Mistakes!! OH NO! Yup, we all make em. Some of them are obvious and some of them not so obvious. When my brother and I were starting our companies we made plenty of them. We were bright eyed and excited. We had that passion and energy just BLASTING through our bodies. We could go on a few hours of sleep a night and still have boundless energy.
If you’re an entrepreneur and you launched a startup, you’ve been there and felt that. It’s a euphoric to bring your creation to life and dream of the potential of the rewards at the end of the rainbow. BUT, the challenge sometimes is that this excitement and euphoria clouds our logic and we get overly emotional about our creations…and this leads to mistakes. Some of them you are probably already making.
So what are they already???? Get on with it!!
Ok, on to the mistakes but don’t be so hard on yourself. These are common and fixable so read on.
Having too many marketing/lead channels
The 80/20 rule rings as true as ever here. You are probably very scattered with the way you are trying to generate leads. This hold true for 3 out of 4 companies we work with. You probably also have one channel that is performing the best but you’re still putting tons of effort into other channels, trying to find new “places” to generate more leads when you already have a channel that you aren’t maximizing.
Last year I was working with a SaaS that was a BtoB mobile application. They were having troubles generating consistent leads and revenue. When I came in and sat down with them, they really had no strategy or a good hold on their analytics. Their marketing team thought they had to be working 50 hours a week on several marketing channels to create momentum but when I looked under the hood, something stood out.
Facebook was far an away the best lead source and it wasn’t even close to optimized or maxed out which means there was much more wiggle room. They had been worrying about generating revenue and the marketing team was basically wasting their time on 90% of their activities.
Once we took a step back, optimized Facebook, we increased lead flow by 500% while eliminating 80% of marketing activities. We then shifted the marketing focus to the lower portion of the funnel on closing new clients and retaining them. 100,000 downloads later, problem solved! They then raised some money and then strategically grew their marketing horizontally ONE CHANNEL at a time.
Look at your marketing activities. Are you blogging, cold email, doing social media, curating partnerships, doing SEO, doing some paid search… and are still not growing at the clip you want to? It’s because you are way too fragmented and all that ACTIVITY is actually slowing your growth down. That’s right, more work and activity in this case is actually NOT a good thing.
Making Changes For Your Current Clients
Do you have a small core group of clients? Perhaps some of them are good but could be a little bit of a pain in the ass in that they want you to solve everything for them or at least add a feature or two? This is a road you don’t want to go down.
Startups tend to lean heavily on good clients mood swings and become reactionary to every need. You all of a sudden become a solutions business and now customer service and your dev team is being used inefficiently.
Recently, I was speaking to another BtoB SaaS out of New York and they told me that had a problem. The problem was that they had several large clients that were paying well but all wanted different improvements and features to be added. Their customer service and dev team became an endless loop of small feature improvements and new releases which turned their software into something they hadn’t anticipated. It wasn’t the same tool that they envisioned.
This began to slow down their sales activities because now they had to include all these new features in the pitch. It also made the sales team sit on their hands sometime, waiting for the “better” version to come out instead of selling the current one.
When I asked them what the main challenge they were solving, most had different answers based on the new features and technology. They had a great business with great potential but they didn’t have the backbone to manage customers needs and let them know that they were going to stay true to their core business and be the best in the world at that business.
This is a road you do not want to go down. Once you move away from your core and let customers tell you what to do, all of a sudden you become a custom software and your costs sky rocket and your profitability drops.
You need to remember to stick to your core expertise or all of a sudden your product becomes a mental monster and you lose focus of what you really built it for.
You Have No System In Place
I will preach this one often. Software is amazing because once the initial cost is paid off, it becomes very very profitable. Software is a system to make someones life easier but yet you are not creating a system for yourself to make your life easier. It’s like selling a cool software but selling it door to door. A SaaS without a sales system in place makes no sense. Imagine selling SaaS door to door!!
Just think about it. What happens at your company on a daily basis? Is it a scattershot approach of hundreds of “tasks” in which 90% don’t matter. Check out your task list now. Look at the tasks and for each one ask this question. “Will this task bring me closer to getting an immediate opportunity or making a sales?” If not, cut that shit out!
If you look at any great SaaS company, they all have systems. There are a huge percentage of activities focused on new business opportunities every single day, and they are always testing and optimizing those activities.
We were recently working with another great little SaaS out of Boston. When we started working with these guys they were doing $5,000 MRR. They were very new. Had a great product, but no consistency on outreach. Well once we helped develop a systematic approach to selling they quickly jumped to $30,000 MRR within two months.
This is the story of a great software and company that had no system in place and thus killed their revenue and momentum. Don’t make this mistake. If you have paying customers and people using your software, you’re ready for a system to be put in place. Consistency and discipline will grow your SaaS like you have never seen or experienced.
If any of this sounds like you and you want to chat about how to remedy these challenges we offer limited Free strategy calls weekly. Schedule your strategy call right here. http://meetme.so/startupcmo Looking forward to hearing about your SaaS.