You have a great product, a great team, and great potential but you are stuck. You are selling sporadically, retention is iffy at best, revenue is inconsistent at best. You are having a hard time keeping your team excited or paid for the matter. You feel like you put your blood sweat and tears into this business and yet you cannot figure out what is going wrong. Do these sounds like some current challenges that you are experiencing?
The fact is you are in a place where all companies get too. Some companies stay there for ever, some for a few months, some for only a few days. If you have a great product that solves a specific need, it’s not a difficult problem to solve, you just need to understand where you are and where you want to go.
You have created a software that will most likely save people time, money, energy, create efficiencies, etc. What you have done is created automation to help eliminate work. Software is just the simplification of something that used to be done manually.
We used to have day a planner and write in our calendars. We used to have to call to book and appointment with someone. We used to send snail mail checks to pay for services. We used to write expenses down in a ledger. We used to call a travel agent or the airline to book a flight. We used to use a typewriter to do our college papers.
Software has simplified our lives. I bet your software makes someones life simpler and potentially more enjoyable. Less time doing things they dislike and more time doing things they love. If you can meet a fundamental need or two you could have a big winner on your hands.
For instance, email met the fundamental need of connection meaning you can connect with people quicker and more frequently. It also increased the level of certainty that a message would be read or received as opposed to crossing your fingers when putting something in the mail. Email made our life better…for awhile. So what foundational needs does your software fulfill? Let’s find out.
If you are not generating the revenue you need to be it is most likely because of a few core mistakes you are making. These mistakes are common yet deadly but they are not that complicated to fix. You as a SaaS founder or employee needs to go through a paradigm shift to realize that the current way you are thinking about generating revenue and finding new customers needs to be updated.
Mistakes You Are Currently Making
Trying to solve too many problems
Entrepreneurs have this tendency to be addicted to solving problems. They get good at solving one and they feel like they can save the world. It may be true in some cases but your product should really solve one main problem and deliver one main result. Your goal is the be the best at one thing.
A great example is a client of ours that created a mileage and expense tracking application called Passenger .
From a technology standpoint the application is very accurate and very advanced but they set out to solve too many problems. When they launched, they released it to 12 different countries including language translation.
They had thought that solving problems for different consumers in different countries would broaden their reach.
In addition to this, they were not quite sure about going after consumers such as independent sales reps that need to track their mileage or going after businesses that reimburse their employees to give them some more efficiency in the expense report process.
They were trying to solve lots of problems for lots of different types of people. This fragments both messaging and results because instead of dominating just one market and solving just one persons challenge they are trying to speak to many people and help them with different problems.
If you set out to solve lots of problems, you’ll never get paid well for the problems you are great at solving!
Choosing your specific area of mastery and going miles deep into that one area, where you become know as the best at solving a challenge is the ultimate goal for your business in this early stage. Solve a very specific challenge in a specific market and your system begins to reveal itself to you.
Targeting too many different people
You want them all to be your customers because having one million people pay you $20 a month sounds nice…but that’s not the way to think about your business early on. Just like solving too many problems, solving too many problems for too many people is even worse.
If I were to read your website’s call to action or your marketing messaging I would guess it’s very general.
I took the last one directly from one of our clients. Let me ask you a few questions.
The answer to all of these is YES but yet most companies don’t take this into account. Why? Because a CRM tool specifically for office managers of veterinarian clinics is not sexy…even though the company my brother founded, that does just that, is well into the mid six figures per month in reoccurring revenue.
Building a CRM for left handed people is going to be easier to market than a CRM for everyone. A discussion board software for people who own Llamas is going to be easier to market that one that is for everyone. A mileage tracking app for food delivery services is going to be easier to market than one that is for everyone.
If you cannot solve one target customers problem first you will never solve multiple problems for multiple types of customers. The more specific your customer, the easier it is to find them. The easier it is to find them, the easier it is to talk to them. The easier it is to talk to them, the easier it is to engage them and solve their challenges. The easier it is to solve their challenges the more revenue you make.
I will bet that 80-90% of the companies that read this do not have a specific enough target because they are either fearful they will pick the wrong one or they are greedy and truly believe they can have many target markets. If you cannot commit to a market, you’ll always be in limbo and never create real traction.
