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My SaaS is rolling (slowly)...now, how to accelerate?

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dmetts

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Feb 21, 2017
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Hi everyone!

I have been live with my SaaS for about 1 year, basically getting stabilized and getting bugs worked out. I am in the automotive industry, fun stuff! I have another business that’s doing well (exotic/collector car storage…more of a side hustle), but software is my trade…cars are my passion.

I have about 15 customers on board happy with our product. It’s just me slinging code, doing demos, fighting fires, …doing it all.

My issue…how do I get my bootstrapped company going higher and faster (I know cash would solve all my problems…maybe?). I think I need a mentor to help, I am very hesitant to start offering equity (been sued before, not fun). I am a very independent guy (to a fault), not a big net worker (I am learning), but I realize I am missing some skills to take the next step.

I have seen things online, I have signed up for Growth Mentor and micromentor.org, just not pulled the trigger. Is it worth it? I know people in my community but, for some reason, I am hesitant to ask them for mentor recommendations. My biggest struggle is Sales & Marketing, I can solve problems all day long, but how best to get the message out.

I’ve been reading the forum and gotten some great advice. Thought I would throw this out and see what bounces back…maybe I am just venting.

I have been around the block a few times, so I am experienced. Just think it’s time for me to ask for help, but I don’t know the best way.

Thanks for reading and, of course, any and all feedback is welcome.

DMM
 

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RazorCut

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My biggest struggle is Sales & Marketing, I can solve problems all day long, but how best to get the message out.
Then teaming up with someone in that field seems to be your best option as that’s the one thing that is holding you back it seems.

Be interested to hear the views of

@eliquid @Kak for SAAS and marketing and @Andy Black for paid search marketing.
 

Andy Black

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My biggest struggle is Sales & Marketing, I can solve problems all day long, but how best to get the message out.
View sales and marketing as just more problems to solve?


Marketing is simple:
  1. Find out what people want to buy.
  2. Sell it to them.

What do people ALREADY spend money on that indicates they're prepared to pay to get rid of the problem you solve (or get the result you promise)?


Some questions for you to think about:
  1. Who do you help?
  2. What do you help them with?
  3. How do you do it?

Now complete this sentence or similar:

I help __ < who> __ get __ <what> __ by __ <how> __.

e.g.

We help plumbers get more phone calls using Google Ads and mobile websites.


So now figure out where to find plumbers who ALREADY pay to get more phone calls.
 
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dmetts

dmetts

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Feb 21, 2017
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Atlanta
Then teaming up with someone in that field seems to be your best option as that’s the one thing that is holding you back it seems.

Be interested to hear the views of

@eliquid @Kak for SAAS and marketing and @Andy Black for paid search marketing.
I agree. My issue, or hesitation, is where to start in finding the right partner. I guess this is the place. Thanks for the user recommendations, i have reach out.
 

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You need data.

What does it cost to acquire a customer?

$XX

How long do customers stay for?

XX months

How much do they pay you per month?

XX....


Once you have that data, you can go and CONFIDENTLY spend $XX on getting new customers because you know that as long as you spend less than what the average customer is worth to you (Customer Lifetime Value) then you will make a profit.
 

Andy Black

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How did you get your 15 customers @dmetts ?
 
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dmetts

dmetts

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Feb 21, 2017
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How did you get your 15 customers @dmetts ?
First 3 were business partners (I have another business in the automotive space). The remaining 12 were from PPC, Capterra, for warm leads followed up by live demos with prospects.

We tried using email campaigns to get leads with no success. The PPC is the most successful to this point and measurable. We just started some print advertising and digital banner ads on industry web sites (that was last month, so no real measurements on results).
 
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dmetts

dmetts

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Feb 21, 2017
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I've never heard of growth mentor -- how is it?
I haven't used it yet. Was poking around. It's $30 to $60 per month. Will let you know when I try it.
 

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Andy Black

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I presume you mean paid search when you say PPC. Maybe check out the links in my signature. The most recent is the last link which is a 90 min workshop I recently did for about 17 business owners.
 

thechosen1

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First 3 were business partners (I have another business in the automotive space). The remaining 12 were from PPC, Capterra, for warm leads followed up by live demos with prospects.

We tried using email campaigns to get leads with no success. The PPC is the most successful to this point and measurable. We just started some print advertising and digital banner ads on industry web sites (that was last month, so no real measurements on results).
If you got 12 from the method described above, why not keep doing that? It sounds like you're already on track for some serious growth! If you can get 12 more, that's 24 customers. At some point you'll be generating enough $$ to potentially hire and train another sales rep (someone with experience) who can do even more demos for you.

