December 29, 2021

The Ultimate "How To" Guide to a Successful Startup Pivot

This week Travis Mariea, CEO of Flxpoint, joins Ned and Hilmon to talk about his journey with Flxpoint and how they decided to fill the gap in the market from Inventory Source. 

The Birth of Flxpoint

At 00:31 Travis explains that with Inventory Source there was a ceiling- they were focusing on smaller micro SMBs, but they realized that there was potential for so much more. So they decided to build on what they had with Inventory Source, add to it, and work with existing companies that needed the tools they had to run and leverage their business to compete with bigger companies. And so here is where Flxpoint was born. 

Growing Flxpoint

Travis explains that making the pivot from Inventory Source to Flxpoint felt more like an evolution of the product, but they felt like they had to do a new brand because it is a whole different model. He goes on to say that this decision was actually a very difficult one that they went back and forth on because of all the time and effort that went into it. Learn more about how they made their decision with the help of a blog post at 03:27.

Guiding Indicators

At 06:34 Travis talks about their first big goal to show that Flxpoint was trending in the right direction was their early adopter launch. They set a goal for a certain number of customers to buy in during the beta period and say they want to use it, and they met that goal. They then set growth goals for the coming years that, so far, they have continued to meet. And they know that it is working because they are closing business. Learn more at 06:34.


Travis concedes that their go-to-market strategy with Flxpoint was more about leveraging Inventory Source and converting them over to Flxpoint. While this did create a springboard for Flxpoint, Travis did not want to rely too heavily on Inventory Source as their only go-to-market strategy. Keep listening at 09:07 to find out more about the go-to-market strategy for Flxpoint. 

Refining ICP

At 12:44 Travis explains that at its core, their ICP will always serve the SMB. Yes, their order volume will probably evolve, but it’s about the workflow and the volume they add. Even though they will be taking on different customers, the core piece will not change. It is all about having a solid foundation of ‘where do you add value?’

The First Salesperson

Travis feels that being the first salesperson of your own product is very important. Make all of those first deals yourself before you start to scale and add salespeople because it is so much harder for a salesperson to sell your product than it is for the person who created it. Travis continues on to explain the importance of bringing on two salespeople when the time is right because if you only bring on one and there is an issue, you don’t know if it is the product or the person. He also iterates that you will know when to bring these people on when you see repeatability in the acquisition process and are consistently bringing in leads. Learn more at 15:11.

New Salespeople

When Travis brought his new salespeople on, he told them to close more deals than he did and know what they are closing. They report in spreadsheets and on HubSpot, but Travis was not very strict and gave them a loose sales process outline and let them do what they do. He does participate in calls to give them pointers and help guide them to close the deals, and he all he asks is that they hit their quota, otherwise, that means something is wrong. Learn more about the systems he has in place for his salespeople at 19:15.

A Word to Technical Founders

Just bring on two salespeople first. Don’t go out and hire a head of sales who has a bunch of experience and expect him to show you how it’s done. It just doesn’t work out this way. Instead, just bring on two people, read up all you can, listen to podcasts, read blogs, figure out what’s important to you, and set out a loose plan and you will learn from that. Learn more at 23:25.

The Secret Sauce

Travis explains that his secret sauce is what he is able to bring to the company outside of his regular CEO duties, which is that he is able to drive the product and move Flxpoint forward because of his intimate knowledge of his prospects from hopping on sales calls. This also allows him to keep the company focused on what they should be building, instead of going in a bunch of different directions. Learn more at 25:03.

Product Council

At 27:06 Travis tells us that the product council consists of Travis, the product manager, and everyone that they feel is a stakeholder of the product, and their purpose is to drive the product direction by committee. It is about making sure there is accountability and that everyone is working together to be on the same page for the product and the company. 

Go-to-Market Director

At 31:04 Travis explains that their go-to-market director is basically a product marketing person who is constantly focused on the logistics, as well as taking the product, marketing it, and getting it out. They also make sure that the sales team knows how to pitch it, that it is marketed to the customer properly, and that all the support documents are up to date so that the customer can actually use it. Continue listening to learn more about everything a go-to-market director can do. 

Marketing Feeds the Beast

Travis talks about how they just brought their head of marketing on about four months ago, and since then they have had their best month ever as far as net new MRR coming in. In fact, their sales peoples’ pipelines are so full that they are looking to add more young executives. Learn more at 34:17.

Step One

At 37:13 Travis leaves us with his last piece of advice- that the first step is to design your ICP and just get into the market and get those first 10 customers. Continue listening to learn more. Travis is happy to talk with anyone looking for advice and can best be reached via email. 

Key Snippets

00:31 The Birth of Flxpoint

03:27 Growing Flxpoint

06:34 Guiding Indicators

09:07 Go-to-Market

12:44 Refining ICP

15:11 The First Salesperson

19:15 New Salespeople

23:25 A Word to Technical Founders

25:03 The Secret Sauce

27:06 Product Council

31:04 Go-to-Market Director

34:17 Marketing Feeds the Beast

37:13 Step One

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