The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten on Smash Notes

The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten podcast.

Unfiltered insights and actionable advice straight from the trenches of startup and business life. The show hosts, Steli Efti and Hiten Shah, are both serial entrepreneurs who have founded multi-million dollar SaaS startups. Being busy CEOs of fast-growing companies, they know the value of your time and make sure you get the most out of each 22 minute episode. Tune in for new episodes every Tuesday and Friday.

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In this episode, Steli and Hiten answers questions they received from readers of their ebook, From 0 to 1,000 Customers and Beyond. This is Part 2 of Steli and Hiten addressing questions as readers get the opportunity to ask for specific feedback and advice. Listen in as they discuss how to generate leads, how to hire that first salesperson, educating your market and more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:04 – Today’s episode is all about answering questions from those who read the ebook From 0 to 1,000 Customers and Beyond

00:34 – The book is based on Steli and HIten’s four podcasts about growing customer size, and this is Part 2 of answering questions from readers

01:12 – What is the best way to generate leads for sales?

02:06 – In Episode 14, we talk about sending cold emails

02:27 – In the early days, do not outsource lead generation if you have not done it yourself

03:02 – Go for low volume, high quality

04:19 – Should we start with B to B or B to C?

05:17 – Stay with what you are doing, especially if you are doing it well  

06:45 – When is the right time to hire the first salesperson?

07:04 – We have an upcoming episode about hiring your first salesperson

07:23 – Do sales yourself first, then teach what you have learned

08:05 – When using content marketing, how do you avoid becoming too bloated by unqualified leads?

08:59 – Put qualifying dropdowns in the lead generation form

09:40 – “Are any of the leads qualified?”

10:26 – Be sure that the audience you attract are buyers

11:16 – Reach out and sell on the phone

12:12 – How should I start marketing?

12:52 – SEO is the right strategy for you if you have the money

13:05 – For those with a limited budget, do content marketing or social media

13:40 – Listen to the episode: How to Get Your First 10 Customers

14:40 – What is the best way for new startups to educate and change the mindset of an entire market?

16:05 – All products solve existing problems, so you should ask yourself, “Why are they not adapting to it?”

16:42 – Are the buyers not educated or are we not explaining our product well?

17:10 – Also, ask if you can afford educating your market before making the sale

17:36 – They had no problem getting their first 100 customers, but feel they have plateaued

18:45 – Time is the biggest challenge

19:30 – Set a target or a goal for yourself and do whatever you can to hit that

20:05 – If you feel like you are plateauing, you may have saturated your market and it  is a good time to make changes

21:35 – The four podcasts about hitting your customer milestones:

030: How to Get Your First 10 Customers

048: How to Get from 10 to 100 Customers for your Startup

156: How to Grow From 100 to 1000 B2B Customers

088: Beyond 1000 Customers – How to Expand in New Industries and Countries

21:57 – E-mail Steli or Hiten for a copy of their book or for any questions

3 Key Points:

Do things yourself before bringing in other people to do it for you.

Marketing is about reaching the audience that WILL buy your product.

When you hit a plateau, set goals for yourself and do everything you can to achieve them.


Steli Efti: Hi everyone. This is Steli Efti.



Hiten Shah: This is Hiten Shah.



Steli Efti: In today's episode of The Startup Chat, we're doing a Q&A session based on all the questions you guys have sent us around the eBook that we launched, From 0 to 1,000 Customers & Beyond. We've done 4 podcast episodes in the past on how to acquire customers and how to hit certain milestones, your first 10 customers, getting from 10 to 100 customers, from 100 to 1,000 and so on.

Key points in this episode

Key Highlights

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