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Consistent Audience Building

Building an audience takes time. This is the 100th drawing of SaaS Marketing Simplified. Here are the biggest lessons from the journey so far:

  1. Have something valuable to say -- Don't just spew more bad content into the universe.
  2. Have a unique voice -- Say it in a way that only you can say it.
  3. Always seek to add value -- Make it about the audience, never about yourself.
  4. Produce evergreen content -- Create content that can create enterprise value long-term. Otherwise, you'll be creating topical content forever.
  5. Create content that creates leverage -- We use this same content for paid advertising to our ideal customer profiles.
  6. Build your own list with unique value -- The SaaS Marketing Simplified newsletter has over 50% open rates on email number 70.
  7. Nurture with education -- Consistent content will help your sales pipeline will grow because you have pre-built trust.
  8. Don't take shortcuts -- I've rejected multiple offers to join "engagement" groups etc. to boost the engagement on my...
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Old Nurture vs New Nurture

Things like gated content, newsletters, webinars and drip sequences still have some value but customers don't pay attention to these mediums like they used to.

Instead, they'll:

  • Come to your website
  • Watch a video on your YouTube channel
  • Listen to a podcast with someone from your team
  • Read a post on social that mentions your company / solution

All of these nurture touch points that companies do not try to orchestrate enough.

Instead, the obsession with attribution leads to the creation of gated e-books and downloads so that you can source a lead to a particular channel and add lead scoring as certain steps are taken.

In the process, you may have better attribution metrics but lose the overall picture of what's actually driving revenue.

Your prospects want to be nurtured across multiple channels, mediums and formats. Those are the brands they end up trusting more.

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Repeatable Systems

The best businesses leverage automation wherever possible. The worst businesses have virtually no automation and require custom human intervention every time.

Automation and repeatable systems have two benefits:

  1. They create more enterprise value and build bigger companies by default because the business is growing without always needing human intervention.
  2. They create more freedom, space and time for all those involved with the business, leading to more fulfilling lives.

The second benefit is the most overlooked when building companies. Surely, you can still build a lot of enterprise value without automation.

But you will also surely have more unhappy employees and customers, which is the exact opposite of what businesses should hope to achieve.

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Types of Reps

One of the most common ways companies ruin customers' experiences is by categorizing reps and limiting their ability to handle certain questions / inquiries.

  • Want a demo? SDRs can't help you. Talk to the AE.
  • Want to be onboarded? AEs can't help you. Talk to the CS team.
  • Want support? Sales Engineers can't help you. Talk to the support team.
  • Want to buy another product? Support reps can't help you. Talk to the farmers.

To your customer, one rep is an entry point to everything your company has to offer.

Each time an internal "gate" is created based on job title, the customer has to jump through a hoop to get to where they want to go.

Empowering reps to deliver better experiences by addressing more inquiries at the first point of contact instead can create much better outcomes.

First call resolution should be a sales metric just as much as it is a support metric.

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How Intelerad Scaled Lead Generation With How To SaaS

 

Mike Lipps, CEO at Intelerad, has been working with private equity-backed companies for years, so he understands what it takes to rapidly scale small, founder-led organizations. “Functions like demand generation and brand building need to become more process-driven instead of individual heroic catches,” Mike explains. So when Mike and private equity investors Hg came to Intelerad in 2020, the demand generation process was one of the areas they looked at first.

Intelerad’s platform was clearly creating value for customers: They had sky-high customer satisfaction ratings, including net promoter scores of 55+. The company was achieving consistent double-digital organic growth based on the quality of the product and word of mouth, but Intelerad wasn't as well-known as its customer success deserved.

Intelerad's demand generation was primarily event-driven, boiling down to one or two key events that drove 85%+ of the pipeline for the year. Relying...

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Operational Framework

Your growth engine is only as good as the operational framework of your business. Key components:

  1. Objectives
    - What is the overall strategic direction of the business?
    - What are the financial / revenue targets you are working towards?
  2. People
    - Who are the right people for the business to get to where it wants to go?
    - What's the right organizational structure to achieve objectives?
  3. Process
    - What are the repeatable systems and frameworks that need to be in place to    execute on the strategy?
    - Who will do what?
  4. Metrics
    - How will you measure performance of key initiatives and activities?
    - What's working and what's not working?
  5. Accountability
    - What needs to be adjusted in terms of objectives, people, process and                metrics to deliver going forward?
    - What feedback loop needs to inform future objectives?

The ongoing culture of deploying this operational framework is how teams continue to deliver and scale past ambitious...

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CX vs. 1 Rep

Your Customer’s Experience is as good as the weakness link in their interactions with your company. One bad interaction with one poorly trained team member can change how a customer perceives a business.

This is why Marketing is so interconnected to Sales, Product and CS.

If you bring in a good fit, qualified prospect from demand gen efforts, it is your responsibility as a marketer to ensure that other functions are delivering a great experience to that customer.

That is not to say that you need to own those efforts.

It’s more to say that Marketing’s accountability extends beyond bringing in the lead and washing its hands clean.

Even if the leads are converting at a high rate, CX improvements can be huge growth levers for businesses because they drive loyalty, retention, expansion and referrals.

As stewards of the business, Marketers need to think more about loyalty, retention, expansion and referrals.

That’s how you connect Marketing to the bigger picture...

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ICP Variations

Your internal customer profile and journey work will only get you so far. At some point, generalizations put customers into buckets that don't exactly fit who they are.

This is how companies end up finding customers who are using their products for completely different purposes than initially forecasted.

Some of those use cases end up being a massive growth lever for businesses, if only the business takes the time to understand the subset of the ICP that needs that problem solved

This is why analyzing all the true variations of your ICPs is important. Each variation has differences in terms of:

  • How big the market is
  • Where they can be acquired
  • What the margin on landing the customer is
  • What their LTV is

The more you understand these variations, the more you can unlock the growth potential of a business.

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Bottom Up Forecasting

Forecasting is not just a math exercise. In a lot of companies, it is treated as one.

If Finance puts together aggressive projections without properly understanding the specifics growth levers inside the business, it is setting up the organization to fail.

Without proper input from Marketing and Sales, the organization is far less likely to meet its sales projections.

To use a bottom-up approach, we need to understand all the different inputs of our revenue model. This is where questions like the following become important:

  • How much pipeline is being generated per channel?
  • What are the close rates on pipeline by region?
  • How much can we upsell our existing customer base?

This means functions like Marketing and Sales need to have the right data points to inform forecasting decisions and actively push Finance to involve them more in budgeting cycles.

Unrealistic, uninformed expectations are a big reason why companies miss their sales projections.

And the better the forecast, the...

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Great CMOs Long-term Focus

Great CMOs don't survive in companies with a short-term focus. Average CMOs don't survive in companies with a long-term focus.

This mismatch is why CMO tenure is less than 2 years in most companies.

In companies with a short-term focus, hitting next quarter's projections matters more than anything else. This is when shortcuts are taken, this is when bad marketing strategies are deployed, this is when customers are not the focus.

Great CMOs either quit or are fired for wanting to do things that pay dividends with time horizons more than a year out.

In companies with a long-term focus, creating long-term enterprise and customer value is the objective. Short-term tactics and hacks go out the window.

These companies are hard to find because it all starts with the CEO and investors. Great CMOs thrive in such environments because their inclination to play long-term games aligns with the company's.

This is why "selecting" the right company to hitch your horse to as a marketing leader is...

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