Lead Product at Hostmeapp.com, Ex-Facebook Growth Manager (regional). Growth Hacker at ResumUP.com. Co-Founder of Edumoko.com. Startup Wise Guys Accelerator Alumni. During a session I can help with building strategy to grow your startup organically, show your mistakes and share some hack examples for your startup.
If you can skip investors and run with your customers money - do this until you're ready for big round. What is good traction...? It depends on how you sell it to investors, how you pitch them, actually. It's not about real traction on this stage in 99% of the cases. But... if you really want to understand what the best traction is, I think it's all about retention and customer happiness. If you have very less amount of money, or companies can't leave without your software and are going to use it daily, switch from other e t. c., so this is the best traction measurements. You can grow money and # of customers, but if they really use your product and like it - the best traction you can have. If you want understand your best traction before the launch, so initiate pre-orders with great discount. How much traction you have is not so important as how fast and how good it is.
I used to sell event sponsorships via phone, so I think you can sell everything if you want, but you need to make pre-sale emails, find great contacts e t. c. Try to sell expensive tickets on business events, for example. The % you can get from organisers also depends on your negotiation skills, because they can offer a good deal for you.