he worked on building a GTM strategy for a fintech co. He's trusted by companies like Medallia (public co with 10+ acquisitions) and numerous YC companies like CrowdAI (Series A co with $8M+ raised).

One little-known fact about Richard is he’s a self-proclaimed Japanophile. Check out his travel blog here! ✈️

You can hire him to close your first customers, build sales playbooks, and improve your sales skills. His sweet spot is working with seed-stage and Series A founders who sell into enterprises (aka not SMBs). He has a soft spot for AI companies. 

Want an intro to Richard? Lmk and I’ll connect you!


He was gracious enough to share some BD pro-tips with us here 🙏

Build a better pipeline with better prospecting

I once worked with a founder who relied too much on his own network to support his sales pipeline. As a result, he discovered early that their sales options were limited. He told me, “I’m going to exhaust my alumni network and our investors’ Rolodex to meet our revenue goals.” Their sales pipeline became one-dimensional and shallow. 

For successful sales, build a better pipeline with outbound prospecting. This will help you discover, qualify, and convert leads at scale. Here’s how:

  1. Know your audience. One of the pillars of successful outbound prospecting is a detailed ideal customer profile. Focus on your Serviceable Obtainable Market. Remember to continuously validate this profile over time.

  2. Measure everything. Data is key. Track KPIs to optimize your pipeline. Do you have accurate contact information? High email deliverability? 

  3. Personalize. Once you know your target and understand your prospects, use data to build a personalized approach. Use your contacts’ preferred channels to meet them where they are. Be authentic.

Better qualify your pipeline 

Don’t over-index on a relationship. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking a prior relationship = sale. But that’s not necessarily true. Prior relationship =/= sale. For example, I once worked with a founder who had over $1MM in the pipeline thanks to “old college buddies”. After a week of reviewing the pipeline and joining calls, that $1MM pipeline shrank down to $100K in qualified opportunities. 

A relationship can get you the first meeting. But solving an urgent problem better, quicker, and cheaper than the status quo will get you the sale. Here are questions to answer with each deal to qualify the opportunity:

  1. What’s the problem and why?

  2. Who else agrees this is a problem?

  3. How long has this been a problem? When did you realize it was a problem?

  4. How has your company tried to solve it?

  5. If we didn’t call you, how would you have solved this problem?

  6. Why now?

  7. Have you ever quantified the need? How? What happens if you don’t fix this problem?

  8. What would this mean for you personally if you solved this problem?

Focus on acquiring the best customers

A founder once told me, “We have 10 paying customers, but only one of them is active.” Because of that, her team struggled to focus their efforts on product, sales, and marketing. They had too many different types of customers and problems. Too many founders optimize for new customers and revenue. Instead, optimize for the right customers. Focus on acquiring the right customers from day 1 instead of acquiring as many as possible. 

Your first customers need to be innovation partners and brand ambassadors. They need to have faith in you. Here’s a common profile of a champion at a big company (someone who has influence and sells on your behalf): 

  1. Director-level or above

  2. Keywords: transformation, innovation, advisor, technology

  3. Worked at a marquee brand as a Director and moved to a smaller brand to make a bigger impact and promoted to VP

  4. MBA

  5. In their current role for less than two years

  6. In their 30s

  7. Based in a Tier 1 city

  8. Mid-sized organization (50 - 1,000 employees)

  9. Their profile consists of metric-driven accomplishments

Looking to optimize your pipeline? Respond to this email and I’ll connect you to Richard!


As always, let me know if you have any questions and if you want an intro to any of the folks in this email (including the PS section 🎉). 

Stay awesome,

Julia Lipton

Founder of Awesome People Ventures (join the syndicate here

If you liked this, ❤️ it below. If someone forwarded this to you, sign up here 💌


Awesome People continued 🚀

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Samay - Your secret storytelling weapon. This year, Samay launched ADMILK, a production company that created a kickass launch video for OnJuno (Sequoia-backed seed co). Samay and co are trusted by founders backed by Polychain Capital, Sequoia, and 500 Startups, by artists like JCole and Angelo Mota, and by film studios like Marvel and Disney.

Eryn - Rockstar EA and founder. Eryn has over 20 years of experience as an EA and founder and now runs an EA agency. She has worked with founders at companies backed by Techstars, Founder Collective, Kleiner Perkins, and more. Since their first 6 months in business, Eryn has grown the co 9x, expanded it to 7+ countries, and provided service in 4 languages on referrals alone.

Elizabeth - Co-founder relationship coach. Over the course of her career, Elizabeth has helped countless early-stage founders backed by a16z, IVP, Sequoia, Kleiner Perkins, Initialized Capital, and other top VCs. She is kindly offering a 10% discount to the Awesome People community for co-founders who signs up before Q2!

Want intros to anyone here? Lmk and I’ll connect you!

Part-time opportunities 👀

Want to make some extra $$$ and work on interesting projects? The Awesome People job board is filled with awesome flexible advising and consulting roles. They’re perfect for fun-employed folks, self-employed folks, and moonlighters!

That’s all for now folks ❤️ 🚀 ❤️