SaaS Breakthrough – Featuring Dan Taylor

demio saas breakthrough featuring dan taylorAbout Dan Taylor:

Dan Taylor is an entrepreneur who has co-founded 4 startups. After starting his career in Management Consulting with Deloitte he founded Dunross Consulting, an IT Consulting agency which was sold in a management buyout in 2011. Following on from this he founded a SaaS product called CourseDirector in the “Google for Education” ecosystem. This company was acquired by WizKids from Denmark in 2013.

And following on from the sale he founded and runs 2 companies, AppsEvents – a Google Professional Development Partner that organises Google Education summits and training events worldwide (over 300 annually) and EventsFrame – a ticketing SaaS for event organisers with “no ticket fees”. Outside of tech he loves exploring, surfing, snowboarding and squash.

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Show Notes:
A Competitive Platform in a Heavy Hitting Industry
Segmenting Customers
When Your Own Pain Meets The Market Needs
Dos and Don'ts of Using AppSumo for Initial Customer Acquisition
Building Virality Into Your Product
Integration Marketing and Partners
The Power of Podcasting
If You're Going to Start a Podcast
What You Should Focus On In The Early Stages
The LinkedIn Approach That Didn't Work
When Is The Right Time To Bring In A Marketer
Different Marketers Fit Different Parts of The Growth Journey
Challenges For 2019: Pricing Model
Lightning Questions

DA: 02:55
Hey Dan, thanks so much for joining me today on the SaaS breakthrough podcast. How are you doing today?

DT: 03:00
I'm great, thank you. It's a pleasure to be here.

DA: 03:02
Yeah, I'm really excited. We're going to have an interesting conversation about early stage SaaS companies and what it's like to actually get traction in. Want to learn more about where you guys are before we jump in to that traction conversation, why don't you give us a brief background about your company EventsFrame when you founded it, who the customers are currently and what you're trying to accomplish here in the marketplace?

DT: 03:26
Sure. Well, we started the company in beginning of well end of 2017, start of 2018 and I guess I guess to give a company story, I need to go back like a little bit further than that because I'm founder and CEO of also another company called AppsEvents, which is actually an events company. We're a Google for education partner. So we do a lot of technical training but also a lot of training for schools on using Google. So I started this company back in 2012 I ended up running, I run the first ever European Google for education event and then I did one in Bangkok and it kind of, you know, I had a SaaS, I had a different SaaS back then and this, I never kind of intended to end up running an events company. I just, I run an event to promote the SaaS went really well and made some money out of it. And then Google was like, do you want to run another one? And then I've grown it, you know, so last year we run about 300 events, so to come back to our SaaS. SaaS is called EventsFrame. I'm terrible at naming companies btw so AppsEvents is the events company and EventsFrame is the SaaS. But, but the reason we started a SaaS back in 2017 was, I was kind of, you know, like most people who run events, you start off with Eventbrite, which is obviously the biggest player in the market, that's kind of, you know, relatively low cost. You know, you pay about 3% of ticket fees and then it was getting expensive and I wasn't that happy with the service. So then we looked around for a bunch of other solutions. So we originally started developing the product because I wanted to build it for my own company. I had a big company running 300 plus events. it was worthwhile to do the investment to build a SaaS. I built and sold a SaaS before. So that was kind of the reason, the origin of starting the business.

DA: 05:10
Got It. Makes Sense. And what kind of customers are you bringing in now, now that the app is kind of past the one year mark?

DT: 05:17
Well, you know, it's a, it's a real, real variation. We did an, an AppSumo for, which I'm sure we'll talk about later, but most of our customers are people running conferences, like entrepreneurs running maybe one or several conferences, people running meetups, people running training, training sessions, you know, IT training and other sessions. So it's generally the smaller end of the market, entrepreneurs and SMEs, you know, running usually running, running several events a year.

DA: 05:47
And I guess just give us a little bit of a overview of like what the platform does that's unique I guess compared to the other players already out there.

DT: 05:54
Sure. Well, EventsFrame is a ticketing platform. So it's a way to sell tickets online. Similar to Eventbrite. What we've done, I mean, I guess there's a lot of, there's a lot of players in this market. We're very unique in the pricing in that we don't have a ticket fee. So typically like I mentioned, Eventbrite and other companies, they'll charge you anything up to three or 4% of the value of the ticket typically. And we just have a flat low cost. So you know, the only cost you pay as a monthly fee starting from $20 a month and the only cost you pay is to Paypal, Stripe or Braintree like we integrate with all of it. So yeah, that's that, that's kind of it now.

