I helped build two $50M ARR companies from zero.
Now I advise early-stage SMB SaaS companies.

About

Hi, I'm Justin Welsh.

I'm an advisor, coach, and former executive operator.

Over the last decade, I've helped build two $50M+ ARR companies, teams of 150+ people, and raise over $300M in venture capital.

Most recently, I was the CRO and SVP of Sales at PatientPop. I grew the business from $0 to $50M+ in recurring revenue and built the sales organization from 1 to 150+ people in just 4.5 years.

Prior to PatientPop, I was the 10th hire in 2009 at NYC's ZocDoc, where I spent 5 years in multiple revenue leadership roles.

In August of 2019, I opened a boutique advisory firm aimed at supporting early-stage SMB SaaS entrepreneurs. Part of my advisory work is focused on helping healthcare entrepreneurs in Latin America as an executive mentor at 500 Startups LATAM.

Outside of work, I love spending time with my wife, traveling, hiking, reading, playing with my 3 dogs, cooking, drinking craft beer, listening to music, and tinkering with new ideas.

Advising

I have a decade of experience building two $50M+ ARR businesses, teams of 150+, and helping raise over $300M in capital from VC firms like HLM Ventures, Leerink Transformation Partners, Vivo Capital, Toba Capital, and athenahealth.

Over that 10-year period, I've played the role of Chief Revenue Officer and SVP of Sales at high-growth transactional SaaS companies. I'm intimately familiar with the challenges and complexities of building out a successful SMB SaaS business.

My area of expertise is in highly transactional b2b SaaS companies, with contract values that are typically $30,000 or less, and sales cycles that are 30 days or less.

I bring that expertise and understanding to a small number of early-stage, growth-focused SMB SaaS companies.

I partner with entrepreneurs and sales leaders as an advisor and mentor during their growth phase. I help them lay the correct foundation for growth, see around corners, avoid expensive mistakes, and assemble world-class teams. I provide advice on the most effective and efficient way to grow top-line revenue.

If you're interested in working together, click below to submit an inquiry and I'll get back to you within 48 hours. You can also check out my FAQ to learn more.

Please note that advisory packages are 90-day retainers and begin at $4,000 per month.

Advisory retainer

I have a decade of experience building two $50M+ ARR businesses, teams of 150+, and helping raise over $300M in capital from VC firms like HLM Ventures, Leerink Transformation Partners, Vivo Capital, Toba Capital, and athenahealth.

I bring that experience to a small number of early-stage, growth-focused SMB SaaS companies.

I partner with entrepreneurs and sales leaders as an advisor and mentor during their growth stage. I help them lay the correct foundation for growth, see around corners, avoid expensive mistakes, and assemble world-class teams.

By subscribing below, you're signing up for a 3-month retainer agreement. You will be charged either $4,000 or $7,200 based on the package you select. Your card will be auto-debited again for months 2 and 3. After that, you are free to cancel at any time.

Bi-weekly meetings

$4,000/mo

Weekly meetings

$7,200/mo

Coaching

If you're interested in a 60-minute coaching sprint to solve a challenge or cover multiple topics, you can sign up for one below.

60-minute coaching sprint

$1,250

FAQ

Who is your ideal client?

My ideal client is an early-stage SMB SaaS company building a high-growth, transactional business. I typically define this business as having ACVs (average contract values) of $30k or less and sales cycles of less than 4 weeks. I prefer them to have at least $50k in MRR, though it isn't a specific requirement. I typically work with both the founder and the sales leader during our engagement.

How many clients do you work with?

I keep my advising business relatively small. I typically work with no more than 6 companies at one time. Because of this, I require a discovery call before working together. The purpose of the discovery call is to assess mutual fit, and not to sell you on my advising services.

How long does an advising engagement last?

Most of my engagements last between 10-12 months, but that is not a requirement. My minimum commitment is for at least three months together. I always work with companies and people that I believe will be a good fit long term. My long-term job is to position you and your business to operate without my advice.

Do you have an advising "system"?

I do not. I believe that each relationship requires something very different given the age of the business, the founder, the sales leader product, team, etc. My goal is not to come in and give "one-size-fits-all" advice. My goal is to listen, learn, and collect as much context as possible before making a recommendation of any sort.

Do you have other team members who can help us?

I do. Whether you need help from a Chief Marketing Officer, VP of Revenue Operations, Chief Operating Officer, or SVP of Customer Success, I can bring them to our meetings. I pay each of these extended teammates out of my own pocket so that you do not incur any unexpected charges.

