SaaS Breakthrough – Featuring Carolyn Mumby

demio saas breakthrough episode featuring carolyn mumbyAbout Carolyn Mumby:
Carolyn Mumby is the CEO of Eledecks which she founded in 2004 and pivoted in 2016 to a SaaS model for customers to contract with via subscriptions. Carolyn has bootstrapped growth every year and has now 10,000 logins per month and tons of very happy customers. An animal portrait artist for 10 years, then Barrister, then legal services director for an employment law consultancy, Carolyn has found her niche in SaaS. Eledecks helps HR managers get their life back by decentralizing HR and enabling managers across the business.



Show Notes:
02:33
Starting a Lifetime Ago
04:01
Helpline Pains and Customer Centric Growth
06:50
Growing With Value Added Resellers
09:38
Big Lesson Learned About Growth Through VARs
11:30
GDPR Gives A Break
13:42
Attracting and Incentivizing VARs
17:30
Helping and Controlling How VARs Sell Using Micro Sites
19:32
The Webinars' Strategy Learned Here On a Past Episode
23:48
KPIs, Asking The Tough Questions and Gamification
28:01
Developing The Buying Process For The Customer
28:40
Everyone On The Team Is Responsible For Marketing
29:33
Marketing Changes Coming Up: Social Proof
34:11
Lightning Questions
Transcript:

DA: 02:14
Hi Carolyn. Thank you so much for joining me today. I'm super excited to have you here on the SaaS breakthrough podcast. Really, really interesting topics to talk about today. How are you doing?

CM: 02:26
I'm doing absolutely great. Thanks so much, David. It's fantastic to be on the podcast. I'm really looking forward to it because I do listen to you a lot.

DA: 02:33
I know I love our story in the intro I talk a little bit about how we met and why you're on the show today, but I think you have a fantastic SaaS and we'd love to learn a little bit more about, you know, Eledecks, what you guys are doing uniquely in the marketplace when you founded it and who your customers are.

CM: 02:51
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well, we started in 2004, which is quite a long time ago in most sort of SaaS companies, it seems like forever in a different lifetime ago really. And actually to a great extent, the business has changed so much in terms of technology, of the product and also the business model that it is a, it is a lifetime ago and obviously all the, the environment of the Internet and what customers expect has changed dramatically in that time. Our sweet spot customer is sort of between 25 to 500 employees and we help HR managers get their life back by decentralizing HR and enabling managers across the business. Those managers may not actually be all or be in a specialist HR , so they might not have HR talents or skills, but they do manage people, so we enable them to take on some of the responsibility for compliance and paperwork in relation to HR.

DA: 03:52
Wow, that makes a lot of sense. I can definitely see companies, especially in the early stage as they're beginning to scale really getting into that pain point area. So it sounds like a fantastic solution. You said you launched in 2004 and I know you came online in 2005, so there was about a year there building out the product, but you talked about evolution of the product. What actually evolved since 2005 to now, how has that software changed?

CM: 04:17
Well, you know, when we started it really, like most businesses, I guess we started to solve the problem and that came from an experience that I had personally as a lawyer. My background is an employment law in hr and I was working with legal services director for an employment local consultancy. We weren't national but we were a boutique in relation to some of the giants in the sector. And one of the problems that I saw all the time happening was the supply and demand problems that we were trying to deal with on the helpline. So you have a helpline and other, other areas of your, of your service such as contract drafting and tribunal representation and insurance. But the health plan was always the trickiest thing, because customers want to speak to the same person again and again and they don't just necessarily solve the problem the first time their phone, you can go onto several calls.

CM: 05:08
So that became really difficult. And also I noticed that people were ringing back several times to ask the same question, which was not great for us because obviously we're trying to manage the demand side. So I thought, well if we could put something online, and this was back in the day when really email was quite new. So. But I thought if we could, if we could put something online, which was like an informational toolkit for people and it was written by lawyers who understood the customer requirement and he could write it in plain English and it was something that was robust and reliable. The clients could go there instead of fending the helpline all the time so they could phone the helpline if they needed expertise. But if they just needed information they could use the toolkits. So that's where the product idea came from.

CM: 05:53
But my goodness, it's changed so much in, in those years because what I hadn't factored in is that a, that's the clients have lots and lots and lots of demands and that that isn't going to be enough because they, they, they like what you do, but they want something more. And they'll say, well that's great, but could you also do this? And it'd be really good if I could have my contracts online as well and it would be really good if we could manage attendance online and on it goes. So the business has grown in that way, very much customer driven.