DA: 06:33
So you're launching a competitive platform in kind of a heavy hitting industry. Obviously there's Eventbrite and a bunch of other ticketing systems out there and it sounds like pricing is the main differentiation. Listen, Martech is really hard to build into software now. SaaS is really hard to build into cause there are so many competitive softwares. How are you guys specifically trying to find your segment, your product market fit? How are you, how are you really going to, bring in the right customer base or who is that customer base?

DT: 07:05
Yeah, yeah. Well look, first of all, I really need to improve my pitch skills because there's a couple of other differentiators as well. I think another one is we're really good for people who are running multiple events. Most of these systems, you know, you'll have a separate dashboard for each event and we can combine this. So I guess we've got two things as well, which is the integrations. We've really focused more than anybody obviously Demio was our first Webinar, so integrations and they're so... But in terms of product market fit, you know I think we very much started off in terms of I knew the customer persona of my company you know. Maybe we focused a bit too much or not being realistic about it but I knew I knew one type of company, a company running a lot of events a year and knew all the things they needed cause it was my company and I guess we built it originally just to go after similar, similar people. You know, that was, it was basically based on kind of that, that use case.

DA: 07:56
Got It. And I think a lot of SaaS companies are built from that. Right? You're solving your own pain. Demio itself built the exact same way. We built it off own pain but we learned a lot along the way that maybe like our use case and our story wasn't the best basis to build an entire company for. So we did a lot of conversations in the marketplace and a lot of changes has happened from early product even pre-release to release to now all things have changed.

DT: 08:22

DA: 08:22
Are you finding that that's true for you or are you finding that, you know, building the pain point product, a product for your own pain point, has kind of met with market needs?

DT: 08:33
Yeah, definitely. It's a lot of companies are different, you know, they see like a lot, even basic things. Like, for example, we, you know, we run all these conferences, even some big ones with 200 people, but, but we never check anybody in. And we realized pretty quickly that one example was lots of people wanted (inaudible) check in. So we had to build that put up pretty quick, you know? And, and we realized that, I mean, because I don't come from an events background, you know, I come from a technical background, I'm running this events company. Like I just kind of like an idiot, just tried to fit, just I set up my own way of running events and whereas there was a load of, everyone else was thinking completely differently, you know? So, yeah, definitely. We've definitely run up, I think against, against us not being, not being the typical customer, but you know, it, it was close enough to get those initial customers, you know, but, but it wasn't, it wasn't right, exactly right. That's for sure.

DA: 09:22
For sure. So it sounds like there's still education and learning to do right now. Still things that we got to figure out in the market. How to find the right customer base. Now you mentioned before like your initial customer acquisition strategy was AppSumo. Now I'm not talking about like beta or anything like that, but just like you did an AppSumo deal when you kind of launched everything like that. I think a lot of early stage companies, especially newer SaaS companies that are looking to bring in customers fast, quickly are looking at those AppSumo deals saying, hey, it's, this going to be a good, you know, is an ltd deal, right for us, that can be the right customer acquisition. Let's talk about it. How did it go for your company?

DT: 10:00
You know, it was, it was good and bad. There was some disastrous things there were some good things. I think. Look, if I had to do it, if the question was, if I could do it over again, would I? I would, but I do it very differently. So, you know, it's kind of a guarded answer, you know what I mean? I would do it again, but I would definitely change a lot of how we did it.

DA: 10:21
Okay. So, I guess let's talk about it from that perspective. What strategy did you go in with and then looking back on it, what were those major lessons or things that you would change in the future?

DT: 10:31
Sure. Well, we had a bit of prior knowledge, so one of, so I've got two cofounders and Simon, my technical co-founder. He was actually, technical co-founder of Leadpages actually back back in the day. But he didn't have AppSumo offer before, so he knew a bit about it, but you know, he wasn't really that involved in it. So his kind of information was really good, but it wasn't kind of a hands on. You know what, what really happened is, I mean, the way AppSumo works is like, like you said, you do a lifetime offer, you, you keep a third of the money, roughly speaking. So AppSumo keeps two thirds. You keep a third. So our offer was really low. It was like $50. So, you know, you're not making a huge amount of money you know, making sort of 15, $15 an offer. Now how we did it is, you know, and again we didn't get much guidance from AppSumo about this. That's one thing I think would really help if they did. But, but we, you know, a lot of companies when they do it, when you do an AppSumo offer, what they do is they've got a really well built out product you know, and they offer, they offer a limited subset of functionality for the AppSumo offer and then they try to upsell to all the other ones. That that's the way I would do it now, you know. I'd build more functionality than we have. I'd launch with AppSumo. Cause like, cause I've bought a few AppSumo offers myself, you know, and most and the good guys are really good at selling within the app by various ways, you know, Intercom and different things. We didn't do that. We, we basically, we were almost ready with our, with our product, we were using it. We had a couple of other customers, but we basically launched and ended up promising a lot of extra features to the (inaudible) the AppSumo people. And then that kind of wasted three to four months building, building all these functions. I think that was a big mistake we made.

