Step #1 – TRACTION
FOUNDATION

Positioning for Sales-led SaaS Scaleups

A 4-week “pressure cooker” to clarify your deep differentiated advantage and create the building blocks that accelerate growth

Crystalize what makes you remarkable • Identify who’s prepared to pay a premium • End the unpredictability of your growth

START NOW

“Consider yourself lucky if you get to work with Ton Dobbe.”

– Michiel Schipperus, CEO Sana Commerce

Underperforming and not sure why?

  • You’re struggling to keep the same growth rate.
  • Money is running out faster than it’s coming in, and you’re starting to feel desperate.
  • Suddenly, there’s not enough water in your pipeline.
  • You’re stuck in a never-ending cycle of chasing money and not working on the business.
  • The cost of attracting new leads keeps rising.
  • Your sales cycles are longer than ever.
  • It feels like everything is dragging in the pipeline.
  • You’re stuck waiting for deal approvals.
  • You’re forced to discount (aka “buy customers”).
  • Decisions are not being made.
  • Low win rates are killing your sales team and your mojo.

Here’s the problem.

Firstly – The tips you’ve picked up from reading all those books, listening to 100s of podcasts, and attending too many webinars have given you the feeling you always need to do more to succeed.

Maybe that’s correct. Maybe it’s not. Fact is, many of those information sources and playbooks are aimed at a different type of SaaS company at a different stage in its life cycle.

They’re not for people like you who run a Sales-Led SaaS business or business unit that:

  • has crossed the €1M ARR mark but not yet the €5M+ ARR mark.
  • Is selling monthly subscriptions that are well over €1.500+ (not €15).
  • With sales cycles that often run for 3-9 months (not hours or days).
  • Having to win the hearts of complex buying committees (not a single user).

Secondly – The fact you feel stuck in your growth is not because your product is mediocre, your people aren’t capable, or your sales processes aren’t organized. On the contrary. It’s something different, something invisible: Complacency, blindspots, and bias.

And this means that translating those tips into what’s right for your business – with all these ‘invisibilities’ – can mean the difference between a brilliant year and a failure.

So, for the next few moments, forget the game you’ve been playing.

It’s not designed for your business to succeed.

Imagine getting to the next level … 

  • Increasing profitability without adding headcount, labor intensity, or significant costs.
  • Making funding an option, not a set choice.
  • Having a reliable way to get noticed so that you can achieve and maintain predictable traction.
  • Attracting the right customers and keeping them hooked. 
  • Having investors chase you – rather than you desperately chasing them.
  • Creating 2, 3 or even 4 years of runway.
  • Getting noticed for what makes you remarkable so that you aren’t caught in the vicious cycle of chasing funding.
  • Surprise your customers.
  • Doing without funding at all.

Positioning Coaching will show you the way

My Traction Foundation pressure cooker program is for Sales-led SaaS CEOs and their team who are looking to accelerate their growth, become a magnet for the right clients, and start having investors chase them instead of the other way around. 

If your sales cycles feel too long, you’re losing too many deals, and find yourself discounting or “buying your customer”, the Traction Foundation pressure cooker program will show you what’s wrong, what to do about it, and hold you accountable to making progress.

You need the guidance to be able to step out of your own comfort zone and train of thought.

– Quintus Willemse, CEO Share Council

Now there’s just perfect alignment between what we sell to the customer and who we are as a business.

– Greg Blazewicz, CEO Salesmanago

I would totally recommend Ton for companies struggling with finding their remarkable parts or struggling to put the finger on why they are absolutely amazing.

– Maja Kowalska, Head of Product Marketing Sales Manago

Let’s create profitable growth that makes you proud.

A remarkable SaaS business demonstrates short deal cycles and high win rates with customers that not only buy more and more often, but also act as their best sales team. 

If you don’t have those things, you don’t have traction, you’re spinning your wheels in quicksand and digging yourself deeper and deeper and deeper.

Someone once said, if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. 

Let me help you establish the foundation for steady, predictable traction using a proven framework that has been battle-tested for more than a decade.