DA: 06:21
It makes a lot of sense. I think software in itself is very dangerous in that way in that you can easily get overwhelmed with a ton of requests of places to take that software and you really have to have a strong focus to keep things centered and keep things moving towards the ultimate vision. It sounds like you started with a pain point and then you were able to let the market really feed into where that software goes. And so it's kind of evolved with the market itself. And what about growth? How was growth during this time, especially in the early days, but more so now?

CM: 06:58
Well, the growth was driven by another problem actually, and that was because we had to find a way of marketing the business, we're based in Northeast Lincolnshire in the UK. And that's really a coastal area and it's 50 miles to get anywhere, you know, you've got 50 miles to a main to a main motorway network. So there's lots of benefits to that. But there's also some drawbacks and one of them was getting out there to sell it as a small team. So I discussed this a lot with mentors and I would definitely advise anybody to try and recruit mentors as much as possible to help you, to grow your business. And I've found that we needed to overcome this. Not just throwing money at it, but think smart about it. So we said, okay, what we really need, resellers who can do this for us? And then of course you go down and it all looks fantastic to begin with on paper. Oh, resellers, amazing. That's going to solve all our problems. That's the silver bullet. And then of course you realize that actually people aren't just getting up every day thinking, how can I sell somebody else's product? And you then have to really put, you suddenly realize you've got another customer and your customer is your reseller. So we looked for value added resellers, people who had a really great synergy with our product and that for us was law firms and they were experiencing a problem at that time which was and that that problem has just got bigger, but that problem was that a very specialized businesses we're setting up with one aim and that was to take their customers and they were a virtual businesses. They didn't have all the overhead costs. They'd grown up as digital natives and they were really good at it and they were sales lead and that was a problem for a what the group that has become a value added resellers that really a value added focus on service. So what we help them do is get that service to their clients and stay in front of their clients day in, day out. Because if they can get their clients to use the portal portal GO, which is the analytics portal, then we can make sure we keep that VAR in front of the client.

DA: 09:16
No (inaudible) is the value added reseller. And so you're, you're going out and you're finding these you said it was a law firm?

CM: 09:23
Yes, yes. Usually (inaudible) although we do have some HR consultancies as well.

DA: 09:28
So HR consultancies, law firms that are going out there, they're trying to add more value to their customers and you're using them to kind of be your distribution source out to the end user. Similar to how we're using affiliates who are selling products for a commission basis. You're using value added resellers who're just putting them into their, into their pipeline. What does that do when you start like a marketing process really designed around someone else selling for you? Is that something that slows down growth? Have you found that as a challenge or have you found that as kind of an easier win for you guys to get bigger distribution faster?

CM: 10:04
That's such a fantastic question because it has two parts to it. You can get growth that way. You can get pretty much immediate growth that way, but you can't get scalable fast growth that way. Not In our experience anyway, and so it was enough for us to grow and fuel the development of the business, but it's been very slow growth. What's happened is that these partners, as we call them, these VARs, they are, they work closely with us to a certain extent, but they're always in a way, it's always been a white label offering for them. So we haven't really, Eledecks brand hasn't been in front of that customer and that's been a problem for us. Yeah, it's been a problem because what has happened is they've had complete control over the relationship and the engagement with that client. They've paid us a fee, a license fee for a reselling the product and we've done all the technology and we've done all the customer support, but we've done it in a white label way. The problem with that was that if we had a new release and we wanted to tell the client about it, we couldn't because, you know, the partner was, was completely responsible for any kind of marketing messages to that client. So that was a bit of a schoolboy error when we started out. But you know, how you make them and you learn. But unfortunately, unfortunately it's taken us a long time to get straight on that.

DA: 11:30
So is that like a business model issue that you found that you needed to change in marketing and when you, when you did figure that out, what are you, what are you doing to shift that to give a little bit more control back into the marketing process?

