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Often called the "godfather of inbound marketing" for his work in taking inbound marketing from an idea to a movement of tens of thousands of people, Mike Volpe is one of the most sought-after marketers in SaaS. Currently, he is the CMO at Cybereason, one of the fastest-growing cybersecurity startups, which recently raised $100m in VC and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Financial Times, CNN, ABC, and NBC. In less than a year at Cybereason, he increased web traffic by 580%, grew lead generation by 420%, created 650% more pipeline, and helped grow revenue by 500%. He launched a new free product called RansomFree and gained 150,000 users in 90 days, entirely through PR and SEO.

Mike was also on the founding team at HubSpot, where he helped grow the company from 5 people to over 1,000 employees, and onto $150m in revenue and a successful IPO. He built the marketing team from nothing to over 100 people generating up to 50,000 new leads each month and millions of unique website visitors, with 90% of this demand generation driven by organic inbound methods. He is active in the startup community as a member of the board of directors for Repsly, as an advisor to Drift, UserTesting, Digital Ocean, OnShape, Drafted and others.  With more than 25 investments, Mike is an active angel investor and is a partner at the "non-fund" Operator.VC where he invests with Yoav Shapira. In his spare time, he enjoys whiskey, home improvement projects, golf and wrestling with his two young boys.

You can learn more at www.MikeVolpe.com and www.twitter.com/mvolpe.

He will be live on August 3 starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which he will answer as many questions as possible.

And this event to your Google Calendar

  • EF

    Edward Ford

    about 2 months ago #

    Hi Mike, really excited for this AMA! I have a couple of questions:

    i) What do you feel are some of the biggest (or most common) mistakes B2B SaaS marketers make?
    ii) What elements of the current B2B SaaS marketing playbook will still be relevant in 10 years time?

    Cheers!
    - Edward

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      i) What do you feel are some of the biggest (or most common) mistakes B2B SaaS marketers make?

      Two thoughts:

      a) People often invest too much in bottom of funnel (product marketing) and not enough in top of funnel (traffic and lead gen) - especially companies that have a sales team. The most important thing is to get a lot of at bats and inbound flow at the top of the funnel, and then optimize your way down over time. A lot of companies start at the end of the sales process and work their way up, but I think they would be better served

      b) A lot of companies buy way too many marketing and sales tools. They forget that each new tool adds complexity to your stack and to your employees. It makes the learning curve harder for new hires and it makes it more likely something will break. A simpler stack will help you move more quickly and more efficiently. There is a big cost to complexity of your marketing stack.

      6 Share
      • EF

        Edward Ford

        about 2 months ago #

        Thanks Mike, really appreciate your answers - it's awesome to hear your thoughts.

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      ii) What elements of the current B2B SaaS marketing playbook will still be relevant in 10 years time?

      Most of it. Certainly the stuff around understanding your buyer persona(s), being helpful more than overtly selling, using metrics to drive decisions, etc. So much of the "new school playbook" or "SaaS playbook" is just the fundamentals of good old school marketing. Basically, the tactics and tools might change, but the strategies will not.

      4 Share
  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    about 2 months ago #

    Bonjour Mike- Merci for doing this AMA.

    1) Was your biggest growth win something you had predicted?
    2) How do you go about discovering sustainable growth?
    3) What is worth automating for SaaS growth?

    🙏🏻 Thanks!

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      2) How do you go about discovering sustainable growth?

      Try lots of things. Take the ones that work and implement them in a more scalable and efficient way. Then optimize and improve them over time. Repeat.

      I know it is lame to say it is that simple, but it kind of is. After 9 years at HubSpot, the blog was still delivering 5-10 thousand new leads per month and we started that back in 2006. Over time we built new channels as well, but keeping the old channels performing while searching for and adding new ones is the key.

      3 Share
    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      1) Was your biggest growth win something you had predicted?

      Yes and no. Early on the two big wins we had were our blog (we predicted) and Website Grader (not predicted). We also tried some other things (other free tools, other content) that did not work. The thing about Website Grader that we did not predict was that it would have some virality to it. Once we saw that, I spent a lot of time promoting it in a variety of ways (organic not paid) to give it more juice.

