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What does the first 30, 60, 90 days on the job look like for a Growth Hacker at a B2B SaaS startup that is just getting started with web analytics? I.e. Focus areas and priorities, objectives and key results, tools and systems to implement, etc. Any best practices for starting on the right foot and specifically showing how fast the company can recoup their investment would be great.

  • ET

    Everette Taylor

    about 5 years ago #

    First thing I will say is to not go software/app crazy. You hear about all these great tools and want to start putting them to use but if you don't have anyone engaging your site then many of them can be pointless. Sean Ellis pointed this out today in his webinar with Peter Reinhardt. But you do want to study analytics from the beginning and set up dashboards to track your progress. Google Analytics first because its free but highly suggest stepping it up and getting KISSmetrics eventually.

    What I can say is figure out ways to garner interest in your product and find the right people for that product. Start by setting up social media profiles. Social media platforms like Twitter allows you to search key terms of people who may be in your target audience. For instance for Qualaroo, you could have searched anyone talking about "online surveys" or "conversion rate optimization." Start engaging with these people, spark their curiosity and hopefully navigate them to your site. "Steal" your competitors customers by seeing those who are interested in their products, following them on social media, etc. and trying to engage them.

    Create great content for your target audience, this too will gain traction to your site. Push this content through social media platforms and online communities. Start utilizing your content as a way to get people sign up for email lists for upcoming content or offers. (Although this doesn't work for everyone like Andy stated, especially early on)

    When you're able to bring people to your site, that's when you can start testing how they utilize the site with tools like Qualaroo, Segment.io. You can use this information gathered to start A/B Testing your website using products like Unbounce and Optimizely. Hope this helps.

    Last bit of advice is to make sure you're using your time wisely, define goals..determine if they the time put in is worth the reward.

    • AN

      Andy Newbom

      about 5 years ago #

      first off: Everette rocks it as usual.

      second: he is right. Tools and marketing automation can not create your process, they can only automate the process you already have.

      the main issue with GA is that it ONLY tells me WHAT not WHO. in B2B you MUST know WHO did what in order to succeed.

      • SC

        Shana Carp

        about 5 years ago #

        GA can tell you who. This is a total misconception. Most people never bother setting up the passthroughs needed

  • CR

    Chris Rodriguez

    about 5 years ago #

    In this order:

    First 30 days: Learn & Setup

    Be a sponge / Research -- who are the stakeholders? what is the history of this organization? what's the general perception among the potential customers? where do you stand among your competitors? audit - what's working? what isn't? Is everything tracking correctly?

    Strategy -- goals & a 6-month plan - tools you need, tactics you'll use, "immediate next steps" / "low hanging fruit". What are the content/SEO opportunities? How will the user experience go, from channel to website visit to registration to first email received to...

    Infrastructure -- make sure everything is in place - vendors, tools, analytics, profiles, etc. Get those landing pages built.

    Next 30 days: Testing

    Channels -- what channels are best for your potential customers? where are you getting traffic from? conversions?

    Medium -- an ad, an email, a social post, etc. What's working? What is cost-effective?

    Copy/Messaging -- what "voice" is working? Is a certain term resonating more than another?

    Next 30 days: Scale

    Do more of what worked last month...stop what didn't work. Rinse & repeat. Get creative and stay creative - continue to test tactics, channels, copy, and medium.

    • VA

      Vlad Antohi

      about 5 years ago #

      Everette and Chris - you guys are the bomb diggity!! Thanks so much - I am pumped!

  • AN

    Andy Newbom

    about 5 years ago #

    well my first 90 days at a B2B SaaS went more like:
    1. holy crap there is nothing. no tools, no pieces, no process, no data, no information, no support, no nada,.
    2. OK let's do this anyway, setup foundations, social media profiles, base marketing stack tools, try and extract product and market info from engineer team. start content marketing and social etc
    3. fight endlessly with engineering and founders about who the customers are, what they want, what their real problems are, what types of content they want to engage with and how the product-market fit should be positioned. Never reach a satisfactory conclusion
    4. ignore them - grow unique visits 44%, reduce bounce rate by 89% and add more qualified leads.
    5. Realize being too early as a product marketing content marketer is not good.
    6. agree to keep it to a contract and move on.

    • VA

      Vlad Antohi

      about 5 years ago #

      Thanks Andy! Sounds like you had quite the adventure :)

      Did you have a plan going into it that you presented? I've been asked to show how fast they can expect to see ROI - is that something that can be predicted? (or at least estimated for a proposal?)

      Thanks for your help!

