Private Equity CEO CMO Our Clients About Us Book Book a Consult

Secret Sauce and IP

Companies often confuse what their intellectual property really is.

  • A blog post (as a content format) is not intellectual property, it is a commodity.
  • A video is not intellectual property, it is a commodity.
  • A drawing — like this one :) — is not intellectual property, it is a commodity.

This is why as things start to work, people notice and start to make the similar things — why wouldn’t they when it’s working?

But the medium and format are not the secret sauce.

Instead, here are things that actually create differentiation:

  1. Positioning and messaging and how you solve a specific pain point.
  2. True expertise and value provided to the customer.
  3. The audience and customers behind a business and the affinity they have for the business
  4. Strategic advantages at the business’ disposal (e.g. supply chain, partnerships, cost efficiencies etc.)
  5. How effectively you execute on a bigger vision for a market or category

Anyone can imitate a portion of the whole,...


Always be Helping

Always helping your prospect get closer to their stated and unstated goals has to be the simplest, most effective sales advice.

It means adopting principles like:

  1. Make it about them, not you
  2. Act as a their fiduciary in their best interests, even if it doesn't help you
  3. Give them free content and advice to get them closer to their goals, even if they don't buy from you
  4. Generating awareness around how customers with the pain point can alleviate that pain.

All three of these involve having Marketing play a major role. Marketing needs to:

  • Position the customers as the hero and showcase how the solutions helps them on their hero's journey.
  • Clearly articulate who the solution is best suited for, and who it is not a fit for so that the organization knows who not to sell to.
  • Build content that helps customers and prospects self-serve their way to a solution and establishes authority and trust within a market.
  • Distribute and disseminate the message so that more people with the pain can...

Correlation vs. Attribution

The problem with marketing is that some channels are easy to attribute through to revenue, while others are not.

This is why "correlation" is, in many cases, more important than "attribution".

Understanding this concept takes understanding how buyers are really behaving.

If you think your buyers are making decisions only by searching on Google, a lot of marketing activity will seem irrelevant. This is why attribution tools don't tell the story well for non-linear channels.

It's easy to talk about if a lead from Google Ads became an opportunity. It's hard to talk about the value of a Facebook video view or a Podcast download or a YouTube channel.

This is why Correlation is more important than attribution, especially for activities related to content.

The entire environment you create for buyers across all marketing activities is what impacts conversions. If you pull one thread, you may end up impacting revenue on the other end.

You just won't be able to directly attribute it.


Pipeline Growth Over Time

Most marketing campaigns stop getting funding well before their true pipeline value is understood.


Because marketing leaders are constantly being asked for an immediate return on their efforts.

Unrealistic pipeline growth expectations from CEOs and boards lead to the exact opposite result of what they are hoping to achieve.

Pipeline growth takes time. You need to:

  • Develop marketing assets
  • Build ongoing processes to scale
  • Get the right people to execute on the plan

Meanwhile, the potential of channels and campaigns are judged on their first iteration. This is why you hear things like:

"Facebook Ads don't work for us"
"This is a relationship based business so we have to go to events"
"Why would I give more money to marketing when I can hire 2 more sales reps?"

Similar to how sales reps become more valuable after full ramp up + training + pipeline building, marketing becomes more valuable after experimentation + better distribution + better messaging.

Not only is giving...


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...

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.


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.


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.


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...


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...


Schedule a consult

Tell us more about you and your SaaS company.