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The Startup’s Guide to Go-To-Market: Lessons from Five Global Sales Leaders

Event Recaps


4 min read · May 23

About The Author

Elina Omarova

Sales and customer growth are a top priority for the entrepreneurs building in our community at Embarc Collective. Last week, Embarc Collective hosted the GTM Summit, featuring sales leaders who have started and scaled go-to-market strategies from 0 to $1B businesses. We’re highlighting powerful frameworks and practical strategies from our line-up of sales leaders on how to amplify your GTM strategy.

“There’s No Substitute for Knowing Your Customers and Your Metrics.”

Naimish Patel | Chief Growth Officer, Red Cell Partners

On Knowing Your Customers

  • I got on a plane every week for 7 years to learn from our prospects, which led to our acute understanding of our users’ needs. We focused on user experience where everyone was focused on compliance.

On Staying Steadfast and True to a Mission

  • We knew if we got a big distribution channel to invest in our channel, it would open up doors. Make your distribution partner win with you to help you scale.

On Finding the Right Customer

  • The more you talk to your target customer, the better you can identify their needs. Overtime, you begin to build a map of the market and sort your opportunities into buckets—here are the opportunities, here are the barriers, and where you can win. You need to know who wants what and where and you’re able to tailor your pitch to them.

“Listen More to Learn More”

Emery Rosansky | VP GTM, First Round Capital

On the Role of a Discovery Call

  • The discovery call is a core tool to garner the insights about your prospects to eventually close the sale. The result of a good discovery call will allow you to qualify a prospect, arm yourself with insights for further discussions, and hook the prospect by connecting to their needs.

On Being Clear with Your Goals

  • One core element of a discovery call is the Purpose Benefit Check (PBC) where you state the purpose and benefit of the conversation at the start of the call. Your prospect needs to know the journey they are going on with you.

On Listening More and Talking Less

  • Too many startups spend too much time talking on discovery calls. Aim for a 40% / 60% talk time to listen time ratio. You want to ensure you’re spending the time learning if what you’re offering is solving a priority pain point for your prospect and the impact that your product will have on their work.

“It’s Never About You in Sales, It’s Always About Your Customer”

Ariana Alfonso | Senior Director of Sales, Jetty

On Founder-Led Sales

  • Even if you have a sales team, when a founder stops joining sales calls, it’s not a great sign. As a founder, you want to stay involved.

On Being an Early Sales Hire

  • Personal trust is key as an early sales hire between a founder. You want to find someone highly organized, which is crucial while the founder is distracted among other priorities.

On Leveraging the Data

  • Mapping historical data at each stage helps you see patterns and build a muscle and culture in your startup that maps data early and often to best understand where you need to improve and what you’re doing well.

“Don’t be Tempted by Big Company Logos and Bring in a Senior Team Member Too Early”

Alexandra Adamson | VP of Revenue, CloserIQ

On Determining Your Sales Team Needs

  • Focus on hiring “renaissance reps” – team members who are comfortable rolling up their sleeves and building decks, taking feedback to the product team, and meeting with a lot of different customers as you unearth your ideal customer profile.
  • Look at your current team and understand the gaps and opportunities – is there someone on your existing team who could move into the role?

On Evaluating Sales Talent

  • You must assess someone’s skills during the interview process. Don’t evaluate the candidate simply based on the quality of conversation.
  • And if you are looking at a seller who isn’t using numbers to communicate their metrics of performing, they aren’t a fit – they should be focused on numbers all the time.

“Make Experimentation a Business Habit”

Chad Nuss | Chief Commercial Officer, Glassbox

On Approaches to Growth

  • There are three archetypes to consider—where do you fall? Born in Product-Led Growth (PLG), Sales-Led Growth, and Product-Led Sales.

On Delivering Value to Your Customers

  • Understand when your customers are receiving value from you. Value (product usage) reached is realized at the end for traditional enterprise sales vs. upfront for product-led sales.
  • PLG drives people into your product. Your customer journey can be well managed in the product-led growth approach.

Thanks to all who attended our 2023 GTM Summit. Interested in participating in learning opportunities to support your startup’s growth? Join our community of driven and focused startup founders by applying for membership to Embarc Collective.

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