      2 Share
    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      3) What is worth automating for SaaS growth?

      Automate the things you have tried that work. But make sure you revisit them. For instance, the blog was one of our biggest channels, but it would decline over time if we did not reinvigorate it. Everything needs to be refreshed over time because everyone copies you, and when you look the same as everyone else you get mediocre results.

  • SG

    Steve Gogolak

    about 2 months ago #

    What's the single best tactic you've seen to nurture prospects that are in the middle/bottom of the funnel and are in regular contact with a salesperson?

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      Hi Steve!

      Single best is hard to say since it is situation specific, but if the sales rep is already in regular contact then just automated emails are a bad idea. I would think about:

      a) arming the sales reps with something useful and relevant (briefings on industry news, new data, etc.) so they can keep in touch and say more than "hi" or "want to go to a Red Sox game"

      b) having events where prospects can hear from their peers, including some current customers - I've seen companies have success accelerating pipeline with their own events (think roadshow type stuff)

  • D.

    DanTri .

    about 2 months ago #

    Hi Mike,

    Thank you for doing an AMA with us.

    What advice would you give for a senior college student who wants to become an elite growth marketer in 5 years?

    Thank you

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      1) Read lots of stuff here on Growth Hackers.

      2) Practice your skills on a side hustle.

      3) Learn the basics (or more) of coding.

      4) Find a great mentor to learn from in your first job.

      3 Share
      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        about 2 months ago #

        + 1000

        Any tips on how to convince someone great to be your mentor?

      • AG

        Anthony Gaouette

        about 2 months ago #

        finding a mentor would be awesome.

      • MV

        Mike Volpe

        about 2 months ago #

        To find a great mentor, do steps 1-3 and then you should be able to find a great job someplace. Ask around to other current and former employees to find out how much mentoring and development happens.

  • BI

    Benjelloun Ibrahim

    about 2 months ago #

    Hi Mike, thanks for doing this AMA,

    What has been the key for driving an avalanche of users for RansomFree, how has been PR and SEO so effective? can you respond with some details please.

    Thanks in advance for your answer.

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      A few thoughts... though I don't want to give it all away because I am sure the marketing teams at Carbon Black and Crowdstrike are probably reading every word here so they can copy us :p

      1) SEO and PR work together. The great PR we got for RansomFree has driven a lot of referral traffic and also good links for SEO. We have actually done very little technical /detailed SEO for the site. it is mostly organic / natural SEO (build something good and get good links from real PR).

      2) We caught the tide at the right time. Ransomware was a big problem and there was not a good free solution out there. I do not think someone else launching something similar today would have a big effect - too much of a "me too" look to it.

      3) Because of the PR and SEO we got when we launched, we get a nice boost in traffic every time there is a big new attack and it drives a lot of attention and searching for ransomware and ransomware protection etc. You can see it in Google Trends.

      BTW, for anyone curious, the reference here is to our free product RansomFree - http://ransomfree.cybereason.com

      • RS

        Rob Sobers

        about 2 months ago #

        Did you get a lot of consumers or end-users within big companies downloading RansomFree? (i.e., not your target persona)

  • DC

    David Cutler

    about 2 months ago #

    Hey Mike!
    When do you rely on Marcom platforms and when do you require custom software development?

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      Hi David!

      It is hard to attract and retain developers in a marketing team so we tend to rely a lot on "off the shelf" products. I would love to do a lot more custom stuff, but it is just hard to have a staff of in house folks long term without a lot of turnover. So I would say for me, most of our customization is more configuration and light coding (CSS/HTML and APEX kind of stuff) rather than building something huge.

  • IM

    Ilya Mirman

    about 2 months ago #

    A decade ago a small startup could get a lot of mileage out of creating good content (blog, webinars, ebooks).

    There's now a glut of content out there of various quality, AND the world has changed in terms of how people consume content and learn stuff in general. With that in mind, what's the new playbook for driving awareness, interest, engagement?

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      I think in industries where there is a glut of content there are two things you should do:

      a) Use channels that are less crowded (video and podcasting come to mind). The Seeking Wisdom podcast is a great example of this.

      b) Make your signal to noise ratio really high. I think Drift's blog is a good example of this as well. You don't do 5 posts a day, you do a very long and valuable post once in a while. I know that pretty much 90% of the time the post will be interesting and valuable.