DA: 12:09
Right. And then what happens is you're still struggling to find true product market fit and yet you spent three to four months going down this road map building features and functions or...

DT: 12:20
For these people that weren't really your customers cause some of them are, some of them are great. You know, there's a real mixture between (inaudible) people, some of them are great entrepreneurs and some of them that just like a real pain in the backside, you know, they really like they harass you about little things and then, and then you build the feature and they never even use it, you know? So that has a real mix in the, in the type of people you get on there.

DA: 12:42
I guess that looking at it, would there be any insights or changes to how you would handle kind of a roadmap if someone was also going through that process?

DT: 12:52
Yeah, exactly. I would. Yeah, like for example, I can give you the big one. So the big, the big thing we did, which I wouldn't do again, is we, so what happens is, you know, with AppSumo, I don't know if you've ever bought an AppSumo offer, but you can do what they call a stack code. So if one deal is $50 lifetime, you can stack 10 and you get extra things. And a lot of people were saying we want an agency plan and they weren't really clear what an agency plan was. But what it basically meant was, you know, they want it to buy multiple codes. So each, so each, each code allowed you to run unlimited events, which again was a big mistake that was unlimited and they wanted to buy multiple ones and then kind of, you know, manage events for customers and have it all under their dashboard. You know what I mean? So they wanted to do this and then we were kind of getting all these people and I can talk you through how to, you know, the detail of how we really, you know, cause we did a really good AppSumo offer back and tell you how to do that. But, but you know, a lot of the Sumo (inaudible) were saying we want this agency plan and then AppSumo themselves are saying can you do this agency plan? And we did it. And it ended up being, you know, most, when I say the three to four months of development, most of it was to build this agency plan. And we're not really sure, like you said about product market fit. We've sold this to a few people but it's, it hasn't been a big sale. It, it wasn't a thing we would have spent three to four months working on, you know?

DA: 14:07
Definitely. And that makes a lot of sense. And that's really kind of the danger zone that you can go into by doing those things. Would you say kind of looking back now, and by the way, I love AppSumo and I don't want to...

DT: 14:17
No, no, it's, it's a great company. Like I said I would, I would do it again, you know, I just would do differently.

DA: 14:23
Would you say it would be more beneficial to launch it in more of a mature SaaS area then as like your first launch or early stage launch because of all of the things that are expected out of it?

DT: 14:37
Yeah, I mean, yes, I would. I guess the thing is though, if you've already got some established, you probably don't need the AppSumo it's kind of chicken and the egg, you know, for us it was a great way to get some money, which was great. You know, it basically covered our development costs, which was, which was really cool so far. So, and it got a bunch of customers onto the system, you know, so I would do it a bit later. I would have just held on and then like I said, launch of a limited subset of functionality. And I wouldn't promise anything because anything you, anything you promise, even if you just say, you know, there's a forum and one of the tips if you do an AppSumo offer, they've got an AppSumo forum and you've really got to stay on top of all the questions and the same questions come in time and time again. You've got to answer it again and again, you know, they don't, they don't, you can't upvote questions so, so they appear, but anything you say to someone, they are on you, like, we want this, we want this you know, so, you know, I wouldn't promise. If you did this offer, I wouldn't promise any functionality and I'd promise even less than you already have.

DA: 15:34
Got It. Makes a lot of sense. And you know, appreciate you kind of sharing some of that knowledge base. So now that you have some customers in, even if you know they're not all utilizing the product, you have that, that customer generation starting, you also have really been looking into how you add virality, a viral coefficient into not only marketing but into the product itself, which is always a tough thing to do. You know, it's tough to figure out how to do that. How have you guys been looking at product and I guess product marketing to build in virality?

