SaaS Breakthrough – Featuring Patrick Campbell

demio saas breakthrough featuring patrick campbellAbout Patrick Campbell:
Patrick Campbell is the Co-Founder and CEO of ProfitWell, the industry standard software for helping companies like Atlassian, Autodesk, Meetup, and Lyft with their monetization (through Price Intelligently) and retention strategies. ProfitWell also provides a turnkey solution that powers the subscription financial metrics for over ten thousand subscription companies (it’s free and plugs right into your billing system). Prior to ProfitWell Patrick led Strategic Initiatives for Boston based Gemvara and was an Economist at Google and the US Intelligence community.


Show Notes:
03:30
Helping With The Hard Parts of Subscription Growth
04:35
It's About The Quickest Path to Learn Product Market Fit
08:40
Putting Together a Framework to Help People With Pricing
11:50
Monetization Is More Than Just The Number
15:05
Tactical Bits and Strategic Bits of Churn Reduction
19:45
SaaS Are Not Talking To Customers Enough
22:00
A Framework For Content Marketing
25:25
Leveraging Content
26:30
The Network Effects
28:30
Fighting Shiny Strategy Syndrome With Quarterly Sprint Cycles
31:15
Hard Lesson: Getting The People "In The Right Place"
34:10
Next: Launching The Network
36:30
Lightning Questions
Transcript:

Hey Patrick! Thanks so much for joining me here today on the SaaS breakthrough podcast, so excited to go through our information today, go through, so much of this stuff, you have been an amazing expert in SaaS for so long. I'm just super excited to have you on, learn from you and hopefully have really good conversation, how you doing today?
PC [03:23]:
I'm doing well man, yeah excited to be here. I know schedules, mainly my schedule caused havoc and scheduling this, I'm glad we could finally connect.
DA [03:32]:
Yeah, absolutely, no, it's just because you're so busy and you're traveling across the world which is fantastic, the business is growing and in that vein why don't you talk a little bit about ProfitWell when you founded it, who the customers are and what you guys are doing uniquely in the marketplace?
PC [03:47]:
Yeah, so we help with the hard parts of subscription growth, so we have a free subscription financial metrics product that you plug in to your billing system, like Stripe, Chargebee or Recurly whatever you're using and then essentially we help identify problems and opportunities while giving you all of your reporting and the way we make money is we have a couple of tools that help with your pricing and also helping you reduce churn.
We've been around for about seven years now, we started in Boston and we're about 80 people now we're fully bootstrap, so we haven't raised any money and yeah it's been it's been a fun ride, we got customers all over the world, users all over the world, about 20% of the subscription you know economy is using one or more of our products, so definitely has been a wild and very blessed ride so far.
DA [04:36]:
That's fantastic, I've seen you actually speak at a couple of SaaS conferences as well, so I know you're traveling, sharing the knowledge that you're learning as well as you go through that product build. We're bootstrapped as well so I love hearing the bootstrap stories, but I guess in that seven year period kind of growing out the product, how did you guys find that product market fit and how's your target market started to evolve as the product has evolved?
PC [04:58]:
Yeah, that's a great question. I think what's tough about that question for us is that we knew just based on our space and that basically we needed to be a multi-product company early on so we kind of had to find or battle through product market fit with multiple different pieces of our software and thankfully we were targeting you know the subscription space as a whole, so that kind of allowed the problem to be constrained a little bit, but what we ended up doing is you know we started off with the Price Intelligently product actually, so as pricing software kind of focused on helping bring data to the pricing process and that allowed us to almost you know kind of get paid to do our customer development because it wasn't like a $50 a month product, it's a tech enabled service you know that we sold as pure software at one point but then we mixed with service in order to kind of get a higher LTV lifetime value essentially, and so that helped us kind of like bootstrap the business because we weren't trying to get you know a thousand people at 50-bucks a month just to kind of survive
And then based on all of those learnings we you know got to Profit Well which is a little bit more of you know a foundational product, the metrics product and then that allowed us to study and learn basically from there in order to build our other products and so and then refine the Price Intelligently product and so, I think the biggest thing that we've learned is that leverage is super-super important, when you look at kind of getting towards product market fit and it's less about how do we quickly get to product market fit and it's more about what's the quickest path to learn it.