Our leads in the past two years have been more qualified and of better quality than before. Basically, anything that’s coming in has a way higher likelihood of closing.

Comparing our win rates this year to last year, they’ve almost doubled, especially in the US. And our sales cycle has shortened.

– Annika Björkholm, CMO at Swipeguide

Over the last two years since we have done the positioning project with Ton, our sales team started to deliver better, higher win rates and our average order value has increased about 20% year over year.

– Michiel Schipperus, CEO Sana Commerce

Benefits of the Traction Foundation Pressure Cooker Program

  • End the stress of not enough traction
  • Increase profitability 
  • Investors chase you instead of the other way around
  • Attract customers willing to pay a premium
  • Become immune to growth plateaus
  • Reveal the true value behind your SaaS business and who will benefit most from this value
  • Tell your best story so people instantly ‘get’ your value
  • Figure out who you are FOR and who you are NOT FOR
  • Be optimally positioned for the right customer
  • Start to see leverage everywhere in your company – not just in Marketing and Sales
  • Get the right customers up and running in minimum time – and turn customers into fans!
  • Watch your R&D become much more resourceful so they can focus all of their time on building what matters

…and a slew of tactics like:

  • Crystal clear segmentation and laser-sharp positioning
  • A value proposition that stands out
  • An interactive sales pitch to drive the conversation
  • A messaging framework to steer campaigns and reposition your business
  • A solution vision map to drive alignment across marketing, development, and sales

We’ve had a huge increase in the number of signups to our free trial.

– Beth Ruby, CMO Jonar

What you’re getting

You get private coaching and unlimited 24/7 access to me via Slack, phone, or email for the full duration of the program.

The program includes:

  • A kickoff call with initial assessment
  • A 12-step guided intensive workshop program that follows a Sprint cadence: 
    • 4 workshops a week
    • 3 weeks in a row 
    • Final week to fine-tune
  • Opportunity to crowdsource intelligence from your team/domain experts 
  • Direct 1:1 access to me via Slack, email, and phone
  • Creation of all drafts that we then workshop to perfection 
  • Customer validation

Kickoff Meeting Agenda

  • Creation of your private online Workshop environment on a collaborative platform 
  • Identify who on your team needs to participate in which workshops
  • Welcome the team to the online workshop environment
  • Agree on the right time + dates for the 12 virtual workshops 
  • Discuss the project introduction mail and customize it to fit
  • Craft approach toward customer validation
  • Assess competition

Workshop

  • The workshops take place 4 days a week for 3 weeks via Zoom. The last week is reserved for fine-tuning all deliverables.
  • Every workshop is fueled by the reflections on a special prompt that’s completed prior to the start of each workshop (crowdsource intelligence)
  • During the workshop we tune all input to the essence – the outcome then fuels the next workshop
  • From the 6th workshop day, I’ll start connecting all dots and producing drafts, thereby leveraging my outside-in perspective.
  • We agree on the next steps based on progress and goals – quality above all
  • I post your todos privately in your private workshop environment  so we know we’re always on the same page
  • You can contact me for any reason between calls however and whenever is most convenient

The Fine Print

  • My mantra: Quality for all. So even if the program is designed as a 4-week Pressure cooker. If we’re you or I are not 100% satisfied, we won’t stop.
  • I will never publish any of your communications, publicly or privately. Anything you share with me will be kept in the strictest confidence.
  • You are free to record any call for future reference without asking me first.
  • You are free to share any of my communications however you like without asking me first.
  • You are welcome to call me any time without an appointment, but you’ll probably get my voicemail (I’m on Zoom a lot). Leave a message and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
  • If we need to talk real-time, we can schedule a mutually convenient time via a special Calendly link.
  • If you have a truly urgent question, you can text me on my personal cell number.
  • Payment is due 100% in advance to begin the program.
  • If you’re not happy with our first week for any reason, you can ask for your money back. After that, no refunds under any circumstances.
  • You can pause the clock in the event of a family emergency or something of similar seriousness, but not for vacation or because you “got busy.”

Ton has helped us create a value proposition that stands out in a dense, highly competitive Blockchain market.

