SaaS Breakthrough – Featuring Nathan Bliss

demio saas breakthrough featuring nathan blissAbout Nathan Bliss:

Nathan Bliss is the VP of Sales and Marketing at Kinsta, a managed WordPress hosting provider that helps take care of all your needs regarding your website.

Nathan is a data-driven sales and marketing leader with more than 12 years of experience founding companies and leading teams.

He is an expert in SaaS tools for small and mid-market businesses, collaborating with remote teams, and has worked at companies like PayPal and Flywheel.

A loyal baseball fan, father of 3, and proud Texan, Nathan has a passion for connecting prospects with solutions that help their businesses grow and thrive.

meetdemio · How Kinsta Expands Platform Sales Worldwide with Multicultural Marketing

Show Notes:
02:55
Born To Change The Status Quo And Create More Robust Solutions For Quality WordPress Hosting
04:15
Joining Sales And Fast Transitioning To Leading Sales And Marketing
07:00
Leveraging A Background In Sales In A Marketing Role
11:05
Carving Out A Niche With A Persona Who Values Performance
13:30
Leveraging A Background In Sales To Hone In On The Right Persona
"What really helps here is having a background in sales. And the reason I mean by that, what I mean by that is I've talked to a lot of those people over the years and, and when I say I've talked to a lot of them, I've spent hours on the phone with them. And I know that's not true of every marketer. And I know we think about serving our customers and those personas of our customers. You know, in ways that we can do that. But that is one way that my sales background has helped me out a lot. I've talked to a lot of developers over the last four years. I've talked to a lot of agencies, I've talked to a lot of freelancers, so we've been able to take those personas and kind of segment those."
14:50
Working A Lot On The Ad Copy
"We make sure that we have content that speaks directly to those individuals and the problems that they're experiencing. And then make that transition from speaking to those problems with identifying clear demonstrated direct solutions to those problems. And then we ask for the sale."
15:35
Expanding Authority Gained With Written Content Into Audio And Video Content
16:35
A Geographic Expansion Baked Into The Company's DNA
20:25
The Challenges Of Multilingual Content Marketing
22:05
An Hybrid Approach To Creating Paid Campaigns In Different Languages
23:42
Best Advice For A SaaS Wanting To Expand Into Other Languages
"First running experiments, testing, identifying different tools, going out into the marketplace and identifying the right people to work with and then starting small and then finding out what works and doubling down on it really quickly and then scrapping anything that's not working and getting rid of that equally as quickly. So if I were to go through this exercise, knowing what I know now, that would be one thing I would be super suggestive of is don't try and bite off more than you can chew first. I would tackle that next language for you and your product first and then really kind of branch off from there after you've been able to see some successes."
25:00
Testing A Webinar Strategy With Long Term Lens
"And that's some of the uniqueness of our business, we are not venture backed as in that. So we kind of own our own destiny in a little bit of a way so we can make those maybe more long term, longer lens views of some of these strategies and really give ourselves the runway and the room to be able to see them grow and learn as we're going through them."
29:20
What To Do If Remote Work Is A New Hat For You
32:40
Team Leaders Need To Be Really Cognizant Of People's Mental Health
34:35
Don't Be Afraid To Make Changes
36:40
Be Acutely Aware Of What People Might Be Going Through When Messaging Out
38:50
Lightning Questions
Transcript:

DA (02:43):
Hey Nathan, thanks so much for joining me today on the SaaS breakthrough podcast. Excited to have you here. Have Kinsta on the podcast. How are you doing today?

NB (02:51):
Hey, doing great David. So excited to be here. Thank you so much for reaching out and eager to chat. This is going to be great.

DA (02:57):
Yeah, it will be. I know we love chatting with amazing SaaS companies like yours. But if, you know, our viewers are listening and they don't know Kinsta yet, why don't we just start off the conversation by explaining a little bit about what Kinsta does, when it was founded, who the customers are and what you're doing uniquely in the marketplace, which I realize is a lot of questions, but...

NB (03:17):
That's great. So Kinsta we're a managed WordPress hosting company hyperfocused on performance and providing the best customer experience in the industry. Founded back in 2013. You know, we were born out of kind of this desire to change what we saw as the status quo, create more robust solutions for people searching for quality WordPress hosting in a nutshell. I think the marketplace for us has really appreciated how simple and robust our dashboard is. It's a very contrasting experience to legacy experiences like CPanel, things like that. Also, the level of performance we provide, you know, the same technology that YouTube and Gmail run on, we run on as well. And then just kind of the level of expertise and speed of our support. And you know, we're number one in our category and G2, which we're really excited about. So things like that, that's, that's a good overview arc of Kinsta who we are, where we came from, those types of things.

