I'm building a SaaS platform related to big-data. Beta release is scheduled for end of April. The first customer is on board and ready to pay 25 to 50k, including licensing and services fees. This customer is also a SaaS provider and intends to white-label my product and provide it to other big customers such as AT&T. At the same time, having worked for them, I know that Verizon and Cisco would be potential customers. I also have good entries in these two companies that I intend to leverage for business development purposes. However, I am a software developer and business development isn't really my thing. Hence my question: what are some effective ways to quickly setup a business development team without breaking the bank? My goal is to find the low hanging fruits and identify and possibly onboard 4 to 10 customers before getting out to raise some money. Does this strategy even make sense to startup experts and successful entrepreneurs out there?
It sounds like you are going after high value targets who have layers and layers of insulation between your company and decision makers. If it were me, I would find someone either on here or on Linkedin who have existing relationships in your core industries and work out compensation deals with them directly. Everyone is different with how they want to be compensated, however, since you have self-funded, any revenue is good revenue at this point. I have some ideas for you if you want to contact me directly.
A couple of ideas you can use , in order to save money and develop the team without breaking the bank;
-The first and the most utilized, look for co-founders , and give them a % of the business, always have in mind that for this kind of business the magic number is 3, a person who build it, a person that sales it, and one that scale the business.
-Hire someone , don't pay too much but give him/them a % of equity and/or a small amount of commission per sale.
-I don't know in what country are you, but, look for government incentives for SMBs (non-reimbursable contributions) , you can use those funds to increase your capital and afford the business team.
-Finally, you can also look for sponsors in order to get more capital.
If you need more help with some of there actions, i will gladly help you.
From the outset you as the founder have to be doing the sales, or then find yourself a co-founder (which is not the same as a SaaS sales rep) to help you out on the business side of things. But unless you do the sales, you will never figure out what will work, which part of the value prop is resonating and therefore you will never find product/market fit. Hiring a sales rep too early (prior to you getting a few customers on your own), will simply result in their inability to sell your product which you will attribute to their failure as a sales rep when in fact the product's value proposition isn't yet clear enough for any customers to buy at scale. So close the first accounts first on your own or get a co-founder on board who can, but don't go out and hire a SaaS sales rep until you know what the product really should be. Once you do know, you can easily hire a few SaaS sales reps on low retainer + hefty commission.