If you can leverage what you're building or what you're doing or your target in order to learn, like an exceptional amount very quickly, it allows you to essentially you know make the right decisions or what you think are the right decisions to get to product market fit quicker and I think we found that, just to give it a little anecdote and I think, you know the way that we came up with the metrics product was we were helping you know we were looking for something you know we wanted to get a little bit more mass market a little bit more higher distribution, you know a little bit more touchless type sale and while we were doing that we were helping a company that's about to IPO with their pricing and we discovered that they were calculating their MRR and their churning incorrectly
And so, all of a sudden that was like another data point that allowed us to you know start building that product and then as we got more users on that product we just studied and talked to them and started to realize oh they have this term problem, they have this other monetization problem, and long story short it's just getting that momentum of learning is what's really helped us, you know basically you know grow and you know continue to grow
DA [07:34]:
Do you think you could have just used the consulting aspect like the agency aspect rather than having Price Intelligently as a software and still have the same learnings?
PC [07:45]:
Well, I think so. I think that there's nothing that helps build a better product than building the product, if that makes sense, I know it's a little oxymoronic to say it that way but I think that if you had an agency in some sort of model that you were going to do.
I think you could have gotten to like what your product was going to be because for us it really came down to us knowing that we were going to build other products we were going to go deeper on this problem I think in kind of the agency life or even like the enterprise software life you can get really as they say fat and happy on you know big salaries and things like that and then you get a little lazy because things are a little easier and we took a very-very hard commitment to wanting to build you know a pillar company and so it was one of those things that you know we kind of went after and so I think it's possible, I think it just takes an incredible amount of discipline both in the way that we build things and also like if you were going to build an agency and roll it into a product company
DA [08:41]:
Makes sense yeah no that's absolutely a good point but put the start here I also want to talk about some the pricing stuff, maybe the pricing tactics that you've learned along the way and I know for a lot of SaaS companies pricing is one of the most difficult parts about being in SaaS and I know we've learned a lot from you guys, around value-based pricing and stuff like that but I think there's a lot of struggle also with the idea of do we go premium, do we create value-based pricing how do we create these different models, how did you guys fat you wanted to do that Profit Well like how did you guys actually go through that process?
PC [09:16]:
Yeah, I think pricing it's one of those things that like doesn't it doesn't have to be complicated, you can make it more complicated if you really-really want but what we found really early on and particularly why we chose to kind of go deeper in the subscription space was because all of a sudden what ended up happening is people you know frankly, like they just they knew nothing, right, you know when we went into the retail space and we had some ecommerce and retailer customers early on like Hallmark and Reebok, we discovered that they had giant teams dedicated to pricing doing all types of analyses, doing all types of frameworks and all types of different things.
And so we kind of chose to go into a little bit of an easier market where we could have a bigger impact and when it came down to kind of deciding our own pricing but also putting together a framework to helping people with their pricing, it took a lot of like academic research, as well as like looking at a lot of different like models and algorithms that are used in order to basically help collect data or help put your pricing forward and then frankly it really came down to like how do you translate those things to be pragmatic and useful.
So, to give you just kind of an example the pricing process that that we really talked about and that we blog about and we published papers about and things like that, it's really just the scientific method but applied to pricing so you have a theory you have a core question that you're trying to answer; hey how do we boost our expansion revenue who's our target persona how do we go up market to the enterprise, that's XYZ but you have this like target type of you know question and then you go out you collect data and the data has many different sources you know from your customers, your prospects, target customers who you know may not have heard of you yet and then you look at your usage data and a bunch of different things, depending on if you have that data.
Once you have that data you kind of massage it would like analyze it and then frankly you kind of like doing impact analysis and kind of make a decision and that's the big thing with like pricing is it doesn't have to be complicated, it's just a process and a lot of people they haven't changed their prices in three years, that's the average amount of time, the last average amount or the average last time that people have changed the prices and most software companies is three years ago, which is kind of scary because there's just so much power and then doesn't mean you have to raise your price, there's all types of things you can do from adjusting your packaging to adjusting your positioning, on the customer target, all types of different stuff that you can do and I think we just kind of think of it as this big scary thing that we need to hire really expensive consultants for and in reality it's something that we can just you know kind of focus on and just have a process over time for.