DA (04:14):
Oh, that's fantastic. Yeah, a much needed kind of service there. What did you actually join the Kinsta team?

NB (04:19):
Yeah, good question. So I actually jumped on board with Kinsta in October of last year. In my newer role where I actually serve as the VP of sales and marketing, that role in particular started in February of just this year.

DA (04:32):
Wow. So that's a pretty fast transition there. And you know, you've been there for what, about eight months now, correct?

NB (04:39):
That's exactly, that's correct.

DA (04:40):
Awesome. So in that transition, what brought you into that transition from you know, purely sales into sales and marketing? Was there a hole in the company? Were you looking to fill like a new career move for yourself? What was kind of that like growth move forward?

NB (04:54):
Yeah, kind of everything in all of the things that you just mentioned. Definitely for me aspirationally. It would be accurate to say that my next move in my career for me personally was to become a vice president of sales. Now I'm also here to today as an ambassador of Kinsta as the vice president of marketing. So that has been a newer endeavor for me and a newer exercise, you know, I hope to come at that and for Kinsta to attack that with fresh eyes. I think I do that. And kind of have kind of a revenue mindset as a North star in mind always. So definitely learning as I go with respect to marketing and things like that. But Kinsta has done, built a really, really great foundation. So that transition's been actually easier than I anticipated. Not easy, but I wasn't aware of just how strong our foundation was until I was in this new role.

DA (05:48):
So coming into the new role of kind of VP of marketing specifically, what are you needing to focus on? What's kind of the immediate requirements, goals, what do you have to get caught up on to get into that process? To really make sure that that team is flourishing.

NB (06:02):
Yeah, that's a good question. For us, it's the marketing team in particular is, is a newer, newer team and we've been growing it out. So it's been a function of identifying new talents and doing things that maybe are a little bit more of a core competency for me in terms of interviewing, identifying talent you know, things like that. So, and then, you know, kick-starting newer, fresher teams is something that's been in my background as well. And I've done in sales also. So coming alongside of those people that have expertise in domain knowledge in what their roles are and what they're doing for us is kind of how I think about the day to day of my job, all with kind of a mind's eye to towards revenue. I, at the end of the day, it's what we do as sales and marketers and our efforts centralize around that. So I think when I think about the role in the team, the construction of the team, these are a lot of what goes into my mind when I'm thinking about that.

DA (07:01):
Yeah. And I guess that definitely comes from having that background in sales. As you mentioned, you have a unique perspective. You're looking at sales numbers and you understand data differently. Were there any like negatives that you brought in, you know, maybe from the sales side or maybe major positives, like the best and worst from having that background that kind of helped you or maybe change your perspective of what you felt like you had to do in marketing?

NB (07:25):
Yeah, that's a good question. I think I see, I think the best of that is I really see things in black and white. You know, I've been, you know, a lot of focus on the buyer's journey and putting all the pieces in place and getting the team focused on the processes and wowing and delighting potential customers. I mean, we came at this exercises early on is setting up the CRM eight months ago. I mean that's, that's how early on we were in this exercise. So, so there is that and I think the, you know, maybe the more difficult aspect of that in the marketing side of the house is what I would refer to as the emperor has no clothes, so to speak. I am not a subject matter expert in every aspect of marketing, nor do I pretend to be.

NB (08:07):
I didn't even know what SERP meant three weeks ago. And, and, but, but the thing about my personality is I own that and my job is not to pretend to be an expert, but I, I do pride myself on being a quick study. I love learning. I love interacting with people and building teams. You don't have, I don't have to know every aspect of some buddy's job to be able to listen and ask questions. Like, how can I help? You know, that doesn't take that does not take a master's degree in marketing to come alongside on someone and say, how can I help? So, and then, you know, there's such great information in our, in our industry that's out there to provide help to people like me and where I'm at in my role right now. And I think about content like you, your company provides, I think about content from, from entities like HubSpot, you know, people in the industry like Kyle Lacy at Lessonly and (inaudible) Hartz at Privy. You know, so definitely having a great LinkedIn network helps a lot as well.

DA (09:10):
Definitely. So again, kind of just recapping that, it was just that, that thirst for knowledge, that constant hunger to learn and to be open, you know, kind of that people skill to allow people to thrive in their right positions. But, but ultimately it sounds like you've had the ability to just like lead good teams and build good teams. And I think that's such a huge part of everything. It's like you're not going to be, you aren't going to be great at everything, but you can find people that are really, really strong there and then support them the best you can.

