Revisiting: Reforge CEO, Brian Balfour on frameworks and communication
Check out the field guide here
Topics covered in this episode:
- How to avoid getting sucked into traps
- Using perspective to get everyone on the same page
- Creating tools to reveal answers
- The importances of shared language
- Understanding nuances to unlock frameworks
This is a Paddle Recur production—the first media network dedicated entirely to the SaaS and subscription space.
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GitLab's Ashley Kramer on Navigating the Open-Source Cosmos
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32:29Imagine a meticulously planned space mission, where precision, openness, and shared understanding permeate every stage, from engineers poring over blueprints to astronauts preparing for liftoff and ground control teams monitoring every telemetry detail. Transparency, serving as a beacon amidst the dark expanse, ensures each decision is rooted in a shared mission objective, fostering an environment where mistakes are minimized, and success is within grasp. This celestial journey parallels the world of B2B SaaS, a digital cosmos where similar principles of precision, openness, and shared understanding drive success. The open-source model emerges as the guiding star, illuminating the path towards collaborative product development, informed by clear insights into user needs and market dynamics.Guiding us on this digital odyssey is Ashley Kramer, CMO and CSO of GitLab, who embodies the principles of openness and transparency, quintessential for success in the SaaS world. Her experience in adopting these principles at GitLab, coupled with her literal journey as a former NASA employee, make her an invaluable guide for navigating the open-source universe. In today's episode, we dive into Ashley's insights into the open-source model, unearthing the transformative power of transparency and the pivotal role of consistent release schedules. Tune in as we explore how Ashley applies these principles at GitLab and how they can fuel your SaaS journey. It's time to strap in for an enlightening voyage through the SaaS cosmos.High Level Overview:Transparency and clear communication are fundamental in a company, particularly in a SaaS or technology organization. Implementing a "safe framework" to manage the dissemination of sensitive information can alleviate fears about over-sharing and nurture trust within teams.Leveraging personal experiences can significantly enrich product development and marketing strategies. Direct exposure to user's pain points and needs results in a more empathetic and targeted approach.Implementing a regular release schedule, like GitLab's policy of releasing every 22nd of the month, instills discipline, creates a predictable environment, and enhances team alignment towards goals.Flexibility in roles, as demonstrated by Ashley juggling CMO, CSO, and Acting CTO roles, can offer a broader perspective of the company's functions and foster better collaboration across different units.Building a product that you yourself would use, as Ashley did when she chose GitLab as a platform while at Alteryx, leads to a more user-centric product, ultimately boosting its usability and appeal to customers.Ashley Kramer's Guide to Open-Source:Open-source is the cornerstone of the tech industry today. It endorses a culture of collaboration and transparency, fuelling shared growth, and promoting innovation. The open code permits constant evolution, security enhancements, and adaptations to meet diverse needs.Foster Transparency: Encourage openness not just in the product code but also in the company culture. This openness should extend to company policies, decision-making processes, and communication, creating a sense of inclusion and trust among team members.Clear Communication Guidelines: Establish a "safe framework" that outlines what information can be divulged and what should be kept confidential. This clarity eliminates confusion and reduces the risk of improper disclosure of sensitive data.Harness the Power of Customer Feedback: Customer feedback can provide invaluable insights into the product's strengths and weaknesses. This feedback should be regularly analyzed and integrated into the product development process to continuously enhance the product's value and align it more closely with user needs.Regular Release Schedules: Consistent, regular release schedules contribute to operational efficiency. This practice instills discipline in the team, ensures that developments are timely, and provides a sense of predictability for both the team and the customers."Dogfooding": Use your own product, a practice often referred to as "dogfooding". This enables the team to gain firsthand knowledge of the product's usability and performance, identify potential issues early on, and develop a deeper empathy with end-users.When embarking on an open-source strategy, remember that it involves more than just keeping the code open. It's a cultural shift towards openness, collaboration, and ongoing learning. It involves building a community that's united by a shared vision and is actively contributing towards the product's growth and success.Further LearningsFollow Ashley on LinkedIn and Twitter.
