Actionable data and advice for founders looking to build an all-star GTM.
In order to help guide your decision making in 2019, we at HubSpot for Startups surveyed over 290 successful startups to find out how they made the decisions that led them to prosperity. We covered topics such as how startups manage their recruiting and hiring, how they think about high level operations, the methods they use to generate demand, and many more aspects critical to a startup's survival. Below, we cover some of the biggest learnings we took away from our survey.
Possibly the most important contributor to a startup’s success is the people that are hired in the early days. However, making choices around hiring and recruiting is much easier said than done. Read below to find out how the successful startups of today navigated these decisions.
Respondents reported having an average of 6.1 sales professionals per organization and only 2.4 marketing professionals.
65% of respondents said they felt confident that their initial marketing and sales hires were an appropriate level of seniority. 30% felt that these early hires were not senior enough and a small minority thought they were too senior. Founders reported having slightly less confidence in their hiring decisions than lower level individual contributors.
Your early hires help you develop a culture that will impact your business for the rest of its life. Have you thought about your company culture yet? If not, see how HubSpot thinks about building an inclusive and diverse culture:
65% of respondents reported that their startup used strong commissions to incentivize their sales reps. This was followed by end of quarter or year incentives used at 20% of organizations.
48% of respondents listed an engineer as their first hire following the founders. This was followed by a sales professional and then a marketing professional with 19% and 8% of respondents listing them as the next hire respectively.
93% of respondents said they spend less than 25% of their time on recruiting efforts and 53% report spending 10% or less of their time. Higher level employees spend the least amount of time on recruiting efforts while lower levels tend to spend more.
Diversity and Inclusion was viewed as a top priority for 2019 by fewer than 2% of all respondents. The apparent importance of D&I decreased as job level increased; founders and C-level executives were less likely to see it as a priority than managers or individual contributors.
The answer is unequivocally YES. If you were told that your company could outperform its competitors by 35% by making one simple choice you would jump at that opportunity. Well, companies in the top quartile for ethnic diversity outperform their competitors by just this amount. Need another reason to start thinking about Diversity and Inclusion today? It is significantly easier to bake D&I into a company’s culture and processes during the early days than to attempt to force it in later on. Check out this post on inclusive employee resource groups if you are looking for ways to up your diversity and inclusion game today.
A grand vision for a startup won’t get you anywhere if you don’t have a well-built strategy in place. We asked startups about the kinds of decisions they made when it came to thinking about their strategy and operations so that you could use these insights to inform your own decisions.
Over 42% of startups spent the majority of their time in the last year on developing their product or service. This was followed by acquiring customers, which 37% listed as the largest use of their time.
70% of startups said they wish they had prioritized their time differently in 2018. Startups that prioritized their time around getting more funding in 2018 felt the most confident in having spent their time well and those that prioritized content creation felt the least confident in how they spent their time in 2018.
‘Selling more product or service' was noted at the top priority for startups going into 2019. This was followed by growing one’s brand and then hiring brilliant staff.
Establishing your priorities for the months to come can be a tricky task at times. On thing that you want to be sure of is that when it comes to choosing these priorities, you are making well-thought data-backed decisions. If you are looking for a little bit of data to help you on your way, check out "The Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics for 2018." With stats from SEO to sales, this information will help you get in the right mindset for making important prioritization decisions.
34% of startups report setting their goals on a quarterly basis and 33% report doing so on a monthly basis. 39% of startups also report doing their quarterly planning one month before the onset of each quarter.
You can’t blow past your goals if you aren’t setting them in the first place. Research shows that establishing goals makes it significantly more likely to see success in your efforts. When it comes to how your startup is going to market there are three primary sets of goals you need to care about: marketing, sales and service. Use the tools below to set each of your respective goals:
While 80% of successful startups interviewed have received a round of institutional funding (angel to IPO), a hearty 20% are seeing success without ever having received such funding.
Every young company wants to increase its brand awareness and generate more interest in its product or service. While there are many ways to go about this, there is a lot to learn from the successful startups of today that can help your organization propel into a success story of tomorrow.
48% of respondents list using organic, content, and SEO methods for generating their demand. Fewer than 4% of respondents said that their organizations use traditional TV, radio, or billboard ads for demand generation.
41% of respondents list using digital ads (Google Ads, Facebook, Twitter) in their demand generation efforts. The majority of startups spend less than $100,000 per year on digital ads and 74% of startups implemented digital ads within 2 years of founding.
LinkedIn leads the charts as the most valuable channel for spreading awareness, followed by blogging and use of one’s homepage.
How many people does your company employee?
How long has your company been in business?
Which option best describes your role in your company?
What is your most recent round of funding?
Startups grow better and scale faster with HubSpot for Startups. The program offers education and training, 24/7 support, HubSpot Growth Platform, and access to over 200 software integrations, all at a startup-friendly price. Startups can manage contacts in our free (forever) CRM, sell better through HubSpot’s robust suite of sales tools, manage all marketing through our full suite of marketing automation tools, and close the loop with customers with our services tools. Getting your first customers or your 100,000th customer, and keeping them happy, has never been easier for startups than through HubSpot for Startups.