Navigating the Early Stage Sales Journey with Becca Lindquist, Head of Sales at dbt Labs
Welcome back to the From Vendorship → Partnership podcast, Season 2: Seller’s Journey!
This season, we’re talking to B2B sales leaders about their experience building winning processes, coaching & scaling teams, and partnering with customers.
Becca Lindquist is the Head of Sales at dbt Labs, helping to 10x Enterprise revenue and grow the sales team from 3 to 20+ in the past year. She enjoys figuring out the sales and GTM motions in the early part of the startup journey, and talked to Ross about all things early stage sales.
Get the key takeaways from our conversation below!
🙅 What do most people get wrong when it comes to startup sales?
The thing that most early stage sellers get wrong is trying to acquire every dollar they can get, at the risk of signing customers who aren’t a good fit for their product.
“When you don’t focus only on your ‘strike zone’ customers, you’re spending a lot of time on use cases that aren’t perfect for your software,” Becca said.
Worse, you have to support those customers post-sale and try to make them successful – and when they’re not successful, then you risk creating detractors of your product. Focus on your best-fit customers, and you’ll get more promoters and better long-term results.
🤔 What’s your approach to early stage sales hires (especially in this competitive job market?)
For an early stage startup with a technical product, it can feel nearly impossible to find candidates with just the right experience – in your industry, with similar buyers, with another technical product, etc. – who are also excited to join your company.
Because of that, and since the job market is more competitive than ever, the question you need to ask is: How can I expand my pool of candidates and make them successful?
Figure out what you actually need people to know before they join your startup, or what “DNA” or qualities you’re looking for in new hires. The rest you can coach.
“If people are curious, we can teach them the software and the space,” Becca said. “But if they’re not curious, I can’t teach people to ask the right questions.”
Becca’s other advice for early sales hires:
- Find people who are low ego – they aren’t afraid to hire others who have more experience or are better than your team in certain areas
- Push for an enablement hire in your first ~20 hires, so all the rep onboarding and ramping isn’t falling on you – they can take the foundation you’ve built and the things you’ve learned, and create a program out of it
- Hire people who aren’t afraid to figure it out – people who are willing to work with you and adapt as you experiment, stub your toes, and slowly build a process that works
🤝 How do you think about partnering and collaborating with customers?
“The number one thing you can do as a seller is get people into your software and then enable them,” Becca said. “Especially in this transition to product-led growth.”
Tell and show your buyers what “good” looks like, and how to use your product well. Then let them use it, observe, give and receive feedback – enable them like you would a new rep. If you can enable your buyers pre-sale, you’ll have a much easier time focusing on their success post-sale because you’ll already know that your product is a good solution for them.
“You have to support your customers. You’re on this journey together,” said Becca.
💡 Becca’s top sales tips
- Who to follow: Skip Miller, sales trainer & president of M3 Learning
- Helpful app/software: “I wouldn’t go to a company that’s not using Gong.”
- Advice for sales leaders: Focus. What are the top two things that will move the needle for you? Everything else is a distraction!
Becca Lindquist is the Head of Sales at dbt Labs, where she's grown Enterprise revenue 10x and took the team from 3 to over 20 in the last year. Before joining dbt Labs, Becca spent 5+ years at Heap as the 11th employee and helped define and scale the go to market motion.