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Marketing a SaaS Business for Explosive Growth

Video Summary

Not all industries are created equal. Some have low barriers of entry, some are very niche, and some are just starting up. They’re different. They don’t all follow the same rules. This morning, join Jessica Meher, Juney Ham, and moderator Conrad Wadowski as they talk about the unique challenges and opportunities in growing a SaaS company. You’ll learn: Why growth is different for SaaS businesses, What tactics should be in your SaaS marketing playbook, which metrics SaaS marketers really care about in B2B & B2C


Conrad Wadowski is a growth technology executive, advisor and Co-Founder of Teachable, a SaaS that powers online education for companies like New York Times, The Next Web and Intuit.

Conrad runs Ops.tv, a weekly research subscription that covers process and technology from the top B2B sales & marketing teams. He also started GrowHack, a New York City based email subscription and community of 17,000 growth practitioners.

Previously, Conrad served as Growth-in-Residence at seed-stage investor Quotidian Ventures and consulted with multiple Consumer/SaaS companies. He's a frequent speaker at places like TechStars, General Assembly, Columbia University, Venture for America and New York Internet Week.

Areas of expertise:
• Product development, positioning & demand generation.
• Content, funnel, event, webinar & summit marketing.
• Strategic partnerships, outreach & revenue generation.
• Qualitative research, analytics & iterative testing.
• UX design, CRO, prototyping & basic front-end development.
• Consumer/SaaS metrics, general management & operations.
• Janitorial skills on an as-needed basis.

Jessica Meher is the Vice President of Enterprise Marketing, responsible for driving the Go-to-Market strategy and tactics for InVision’s enterprise products and services. Jessica has over 10 years of experience managing and leading demand creation, growth, and enabling sales at scale. Previously, she was the Head of Web Marketing at HubSpot, where she was responsible for managing the strategy and development of the company’s web properties and apps. Jessica also served as the Head of Enterprise Marketing, leading the inbound marketing, demand generation and branding strategies for HubSpot’s entry into the Mid and Enterprise market. Under her leadership, the company grew from $18m to $130m+ in revenue, and from a private company through a successful IPO. Outside of InVision, Jessica is a mentor with TechStars, an angel investor, and frequently advises many startups and professionals on marketing strategies and leadership.

Juney Ham is a startup executive and entrepreneur, helping high-growth companies like Airbnb and Hired scale and evolve their marketing, product, engineering and operations teams.

Juney is currently a Founder in Residence at Atomic, a venture studio focused on building companies that drive the future. Prior to Atomic, Juney was the CMO and then Chief Marketplace Officer at Hired, a career marketplace for the world’s knowledge workers, where he led the marketing, growth, product and design, candidate success, analytics, strategy and expansion teams globally.

Prior to joining Hired, Juney served as a Senior Vice President at Envestnet, a leading provider of integrated portfolio, practice management, and reporting solutions for financial advisors and institutions. Ham joined Envestnet through the acquisition of his startup Upside, a financial technology startup, where he served as Co-founder and President.

Additionally, Juney has held various marketing, product, engineering and operational leadership roles at Airbnb, Expedia, Experian and Connexity.

Juney holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and two children

What you will learn?

  • Find out how SaaS businesses that have been in the market for some time grow their businesses
  • Find out what tools other SaaS businesses use
  • Have an idea on the structure that other SaaS organizations have
  • See how other SaaS businesses hire the right people for growth
  • Understand other strategies that other SaaS businesses have that contribute to their growth

Conrad! Take it away, man.

Awesome. Thank you, Clayton. I’ve got the mic. You can pass the mic to Ali. Here we go.
So first thing to kick things off is just like, how many people here actually have SaaS companies or are affiliated with SaaS companies.
Okay. This is a pretty big majority. So I think the top is going to be interesting. I think the one thing about the topic though is you notice it says explosive growth, and if you have a SaaS company, I think you’re just thinking more about repeatable growth. And you know and that’s why I think that all of us can do kind of the minimal things for growth, right? We can test channels and we can do all these kind of basic things. But I think the really interesting thing becomes when you can create a repeatable process for growth.
So today, we’re very lucky to have a set of panelists who are heading marketing and growth and in some cases, founding companies that have repeatable processes, which is even more relevant to all of us today given the competitive environment.
So we’re going to go into that a little bit. And to kick things off, I will first ask you guys to do a 60-second, coz you guys already know what their companies are. So we’re just going to do a quick 60-second. Give us your name. Give us your marketing team size to give us some context and you know, give us who your target customer is, right now?
And Ali, you can start.