DT: 16:06
Definitely. Well, I mean it's a big thing in the ticketing event software space because if you think about it, you know, you run a, like we've got people on our system run events for three to 4,000 people. I mean that's, that's three to 4,000 potential customers, you know, you could have, so the virality is a big thing. You've got to balance it because of course you don't want to annoy your clients, you know, by having, by advertising your product. So there's a couple of ways we've done it. The first way is, you know, with, with EventsFrame, you know, we have like, we kind of have a powered by EventsFrame link at the bottom. So, you know, with, with us, with our system, you can embed the tickets in your own website, in Wordpress or whatever, or you can use, we've got a landing page builder, you know, so you can use our landing page. So first of all, we, we put a power by EventsFrame. People have the option to remove that, you know, because some people don't want what the EventsFrame logo, but then it's still says, you know, at the bottom in kind of smaller writing, you know, ticketing provided by EventsFrame. It's actually a legal requirement in the country where we're incorporated. So, so we have, we have our name and a clickable link on every kind of tickets, every customer screen. So that's, that's, that's the first way, you know. And then the second way is when a customer buys a ticket. When a customer of our customer buys a ticket, you know, the email they get has also powered by EventsFrame, or ticketing provided by EventsFrame at the bottom. So that's really the two ways we've got virality is on the, on the landing page in particular and on the emails for the attendees of events.

DA: 17:33
Are you utilizing plan segmentation to have a plan type that allows people to remove that or do you always want to have that for just that kind of viral coefficient?

DT: 17:43
We have. Yeah, we will. I think we will definitely. I mean, you know, the funny thing is our paying customers have never complained about it. It's only the AppSumo customers who, who've complained about it you know. But yes, you're right. We will have an option, based on, you know, on a tier plan to, to remove it for sure.

DA: 18:00
I think that is where we keep talking about, it's one of the hardest things, especially early stage to figure out. It's that roadmap priority based on customer segment. And that's why I like to start off by asking about product market fit because you know, you have to prioritize the features, the functions, the roadmap, the things that matter most for the customers that we'll utilize the platform the best. So it's really hard to appease everyone and especially if you're bringing in let's say 3000 AppSumo customers, early stage. But then you also have to balance that with like finding product market fit. That's where the challenge really comes in. So you just have to be careful of that. Do you have any metrics with the virality marketing stuff? Do you, do you know, or, or any tips on landing pages that you're sending them to after they're clicking on stuff?

DT: 18:44
No, and we need to, we actually just launching actually today, maybe when this podcast is live, we're just, we doing that though the website, putting it onto Wordpress. But, no we don't. And that's, you know, one of the many things we could be doing, we could be doing much better. I just want to add though, but you know this, again come back to Eventbrite, you know that will keep mentioning but obviously they're an amazing company, easily the biggest, they just went public in this. I mean they do it much more extreme with, with Eventbrite, you know everyone, you've probably bought a ticket yourself for Eventbrite. They actually try to get you to become a customer of Eventbrite. You know, they send you a link in email saying, hey, do you want to sign up for Eventbrite? So they actually really push there, the attendees to to do it. So that's kind of a, we haven't gone to that level but that, that that is a level you could potentially go to even.

DA: 19:32
It's always interesting because we kind of faced this too when the marketplace, because there's big players that had been around for a while, the marketplace kind of gets numb or used to a specific strategy or thing. And it's funny that you can kind of like, you can replicate those without pissing people off because they're used to it. But if you reduce it, you can still have a little bit of differentiation and add value.

DT: 19:52
I've kind of always thought exactly about exactly that. Yeah.

DA: 19:55
You got to try to figure out that, that perfect middle ground there and still get the results. So yeah, definitely getting the tracking, get some custom landing pages up, do some testing. Would love to hear that. How that goes in the future.

DT: 20:04
For sure.

DA: 20:06
Talking about these different types of marketing, I guess channels, one of the things you guys are doing early stage right now is starting the integration marketing process. A strategy I love, something that we did early on, and we did it basically for early stage customers, but it's now kind of transforming as we go up market. You know, this, this type of, this type of marketing takes awhile and you mentioned earlier Demio is now going to be one of your first webinar integrations.

DT: 20:33
It's our first (inaudible) webinar integration right now.

DA: 20:36
That's awesome. We're excited about it man, but like how are you guys or look, how are you actually doing it right now? Or how are you looking to utilize these integrations for marketing?