What Blows Deals Apart: Common Mistakes in M&A with Thomas Smale
28:39The image of a robust locomotive steadily traversing along a set of tracks paints a vivid picture of steadfast progress. The train, in its unwavering journey, reveals a strategic formula: the addition of more cars. This process, however, is a delicate one. Each car represents new passengers or freight, contributing to the growth and reach of the train. In much the same way, integrating a new locomotive can significantly enhance the power of the entire system. But, like the precision required in coupling the cars, a poorly executed addition can cause catastrophic derailments. This metaphor serves as a fitting parallel to the intricate process of mergers and acquisitions (M&As), which, when carried out with precision and foresight, can ensure successful growth.In the fiercely competitive realm of B2B SaaS, such precision in M&A is critical. Companies are constantly under pressure to evolve, expand, and innovate. M&As can become key strategic tools to extend product lines, capture greater market share, and streamline operations. When orchestrated effectively, these strategic integrations can give a company the necessary boost, akin to the train adding more cars. With this analogy in mind, we introduce Thomas Smale, CEO of FE International. Renowned for successfully navigating the convoluted world of M&As, Thomas has led countless founders, owners, and acquirers to success. His deep understanding of the complexities involved in M&As, combined with his rich experience, positions him as an invaluable advisor for businesses aiming for expansion.High Level Overview:Mergers and acquisitions can be an effective strategy for growth and expansion in the B2B SaaS industry, offering opportunities to increase market share and optimize operations.The M&A landscape has evolved, with smaller companies having access to top-tier talent that was previously unavailable, helping to drive industry growth and solidify its position in the market.Emotional aspects and unpredictable reactions from founders and decision-makers can pose challenges during M&A deals; employing an M&A firm can help maintain objectivity and keep negotiations on track.Retention and recruitment are crucial considerations during M&A transactions, as retaining key team members and keeping them happy plays a significant role in a successful deal.Press coverage of M&A deals can be misleading; it's essential to explore multiple options and speak with different M&A firms and potential acquirers when considering a sale.Thomas Smale's Advice to Avoid Tanking M&AMergers and acquisitions are important for businesses as they provide opportunities for growth, expansion, and increased market share. In the B2B SaaS industry, M&A deals can also lead to optimized operations and access to valuable talent. To ensure successful M&A transactions, Thomas Smale offers several insights on avoiding pitfalls that might blow apart a deal:Retain objectivity: Engaging an M&A firm can help mitigate the emotional aspects that may arise during a deal. These firms provide a neutral perspective, preventing emotions from clouding judgment and ensuring that negotiations remain focused on the best interests of both parties. This way, deals can progress smoothly and achieve the desired outcomes for all stakeholders involved.Prioritize retention and recruitment: Retaining key team members and keeping them happy is crucial to the success of a merger or acquisition. In the current market environment, finding and recruiting talent can be challenging, making it essential to prioritize employee satisfaction and engagement. By offering competitive compensation, growth opportunities, and a positive work culture, you can secure the valuable talent needed for a successful M&A transaction.Manage attorney involvement: During M&A deals, conflicts may arise between attorneys who attempt to re-trade points or impose their views on the agreement. It's crucial to carefully manage attorney involvement and ensure that their input aligns with the best interests of the parties involved. Open communication and collaboration between attorneys and other stakeholders can help prevent unnecessary conflicts and keep the deal on track.Carefully consider M&A partners: Choosing the right M&A firm and process is critical to the success of a deal. Ensure that the firm you select aligns with your vision and values and offers a process that suits your needs. Explore multiple options and speak with different M&A firms and potential acquirers before making a decision. This will help you identify the best partner for your specific situation, increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome.By following Thomas Smale's advice, businesses can navigate the complexities of M&A transactions more effectively, avoiding potential pitfalls and setting themselves up for success. This approach can lead to better outcomes for both the acquiring and acquired companies, ultimately contributing to long-term growth and stability in the B2B SaaS industry.Further LearningsFollow Thomas on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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AudiencePlus' Anthony Kennada on building audience before a product