Ali Tajsekandar:
Hi, I’m Ali Tajsekandar, CEO and founder of Wishpond. So what Wishpond does is basically we’re a growth marketing platform. Basically, we provide the platform software for anyone who wants to run a marketing campaign, the full funnel from user acquisition to tracking and you know segmentation to conversion. So that includes tools like landing pages, opt-in forms and content. Lead tracking and you know, segmentation analysis on that, and then marketing automation to nurture them and sort of drip campaigns.
And our growth team is a team of eight people and our sales team is 12 overall. We’re a team of 50 people based in Vancouver, 2,500 customers and continue to grow fast.

When did you start Wishpond?

Uh, 2010.

2010. Very cool. Great.

Juney Ham:
I’m Juney Ham, currently the entrepreneur in residence at a venture co. called Atomic. But prior to that I was the chief marketing officer for Hired, which is a talent marketplace that helps software engineers, product managers and data scientists connect with really interesting jobs. And then later on moved on to run the marketplace which included product, customer success, analytic strategy.
What was the question? Marketing teams? Okay, our marketing team is about 20 people, yeah, including both sides of the marketplace. And our target customers were initially primarily Silicon Valley companies in the series A/B range, but then we continued to move up the market so we’re into the market and even enterprise companies now.

And what’s, in terms of the way the team is split up. Did you have certain people on growth or marketing? And how are you…

Yeah, we had a, we had a growth team that focused on sort of prioritizing a lot of things that we were doing, leveraging data and enriching leads on the client side, as well as driving some of the conversion funnel on the candidate side. We also had a candidate marketing team and a client marketing team. I’m working to connected directly with our sales organization and the candidate marketing team was more focused on sort of crossed sort of channel management. We also had a product marketing team that supported both sides with sales enablement and collateral and partnered with the product teams for voice of customer work and things like that.

Got it. And Jessica.

Jessica Meher:
Hey guys, I’m Jessica at InVision. The company is about 300 employees. Our marketing team is about 30 employees. So we’re a decent-sized marketing team to the size of our company. Our business and set up a little bit like Hired in the sense that we have kind of two different business lines. We have a freemium business, consumer, self-serve, and then we have enterprise which is the group that I support. So selling our enterprise products to larger companies to support the inside sales team. And before that I was at HubSpot for about five years. So I’ve been in the SaaS growth market for quite a bit.

Got it. Awesome.
So let’s just kind of go into some of the details right now. And so my goal here by the way is to give you guys like one take away. So if we can get to that, that’s going to be success for me.

Don’ do marketing that sucks.

Yes. (Audience and panel laugh) Don’t do terrible marketing.
Okay, so Ali. So tell us. So you’ve been, you’ve been at Wishpond, so it’s eight years now? Okay, seven years. Okay, so when you’re thinking about metrics to optimize for, how are you thinking about that and how has that changed over the progression of Wishpond?

Yeah, no, that’s a great question. So we have around 300,000 email subscribers. So at some point that was quite important for us to keep pushing for that and get more people in the email list. And we thought the more of those people we have, the more we can you know, nurture them and over time convert them. We’ve tried with many different metrics. We’ve tried with the most subscribers that I mentioned. We’ve tried with total website traffic visitors. We’ve tried with just sign ups before the upgrade or anything. We’ve tried revenue as the metric for this marketing team to focus on recently. We also got them to focus on number of leads generated.
But ultimately, any of these things we tried had certain pitfalls in our case. And right now we’ve settled on total value of trial upgrades and total value, I mean dollar value as in like, you know, if someone upgrades to $1,000 plan versus you know, a $50 plan. We want to know what the total value of all of them is so that the team is incentivized to maximize average variable value of deals as well as number of transactions.

Okay, let’s break it down. So I think I think most people when they’re thinking about a SaaS business or thinking about MRR. They’re thinking about churn. so you’re saying that your growth and marketing team is not focused on that side. Or how does that work?

Yeah, I know that’s a great question. So because I’m the CEO of the company obviously I have to work with many teams, but the growth team specifically, their goal is to bring people in the door and not completely cold. I mean, people who are willing to put their credit card information and upgrade to a trial plan.
But then there’s another team, customer success team that is incentivized to make sure these people stay and you know, MRR is part of, and churn is part of their incentives as well and their metrics. But the growth team is focused quite single-mindedly on that.
Obviously, you know, we look at a whole bunch of different numbers to see if they bring a lot of low value customers that keep canceling, then we’ll have a conversation but that hasn’t really happened.