NB (09:39):
Yeah, that's, that's so true. That is so true. And I have this saying that I borrow from sports, I'm kind of a sports guy and I admit that and I like coaching youth sports. It's, it's one of my passions outside of work. And, and there's a saying in sports is, it's not the X's and the O's, it's the Jimmy's and the Joe's. And I kind of think about businesses like it's not the meeting, meetings and the plans. It's the Sally's and the Stan's. And, and the reason I say that is so true at Kinsta like the marketing team that we have, we have some very high caliber individuals and I'm going to be honest, we've been able to leverage the fact that we are remote first culture to attract more talent. And I know that you probably have listeners out there that are going through this exercise of remote and being remote as a, as a first foray, for Kinsta to though that that is kind of true of our DNA and has been since 2013. So we've been able to really leverage that and become a place for people that they, that they're looking to, to work out. And I think we have a lot to offer there as well. And it's really helped us from a talent acquisition perspective.

DA (10:40):
I mean, you're talking to a remote, a remote only company here at Demio as well. And you know, we've been building that way for five years and it's been phenomenal quite honestly. It's just, you can access so many great people and quite honestly get huge focused hours and you know, great attention to detail and stuff like that by just, you know, not having the office. That's what I want to have a conversation on the remote stuff with you and kind of how you've been able to navigate that coming in. But before we do that, let's start with some tactical marketing stuff. I want to talk about product market fit. When you're coming into this role, you mentioned you're kind of early on in this position, building that CRM as a baseline. Did you guys already have an ICP laid out? Did you already have product market fit? Like when you're prepping this, this kind of marketing rollout, what do you guys have already laid out?

NB (11:28):
Yeah, good question. So we've gone through these exercises and these were some of my my first initiatives kind of in my newer role is to kind of think about those ICPs and those personas and the construction of the market and who we need to attack and where we fit really well and where we might need to do some more work. So when you think about Kinsta like historically our, our business actually really took off back in like 2016/17. There's a gentleman in our industry by the name of Kevin Ohashi of Review Signal who wrote an article about Kinsta. And back then we, he went through, annualy he publishes information on benchmark and performance testing, which is really important in our industry. And he gave Kinsta a really glowing grade and really going remarks and we've been able to maintain that since then.

NB (12:15):
So what I'm saying in that is that what really helped us identify that fit for us is in carve out kind of our niche, if you will, in our own industry, is the fact that we provide very measurable, reliable performance. And, and for us as marketers having and being able to stand behind a product that is very well well built delivers on what it says it's going to deliver on with a first rate experience to support those products as well is a great fit and a great mix. When it comes to kind of identifying that fit first and then it's just about then who do we take that message to. And our message seems to land well and have a lot of resonance with developer personas, people that performance really matters to them and to be able to speak to them directly. It's baked into our DNA and those, that our founding team came from that as a background. So there was, there was no, it was not faked or forced to be able to speak to those personas of people because it is baked into our DNA as a company. So, so that's kind of like when we were and we've been able to really kind of accelerate off of that since then. But 2016, 2017 was kind of a defining moment for us for that specifically.

DA (13:29):
When you're like such a generic product, and I don't mean generic, you guys don't have like a specialty or focus, but you're just a product that can be used by all types of industries and niches and companies. How do you start to look at marketing channels and start to look at languaging that you want to use? Obviously you have these great stats, these great metrics, a great product behind it. But when you're talking about, you know, messaging that's specific for an ICP, how do you hone in on like, alright, we're going to target SaaS companies, we're going to talk target SMBs that are on WordPress right now that are loading up their first blog, whatever it is. Because you guys, when you start looking at your channels you want to go to, you need to have that subdialed. Then how do you find that when you have such a broad product?

NB (14:14):
You know, what really helps here is having a background in sales. And the reason I mean by that, what I mean by that is I've talked to a lot of those people over the years and, and when I say I've talked to a lot of them, I've spent hours on the phone with them. And I know that's not true of every marketer. And I know we think about serving our customers and those personas of our customers. You know, in ways that we can do that. But that is one way that my sales background has helped me out a lot. I've talked to a lot of developers over the last four years. I've talked to a lot of agencies, I've talked to a lot of freelancers, so we've been able to take those personas and kind of segment those. And then we work a lot on ad copy.

