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How Hexa Does Early-Stage Go-To-Market

Quentin Le Gall
Quentin is the lead for Go-To-Market strategies at eFounders, Hexa's future of work vertical, guiding startups from their first client to their hundredth. His expertise in scaling companies is drawn from hands-on experience with early-stage companies & venture studios like Raise, Founders Factory, and now Hexa.

Pre-PMF is the best part of building a startup when you are doing GTM. It's a time of unrestricted experimentation where failures are just part of the process. Unlike tech giants like Google, your early-stage startup won't be making headlines if something goes wrong, giving you the freedom to try, fail, and learn without much scrutiny.

However, this 'anything-goes' attitude often leads to decision paralysis. Many founders face the 'blank page syndrome' in GTM – they're unsure where to begin and aim for perfection. But striving for a perfect launch often means launching too late. The key is to move from a mindset of perfectionism to experimentation, capitalizing on market opportunities. In GTM, a market opportunity could be anything from a gap in your industry to a unique customer behavior – an insight that isn't necessarily perfect but is actionable.

Why we focus on inbound strategies at Hexa

Outbound strategies will always be crucial for new companies. But the value of inbound methods, often seen as long-term investments like SEO or brand building, is frequently underestimated. Inbound tactics are crucial for lead generation without the big ask of a demo sign-up, and for building brand credibility and trust.

To achieve this rapidly at Hexa, we focus on setting up and measuring small-scale experiments. Pragmatically, we aim to conduct 2 to 4 significant experiments per quarter, breaking these down into weekly actions for validation.

5 market opportunities we’ve turned into strategies

We've repeatedly observed a few specific opportunities across our companies at Hexa. Over the past few months, we’ve experimented with the best initiatives to tap into them - and I’m going to share them with you in this guide 🤩

⚠️ Market opportunities are highly individual to each company, so this list is far from exhaustive!

👩‍💻 If our audience is active on LinkedIn…

1. We become a thought leader in the specific activity


You might feel like LinkedIn is overrun with unqualified thought leaders, and you’d be right. That’s why it’s your job to add to the legitimate ones. There are actually surprisingly few thought leaders in vertical areas. Sure, there are lots of customer engagement thought leaders on LinkedIn - but customer engagement thought leaders specifically for e-commerce brands using WhatsApp as a channel? Not so much. Find your niche, find your audience, and tap into it.

How to do it?

1. Expand your network in your field

Building a network is crucial for amplifying your content's reach. This network transforms into your primary audience, and eventually, into your client base.

Start by identifying relevant keywords in your industry. Use these to locate and connect with individuals without immediately pitching your services. Incorporating this activity into your daily routine, or leveraging automation tools like Phantombuster, streamlines the process.

Aim to connect with 50 to 70 new individuals weekly. Within just three months, this strategy can introduce you to over 600 contacts within your sector.

Pro tip: Ensure your LinkedIn profile is polished and engaging, even if your product is still in development. This demonstrates your relevance and potential value to others in your network.

2. Start posting

Once your network grows, start posting content. Avoid promotional content about your product — don’t be that salesperson you wouldn’t follow.

Tips for effective posting include:

  • Share your insights and perspectives in your own voice, showcasing your specific expertise.
  • Document and share your company-building journey, including both successes and learnings.
  • Keep it engaging with light-hearted content like memes or screenshots from your product, alongside interesting industry insights.
  • Offer practical advice and resources, demonstrating the depth of your expertise and providing value to your audience.
  • Commit to a regular posting schedule. If you're just starting out and feeling unsure, begin with two posts a week, perhaps on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Don’t worry if it takes you a couple of months to get into the swing of things - finding your voice can take a while. As a KPI, if you have even one post that gets 50% more engagement than average within the first couple of months, you can consider yourself on the right track.

🔎 Zoom on Catalog (HX23)
For Catalog, positioning Julien, the co-founder, as a thought leader within B2B sales and the modernization of SMBs became a strategic focus. It took a little while for him to carve out a space on LinkedIn for himself that resonated with his audience, but he got there. Posting at least once a week and sharing tips and opinions, it didn’t take long before his posts started generating several leads per post, going from a few likes to 80-100.

💡 If we’re sitting on low-stakes information that our audience would find useful…

2. We turn it into actionable content for them to leverage


Low-stakes information doesn't mean low value. Sharing this content can significantly enhance your brand's appeal without cannibalizing your paid product. It acts as a preview of your expertise, enticing your audience with a glimpse of the value you provide, and establishes your credibility. This approach nurtures trust and loyalty, creating a foundation for customers to pursue your more comprehensive, paid products.

How to do it?

If you have access to any of the following, turning it into digestible content would be a great idea:

  • Public databases that aren’t user-friendly
  • Knowledge that’s hard to understand or find
  • Gated-data/content

Once you’ve identified the information you’ll share, you can turn it into a:

  • Public guide on Notion
  • Public database on Airtable
  • Public lists of people on Folk
  • Free excel/docs templates
  • Free simulators using Webflow
  • French-translated content (because reading in your native language is easier)
  • Public directories for inspiration


Struggling to find content opportunities? Consider crowdsourced content. Contact your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and conduct interviews, collect data, and gather testimonials to create a report, study, or guide. It's also an excellent way to establish initial contact with your leads and increase virality, as contributors will likely share it. By doing this, you'll position yourself as an opinion leader in your field. People often agree to contribute because they want to stay informed about what's happening in their space or ecosystem.

