The Datanyze Bootstrap Story

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By Ilya Semin, Founder and CEO of Datanyze


Where did the idea for Datanyze come from?

  • Most salespeople try to find a “good” prospect by purchasing lists or prospecting.
  • They then add this info into their CRM
  • Datanyze is designed to help you to know when a prospect is ready to buy.

Why did Datanyze bootstrapped?

The narrative out there is that it is really easy to raise money, so why didn’t we just raise money? There are benefits to bootstrapping your company:

  • Limited resources make you work hard and smart
  • The only that matters is getting to product/market fit – Marc Andreeson
  • Prove that you already have customers and can grow.

We now have some investors, including Google Ventures and Marc Cuban’s VC firm.

When I was getting started with sales at Datanyze, we focused on doing three things really well:

  1. Send Great Outbound Emails
  2. Email at the Right TIme
  3. Convey Passion

I didn’t have any previous experience with sales and it took me outside my comfort zone. I used a data driven approach to improve my odds. At each step in my process, would use data to evaluate my approach to improve my future sales.

1 – Send Great Outbound Emails – When I first began with outbound sales, my email approach was to: ask for advice, treat my contacts as experts, encorporate their advice into future planning. One of my early successful emails was to Ben Sardella at KISSMetrics. KISSMetrics became my first customer, and Ben is now one of the co-founders of Datanyze. I refined my emails through time as I found out what emails had the best response rate, and worked on improving my emails through a data driven approach.

2 – Email at the right time – Additionally, when it comes to email, timing is everything. I analyzed what times had the best response rate for my emails and focused on sending emails at those times. The best time to send emails to your prospects may differ depending upon their organization or their role within the company. Figure out the best times for your marketplace and your prospects.

3 – Lastly, I was very passionate about my product. If you are not passionate about your product, your prospect won’t be either. Although I am no longer the head of sales at my company and my background is in computer science, I am confident that I can sell our product better than anyone else. I love talking about and showing people how Datanyze can help them grow.

Some additional things that I learned while bootstrapping and growing Datanyze:

Your Customer is your #1 priority

Being responsive to your customers is the best way to make them happy. Work to understand their needs and treat your customers as your best resource for getting future sales. Salespeople move from one job to another quickly, so make

Invest in processes and find the right tools

Our first 5 hires were:

  • Engineer/CEO
  • VP of Sales
  • Inbound Rep
  • Outbound Rep
  • SDR

Find the right tools:

1 – Dogfood, we use our own product to sell! If your product is designed to help others to sell, you should be using your product too.

2 – Yesware – this is a great tool to help you email better. Our SDR, and sales rep use Yesware multiple times a day.

3 – Hipchat – we try to respond to customers within 15 seconds of them communicating with us. Why 15 seconds? We’ve found that prospects move quickly and their attention can be easily diverted. We want to communicate with folks quickly.