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How This Solo-Founder Constructed A $24K/Yr Gross sales Enablement Device – Starter Story

Howdy! Who’re you and what enterprise did you begin?

Hello, I’m Robin, the founding father of SmartCue – a demo automation platform to assist software program gross sales groups create customized demo libraries and shut offers quicker.

I’ve a pc science diploma from India (2003) and an MBA from Willamette College in Salem, Oregon (2010). Publish my MBA, I spent 10+ years with startups of assorted sizes, all within the B2B SaaS area promoting to Enterprise purchasers, largely within the US.

As founder & CEO of SmartCue, I put on all of the hats you may think about – CEO, CMO, CHRO, CFO, and the workplace errand boy! SmartCue, then again, performs a specific position for enterprise gross sales groups – serving to them create a repository or library of customized product demos that may assist them shut their offers quicker.

We at present have 10+ pilots working, each free and paid, and are getting rave opinions for SmartCue and the way it’s including worth to our patrons.

What’s your backstory, and the way did you provide you with the thought?

In my earlier position as a Options Marketing consultant or Options Architect, my workforce and I have been answerable for gross sales coaching, which has now remodeled into the buzzy time period Gross sales Enablement.

It was simply plain Gross sales Coaching or Gross sales Readiness again then. However even then, I watched gross sales reps battle to do justice to our merchandise with their vanilla, cookie-cutter demos and pitches.

My workforce and I carried out a number of options, whether or not LMS options like Highspot or instruments like Reprise or HelpHero. Nonetheless, none of them labored in guaranteeing that we had constant product demos tailor-made to the client’s ache level.

The massive aha second for me was once I heard one of many reps say, “These effectivity instruments & processes don’t assist me in any respect. They solely add friction to my workflow! And we gross sales of us dwell & die by the quarter, so how do you anticipate us to undertake these instruments in the event that they don’t assist us now!?”

Quick ahead to 2020 – the pandemic hit, and digital promoting has turn out to be a lot extra commonplace. A facet impact of digital promoting was that gross sales reps may take not simply wine & dine or schmooze their prospects. That they had a brief 30-minute Zoom name to persuade their prospects that their resolution or product solves the prospect’s ache factors. And NOW – the Product HAD to shine! Product demos have been now an much more important piece within the gross sales course of.

That primarily was the proper storm for me to try to clear up this downside of standardized but customized product demos. I went again to first ideas, and moderately than complicating what I wanted to resolve, I spotted that I wanted to make it extraordinarily simple for the gross sales rep to ship product demos. That’s when all of it clicked for me – if we’re to construct any environment friendly product for the gross sales groups, the bedrock must be – Cut back or get rid of friction within the gross sales reps’ workflow. And that’s what culminated in SmartCue.

Take us by way of the method of constructing the primary model of your product.





Constructing SmartCue was (and continues to be!) fairly the journey. As a startup founder, I rapidly discovered that there are a lot of sleepless nights, and occasional turns into your greatest good friend. However it was all price it once we lastly launched our product.

The method started with plenty of market analysis and buyer interviews (100+ interviews with gross sales leaders!). We needed to know the ache factors of B2B gross sales groups and what they have been in search of in a demo software program.

We additionally needed to make sure that our product would stand out from the competitors. That’s when the thought for SmartCue was born. We realized that personalizing demo experiences for every prospect can affect gross sales groups and their closure charges.

Subsequent got here the prototyping part, the place we had plenty of enjoyable. We received to mess around with completely different options and designs.

Considered one of my private favorites was once we examined a function that will make a digital unicorn seem throughout the demo – an inside joke of how we’re on our strategy to turning into a unicorn and might help our clients get there as nicely 😛. It was a success with our workforce, however sadly, it didn’t make the ultimate lower, which was additionally apparent!

However it was reminder that you must be prepared to experiment and have enjoyable as a startup founder.

Lastly, we needed to handle the authorized stuff, which included incorporation, laws, tax filings, and all that jazz. It was a little bit of a headache, however it’s all a part of the startup life. It was not a cheap course of, however we managed to safe funding by way of private financial savings and a few small checks from angel buyers.