43:23Just as a diligent gardener cultivates a seed into a flourishing plant that provides nourishment, so does a savvy entrepreneur nurture their audience before introducing a product. Whether you're tending to a garden or building a business in the B2B SaaS world, the principle remains the same: understand your environment, your seed (or idea), and its potential yield. In the business context, this means knowing what your customers need before planting the idea that becomes your product, thus creating a fertile ground for successful launches and enduring customer relationships.Enter Anthony Kennada, CEO and Co-Founder of AudiencePlus, and a true connoisseur of audience cultivation. Embodying the "Audience before Product" approach, Kennada accentuates the necessity of comprehending your target persona and curating content specifically for them. With hands-on experience in discerning his audience's preferences before launching a product, Kennada's expertise in audience building across various channels is invaluable. Today's episode will probe into Kennada's unique insights on audience building and explore the benefits of prioritizing your audience before product development. Join us for this enlightening discussion and learn how to nurture your own audience garden.High Level Overview:Prioritize audience building: Anthony Kennada emphasizes the importance of developing an audience before creating a product, ensuring a strong foundation for product-market fit and better customer engagement.Understand your target persona: Anthony suggests deeply understanding your target persona to tailor content and narratives that resonate with them, fostering a stronger connection with your audience.Test and learn from various channels: Anthony shares his experiences testing different channels, like LinkedIn and TikTok, and learning from the results to optimize audience engagement and growth.Start small and iterate: Anthony encourages starting with a small team and low-budget projects, learning from your experiences and iterating to improve your audience building efforts over time.Build a muscle around content creation: Anthony highlights the importance of practice and consistency in content creation to improve your skills and build a stronger connection with your audience.Audience Building 101Audience building is the process of cultivating a loyal and engaged following for your business, nurturing their needs and desires, and establishing strong customer relationships that pave the way for successful product launches. Throughout our interview, Anthony stresses the importance of what this means and how de-platforming your audience from social media sites is crucial. Here are some strategies to think about.Identify your target persona: Take the time to research and understand the demographics, psychographics, and behavior patterns of your ideal audience members. This includes their preferences, pain points, and motivations. Developing a comprehensive persona helps create a strong foundation for your audience building efforts and ensures that your messaging is relevant and impactful.Develop tailored content: With your target persona in mind, create content that addresses their unique needs, interests, and challenges. This could include blog articles, videos, webinars, or podcasts that provide valuable information and insights. By offering content that resonates with your audience, you'll be able to foster a stronger connection and enhance their trust in your brand.Experiment with various channels: Explore different platforms and media types to reach your target audience effectively. For example, try using social media platforms like LinkedIn, TikTok, or Twitter to share your content, or consider launching a podcast or video series. Regularly analyze the performance of each channel and adjust your strategy accordingly to maximize engagement and reach.Iterate and improve: As you test different content formats and channels, pay close attention to your audience's responses, engagement levels, and feedback. Use this data to refine your approach, optimize your efforts, and continuously improve your audience building strategy. This iterative process will help you stay attuned to your audience's preferences and ensure that your messaging remains relevant and effective.Be consistent: Consistency is key in audience building. Establish a content schedule and stick to it, regularly producing and sharing high-quality content with your audience. Consistent engagement helps maintain a strong connection with your audience, builds trust, and positions your brand as a reliable source of valuable information.By implementing these strategies, you'll be well on your way to building a loyal and engaged audience for your SaaS business. Remember that audience building is an ongoing process, requiring continuous learning and adaptation to stay connected with your audience and meet their evolving needs. With dedication and persistence, your audience building efforts will lay the groundwork for long-term success and growth.Further LearningsFollow Anthony on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Between Beats and Balance Sheets: The Harmonious Life of Hassaan Ahmad