Quick question there is if you were to go back, you know, when you’re building this massive email list. So 300,000 people. Let’s just like pause for a second. So 300,000 people, like if you were to go back, would you have built that 300,000 person list? Do you think that was something that led to you adjusting your metrics or like, and so it’s sort of like an audience first situation where you learn about your customers, you build an audience, you know who you’re targeting and then you transition.

To be honest with you, in reality, it’s never that clean. You can’t really plan, at least in our case, we couldn’t really plan it that cleanly. So we had a lot of different avenues where people could come in, you know. Integration partners would bring us some traffic. And then we would have a whole bunch of SEO pages that you know, our content marketing team has created. They would bring other kind of traffic.
And as the, you know, the keynote was talking about, you have ideal customers across the board. Some of them are going to contribute to that email list and not going to convert any time soon and some of them are going to be people who sign up and put their credit card information and go in. So I don’t have a good answer to that especially when you’re starting, you have to think about how much money you have in the bank and what kind of revenue you’re making. So you can’t really say, oh, I’ll work on the audience and in three years, hopefully, something will come of it. No, you need to make money.

Awesome. And then, and then for Juney, what’s the way that you were thinking about metrics at Hired? You know, were you, you know, so I know you had two, there are two different teams, the client side and there’s the other side. So what was the way that you were you know, comp like compensating the team and then focusing them?

Yeah, so I mean because it seems we’re a little bit larger, they’re a little bit more structured. Obviously you start from, even like budgeting right? From the budgeting process you have budget allocated, you know, you’re starting to think about like channel efficiencies and we can go down that path if we want to. But you know, I think to your point earlier, you know from a SaaS perspective, you’re often looking at revenue, which is MRR or ARR , depending on if you’re, you know, how like upsell or transactional components. Those also impact sort of the revenue.

Which is interesting with Hired because it’s kind of like a, it’s a mixture of a model, right?

It is. Yeah, exactly.

You could pay upfront for someone if someone’s used to recruiting in that way, or you can, you can pay over the period of two years, I think it is.

Yeah. So there are a number of models for Hired. There’s one model where you pay a percentage of the candidate’s first year salary, which is more like a kind of an agency type model. There’s a sort of monthly plan, I guess if you will where you pay installments. And then there’s also a subscription-based service which fits more of a like a traditional SaaS model.
So that’s a challenge in our view of the world, which is a churn doesn’t make sense for some parts of our revenue lines, right? Because people are coming in transactionally, you’re not necessarily expecting them to come in, use a product to have some sort of engagement every month. They can come back six months later or nine months later and they’re still a valid client.
And so that was some of the complexity in our business. And so one of the things that I was thinking about when you’re saying that is churn is absolutely like the right thing to look at for a SaaS business because it’s the component that helps you understand, are you actually delivering value to your customers? Are they happy with your product? Are they consistently using it? As opposed to like kind of if you’re focusing on just top of the funnel or generating revenue over time, you can erode your business by like kind of focusing on the wrong metrics.
So for our business, what we’ve done is, just a raise of hands, like who, what companies track MPS here? Great. So MPS for us, especially in the early days was incredibly important and we checked MPS on both sides across the funnel, and that was a mechanism for us to sort of bypass the fact that certain parts of our business lines, there wasn’t an equivalent churn metric. And actually MPS allowed us to understand like holes in our business or sort of gaps on the product portfolio that we wouldn’t have seen unless we had it. And so I would argue that you know, besides the two metrics that you described, MPS would be a very, very important metric to start to track even though it is sort of a lagging indicator. It’s something that you capture at various parts of the funnel and sometimes you won’t know until weeks after you’ve sort of closed a particular conversion or transaction, but…

Was there like a particular metric or was it a set of KPIs that you’re optimizing towards given you have these two different kind of…

Definitely a set. So we look at our business as a long sort of two-part funnel and then they transact and then there’s another funnel. So it’s like two funnels then they meet into another middle funnel and then a further funnel. And so we would track kind of the interplay.

That’s a nice chart to show.