      BTW - Congrats on the new gig at Drift!

      4 Share
  • OB

    Orlee Berlove

    3 months ago #

    How do you recommend IT companies that are pushing for name recognition in crowded spaces achieve greater reach?

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      This is so hard. It's one of my biggest challenges today. There are like 5,000 cyber companies. And they all sound and look the same. A couple ideas:

      1) Be different. Have a different message, a different look and feel, etc. The message can be easily copied (and will be) but the look and feel is harder to copy.

      2) Focus on closing more deals and making those customers happy. In the short term awareness matters. In the long term, the best customer experience wins. In the early days Marketo and Eloqua had more awareness than HubSpot. Over time that changed. A lot (see link to Google Trends below). I think it is because we kept executing on every aspect of the business - marketing, sales, customer success and product - and over time we just out-executed everyone.

      https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2006-01-01%202017-08-03&q=pardot,eloqua,hubspot,act-on,marketo

      2 Share
  • DS

    Dharmesh Shah

    about 2 months ago #

    Hi, Mike! Thanks for doing this.

    How do you think companies should think about allocating resources/budget between leadgen marketing and brand marketing? It's fantastic that we can now measure the value of so many of our marketing efforts, but I wonder if companies (particularly startups) should be spending any money at all on building their brand.

    • KR

      Kamil Rextin

      about 2 months ago #

      +100. I've been thinking about this a ton. To add to that - is it a factor of revenue/MRR/ARR or a certain size?

      • MV

        Mike Volpe

        about 2 months ago #

        In the early days I would devote the majority of my effort and money to demand gen. You can build a lot of brand through those interactions and they have the benefit of also helping gain you more customers which builds brand too. If you think about it, they are both marketing - "brand marketing" is just marketing without a direct response option, while "lead gen marketing" has both a direct response option and a brand impression as well.

        Now, demand gen does not mean Facebook Ads. I would do the things that have more of a brand element to them, more of an experience and value add to them. For instance, I think @david_gerhardt at Drift has done a great job of doing things that build brand but also build traffic and lead gen at the same time. For a new startup to break out the way they have with content in this day and age is admirable.

        3 Share
  • TW

    Tom Wentworth

    about 2 months ago #

    Hey Mike,

    Everyone wants to know this but is afraid to ask:

    Which marketing strategy works better: reaction gifs or hashtags?

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    about 2 months ago #

    Hey Mike - so cool to finally have you on here (and clearly the other folks asking Qs here are stoked you're doing this with us as well)

    My Qs are about your investing philosophy:
    a. What criteria do you us to evaluate whether something is worth investing in or not?
    b. How does a startup that has a large target market but limited use case on an individual basis (say 2-3 times/year) demonstrate traction?
    c. Are there any verticals you will never invest in? Why?
    d. What are the biggest mistakes folks approaching you for funding make?

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      a. What criteria do you us to evaluate whether something is worth investing in or not?

      1) team
      2) problem / market
      3) progress (combination of product, tech, traction)

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      b. How does a startup that has a large target market but limited use case on an individual basis (say 2-3 times/year) demonstrate traction?

      Hmm... good question. I guess showing somehow that when people do need the product they remember to go back to the same place. Or show that people will pay a lot because solving the problem one time is very valuable (and so LTV/CAC would still be ok).

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      c. Are there any verticals you will never invest in? Why?

      I avoid consumer unless there is traction. I am not a tastemaker and have zero ability to predict what will be successful. So I need to see real traction to believe it.

      I also avoid things I don't understand. So to date I have done nothing in blockhain or crypto currencies, etc. I don't understand it deeply enough. And I will probably never do biotech etc.

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      d. What are the biggest mistakes folks approaching you for funding make?

      Not showing a demo.

  • BG

    Barbra Gago

    about 2 months ago #

    Mike, thank you!

    I was curious about the biggest challenges you faced as a marketing leader shifting from a primarily SMB and inbound business to Enterprise (which I assume it a lot less inbound); What was the hardest lesson? What have you been really surprised by in terms of what works in Enterprise vs. SMB? How has measurement of impact changed as well?