DA [11:49]:
That's saying that three-year period when you haven't changed pricing there's a ton of stuff going on in your SaaS company from increasing sales, increasing leads, you know how do you determine that there has to be a pricing change versus maybe hey our sales message is wrong. Hey our marketing channels are wrong our distribution isn't good enough how can you really pinpoint there's a specific sign that pricing is the thing that that's the big problem that needs to be fixed now?
PC [12:14]:
Yeah, I think the big thing is to remember that monetization is more than just the number, so it because like if you think about what you're trying to do in a business and it doesn't matter like what you're selling ,you know to who you're selling it to every business out there even nonprofits, you've created some sort of value and then you're trying to put an exchange rate on that value and that's your price, but what you realize is that there's a bunch of different things that influence that quote unquote exchange rate, so the person you're selling to you're selling to, a richer person typically their willingness to pay is going to be higher you position that product differently or put a different packaging together that might increase or decrease your willingness to pay, obviously changing the price point is going to adjust your conversion and kind of the efficiency of your flywheel, your funnel, depending on how you want to define it
And so I think that's a really-really big thing to kind of keep in mind and to give you maybe a little bit more like concrete answer what I would look at is your ARPU or ARPA depending on how you measure it that's your average revenue per account or average revenue per user, the reason that this is so powerful is because that's kind of the central metric of your pricing and your monetization, and there's so many things that influence it, higher-end customers will increase your auto you know check out, raising your price obviously will increase in your art but getting your upgrade rate to go up and you're down gray rate to go down will increase that.
You know and even doing things like you know having add-ons and things like that for like a B2B or even a B2C company will change those things.
So, I think ultimately it's one of those things where that's where you can look but the other thing that I want to comment on is I think that a lot of us we have so many different priorities and I think one of the biggest mistakes that we make is we confuse; hey you got to focus on one thing with hey there's a lot of things that needs to need to do and so you're always going to have the number-one priority to be some level of; hey, we need to acquire more customers hey we need to get more customers, hey we need to modify these channels.
The problem is that if you're just doing that and you have no one focused on retention no one focus on your monetization you're going years without optimizing growth levers that are actually more effective, now they're harder to optimize you know it's harder to optimize your pricing and your retention it takes more work than it is to just spend more money on ads, but it's one of those things where if you take one person, it's 20% of their time, it's dedicated to retention, are dedicated to pricing and frankly a PM should spend more time on your retention than just one day a week, that’s 20% all of a sudden you're going to make those moves over time, you're not going to make as many moves as you're going to make on an acquisition side but it's really-really important to get that compounding growth and get that compounding aspect of your business moving, by focusing on at least the incremental bits of this and making changes over time
DA [15:03]:
Yeah, I think that's such a valuable statement it's so relatable to kind of how we're seeing things right now which is we've kind of slowed down on our approach of like we want to acquire, acquire, acquire and if we need to focus on retention we need to focus on making sure we have value-based pricing that strategically matches the knee of our market that we want to go after
But just talking about churn in general and retention that being such a key metric that determines your LTV, that determines your ability for customer acquisition costs, all that stuff. What are some of the strategies that maybe you're seeing with some of the users that you have at Profit Well or for yourself that you've been talking about or mentioning for fighting churn over time?
PC [15:03]:
Yeah, it's a great question so I think ultimately there's two really big parts of churn, there's the tactical bits of churn reduction these are some of the things that you know you can modify and like little tactical pieces that you can do to actually reduce your turn pretty considerably, and then there's like the strategic bits of churn which is you know gets into your product mission in your vision because someone just might not like your product or you don't have enough people liking your product
And so there's really these two levers and on the tactical side I think this is probably what's most useful for the audience here, one thing to kind of keep in mind is that twenty to forty percent of your churn is actually credit card and payment failures, and it's just a shocking number it's actually your largest single bucket of term it's not the majority of return, but it's definitely a huge piece of it and this is because you know credit cards fail and interestingly enough we're not really recovering that many of those folks, we should be recovering about 70 to 80-percent of them and really we're you know recovering maybe 30% on a good day, 40% on a really good day
And so it's one of those things where you don't have to you know maybe boil the ocean do a bunch of things here but just kind of looking at what you're doing when someone you know has a failed payment, and treating those folks is essentially a marketing channel with good in app notifications good emails, you know some pre you know pre Dunning type stuff that you can do, that's a really-really good place to kind of start from a tactical perspective because you can get gains you know within a week of work or less even just because you might not be doing anything
Other tactical pieces I think a lot of people they're not they're under estimating the power of upgrading people to a longer term plan, so for instance you know we know that the churn rate for an annual plan depends on the industry but it's typically between 30 and 35-percent lower than those who are on monthly plans and this is just because if someone's making you know one purchasing decision a year versus twelve purchasing decisions per year and what's really funny is that the one time that we typically ask people to upgrade to annual which is the worst time is when they sign up.
