AMA with Adam Baker, Co-founder and CEO of

Last week, we held our first FounderLed AMA with Adam Baker, co-founder and CEO of

Adam’s a 3x SaaS founder with multiple exits under his belt, which is no surprise given he’s grown a few SaaS companies to over $5m in ARR.

In his own words:

We covered everything from Adam’s favorite CRM, to how he hires the best AEs in SaaS. If you want to learn how to close 7-figure deals, keep reading for Adam’s tips!

Question: How did you go from 0 to $2m in ARR in 24 months?

It’s a combo of things, not just a single threaded journey. Deeply understand your Ideal Customer and why they’ll buy from you.

Revenue scale is hard and you’ll make tough mistakes. One of the key factors is knowing which deals you should double down on early and which to exit fast so you focus all of your time on the deals you’ll win.

Question: What was the primary distribution channel for the business?

All of my co’s have been sales led. SEO is a big driver if you get that right but hard earnt intentional outreach is the #1 driver.

Question: Tips on cracking high value deals in a cluttered B2B space?

Make your sales process the difference. Find your buying committee, build relationships, make it easy to work with you.

Be VALUE driven. Focus on the outcomes the prospect can expect and validate it by showing what your existing customer’s are seeing.

Question: What’s the most difficult phase you went through (bootstrapping)? $0k-$100k ARR, $100k-$250k ARR, $250k-$500k ARR etc?

$250-500k. Anyone (mostly anyone) can scrap their way to $200k. You’ll sell to different types of buyer, you’ll churn a ton.

At $250k you know way more about you’re ideal customer and the pain you’re solving for them. Find these companies and double down. The hard part is your market narrows and you need to increase your success rate.

As you scale and grow realize that you’ll also outgrow your customers. This is good. Stop selling to the customers that got you to $250k and begin building a new ICP based on the customer you want to serve that’ll get you to $1M and beyond. This is REALLY important.

Question: What was the top channel you used to get Churnly to hit $4m in revenue so fast? I remember this slide you shared at the last Founder500 conference:

Networks. I lived inside customer success networks and communities. I met EVERY Chief Customer Success Officer in my ICP.

Psst: If you’re interested in learning more, check out Adam’s keynote from Founder500 on “How I built 3 SaaS companies to $20m ARR… All 100% Bootstrapped”

Question: On day 1 of you starting any of your startups, what is your first step/strategy in acquiring your first 100 customers?

Be intentful. Know who you think your ideal customer is. Build a persona based model and research the hell out of this segment.

Ask lots of questions. Know the pain you’re solving, how much this hurts your buyer and build a story that talks repeatedly to this pain.

Iterate, constantly until you start getting ‘yes’.

Question: How did you land your first few clients and gain traction?

Knowing precisely the pain we’re solving and for whom. I’m going to write the next piece of my answer in the wider chat as it’s SUPER IMPORTANT.

I’ll come back to the q’s in s sec. First, I want everyone to know the single most important thing you should do if you ever want to scale revenue.


What is your customer buying?


No buyer buys software, They buy an outcome. At customers buy revenue. If you’re selling accountancy software they may buy cash in the bank 30 days faster and what this will do to cashflow.


Question: how did you manage personal debt & family while you were bootstrapping?

I’ve been divorced twice. No kidding. Getting your family onboard and ensuring they understand the journey you’re on and can make the sacrifices you need to is vital.

Debt. I’d never, ever invest in a founder that hadn’t put their own cash in. Find a way, but don’t run into crazy debt.

Question: How do you assess talent in sales hires? What characteristics do you look for?

Love this question. Curiosity, how many questions they ask, how much of a time suck they are in the interview process (I want them all over me, evaluating my company and how WE will make them successful).

BIG RULE ON HIRING: Hire people that have been through the journey you’re about to go on. NOT the journey you’ve been on OR the journey you’ll be on in 18 months. THE EXACT JOURNEY YOU’RE ON FOR THE NEXT 18 MONTHS.

Hiring folks from large orgs as a start up will kill you.

Question: how do you find that niche of sales people?

Give me your company type and stage and I’ll find you 500 companies 18 months or so ahead of you. Hire from that pool.

Don’t worry about sector, what they’ve sold. Focus on SaaS and stage.

Question: Tell us more about your 6 week process to win ultra competitive enterprise deals as a startup?

This relates specifically to high value (enterprise sales) where there is lots of complexity, competitive evaluations with other vendors and multiple stakeholders.

We built a process that starts with accessing the Exec Sponsor. If you can’t, then we stop.

Then we interview key stakeholders to understand their jobs, what they’re being asked to do, why they’d want a tool, how it could help and the outcomes they’d expect.

Everyone will have a different perspective and outcome required.

Question: What inspired you to become a SaaS entrepreneur?

I was at Intuit trying to sell user analytics to media owners who wanted to move print revenue to digital (I’m old, this was 2002).

I failed massively as no one knew what anyone was doing online, so I left and built my first company to solve it.

Question: What are some of the most effective strategies you have used to acquire and retain customers in your SaaS businesses? How do you measure customer success and satisfaction?

Good question, long answer(s). Find the wow moment in your product and get customer’s to it fast.

Be intentful when prospecting. Don’t just automate your outreach. Everyone is doing this.

Question: How did you sell to customers that have the problems but don’t know that they do? How did you open their eyes? and win them as paying customers?

Show what customers just like them are doing they’re not. Make them see the gap themselves.

This can manifest in a bunch of ways: education, sales, marketing, social media.

Question: What’s your favorite CRM?

We’re a Hubspot co!

Question: What advice do you have for aspiring SaaS founders who are just starting out? What are some of the KEY mistakes to avoid in building a successful SaaS business?

Iterate. Test everything. Don’t stop testing or focusing too much on one thing if it doesn’t show quick* results.

*quick can be subjective. Set a timeline for when you’d expect to see traction and if you don’t try something else.

Have a zillion conversations with your ideal customers. You’ll know if they like what you’re building. Focus on pain, value and outcomes, not what you’re building when you speak with them.

Question: What are some of the tactics your AEs use to drive urgency and shorten the sales cycle in this budget strapped environment?

Partner with your buyer, stop selling. Align on everything.


A HUGE thank you to Adam for taking our questions and sharing his hard earned wisdom with fellow SaaS founders! If you’re interested in learning more, check out his keynote from Founder500 on “How I built 3 SaaS companies to $20m ARR… All 100% Bootstrapped

Interested in more AMAs like this? Apply to join FounderLed!

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