🔎 Zoom on Tengo (HX23)
Tengo launched the first edition of their annual study on Public Tenders in France. The team noticed that very few qualitative studies were available on the market. By gathering various stakeholders around this study, they wanted to equip companies with insightful best practices on how to win more public tenders. In the process of encouraging people to respond to the survey, they also received 10 new qualified leads a week!

🫥 If our audience is underserved…

3. We build a community for their persona


Many ‘unglamorous’ verticals/sectors go unnoticed in broader industry dialogues. Creating a community for these specialists to share industry tips, help each other out, and ask questions connects your brand with a deeply engaged audience and provides enormous value for them. Plus, the community will naturally become a source of qualified leads in the long run.

How to do it?

At Hexa, when we launch a company, we don't sign our first 10 clients; instead, we recruit 10 design partners eager to help us build the product. We foster a very close relationship with them through:

  • Weekly calls
  • Community on Slack and WhatsApp
  • Access to exclusive resources and content
  • A space for them to meet and share knowledge

This is how every company that comes out of Hexa kicks off its own community of relevant experts.

The most impactful communities are often the ones that fly under the radar, thriving autonomously through WhatsApp channels, Slack, peer-to-peer interactions, and exclusive events. You can also engage your community by offering exclusive content through platforms like Substack, in-person events, and WhatsApp channels.

Measuring the success of a community shouldn't just be about the number of members. It's a vanity metric. It's more effective to focus on engaging and creating 10 ambassadors and then expanding to 20, rather than obsessing over how to build the largest community in a specific niche.

🔎 Zoom on CFO Connect, Spendesk (HX14)
Spendesk’s CFO Connect became a community of over 6000 finance professionals in just three years, increasing trust, proximity, and engagement with their customers and leads. The community members can share industry best practices, attend exclusive events with top speakers, and get professional advice.

🤔 If it takes a lot to get our audience to commit…

4. We create free content that offers a simplified version of our product


Most people don't start driving with a Lamborghini. Instead, they begin with a simpler, easier-to-operate car with basic features. It's only through experience that they realize the need for more advanced features, speed, or range. Software adoption follows a similar path. It's challenging to sell an all-in-one software solution from the start. You typically introduce an MVP with essential core features and then progressively add more functionalities.

It’s like giving leads not a car but an electric bike: they can still get from point A to point B, albeit slowly and without the ability to carry much. This limitation breeds frustration, increasing their desire to explore what your more capable "car" offers.

You can view this strategy as a way to lay down breadcrumbs, guiding users toward the richer, more comprehensive insights that your product offers.

How to do it?

Leverage available no-code platforms and even simple tools like Excel to create these simplified, yet somewhat frustrating, versions of your product. Offer these tools for free, branded under your name, to attract potential customers.

When employing a product-led growth strategy, this approach might not be necessary if users already have access to a freemium version of your tool, providing them with a direct pathway to experience your product's value.

🔎 Zoom on Kiosk (HX23)
WhatsApp is still flying under the radar in Europe. Before diving deep into advanced marketing strategies on WhatsApp, some brands just want to test the waters and see how their audience reacts to using WhatsApp as a channel. That's exactly why the team put together a free guide on how to get started with WhatsApp marketing. It's for anyone looking to kick-start their very first MVP of WhatsApp marketing on their own.

Get it here.

🫶 If we have very strong relationships with our first customers…

5. We invest in word-of-mouth and referrals


At the pre-PMF stage, word of mouth remains one of the most underrated acquisition channels. It ought to be your top priority, and here's why:

  • Your initial customers are attracted by the problem you're addressing, not necessarily the solution itself. They believe in your vision, making them your most effective ambassadors.
  • It's a cost-effective acquisition channel: At this early stage, you needn't worry about setting up affiliate or referral programs. Consider offering complimentary months instead.
  • It's a positive indicator that your product is on the right track. The journey to PMF seems more promising when new clients are referred by existing ones.
  • It reflects your deep understanding of the market. True ambassadors are those who not only pay for your product but also actively use and share it.
How to do it?

So, how do you foster word-of-mouth? Here are a few strategies:

  • Leverage the point above about building a community. Engage closely with your first clients and partners.
  • Generate user testimonials early on. They can drive significant traction.
  • Identify moments when your clients are likely to share your product and maximize those opportunities.
  • Simplify the process for your clients to share your product.

If your product serves users outside the paying organization, seize this chance. For example, if you're developing a sharing tool, a shared page could be circulated among non-paying users. Use this as an opportunity to promote your product and convert these users into paying customers.

🔎 Spotlight on amie.so
During its Beta phase, Amie made early access exclusive to individuals who were either invited by existing users or applied through the website. This approach created a strong network effect and also led to a feeling of ‘FOMO’ for people who couldn’t access it.

GTM at the pre-PMF stage can feel like rolling the dice. The trick is not to overthink. Trust your gut, launch fast, and always measure your results. If something isn't clicking, don't dig your heels in; be ready to switch gears.

Remember, early GTM isn't about mastering all the growth hacks or scraping tools. It's about starting to understand your audience through creativity and observation. Just focus on doing things your way.

At Hexa, we're always running experiments—some don't pan out. But each attempt teaches us something, helping us tweak our product, messaging, or focus on our target audience. We begin with small, sometimes unscalable actions. When we hit on something that works, we lean in, expanding on that success until we've found a way to scale it.

You can do the same. Be patient, stay curious, and pay attention. The leads will start rolling in.

Haven't started your entrepreneurial journey yet? If you're adaptable, quick to launch, not given to overthinking, and driven to build something great—apply to become a founder with us here.

And if you want to talk more about GTM or Hexa, connect with me on LinkedIn.