21:35Check out the Beyond the Budget Podcast here.Hey Protect the Hustle fans, I hope you're loving the insights from this season. I have something special for you today which is the first episode of our new podcast Beyond the Budget. It's all here in in this email, and if you love it, reply to this email and I'll make sure you get new episodes every Friday. Protect the Hustle will be back next week! Who is Hassaan Ahmad?Hassaan Ahmad is a seasoned financial executive currently serving as the Chief Financial Officer of WTFast. Possessing a unique blend of experience and insight, Ahmad navigates the challenging landscapes of tech startups with a multi-faceted approach. He wears several hats, managing core accounting functions, forecasting future financial trends, managing cash flow, and addressing investor expectations. A risk-taker at heart, Ahmad believes in embracing change and maintaining balance in life's highs and lows. His dynamic career journey, which spans different economic cultures and market challenges, underpins his empathetic approach to understanding customer needs in various global regions.Hassaan is an experienced CFO, specializing in early-stage and tech startups. He has served as the CFO of wtfast, where he implements internal control systems and KPI monitoring. His diverse experience spans strategic financial consulting, overseeing financial management for a nano-materials startup, advising startups at FasterCapital, and managing a significant credit portfolio in corporate banking at HBL - Habib Bank Limited. He began his career at PwC.What to ExpectIntroduction and Background: Hassaan Ahmad's role as a CFO at an early-stage tech company and his approach to various responsibilities.The Dual Role of a CFO: Discussion on managing both current financial health and future financial planning, and the challenge of resource allocation in a startup.Investor Relations: Insights into managing investor expectations and the continuous fundraising process for early-stage tech companies.Life Lessons from an Unconventional Career: Ahmad shares his philosophy on choosing battles, embracing failure, and the importance of maintaining hope.Global Market Challenges: Ahmad's realization about disparities in customer challenges across different regions, inspired by his personal experience of trying to buy an album in the '90s.Balance in Life: Ahmad discusses his methods of decompressing and maintaining balance (we get pretty insightful here).Conclusion: Ahmad reflects on the importance of being ready to embrace opportunities and the thrill of navigating the ups and downs of life and career.Where to Find HassaanGive Hassaan a follow on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Homebase's Oliver Fisher on leading high-performing teams
44:06In the heat of the championship game, imagine your favorite sport and the team captain standing at the center of the huddle. Their experience and familiarity with the weight of the trophy make them the leader every team desires to guide them toward victory. Like the world of sports, B2B SaaS thrives on strong leadership, with the ability to navigate software development complexities, manage multiple teams, and keep a keen eye on the evolving market landscape. The guidance of an experienced leader can mean the difference between championship glory and having to rebuild from scratch.Enter Oliver Fisher, the CTO of Homebase, with a rich history at FreshBooks, Microsoft, Google, and Shopify. He may not be the LeBron James or Wayne Gretzky of SaaS, but he knows a thing or two about leading teams of various sizes. In this episode, we'll explore Oliver's valuable advice on successful team leadership in B2B SaaS, discussing the human aspects of leadership, the importance of structure, and fostering an ownership mentality among team members. Join us to learn from a seasoned SaaS veteran who has navigated leadership challenges and emerged victorious time and time again.High Level Overview:Embrace the human aspect: Oliver Fisher emphasizes the importance of understanding and valuing the human element in technology, as it ultimately drives innovation and team cohesion.Encourage ownership mentality: As a leader, cultivating an environment where team members take responsibility for their work empowers them and contributes to overall success.Structure leads to freedom: A well-defined organizational structure, despite initial constraints, can provide a foundation for creativity and flexibility within a team.Emphasize fairness and communication: Addressing compensation disparities and fostering open communication among team members can lead to a more harmonious and productive work environment.Adaptability and learning from failures: Leaders should embrace change, continuously learn from experiences, and not be afraid of taking risks, as even failures can offer valuable lessons for personal and professional growth.Leading High-Performing Teams:The importance of leadership lies in its ability to shape an organization's culture, establish trust, and provide a clear vision for the team. Effective leaders recognize the need to balance depth and distance in their approach, enabling them to delve into the details while maintaining a long-term perspective. Based