CM: 11:40
Well, the, the actual law firms that we, because we've chosen the law firm model and it works really well for us in one way because when they make a decision they stick with it for a long time. So that's fantastic. That's the good side of it. The downside of it is that law firms work on a committee basis, so they are basically a group of individuals making decisions and this can cause your, you know, the, the flow of processes, even a marketing decision to roll out a new campaign, a, even if you've got the, the decision made by the management committee, that can actually be changed when you leave the building because an individual can make it their business to interfere with that decision. So, you know, that's really, really difficult. So we had a break awhile ago when GDPR and I don't know how many people are aware of it in the states, but it's huge here in Europe.

CM: 12:35
GDPR the general data protection regulations came into force and we'd been planning for it for two, three years now. And that has meant that in relation to personal data, which of course HR is based on a lot of personal data, you have to tell users who are uploading data to your servers, to your platforms, you have to tell them who is in control of that ultimately. And as the processor Eledecks therefore was able to come out from behind that white label and say actually there's really now an imperative. We have to, we have to be known who, you know, to your clients and we are now able to talk to them. And actually this is a really good thing because we, we are much better at knowing about our products and we can take all of that off your shoulders and start really helping your clients to unlock the value of the portal.

DA: 13:23
That is awesome. Sometimes it's really about timing and like how things kind of unravel in the marketplace. It sounds like in the states we definitely know about GDPR, like everyone freaked out about it over here too. But it sounds like that was a great opportunity for you guys and really has kind of shifted things, so incredible moment there for you guys. And speaking about the VARs, I just want to know what are you guys doing to attract them? How do you find these value added resellers and how do you incentivize them to become resellers? I think it's such an interesting distribution method in a fantastic synergistic way to, to work with people. Like you said, they're super sticky and in the process once they come in, but how do you actually find the right VAR?

CM: 14:07
Okay. Well it's not a huge market because, so we can contact them personally. We're looking at typically about 500, a market of about 500 potential VARs for us in terms of law firms so we can contact them personally. And Linkedin is great because I use that quite a lot to, you know, obviously as a lawyer myself and in this space, they're very interested in this sort of self select that that leaders who are interested in this kind of thing self select because they'll contact me or they'll accept an invitation, so that's great. There's also networking events of course, but sometimes their clients tell them about us which is even better and then once we find them we start to build a relationship but we to do something new because although we incentivize them in terms of revenue share and that is something which due to the regulations they have to stay to their clients that they're receipt of it, the commission. We pay a 30 percent commission, which is pretty standard I guess if you're looking at anything to do with affiliate marketing. So there were synergies there as you mentioned earlier, David, but there has to be more offer for a law firm because what they're not setting out to do is to sell software in order to make a 30 percent commission. That's just not where they're coming from. They're looking for benefits that can help them make much bigger sums of money from increased budget share of a from a client, so it will say some, okay, if you look at your law firm there, you're probably in your employment law department, might be taking, let's say, I don't know, 10,000 pounds a year from this particular client, but it might actually, you're probably leaving a lot of money on the table because your other areas of your business could be, could actually be taking a, a larger slice of budget in relation to maybe their commercial needs and so on.

CM: 15:54
And so they get that and the other thing is it's a great retention tool and it's also a really good way of winning business. They've used it a lot, in my experience, have used a lot to win tenders, so if they're going out to maybe a housing association or an organization that is looking for a whole package, they'll advertise that out on a platform, tender platform because of the government regulations they have to do it in a public manner. And then the. What's the differentiator? Well, lawyers can say to let blue in the face, it's service were just fantastic at service, what else can they do? They can argue on price. Well now they can use the portal, the Eledecks portal GO system to say, look, here's a free product. We're going to give you this and this is going to solve a lot of problems for you. So that's a winner and I've seen them win a lot of tenders with that.

DA: 16:44
That's fantastic. That's really looking at your product from the level of what are the benefits for this specific industry that they'll get from using this product and how can add my product to their offerings really help them. So I think a lot of times when people look at affiliate programs or you know referral programs or VAR program is they're thinking just how can we incentivize them with commissions structures, but it goes so much beyond that. I think that's such a a great idea and a great way to handle these types of situations where you're really digging into how does this benefit the end user and the customer itself. The VAR itself, but the end user really, how are they getting the most benefit? So getting this free platform that really helps them, it saves them time and money and stuff like that. So that's. That's fantastic. And for these VARs, are you providing them, like you said before, you couldn't really market to the user, but are they providing you or are you providing them marketing collateral? Are you providing them like a sales conversion mechanism? How do they, how do they actually get to to that selling part and how are they able to do that well, when you know software so well.