DT: 20:44
Sure. I mean, how we're actually doing it right now is, so we, we've got, it's mostly email, marketing, you know, email marketing systems. We've got Drip, ConvertKit, MailChimp, Aweber, everything, everything like this. So what we're doing is we built the integration and then really it's just reaching out, sending, sending these guys an email, you know, trying to get them to, trying to get them to feature on their blog basically. That's, that's, that's the bit of thing. You know, we've got Aweber and a couple of others, featured on the blog. Hopefully. Hopefully we'll be, hopefully we'll be on your blog, Demio blog as well. But that's really it. We haven't, and I'm (inaudible) if you've got any more tips, how we can really leverage this more, but that's, you know, it's, for us it's a big, you know, we actually genuinely have more integrations than anyone including Eventbrite. So it's a big sales thing and we need to get more out of it, that's for sure.

DA: 21:31
Well, I think it has to be a value based exchange, right? Like, how can not only the integrations be there, but can you lead a training event for, Drip's subscribers who are running events to showcase, you know, how to utilize the tools together. So it's all value base. You're on the blog, you have a training, you can send them, you know, some type of unique coupon code or something like that all value based until that becomes like a full on promotion. But you know, it depends on what your goal is. Are you looking for backlinks? Are you looking for customer generation? You know, for us we do a lot of things with our integration partners from, you know, running co marketing events, kind of co-sponsoring things with each other to direct webinars and stuff like that. And, and sometimes these partnerships take months or even years to fully develop. So you have to understand long term kind of thing.

DT: 22:23
Yeah. I, we've been discussing some of the things you said, doing the webinars, joint promotions. I think like I said, I think the stage we're at now, and maybe we should, maybe we should go into that stage. We just have been trying to build relationship. Obviously you know it's been amazing. We've spoke a couple of times. We're trying to get a relationship. Obviously you know, we want to be on the blog just because, well hopefully we'll get some traffic and people will see, okay, I'm already using for example Demio, Eventsframe is a great way to sell tickets for a Demio Webinar. So you know, hopefully it's going to lead to sales, but right now we're just trying to, you know, get the initial contact with these companies about half, you know already have, we've got (inaudible) having great discussions, about half we really haven't gone anywhere yet.

DA: 23:04
Yeah. It takes time. It really does. And sometimes you have to figure out like where's the value that we can add to them outside of just being on a blog post or something like that. Like can we do something...

DT: 23:12
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think the joint promotion and things is, it is, it really is a great one.

DA: 23:16
Yeah. And I mean another one for us, I mean transparently is also the podcast, you know, any way that we can give them value exchange is great. So this podcast has been wonderful for that as well, opening doors and, and kind of doing that as well. But one of the things you just mentioned before, it was kind of like how you're reaching out to these companies and you're also doing reach out direct campaigns. We'd love to know kind of how that's going, what's been successful and your reach out processes. Maybe a couple of tips or tactics for you guys, early stage that have been good to get your foot in the door with all these companies.

DT: 23:48
Yeah, it's interesting. You know, the best thing for me is exactly what you just said is the podcast. We've got a podcast as well. You know, I host a podcast called The Events Podcast. And it's, it's, it's been amazing. Honestly, it's one of the best thing. It hasn't led to that much money yet. But in terms of the connections I'm getting with people and, and it has led to some sales, you know, I mean I think I could have used, the number of hours I spent on it, on direct sales I would have more customers, but I think long term this will give a better, a better return, you know. Because you know, this, this podcast is all about anyone who wants to run events. And there's, we've got a real mix of listeners, you know, so we've got some complete, you know, people who run huge events and trade shows and conferences and music festivals and (inaudible). And then we've got most of the people who were kind of entrepreneurs, maybe wanna run some event to leverage their community, you know. So this, this has been great because I can speak to pretty much anyone and get them on, on the podcast, you know, which really surprised me. I was, I was surprised how easy it was to do that. And I, I think it only worked because my podcast, cause it's established. I think, I think I'm sure you found the same thing in the beginning when you're doing the first few episodes, people are kind of a bit skeptical, but when they see, okay they've got a lot of reviews in iTunes, they've got, they're doing an episode every week consistently for months. So that in terms of my reach out that that's, that's been the kind of the first thing I would say that that's really worked.