  • KR

    Kamil Rextin

    about 2 months ago #

    Mike - you are seen as a leader in the Marketing space that many folks look up to, especially the new folks rolling into the workplace.
    I think it's important we hold people we respect to account for their actions because they have a greater responsibility due to the higher visibility of their actions and what message they send through those actions.

    It's important to say explicitly that my intent is not to cause you any public embarrassment. The entire tech space is going through a time of deep introspection (re: Uber, Binary Capital, Chris Sacca, Dave Mcclure etc) and I think you could add positively to that movement.
    I am genuinely interested in anything you can share about the conditions around your departure from Hubspot (beyond what is already public) and lessons learned as you reflect back on that time. What would you want all of us to take away from your experience?

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      Not commenting on anything specific to me or HubSpot, but from my 40+ years of life experience I would say this:

      a) Never believe everything you read - online or in print.

      b) Before you do business with anyone I would dig into people who know them and have done business with them and get a feel for what they are truly like. I've worked with people who have a stellar online reputation but are assholes in person, and people who have a poor online reputation but are trustworthy and kind in person.

      c) I think that today we live in an extreme culture where (especially online) we react in an overly extreme way to things we hear about people - both overly good reactions and overly bad reactions. Previously we made heroes out of those west coast people you mentioned and today we're making devils out of them. In many cases I bet neither reaction is the full truth.

      d) I do think there are some structural / cultural issues in tech and I'm glad they are being surfaced so we can face them and address them.

  • CB

    Cathie Briggette

    about 2 months ago #

    What works in marketing changes all the time. What do you think is/are the biggest B2B marketing change(s) in the last 5 years

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      a) Content has gotten more crowded so the quality bar needs to go up - you need better quality to stand out.

      b) How people communicate is changing - shorter messages, more real time, less email, more images and video, etc. I don't think we have fully digested and processed those changes (they are still happening, it is early).

      c) There are way more marketing tools available. That's not necessarily a good thing, some people I see buy 5+ tools and only use 10% of each of them and the complexity of that system weights them down and slows them down a lot.

      2 Share
  • RM

    Robert McTighe

    about 2 months ago #

    Hi Mike - Great to hear from you!

    In a fast-paced, high-growth environment, cash is king so maintaining a good handle on current and future cash-flow and finances is critical along with being able to communicate this to the Management Team and funders. In this type of environment, how do you suggest to:

    1) Effectively tie in your revenue projections to a budget and keep the Finance Team updated?
    2) What sort of time horizon and tools are you using for a short, intermediate and long-term perspective?

    Bob

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      I've been lucky to work in companies where we generated enough excitement about the future that we were able to raise a lot of investment so we could invest a lot today and still have a long time before we ran out of cash. I mean Cybereason just raised $100,000,000 in June... which is a lot of money :)

      But I've also invested in and advised companies who have small amounts of cash and need to be more cautious, so I have seen both sides.

      That being said, I would make sure that you always have a financial plan that carries you through to profitability, and that plan should not have you dropping below 6 months of cash in the bank. So if you burn $5k per month, you should never plan to have less than $30k in the bank. And if you burn $5m per month, I would never plan to have less than $30m in the bank. You really should think of cash in terms of time, not dollars, in a growth company.

      2 Share
  • MD

    Mike Damphousse

    about 2 months ago #

    Mike,
    You guys defined the category "inbound marketing" and then proceeded to market the category, not just the brand. People realized they needed Inbound (the category) and then they bought HubSpot (the company that introduced them to the category). How important do you think category design is to growing companies and when should a CEO and CMO start thinking about it?
    Thanks in advance!
    -damp

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      Good question. I've talked about it in this blog article: http://www.mikevolpe.com/blog/category-creator-better-mousetrap

      Take HubSpot and ZenDesk - two similar companies (both b2b SaaS companies, both had an IPO the same year, both now valued around $2.5-$3 billion) but were fundamentally different business models. ZenDesk is a better mousetrap and HubSpot is a category creator.

      Both strategies can work, it depends a lot on the current state of the market, the vision of the founding team, etc. So, it is not required to build a great company, but it can be effective.

      2 Share
  • AS

    Alejandro Simkievich

    about 2 months ago #

    Hey Mike,
    How would you approach a campaign for a two-sided market, where you need companies to adopt a product for it to have value to users, and a user base to make the product more attractive for companies? Basically, a chicken and egg dilemma.

