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Building sales relationships with VCs

Savages...Wanted to get a take on some "outside the box" thinking that's worked well for me recently.


Context, I work as an AE in the SMB space, but SMB really means early-stage, high-growth startups. I was recently promoted to the Medical Device vertical and find prospecting these early-stage startups to be a little bit more difficult.


So...wtf is the point of this post? Well. When I worked with consumer electronics companies I built a lot of great relationships with different VCs. 2, in particular, have helped feed multiple deals my way and the networking aspect has been amazing. The problem is, I got lucky in finding the first VC and was able to leverage some former connections with them and the success we had together to gain access into a second. Now that I'm in a new vertical those wells have dried up.


Has anyone built relationships with any VCs to gain early access to their PortCos? If so, how?

I've tried cold outreach similar to my sales cycle but I haven't had any luck yet.


Is this something that might've been a one-off stroke of luck?

👑 Sales Strategy
☁️ Software Tech
🤝 Networking
8
poweredbycaffeine
WR Officer
+9
Bean Juice Drinker | Sales Savant
If your company is funded by any major VCs, they are more than likely to be warm when introducing you to the right people within their portfolio. However, I would not rely on VCs to help you do this since they have an interest in one thing: making money. Sometimes this path gets dark and twisty...
AllBiteNoBark
Politicker
+9
Account Executive
Unfortunately we're not, part of the big Tech wheel now. 

I had a feeling that would be the response. Curious for my own knowledge, in your experience what goes south? And assuming you'd recommend not putting the time into this and pushing elsewhere?  
poweredbycaffeine
WR Officer
+9
Bean Juice Drinker | Sales Savant
The VCs that I've worked with have asked us to create "preferred pricing" which turns into major discounting and sometimes "service for service" trading...aka no revenue for anyone.
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WCK
Notorious Answer
+13
Padre de Tequila, General of the Coors Knights
Ahem, paging @poweredbycaffeine and @BigMeech , y'all are my go-to's on this stuff
CoorsKing
WR Officer
+12
King of the Coors Knights
Nah I was an A16Z baby. They didn’t feed me too much at my level, but when I did have EBCs I could always count on Ben.
poweredbycaffeine
WR Officer
+9
Bean Juice Drinker | Sales Savant
Oh my, I think I hit enter as you did. Sorry for clogging the series of tubes.
DanPrice
Arsonist
+10
Philanthropist
You stole my thunder. 
Mooney
Tycoon
+13
Director of Sales
Focus on your ICP. 

being intro'd by VC's are great, but it will take a lot of time building that relationship with new VC's. The return on investment here is years down the road not weeks or months. 

Unless you have a VC that is backing you or a previous relationship, those VC's are more focused on their pocket and their investment. If you have a way of showing them how they can make money by introducing you to a prospect, then it might work out. 

good luck! 
AllBiteNoBark
Politicker
+9
Account Executive
Great input, thanks Mooney
UrAssIsSaaS
Politicker
+8
SaaS Eater
I dont have experience finding time with Vcs for this purpose, but have had success picking the brain of others in my field by just reaching out and asking what they do to make themselves successful in the space. 

People love to brag about what makes them great so if you can reach out and position the conversation in this way, and eventually pivot to your goal for intros you might have some luck. 
LordBusiness
Politicker
+8
Chief Revenue Officer
The hardest part with working PE and VC's "top down" is figuring out who the target "decision maker" is in the VC or PE to drive the discussion where you want to go.  Most of their resources are usually dedicated to finding and closing the "next deal" , and they usually lean on consultants to help their portfolio companies.  It can be done, but its tricky. 
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