How do we start the relationship?

Once we have a discovery session and believe there is a mutual fit, I simply require the first month's payment before getting started. Once that payment is complete, we schedule an initial 1-hour session to do a deeper dive into your business, set expectations, learn about specific challenges, etc.

How often do we meet?

I typically meet with each customer weekly or bi-weekly based on the package selected. The benefit of our advising relationship is that you can text or email me at your convenience. I will typically respond right away, but I also guarantee a 24-hour response. If you find yourself in a situation where you need immediate guidance and believe a meeting is the best forum, I will always work to schedule something as soon as possible.

Do you do in-person meetings?

As of right now, all of my sessions are virtual through Zoom. If you'd prefer a phone call vs. Zoom, that's absolutely fine.

How long is a session?

Advising sessions typically last 60 minutes. However, there are times when a client might need to speak with me for just 10 minutes on Zoom, and other times a challenge may require the full 60 minutes. I don't run a "pay-per-minute" type of service. My goal is to provide valuable advice to my clients.

How often should I reach out?

You should reach out as often as possible. The point of our relationship is for me to provide strategic guidance when you need it. Some clients reach out once per week, while others reach out once per day. Don't be shy to text or call me.

When are you available?

I typically make myself available between 10a and 5p CT Monday through Friday. If you need me outside of those hours, I will always do my best to free up some time to connect.

How do we schedule our sessions?

I have a very simple Calendly link that gives you access to my schedule.

How else do you help between sessions?

I can help in countless ways. Review a plan, talk through a decision, discuss GTM strategies, sales playbooks, etc. I can help make introductions to my large network of operators and individual contributors. I can send interesting and useful articles, podcasts, and webinars that I believe are high quality, and much more.

If I need something in between sessions, how quickly can you respond?

I always try to have a 24 hour response time. If something requires a faster response, the best way to reach out is via text.

How can I provide you direct feedback?

You can provide feedback at any time throughout our relationship. I prefer candid, direct feedback to make sure we are working together as effectively as possible.

How much time do I have to make a decision to move forward or not?

As much as you need. There is no urgency for you to make a decision to work with me. I prefer the right founder and the right company at the right time.

What is your rate?

I offer two packages: Weekly meetings are $7,200 per month, and bi-weekly meetings are $4,000 per month. All packages come with access via phone, email, and text 10a to 5p CT, Monday thru Friday.

How do I set up a call to learn more?

To get the process started, you can click the button below to submit an inquiry.

Free advice on building smb saas sales teams

This is not a comprehensive guide, nor everything I know about building SMB SaaS sales teams. It's simply a compiled list of things I've learned building a business from $0 to $50M in ARR (see below).

This list is continuously updated as I learn/remember more. I hope it's helpful.

$0 to over $50M in just 4.5 years...

Be a founder who sells your software. Sell and onboard at least 10 customers on your own.Learn everything about why your early customers buy, why they don't, what they like and don't like about your product, how they get implemented, etc. It will be critical for you to get v1 of the pitch down.I would recommend hiring a VP of Marketing (or a stretch hire - someone that can do demand generation) and getting some "leads" (more on this later) before you go out and hire a VP of Sales or a bunch of sales reps.Acquiring prospects that are actively searching for a product like yours is much, much easier than cold calling."Leads" is a silly term. It doesn't really mean much. Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) on the other hand? This is what matters. Start by understanding the simple criteria that make someone a good fit or a bad fit for buying your product. For example, let's say you're selling software that helps eCommerce stores grow their business. If a prospect comes in as a "lead" but doesn't have an eCommerce store, then they aren't a marketing qualified lead. Find a marketer who understands this and can build out simple automation that will keep your sales team from wasting time.MQLs turn into sales qualified leads (SQLs) when someone on your sales team validates that the prospect has a need. This work is typically done by a Sales Development Representative (SDR).SQLs turn into sales accepted leads (SALs) when your sales team performs a discovery call and confirms that your software can solve their need. This work is typically done by an Account Executive (AE) or Inside Sales Representative (ISR).
Here is a basic flow chart below:

