Blog

How to be vulnerable as a leader

Being vulnerable is a sign of strength (not weakness) of great leadership.  Recognize you don't have to be perfect to be a leader. Share your mistakes and shortcomings openly and often. Share what lessons you learned and how it changed your approach to situations and problems. Doing so builds a culture where making mistakes and being human is revered. It also gives people the time, space, safety and peace of mind to grow and make an impact.

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How to build and grow your professional and personal network

People often ask me about my networking strategy, how I'm able to get the kinds of guests I land for the How To SaaS podcast, companies to advise/consult etc. My answer is always a long form of saying good networking is actually always about seeking to add value to others (which sounds like a backwards and obvious strategy all at the same time). Here are my 5 pillars: Understand people's biggest challenges, struggles and opportunities Have absolute clarity and self-awareness of areas where and how you can be of service Be of service whenever possible to help them solve those...

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Do you have a documented strategy for your SaaS company?

Is your strategy actually a strategy? Here is a summary of Michael Porter’s famous “What is Strategy” paper. Strategy: Is not about operational effeciency (every company wants to be more efficient) Is not about how you are better than your competitor (every company wants to be better than its competitors) Is about how you are different (e.g. are you about cost or quality or speed?) Means making a trade off between one good thing and ANOTHER good thing (e.g. Southwest Airlines has only a 737 fleet to increase efficiency and being on time, which means it does not do long...

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15 characteristics of A-Players to look for when hiring and building your team

Here is my checklist of 15 traits to find out if someone is an A-Player: Are they self-aware? Self-reflective? Do they constantly evaluate better ways of doing and being? Are they committed deep work and mastery in a particular domain? Do they hustle, full commit to doing everything they can to achieve the result they want? Do they actively invest in their own growth? Do they self-study (read books, watch videos, take courses), have peer groups, mentors? Are they a Stoic? Do they see every obstacle as an opportunity? Do they have True Grit? Do they have perseverance and resourcefulness...

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How to leverage product to grow your SaaS company

Product is and always will be the biggest lever of growth. Here are 7 questions to find ways product can help your SaaS company drive more growth: How can we leverage product to increase my trial or MQL (demo) to paid conversion rates? (e.g. User Onboarding) How can we drive expansion mrr$ by using a pricing strategy that drives users to get more value from the software and move to higher pricing plans as a result? (E.g. feature differentiation across plans) How can we drive expansion $ by finding additional streams of MRR from the existing base by leveraging premium...

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How to increase your self-awareness in difficult situations

Here's a great tool for increasing self-awareness in difficult situations. Ask yourself these 5 questions: What is my contribution to this problem? Where did I fall short? What is within my control? What can I or could I have done differently? How am I accountable? Catch yourself every time you are about to blame external factors, other people, yourself or feel like a victim.  We are a lot more powerful than we sometimes lead ourselves to believe.

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The role of growth leaders in SaaS companies

As a growth leader, your #1 job is not to know everything there is to know about all growth topics and functons. E.g. if you know more than your Paid Media lead about Facebook Ads, you have a problem... In fact, each person on your team should know more than you about particular subjects because this means each person is elevating their role and function WITHOUT you. It also ensures that you're not in the weeds micromanaging and being a bottleneck for everything.  Trust at scale requires talent at scale. Your job, then, is to be: A developer of talent for...

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Paid media advertising playbook for SaaS companies

Simple playbook for paid advertising for SaaS companies: Branded keywords (anything connected with your brand -- e.g. Wild Apricot Inc., Wild Apricot software, Wild Apricot Reviews, Personify Corp etc.) Late funnel keywords (e.g. Shopify bids on Online Store Software, Vidyard bids on Video Management Software) Bidding on all relevant Capterra and G2 Crowd categories. All competitor keywords (E.g. Wix.com bids on all Squarespace keywords and vice versa) Retargeting funnels on Facebook (different ads for different journeys) Early funnel keywords (e.g. "What is Ethereum" may be something Coinbase may run an ad and direct to a blog post to nurture prospects.)

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How to start a demand generation function in your SaaS company

Starting a demand gen function for your SaaS company? Here’s the order to do things in: Understand the goal and business model — Free Trial? Demo? Understand conversion rates — Website visitor to Captured Lead, Captured Lead to MQL, MQL to Closed Won Work backwards to create a benchmark for an acceptable CPA for demand gen activities based on CAC, ACV and Payback Period Start with lowest hanging fruit opportunities (late funnel keywords for SEO, Adwords, FB retargeting) Build the bare minimum marketing assets needed to get these going (e.g. use tools like Unbounce and Optimizely instead of overhauling your...

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Why there is high turnover in growth leadership roles in SaaS companies

One of the things I’ve been fascinated by is the high degree of turnover in leadership roles in marketing and sales at SaaS companies. Growth is a very hard problem to solve. And it requires a clear strategy, commitment and consistency over a long period of time to achieve. My experience says that 2 years is the bare minimum amount of time needed to make an impact as a growth leader and even that isn't enough. You need runway to see strategies through with good execution and this requires patience (and belief in the strategy) from the CEO and board....

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