It is, but it’s incredibly hard to manage that too, right? Like it’s a marketplace business. You end up optimizing, sometimes over optimizing for one side of the business, you know, at the expense of another. And so that balance is really important.
The other thing that we track which is valuable is the time between sort of transactions, right? So for us, you know, speed to hire was an important metric and speed to hire is something that goes from like the moment that somebody kind of comes onto the, you know, onto the platform all the way down to like, they have a job. And so managing that and tracking that as well is really important for us.

By the way guys, if you haven’t signed up for Hired, and this is not an ad for Hired, I’m just like literally looking at their onboarding flow. It’s really hard to get someone to sign like a recruiting contract. But with Hired, you sign a recruiting contract just by hitting next, right? You’ve reviewed the contract. You’re next, right? So that’s, I think there’s a little bit of innovation there. So anyways, I don’t know if you guys want to sign the contract but just check out the flow.
So yeah, so bouncing off the point of kind of the funnel and kind of the way that the funnel looks. How does that end look like at InVision?

Oh, yeah, we have well, we have many funnels. We track everything, typical SaaS business. On the enterprise side, there’s a couple of things that are really, really important to us because we support the sales team. We care very deeply about generating opportunities and we are very much relate and expand. So we look at new opportunities as well as opportunities into our existing business. Are we expanding into more users, more departments, divisions, etc.
And then we also care about renewal. So fun fact, is that our revenue, we actually generate more revenue at the renewal stage than we do at the net new stage right now. I’m, we’re actually trying to reverse that a little bit. But we care very deeply in terms of our KPIs is opportunities.
We’re also moving to an account-based model. So the sales team has a list of target accounts that they’re working and we aim to get a certain percentage of those targeted accounts into a late-stage potential close opportunity by the end of the year. So that’s what our team looks at.

How many people right now are kind of evaluating like an ABM model account based marketing model here? Out of curiosity?

It’s the buzzword of the year.

Yeah, buzzword of the year. Okay, cool.
Maybe, can you explain a little bit like what you mean when you say account-based marketing and in your context and the way that you’re testing it right now. And it’s a test right now, right? It’s not…

It is, it is new. So in 2016, the enterprise team was primarily focused on marketing qualified leads. And so we’re doing a lot of marketing qualified leads because the products that we sell into the enterprise are multi-team, we decided to look at the account as a whole instead of looking at it per contact basis. So I think a lot of times, companies look at ABM as a glorified outbound model. More direct mail, more targeted ads, etc. We want, we want to experiment with some of that. We want to do more offline. But we want to approach it a little bit differently.
So how we actually look at ABM is a, yes, we want to develop customized content and programs for the account. We want to understand the account. We want to understand the challenges that the sales team has with that account and where they are with their relationship is. One thing that’s a little bit unique to us is we focus on what we call authentic engagement. And authentic engagement is creating a reciprocity of content with the champions at some of the people that were trying to build relationships with.
So, for example, we have this series on our blog called Inside Design. It features some of the best designers and companies about what their processes and what they do and how they’re unique. And we’re starting to do that more in different formats. So we actually created a documentary last year that featured some of our best prospects and customers. We want to elevate them. We want to make them superstars. We want to make them the champions. And so we create a lot of programs that make them feel special and try to develop the relationships with them over time to you know, get them more adoption of the business because InVision is very bottom, bottoms up strategy, very much like your Dropbox or Twilio. And what we realize is there’s very little awareness at the top from the heads of design, for the VPs of product, there’s like, yeah, I kind of heard of this InVision thing, but I’m still not really sure what you do. So we want to help fix that. And to do that, we bring them more into the picture.

And do you think ABM and the reason this kind of focus or this this new buzzword or terminology, it seems to be that people are kind of picking it up, right? Especially for enterprise. Do you think that it’s happening now for a particular reason? Is it because there’s more competition out there? Is it because, you know, it’s harder to stand out? You know, like if someone sent me like I don’t know like a pinball machine, like there, I’m definitely engaged. You know, I’m definitely like, who are these guys, right? And some people actually send stuff like that. They’ll send to their target customers like really big like, like popcorn machines and stuff like that. Right? And we’re talking about literally really hard to get enterprise accounts. It can be kind of interesting.
So why do you think there’s that shift or what’s the reason for this? Is it the vendors that are just saying, hey guys, buy my product? It’s an account-based marketing product.