    • AS

      Alejandro Simkievich

      about 2 months ago #

      I mean from an inbound marketing perspective, of course :)

      • MV

        Mike Volpe

        about 2 months ago #

        So hard.

        Typically one side of the market has a smaller number of providers needed and I would do non-scalable ("knock on doors") things to get them into the market and then use that to grow the other side, and then shift back and forth.

  • BF

    Bob Fernekees

    about 2 months ago #

    What marketing platform would you recommend for a traditional B2B publishing company (we still print magazines)?

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      Depends on what your goals are - you might only need a website and email?

      Cheap option would be Wordpress of Squarespace or Wix plus Privy and maybe Mailchimp.
      For low cost marketing automation, Mautic.
      For something for a bit more money and more complete, HubSpot.
      I have not used it but Sailthru I think is supposed to be designed for media companies?

      There are a billion options out there (one reason not to start a martech company ;)

  • AW

    Ann Westerheim

    about 2 months ago #

    Thanks for doing the AMA!
    We're an IT company with a focus on Cybersecurity serving local SMBs. We offer a subscription service, but also need to have some on-site presence, so the target is local. If you were our VP of Marketing, what would you prioritize for marketing tactics for B2B in a targeted local area?

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      Meetups and local events - both going to others and hosting your own. Bring in speakers and host them in your office and have a meetup of people to see them talk.

  • AV

    Asim Virani

    about 2 months ago #

    Hey Mike,

    Here are some of questions:

    1) Whats the right time to launch a product publicly?

    2) When to switch to a subscription SaaS business model if the current service needs a lot of manual hand holding & implementation?

    3) When is the right time for a startup to invest in paid marketing(PPC/ads) VS free organic marketing?

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      1) Whats the right time to launch a product publicly?
      I would look into the definitions of MVP. Usually it is earlier than people think, most founders have launch anxiety.

      2) When to switch to a subscription SaaS business model if the current service needs a lot of manual hand holding & implementation?
      Lots of SaaS products have hand holding and implementation difficulties. I would switch, just offer services for implementation and support.

      3) When is the right time for a startup to invest in paid marketing(PPC/ads) VS free organic marketing?
      You might start by testing paid ads to get going, then invest in organic as much as possible, and then maybe experiment with paid and see if you can get the economics to work.

  • MV

    Mike Volpe

    about 2 months ago #

    Thanks everyone for coming. While my hands are sore and my brain is tired, I had a lot of fun!

    I appreciate any upvotes on the page and hope to see you again soon.

    Thanks,
    Mike

    • AA

      Anuj Adhiya

      about 2 months ago #

      We appreciate your time so much, Mike.
      You left a lot of gold for the community to chew on 🙌

  • GA

    Guy Avigdor

    about 2 months ago #

    Hey Mike

    A tough one with all the noise out there today, what would you say the best B2B lead gen strategies are?
    Easy one - favorite whiskey? :)

    Thanks
    Guy

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      1) Depends on goals and business model. Inbound still works awesome if you do it right over the long term. In the short term you might be shocked to hear me say this, but in enterprise (big deals) outbound done right works too. The kids these days are calling it ABM but it is really just outbound done well for a specific use case.

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      2) Lagavulin. I love peet and smoke. Though I have gotten much more into bourbon lately and even procured a couple bottles of Pappy which is delicious. I've toyed with opening a distillery for my retirement career someday... if you know any master distillers who have good product but need capital and marketing.

  • TM

    Ty Magnin

    about 2 months ago #

    Mike - you're a legend. Thanks for doing this.

    What were some of the early signals you found before settling on 'inbound marketing' as something to pursue.

    What were some early wins you had along the path to owning and evangelizing the methodology?

    Thanks,
    Ty from Appcues

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      We settled on inbound marketing pretty early on. We had the unique situation that the company vision had to align with how we did marketing, so in order to be authentic and believeable we had to do it that way. So even before we named it "inbound marketing" we knew it had to be our strategy. And by making that work, it was part of how we convinced investors (from Series A thru to IPO) because we'd show them how well inbound worked for us, we were always the world's best inbound marketing case study.