DA: 25:10
That's awesome. And I, I would say this, it's like if you're going to do a podcast, you don't have to do a podcast, but if you do that, some lessons that I learned, I'm kind of piggybacking off you, is be very niche specific on the podcast you're doing. How can you help your target market and speak about those things? It doesn't have to be an interview series. It can be all education, it could be five minutes snippets. You gotta be consistent with it and you gotta be ready. That is going to be a long term thing. Nothing's going to come quickly from it. But over time you'll gain relationships. You will see direct ROI. But honestly the biggest thing you'll get is those relationships, get credibility. You'll get branding all the great things you're looking for, but just be willing to commit for a solid amount of time to get through it. Like you said in the early stages, it's the hardest time, so be ready to try to really get as many emails out there knowing it's a numbers game. For us it was just like that. We utilize a lot of connections and friendships and stuff like that to kind of get the ball ball rolling. And then once it kind of started rolling, we utilized the logos and the names of others to establish credibility to their own podcast to keep that snowball rolling. So that was really good. Any other lessons or, or thoughts that you have for reach outs?

DT: 26:26
Yeah, I mean for me, again, you know, when I've really put time into chasing a company, I, you know, I've got, I've got some sales skills, I've done it in my various companies and jobs and stuff. I've never been a salesman, but I've, I've always had to sell, you know. I've generally been around people who are worse than me at selling, so I was the one who to do it. So, you know, I found just by literally cold emailing people, getting him on a, on a, on a, on a phone call. I've got customers that way. It's just, you know, when you've got a low price point, like we have $20 up to $250 a month and most people are on the $20, you know, 20 to $60 a month. You know, it works. But you know, and it's great in the beginning because it gets, it gets you some customers, but if you start thinking about it, is it, is it really that scalable? You know, if I did this full time, it would take a long time to really to push the needle that, that's kind of the issue I found with that I guess.

DA: 27:16
I would say this to you, I would say always focus at unscalable activities in the beginning until you're ready to scale. Especially if you don't have product market fit yet. No joke. At the beginning I was doing 12 hour days, about 10 hours of that day was on sales calls, just selling, selling, selling, selling. And I just had organic traffic coming in to create demos. And it was just demo, demo, demo, demo, demo, sale, sale, sale, sale. And honestly, they weren't always the best target customers and they weren't our target persona. But I drove MRR from like zero to 40K in like this unscalable way, you know, and I'm obviously not the only reason that we got to 40k but you know, it was just, you know, we took that unscalable activity and just said, let's just hit it hard. Let's just keep going.

DT: 28:01
It's great to hear you say that because everybody nowadays wants to set up a, you know, the four workweek business with an amazing, you know, some Facebook ads, lead to some split testing, landing pages, and then they make a fortune. And, and if you actually look behind the scenes of so many companies, it's, it's in the beginning, it's old school, smile and dial. You know, just, just get customers by whatever means possible.

DA: 28:21
Whatever it takes, whatever it takes at the beginning. And I think it's easy to fall in love with the easy strategies, but you'll often see that they don't either produce the best customers, which means higher churn, lower product usage. It doesn't always represent a great long term strategy. And we're talking early stage. Once you get traction, once you have moment you have the right customers, you have the right product, market fit, then you scale, then you're at the good place for that because now you're getting the right customers in. Your LTV is expanding, you've got expansion revenue, all the good things are in place for your SaaS business to be healthy. But early stage, you just gotta be in the mud, in the, in the trenches and you've gotta dig deep.

DT: 29:01

DA: 29:02
So that's what about hard lessons. What about things that you've learned, lessons like this. This is a great lesson, but you know, I love to hear, obviously the wins that's we've talked about, but what about things that have kind of failed or something that you wished you had done differently along the journey?

DT: 29:18
Sure. Well, obviously we've talked about the pros and cons of AppSumo. I tried, I spent a lot of time on Linkedin outreach and, and like, you know, we talked about the direct approach and part of it was Linkedin. I think it wasn't as effective as I thought it would be. I even paid a company, I mean the guy was a really cool guy, great guy. I don't want to say anything bad about the company. They do an approach where they kind of take over your Linkedin account issue connection request, that you sign up for Linkedin sales navigator issue, connection request and then send a message sequence. So we did this and, and that didn't really bring many, many leads. You know, maybe it was because I was a bit hands off and not doing it directly. But that that was the LinkedIn approach, was one that so far didn't, didn't work too well.