I’m excited to see how B2B gross sales groups will use SmartCue to shut extra offers. It’s a dream come true for me as a startup founder, and I can’t wait to see what the longer term holds for SmartCue.

Describe the method of launching the enterprise.

We formally launched SmartCue on ProductHunt in September 2022. And it was fairly the expertise!

As a solo founder, I needed to put on many hats, one among them being the “advertising and marketing workforce.” I rapidly realized that I wanted to get artistic if I needed to face out. First, I knew I needed to construct a group earlier than the launch. So, I diligently stored my shut family and friends up to date about our imminent launch by way of my month-to-month publication and had clear asks from all of them. Secondly, I knew I wanted to get a powerful ‘hunter’ to launch us and was over the moon when Kevin William David (one of many OG hunters on ProductHunt) agreed to hunt us!

I additionally reached out to my community, together with mates, household, and even former classmates from highschool (sure, I dug that deep). I requested them to upvote, remark, and share my product on launch day.

On launch day, I awakened early, made my espresso, and began refreshing the ProductHunt web page each 5 seconds. It was nerve-wracking, however I knew it was price it. After which it occurred, SmartCue hit the entrance web page and have become Product of the Day! I couldn’t consider it, I felt like a rockstar. My family and friends stored their promise and helped me to get there.

Looking back, I did a couple of issues that helped me stand out on ProductHunt. Considered one of them was to construct a buzz earlier than the launch, which helped me to draw early adopters. Secondly, I reached out to my community, which helped me to get extra upvotes and shares on launch day. And lastly, I promised digital unicorns, which helped me to face out and be remembered by the ProductHunt group.

I wrote intimately about it right here and created a playbook to launch and turn out to be Product of the Day on PH.

Since launch, what has labored to draw and retain clients?

For the reason that launch of SmartCue, we have now discovered that constructing a powerful group, creating a private model for the founder, and being genuine in our outreach has been key to attracting and retaining clients.

Constructing a powerful group has been essential to the success of SmartCue. We have now prioritized partaking with our clients, understanding their wants and ache factors, and utilizing that suggestions to enhance our product.

We have now additionally actively fostered a way of group amongst our customers by making a Substack publication to maintain of us up to date, a public product roadmap for our clients to affect the product, and a Buyer Advisory group on Slack the place they will share suggestions, ask questions, and supply suggestions. This has helped to create a loyal buyer base and improve word-of-mouth advertising and marketing.

As well as, creating a private model for the founder has additionally been a necessary consider attracting clients. On my Youtube channel, by being clear and open about my journey as a solo founder, I’ve been in a position to join with my audience on a private stage. This has helped to create belief and credibility with potential clients, which has led to extra gross sales.

I’ve additionally tried laborious to be genuine in my outreach. Whereas it’s laborious and time-consuming, I made it a degree to personalize my outreach and tailor it to every prospect’s particular wants and ache factors. This has helped to extend the effectiveness of our gross sales efforts and construct stronger relationships with our clients.

How are you doing as we speak and what does the longer term appear to be?

A number of issues are taking place at SmartCue! We’re rising quick – from a buyer standpoint and an worker standpoint! We launched SmartCue on ProductHunt in September and have been pumped about being Product of the Day. We’re additionally elevating a pre-seed spherical, so potential angels hit me up!

We’ve additionally signed on a bunch of latest purchasers over the previous 2-3 months and are gearing up for some improbable stuff from a product perspective subsequent yr – we’re constructing performance to proceed to make a gross sales rep’s life simpler extra environment friendly and to assist them shut offers quicker!

Via beginning the enterprise, have you ever discovered something notably useful or advantageous?

Constructing a workforce as a solo founder is a course of and it could take a while to seek out the precise match. Do not be afraid to check out completely different approaches and be open to studying and adapting as you go.