      Say hi to Jkim ;)

  • EL

    Elliott lowen

    about 2 months ago #

    Hey Mike
    As you know from wfc & fintech in general, the hardest part of success is adoption. What critical success factors do you keep near and dear based on your real world experience.?

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      So hard to say. I would just say that customer success goes a long way, having happy customers that tell others about their experience is key.

  • DS

    dan slagen

    about 2 months ago #

    Nice! During a hiring blitz, how do you ensure new hires mesh well with the old guard?

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      1) Give each one a written 100 day success plan that tells them what they can do to on-board themselves and what their goals / expectations are.

      2) Pair each new person with a mentor / guide who has been at the company for a while - not their manager, more of a peer.

  • PM

    Pierre Martinow

    about 2 months ago #

    Hi Mike, how would you start inbound lead gen on a very small budget?

  • DG

    Dave Gerhardt

    about 2 months ago #

    Hey Mike. It's DG.

    Your teams have always been early on new channels or doing non-traditional things in marketing -- whether it's podcasts, a new ad type, events, or flying a plane over Boston.

    Is this something you try and put in the DNA of your marketing teams?
    How do you build a culture around trying new things and pushing people to be early on new channels?

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      You tell me ;)

      a) I try to do some weird things myself to show that it is ok to try. Example: www.GetCyberBlast.com

      b) I try to say "yes" to things even if I don't think they are an amazing idea.

      c) I try not to blame people or call them out when things go wrong, I try to praise people for trying something, and I try to take the blame myself when things go wrong.

      d) I try to give people goals that are way beyond the current metrics and force people to rethink what they are doing. You can get 10% more leads by working a bit harder. If you have a goal of getting 10x more leads you need to rethink things and try something totally new.

  • MD

    Mark Anthony de Jesus

    about 2 months ago #

    Hi Mike
    What was the toughest marketing challenge you've ever faced?
    How did you tackle it?

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      "It's hard to beat someone who never gives up."
      -- Babe Ruth

      With any challenge the key is just trying different things until you find something that works.

  • MC

    Mike Corso

    about 2 months ago #

    For a digital marketing SaaS startup focused on simplifying existing (overwhelming SEO) tools, is UX and clarity enough vs introducing a new technology?

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      Maybe. More than UX and clarity I would create a great overall customer experience. It is very hard to stand out and attract attention in SaaS today, especially in MarTech.

  • PK

    Phil Kanaby

    about 2 months ago #

    Mike,

    Great to see you're making yourself available to answer a few growth hacking questions!

    We get a few thousand SMBs each month who sign up for our free package on our mobile coupon platform and never check their email. Aside from calling them all, which we have found is very time consuming, what would be your recommended way to up-sell them into our paid packages? (http://couponwallet.com/advertising/package)

    Thank you!
    -Phil

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      a) give them the full package for 30 days and then email them and tell them that they need to pay to keep their current service or they can downgrade to free but get much less exposure

      b) limit the free package not to one coupon but 5 people claiming that coupon per month

      c) make sure to show them the value, how many coupons are being claimed / redeemed

      I bet the problem is more likely that you are not creating value or not showing them the value, rather than they are not checking email.

  • MS

    Mark Schinkel

    about 2 months ago #

    Hi Mike - I'm with Creative Chaos, a top innovation delivery agency based in SF. We've worked with everyone from idea stage founders to F100 corporations to successfully ideate and commercialize world class software over the past 17 years.
    We're in the first stage of building a presence on the East Coast, with a 3 person office at 1 Broadway, and I'm charged with developing relationships with
    a) founders that want to develop an exceptional Minimum Viable Product and
    b) post series A companies that are experiencing scale challenges.
    This is a relationship sale and an education sale.

    What types of strategies would you pursue to start developing local awareness and presence in this highly competitive (and crowded) market?

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      local events - both attend existing ones and also host your own with speakers / content that will attract the people you want to meet

      build relationships with angel investors and other connectors in the community

  • AB

    Asya Bashina

    about 2 months ago #

    Just want to say thank you for being a source of inspiration for me throughout my career in marketing. I made a slight pivot to be a better informed marketer and decided to pursue a role in business development at an early stage startup that is still trying to evaluate product-market fit. We have tried out a variety of different industries, but my view is that at some point we need to carve out one path and move forward.

