Hi founders and fellow 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 an interim basis. Today we have:
Person of the Week (Enterprise Sales) 🤩
FT Gems 😍
PS. Top secret offer ✨
Please meet Phil, your Enterprise Super Connector 🤩
Phil and I met working on passion projects to help people laid off due to Covid. His day job is at Compass ($6B+ real estate co) where he’s a Solutions Architect. He’s a huge internal champion for startups and was one of the first enterprise customers of Airtable, Guru (raised $70M, backed by Accel), HelloWorks (acquired for $230M by Dropbox), and many others. He worked closely with these startups’ teams to make sure they were ready for rollout. He’s known as “the startup guy” by his peers at enterprise and mid-market companies. They regularly ask him for tool recommendations and intros to founders.
I’ve intro-ed him to a few Awesome People Ventures portfolio companies and he’s been super helpful. Fun fact: Phil started his career as an actor. Ask him about his appearances in Law and Order and at the Cannes Film Festival.
He recently launched a side hustle, Propulsion Lab. If you’re a B2B SaaS startup, you can hire him to help get your startup enterprise-ready. He matches startups with big names to test their products, get feedback, and earn testimonials (hello, social proof!). He's trusted by teams at Mailchimp, Disney, Techstars, Walmart, and dozens of other companies.
He kindly offered 30-minute free chats for our community here. You’re also welcome to email me for a direct intro. Whatever works!
Phil kindly shared the behind-the-scenes of what B2B SaaS enterprise customers are really thinking, and offered some pro tips
No enterprise company wants to be your startup’s biggest client.
We have a rule at Compass for procuring mission-critical enterprise SaaS: Never be a startup’s biggest client. We love being in the top 10% because we get roadmap leverage, pricing benefits, and priority support. Unfortunately, we find when we’re 2-3x larger than the next biggest client, startups often deliver unreliable service.
My advice: Don’t bite off bigger customers than you can chew and make sure to set proper expectations with your customers. Missteps hurt your reputation. Also, larger customers often cause you to prioritize features that aren’t necessary for your core customers and can be a distraction.
Enterprise companies pay attention to software review sites, you should too.
Would you make anniversary reservations with your partner at a restaurant with one 2 star review on Yelp and no response from the owner? I don’t think so. Similarly, customers will do everything they can to reduce risk when they consider buying software. This includes checking software review sites (G2, Capterra, and Software Advice) and searching forums like Quora and Capiche.
Entering into an enterprise relationship is a major commitment. Before I buy software at Compass, I need to gather internal feature requests, build RFPs, source vendors, run trials, negotiate budgets, and a litany of tasks to achieve internal buy-in. Long term, it’s similar to a marriage: both parties are committed - til death (or major outage) do us part. That’s why enterprise customers place a premium on good reviews, social proof, and customer references.
Not having SSO (single-sign-on) is a major deal killer.
If a company doesn't have SSO, I have to manually provision people or barter for internal resources for someone else to do it. Both are terrible options and a waste of time. Make it easy for me to stand behind your product. Work OS has free tools to help companies get enterprise-ready. Why wouldn’t you have your devs spend 45 minutes installing 100 lines of code for free that allow integration with every SSO provider?
Full-Time Gems 😍
It was another sad week for tech layoffs. The silver lining is there are now tons of amazing people on the market ❤️. Airbnb wins when it comes to showcasing their laid-off talent (1000+ of them) check out this awesome site they made. Also, here’s a Lyft layoff list made by one of my old coworkers, Hadar Dor.
That’s a wrap! Let me know if you want an intro to Phil and I’ll make it happen. Also, I have some very exciting news below. Let me know if you want in on it ✨!
Founder of Awesome People List
Founder of Awesome People Ventures
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P.S. Top secret offer ✨
We’re cooking up something new (and no, it’s not Sourdough bread 😂)!
Over the past few months, we’ve made hundreds of connections 🥳. The right connections are like golden-tickets. We’ve seen awesome people catalyze breakthrough ideas, unblock teams, and quickly solve unaddressed problems 📈.
We’re rolling out a new $99/month Awesome People interim-talent advisor program. We’re capping founding memberships at 10 people, and we still have a few seats available. If you’re interested in joining, let me know asap and I’ll give you the deets!