Very first thing I spotted was — do not be afraid to delegate. Simply since you’re the boss doesn’t suggest you must do every part your self. Delegating duties will unlock your time and power to deal with the issues that solely you are able to do. And keep in mind, your workforce is there to assist – they are not simply there to fetch you espresso (except they volunteered for it, through which case, go forward and delegate that activity too).

Additionally, be open to completely different views and approaches. As a solo founder, you’ve got most likely developed your approach of doing issues, however that does not imply it is the one approach. Be open to listening to new concepts and approaches out of your workforce – it is like having a bunch of superheroes with completely different powers working in direction of the identical objective.

And lastly, ensure you have a transparent imaginative and prescient and mission for your corporation. This can assist your workforce perceive what you are working in direction of and the way they will contribute. And do not be afraid to share your imaginative and prescient and mission along with your workforce – it will probably assist construct a way of possession and dedication to the success of the enterprise. Plus, it is all the time good to have a little bit little bit of “why” behind the “what” – identical to how the Avengers needed to save the world from Thanos (sorry, I needed to throw in one other popular culture reference).

So, to sum it up, constructing a workforce as a solo founder is all about delegation, open-mindedness, and having a transparent imaginative and prescient. With the precise method, you may convey collectively a dynamic and gifted workforce that may assist your corporation soar. Simply remember to have a little bit enjoyable alongside the way in which – in spite of everything, constructing a enterprise is a journey, not a dash (except you are in a rush to avoid wasting the world from an alien invasion, through which case, go forward and dash). Good luck!

What platform/instruments do you employ for your corporation?

Our stack at SmartCue is fairly customary for lots of startups our measurement:

Stripe – for cost processing

Intercom – for buyer assist, data base, and dwell chat assist

Webflow – for our web site

AWS – for our cloud internet hosting wants

Figma – for all our design collaboration

Microsoft Readability & Mixpanel – for person conduct and insights into our person’s journey

Hubspot – as our CRM

Google Suite – for e mail and productiveness (slide, sheets, docs)

TL;DV – for assembly recording and transcription

As we develop, we hope to have the ability to use ZoomInfo, Gong, and LinkedIn Gross sales Navigator for our Go-To-Market movement so we are able to goal, analyze and attain out to of us in an efficient method.

What have been probably the most influential books, podcasts, or different assets?

Favourite Books

At present studying – Laborious Issues About Laborious Issues by Ben Horowitz and On The Highway by Jack Kerouac (little little bit of wanderlust)

Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom

Born To Run – Chris MacDougall

Sapiens & Homo Deus – Yuval Noah Harari

Forty Guidelines of Love – Elif Shafak

Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand

Trip of a Lifetime – Bob Iger

Favourite Podcast Episode – Naval on Joe Rogan’s podcast;

Recommendation for different entrepreneurs who wish to get began or are simply beginning out?

Being a solo founder could be intimidating. I’m the one driving the ship, and plenty of days, it looks like plenty of stress to make all of it work. However after virtually 2 years at it, I feel it’s attainable to construct a powerful enterprise, whilst a solo founder.

One of many key issues I’ve discovered is that I can’t watch for alternatives to return to me – I’ve to exit and create them myself. Whether or not it’s reaching out to potential companions or clients, networking at occasions, or exploring new channels and markets.

One other vital tip is to remain centered and prioritize your duties. As a solo founder, you’re sporting many hats, and it may be simple to get overwhelmed. That’s why it’s important to set clear targets and priorities and deal with the duties that may considerably affect your corporation. And don’t be afraid to delegate or outsource duties that you just’re not expert at or don’t have the time for – it can unlock your time and power to deal with what you’re good at.

And lastly, be happy to ask for assist or hunt down mentors or advisors. After I began as a solo founder, I hesitated to ask for assist as a result of I believed it made me look weak. However the fact is, nobody has all of the solutions, and it’s okay to ask for steering or recommendation. It may be the most effective issues you are able to do for your corporation.

Are you seeking to rent for sure positions proper now?

We’re rising and hiring aggressively! All our positions are listed on Angel.

The place can we go to be taught extra?

If in case you have any questions or feedback, drop a remark under!


Robin Singhvi,
Founding father of SmartCue

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