So, it's like the worst time to ask them and then we don't ask them maybe we do at the end of the year during like dump your budget season but it's just not something we typically do and so that's something that you can optimize, and then frankly just kind of optimizing you know your reengagement you know there's things like Salvage offers, like someone's going to churn out and maybe offering them a discount for a month you know to stay, just because you know maybe they didn't get the value out of the product or you know something went wrong, that tactical bits can go like a long way but this is where like I think that you have to realize that none of these tactical bits are going to take care of all of your turn and if you take care of all of these beautifully, you can still have a very big problem and that's where the strategic element comes in, where your product team in particular needs to be understanding where the value and where the time to value actually is in your product and I realize that's really easy to say but it's incredibly hard to do and the best way to be doing it is to study the data of the usage data, the people who are turning what they did versus the people who aren't talking to customers, like just to give you some perspective
I don't think we're talking to customers enough in our businesses across the board it doesn't really matter the company size but in the world of subscriptions in SaaS we have data on this form I think about 1,800 companies.
The average number of non-sales conversations, like research conversations that we're having per month, it's actually less than 10. Most of us are speaking to less than 10 folks a month and an on sales kind of research capacity and that doesn't matter if you're a quarter million dollar company or a 1-million dollar startup or even an earlier stage startup, like that doesn't really change and I think that's where like the most crucial thing you need to do is talk to those folks because they're the ones who are going to probe we give you answers that are going to begin more questions and eventually you're going to get to some sort of solution or some sort of decision that is going to help reduce that strategic aspect of churn, hopefully significantly
DA [19:45]:
Is there a specific schedule that you go off of to get on those calls, are you trying to meet with new customers a week after they join and then three months in or how do you typically organize your schedule to get on those calls to make sure that you're getting the most value from them at the right point in time?
PC [20:01]:
Yeah, that's a great question. I think frankly you should just be doing this on a continual basis, so having some sort of drip setup that just automatically schedules calls for you know maybe it's hey I can dedicate four hours a week, if you're in product for product manager you probably should be spending at least a day if not more, you know talking to customers and sub capacity or studying support tickets or those types of things and there's always something to talk to them about.
Now there are some things that are a little bit more important than others like if you're coming out with a new product you're trying to launch something you know a new feature that might be the thing that you want to talk to them mostly about but even if you just don't have something front of mine there's something on the list of priorities that you should be talking to them about even if it's just you know what do you know what's the most important or most valuable thing about Profit Well what's the least valuable thing about Profit Well and just trying to think through like what are those problems.
I think that you know the best folks in the world they basically just have these types of calls, you know basically just automated, especially for people who turn or people who just signed up and then people who gave bad MPS, people who get good MPS and they just kind of like make sure that this is actually a system.
I think the worst thing I do is kind of go oh we should, you know oh we're not sure let's go collect some information because then the problem is that you probably you know wasted a bunch of time where if you were talking to folks already you probably would have been able to kind of push things forward
And an important thing here is that it's not to say that you know you're always going to listen to customers or customers are right, it is to say though that like understanding where they're coming from, allows you to understand like how far behind or how far ahead they actually are and your job and product at least in my opinion and as I would argue as a founder as well is to then use all of that information as well as their data to kind of make a decision around where you should be going.
This by no means is hey they said they want this let's build it it's one of those things where you have to filter constantly and ruthlessly prioritize
DA [22:00]:
Yeah, that can be so dangerous if you get into that habit of just listening to everything and then it just becomes oh this is the feature that's going to change everything or you know this is the tactical thing that we have to implement.
I think it is weighted decisions trying to find where do these things overlap and you're making a long-term decision and I think what you said before is so right like you have the balance using the tactical and strategic.
Strategic takes so much time, it is new directions in your product, it's new ideologies to build out value in your product we're tactical I like little things that you can just try to implement quickly but it has to be that perfect balance.