NB (14:56):
We work a lot on our written content on our blog, which is a definitely a primary channel for us for sure. And, and we make sure that we have content that speaks directly to those individuals and the problems that they're experiencing. And then make that transition from speaking to those problems with identifying clear demonstrated direct solutions to those problems. And then we ask for the sale. So it's really, there really isn't any, that's not a magic formula. What I just described. That is a fundamental formula, but it has worked really well for us to just keep doubling down and doubling down and doubling down on that. For sure.

DA (15:37):
I love that. And when you start looking at those different marketing channels you know, when do you start expanding? So you guys focus on your top ICP, maybe you're running paid advertising for those top ICP is when do you say, okay, let's scale this out to another one and then another one and another one or you know, do you just stay focused on those highly optimized campaigns already and you just scale them out? Like I guess the question is when is the right moment to say let's add another ICP into this mix?

NB (16:10):
This is a great question because I think most, in my job right now, I think most for our marketing team about expanding into more channels, but that is only because for the last seven years we've mainly been focused on one and that is our written content and by extension search engine optimization of that content. I think we've earned the right for me to say this, the, the market, the WordPress community considers us to be an authority in our space. We have written a ton of content that's available in 10 languages on a wide variety of topics related to WordPress, to freelancing, to agencies, to developers. And we have stayed committed to our publishing schedules. And we've been focusing on finding what works and doing it better and doing it better and doing it better. And I recognize there is a slow burn on that and, and we rank really well for topics that we write about for a lot of different search terms and it's really hard for someone to search for a topic related to WordPress and not find an article we've written about that on the first page. Because we have been hyper focused on this channel for a long time. So for a business committed to growing organically, our willingness to play the long game and keep doubling down on that channel has really paid off for us. But kind of the next version of that is how do we, how do we think about that quality bar we set with our written content into our audio content, into our video content. And that's probably the thing and where I spend my most time in the marketing in the marketing team right now, my think into the marketing team and what I think about mostly is how we, how we do expand into those other channels. And if you got ideas, I've got my pen and paper ready right here, right now.

DA (18:00):
Oh, tell so many, indefinitely. Every episode of this podcast we talk about different channels, right? Different things that you can utilize. And you know, the crazy part about marketing is there's so many and you could test infinitely, right? Like all the variations. It's just about finding what works for you. I know part of that scale and that expansion is also geographic expansion. Moving into different parts of the world and to different languages, which is a huge, you know, shifting game plan. All of a sudden now you're, you're reaching different audiences. Have you found that as a challenging part, especially coming over like without the marketing background? Haven't done this before. How do you game plan for this stuff?

NB (18:41):
Yeah. Oh wow. This, this is a real challenge. You should see the notes in the playbook on our translation processes. It, it, it would be enough to make your head spin. But the commitment on this comes straight from our founders and our earliest employees. The roots of our business simply stated, are not in America, are in Europe. I myself, I speak two languages. I speak English and Texan. But I know for a fact if, if not all our founders and the first employees they're all multi-lingual, for example, our CEO Mark, I don't know exactly how many languages he speaks. I think it's five or six. And English is his third language in terms of his comfort level. I remember one time in a conversation between he and I, he said, he said something to me and he said, imagine you're starting a business in your third language.

NB (19:32):
And my initial reaction was (inaudible) having three languages to start businesses in. And so you know, I could not even imagine that. And I think it's probably fair to say that we, we, we think about this maybe a little bit more deeply, not just think about this more deeply than our competitors, but we deliver on it. Our platform is available in 10 different languages. About 52% of the traffic to our site comes to non-English pages. So the commitment for this for us and what seems to have worked really well was early on and I would really struggle as a marketer to try and graph that in after the fact. I would really, and you may may know more about this yourself too, like going at that challenge and tackling it not baked into your DNA, but the other way, trying to graft it in. That's, I can't, that would be really, really hard.

DA (20:27):
Yeah, I can imagine that being a totally different experience. And I guess from a tactical level when you're talking about the different languages and stuff like that, I can, I can imagine everything is, you know localized in the app, stuff like that really set up for them. But does that also mean that when you guys are doing like content blog posts you're also doing different language blog posts, you're doing different language content marketing every week, every month, or is this more just like baked into the product, baked into the help desk, baked into the onboarding process?

NB (20:59):
Yeah, it's the former, it's everything. It's every, we have different language versions of our site. All of our, all of our content gets produced in other languages that we support. We do that on social channels as well. You name it, anything and everything under the sun. We try and see no differentiation between our English content and then the content and the other languages to be served, which are definitely those major languages. The ones that have broad reach and appeal Spanish, French, just to name a couple of, German another one off the top of my head. And it really helps having team members that are multilingual. For example, like our PPC specialist, her first language is not English. It's it's Mandarin and that's what she grew up in. So I think there's a deep seated appreciation from a lot of our team members and the person who, for example, produces our video content, speaks both French and English. So the commitment level is that the, it comes from the top down from us. And it is, it is very important to our founders and to our company. And you know, that's kind of, you know, some of the recipe we've been able to see some successes with.

