Sales at the Core


Seth Dehart has carved a niche in the world of venture consulting, having spent significant years in the trenches of sales and advising startups. His journey from sales to becoming a venture partner at Point Nine has equipped him with a wealth of knowledge, particularly in analysing and scaling startups. In a recent episode of Tech Salescraft, Seth shared his observations on the startup ecosystem, the importance of sales, and the critical role of founders in navigating challenging times.

The Rise and Fall of Unicorns

Since the pandemic, the startup landscape has seen dramatic shifts. The post-COVID boom of 2021 led to a surge in unicorn declarations, fueled by easy credit. However, this golden period gave way to inflation, tighter credit conditions, and a more cautious investment climate. Seth emphasises that startups must now be more strategic and resilient when seeking funding. Investors, wary of untested solutions, require startups to demonstrate not only innovative ideas but also solid execution plans. This is where venture firms like Point Nine come into play, offering crucial support and guidance during economically turbulent times.

Sales as the Core of Startups

One of the key takeaways from Seth’s discussion is the pivotal role of sales in a startup’s success.

“The best performing companies that get to an IPO are sales engines at their core” Seth states.

He highlights that brilliant founders, often with extraordinary academic and technical backgrounds, must embrace sales as a fundamental aspect of their operations. This shift from product-focused to sales-driven strategies can make the difference between scaling successfully and floundering. Founders who excel in sales can effectively communicate their value proposition, build robust pipelines, and drive revenue growth.

Choosing the Right Investment Partner

For early-stage startups, selecting the right investment partner is crucial. Seth advises founders to look for funds that align with their geography and industry focus. Whether it’s a generalist fund like Point Nine or a specialised one in areas like cybersecurity, picking the right partner can significantly impact a startup’s trajectory. The longevity and fundraising cycles of a venture fund are also vital considerations. If a fund hasn’t raised new capital in recent years, it may indicate limited capacity to invest, which could affect the startup’s growth prospects.

Evaluating Founders and Teams

Venture capitalists like Seth place great importance on due diligence, especially when evaluating founders and their teams. Chemistry and the potential for long-term relationships are critical factors. Seth uses his extensive network to vet potential investments, ensuring they have the right connections and support within the ecosystem. The potential for growth is another major consideration. Seth often engages with managers to assess their vision and ability to lead their teams toward significant milestones.

Embracing Data and Analytics

Seth underscores the importance of data-driven decision-making in sales. From day one, startups should focus on capturing and analysing data to guide their strategies. Simple metrics like conversion rates from initial outreach to closed deals provide valuable insights into product-market fit and sales effectiveness. This data-centric approach helps startups make informed decisions, optimise their sales processes, and scale efficiently.

Final Thoughts

Seth’s journey from sales to venture consulting offers valuable lessons for startups navigating the complex landscape of growth and investment. His emphasis on the critical role of sales, the importance of choosing the right investment partner, and the need for data-driven strategies provide a roadmap for startups aiming to scale successfully. As the startup ecosystem continues to evolve, insights from experienced advisors like Seth will be instrumental in guiding founders through the highs and lows of building transformative businesses.

For those interested in more detailed discussions and insights from Seth, be sure to check out his full conversation on Tech Salescraft.