I do want to flip over to acquisition so we're talking we just talked about retention and pricing strategies but with acquisition for you guys in particular the tactical channel that you're really kind of been leaning on for a while is content marketing, which has been just so huge for you.
I know you do a lot of great blog content you do YouTube content you have an amazing a kind of video marketing content channel going. I would love to dig in a bit deeper from the strategy perspective and also implementation details but starting with strategy, what is the general approach you take when you're creating content, are you focusing on the audience for each piece of content or we're just looking at content as a whole to say hey we want to talk about these topics for this piece?
PC [23:21]:
Yeah, I think unfortunately, we've been a little ad hoc about this, up to up to date, so it kind of is more, just it's a little more I guess what I'm trying to say is like all over the place then like hey we have a very like clear framework on how we decide. I think we're starting to get that clear framework what about two years ago we kind of you know started dipping our toes in video where we just started saying like hey a blog post lets you know let's just have a video for every blog post and I think what was powerful about that is it just started the ball moving and just like us understanding like the production side, the story side all of these different things
And then quickly based on a bunch of data that I'm happy to get into but we started studying a ton around content and how inbound marketing wasn't doing so hot or was still doing hot but it was just kind of starting to become just any other channel and essentially when ended up happening is we started thinking like oh what if we what if we preview shows, like because networks in the world are the best at acquiring customers and end users essentially but they're terrible at monetization, fortunately software is a really great monetization platform
And so, we started with shows and I think that we kind of started with what we knew, we're like all right we know like our you know users and our viewers really like when we do, you know pricing stuff and pricing page tear downs, they like our benchmark posts these types of things, so let's maybe start there and then now there's a bigger theory behind like let's start doing persona based shows hey let's start targeting these folks, have this podcast, that podcast but it's all been a lot of experimentation and then that experimentation kind of leading to the next thing and only recently if we kind of take a step back and gone okay, if we blow this out of the water even further, like how would we do this, like how would we structure the teams, and how we're working on it's a little ridiculous but we're working on technically twelve different shows right now that are going to come out in a couple of different ways over the next six to twelve months and so it's kind of really taken over our you know at least our top of the funnel strategy
DA [25:25]:
How do you handle the overwhelm with doing twelve shows at once?
PC [25:28]:
Very-very carefully, no, it's a little bit more around that leverage point, just as I was you know talking about before right.
So, we're a bootstrap company and it all came down to kind of looking at like what was the leverage that we get out of content like this, based on that content and number of shows we're producing, what can we do next in order to you know build on top of it the next thing that we did.
So, we've figured out and I'm not going to quite get too far into the details just because we're I feel like we're very far ahead and I'm not quite ready to share everything yet, but it's one of those things where you know we figured out how to get the costs down considerably, were you know we can do a season of a show in less than a cost of like an e-book you know a good e-book not just like taking a blog post and you know slapping a PDF, but it's one of those things where you know that's really helped us and now we're trying to figure out you know the best way to do talent distribution because it can't just be my face constantly with a lot of our shows rely on me we're just trying figure out other aspects of this as well
DA [26:32]:
So, I want to just go a little bit deeper into that but I think I have a really good idea of what you're talking about, so you're saying you treat it like a media company what does that actually mean? Is that just saying hey we want to have more of a planning schedule, we want to have you know for each show of your 12-shows we want to have 10-episodes, outline the content of each of those, we have a production crew ready we're going to do it in like you know three days like you said just knock it out pretty quickly but what does it actually entail?
PC [26:59]:
Yeah, so you'll I mean when you go to Bloomberg, it looks like a network right, it's a little much, but you go there and you see a bunch of stuff right, that's essentially what we're doing.
When you go to Profit Well our blog section in the next couple of months you'll actually see like hey here's a network, you know it looks like a network, it acts like a network here's different series here's featured series, these types of things and then what that allows us to do is basically you know start to you know look and act how we feel and then based on that you know it's going to start kind of rolling hopefully some of the network effects that you get out of having that type of network.
We already have that like it's actually incredibly hard to binge some of our shows because it's just in a basic traditional blog structure but we'll see people like sit down and watch, like 5 to 6 episodes, if not you know 10-episodes of pricing page teardown, just because they like learning you like seeing the stuff they're like you know consuming this type of content.