– George Givishvili, CMO Bitfury Group

Pricing

The Traction Foundation pressure cooker is a 4-week program. The investment is €30,000. It’s not uncommon for my coaching clients to recoup their entire investment within weeks after we’ve established the foundation.

With the outcomes of pressure cooker coaching, you’re guaranteed:

  • That your ideal customers will say YES! This is exactly why we bought it, why we’d buy it again, and what we’d tell our peers
  • You’ll become a magnet for the right customers
  • You’ll claim a space in your market where you’ll be incomparable
  • Your value proposition will be irresistible in the eyes of the right customer

You can apply using the button below.

Ps: This program is also available with impact guarantees. It will then be a 12-month program, where we’ll work shoulder-to-shoulder until the outcomes have been achieved. Ask me for the conditions.

Private coaching is NOT for Sales-led SaaS companies that:

  1. Don’t yet have product market fit. 
  2. Are still pre-revenue.
  3. Are looking for a silver bullet.
  4. Are in it just for the big valuation and the exit (I hate that, sorry).
  5. Want to take shortcuts and not prepared to roll up your sleeves.

Private coaching IS for  Sales-led Saas companies that:

  1. Measure their success by the value they help their customers create.
  2. Believe in the power of being different – not just better.
  3. Value honesty and quality.
  4. Have a product market fit at a minimum of $1M recurring revenue and in the process to scale out.

Change can be scary. It’s hard for everyone. But if you want things to be better, you have to change something. If you think you’re ready, here’s the link to apply:

START NOW

YOY we nearly doubled the number of won deals and we improved the average deal size by 42%.

– Henk-Jan Onstwedder, General Manager Legal Software, Wolters Kluwer

100% Money-Back Guarantee

It’s free to apply and there’s no risk or obligation. If you are accepted into my pressure cooker program, I offer a 100% money-back guarantee. I don’t want your money if we’re not a good fit. If you’re not happy for any reason at any moment during our first week, just let me know and I’ll refund your money in full.

But don’t take my word for it … 

Check out these long-form testimonials from past and current clients:

Testimonial Michiel Schipperus, CEO Sana Commerce

We contacted Ton when we began to notice that too many deals were either getting postponed or canceled with many CEOs suggesting they had other projects that took a higher priority as they directly impacted their top line and revenue.

To us, that meant our prospects weren’t acting with the sense of urgency that we felt our product deserved. 

It also meant those CEOs did not see the value we needed them to see. 

To that end, we also felt that perhaps it was time to pitch our solution to a more ideal audience.

We tried – and struggled – to do that ourselves, quickly realizing it was time for someone outside the company to help us find our new value proposition.

Easier said than done considering positioning is such a broad topic.

One of the things that stood out with Ton was that we’d never met anyone who’d put so much focus and specialization into developing value props specifically for software companies. That was appealing, to say the least. 

We’d worked with a branding agency, but they never seemed to grasp the specifics of the software industry, how different the buying process is, and how that has to work with a complex DMU at the customer side.

When we finished the project, we were able to take our messaging to a much more strategic level, resulting in more strategic conversations with our potential buyers.

With a much better-differentiated value, we’re winning more business and seeing fewer deals postponed. 

We’re also becoming more aware of both our buying and selling power. Basically, we give less discounts! Once customers see the value of our solution and how unique it is from our competitors, they know they have to have it. 

In short, based on feedback that we’re getting from reseller clients,  they’re getting a very different response than they have been. It’s because we are helping them deliver better, higher win rates.

Over the last two years since we have done the positioning project with Ton, our average order value has increased about 20% year over year.

This, more than anything, shows that we are able to better communicate the value that we bring to our customers.

One thing that we especially liked were the interviews that Ton did with our customers. That is something that we as a business could never have done ourselves. We would have wound up having very different conversations, and our customers would have invariably given us different answers than they gave him.

The other was Ton’s outside-in perspective. 

He was able to hear different things in our customer interviews. Because he came in without all the baggage that we have, he was able to come away with key elements and the common thread throughout all of these conversations.

Another thing is that it has also been much easier to get urgency behind the project from the whole organization.