CM: 17:52
I really feel that we're at a junction in our development, which is perfect timing in terms of what's available out there and the tons of other SaaS products that can help us achieve the things we've been dying to do for a long time. One of our biggest problems with VARs is that they might have a, they will usually have a marketing department and that marketing department likes to control everything that goes on and the of course, because anything to do with promotions because they have to care about branding. And they have to do that because they going to look up to the front of that said job; one of the problems is that they tend to be very, very busy so we can come along with our idea and just stand in line with everybody else. And it doesn't matter how many champions we've got in the law firm, they still will have to wait in a queue to make anything happen via marketing. So that just introduces another stakeholder and another obstacle. So what we've been wanting to do for quite a long time and now we're able to do it, is to launch micro sites for each of the VARs so that they can share links with their clients through email, via their website and on social media or whatever, whatever sort of channeling want to use to drive traffic to those microsites and those microsites are branded up for the for the VAR. But they tell the story that we want to tell. And it also references Eledecks on it, which is great. Because client's gonna find out about this shortly. And they're going to say, well, who knows this, you know, we're, we're signing up to a signing up to a portal GO account, it's free, yes, but it was this Eledecks suddenly appeared and that we've got some terms and conditions and here's a data processor that I didn't know about, so we're able to control that as well.

CM: 19:32
And then we're using, we're very excited about the power of webinars and I was listening to Bob Jenkins of Leadpages talking to you, David, about how they use webinars. Yeah, it was. And they using webinars in the funnel because all routes lead to the webinar and that's the strategy that we're using now. We're just just launching it and as you know, this is how I discovered Demio and I'm delighted that we have because it's so much more flexible than any other webinar platform that we've used in the past. We have used them for years, but only really for contacting, for really doing work with VARs. Now we're going using them for the end user. So, you know, we need a lot more flexibility in terms of branding and so forth. The, what I like about the idea of driving everybody to the webinar, which was, as Bob Jenkins said, was that it's really great for measuring the ROI on all your efforts.

CM: 20:33
I mean, we're a small team here. We bootstrapped this business and we still are bootstrapping and I, I would advise anybody to do that as long as they can me say it's a great thing to do. You have a lot of control over your choices and you're very flexible. That's all good stuff, but it also means you haven't got lots of people to just sit at a desk and say, could you do this all day? So we all have to be, you know, we have to do the multitasking, so we need to be able to look at a source like this and say, okay, which of our efforts is really working to drive traffic to this webinar registration page? And that's fantastic for us. So that's where we're going with it. And I'm looking forward to it. It's, it feels like it's the right timing.

DA: 21:17
I'm so excited for you guys. I think this is going to be a great strategy. I loved that episode with Bob in the Leadpages' team and you know, we're bootstrapped team ourselves and we do the same thing. We really are scrappy. We try to figure out what's working, what's not, and the biggest mistake I think continually looking back that I see is that we've tested so many different channels oftentimes too quickly or not long enough and then oftentimes we've tested multiple channels at once. Putting our efforts all across the board and we're continually trying to figure out what ROI are we getting from the different pieces and what we really kept coming back to is like we didn't have one solid conversion mechanism that we could just look at and be like, this is giving us ROI now. We just need to drive traffic to this piece and that's the webinar piece. That's exactly what you guys are doing. So it's just about finding, you know, creating that conversion piece, that webinar and then driving traffic from different places into that because now you know what you'll get back for all that traffic and I think it makes life so much simpler when you just have one path instead of 50 past, you have to look all these different conversion mechanisms and all these different traffic numbers and stuff like that. So that's a great, great way to do. I would love to hear back from you guys later this year once you get things set up on how that goes and I'm excited that you get to bring your brand a little bit more to the forefront here.

CM: 22:36
Well thank you. We will go ahead. Yeah, I'd really like to feedback because actually I know that Bob inspired me and then said that you know, he's done maybe a thousand webinars, which was a little bit daunting, but we've set ourselves this task because we know if, if we can look to Leadpages' success, then you know, that's why not. Why can't we do it? Of course we can. So we're going to put the effort in and as you say, it all feels doable. when as a smaller team you can set, it's very easy to get distracted and overwhelmed. So it's really great that we can really focus. So looking forward to that.

