Short-form marketing strategies, frameworks, and tactical advice to help early-stage B2B software (SaaS) companies go from MVP to PMF, then scale fast. Hosted by Mike Northfield, Associate CMO at Kalungi, and Stijn Hendrikse, Co-Founder at Kalungi, CMO/CEO/Sales Leader for tens of B2B SaaS companies and ex-Microsoft Product Marketing Leader for Office 365.
43 - What to do when your numbers stall
17:50Today we talk about what to do when your company is falling behind. What are the first things you should focus on? How do you prioritize your problems? It’s easy to get caught in the weeds and forget that SaaS companies are relatively simple. Before anything else, take a step back and look at the three core levers for ARR growth:Monetize (expansion)Upsell and monetize your existing audience & customers Grow number of units per account (i.e., expand user penetration). Increase ARPU (price optimization & cross-sells). Drive advocacy: Turn referrals into new opportunities. Retain (reduce churn)Make sure your existing customers stay with you Renew customer commitments (minimize churn). Minimize down-sells by existing customers. Increase features usage and/or usage frequency by existing users. Win (acquisition)Get new customers in the door Increase win rate (conversion rate from Opp to Win) Increase average sales price/deal size (ACV) Grow opportunity volume. Make the funnel bigger Each of the three levers has a specific set of core metrics that you can use to assess their health. Some examples:Expansion: Users per account, number of users that upgrade, average revenue per unit, cross sells, pricing and packagingRetention: Number of down-sells, feature usage/frequency, NPS/CSAT scoresAcquisition: Average sales price/deal size (ACV), opportunity volume, conversion rate from opp to winWe also share more frameworks for problem-solving and identifying issues within your business. All that and more in this episode. Thanks for listening. P.S. This topic is also covered in the T2D3 Masterclass lecture 13, “Inspect what you expect”.
42 - What research says about common SaaS startup missteps
23:46Today we talk about our marketing audit. It’s a 15 category scorecard where we dig into the details of and assess our clients' full marketing and sales functions. Typically our clients score about 32 points out of 75.Today we’re diving into all the categories, and discussing what clients usually get right, and what they usually get wrong. From the first 8 audits we’ve analyzed, we’ve picked up some trends. Here’s a quick look: Best things: 1. PMF 2. Content marketing 3. Brand and websiteWorst things: 1. ABM2. Marketing tech (martech) 3. Paid media campaigns (including search) We’ll post a more detailed deep dive on the trends on the T2D3.pro blog.
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41 - What should marketing contribute to revenue?
27:23To make decisions about where and how you deploy and focus your teams, you need to answer the question: “where does our pipeline & revenue come from?” Leadership ultimately has to decide who owns what part of revenue contribution, especially when you’re ramping up in the early stages. We identify that there are three main buckets where revenue can originate from: Relationships from sales organization (sales generated leads) Outbound (prospecting and lead generation) Inbound While marketing is usually a prime suspect in conversations when it comes to driving revenue, we posit the ideal mix is about ⅓ from each category — but those numbers can change depending on your market’s maturity and go-to-market strategy. Today we talk about all of this, including how to benchmark contributions, how to get started with attribution, tracking funnel stages, and common pitfalls as you’re starting to think about this (such as lacking data, or placing too much emphasis on one department). We also discuss our new offering, the T2D3 Masterclass. Designed for CMOs and marketing leaders (and anyone willing to learn), it’s a program that gives you everything you need to build, execute, and manage a complete go-to-market for your B2B SaaS company.
40 - When do you need a truly strategic marketing leader?
