Frank Breckner is the founder of Finalytic, a SaaS tool that automates financial reconciliations between other tools like Stripe, PayPal, Quickbooks and Airbnb.
Finalytic has gone from 0 customers in January to £10-20K MRR, 5 months later. Impressive growth.
Frank talks to Louis on the Sales For Founders podcast.
It's quite a detailed episode so covering what I can below...
- Frank got the idea from manual financial reconciliation work he was doing at his first startup. It was time consuming, boring and error prone. But also mission critical.
- He spoke to other companies and discovered they suffered the same problem.
- Knew what the problem was, what the pain was and he'd already spoken to multiple companies with the same problem. The idea was validated. So after creating a solution it was a relatively easy sell.
- For the first few months they told new customers “We’ll set it up for free for you, we want to show it to you, give us some feedback and you can always pay once you’re happy with how it’s running and how it’s set up”
- Effective messaging by being focused on one niche (property managers) so you connect with who you’re speaking to. Narrow in one industry and with one type of person.
- In B2B build a product that is deeply integrated into processes and systems. If it adds value then it gets left alone and is harder to swap for another solution.
On getting first customers
- Because of solving his own problem in a market he knew well, he already had a lot of contacts to talk to.
- Reached out to 10 founders he had relationships with and found out if they definitely have the problem, how painful it is and how many resources they spend on it. Then, "I can build you a solution for this, are you interested?"
- Got verbal commitments and when they launched the first features, he got them to start using it. They only started paying after 2 months in exchange for giving detailed feedback.
- Normally you should charge up front. You only really know if someone likes your product if they start spending money on it. But in this case, Frank had deep insight into the industry and was ok with the commitment to pay later.
On next 25-30 customers
- Frank found the decision maker at target companies using LinkedIn.
- Sent connection requests with message and got high 80% response rate. LinkedIn is massively underutilized for good messages.
- Messages establish credibility, reason to connect and he gets to the point quickly. For example: “We’ve built something that others are using which does xyz, would you be interested in seeing that? It saves the average property manager x hours a week”
- He then takes them through a process: phone call, demo, onboarding.
On success in short space of time
- Why has he been successful in last 4 or 5 months and others who’ve put time in haven’t? Two things: Look at successful people and probably they’re good at execution (you actually do the right thing rather than just think about it) and good at prioritizing (working on the right thing)
- You only start learning what customers want once you start speaking to them and then building something, letting them trial it and iterate that process for infinity.
- Don't spend a long time building to find it’s the wrong thing, much better and easier to talk to people and then build. You’re doing them a favor by asking and then building rather than building and then showing.