DA: 30:01
It makes sense. And I see those Linkedin requests all the time. It just becomes instant deletion now for me, it's one of those things that like tactics sometimes just go away. You know, strategy obviously of lead generation is always going to be there, but that tactic may be ending. I don't know, some people still have good success with it, but I guess you know where you are right now, you have still a large kind of hill decline being early stage, so much to do. What are you guys going to focus on here? What is critically important?

DT: 30:32
Well, yeah, again, I guess this was the other lessons learned is that, you know, so there's three of us who are co-founders, I mean I, I came up with the idea and started there, but then I got two other guys involved right at the beginning. One is Simon, he's a developer and the other one is James, he works with me in the other events business. I really wish we'd got a sales and marketing cofounder like right in the beginning. And it's actually what I'm keen to get your opinion because actually one of the things I'm thinking of now is trying to get someone in, you know, on a you know, with obviously as a basic salary in the beginning but an investing schedule, you get them kind of cofounder status because we've got a proven product that's profitable and I think, you know, we're in a good position to do that. But I kind of wish we'd thought about it more in the beginning. I mean it's tough, you know, cause I didn't have somebody handy who I was friends with and I trusted and knew well who was, who was a sales and marketing cofounder. But, but I think it would have really helped us.

DA: 31:21
I think my, my small piece of advice, we've talked about this before, where just be that sometimes I think it's hard to bring in a marketer early stage, like super early stage cause you don't have really much of a product to market. You can do some early stage branding and videos, kind of cool concepts, but it kind of takes you a little bit of time to, just like we said before, get in the trenches, here's our product, here's our customers, here's who we're for and here's what we saw. And then you bring in the marketer and you say, okay, now let's generate new leads and generate sales. To focus on the pipeline where their sole responsibility is focusing on that stuff. And I think things become so much easier. And then of course you can bring in a marketer to help build those things out, but you'll need someone that has, you know, the good experience to do that. So I think you guys would be at a great position to do it if you can afford it. You know, if there's any marketers listening, EventsFrame is looking for a marketer and there's a lot of equity involved it sounds like so that could be kind of a cool fit. But no, I think now it would be the right time for you guys. And I always love the idea of marketers focusing directly on marketing and it gets off your plate and you can focus on the other major pieces of the company that need to be focused on.

DT: 32:28
Yeah, definitely. I think you just, you know, I mean, and again I've started writing a detailed spec because it's really about the getting really the right person. You know, I want someone who do, who do like what you and me have have done in our (inaudible) like, you know, they're not scared to get on the phone and email and just, you know, do it, do whatever it takes in the beginning because we're still at the stage of whatever it takes to get customers, you know? And that's kind of a person we need someone who's, who's, you know, can, can grow into doing, working on funnels but also can, can do the direct sales and (inaudible) as well.

DA: 32:55
Yeah, that may be, you know, a specific person that you're really going to have to be detailed on. I think there's different marketers who fit different parts of the growth journey. Like the guy that takes your company from zero to a hundred k, maybe a hundred K to a million. I'm just making this up, but like 1 million to 10 million, 10 million to a hundred million. Those might be all different people because you needed points throughout. But just, you know, you need someone that is really good at the early stage part. But looking forward, you know, in 2019 outside of the marketer itself, what challenges or opportunities are you most excited for this year?

DA: 33:32
I think, you know, the challenge, so, so Eventbrite went public, you know, so they're obviously taking, you know, they've got well over 50% of the market so that they're going to continue to grow. I just, you know, honestly I think it's an opportunity. I think there was another competitor called TicketTailor, you may know, a UK company and they, they were kind of our one competitor that had fixed pricing and they've, they've abolished fixed pricing, which, which on the one hand, maybe it should tell us it's not a good idea. But on the, on the plus side it means it's just us you know, we're not really competing with anyone specifically who is doing this kind of pricing model. So we were getting a lot of interest because of that. So, so I think, you know, that's an opportunity as well. You know, maybe longer term it will tell us. There's definitely, you know, there's definitely more money in adding on a percentage of ticket fees, you know, but, but I think for now, I think, I think this could, could give us a boost.