DA: 23:11
I love that. No, 100%. When I heard that number from Bob myself, I was blown away. A thousand is perseverance and dedication to a goal and I often see inside of Demio itself, I'll see people do one webinar and they'll quit and they'll just say, this isn't working for me. When this is an ongoing process, this is a a mechanism that takes time to build, create, optimize. So if someone can do it a thousand times, you can definitely do it more than once, but just a great reminder from you guys and what you guys are doing that you know, steady focus and progression on a goal, will definitely take you there and I think you guys will get some amazing results as you do this. And I want to flip over to KPIs. When you guys are working with VAR campaigns and looking at organic traffic, do you guys have specific monthly quotas or KPIs that you're typically looking at and trying to hit?

CM: 24:01
Well, it varies from the VAR because you can't just impose your own KPIs on. What you can do is try and inspire them and the times I've heard them say, well, you know, Carolyn, what's everybody else doing? And I think, well okay, there's got to be somebody's first and you've really got to push it to make it happen. So what we've decided to do with this particular campaign is we've said we'll do it as well, which is really unusual. We've never done that before, but we've said, okay, we will do it ourselves from the Eledecks website. At Eledecks.com you can actually sign up for portal GO and get the free account, the same as you would through a value added reseller channel. the difference is that you won't get obviously the expertise of that value added reseller, which is one of the key components I think of what we do because we bring advice and technology together. So, so we're a bit, we've got one hand tied behind our back to a certain extent, but we also have an ecosystem with Eledecks so we can actually plug in some of our partners to give legal advice should our clients wanted. But it's not really our main game. We, Eledecks, it's really about technology. So we said, okay, well we'll go out there and we'll show you how it's done, but please follow closely. And I was so surprised by the response. I thought they would say okay and sit back and say, okay, get back in touch with us in six months and let us know how it's gone. But they haven't. They've said we want to join in. This looks fantastic. So we're really thrilled because this is quite an unusual response they're much more guarded normally. And so I'm really excited to see them joining in so enthusiastically and they're actually ringing us now and saying when will those microsites will be up, when can I access this?

CM: 25:51
And we've had some calls from marketing departments, which is absolutely unheard of, saying we would like to see these as well because we want to do something similar on the website as well to give you some context before they, they bounced before the client actually sort of lands on the, on the microsite. So we're very, very keen to, to, to launch it. So yeah, there's a lot that's different to how it normally is and we're supporting a vase with this whole new system. So it's quite a, it feels massive. But we are managing every step of it and what we're doing with this as a discipline, we're saying every week we're saying, okay, we've moved all these pieces of the jigsaw puzzle into place. Now what we need to do is stand back and say, where are the weaknesses? And let's be really, really honest about it. Let's not just gloss over it and say, oh, that'll work out. It's okay, it'll be all right, and we're really asking that tough question and saying, look, okay, what about in six months time? Are the, our law firm partners going to be quite as enthusiastic about this? Well, maybe not. So why don't we include some gamification, on the, on the microsite pages to help people with leader boards and thIngs about referrals, for example.

DA: 27:04
That's amazing. I really love the fact that you guys went into this proactive mode and all of a sudden you're seeing marketing teams spark up and say, oh wow, that's really awesome. We'd love to do that. Or we want to follow your lead. You're kind of leading the marketing and just shows that if you put that initiative, that forward facing initiative out there, those partners of yours will follow because they, oftentimes, I think when sometimes you rely on them, they have so much work on their plates. It's hard for them to take the initiative first, but you take the initiative for them and then all of a sudden things really start to fall in line a little bit better. I look at Convertkit, I think they have a really amazing affiliate program and they go out of their way consistently to give all the resources and all the things that they can to their affiliate partners to say, we'll market and do everything for you. You just follow us along the way. That sounds like you guys have now got that into that area with the micro sites in this whole process, so again, really excited to see how things go. How this all kind of works out. Would you say now I guess after 13 years of running Eledecks, this is probably going to be your biggest marketing win or would you say it's something else in that process?