    As a current BD person and aspiring founder, I'd love to hear your insights on identifying the appropriate product market fit as you're doing customer discovery and development. How do you decide which market is the right one to pursue? As an early stage player, what is the strategy for acquiring your first customer and then you first 10 customers if you're trying to make a B2B play? How do you sustain the attention of a large company beyond the proof of concept stage and retain them in for longer when there are other competing solutions vying for their attention?

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      Picking one is far more important than picking the perfect one.

      First 10 customers are all elbow grease and hard work.

      Selling to large companies is really hard, especially when you are small. You need to find someone who is forward thinking and a change agent who wants to be your champion at that big company.

  • HK

    Heather K.

    about 2 months ago #

    Hi Mike! As what was once "innovative" marketing (inbound) becomes more common and the baseline of what we have to do to see any success, where do we go next? How do we keep innovating and ensuring that inbound marketing doesn't just become another from of SPAM?

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      Provide value.

      Even unsolicited email is not terrible if it is valuable.

  • EW

    Eyal Worthalter

    about 2 months ago #

    Hi Mike,
    Thanks for doing this AMA! Looking forward to seeing how you can make Inbound work for Enterprise IT Security, as it's a traditionally more outbound and sales-oriented industry.

    My question:
    What's next? What's the future of Inbound?

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      Thanks!

      Higher quality content - improve signal to noise ratio.

      New content types (video and podcasting).

  • GM

    Gregg Makuch

    about 2 months ago #

    Hey Mike - as we know, inbound takes time to build up the flywheel - in my experience 6-18 months. In the meantime, what have you found to be the best approaches to building sales pipeline? What worked for you at Cybereason to drive growth in that first year?

    thanks,
    gregg

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      For big deals (100k+) outbound does work (when done well). Don't just call and email. Do lots of research, have a personalized message, and send them something physical (not a letter).

  • BC

    Brian Carl

    about 2 months ago #

    Hey Mike, Now that you've switched from an SMB focus to Enterprise, how do you look at testing new channels and marketing approaches?

    I'm a big proponent of testing, but with longer sales processes, more members of a buying team, and fewer data points (due to a smaller volume sales at higher revenues) things become harder to quantify statistically.

    Thanks!

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      Yeah, testing (with statistically significant results) is hard in enterprise deals as a startup. You have to use gut more.

  • AG

    Anthony Gaouette

    about 2 months ago #

    1.What are some resources you'd recommend to someone new to Social media and content marketing
    2. Any tips for a business that is starting over?i.e reinventing , renovating themselves and their digital presence from a lack of engagement

  • JG

    Jan Glassman

    about 2 months ago #

    Hi Mike! This has been amazing. Very helpful. Thanks so much!

  • RK

    Rafal Karwin-Krawczyk

    about 2 months ago #

    Hi Mike,
    how would you try to gain traction for a SAAS geared towards social media influencers if you were to start from scratch right now? :)

    Cheers

    Raf

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      So hard. So many SaaS products out there and many of them target these people.

      a) Have content for them that is way better than what is out there currently.

      b) Hold VIP events only for small groups of these people.

      c) Enlist a couple of them as advisors and offer to pay for them to hold events with their peers.

  • LP

    Lucas Polini

    2 months ago #

    Do you have any advice for innovative ways of applying inbound marketing concepts in the media/entertainment industries?

    • MV

      Mike Volpe

      about 2 months ago #

      Maybe have characters from your shows / content go online with social media profiles and interact with people. Maybe try some live streaming and real time content.

  • TS

    Tom Schwab

    about 2 months ago #

    Hi Mike, thanks for doing this. your wisdom and insights are always pure gold.

    Podcasting seems like the hot new thing. How do you see this type of content fitting into an inbound strategy?

    We've been using be featured as a guest much like guest blogging and it's been a great growth hack.

    Thanks again,

    Tom Schwab
    Interview Valet

  • GM

    Gregg Makuch

    about 2 months ago #

    Thanks dude!

  • VS

    Vic Sanchez

    about 2 months ago #

    Hi Mike.
    What are your thoughts on the effectiveness of growth hacks for B2B SW in specialty markets, e.g. manufacturing? Any examples would be very helpful.
    Thank you! Vic

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