On the production side it's going to be very similar to what you just said hey we have these seasons of shows these shows worked let's do another season these shows didn't work let's cancel it all that kind of fun stuff to kind of continue to build, basically build that network and build that presence, like our goal is to essentially you know speak the truth within the subscription economy and we think that we're in a really good position both from you know what we care about how deeply we care about some of these things and how you know basically transparent we can be with you know research and things like that that we can you know be that within this world
DA [28:32]:
I definitely think you can, I think you can definitely uplift like the quality level of what people are expecting from SaaS content marketers, I think that's fantastic.
You mentioned a word earlier, you said the word leverage when you were talking about you know what you were using for acquisition channels listen, as a bootstrap company having leverage and having the ability to utilize resources is one of the most important things on a recent episode, Adrian Maynard from Refersion was talking about just the growing pains of SaaS companies and how we never have enough resources to do everything that we want to implement, so I guess when you have a marketing team like you mentioned you have to find where that leverage is for you guys you figured it out earlier with content marketing you figure out how to do that
But how do you choose where that leverage is and keep the team focused without going off from what I call like the shiny strategy syndrome where just trying to do all these different strategies at once?
PC [29:27]:
Yeah, I think for us, we started getting into pretty decent quarterly sprint cycles, now that doesn't mean like an opportunity comes up and people like you know react to it and do something with it but it does typically mean that you know if there's something that's really good but it's going to take some time, you know we will and it's not timely if that makes sense we will take it to another quarter just because there's always so many things to do and I think that works well because you have to keep in mind like we're working, you know when you working on content you're working with like you know people who are aggressive and great but then you're also working with creatives and when you work with creatives like if you do reactionary you know Sprint's like work, like very quick like work, that can be you know for some of them it's great and it works really well but another like creative archetypes like that's really draining and you need to kind of balance that energy and our stuff can't just be mechanical it's got to be good from creative perspective and so I think that's a really big thing that we're kind of discovering.
I think some of the other things is like just saying no to a lot of stuff I have not been great at this basically forever I'm starting to get okay at it I'm not great at it but just kind of realizing like hey like we're not going to have time to do this like if someone wants to do a partnership, like we're not going to have time to do this until q3 or q4, I really want to do it I'm really sorry we're just not going to have a time.
You know and kind of picking like what you're going to focus on and who's going to focus on it as well, I would say that we still have a lot to work on here but I think that we are you know this sounds kind of humble brag but we are kind of like overly thoughtful to a fault in a lot of ways and I think that kind of helps us not go to you know kind of reactionary although that does happen and kind of like you know stay the course and probably never get as much as we want done in the timeframe that we need to
DA [31:14]:
Yeah, I think we all have that habit of overestimating what we're capable of, our teams are capable of, just because everything takes so much time and so much energy to do it well to do it right and so I think that's the struggle for sure
I guess looking over the past year are there any marketing experiments or any hard lessons you've learned along the way that you know didn't work out as you thought or maybe opportunities that you wish you'd get back?
PC [31:41]:
Oh! I don't know, that's the nature of like being a founder CEO, right? Is like you rationalize why something happened or didn't happen and move on, so it's hard, it's hard to like think of like where you know we complete I mean we've screwed up in a number of ways.
I think we lost I think we kind of lost q this year to be frank, I think that you know the revenue numbers and all that were great but I think it was one of those things from a Content perspective, you know we had some folks that we thought were like it all comes out of people when you're trying to do product and that's really what great content is, and so I think it's one of those things where we kind of lost by not making sure the right people were in place, not necessarily having the right training or the right Balance and we got a little reactionary in q1 and then q2 went a lot smoother because we had the right people in the right roles, and one thing you got to keep in mind is like we didn't start building most of our growth and marketing team into October of last year
DA [32:42]:
Woah!
PC [32:44]:
Yeah, so is one of those things where like this content like a lot of the content was being done by like our show producer Ben Hillman and myself and that's kind of it then we have help from our creative producer Dan Callahan, who does all of our event production and as well as all of our kind of creative production on the marketing side.
So, yeah, I was one of those things where I think we wanted to bite off too much in q1 so we bit off too much that we didn't people then we got the right people but by the time the quarter was done it was like what did we actually do now. I think that q2 where we learned from this is just getting the people in the right place and I set expectations heavily with the team and I was like hey, you know this quarter is going to suck a bit because there's going to be a lot of things that I'm going to be blocking you on, if someone's going to be blocking you on that you need to be trained on we're not going to know what those things are in advance you know some folks were in a brand new role that they've never really done before.