on our conversation with Oliver here are some thoughts to keep in mind when building a high-performing team:Hiring: Being actively involved in the hiring process ensures the selection of team members who align with the organization's values and culture. This is fundamental in building a strong and capable team that can work towards common objectives and achieve the desired outcomes.Structure: Establishing a well-defined structure within the organization sets clear boundaries and expectations for team members. This structure aids in creating an environment where individuals can grow professionally, contribute their unique skills, and work towards the organization's goals with confidence.Depth: Engaging in the details of the organization and understanding the intricacies of the work being done is crucial for effective leadership. This allows leaders to make well-informed decisions, support their team, and ultimately contribute to the overall success of the organization.Distance: Maintaining a long-term perspective enables leaders to create a clear vision for the future, prioritize goals, and navigate challenges as they arise. It is essential to balance this distance with depth to ensure both the present and future success of the organization.Trust: Cultivating trust within the organization is a cornerstone of effective leadership. By creating a supportive environment, leaders empower individuals to express their ideas, take risks, and learn from their experiences. Trust also encourages collaboration and fosters strong relationships among team members.Further LearningsFollow Oliver on LinkedIn.
ICONIQ's Doug Pepper: Survive to Thrive in 2025
38:48You’re standing at the edge of a vast canyon. You gaze across the seemingly endless expanse. The wind whistles through the rocky outcrops, the sun casts long shadows and a river snakes its way far below. You might not want to, but you’re about to navigate this canyon. To traverse this challenging terrain, you’ll need to understand the hidden paths, the potential pitfalls, and the best way to navigate the unpredictable environment… The canyon we speak of represents the complex and ever-changing world of B2B SaaS. Navigating this landscape requires keen insight, adaptability, and the ability to identify macro trends that drive the industry forward. Enter Doug Pepper, a Partner at ICONIQ Capital. He has proven himself to be an adept guide in the realm of B2B SaaS. Serving on the boards of several high-profile companies and investing in numerous others. Through this, Doug has gained a deep understanding of what it takes to thrive in the competitive world of SaaS. With years of experience and an impressive track record alongside the likes of Marketo, Canva, and Calendly, Doug is prepared to help you scale and succeed. His knowledge of the SaaS economic landscape, combined with his unique insights, make him an invaluable resource for anyone looking to understand and navigate this challenging territory. High Level Overview:Economic downturns are inevitable, and companies should adopt a "wintertime" mindset to successfully navigate through these challenging times.Focusing on long-term sustainability, profitability, and efficiency is essential for SaaS companies to thrive in uncertain economic environments.Maintaining a strong company culture, prioritizing product development, and ensuring customer satisfaction are key factors that determine a company's success.A strong board of directors can provide valuable guidance and support to help companies weather economic storms.The current valuation multiples in the SaaS market are more realistic and sustainable compared to those of recent years; however, there is potential for some growth in valuation multiples.Survive to Thrive in 2025:Preparing for an economic downturn as a SaaS company involves adopting a forward-thinking approach, focusing on the foundational aspects of the business, and being ready to adapt to changing market conditions. Companies that take a proactive approach and prioritize long-term success will be better positioned to weather the storm and emerge stronger on the other side.Adopt a "wintertime" mindset: Be prepared for slower growth and challenging market conditions by focusing on long-term sustainability. This involves building a financial buffer, anticipating potential risks, and devising strategies to tackle obstacles that may arise during an economic downturn.Focus on profitability and efficiency: Evaluate and improve your unit economics to ensure a clear path to profitability. This includes optimizing operational processes, reducing costs where possible, and making data-driven decisions to maximize revenue and minimize expenses.Maintain a strong company culture: Foster a supportive and motivating environment for your employees to ensure they stay engaged and committed. This involves open communication, employee recognition, and providing opportunities for professional development to keep your team motivated during tough times.Prioritize product development: Continuously invest in improving and expanding your product offerings to meet the evolving needs of your customers. Focus on innovation and differentiation to stay ahead of the competition and maintain