It’s because we had an external source driving us through the process, pushing us through the planning, signaling to the whole organization, hey, this is important.

Another thing is that he didn’t stop with just saying hey, this is the value proposition. He also gave us a whole storyline, the steps that we needed to take a prospect through to help them understand how the value proposition fits into the bigger picture.

One last thing: He checked in on us. It never felt like a hit-and-run. He poked his head in after a quarter and then a half year to ask how it was going, what was working, what was not. This allowed us to keep iterating and evolving. 

Why would I recommend Ton? I believe you need the outside-in perspective. As a software business, you live and die by it.

With the market – and your business – always changing, you have to look at your value proposition. It’s so fundamental for everything that you do, for all your many investments in marketing and sales – you better have the right foundation.

To be successful, you need that external “check.”  

– Michiel Schipperus, CEO Sana Commerce

Testimonial Sally Scott, CMO Advanced

Working with Ton has enabled us to stand out (again) in a highly competitive market 

We needed some help with our value prop, positioning, and the messaging that we would use to bring all our solutions together and take them to market.

Why Ton? He brought an unbiased perspective of what we had to offer, and how we could bring it together. He brought fresh thinking. And he brought his experience in the general ERP market and a pedigree of experience and knowledge that could help us.

It was immediately clear the buy-in that he got from our team, and how easily he could work with them. This was a key factor for us.

We were very healthily challenged around some of the ideas and the messaging that we already had. 

Ton represented the market’s view and potential customer views back into the process in a really objective way.

He kept us on track and made sure we didn’t fall back on what was comfortable or what each of the parts of the group might have felt was the right thing.

He made sure that our differentiation was based on real customer challenges, real customer feedback, and real market pains. 

Benefits

The time that Ton actually spent with the team. He was very visible.

Gaining that insight from customers and that insight being interpreted in a way that enabled us to develop our thinking and differentiate.

Giving us a working structure for a value proposition that not only we could use to launch but we could also use as a vehicle to continually evolve and update in a very structured way

That outside-in view and keeping us thinking in a fresh way.

Keeping us aligned with what our customers and prospects in the market want us to deliver for them and help solve those problems.

Results:

We have taken our suite of products to market under the single Advanced brand.

We have developed some really strong campaign materials to support that launch.

We’ve seen an increase in the demand generation and the success of our sales effort around those solutions. 

We’ve achieved our net new customer acquisition goals.

We have a suite of products that we are more confident in taking to market as a whole, as opposed to the individual point solutions.

This isn’t the first project that we’ve worked on with Ton. Whatever the market, whatever the solution area, the experience that Ton brings to the ERP and software and technology markets always comes to bear.

He brings a very outside-in view, and can articulate the buyer and the market needs in guiding us to think differently.

As a result, we always end up with a very differentiated proposition that’s compelling. And that strikes a chord with our prospects.

We would absolutely recommend working with Ton. 

– Sally Scott, CMO Advanced

Testimonial from Sofie Drijver, Head of Growth, TOPdesk

When we first contacted Ton, we were really struggling with our value proposition. 

His outside-in look perspective along with his wealth of experience with other companies helped us develop both a value proposition and a narrative.

He guided us to take the right steps which are necessary to get to this good narrative. 

He posed sharp questions and really helped us dig deep, to get to the essence of it.

He brought the stories of all the other companies who struggle with the same challenges, always giving us clear examples to find the solution and inspiring us to do better ourselves.

The result:

When you read our old story, you’d probably give it a six. It’s now a nine. 

Ton evolved colleagues into ambassadors of our new narrative, which helped a lot.

He gave us the light, doing it in a short period of time, keeping it energetic and creating ambassadors along the side.

He helped the team to be more aware of where TOPdesk can make a difference and where we were blinded.

He helped us gain a measure of pride in the story we deliver to our customers and how it connects our team and our colleagues.

I would definitely recommend working with Ton because I love the way he works, the energy he puts into it, his experience, and the way he asks the right questions.

