How to Grow B2B Sales

Two weeks ago, I asked my newsletter readers to hit reply and tell me their problems.

I got hundreds of responses. THANK YOU.

Your responses mean so much to me and fuel me to keep delivering value.

I'm still working my way through emailing every single one of you.

But one topic that came up is “How do I grow my B2B business? How do I do sales?"

I got you.

Most of the businesses I founded did/do B2B sales.

In fact, I’m still very involved in sales for all the GX businesses.

My advice to anyone startup in B2B sales is to focus on the MOST important metric:


My approach is the same regardless of the business:

Prerequisite: Know your product and have some VAGUE idea of who your ICP is.

With that in mind, let's get into it.

Step 1:

Pick an arbitrary weekly meeting target. Let’s say 5 meetings per week.

Step 2:

Do WHATEVER is required to get that many meetings. Cold email, ask friends, write content. Beg, borrow, and steal to learn what it takes to get that many meetings.

Use a whiteboard or spreadsheet to track. Whatever is easy or fast. (No software needed, yet).

Step 3:

Run a great meeting with a tight system for follow-ups/next steps [I’ll write about this in the future.] Try to close as many customers as you can.

Step 4:

Reflect/Analyze in real-time.

• What activities/effort did it take you to score 5 meetings?

• Which activities worked the best? Which should you stop/start/continue?

• How good of a fit were the 5 meetings? What would make better customers?

• How long did it take you to schedule a followup and close a customer?

• How many customers did you close? What may lead you to close more?

Step 5:

Make adjustments and start over again. Once you consistently get 5 meetings, increase the number to 6 or 7, and keep going up from there.

Over time, a few things will happen:

  1. You will get paying customers. The most important thing for a bootstrapped giant.

  2. The initiatives that drive meetings will become obvious. Double down on what works and kill what doesn’t. When something works, make it more organized and scalable.

  3. You will figure out your ICP. Some customers will say OMG I need EXACTLY this. Others will drag their feet and balk at the cost. Again, double down on what works.

  4. Your “sales cycle” and “GTM” motion will become more clear. Imagine you are in the jungle with a machete trying to cut a trail. The first few times down it will be slow and unclear. But once the trail is there, it becomes easier, more clear, and faster.

    • Note: In the case of GrowthAssistant, we realized we could go end-to-end in 7-21 days (from first meeting to revenue). Aux on the other hand takes about 90 days unless there's a live deal. We could have guessed this upfront but following my system gave us the answers quickly.

The point is: that you learn by doing.

The weekly meeting number FORCES you to confront the reality of activity and keep the business in motion.

Why do I love “meetings” as the metric?

I think meetings are the ULTIMATE “fulcrum” metric.

What do I mean? Meetings sit in the middle of your “GTM” motion.

Once you get 3 or 5 per week, you’ll understand your “up funnel” a lot better.

What marketing or outbound is needed to get those meetings?

How many posts, emails, leads, introductions etc do you need to hit your number?

What will that cost? How much time does it take?

A meeting focus gives you that.

It also lets you think about your “down funnel”: How many closed deals come from 5 meetings per week? 1? 2? 0.5?

Once you know you can get the meetings, you can isolate what needs to change to convert more of those meetings into customers.

Early on, any type of potential customer meeting is fine and as you go you can refine your ICP to get better, more fruitful meetings.

Meetings also FORCE action upstream and downstream.

You must do something to get meetings. And once you get meetings, you also have to follow up, close, and then deliver (your software or service).

And of course, this focus even for a month or two, gives you more data and knowledge than ANY ‘research’ could ever offer.

I learned a lot of this from my own experience but then I read one of Paul Graham's famous essays.

He wrote something that REALLY clicked for me when applied to this framework.

Here’s the blurb from this essay with my highlights:

The MOST important part of this “focus on the number of meetings” approach is it “reduces the otherwise bewilderingly multifarious problem of starting a startup in a single problem.”

Most B2B founders whom I speak with are stuck and end up getting engulfed in the million things that are there: service, current clients, retention, etc, etc.

Now, as you get bigger, it's probably a better idea to do what PG is saying and focus on a weekly or monthly REVENUE (or EBITDA) growth rate.

But early on, MEETINGS is that metric.

And the point here is: when you focus on one metric it allows you to have a real impact on it and drive it forward.

For a B2B startup under $10M in revenue, this focus will do what I said above: drive revenue and drive learning.

So if you’re paying attention, you will both grow and optimize your business to solve the “plateau” or “cold start” problem.

In short: MMM (Meetings are the only Metric that Matters.)

-- jesse