It's absolutely critical to have a service-level agreement (SLA) between your marketing and sales teams. An SLA usually has 5 components to get started. 1) An MQL is defined as {{insert definition}} 2) Marketing will deliver X number of MQLs per {{time period}}. 3) Sales will respond to each MQL within X number of minutes (often referred to as "speed to lead") 4) Sales will work the MQL with X number of touches through different channels (email, text, call, VM, social, etc.) 5) Sales will work the lead over X number of days. Once you have your "funnel" (MQL to Close) set up, then start to measure and visualize it on a regular basis. Measurement simply means understand basic conversion rates - i.e. "How are we doing at this thing right now?". Visualization means understanding how those conversion rates are changing - i.e. "Are we getting better or worse at this thing over time?". Think static vs. trends. They each have value.Remember, there are two types of conversion rates that are important: How well are we doing this? How fast are we doing this? These should both be measured across all stages.Isolate each conversion rate (ΔCR) and each time rate (ΔT). Find problems. Make hypotheses. Prove. Deploy fixes.

When you go to hire your first sales leader, don't just hire some glorified top-performing salesperson. Sales leadership is about data, science, and peer-to-peer working relationships much more than it is about closing deals. Please, read this twice.Characteristics to look for in your first VP of Sales hire: 1) Can they walk you through the basic flow chart I shared above? 2) Can they tell you exactly how they have managed a funnel in the past? 3) Can they show you 5+ salespeople they have helped get better in their careers and where those people are at now? 4) Can they tell you about a time where they had to work hand-in-hand with a peer partner from another department to solve a problem?Give your potential VP of Sales hire a project to work on before hiring them. Have them solve a problem that currently exists in your business. Judge both the answer and the thought process. If it isn't good, don't make an exception.Remember that not everyone is stage agnostic. Just because someone was a great sales leader at Salesforce doesn't mean they will be a great leader at your seed-funded or Series A business. Scrappiness and a bias towards action matter in the early days.If you interview a sales leader and your a Series A company or earlier, and they ask about "resources" for the team, like "marketing materials". Pass.If they ask about "work life balance"? Pass.If they can't walk you through their own personal sales process? Pass.If they can't tell you how they (or their previous teams) hit quota? Pass.When you are hiring SDRs, look for curiosity. Curiosity is the #1 trait of almost every top-performing SDR I've ever hired.When hiring AEs, look for previous high performance in a role with a similar lead flow (inbound vs. outbound), average sales price (i.e. price point), and velocity (i.e. how fast do deals move?).Enterprise sellers usually suck at SMB. SMB sellers usually suck at enterprise sales. There are certainly exceptions. I wouldn't build a sales team on exceptions.Most salespeople don't get phenomenally better over time. Top performers typically come in and perform. Bottom performers typically come in and don't perform. If you want to waste money, then give everyone a shot for a long time. If you want to run an efficient business, then determine a short window for success and move on if it isn't met.Once your sales leader is spending a significant portion of her time training new reps, I'd advise hiring someone who can help train your team. No, your worst rep can't be repackaged into a trainer. Go out and find someone who does this for a living. Think 20-25 salespeople deep.Your sales pitch cannot be about features. It should be about taking a prospect from a "negative present" (something about my life is terrible) to a "positive future" (I can see my future with your product and I love it!).If you're interested in learning more about how I can help your business, you can learn how I work here.

Advisory retainer

I have a decade of experience building two $50M+ ARR businesses, teams of 150+, and helping raise over $300M in capital from VC firms like HLM Ventures, Leerink Transformation Partners, Vivo Capital, Toba Capital, and athenahealth.

I bring that experience to a small number of early-stage, growth-focused SMB SaaS companies.

I partner with founders as an advisor and mentor during their growth stage. I help them lay the correct foundation for growth, see around corners, avoid expensive mistakes, and assemble world-class teams.

By subscribing below, you're signing up for a 3-month retainer agreement. You will be charged $2,500 or $4,500 today. Your card will be auto-debited again for months 2 and 3. After that, you are free to cancel at any time.

Advising Lite

$2,500/mo

Advising

$4,500/mo

Clients I've helped

PatientPop ($50M Series C during advisory)Klara ($15M Series A during advisory)Optimize.Health ($15.6M Series A during advisory)AgoraPulseBitesizeCollectlyCorveeCarrotDakotaDoc-docDozukiEnergageGoGuardianHiMamaHotDocOptHealthRehearsalREWRocketLevelSkuIQWebware

Welcome

Thanks so much for signing up to be a client of my advisory services. I'd like to kindly ask you to watch the quick video below to get some important information about how it all works.