Yeah. I have a theory. It’s the industry doing what we call category design, right? So they’re trying to make it into the space, they’re trying to position the problem, oh, you know, the funnel should be upside down, you’re doing it wrong. So I think that’s actually where a lot of it’s coming from.
And I also think that there’s a little bit of a shift from the sales organization that like hey, maybe like we should rethink some of this stuff because the conversion rates are really low. If we just focus on that inbound or whatever. So I actually think ABM is actually more championed by the sales organization. And I do think there’s a benefit because ABM is causing a little bit more alignment between marketing and sales, which I think is really positive thing.

Yeah. Okay, awesome. So the next thing in terms of alignment. You know, it’s going to be about hiring. And so if you’re thinking about like a repeatable model, you’re not going to be doing the stuff all yourself. It’s not like some like growth hacker or like marketer or like in the back or something, right? But even if you have a small team, you still have to find ways, either consultants or you know people you can bring on full-time. And it’s a really hard problem. People are not educated on marketing. And you know, how do you, how do you hire the right the right marketer? You know, I don’t have the answer to that. I don’t know if anyone that I know has the answer to it, but I’m going to ask you guys.

Juney has an answer for that. (Audience laughs)

So Junie, obviously, you were at Hired. You see what Hired, were you just like picking people off from like the hiring Marketplace? Like, hey that’s a good recruit right there. I’ll just like…

So we actually, given that Hired is mostly on the engineering side, I’ll speak a little bit about that, but we’ve hired a significant number of our engineering team on the platform itself. And so I mean, it is good to be able to like literally to dog food your product and build an engineering team really quickly. And so that is sort of a bit of a secret now, that’s not necessary repeatable for every company here.
But um, I would say, you know, one of the things that I’ve done especially to hire on the marketing side is, you know, kind of approach relationships with potential candidates like strategic selling, right? So, you know when you’re selling strategically you’re not actually like, the last thing you want to do is sell really hard right? It’s really building a relationship, having a conversation, and I’m trying to understand what that candidate is looking for, and ultimately giving them access to the people in the organization that they might be working with, like what your working style is like.
And so one of the best hires that I made at Hired, and I made a lot of great hires. So it’s not the best person, but that’s somebody that I’m really really passionate about who ultimately ended up being my successor to the organization, we actually brought in as a consultant.
And you know, really really focus on one particular area in the business, it was a topic or a problem that was very sort of well-defined. And the outcome would have been really positive for the company. And so structured that really really well and then over time, as he got to learn how I worked and what the business was like, and really excited about what we were doing. He basically felt like a part of the team even though he was on contract and felt like he was, he was in the office every day. He had his own desk like he was part of the team. And so that really helped him understand the dynamics of how Hired worked and got really excited about what we were doing, got really passionate about the mission.
And so, you know, when it came time to kind of pop the question so to speak, you know, he was ready to go and basically from there he was already hitting the ground running. He had a couple of wins right under his belt and was able to broadcast that story in. People are really excited about the work that he was doing. And it sort of kind of really set him up for success.
And so I’d argue that you know when you’re trying to recruit for somebody be pretty open-minded about how you bring that person on board. He could be on a specific project, he could be on contract, it can be kind of a long interview. And be patient in waiting for that person to be ready to join the company because when they do, they can actually make dramatic impact to the organization. So that’s kind of how I think about it.

Yeah, so kind of talking about you know, the, so you mentioned kind of bringing someone in person. Right? And one thing that’s kind of really interesting that I just found out about it and actually on Wishpond’s blog is that in InVision, you have a completely remote team. Tell us about how that works for growth. And you know, especially like Juney mentioned, you know, bringing a consultant in in person, you know them getting a feel for the culture and then wanting to join maybe partly because of that. You know, when you’re, when you’re talking about like managing a SaaS and a growth marketing team, and that’s remote. How does that, how is that even possible?

I don’t know. So it’s rewarding in a lot of different ways. It’s also challenging in a lot different ways. Being remote means that we can hire the best people anywhere. We have no restrictions on location. We don’t have to worry about relocating anyone. So that’s a positive.
Not everyone is excited about the idea of remote work though. And so sometimes there’s convincing about what kind of culture we have because we’re remote. Hiring remotely is challenging because I’m, especially I’m used to like sitting in a room face-to-face and like hey, how’s it going? Talk about your life. It’s really hard to do that over video chat. And so some of these local I try to meet them whenever I can.
But for me, it is, I mean hiring even if remotely is the same way that I would do it any other case where I look for really strong digital talent, people who are experimental, people who are analytical. I actually do a lot of my own outbound recruiting, I actually don’t realign the recruiting team to do that for me. I connect with mad people on LinkedIn. I like read and connect with people on Medium. And I actually look for people who have their own websites and their own blogs because to me it’s like they’re creating stuff outside of their own job, like they’re really excited about what they’re doing. I like to see special projects, things like that. And so I approach my hiring the same way that I would in any other case.
But I think for me, it’s also being able to expand my network. So I’m from Boston. I have to expand that network outside of Boston in order to find the best talent anywhere in the world and that’s kind of been fun, but it’s also been a challenge.

