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How to use the Viable Business Model (VBM) framework

The VBM is meant to create your path to revenue for early-stage businesses. VBM covers the duration that Founders are doing the sales and customer success/delivery. The goal is to find the best path to a replicable, scalable revenue system that you can use once you start to hire team members.

Establish your benefit statement.

This is vitally important because it tells your customers what you give them. It is not what you do or how you do it.

For example, Gong’s benefit statement is “Win more deals”. Most business leaders/revenue leader will say “that sounds good, tell me more”.

If you start with “We are a B2B Saas platform that uses AI to deliver insights to increase sales productivity and effectiveness”, then you’re forcing your customer to connect this to how they will benefit.

The benefit statement should be the cornerstone of all your communication. It should be the first thing every team member says when asked what the company does. They can then elaborate on how

Identify your target users

Your users should be the persona most likely to benefit from your product or service. If you’re a B2B company, then you need to find the person with the decision-making power. If we use Gong as the example, all salespeople should want to win more deals. However, an AE isn’t going to have buying power for the entire company. This will be the senior-most sales person or the executive whom Sales reports to.

Ideally, you can describe your target audience with 3-4 qualifiers: VP of Sales at Saas scale-ups. It is common to have 2-3 potential examples. You can test them over time, but it is best to pick one and focus your attention.

Select the distribution channel

Now that you know your target audience, you can select your distribution channel. Over time you’ll want to build a multi-channel capability, but you can start with one and focus on optimising it. If your business is B2B, then it is likely you’ll start with email. However, you can use Linkedin and other types of social media to supplement your efforts.

Create a scalable process to contact users

One of the most common misconceptions about sales is that it is all about relationships. The reality is that it isn’t. Especially if you want to scale.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t leverage your network. In fact, you should, especially at the beginning. However, scaling requires a process that a non-Founder can follow.

You should create a full cycle process that is documented and that you can pass on to your first Sales hire.

Set your goals and start executing

You are now ready to start executing. The best-case scenario is that you find paying clients. The worst-case scenario is that you’ve received vital feedback that you can use to create a new plan.

It is not unusual to go through 2-3 iterations to find your path. If you find yourself doing more, then it is probably time to re-evaluate your idea.

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