DA (22:04):
From the, again, the tactical perspective of launching a campaign. When you sit down and write a now a Google Adwords campaign, are you literally writing the copy in English and then you're getting it translated to 10 other languages, you're prepping the different location advertising groups. How are you getting those different languages? Obviously you have some people that speak multiple languages. Is it all internally? Are you going to outsource it? I know we've had trouble before with outsourcing languages. I'm just trying to figure out like where are the pitfalls that people can avoid?

NB (22:34):
Yeah, good question. So we, it's kind of everything. We've run a lot of experiments with a lot of what you just described. So for example, right now what we're doing kind of from an ad set perspective is primarily that focuses on English, but we have kind of allocation of ad spend to those other language efforts which do get originated in English and then transcribed over into those other native languages. We have worked with and have identified a lot of people and with those translations and then kind of tested the translation qualities. So we, we have higher degrees of certainty there that what we're producing is of the, of the highest quality and kind of native to those, those speakers and those people that are viewing it. So it's, it's a hybrid approach for us for sure. We have people internally and we have internal resources there. We have a global expansion team at Kinsta. Like it's that important to us. We have internal team members that work on this with us and then we also partner with freelancers that we kind of benchmark the quality of their work as well and make those adjustments on an as needed basis.

DA (23:42):
If this wasn't so baked into the company culture, what would be your recommendation for SaaS marketers who are building out marketing teams and building out marketing collateral, when they should look at reaching other audiences and languages? Or is it really just specific to the company and the product and the product set?

NB (24:03):
I think the first thing that comes to mind is I would start small first. I would, I would not because the breadth and depth of which we've been able to tackle this and having platform availability in 10 different languages, for us did not happen overnight either. It was foraying into those other languages and those primary languages. First running experiments, testing, identifying different tools, going out into the marketplace and identifying the right people to work with and then starting small and then finding out what works and doubling down on it really quickly and then scrapping anything that's not working and getting rid of that equally as quickly. So if I were to go through this exercise, knowing what I know now, that would be one thing I would be super suggestive of is don't try and bite off more than you can chew first. I would tackle that next language for you and your product first and then really kind of branch off from there after you've been able to see some successes.

DA (24:59):
That makes a ton of sense. Yeah, I love that. And it's, it's very much an agile approach, right, to marketing as well. Just move, move fast and break things kind of experiments. That's right. What about webinars? I know that's part of your marketing strategy there as well. How does that fit into this whole kind of content game and are you also doing those in multiple languages as well?

NB (25:19):
Yes that's a great question. So this is, this is something that we are kind of waiting into new waters and we, we ran what we would consider to be an experiment with the first one of that, playing with the format. You know, I think we all have some as marketers have to recognize that we are in a different, you know, set of circumstances and, and we meet the market with, it's a different market right now in the COVID-19 era. It just is. And one of the things I think that could have been in, have been effected by that is digital learning and webinars. Definitely. So what we're trying to see is there a webinar fatigue out there in the market? Is that a thing? You know, as we kind of graph that into marketing right now, we meet that at a very peculiar moment.

NB (26:05):
So we're trying to figure that out as we go. We are doing that again. So we're trying to identify what rhythm makes sense for us in our team as we can own those challenges. We are this month, we are going to run another webinar next week actually on which is an area of expertise for us. We're really excited about it on how to kind of optimize and improve the performance of your WordPress websites. We actually have a book that we wrote about this that's over, it's a really long book. So it's kind of a webinar format for that and are going to make that offer, make that available on a, on a subsequent webinar in the Dutch market as well. So we are kind of thinking through the webinar strategies and our intent is to, to stand behind it, to market it. We've got all, all of that coordinated and then also to measure it after the fact to kind of identify what that ROI is for us and then deviate on strategy and make strategy adjustments as we go forward based off of what we're recording, viewing seen and interest levels and those types of things.

DA (27:06):
So similar approach as you mentioned before, starting English, starting small, check the metrics, check the stats and then scale it out one language at a time. Kind of going out from there.