your market share, even during a downturn.Ensure customer satisfaction: Keep your customers happy by providing excellent service and addressing their needs promptly. Implement customer retention strategies such as personalized outreach, targeted promotions, and regular feedback collection to maintain strong relationships and reduce churn rates.Weathering the storm of an economic downturn as a SaaS company requires a combination of strategic planning, adaptability, and a focus on the core aspects of the business. By taking these steps, companies can not only survive but thrive in the face of economic challenges, positioning themselves for long-term success and growth in the B2B SaaS industry.Further LearningsFollow Doug on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Wynter's Peep Laja on the art of B2B SaaS messaging
39:37Imagine you're preparing to open a brand-new restaurant in a bustling city. The cuisine is exquisite, the ambiance is perfect, and the service is impeccable. But as the doors open and potential customers walk by, they don't seem drawn to your establishment. The problem? Your menu is confusing, the descriptions are bland, and the name of the restaurant doesn't resonate with the passersby. This is the power of messaging. Without clear and enticing messaging, even the most outstanding offerings can struggle to attract an audience.Enter Peep Laja, the founder of Wynter, a platform dedicated to perfecting messaging through customer insights. With years of experience in the world of B2B SaaS, Peep has become a go-to advisor for startups and established companies alike. He understands the importance of storytelling, positioning, and messaging in a competitive market and knows how to guide businesses to achieve maximum impact. In today's episode, we'll dive deep into Peep's journey and his insights on creating powerful messaging for your B2B SaaS, and why telling a better story is crucial for startups looking to make their mark.High Level Overview:Messaging is crucial: Effective messaging is essential to attract and engage your target audience, even if you have an outstanding product or service.Focus on storytelling: In competitive markets, telling a compelling story sets you apart and helps capture the attention of potential customers.Balance audience recruitment and sales: Carefully manage the recruitment of your target audience and sales efforts to prevent churn and wasted investments.Expand cautiously: Identify new market segments by gradually expanding your ideal customer profile, one at a time, to avoid overextending your resources.Stay agile and adaptable: In the ever-evolving world of SaaS, it's essential to stay flexible and adapt to market changes to ensure your messaging remains relevant and effective.A Crash Course on Messaging:Messaging is the art of crafting clear, concise, and engaging communication that resonates with your target audience. It includes your brand's story, positioning, and overall communication strategy, all of which play a vital role in attracting customers and promoting your product or service.Step 1 - Identify Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP): To begin crafting your messaging, you need to know your target audience. Identify your ICP – the type of customers who are the best fit for your product. In Peep's case, he began with B2B SaaS VIP marketing CMOs, but later expanded to other roles within the same industryStep 2 - Establish a Clear Value Proposition: Once you know your ICP, create a value proposition that speaks to their needs and desires. This should clearly articulate the unique benefits your product offers and how it solves their problems. Be concise and specific, and avoid using buzzwords or jargon that might confuse your audience.Step 3 - Develop a Compelling Story: To stand out in a saturated market, tell a story that resonates with your ICP. Peep suggests focusing on "things beyond the product" – like better storytelling, stronger messaging, and more effective positioning. This will help you connect with your audience and differentiate your brand from competitors.Step 4 - Test and Iterate: Once you have crafted your messaging, test its effectiveness with real customers. Peep's company, Wynter, specializes in gathering customer insights to help fine-tune messaging. Use feedback from your target audience to optimize your messaging and ensure it resonates with them.Step 5 - Align Messaging Across Channels: Ensure that your messaging is consistent across all marketing channels – from your website and social media to email campaigns and sales materials. This will help reinforce your brand identity and make your messaging more memorable.Step 6 - Monitor and Update Messaging: As your business grows and your target audience expands, regularly review and update your messaging to stay relevant. Keep an eye on market trends, customer feedback, and competitor activities to ensure your messaging remains compelling and effective.By following Peep Laja's crash course on messaging, you'll be well-equipped to create a powerful narrative for your SaaS business that resonates with your target audience and drives growth.Further LearningsFollow Peep on LinkedIn and check out Wynter for more on messaging.