Are there, have there been like kind of hot spots or you know, kind of like, you know certain places where you found people or is it…

Bay Area sucks. Don’t hire from there. No, I’m just kidding. (Audience laughs)
Well we, so we do have a lot of people in Austin, Boston, New York, San Francisco and Canada. We also have, we’re hiring a lot more in the UK now. So we have people there. But yeah, so that’s where we tend to find marketing talent, engineering talent, and other roles kind of are a little all over the place. But yeah, it’s kind of the same metro areas that you would expect.

Have you lost people once you got to a certain point they realize they were remote? Like realize InVision was remote?

So we have had some employee churn when people want to try remote but it doesn’t work for them. There are people that are like, you know, it’s just not my style. It’s the, the numbers were small but there have been people who are like I need to be face-to-face in an office environment. Like that’s just the way I work. But we have had a couple of those on occasion.

And they’re also like, you know kind of, if there’s a few people in Austin, are those people meeting up in some way or you know, how does, how does that kind of work?

Yeah, there’s a lot of like what we call micro cultures and division and actually in some of our bigger Metro areas, we do have WeWorks in all of those spaces. So people can go into a formal office environment if they want. We also hold a lot of smaller events all over the place and we encourage people to come travel to those events. So even though we don’t have official headquarters, we try to get people together as much as possible. We haven’t done a full company retreat yet, although we’re talking about one. But we did do a sales marketing kick off with about a hundred and thirty people in New Orleans. It was a crapshoot, but it was awesome. And so we’re trying to do more of those, get people face-to-face more.

Cool. So moving on to the next topic is channels. So it’s choosing, you know, the different marketing strategies that you have. And so I wanted actually pose this question to all of you. And maybe if we can first start with Ali. Ali, you know, what is one channel that you cannot do without at Wishpond? Yeah, what is that channel?

Yeah, so I mean, as I mentioned with the 300,000 email subscribers, obviously that means in the early days we spent a lot of, we put a lot of effort into inbound marketing and education and content. So that would be the one channel that we…

What’s the secret sauce to that, though? Like, how did, like that’s a, that’s a huge list. Yeah, like you’re not hiring contractors to create that content. Are you creating the content?

We have people in house that all they do is writing day in and day out. Now, because it was getting a little boring and they were kind of not liking just writing, now they’re doing more growth hacking as well. But no, we have a team of writers…

Is that a big bet for you? I mean to just go in…

It’s an interesting one because when you’re doing that, it’s a long-term play. It will take a long time before that starts giving you fruit. So you have to be really patient with it. It worked out well for us. At this point, even if they’re not there, we get so much traffic and revenue through SEO because all of the content that they’ve created over the years that we could not live without it.

Tactically speaking, like take me back to like when you started doing it. What was the thing that made you different at that time? Your content’s changed, but when you were building a list, what was the thing that made you different?

I think, to be honest with you, back in 2010, 2009, content wasn’t taken for granted the same way it is right now. I remember back then I would read, you know, some people talk about, you cannot outspend your competitors in terms of advertisements, but you can out-teach the market by creating a lot of content. So that, those were the days that just doing that was unique to some extent. Now, it’s not. Now everyone is doing it. So you need to find new angles. But what we just focus on was when we started each one was quite different and we made a pivot we were actually local product search and we failed at that, so basically what we found out was what, you know, we failed in that incarnation of the business, but we got really good at marketing. So what do we need to do to educate the market on different avenues and just focus on that angle whatever it takes? And that resonated with people and they wanted to follow.

Got it. And Junie, can you tell us about you know the channel at Hired? How is, what’s something you can…

Besides sales?

Right, besides sales. I mean, how are people coming to the site in the first place?