NB (27:16):
Right. That's exactly right. And we also recognize too as we tap into these new channels. Like some of these marketers. It's akin to thinking about climbing Mount Everest than being a base camp, you know, but we've been through that exercise where we saw when we committed to something long term and we made it better and made it, made it better and made it better. The results really grew for us over time. And that's some of the uniqueness of our business, we are not venture backed as in that. So we kind of own our own destiny in a little bit of a way so we can make those maybe more long term, longer lens views of some of these strategies and really give ourselves the runway and the room to be able to see them grow and learn as we're going through them.

DA (27:58):
That's awesome. It makes a ton of sense. And I do want to make a note on a point you said earlier, which is are we seeing webinar fatigue being a webinar platform ourselves and seeing the insane usage and insane attendee rates that have been going up, I would say no, there's not webinar fatigue going on right now. Maybe in some markets, but we're not seeing it.

NB (28:19):
Yeah, that's, that's actually kind of confirming to me because this next webinar that we're running in particular, we've seen a lot of really good numbers early on coming in in terms of attendance in terms of, you know, attendance. I don't know if that's the, and I'm deferring to you here too, like I don't know if that's the only way you measure success for a webinar. I think there's other ways that you can do that too. So, but that is confirming to know that. And again, you, you all of course have some additional illumination on that, so that's, that's really awesome.

DA (28:46):
Yeah, definitely. I think, I mean, we could do a whole podcast on webinars themselves, right? And there's a million ways to view them. The webinar's all about what your goal is and, and yada yada. But but yeah, that's, it's a very interesting subject. And you know, I think it's really just about testing as anything is right. Testing your, your content, your registration pages, your goal lines, what are you measuring? I mean, some people aren't doing anything on their webinars, but just giving away free content and they're just trying to generate leads. And so obviously it's, it's a different kind of game every time you play it.

NB (29:16):
Absolutely. A hundred percent.

DA (29:18):
Well, cool. Well, we mentioned this earlier. We were start talking about remote first teams. I know you guys are fully remote, just like us. And as you mentioned this is he COVID-19 era, this is a lot of things changing, people moving to remote. And this is like the first time, I know you had mentioned that you, you've been in a remote first culture, were there any major things that you learned from making transition that you would recommend to other people who are building a remote team for the first time or kind of living in this era now and managing teams? Like how did you have to, to finagle your way through this?

NB (29:52):
Yeah, yeah, that's a good question. So we, we certainly have had that committed to remote work prior to COVID-19 and the crisis coming out. There were some transitions internally we had to make, for example most of our development, development team almost, I think all of them actually work in very close proximity and, and we do have an HQ location in Budapest but they have transitioned into to 100% distribution as a remote team right now as well because of, of what's going on in, in Hungary. So I think for us that transition has been easier. But a couple of things I would say if this is a little bit of a newer hat for people to wear is give yourself some time, give, give yourself some, some space and some breathing room. Because not everything from a communication perspective is clean in a remote culture all the time.

NB (30:42):
It just, it just isn't. And that's okay. So, so that was, that would be one thing in particular that I would point to. And then also I would say experiment. You know, for example, yesterday I didn't even, I get this, I give this little to no thought, but yesterday I had what I referred to as kind of our virtual office hours. For one hour, I just logged on and I was in a gym room and I was working and just available. So if somebody wanted to pop in they could do so great. And I was like, I gave this five minutes worth of thought. I'm going to do this before I have the next conversation just to see what happens. Well I had like five people pop in and organic conversations started happening between the sales team on a really critical process that one person was able to help out another.

NB (31:26):
So I like actually grafted that under their own room and they went and took that conversation over there and I had someone else that actually was happening with our live chat on our website that needed, we need some messaging deviation that we were able to actually really quickly deploy. You know, that introductory sort of message that goes out in a live chat experience. All of that just kind of happened. So, so do some experimenting like that. Give yourself some space and time and freedom to kind of think through being a remote culture. You know, it doesn't have to be perfect all the time. You just kind of have to own some of the limitations that we do have. I mean we're not bumping elbows in an office and we can't just go turn to Sally on our left and ask a really quick question all the time so you know, maybe maybe play with that a little bit and give yourself some space and freedom. Have a good sense of what may make sense for your company and kind of trust your instincts too.

DA (32:15):
I love that answer. I think that was super thorough and like just to your point, I think for us more than ever you have to put an attention on communication and getting the team together because it's so easy to fall into that silo and not want to get on the call and not want to talk to other people and you get those kinds of office hours like you said, and all of a sudden it's just like a great place for the communication to flourish.