OpenView’s Kyle Poyar on sidecar products and product-led growth
49:22This week's guest is Kyle Poyar, Operating Partner at OpenView. Kyle sat down with Patrick Campbell at SaaStock 2022 to discuss the ins and outs of product-led growth and how businesses can capitalize on this strategy to propel their success.Throughout the conversation, Kyle and Patrick delve into the importance of focusing on product usage as a key driver for customer acquisition, retention, and expansion. They discuss how companies like Zenefits have harnessed the power of sidecar products to provide additional value to their customers while strengthening their overall product offering. Kyle also shares valuable insights on why it's crucial to pay attention to user feedback and continuously iterate on product design to stay competitive in the market.High Level Overview:Product-led growth is a powerful strategy where product usage drives customer acquisition, retention, and expansion.To harness product-led growth, businesses must focus on creating effective and user-friendly products that exceed user expectations.Sidecar products, free offerings that complement the core product, can help attract customers early in their journey and increase the chances of conversion.Companies like Zenefits have successfully implemented sidecar products to broaden their suite of offerings and generate more value for their customers.Listening to customers and iterating on product design is crucial for continuous improvement and maintaining a competitive edge in the market.A Crash Course on Product-Led Growth:Product Led Growth (PLG) is a valuable approach to growth that focuses on getting customers to use the product, rather than relying on traditional sales and marketing. This guide will introduce you to the key components of PLG according to Kyle Poyar and how to leverage them for success:Quantitative Insights: The first step in PLG is to gain a better understanding of your customers' journey. Invest in a product analytics platform to gain quantitative insights into how users interact with your product. This will help you identify features that are being used, as well as unsuccessful user journeys.Session Replays and Recordings: In addition to quantitative insights, you should also look at session replays and recordings of user journeys. This will help you gain empathy with your users and identify areas where you could improve their experience. Tools such as Hotjar and FullStory can be used to get these insights.Micro Surveys: Micro surveys are a great way to get feedback from users on their experience with your product. Services such as Sprig allow you to collect user feedback on usability and product experience. This will help you better understand how users are engaging with your product and identify areas for improvement.User Testing: User testing is another great way to get feedback from users. It involves sending out prototypes and collecting feedback, through videos and questionnaires. This is helpful when targeting audiences that you have not reached yet, as you can get feedback on whether your product is compelling to them.Sales Assist Motion: You should also consider using a sales assist motion, even when you are trying to move towards PLG. This involves getting an email from the customer, running a rich through a service such as Clearbit and then using that data to inform how much resource investment you should put on the account. It is important to differentiate between customers that need a sales assist motion and those that can self-serve.Product Led Growth is a powerful tool for software businesses. By leveraging the tools discussed in this guide, you will be able to get a better understanding of your customers' journey and identify areas for improvement. With the right approach, you can unlock success with PLG.Further LearningsFollow Kyle on LinkedIn and check out OpenView for more on Product-Led Growth.