30:01Today’s topic comes from a user question on the T2D3 office hours voting app.“What should you look for in a new marketing leader? When should you bring marketing resources in house as you scale and at what level of seniority? […] When do you bring on the strategic marketing resource who helps you develop a true go to market?” It’s hard to bring on a marketing leader for an early stage (MVP) SaaS company. In the beginning, when getting to MVP, you need to answer critical strategic questions: What is your positioning? Who is your product for, and what is your product for? And more. These are questions your founder should ideally address. If you need to pull in outside help though, you must find someone who’s done it before; someone who understands the go-to-market options you have, and is strategic in thinking. Over time, as your growth stage changes, your marketing leader will change too. Once you’ve moved past MVP and are looking to get to PMF, the marketing leader you need is much more tactical. Then, once you’re looking for T2D3 growth, your leader should be strategic again. Today, we discuss all this, and go deep on how to hire the right people for your stage, including what interview questions to ask them, what they should know, and what they should do. If you like this topic, check out a similar episode, episode 13. PMF checklist
39 - When you should(n't) start channel partnerships
17:36When and why should you or shouldn’t you partner with other companies? We tackle the 3 biggest factors you should look to when making a decision about whether to partner or not, and some of the potential risks and pitfalls. It’s very important to partner for the right reasons and at the right time—don’t start too early.
38 - How to employ situational awareness as a go-to-market leader
9:16In today’s episode, Stijn discusses situational awareness as it relates to your go-to-market strategy. In other words, understanding your business’ stage in the T2D3 journey, as well as your market maturity, and how it affects your budget, pricing, and a number of other important factors in your GTM. Inside we provide examples, tactical advice, and stijn’s philosophy behind the framework.
37 - What demand generation channels should you start with?
24:04Today we’re addressing a question from a member of our community about demand generation, and which channels to tackle first in your go-to-market. Our answer is simple: start with inbound. In our explanation, we discuss how to best approach inbound, why there is a need for it early on, as well as different channels and when and how they work best. During our time we also share with you our exciting new initiative. The content from today’s episode was taken directly from our new podcast, “Office Hours.” It’s an exclusive members only podcast hosted on T2D3.pro, where we answer community members' top voted questions in long form. Office Hours is also video recorded, which allows us to share graphics and content with you directly. It’s almost like having a fractional CMO in your pocket. You can learn more about it here.
36 - When and how to use an agency (or agencies), or outsource your entire marketing function
15:07Especially when ramping up, software companies have a ‘need for speed’ and it is oftentimes best to contract with outside talent. Today, in addition to a special product announcement, Mike and Stijn discuss best practices for when and how to best outsource some or all of your marketing function. Do you go for a piecemeal solution, with multiple agencies for specific problems? This can be a great choice, especially when you only have one or two jobs to be done. But, we’ve seen many startups suffer from agency fatigue, and struggle to onboard and manage a quickly growing team of agencies.Do you instead outsource your entire marketing function? This can be great for accountability to large growth targets, and ease of use, but if you’re not sure what direction your business is going in, and haven’t reached PMF, it can be a waste of precious time and money. Inside, Mike and Stijn discuss the philosophy of hiring an agency or outsourced marketing team, and how to approach it. Some of the questions they address are: How do you hire someone to do a job you don’t fully understand? How do you hold them accountable, and reach your growth targets in a cost and time effective way?They also emphasize the importance of strategic patience and tactical impatience—the idea that it’s essential to wait on strategic long term goals, but simultaneously focus on short term tactics.
35 - Getting started with SEO
11:45Today Mike and Stijn discuss early stage B2B content marketing efforts, specifically how to tackle SEO (Search Engine Optimization). They address how you can find your own priority keywords when you’re getting started, best practices, and Stijn shares a bit about how he built the inbound engine for T2D3, along with his typical strategy and approach. Inside you’ll find information about tools like Google Search Console, Semrush, and Ahrefs, and you’ll see what kind of data you should be looking at. If you’re unfamiliar with SEO entirely, or want a more full picture, check out episode 6 first, where Mike and Stijn discuss how you can create your first content marketing strategy and get your inbound engine up and running.
34 - New verticals and your go-to-market
12:21Today we’re addressing a question from a community member around the idea of expanding your beachhead, and what it means for your go-to-market. We discuss how and when you should introduce new verticals and industries you service into your website and other assets. We discuss our philosophy, tracking technologies like Hotjar, Clarity, and Google Search Console, as well as the customer journey and how you should optimize your website with landing pages and overall structure. Some questions we answer are: How many verticals do I advertise on my website? How many should I say I service? What signals should I be looking at and how should I rationalize adding new audiences I service onto my website, and when?