– Sofie Drijver, Head of Growth, TOPdesk

Testimonial from Maja Kowalska, Head of Product Marketing Sales Manago 

I totally appreciate professionals and working with top experts in their niche which made working with Ton an absolute joy. 

Watching Ton bring the wealth of his experience working with so many companies was an amazing experience. I think this is also what allows him to bring a completely different view on things.

He has absolutely amazing organization and actually listened to what we told him.

But it was his flexible approach that proved to be the game changer on this project.

Because he’s from outside our bubble, he let me see our company through the eyes of a person who’s not biased. 

It was absolutely refreshing and helped me fall in love again and again with the company I work for. 

We now sound like one company that speaks in one voice. 

The unification of language was a huge advantage and cannot be overstated.

We are now very lean in assigning our resources.

I would totally recommend this service for companies struggling with finding their remarkable parts or struggling to put the finger on why they are absolutely amazing.

Ton delivered on what he promised. He helped us to see and name what’s unique about Salesmanago.

It was a complete service. I’m very pleased with the materials and I know what to do with them. And I know that I have his support. So for me, that’s the total package.

– Maja Kowalska, Head of Product Marketing Sales Manago 

Still have questions?

Q: How is this Pressure Cooker program different from an Accelerator program?

There are 6 main areas of difference:

  • It’s heavily niched-down, i.e., for Sales-led SaaS not for any SaaS company
  • Its aim is to remove the root-cause issues that hold back your growth not to help you just improve on sales and marketing.
  • It’s focused on finding & clarifying deep differentiated advantage – not just to give you a better value proposition.
  • It’s NOT focused on preparing you for a funding round. On the contrary – the aim is the help you become free from funding (so you have a choice)
  • It’s NOT funded with shares or access to your Cap Table. Instead it’s heavily optimized to give you cashflow flexibility (Just ask for the Pressure Cooker Premium-edition).
  • It’s all designed around a program that’s been battle tested – and as such can be obtained with an impact guarantee.

Sales-Led SaaS Club vs Accelerator

Q: How do I know if I’m a good fit for positioning coaching?

In essence, Sales-led SaaS companies who will get the most out of the Traction Foundation pressure cooker are the ones that are struggling to create remarkable traction or have plateaued and aren’t sure what to do about it. 

We schedule a 30-minute exploration call to ensure that the program will solve the challenges you’re facing. If not – I’ll tell you.

Q: What do I have to do to qualify?

Schedule a 30-minute exploration call where I’ll ask questions about your SaaS business, your aspirations and the challenges you face in achieving them.

NOTE: If you are still desperately seeking product market fit, my Pressure Cooker coaching program probably wouldn’t be a good investment. I can advise you about other options though.

Q: May I speak with a couple of references about their time with you?

If you find a testimonial you relate to, feel free to email ton.dobbe@valueinspiration.com and I’d be happy to connect you to them.

Q: What is the average ROI peer Sales-led SaaS companies are experiencing after completing positioning coaching with you?

The bottom line ROI depends greatly on the client and how the deliverables from the program are implemented. I do offer a program that bundles Traction Foundation, Traction Momentum and Traction Resilience that includes a remarkable traction guarantee.

At the high end, I’ve had clients exceed their revenue aspirations. Some have seen their sales cycles decline by as much as 25%, win rates increase 2x and grow average deal size in the high double digits.   

At the low end, I’ve had people not commit to the implementation of the work after the completion of their program and get little direct financial ROI. But even those folks are happy with the educational aspect and sense of control they gain over their business.

Q: How long are the workshop sessions?

They last  1.5 hours – 4 days a week for 3 weeks in a row. The last week varies based on need.

Q: Do we have to use Zoom for the accountability calls?

No. We can use any online Meeting platform that you have a strong preference for (f.ex Microsoft Teams, Google Meet,…).

Q: Can we use video for the workshop sessions?

Yes – but only at the beginning and end. For the biggest portion of the workshop, we’ll use online collaboration tools (I use Mural in combination with Google Suite) to work on the deliverables together.  

Q: What happens after I pay?

Once you complete your purchase, you’ll be presented with a calendar link to schedule a kickoff call. At which time we will agree on a game plan, who in your team and which customers should participate, and set your first assignment.