DA: 34:20
We just recently did a survey based on watching a bunch of ProfitWell and listening to Patrick Campbell, who we're hopefully gonna have on the podcast here soon, watching much of his stuff about value based pricing. We've really decided to look at how we do pricing and battle some of the industry, I guess industry outline of how pricing is done for webinars. And we just surveyed a bunch of people. We paid for some paid surveys just to get a better understanding of like what people want to pay for, what they think is expensive, what they don't think it's, you know, the right features to have. So we're looking at future segmentation but also pricing. That's such an interesting question that you guys are going to have to figure out along the way. First of all, what would your target market pay for? What do they feel is valuable? You know, do they feel like a set price is really that big of a difference? If they're having a successful event and they're paying a percentage because it may not be people again that are like having as many events as you are running and your pain point may be totally different. So I'm interested to hear how it all goes, but sometimes those marketplace kind of shifts, help you to figure out like where you can win and where you have to kind of shift things.

DT: 35:26

DA: 35:27
That's awesome. But what I want to do now, it's move over to our lightning round questions. Five quick questions. Based on your experience, both in, you know, EventsFrame and your prior companies. Let's go ahead and get started in these five questions. You ready to get going?

DT: 35:41
I'm ready to go.

DA: 35:43
All right, let's do this. What advice would you give for other early stage SaaS companies starting today?

DT: 35:51
You know, I'd give the advice we just talked about and say, if you can get a sales, sales and marketing co-founder from day 1 or really have an idea how you're going to sell it, you know, don't try to figure it out as you go along.

DA: 36:02
I love that. I love that. Not just to focus on technology, focus on marketing and traction along the way.

DT: 36:06

DA: 36:07
What skill do you think is vital for marketing teams to improve and build on today?

DT: 36:12
You know, I think Facebook, just because everybody's telling me this now, you know, and, and it seems like you can't do sales and marketing without Facebook. We haven't even talked about it on this, but it seems like the one thing that everyone is focusing on now.

DA: 36:24
Facebook marketing specifically like with advertising?

DT: 36:27
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Facebook paid advertising, but also just marketing on Facebook.

DA: 36:32
Got It. What about a best educational resource you'd recommend for learning about marketing or growth?

DT: 36:37
I am, I really like podcast This Week in Startups with Rob Walling and Mike Tebow, I'm not sure if you know it. I actually run (inaudible) of Europe with, with Mike and Rob so I know those guys well. And actually I have to say not just, not just because you're interviewing me, but you have a lot of really cool interviews. I've been going through it this afternoon. So let's say your podcast, I'm going to add to the list of results.

DA: 36:56
Awesome. We made your list. That's fantastic. What about a favorite tool you can't live without?

DT: 37:02
You know, really simple basic one, but G Suite admin. I honestly can't (inaudible) anybody who isn't using Google, I'm not sure if you are or not. I just find everything Google Drive, Gmail. I even moved from an iPhone to a Pixel phone to have better integration. But I think it's just like such a no brainer for most businesses.

DA: 37:18
Yeah. I used to have a pixel too, I love Google. I really love their apps and everything like that. I love Apple too. But the Google Suite, like you said, I'm so intertwined with it with business and everything. It's fantastic.

DA: 37:27
What about a brand, a business or a team that you admire today?

DT: 37:33
I really like the Basecamp guys, formally 37 Signals. I guess when I was in this kind of getting into an entrepreneurial thing and a bit of an entrepreneur fan boy, they'd put out great content, a lot of good podcasts interviews. I bought their books. And you know, they were one of the early companies, I guess along with wordpress doing, doing the remote team thing, which is what I do as well, you know, on a big scale. So that's what I'd say.

DA: 37:55
I love it. We do it too. We're huge followers of them. Shout out to their newest book "It doesn't have to be crazy at work". That was a fantastic book, if you guys haven't read it.

DT: 38:04
I haven't read it as well. Is next on the list.

DA: 38:06
It's really good. It's really good. But thank you so much for jumping on with me today Dan. It was a real pleasure to talk to you to learn about your journey so far with EventsFrame. I know you're still early stage, but these kind of conversations, getting the new lands and new perspective on the different sizes of companies, the struggles, the tactics, the things that work are always so helpful. And you know, I just really appreciate you coming on and sharing.

DT: 38:30
Thank you very much David. I really appreciate it.

DA: 38:32
Thanks so much and we'll talk to you soon.

DA: 38:34
Wow. What an amazing episode. Just a big thank you and a big shout out to Dan Taylor and the entire founding team over at EventsFrame for allowing us to learn so much about their journey so far. It's always incredible to hear from so many of you SaaS marketers, Saas founders, where you are in the journey, the struggles that you've had, the lessons that you've learned. It's inspiring. It helps the entire SaaS marketplace, the entire community, especially us who, utilize a lot of these tactics and things that we get to listen to you every week (...)

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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.