CM: 28:11
Yeah, it really is going to be. We've got very big ambitions for portal GO. It's something which we've, because we've got the technology completely sorted and were obviously of course it's always growing, but we've always focused on developing the product for the customer, but now we're focusing on developing the buying process for the customer and we're putting all that energy that we normally put into the product. We're putting it into the buying process and none of us are marketers. None of us. We haven't got a marketing officer or anything. We're all responsible for it. Everybody thinks about it. Our dev team, think about it, you know, our customer service team thinks about it and that is what I feel is a differentiator. We're saying to our clients, you need to decentralize HR because that's how you're going to make, be more successful at HR for the future and manage with this overwhelming amount of work. Well, we're doing the same with marketing and of course when we can afford it, we'd love to have a marketing officer, but we can't afford it right now. So for now we're having to manage that ourselves, but even when we do afford that marketing officer, we'll still expect to be fully involved as a team.

DA: 29:24
Oh, I love that. I absolutely love that. I want to definitely implement that rule into our team as well. Everybody's job is marketing. That's fantastic. And where do you see marketing changing? I mean, I guess we're almost in Q4 of 2018, which is crazy. And where do you see marketing changing in 2018/19 and how do you stay relevant in a fast moving market, especially a SaaS market in HR that is growing?

CM: 29:48
Yes. Well, we've used or started using Appcues to help us unlock the value of the, of the portal because of course one of the problems is so, well not a problem, but it's the next stage. You've got your lead generation, you've got your free users on board,now you need to look after them. You don't want churn. So Appcues is helping us with that and we're very excited to be using them. In fact, actually it's a highlight of the week sitting down to do that math because we've got such depths of knowledge and our customer service team understand it so well. So that's, that's brilliant. But we're exploring new stuff, which we, we are learning about all the time. You know, we'd go onto different websites as everybody does and you think, oh, I like that. What's that? We've recently seen quite a bit of social proof software about, we've started to, because we've come out of a white label, you know that veil from behind the veil of white label, we're able to get onto the sites where we can ask customers to go and do authentic reviews and they've been doing that and we're very excited to see, they are pleased to see us, our ranking going up the up the list because when you go onto something like capterra.com, you see 400 or 500 hr resource software products and you think, my goodness, how are we going to stand out and differentiate ourselves here? But we very quickly realized that was possible. We needed to get some of our customers to talk about their experience and they do and they're honest. You know, and that's something you have to sort of think what you, when you first see them. I mean you get five stars, five stars, five stars, and then somebody has the temerity to put four stars and you think, how, how, how could you put all this effort that's going into?

CM: 31:29
And that's when you really learn stuff and it's brilliant because then you get involved in the dialogue with the client and you see mostly you see that probably they Just missed it. They didn't know that thing was there that they could use that feature or that functionality. And you think, well, oh crikey, that's our job. We have to, we have to show them how to use that. So Appcues is helping us with unlocking, unlocking the value. And I think that their whole thing is a circle. You've got the social proof. I myself, when I'm looking to buy something, first thing I do is who else is buying it? What do they think? And I do that. I dismissed the each end of the scale, you know, the raving vans and the people who can't stand the product and I look at the middle, the middle ground, and those are the people that influenced me again, again, so social proof. How do we get that as a Eledecks portal GO product, how do we get that pass the VAR? Because I need them to start using the power of collective social proof. You know, we've got 30 law firms that we work with, that's much stronger than one law firm using a social proof alone. I want them to, using and accepting that we're going to start to need to use the power of the group for this social proof marketing tool and when we would, we need to think that through, but there's, there's lots coming on stream and that's just one of the things that we want to get to grips with.

DA: 32:54
So exciting. Now, I'm generally so really just so excited for you guys. I would say one thing with you guys are looking at using Proof. We set up basically a um, a zapier zap that basically fires off all the customers from Stripe into one specific proof notification. So you could ultimately take all 30 of those people if everyone agreed and we're okay with the social proof plug in and use all 32 just feed into one notification that wasn't all those different micro sites. So you had that continuous loop of new customers but they are coming from the different VARs across the board. So I just want a really cool thing about proof and having those endpoints and I mean you're basically showing the social proof of your platform just across the different resellers. So that could be something...

CM: 33:41
That's a really good idea because we're using Zapier for other things and it's such a useful platform and zapping everything is just such a relief to have them available. I've been seeing seeing their work for a long time and now they seem to be just everywhere, which is of course brilliant for us because all of these things become more affordable as well.

DA: 34:06
Totally. Yeah. How do we live our lives before Zapier? I don't understand, but awesome. What I would love to do now is flip over to our SaaS lightening round questions where I just ask you five quick questions and you can answer with the best answer that you can think of. And it's really fun and we'll just go through five right now. You ready to go?