    • VA

      Vlad Antohi

      about 5 years ago #

      Also what were the "must-have" systems or vendors that you got on board right away?

      • AN

        Andy Newbom

        about 5 years ago #

        must have for me were:
        Sproutsocial
        Optimizely or Unbounce
        Atomicreach, SEO by Yoast and some other WP plugins
        Google Analytics

        wanted to put in place:
        kissmetrics
        qualaroo
        eventually Hubspot

        • VA

          Vlad Antohi

          about 5 years ago #

          Awesome, awesome, awesome! Okay - this feels a lot more achievable.

          Mind if I send you the plan for high level feedback? Just if I'm headed in the right direction or if I have critical errors/blind spots. Would be mucho appreciated! :)

          Ping me with your email if that works ~ vlad [at] vladantohi.com

          Totally cool either way - thanks a bunch Andy!

    • AN

      Andy Newbom

      about 5 years ago #

      to be clear: BOTH sides were wrong as often as the other. One thing you learn in marketing is that everything changes and you can always learn! Especially in a SaaS startup environment. I had tons of assumptions and strategies coming in. Some worked, some didnt. test, analyze, learn, iterate, test again.

    • SC

      Shana Carp

      about 5 years ago #

      5 is the hardest to realize

  • SC

    Shana Carp

    about 5 years ago #

    1) Assume you will need an ad budget - most people are not looking for your content
    2) Find a content distribution strategy
    3) SAAS startups are prone to pivot (we did radically) - don't grow them until they reach to product market fit with 90% of the bugs removed (working on that now)
    4) What kind of SAAS matters - make sure you know what you are looking for - is it self serve SAAS? Big Contracts?

  • AN

    Andy Newbom

    about 5 years ago #

    great stuff. @SFErika and I are doing a joint article about-- How do you know if your startup is ready for marketing? Great stuff here

  • BB

    Brandon Bruce

    about 5 years ago #

    Focus areas:

    * Identifying power users and cultivating evangelists
    * Putting core analytics in place (Google Analytics, etc.)
    * A/B testing with Optimizely
    * Social engagement with HootSuite
    * Setting up scalable automated marketing platform (e.g. Pardot)
    * Adding Qualaroo to website

    Overall:

    Focusing on the big things while also realizing that it's often the small things (mini-hacks) that make the biggest difference in lead generation, conversion rates, etc.

  • BA

    Brian Anderson

    about 5 years ago #

    I'm 180 days in to my first SaaS startup today.

    I thought I'd be spending loads of time in Mixpanel, creating content, improving onboarding etc. I have done those things, but the biggest growth driver for us has been cold emailing high into large target companies.

    We were lucky enough to have a few brand name customers early doors, so we leveraged their names in emails to VP-level contacts with the sole aim of being delegated down the chain of command. This has worked very well, getting us demos with dozens of F500 companies. So I've spent a fair bit of time building a scaleable (though personalised - I'm no spammer) cold email engine to get our CEO's calendar full.

    It's very cost effective and gets you in the door at a level where decisions get made. What's doubly interesting to me is this: we've had inbound leads from F500 companies too. But they're generally from lower-level employees, and it's proving more difficult to close those deals (which 'junior' initiated) than if the message had been delegated down to junior from on high.

    If your true north is growth, if you have a product that offers benefits a CxO would be interested in for her company (regardless of if she is interested in dealing with it herself) and if you are comfortable talking business benefits (not features), I'd argue you owe it to yourself to try cold emailing alongside your other growth tactics. Apply the same success metrics as you would for any other channel and see how it performs.

    Happy to elaborate on any of this.

    Good luck!

    • DS

      Danny Schaffer

      over 4 years ago #

      I really love this strategy Brian! I'm part of the growth team at a customer loyalty SaaS targeted at retailers, and we're looking into a similar plan.

      Would love to find out more about the specifics behind how you've gone about implementing this and if you have any advice for those getting started with this channel.

      Cheers!

      • BA

        Brian Anderson

        about 4 years ago #

        Sorry Danny, just seen this.

        Well, it's two-weeks shy of a year since I wrote that response and we've got quite a nice little engine going.

        Essentially, we're using outsourced researchers to find us people to email (based on our instructions around markets/companies to target) and information to personalise our emails. Then we have a junior-ish sales guy using Outreach.io to pump out emails (and endless follow-ups!). He's setting up calls for a more senior sales guy. Getting a lot of success at this top-of-the-funnel stage, now focusing on improving our lead-to-close conversion rates.