Yeah, so I’ll just, so we have numbers, how they work really really well. Hired is, traditionally has a big focus on performance marketing and we’ve done that really really well on both sides. So that is a big channel. But before, but instead of getting into that, I’ll focus on a different channel which is, historically, we’ve done really great work around events. So everything from sponsorships where we have like a marquee position in a recruiting event or like we’ve always hosted RailsConf and it had a really kind of interesting booth and we’ve done everything from like ping-pong tournaments to…

Can you tell me about, before we go deeper, can you tell me the average contract value that you guys had at Hired.

I don’t know if I can share that, but it’s also dramatically different, right? So like some clients are hiring, you know, double-digit candidates per month, every month. And our business is, our margins are extremely generous. I’m just giving you the recruiting business. You guys all know we all pay an arm and a leg to hire people. So I would say that in that sense, you know, we have customers that are hiring one to two candidates a year, right? And inconsistently all the way to potentially hiring, you know, 50 people in a given year.
So for events, what’s worked? Well for us is historically has been really focused on the candidate. So bringing the best candidates into our marketplace means that the best clients are coming to look for those candidates. It makes a lot of sense. And as we’ve turned that event marketing sort of discipline into our client side as well, it’s also been really effective in bringing those clients on board. We’ve done everything from large marquee sponsorships all the way to like very specific targeted events where we gather a handful of clients, maybe like 10, 20. And we’ve done specific events focused on a particular area of our business, whether that’s be to hire or sort of scaling and kind of increasing pipeline. And so we’ve been doing like sort of thematic and because of content driven campaigns around that in and building out events to drive that, so.

And there’s a team that’s managing events. Is that kind of how it’s done?

That’s, also the team structure has changed over time. But yeah, there aren’t there are people and teams that are really really focused on the event marketing side. Whether that’s the campaign ideas in generation or the logistics because as you know, like in that marketing there’s a ton of logistics that drives whether a campaign or sorry an event is going to be successful or not.

Yeah, we’re running, we’re running low on time. So let’s go to, let’s go to Jessica and we’ll go into the Q&A. So Jessica, so channel that you could not live without.

So I think this is one that’s quite undervalued is, our best channel’s our own customer base. We generate about a hundred thousand users per month and about 65% to 70% of those come from our existing users, both through direct word of mouth as well as virality for the product. So that’s a very powerful channel for us. We also approached our marketing as if we want our customers to talk more about it. So we actually don’t look at conversion rates a whole lot or like traffic or things like that. We probably shouldn’t do that more. But what we instead focus on is creating things that are remarkable and going to get talked about and going to be loved by our user base. And that strategy so far has worked for us, but focusing on keeping your users happy, using the product, making them fans and champions.

What’s an example of like one of those remarkable things that you could, that you can share? Coz this is, there’s so many different things you could possibly do. What’s one thing that’s working…

So the documentary that I mentioned was probably the most successful thing that we did last year, like we created a full-fledged documentary, like we hired an amazing cinematographer. We did a whole red carpet screening event all around the world and like anyone around the world can now host a screening of the documentary. We actually plan to launch it on Netflix, but we found that the value of getting our users together in a community environment watching a movie together instead of like sitting in their living room by themselves was more impactful. So we actually decided to delay the release on Netflix and we’ve been in that way. I think that’s something that’s worked really well for us.

And in the documentary it’s not talking about InVision, or is it?

No, not at all. Not one piece. Yeah.

Okay, cool. So we’ll open things up for Q&A. I’ve got few more questions but if anyone in the audience wants to ask, we can, we can take them right now. Okay, I’ll actually…

Yeah, Conrad’s the king of questions.

Yeah, so I’m curious about technology. Right. So we’ve got all these different tools that we could be using. That’s, this is something that’s near and dear to my heart. I’m kind of doing all these interviews right now with all these operators who are you know, in many cases using over 60 different tools. You’re kind of testing a tool, you’re testing other tool out, you’re trying to make sure it all integrates together. When you guys talk about your like tech stack that makes your growth and marketing teams more efficient, how does that look like right now and why do you think like, yeah. Just tell us how it looks like to start off with.

So yeah, you’re right. I mean one of the major problems that there are too many tools that you actually need to rely on. So at Wishpond we ourselves, I should try to bring a lot of those things together in one platform. So I’ll just mention a few of the ones that we use including Wishpond.
So we use Optimizely for a/b testing on our website. We use Crazy Egg for heat maps and scroll maps and that helps a lot. We use the inspectlet to watch actually what users are literally doing, their mass movement, everything else like that so that we can optimize conversions. We use AdEspresso for optimizing and testing ads, that works quite nicely as well. We use, I forget what we use for retargeting. Perfect Audience actually, we use it for retargeting and then we use Wishpond for our landing pages, for pop-ups, exit pop-ups, you know, entry pop-ups, style pop-ups to monetize our blog traffic. We also use Wishpond for sending the emails and drip campaigns and marketing automation. That’s high level. That’s what our stack is right now.