NB (32:39):
One thing I would add to that too really quickly is as leaders and team leaders, if you're listening to this, be really cognizant of people's mental health during this time because of this, I would, I would strongly advise people to just think through that. You know, for me, you know, I was part of remote cultures, but remote first work and remote exclusive work for me was new as of nine months ago. And in the first 30 days, that wasn't easy for me all the time. It just wasn't, I had thought patterns where like, I'm kinda lonely right now. You know, my kids are at school, my wife is doing her job, I'm in a new city. I relocated from Omaha to Dallas and I was just like, Oh, I am kind of lonely, you know, this, this isn't the kind of all that I thought it would be. I bet some people's employees are thinking that sometimes too.

NB (33:30):
So reach out to them. Just check in, just just make it really light. Give them some room and some space and some freedom in one on one times and stuff like that. Just just ask that second question and just be like, you know, what, how, how are you doing? You know, just in recognition that maybe their life, you know, could have been thrown in some level of, of people right now where things don't always make sense. They might have friends, relatives that they haven't even communicated. They're going through incredibly difficult times that you're not even aware of unless you just ask that question. So that's something that's just really important to me. So just to throw some advocacy out there to listeners, like ask that second question sometimes, cause you never know what you might find out and somebody might need five minutes to just, just kind of like say it's not really easy. So I think that's super important.

DA (34:18):
I love that. I'm a huge proponent for that as well. I'm a big believer in mental health awareness and just all of that, the work life balance that goes into it. And it's kind of an invisible thing when you don't see someone else's you know, workplace, how they're doing, stuff like that. So, well said and kind of thank you for saying that. Kind of thinking back though, over the last eight months, any, any hard lessons that you had to learn, whether it was getting into the remote culture, whether it was setting up some of these marketing processes or maybe that transition from sales to marketing, any, you know, things that you've learned from missed opportunities or things that you're looking forward to just from those lessons?

NB (34:56):
I would say don't be afraid to make changes. That's one thing. Like we've been, you know, communication, this stuff is, it's really important. And when you think about synchronous and asynchronous communication, and you know, when I first started using Slack, I thought about it kind of like a, as a chat app, but is it? You know, so, you know, that's, that's one thing that we've really had to think through. And don't be afraid to, to not let those communication channels just grow out of just grow without being pruned I would say. Like be okayed with streamlining things and if you see redundancies and identify them, I wish I would have made more changes to streamline things earlier because I think it could have made everybody's work experience better. And, and that would be one thing I would really advocate for, for those people making those decisions for companies is evaluate those things. And what are you seeing? Are you seeing redundancies in people's work being affected by unclear communication, clean that stuff up and don't be afraid to make those changes knowing that it's going to require some, some new learning from team members and they might have to do things a different way. But I think that's okay. So that would be one thing I would have some some regret on and I wish I would have done a little bit better and a little bit sooner.

DA (36:18):
Sometimes you have to move people out of their comfort zones to make something better, right? Like changing processes, procedures and teaching them new things. But ultimately, you know, the goal for everyone is to be on the same team and for the same win. And that means sometimes putting people in an uncomfortable situation. But I agree completely.

NB (36:36):
That's true. For sure.

DA (36:39):
Yeah, definitely. And looking forward here, as you mentioned, the COVID-19 era and this kind of new changing landscape of marketing B2B space. Are there new challenges or opportunities that you guys can still see and in the landscape from a marketing point of view?

NB (36:56):
Yeah, that's a good question. I just think you have to be acutely aware of what people can and might be going through when you're getting your messaging out. And I think that goes without saying. I think I've seen a lot of companies really put their best foot forward and do a good job of this. You know, we could be seeing a bit of a reversal on that in terms of fatigue of some of that messaging. I think. So that's one thing to consider and I think this does require close consideration, really kind of an ongoing basis as kind of market dynamics change and shift because there's so much out, uncertainty right now. It's really hard to wave a wand and, and throw up a crystal ball and say, well, what is the market going to look like in three, six, nine months in, in, in our vertical?

NB (37:44):
That's really hard. I don't think we, we're seeing just the, the aftershocks effect of what's happened in the last 90 days and who knows what it could be like in the future. So I think we need to be acutely aware of that. And I think what the situation demands is more rapid evaluation. So that, that's kind of when I wear this hat and what I think about, it's some of the things that I'm thinking about is making sure that we've bent our messaging staying true to who we are and, and, and really understanding who our customers are. It really helps that.

