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Startup lessons from Constant Contact  

I'm not a huge fan of "X startup lessons" posts. They tend to be easy to write but hard to action, because they're fairly context-free, and when it comes to startup advice, context is everything.

However, this post seems better than the average. It's very focused on advice for low-priced SaaS B2B products, contains clearly actionable points, and quite quick to read. Here are a couple of points that stood out:

  • Get a CEO peer group to bounce ideas off of as soon as possible. Gail learned from a fellow CEO that calling free trial-ers would lead to a doubling in their "trial-to-pay" conversion rates. Trying this was the difference between a model that she thought was failing miserably and one that has built Constant Contact into a publicly traded company (see #3 on giving experiments enough time).
  • If your product is strong enough, people do not need to be sold. Focus your sales teams on being coaches, not salespeople. This means focusing salespeople on making prospective customers successful, and not on near-term revenue maximization.

The article also includes an audio stream of the interview if you want to listen to the whole thing.

More from the library:
Don't underestimate simple ideas
Sometimes, failure is your best option
The "Army of One" entrepreneur