Q: I still have questions!

Just shoot me an email and ask: ton.dobbe@valueinspiration.com

Who wrote this page, anyway?

Ton Dobbe, Founder of Value Inspiration and author of The Remarkable EffectHi! I’m Ton Dobbe and I’ve been in the international B2B software space for almost 30 years. I’ve worked with over 300 B2B (mostly Sales-led) Software entrepreneurs. I’ve been certified the #1 Global Thought Leader on Startups, #2 Global Thought Leader on Entrepreneurship, #11 Global Thought Leader on Marketing, #23 Global Thought Leader on Sales by Thinkers 360. 

But first, allow me to share a story that changed everything for me.

I sat in my glass cubicle on the fourth floor at our Dutch HQ near Rotterdam. The situation was tense; People were running around, stressed out, and I sat there with a knot in my stomach…

I’d just hung up on a call with PJ, a US technology analyst that I trusted. I thought the call had gone well, but then he shocked me:

“There’s something that truly differentiates your solution, Ton. You just have a very odd way of communicating it, and that doesn’t help anybody.”

The story we were telling wasn’t clear. It was littered with words and details that mattered to us but didn’t have any meaning to him or to our customers.

I was taken aback. 

Was it that bad? No one had ever challenged me on this.

Here’s the thing:

We were not well-known and this didn’t help to receive more invitations to participate in the right deals. And on the deals where we did participate, we were losing too many. And we had to give away too much discount to win them. 

Everyone was telling me that this was ‘normal’ since we’re selling a commodity!

The dots started to connect … 

Had we fallen in love with our own ideas? Had we lost connection with whom we were actually doing it for?

It turns out, we’d become complacent to a hidden, but sizable problem and needed to have some difficult conversations. We needed help. We needed an unbiased and emotionally detached expert that could challenge the status quo and poke holes in all our beliefs.

What we learned was:

While many of the organizations we targeted looked alike from the outside, what they believed, cared about, wanted, and needed was radically different.

Our focus was far too wide: We could achieve far more by exceeding the expectations of the few rather than trying to please the many.

We had to cut the bullshit and home in on the difference we’d help our customers make rather than what we thought differentiated us.

We had to find a way to be remarkable.

That’s when everything started to change…

Suddenly we had meaningful and energetic conversations with decision-makers about what else could build trust with customers, taking our confidence to new levels. 

Our demos transformed from meaningless ‘feature-function’ tours to meaningful showcases of value.

Sales teams started to close four out of five deals. Sales cycles visibly shortened. Deal size increased, often far above the second vendor on the shortlist. And best of all, the word discount started to disappear. 

In fact, some competitors decided to back off when they discovered we were in the consideration set. We’d transformed from being undervalued to being The One for the right customers.

The project taught me three essential lessons:

  1. Cut to the chase
    To make a meaningful connection it’s about getting to the raw truth.
  2. Escape the echo chamber
    Get an outside-in perspective showing you what you don’t see.
  3. Purpose over profit
    Relentless focus on helping your customers make a difference will return value in volumes that outperform any budget.

The most important thing that stood out for me though was that no matter how much I love building software businesses, what I love even more is making them remarkable.

That’s when I started my business in 2017, wrote ‘The Remarkable Effect’ in 2019, and started my mastermind program for Sales-led SaaS CEOs in 2020.

You can experience what I experienced too. I’ll be your guide to get you through the challenging situations, positioning you to come out as a software business your customers can’t stop talking about.

If you could change, you’d have done it by now 

I think it was Tony Robbins who said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

Stop chasing investors for funding. When you’re ready, create remarkable traction so that investors chase you. And you start surprising your customers, yourself, and yes, even your competitors.

START NOW

Don’t worry, there’s no risk or obligation, and it’s free to apply.

Act now. Seriously

Availability is limited. I usually only take on 10 new private coaching clients per year. If you are considering private coaching, apply now to start the process.

Ton’s coaching enabled us to stand out (again) in a highly competitive market.

– Sally Scott, CMO OneAdvanced

 


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