CM: 34:23
Yeah, for sure.

DA: 34:24
Let's do it. Alright. What advice for early stage SaaS companies starting today would you provide?

CM: 34:31
I would say focus on your business model and your tech on your sweet spot customer that that would be my key piece of advice.

DA: 34:40
I love that. And sweet spot mark, sweet spot customer, you mean like your customer avatar, your perfect customer?

CM: 34:45
Yes. Yes, absolutely. Don't get distracted by lots of shiny objects.

DA: 34:50
Oh man. It's so easy to do.

CM: 34:52
Yeah. I mean, okay, your software could scale to enterprise customers, but do you really have the business model to see that through.

DA: 35:00
Such a great answer? What skill do you think is vital for marketing teams to improve and build on today?

CM: 35:07
Well, I'd have to say social proof actually, but it's not the only one. I also think, there are so many, but you know that that one I, I think yeah, social proof and that's a skill really because I think a lot of teams think of it as a nice to have, but I don't think it is. I think it's becoming really cool.

DA: 35:28
Do you see that also as case studies, testimonials or just something like a social notification?

CM: 35:33
I think. I think it's across the board, it can be whatever you want it be and it's probably going to grow much bigger and we're going, it's going to develop into a category that's much wider than we see at the moment. Yeah. I mean you used to sort of, for example, knowledge sharing, knowledge sharing is huge. And I'd like to get into knowledge sharing and understanding some, some software that we might be able to use to help our clients, our end users, the people that are actually in the HR managers and the managers start using the knowledge base within the product. So that would be a kind of social proof because it's giving, when somebody goes look at it and test the product out, they think, well, I like it in here. I feel comfortable because there are people like me using it.

DA: 36:13
That's awesome. That's a really great answer. What is the best marketing educational resource you'd recommend for learning about marketing?

CM: 36:21
For learning about marketing? Well I just use so many different things. It depends what area, things are so specialist David, that I go to different areas for different aspects of it. At the moment I'm completely immersed in everything up Appcues and they've got an enormous library of resources. So we're learning a lot around that right now.

DA: 36:44
They have a great blog too. Yes, a great resource to go check out. What about a favorite tool you can't live without right now?

CM: 36:53
Well, we, we've always used online spaces that can bring stakeholders together. For example, webinars and meeting rooms and that's why we're using Demio of course, but we, we, we, so you Skype if it's on the fly, these things are really important to all to our world. I couldn't live without those.

DA: 37:10
Absolutely. That video communication, those communication tools. All right. Last question. brand, business or team that you admire today?

CM: 37:18
Yes. I think that would be CB Insights, the tech market intelligence platform. They have such a great team and their CEO Anand Sanwal writes one of the very few newsletters that I spend time reading each week. It's a great story too, but you know, how they bootstrapped to 10 million ARR and, and, and added a note to that with the help of funding. So that's pretty amazing and definitely worth looking up, videos and looking up on Youtube because, oh, the one I've just been watching recently was "Don't do these 68 things in your SaaS company", which I've found really funny, quite daunting idea over thinking about 68 things you shouldn't be doing, but of course he makes it very amusing. So it's worth looking at that one.

DA: 37:58
I'm sure we're doing 65 of those things, but I'll definitely have to check it out. Haven't heard of CB Insights, but that sounds incredible. We'll make sure we link that up in the resources section on the breakdown as well. But you know, I just really want to say thank you so much for taking the time to share so much great insights. Share the knowledge of what's working at your company and it's been such a valuable 30 minutes. So thank you so much for jumping on.

CM: 38:21
Thank you David. I really thoroughly enjoyed it.

DA: 38:23
It was a ton of fun. Have a great rest of your day and thanks again. Wow, what an incredible episode.(...)

Resources:
The Episode With Bob Sparkins (Jenkins) of LeadPages:
https://learn.demio.com/podcast/saas-breakthrough-featuring-bob-sparkins/
You can get HR off your desk for free by creating a Portal GO account at:
https://eledecks.com/
Connect With Carolyn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/carolynmumby/
CB Insights: Don't Do These 68 Things in Your SaaS Company:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fx1OXZAGd-I
Follow along on Our Journey to $100k MRR
A shaky start? No doubt. Yet, three years later, we've got our eyes set on $100k MRR. We'll be sharing everything along the way.