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Three Phases to Get to SaaS Go To Market Fit

Jacco van der Kooij

Written by Jacco van der Kooij

Founder, Winning by Design

You need to design and iterate on your Go To Market Fit with the same discipline as you are approaching Product Market Fit.


Typically, companies will go through three phases to reach Go To Market Fit and it’s a bad idea to proceed to the next phase before you reached the milestone of the previous one:

stages of sales

1. Founder Sales

You will have successfully completed the Founder Sales phase after your founders have sold to about 30 paying customers, each of which has similar characteristics (similar companies buying for similar reasons).

2. Professional Sales

You will have successfully completed the Professional Sales Phase once at least three non-founders, probably professional sales people will have sold your product to several similar paying customers.

3. Scaling Sales

You will have successfully completed the Scaling Sales phase and can claim Go To Market Fit once you have successfully hired and onboarded a large group of new sales people who are now hitting quota. These new sales people weren’t trained by observing the founders, but rather by a formal training program and by receiving instruction on a well-documented sales process.

If you move to the professional sales phase before successfully completing the founder sales phase, you will likely waste a lot of money on sales people who are thrashing around, not knowing exactly what to do. Remember that you are still tinkering with Product Market Fit as well. It is a rare sales person who can also contribute here (but exceptions define the rule).

Similarly, if you attempt to move from professional sales to scaling sales without first documenting your sales process and defining a formula for success, you may be wasting a lot of money on sales people who might take a long time to hit their quota.


Funding rounds often align with these phases as well. Venture capitalists like to fund you to the next milestone, taking out risk of the deal while doing so and increasing your valuation.