m3ter’s John Griffin on Revolutionizing Customer Value and Revenue Growth
28:54This week's guest is John Griffin, co-founder and CRO of m3ter, who joined Neel Desai at SaaStock 2022 to discuss the importance of usage-based billing in SaaS and its impact on businesses. John emphasizes the need for SaaS companies to focus on customer success to drive adoption and product usage, and shares his thoughts on the future of SaaS, suggesting that it will involve a combination of product-led growth (PLG) and traditional enterprise sales motions. High Level Overview:Usage-based billing aligns customer value with product usage, driving adoption and increased revenue for SaaS businesses.The future of SaaS involves a combination of product-led growth (PLG) and traditional enterprise sales motions, with the most successful companies deploying both strategies.Customer success departments are crucial in driving adoption and ensuring customers get the most value from a product, making them vital for businesses using usage-based billing.SaaS companies can benefit from ingesting cost data along with usage data, enabling them to show finance departments the correlation between customer usage and company costs.Identify the appropriate usage metric for your product, ensuring it directly correlates with customer value.A Crash Course on Usage-Based Pricing:Usage-based pricing is a billing model where customers are charged based on the actual usage of a product or service rather than a flat fee or subscription. It aligns product usage with customer value, creating a more symbiotic relationship between the provider and the customer. Here are some key points to consider when implementing usage-based pricing in your business:Pricing tiers: Set clear and transparent pricing tiers to help customers understand the costs associated with different usage levels.Track usage: Continuously monitor and optimize your pricing model, as usage patterns and customer needs may change over time.Enable your customers to succeed: Provide customers with tools to track and manage their usage, helping them avoid unexpected charges and better control costs.Customer success teams: Invest in customer success teams to drive adoption, increase product penetration, and ensure customers are getting the most value from your product.Hybrid values: Consider a hybrid pricing model combining usage-based and subscription elements if it better suits your industry or product type.Internal transparency: Present a clear view of costs and margins to finance departments, demonstrating the alignment between customer usage and company expenses.Further LearningsFollow John on LinkedIn and check out m3ter for more on Usage-Based Pricing.
Winning Sales Pitches: April Dunford Unleashes the Power of Positioning
48:22Today's guest is April Dunford, founder of Ambient Strategy and author of the essential positioning book Obviously Awesome. April's an expert on positioning, including what it is, what people get wrong with it, and what they need to get right with it. She's currently working on her second book focused on teaching teams the structure and processes she's been using to build sales pitches for the past couple of decades with hundreds of tech companies. This interview, recorded at SaaStock 2022 with Patrick Campbell, gives you a sneak peak into a masterclass on sales pitches conducted by April Dunford.High Level Overview:Positioning is crucial in B2B sales as it helps potential customers understand the value of your offering and how it stands out from competitors. Effective positioning can significantly improve sales performance.Personalized and targeted messaging is essential to engage potential customers, and leveraging data-driven insights can help create a compelling narrative that resonates with them.Testing new positioning with top sales representatives and partners is necessary to validate its effectiveness and ensure better sales outcomes.Explainer videos, buyer's guides, blog posts, and graphical representations are some marketing collateral that can be used to convey the positioning to customers, aiding their understanding of the market and product.Companies should be creative and focus on helping customers understand the market and the unique value proposition of their product, which can drive sales and customer engagement.A Crash Course on Crushing Your Sales Pitch:A good sales pitch is a concise, persuasive, and tailored presentation that effectively communicates the unique value proposition of your product or service, addressing the specific needs and challenges of your target audience. The ultimate goal is to capture their attention and convince them that your solution is the best choice to alleviate their pain points. Consider the following points:Understand your target audience: April stresses the importance of knowing the context of your audience, their needs, and their pain points to make your pitch more relevant and persuasive.Develop a strong positioning: April believes that positioning is the foundation of a successful sales pitch. Craft a unique value proposition by emphasizing what sets your product apart from competitors and how it addresses your audience's specific needs.Use storytelling techniques: April shares her experience of using storytelling in a sales pitch, making it more engaging and memorable. Incorporate relatable stories that demonstrate how your product or service has helped others and create an emotional connection with your audience.Be concise and clear: April highlights the importance of clarity and brevity in a sales pitch. Focus on delivering your key messages in a succinct manner, avoiding jargon and complex language that could confuse your audience.Tailor the pitch to different customer segments: Adapt your messaging, examples, and value proposition to cater to the unique requirements of each audience segment. April advises being flexible with your pitch and adjusting it to different contexts to maximize its effectiveness.Practice and refine your pitch: Continuously iterate and improve your sales pitch based on feedback and market trends, ensuring it remains relevant and impactful. April underscores the importance of learning from your experiences and refining your pitch to achieve better results.Further LearningsApril wrote the book on positioning. Check it out here.Follow April on LinkedIn and Twitter.