I’ve nerded out to over 1,000 business books. Of course, there’s the *obvious* classics like Traction, Scaling Up, and Good to Great. But there’s also this little-known, underground classic that I REFUSE to let any of my private coaching clients do without. It’s so *under the radar* that at last count, it had a whopping total of 9 Amazon reviews (all of them 5 stars by the way...)
Tell them what to do. Check that’s been done. Tell them what to do next. Leadership 101 right there. A fine recipe if you want to run a mediocre company with eight or ten B level players that constantly tap into your managerial bandwidth and cripple your capacity to achieve accelerated growth. An outdated paradigm for any SaaS founder with more ambitious plans to scale. For that SaaS founder, I offer a major upgrade from the “transactional leadership” approach.
Chances are you’ve already done some work in defining your “customer avatar”. At the very least, I feel good assuming you don’t think I’m talking about a blue space creature ;-) But when it comes to defining and dialing in your B2B SaaS avatar… … the rules are a bit different.
We’ve all suffered through it. The end-of-year Zoom call where the fearless founder, likely fueled by a few craft beers, starts riffing off bold projections for the upcoming year. “We’re gonna crush it” “We’re gonna change the game” “2x… 5x… 10x” You get the idea ;-) I’m all for setting ambitious goals, and have crazy amounts of respect for any founder audacious enough to pursue them.
I still remember the sudden flood of texts and emails. It was November 2013 and Google had just announced “Helpouts”. My friends, advisors, and investors all thought it was the death knell to my company, Clarity.fm… and thought it to be their duty to let me know. Fresh off TWO successful exits, I was no stranger to competition and had become resilient in focusing on “me” while tuning out the noise. But when a 100 billion dollar giant comes thumping
You can have the best product in the world. The best plan in the world. And the best team in the world. But if *this* entrepreneurial beast rears its head in your life and business -- you’ll still risk having the entire thing burn to the ground with little to no warning. We’re talking about entrepreneurial burnout and overwhelm.
“How’s your company doing?” It’s a simple question. Yet one that freezes so many SaaS founders in their tracks. Why? They have no freakin’ clue how to answer it. Do you mean churn? Do you mean new leads? Do you mean expansion revenue?
“Why would they ever give me the time of day?” “How could I possibly add value to their life?” “How could I reach out without feeling needy, desperate, or an intrusion on their day?” These are just a few of the excuses founders make for not reaching out to the game-changing mentor or advisor that could dramatically accelerate the growth of their business. Instead of the “who” -- they play it safer by focusing on the “how”.
Back when I was growing Clarity.fm, we were getting a TON of organic traffic. At its peak, we were clocking in at over 100K unique visitors/month. Which on the surface sounds like a number worth fist-bumping over. Problem was… Barely any of those visitors were actually converting into free accounts or paid calls. About 2% to be exact. (I can’t believe I thought that was OK) And it’s not like the leads were bad either.
“Facebook ads don’t work for B2B SaaS” Raise your hand if you’ve heard that one before (or have been the one to say it). I hear some spin on that one multiple times per week. Usually from a jaded SaaS founder who went “all in” with Facebook only to burn through their Amex card with nothing but a stack of air miles to show for it. There’s a reason that Facebook is such a polarizing channel in the SaaS world.