And so I think it's one of those things where the people aspect predicting what people need and predicting what's going to ramp people up as soon as possible is really difficult and then it's even just more difficult to actually imbue that knowledge on them as well, and so I think that's a big thing like you know if I could get the last two three years back I probably would stop for an entire quarter and just put training together, you know assuming I knew that everything was going to be okay getting into that next quarter right, because you know hindsight I guess is 20/20 because I think that would helping me and like just immensely in terms of you know what we needed to do
DA [34:10]:
Yeah, that's a great answer and I think like you said hindsight is 20/20 like it's hard especially in your bootstrap you just have to focus on like making sure you get through that corridor we're going to hit all our goals all those things but getting the people ready and getting the expectations for what you're looking for as far as the marketing initiatives or experiments, that's the hardest thing for sure and I guess flipping that question then halfway through 2019 with two quarters left, what are the opportunities that you're most excited for the rest of the year specifically from marketing point of view? I guess it's unleashing the team to get out there and get these shows underway
PC [34:44]:
Yeah, I think it's going to be like finally launching the network, I feel like I've been saying oh it's going to launch like two months from now for like a year and a half at this point, yeah it's always like oh this came up, this came up, this came up, but getting that out and then I think we have some like I like to call it like mezzanine quality content that's coming out like just stuff that we've been working on for a long time it looks like though the stories are dope, you know everything's great I think we're finally going to get that out that's been something working out for a year and a half as well so we're really excited for that on the content side
I think as a team, I'm excited that like I don't know it's like for the first time in the company I feel like I don't feel frantic anymore and I think that if you've never bootstrap to company I mean even if you're not bootstrap, I think in the early days you feel kind of frantic because you're like oh my god there's so many things to do and I don't have time to do it someone's got to get it done and so you just kind of work on like the next thing that needs to get done you don't really think of what you're working on I think now I'm kind of in the overwhelmed stage where it's like there's so many things to do but there's like a Zen-like you know peace with it because you're sitting there and there's like there's always going to be this much stuff to do and so you can put yourself in a position to like you know ruthlessly prioritize and then ultimately you know really get alignment with the team and that's really what I've been focusing on a lot or as much as I can is just alignment and training and I think we're finally going to not necessarily be perfect at this at all but I think we're going to be in a good place with this, you know by the end of the year just because we have a lot of people, you know a lot of people essentially working on it now to make sure the team is in the right place we're hiring the right people all that kind of fun stuff
So, yeah those are some things I'm excited about and yeah normally I'm a Debbie downer, so I'm actually surprised that I said what I just said, so that's great.
DA [36:30]:
Super positive and I think there's a lot of really great lessons and what you said, you're just kind of talking about what's happening how you're feeling but a lot of lessons from the experience that you've learned, just bootstrapping the company in general that I've just I kind of relate to and I understand completely, so that's really amazing and congratulations on being where you are and I'm excited to see everything come out with the with the shows, I know it's going to be a lot but I think it's going to be absolutely fantastic when it comes out just knowing your guys’ quality
But what I want to do right now is I want to switch over to our lightning round questions .
PC [37:00]:
Let's do it
DA [37:01]:
It's the best part all right what advice would you give for early stage SaaS companies starting marketing today?
PC [37:09]:
Oh, think of what's in your DNA, meaning like what you're good at if you're good at sales if you're good at paid ads, if you're good at content, if you're not if you don't know what you're good at then try a bunch of things and then double down on one thing early on. I think the reason that we when the content is because I was a fairly decent writer and I had done in a speech and debate and that's why I went to the University, I went to and so I was like anyway free HubSpot account so it's kind of like oh this is all works out and then we just kind of dug into that, so that's kind of our to think about it
DA [37:39]:
I love that that's great advice, what marketing skill do you think is vital for marketing teams to improve and build on today?