If you believe you can have multiple targets in the early stages of your company, you will be deeply disappointed that you will get so little traction spread out throughout the targets that you’ll never get to figure out who really needs what you have and who really needs it now.
Commit to the target customer whose problem you best solve. Stay as narrow as you can. Once you have really figured out how to solve their problem, they pay you, and they thank you for it, then you can move on to another type of customers. This is another critical piece to the puzzle in creating your system.
Not doing outbound outreach
If you are waiting for prospects to find you, you are you slowing your growth by as much as 10-20X. You know who your target is. You know where they are. Getting an email or calling list is as easy as finding your long lost friend on Facebook. A little search and voila. Yet most companies are still scared to interrupt someones day even though they believe they have something that can solve a problem for them. Makes no sense.
If you are against cold calling or sending cold emails you would be in the majority BUT since you are in the majority there are companies doing this growing by hundreds of thousands of dollars a month because they have ignored the majority and decided to use something that works. Something that is direct and simple and costs very little to implement.
When my brother created an outbound system built around calling and email he took PetDesk from $15,400 MRR in Jan 2015 to $68,800 MRR in Jan 2016. That is a 346% increase or 4.5x growth in 12 months.
For every pissed off SaaS company I cold email, I get three who are interested in learning about our services because I know they have a need and I know what their pain is and I know the solution. I had someone the other day tell me that after 3 emails, no one would respond, even though time and time again it has been proven that it takes 6 to 8 touches to generate a viable sales lead. Frankly I am glad people believe this. More leads and revenue for me and my customers.
If you are stuck and have inconsistent lead flow and inconsistent sales it’s because you are either waiting for your prospect to find you even though they may not know you exist or you’re doing outbound the wrong way. If you want to double your revenue start doing outbound like now.
Below is a graphic from a great infographic by David Skok of Matrix Partners in Boston. He took a subset of SaaS companies and came up with some incredible stats. Below is a distribution of go to market strategies for SaaS companies based on contract size. You can see $1000+ contract size is still primarily inside sales and field sales. Why? Because it’s the most direct and it works.
Even if your contract size is below $1000/year, say $19month, there are inexpensive ways to do outbound without having a sales team and still being able to go direct to your target customer.
Lack of a true sales system
You created a system, a technology that has created simplification in some shape or form but you haven’t created a system for your sales and marketing. Most of the clients we work with have a hap hazard way of going about sales and marketing. They have no set system. It’s spray and pray.
Let me ask you this. Do you have a set system in place that is performed each and every day? Is there consistency in your tracking and activity? Do you have several ways to generate leads or demos? Do you even have a goal set for the amount of connections you have in a week or the amount of demos you have.
If you cannot quantify your daily activity at a very granular level, you’ll never have a system in place to experience the growth you want to have. You put so much effort into building your software but a lack luster effort into selling it.
Remember what Peter Drucker, the father of business consulting said. “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
That’s right, marketing aka awareness is the unique distinguishing function of the business and this hold true today more than ever because with all the marketing dollars out there and forms of advertising, it’s harder and harder to produce a new customer with all the noise!
I cannot tell you how many companies spend tens of thousands of dollars on their software and have not ear marked even a few thousand to do marketing. The challenge is they believe the software is the distinguishing factor but the truth is, it’s your marketing and your system, or lack thereof. You MUST create a sales system and get granular about data and be methodical. Slow and steady wins the race!
Again from the same infographic by David Skok, you will see that the SaaS companies that are growing the most are spending the most on sales and marketing. It also scales up as they grow meaning it becomes even more important. Not rocket science but yet of our early stage clients don’t know this and aren’t prepared to out these amount of resources into selling. Those companies tend to lose big.
How To Double Your SaaS Revenue In 90 Days
Yes you can double your SaaS revenue in the next 90 days. The reason being is that most of you are almost there, you just need a few tweaks to the way you think about sales and marketing.
How To Learn More About This
If you want to get some more detailed information about doubling your revenue that I couldn’t fit in this article, we do live trainings daily. You can register for one here https://goo.gl/W5NHth
If you want to skip the training and get some free advice on how you can specifically double your SaaS revenue fast, we have aside a few times for some free SaaS Sales Strategy calls. Feel free to book a time in our calendar here. http://meetme.so/startupcmo These do fill up pretty quickly.