Top-Down vs Bottoms-Up Sales Strategies: Tips for Success

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This article is a summary of a YouTube video "Which Sales Strategy Is Best For Your Startup?" by Y Combinator
TLDR The video discusses the differences between top-down and bottoms-up sales strategies for selling products to large organizations, and provides tips for success in each approach.

Key insights

  • 💼
    Selling to corporate executives through a top-down sales approach involves targeting decision makers high up in an organization.
  • 💼
    Top-down sales strategies are effective for products that appeal to executives and help them achieve strategic goals within their organization.
  • 💼
    The advantage of top-down selling is that it has a playbook that usually works, but the downside is the risk of getting pulled into building one-off features for large customers, potentially turning into consulting relationships.
  • 📧
    Getting the attention of potential leads is the hard part in sales, and if warm introductions are not possible, cold emailing with personalized messages can be an effective strategy.
  • 💰
    Bottoms Up sales strategy focuses on building a self-serve product that people can adopt on their own without talking to a salesperson, finding a cheap distribution channel to get attention, and then convincing companies to sign a contract in exchange for more features or bulk pricing.
  • 💡
    Building a great product requires talking to customers, even for Bottoms Up startups that often start with cold calling.
  • 💡
    Startups can use freemium pricing to their advantage by offering individual users free features and charging for collaborative features needed by teams.
  • 📈
    "If your pitch resonates most with Executives you'll need to go top down."

Q&A

  • What are the two ways of selling products to large organizations?

    — The two ways of selling products to large organizations are top-down sales and bottoms-up sales.

  • What are the steps for success in top-down sales?

    — The steps for success in top-down sales include identifying the lead, validating their problem, convincing them of your solution, navigating procurement hoops, and onboarding the customer.

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of top-down sales?

    — The advantage of top-down sales is having a playbook that usually works, but the downside is the risk of building one-off features for large customers and the expensive cost of scaling.

  • What are the key components of a successful top-down sales motion?

    — The key components of a successful top-down sales motion are defining the target customer, finding leads through LinkedIn or other tools, and personalizing cold emails to get their attention.

  • What are the key components of a successful bottoms-up sales model?

    — The key components of a successful bottoms-up sales model are building a self-serve product, finding a cheap distribution channel, getting lots of users, and convincing companies to sign a contract in exchange for more features or bulk pricing.

Timestamped Summary

  • 💼
    00:00
    Top-down sales and bottoms-up sales are two ways of selling products to large organizations, with the former starting with a decision maker high up in the organization and the latter relying on word of mouth and viral spread.
  • 💡
    00:35
    Simplify the sales process by identifying the lead, validating their problem, convincing them of your solution, navigating procurement hoops, and onboarding the customer for top-down sales success.
  • 💡
    01:07
    Top down selling has advantages and disadvantages, with a playbook that usually works but the risk of getting pulled into building one-off features for large customers and expensive scaling costs.
  • 💡
    01:54
    Define target customer, find leads, personalize cold emails for successful top-down sales.
  • 📈
    02:44
    Bottoms Up sales strategy: self-serve product, cheap distribution, lots of users, convince companies for contracts, great for startups solving pain points for individuals or small teams.
  • 📈
    03:49
    Bottoms Up sales model: find untapped marketing channels, talk to customers, and cold call to acquire early users for a great product.
  • 👉
    04:47
    Simplify your product, identify drop-off points, use freemium pricing, and acquire individual users to sell to executives.
  • 💼
    05:35
    The success of a B2B SAS company depends on whether their pitch resonates with individual contributors or executives, determining whether a top-down or bottom-up approach is needed.
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This article is a summary of a YouTube video "Which Sales Strategy Is Best For Your Startup?" by Y Combinator
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