Should your SaaS startup embrace a bottom-up GTM strategy?

Most of today’s most successful software companies, from Atlassian and Datadog to Zoom, have subscribed to the Sa-go-to-market model below. In this model, the user buys software directly from a website without talking to a sales person. The product sells itself. The model below has several key advantages: companies spend dramatically less on sales their citizens, allowing them to invest more in the product; they can hold hypergrowth longer because they do not rely on raw sales headcounts to win the business; and these tend to be more profitable in the end, making premiums worthwhile. 

For all these reasons, more and more SS startups are choosing to adopt the bottom-to-market model. However, many more companies fail for each Atlassian or Zoom – often they do not understand the hidden challenges and costs associated with the model below. Before going any further, it is important to note that the bottom line is not the right starting strategy for every company. Below are a few quick ways to see if this is the right place for you to start:

  • Users: Teams and individuals can get value from your product (does not have to be full enterprise rollout).
  • Decision-maker: Your decision-maker is a line-level employee (not C-Suite).
  • Product: People can easily try your product.
  • Data: The data involved is not something that compliance would need to review.

Companies that meet these criteria have three important questions that you must be able to answer:

  • When do you hire a sales team? (Spoiler alert — it’s sooner than you think!)
  • What is the value you deliver to your customer and how do you determine pricing that matches that value?
  • Who needs to work together to make a bottom-up SaaS model work?

In this piece, we will address each of those questions and share some of the companies we have seen that work from companies. While most traditional therapies rely on the combination of products, sales, customer support, marketing to keep tabs for customers and how much each one paying at the top, most successful bottom line companies rely on.