During the time of my freelancing life, I noticed quite a lot of companies were struggling with understanding their market. After a bit of digging, I found the problem was a bit deeper. The hint for that was everyone was focused on metrics while business is based on interaction with other individuals. When you think about it, metrics are influenced by the people behind the screen- your customers. If you understand who you’re talking you, you’d know how to improve those metrics and reach whatever marketing objective you have in mind.
The problem is further agitated by a 92% failure rate within the first three years of a SaaS’ life. We all know the first 3 to 5 years of a startup’s life are crucial, but still, that’s a lot of money wasted. There’s no need for that.
After we defined the problem we are solving, we needed to apply our own research framework to the business. We had no idea how B2B SaaS entrepreneurs look like, what do you care about, what personas we’d like to target, the communities in which you spend your time, as well as the way you talk. We needed all of that information so we could mold an appropriate marketing strategy to reach you effectively.
The main goal was to understand who are we talking to. In essence, what's the persona we'd like to target and the business problems related to that persona. Also, at what stage of the development of their business should we target them? Is it MVP, is it scaling, or is it something in between?
Therefore, the main goal was to really gain clarity on what to do next.
a few minutes of research, we found Dan Martell. I’m pretty sure you are aware of who that is but if not- he's a coach to SaaS founders and he's really a big deal in the SaaS space!
Dan was using an interesting strategy to generate leads. First, he had a substantial following for the platform (32,000+ followers at the time of writing). In his posts, he shared templates related to SaaS startups. The only condition was to comment on the post below and he’d send you a personal message with the link to the template.
That was quite the strategy there. First, the templates he shares are very valuable and save you quite a lot of time on research. So, you’d comment and the LinkedIn algorithm would show his post to more people. This process repeats itself and he gets quite a lot of exposure as a result.
Then, he’d message you with the link which applies a very strong psychological trick described in Cialdini’s book. In essence, by sharing this valuable information with you, he’s doing you a favor. This indebts you emotionally and makes you feel as if you now owe him something. He also opens the doors for communication by messaging you first. This also further leverages the LinkedIn algorithm by increasing his Social Selling Index (it’s part of the LinkedIn algorithm).
Some of his templates were also valuable to us, as there was stuff like “A list of SaaS communities”. So yes, I also commented. Thanks, Dan.
Since other SaaS Founders were commenting on the post (and that is our persona), we pretty much had a list of people created for us. We decided we’d leverage LinkedIn in our marketing, so I started adding people.
This led me to the next stage, where I had to optimize my LinkedIn profile for conversions.
During the research, we found out there are several personas. One of them was SaaS founders who are afraid to spend money on customer research as they are unaware of the value it brings (aka, they don’t know how to use it). That’s what you call a negative persona. If we onboard such a person, they are likely to be unhappy as they don’t know what to do with our work.
Then, there were the successful entrepreneurs who had bootstrapped their SaaS to a stable MRR level ($10k+ per month). For them to get to that level, they need to have an idea of how important customer understanding is. These people are close to our target persona and we’d definitely be a fit for them.
Finally, there’s the founder who secured funding for his business and is now in the “let’s spend it on something useful” mentality. That founder is aware they can’t do everything and simply need to solve the puzzle. They just need the right people to help them with the different pieces.
Since we’ve defined the problem we solve as finding the path towards product-market fit, we had to narrow down on the companies who have received funding. Thus, we’ve narrowed on Seed to Series A funding as these are the stages where the companies have validated their product and are seeking the path towards PMF. Bingo!
They have money to spend and they have marketers who need help crunching market information. We have customer understanding and are agile enough to work from a problem-solving standpoint. They have goals and our approach is to base the framework of the research on the goals of the client. A match made in heaven.
As far as Twitter goes, we decided to leave it out for now as we felt we got all the information we needed for this initial stage. Still, it’s in our roadmap to explore that platform as well when the time comes.
If you’d like us to help you on the path towards a Product Market Fit by researching your customers, then feel free to book a slot in the calendar below!
"We've seen enough startups fail because they didn't understand their market. Together, we can reduce the startup failure rate!"