PC [37:46]:
Critical thinking, I think that we like no one teaches critical thinking anymore, like it used to actually be like a class that you would take I think that's the biggest thing like the number of marketers I meet who they just don't think through the problem and anything through a framework with it, so in a good framework I find is like problem cause' solution because most like situations with marketing, you have some sort of a problem you're not getting the right leads, like numbers are down in a channel something like that what you should be doing is you should sit there and not think about hey how do I solve this problem because you're thinking about all the causes of the problem because you can't solve a problem, you can only solve the causes of a problem and if you identify those causes then all of a sudden you can prioritize what's the best cause to attack and then ultimately implement a solution, but yeah critical thinking I would read as much as you can on it
DA [38:35]:
I love that, I actually luckily studied some of that in college strangely as a creative writing major that was a big part of what we went through rhetorical thinking and rhetorical analysis stuff like that but I think it's such a valuable skill set. What about a best resource you'd recommend for marketing?
PC [38:53]:
Our shows do okay for that type of stuff, you know it's funny, I don't hmm that's a great question, because the problem is there's so much crap out there and I'm not going to say who I think is crap but like there's just so much like you know hey! go hustle or like hey here's these tactics you know XYZ
I think that I always recommend when I'm like when new folks come onto the team, I have them read a couple of books or I have them at least game a couple of books some are like very dependent on our industry, so there's a SaaS book, a subscription book and then there's like a pricing book that I have them read but the other stuff that I typically have them read are things like High Output Management by Andy Grove, so most of these people aren't managers but they're going to definitely like they need to think that way because they need to think like they own their job and own their part of the team, and the other book I typically have them read is like Ogilvie on Advertising which has been around forever and I think it's just a really-really good foundation for just a marketing mind and advertising and things like that
DA [39:58]:
Definitely agree, that's a fantastic one always highly recommended in this section and we'll put those books in the show notes as well. What about a favorite marketing tool you can't live without?
PC [40:08]:
I would have to go with HubSpot, I mean it's the first thing that came to mind like I think HubSpot, like I don't think people appreciate like I know there's a lot of different types of marketing automation products out there but I just don't think you appreciate how much a product like that does for you because now you just kind of expect it, for us it's just the hub of everything for better and for worse I mean there's occasionally problems and things like that but yeah I mean how the spots just been amazing and then frankly like the other one it's just you know Notion
DA [40:39]:
OMG so good.
PC [40:41]:
Yeah, yeah, I mean we use to be like Google sheets and Google Docs and we're slowly moving everything over to Notion, but I think Notion or whatever you're using for your collaboration is just so crucial on the team
DA [40:51]:
Yeah absolutely, we just moved everything to notion because it's just it's a brilliant software. Alright, last question for you, what brand business or a team do you admire today?
PC [41:01]:
So, I think the brand I admire is Bloomberg I think it's an underrated one, you know I think it's one of those things where Bloomberg like a lot of people don't realize it's a software and hardware company it's not a media company, it obviously has a media aspect to the company but you know the media aspect was there to fuel the software and hardware company which is you know it's a little bit of an archetype that we're you know going after from like a team and maybe like, yeah a team perspective or a company perspective but a big fan of square actually I think Square gets a bad rap, you know not because and it doesn't really get a bad rap but I just think it's like, it's not glamorous right but I think it's one of those companies where they're just an insane opportunity just given their multi-product company, and they have this giant base of users who are relatively happy.
So, I think it's one of those things where they're just they're just so underutilized, yeah but I don't you know I don't know a lot about consumer hardware technology, so I couldn't comment on that
DA [41:58]:
No, no, that's a good answer, two really good answers there but yeah that's basically all my questions today.
PC I really appreciate your time coming on being so transparent open and honest on all of this stuff and sharing that knowledge and wisdom, I know you're busy, I know you're out in Europe right now, so I will let you go, but thank you so much for jumping on the podcast with me
PC [42:17]:
Absolutely brother, thanks for having me
DA [42:19]:
It was a real pleasure and I'll talk to you soon
PC [42:21]:
See you brother
DA [42:24]:
A huge shout-out to Patrick Campbell and the entire amazing team over at Profit Well and Price Intelligently they're doing fantastic things as a company for our industry and I'm very excited to see what those content and media channels produce over the next six to 12-months, it sounds like a really exciting opportunity for the entire industry to get an up leveling the marketing and content and it's going to be really-really exciting (...)

Resources:
Book High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove:
https://www.amazon.com/High-Output-Management-Andrew-Grove-ebook/dp/B015VACHOK/
Book Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy :
https://www.amazon.com/Ogilvy-Advertising-David-ebook/dp/B00EMXBZKA/
Learn More About ProfitWell:
https://www.profitwell.com/
Connect With Patrick:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/patrickccampbell
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