How we helped our SaaS client 4x MRR
I talk a lot about growth and the work we do with SaaS companies, but I don’t think I’ve ever broken down just how deep our projects can go.
Right around Spring 2020 when the pandemonium sh*t hit the fan, we took on a B2B SaaS client that was facing a few challenges and not entirely sure of the best way to move forward:
- They talked to customers all the time, but didn’t feel like they had any real strategic insight to plan for the next phase of growth
- They were going-to-market in an extremely competitive market with tons of other direct competitors
- The other competitors weren’t fundamentally better products, and yet the client had a hard time standing out
- They weren’t sure if anything they were doing was “working” from a growth perspective
Plus, the founder primarily responsible for growth had a million other things on his plate and didn’t have the bandwidth to do the necessary deep-dive to carve the path.
Originally DemandMaven was hired to help them figure out the next growth opportunity, but the pandemic forced us to get even more strategic to ensure both the short-term and long-term survival of the company.
Our strategic process
Part of our strategic growth process is to always start with customer research since customers are the lifeline for growth. There’s four basic steps that we go through:
1. Interview active, paying customers with either high LTV and/or recent converts who are raving fans
2. Turn the qualitative insights into quantitative business intelligence we can use to inform growth and strategy
3. Align the business around these insights and customers’ JTBD
4. Define growth experiments to run based on our findings
The process we go through is consistent, but as you can imagine, our recommendations are custom to what the client actually needs. It’s custom because every client’s customers are unique and have unique needs and buying triggers, and the markets are also unique with different key players and expectations.
But if there’s one thing that’s for certain: it always susses out the information we need to get where we want to go.
A surprising customer journey
In our client’s case, we discovered a few key patterns across our data set:
“Honestly, I wasn’t choosing [client’s product] first because the other competitors had shinier and prettier marketing.”
No joke — customers were choosing other competitors because of how “shiny and pretty the marketing was.” This was actual voice-of-customer from a few interviews. 🤯
“I think I tried maybe 2-3 other platforms before I finally got to [client’s product]. But honestly, all of those other platforms were soooo terrible. Once I saw that a platform was going to cause trouble, I’d immediately cancel and start my search for another.”
They were also finding very quickly how terrible the other products in the market were (even though we knew they were bad, our prospects didn’t know any better).
Customers would suffer from duplicate data that would cost them thousands of dollars to fix and issues syncing between other popular third-party channels. After these costly errors, they’d start their search for another platform — oftentimes trying 2-3 other products before finally coming to the client’s product. This was an extremely common pattern, and one we needed to get ahead of.
“Mostly I was hoping that [client’s product] would be something I could depend on and wouldn’t give me issues like all of the other products.”
We learned that customers came to the client’s product in hopes that it would be more reliable and dependable. This gave us a hint as to what their unique selling proposition and positioning should be.
“It’s important to me that as we grow, we’re building things to scale as much as possible. I don’t want to stay small forever, and we’ll need software that can grow with us and can handle large volumes of activity. I love [client’s product] because I know it can do that.”
Most of these customers took their businesses very seriously and trusted the client’s product because of how reliable and quality it truly was.
That was from the customer research we did, but when we analyzed the product, the onboarding experience, and reviewed analytics, we found a few other things:
1. A few dots hadn’t been connected on the analytics side and it was impossible to see if traffic from Google Ads and Capterra were actually generating anything meaningful.
2. There seemed to be a huge drop-off in terms of onboarding and activation. Most new users would get stuck in the process of signing up because of a requirement the client’s product had to connect their account with another third-party app. For example, imagine signing up for a SaaS and you were forced to connect Quickbooks or Zoom to get started.
3. The website performed fairly well, but we had a strong hunch that it could do even better with building credibility and explaining the value of the product than what it was currently doing.
The work that turned the tide
We translated all of this into a few core projects:
First, we needed to update the messaging on the website to focus on the core value propositions of quality and reliability. This would resonate with the right kinds of customers (and not the lower-quality customers that didn’t actually care about reliability and just wanted something cheap).
Next, we overhauled the design and experience of the website to look and feel more modern. (Or a more crass way of saying it: sexier.) We added case studies and told compelling stories of value on our product pages.
Then, we ran a bunch more experiments regarding onboarding. What if we tried sending different emails? What if instead of requiring a connection to the customer’s account with the third-party application, we actually just dropped them straight into the product so we didn’t break their flow?
Finally, we ran various tests regarding Google Ads, Capterra, and the social channels that the founder spent a lot of time in. We also tried different forms of product marketing and used Facebook Ads as a way to test content.
The client also made a few investments of their own — including hiring someone to take on customer support to free up the founder’s time and investing in more word of mouth.
All of this compounded into growth for the client (4x, mind you!) and we couldn’t be prouder. Was it a lot of work? Yeah. But then again, I don’t believe that life-changing growth is done overnight.