Once all this covid crap is over, you can go to trade shows in the auto industry, set up a booth, showcase your product... All of the above!
 
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dmetts

dmetts

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Feb 21, 2017
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Atlanta
If you got 12 from the method described above, why not keep doing that? It sounds like you're already on track for some serious growth! If you can get 12 more, that's 24 customers. At some point you'll be generating enough $$ to potentially hire and train another sales rep (someone with experience) who can do even more demos for you.

Once all this covid crap is over, you can go to trade shows in the auto industry, set up a booth, showcase your product... All of the above!
You make a great point. Perhaps I am expecting too much from my Sales & Marketing channels :)

I am just seeing a drop in leads coming in from the PPC, probably due to Covid.

I think part of my problem, not coming from a Sales & Marketing background, coming to terms with the amount of work to gain a new customer. In past businesses Sales took care of its self, my consulting was within my technology and business network (I have some in demand technical skills...SAP development) so businesses just called me. My car storage business runs completely of SEO and I was first to market in my area for that type of business so it was pretty easy.

Thanks for you email and pointing out the positives. Helps to have others point out the obvious.
 

whyphilip

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Jun 25, 2020
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Is it against the rules to say what your business is? Hard to give any pointers without knowing what your product is, who the audience is, seeing your site, marketing copy, etc. We don't even know if it's B2C or B2B. I assume if you're making sales from PPC, it's not enterprise software, but then you mention Captera, so maybe?

How does your competition sell?
 
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dmetts

dmetts

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Feb 21, 2017
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30
23
Atlanta
Is it against the rules to say what your business is? Hard to give any pointers without knowing what your product is, who the audience is, seeing your site, marketing copy, etc. We don't even know if it's B2C or B2B. I assume if you're making sales from PPC, it's not enterprise software, but then you mention Captera, so maybe?

How does your competition sell?
Hi whyphilip, Sorry for the delayed response...clients called, had to take care of them!

I don't think it's against the rules...so...here's the story of my SaaS:

We are a bootstrap SaaS that provides Shop Management Tools to independent auto service providers. It's a company called MCi Methods (www.mcimethods.com). The target client is any 'shop' that works does work on vehicles that involves the creation of an estimate, then working a job, then creating an invoice and collecting payment. We are 100% cloud based web app, with separate apps for the back office, the techs doing the work, and customers to track the work. We charge on a month basis between $79 and $149+ (depending on number of sites and users). We have customers in Canada, US, and the Caribbean.

PPC is had been our exclusive marketing tool. We have just started some print ads in industry magazines. We have not yet done any conferences (setup a booth and talk to prospocts)...Covid hit just as we were planning. I think we should be looking at SEO, my other business has done great with SEO (it's the only marketing that we use). We are following what many of our competitors do.

Hope this helps? Any advice with this information?

Thansk! Don
 

whyphilip

New Contributor
Jun 25, 2020
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13
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Hi Don, some quick thoughts:

If you are doing PPC/analytics well, you should see the path to purchase clearly. Most importantly the search terms used to find your product. Use that to refine marketing copy and future campaigns.

Specifically, use that (and your current customer base) to determine your niche. You seem to be focused on 8 different types of shops, which seems broad. Seth Godin has really illuminated the power of niche - shrink your audience until you are the obvious choice.

Testimonials are great for that, let existing customers sell prospective ones.

An amazing resource for all of this is The Brain Audit by Sean D'Souza. I can't believe he only charges $10 for it. Really helps you focus your positioning, copy, and tells you exactly how to get testimonials (it's not obvious). Get it directly from him, not Amazon, so you get on his email list.

Big red flag: no prices. Whenever prospective customers can't find prices, they assume it's "if you have to ask..." I don't think you are in that category, you're not trying to sell to Pep Boys or America's Tire.

Similarly, the further you are from being the market leader, the more you should highlight how you differentiate from the competition. Create a table that makes it clear.

Idea: Atlassian has an extremely low price for its products when selling to startups, $10/month for 10 users. You might want to experiment with a super cheap/free tier for solo mechanics. Atlassian is worth hundreds of millions because when you break that 10 user limit, the price goes way up.

Finally, I know COVID is beating up your industry so you may need to adjust your expectations accordingly. I've got a client building SaaS for in-store restaurant menus, so we're in the same boat.

Good luck!
 

MHP368

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Your asking for referals right?

And hows your site traffic? All paid? Some organic?
 

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