        Couple of tips:

        Use researchers to gather information that can be used to make your emails stand out. The more personalised the email, the better. It's useful to write your emails beforehand, so you can know **how** to capture that info. For example, if we're reaching out to agencies, we'll have our researchers grab the names of three clients they work with, so we can talk about those clients in our emails. But we'll ask our researchers to add it to the spreadsheet in a certain way, so it can slot straight into our emails. So our guys will write "Coca-Cola, BP or Nike" in their spreadsheet, so it fits nicely into the sentence "Perhaps this could be of use to you on your upcoming Coca-Cola, BP or Nike campaigns?". Personalised at scale.

        Another way we personalise at scale is include a colleagues name. "Would it be you or someone like Gary Smith who is responsible for XYZ?". You're already capturing names, so use them in a more intelligent way. None of this helps you sell, per se, but helps you get over the this-guy-is-a-spammer barrier.

        Don't dive into tools too early. They're only there to make you more efficient at what you're doing and to help you do more of it. If you don't know if you're resonating, tweak stuff manually first. Tools have a learning curve, and doing this at scale is **way** different to emailing a dozen folks a day.

        For me, researchers are more valuable than tools. If you’re sending emails, think of yourself as President Jed Bartlet from The West Wing. He has a whole host of guys working away to give him the best information to make a decision. If your guys are giving you the info to manually send 50 **tip-top** emails every day, that’s way better than a tool that increases your output by 10x, but has you sending unpersonalised, untargeted dross.

        Optimise for revenue, not demos. Although it takes longer to track stuff through to sale, if you don't you'll find yourself gravitating towards types of prospects who are more likely to take a meeting. If we valued to our email-to-online-demo conversion rate over our email-to-revenue conversion rate, we'd be focusing on the wrong type of clients. And Aussies just seem to love to take sales calls, so qualify thoroughly!

        Next up, review your online demo environment. A good SaaS demo environment is different from a good SaaS trial dashboard/onboarding flow. Free trials are optimised for a user getting themselves to wow; a good demo often shows the benefits of the software without showing how you actually get there. That's because decision-makers aren't often the users of the product. So think of ways you can design a dashboard for your sales guys, which is optimised for showing value not just running through the motions of using your product. This will help your demo-to-sale conversion rates. Really need to write a blog post on this...!

        Finally, subscribe to Max Altschuler's email list (www.saleshacker.com) and buy his book. So much value in both.

        Hit me with any follow-up questions. :)

  • AN

    Andy Newbom

    about 5 years ago #

    I did have a great plan. However it was centered in reality. I.e. long term strategy. Not all companies are ready to benefit from rapid fire growth. But all companies can benefit from lots more customer interactions. It worked well for them. too well as we both realized that they were not ready to start heavily marketing and needed to step back and refine some product pieces first. it's all good. they will absolutely kill it going forward.

  • VA

    Vlad Antohi

    about 5 years ago #

    Proposal crafted, edited, and sent! Thank you all so so much for your help! You are all #growthhacking #rockstars :)

  • JW

    justin wu

    about 5 years ago #

    B2B growth hacking?

    LinkedIN Automation Tool.
    Manta.com Scraper/
    Google Local Scraper.
    Yippit API for local busienss deals.
    Twitter Automation

    Targeted scraping, following, messaging / contact to generate B2B leads.

  • RH

    Richard Harris

    about 5 years ago #

    1. Assume on day 31 your priorities will change (if not sooner)
    2. Assume on day 61 your priorities will change (if not sooner)
    3. Assume on day 91, your priorities will change (if not sooner)
    4. Talk to as many prospects/ customers as you can directly. Get their title, role, pain, and why that pain is important, and how it affects them in their day to day job. (Assumes your company will let you)
    5. Wash, rinse, repeat steps 1-3.

  • KS

    Kevin Strasser

    about 5 years ago #

    My advice is to working on building your audience, engaging with your audience, and getting feedback from your audience.

    Personally with my B2B SaaS company (http://TribeBoost.com) I strictly focused on Twitter. That was where I knew my potential customers were and it worked beautifully for me.

    When you do this you gain some really valuable things to help your business:

    1) You learn about what your customers really need...and not just what you think they need. They are often not quite the same.

    2) Some of these early connections will turn in to customers sooner or later. They did for me at least. All of my first customers I gained via Twitter discussions.

    3) Many of these connections will help you amplify your message by sharing/retweeting/etc.

    4) You can continue to learn from these people.

    Take what you learn and put it back into the product or service.

    Keep working on your audience development and keep creating good content (you are doing this right)?

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