DA (38:18):
Makes a lot of sense. And I absolutely agree it's going to be an interesting year and we will definitely you know, take it day by day. It's kind of what I've been telling everyone. You just take a week by week, day by day, and you make the assessments. And you know, it's cool to see some of those companies that have really stepped up. And you know, you've also seen the marketers who've, who've utilized this in an inappropriate way as well. But you know, everything will kind of continue to shift over the next six months. So you know, kind of just being quick on our feet, just the key here. But what I want to do now is switch over to our lightning round questions. Just five quick questions that I'll ask and you can answer with the first best thought that comes to mind. You ready to get started?

NB (39:02):
Cool. Let's do it.

DA (39:03):
Alright. You got this thing, what advice would you give to early stage SaaS companies starting marketing today?

NB (39:10):
I would say fail fast. I'm sure somebody said this before, but if you, if you identify something that's not working really, really quickly with your company, get rid of it, and find out what you are doing that's working well. I'm really informed by a gentleman by the name of John Words on this, who, who's founded a company in middle of Nebraska called Huddle. They, there's a really interesting story there and they were able to make a really key critical product shift very, very quickly. That was kind of subtle, that is actually taken Huddle off to the, to the level that it is today. So you should look at that story. So I would say fail fast and find out what working and quickly and double down on that.

DA (39:49):
We'll try to find that story to put in the show notes as well. That's a good idea. What about a skill you think is vital for marketing teams to improve and build on today?

NB (39:58):
I think the first thing that comes to mind is, I don't think social media is the same as it was 16, 18, 24 months ago. I think that requires some deeper evaluation and some evaluation of the ROI on that more quickly than people realize. So I would take a deeper, harder look at that right now and as kind of a newer skill.

DA (40:21):
Yeah, maybe some new strategies and ideas can come out of that.

NB (40:25):
Absolutely.

DA (40:26):
What about a best educational resource you'd recommend for learning about marketing or growth?

NB (40:31):
Linkedin. I know that's probably like a pretty generic answer as well, but like I tend to have this like mentality where I like to beg and borrow and steal from the brightest minds. So you should follow people on LinkedIn like Kyle Lacy at Lessonly, like you know, Dave Gearhart at Privy. There are some really great minds that I've been able to find myself learning more rapidly just by following what they're saying. So that, that for me is, is a medium that I really, really enjoy and I think I'd get a lot of value from too.

DA (41:07):
Two great, great marketers love them both. What about a favorite tool you can't live without?

NB (41:13):
A favorite tool that I can not live without. I'm going to say this. I analyzed very closely what people say about us on Twitter and I look at that probably abnormally high because I love Twitter. Number one. I like it a lot. I use it a lot personally, but I love, there's something about when you can see somebody's reaction to their interactions with your product, with your team organically, unfiltered unprompted, that I really think I get a pulse and a good sentiment of like how our business is being perceived in the market. Even as small of a sample sizes that is making all those concessions that Twitter attracts certain people and not everybody, it's not altogether representative of who our customers are. But when somebody says something about us, unprompted and organic, that is positive, I think it's often a good sign.

DA (42:07):
That's a good one. I like that. What about a brand business or a team that you admire today?

NB (42:12):
I have, I would say I have pretty a deep level of affinity for HubSpot. Really. It starts at every level from Mark Roberge being some what of a on the Mount Rushmore of sales and marketing professionals for me reading his book, The Sales Acceleration Formula. I think the founding team there, and if you look at some of, what they've gone on to achieve since then is just so admirable. I remember I actually met some of the, just some HubSpot teams in an event. And when I was thinking about their products, like this is just me too, but actually got choked up. Like I, I think about HubSpot that deeply. I really do. And you know how great they are for us as marketers in terms of best practice sharing from the brightest of minds, from their content to their tools and everything under the sun. I remember the first time I bought shares in HubSpot because I think about them so much. So I really love HubSpot. I'm a big fan boy.

DA (43:11):
That's great. I mean they paved the way for so many of us SaaS companies and they continue to, to show what it takes to be, you know, a great value driven company with a great product and a really amazing company to admire. You know, I just want to say, Nathan, thank you so much for jumping on today. It's a real pleasure to talk with you from learning from you and Kinsta, the model that you all are doing. I wish you all the best in this COVID-19 era and everything moving forward. Congratulations again on the new position.

NB (43:41):
Thanks David so much for the invitation. I've really had a lot of fun. I appreciate the conversation.

DA (43:45):
Thank you for your time and we'll talk to you soon.

NB (43:47):
Alright, see you man.

DA (43:49):
Another fantastic episode on the SaaS breakthrough show. Thank you so much for listening. A big shout out to Nathan in the entire Kinsta team for everything that they're doing and working on and Nathan's transparency and openness on today's conversation. (...)

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