I mean, the big one everyone uses is Salesforce. It’s like a super boring answer but it’s also, you know, the whole company obviously rides around it because so much data passes through Salesforce. And we also connect to our Redshift on instance and make sure that the data from a data warehousing perspective is there. We use everything from you know, Kustomer iOS is a platform we use for emails. We also use Optimizely. We’re using Looker a lot, you know across the company marketing and particular uses it pretty deeply. And so I would say a lot of our insight for data transfer. So a lot of the tools that we use and just to kind of go in a different direction than Ali is around data, management of data reporting around it, you know, sort of keeping cleanliness and fidelity in the transfer.
So to your point, so many systems out there and increasingly we use more and more point solutions, right? So if you look at the ecosystem, now it’s like I’m going to use a product that does a very specific thing of a particular niche. When I use it for like on Tuesdays, you know when I’m tired, like that’s the best now, the app that I use, right? And so increasingly what’s really important is making sure that the data across all these different systems are either centralized in a place like a data warehouse or there’s a system that manages the kind of back and flow, back and forth flow of traffic so that you don’t have duplication around clean data.
And so that’s what we at Hired has, especially in recent years, are focused on is really keeping that data clean.

And I think one thing that you mentioned is quite important is segment. We use Segment as well. It does a really good job of making sure you pass the data once through segments and then you can enable whoever you want to send it to. We also use blue Pro for analytics when you want to get to user-level analytics that really helps and also can help bring, you know different information from different sources into one place.

And then Jessica.

Yeah, we use all of those. All those and more. Our products, yes, through Segment, Redshift, Looker, all that stuff. In addition, we also use infer for producing lead scoring and we also use in love clear bit for data pinning, data fitting, the data. Yeah, we use, we use everything.

So anybody, has anybody thought of a question? There we go.

Man from audience:
It’s not a question. It’s… (unintelligible)

Thank you for that, I’ll give you my business card after.

Yes. In terms of incentivizing, you know, like users to share an offer?
Yeah, so there’s a couple things we actually do within the product mostly to do that. We actually have a referral program, but that only drives like 10% or less of our new users. So we’re actually totally revamping our referral program to be more beneficial for both the referrer and the referee, but most of our new users actually comes from people sharing the InVision prototypes to other people without their company. So it’s more of the viral nature of that and we optimize and you know, put features of the products to try to get that to happen even more. So and again we want to provide a lot of value to the user. So a lot of it is just through organic adoption of the product.

Yes. If anyone has like a question on this side. Raise your hand we can do that next.

Woman from audience:
Hi. I’m sorry to gang up, Jess, I have one for you, too. I’m Link Goldstone Brooklyn Copper Cookware, and I wanted to ask about how, it seems like there’s a lot of integration between the way you’re thinking about marketing and the way you’re thinking about product design, the way you’re thinking about, you’re thinking holistically about a whole team approach to marketing and product development. I want you to say a word or two about who your closest work colleagues are. Like, who do you think of as your team? Do you have other people outside the Marketing Group that you collaborate with really closely?

So yes, we, gosh. I mean we collaborate so much with every team. So there’s actually a growth team and our product team and there’s a growth team in marketing and so both of those think very closely. I’m more collaborative with the sales team just because that’s who we support but the growth team in marketing works closely with the product growth team because they’re focused more on the cell surfaces, so it depends on the team.

Man from audience:
Hey, I’m Dimitri from Just Reach Out and my question is about churn and addressing churn in your companies, sort of tactics and things to do to address churn.

So one of the things that we do is we have and this is more of a sales approach actually, been working for us for our sales team. Our account managers are closely connected with our clients and basically access to the product gives them signals into understanding, is there engagement? You know, it’s not just you know, I’m using the product actively and suddenly I churn. Like oftentimes we see kind of a sliding scale with what’s happening with the product. They might be engaging with less clients or with less candidates. They may be doing it infrequently. They may be coming back to our product, you know, sort of less consistently over time and at that point, you know, rather than engaging them after they’ve already churned and trying to get them back, it’s more about continuing to help them with customer success and ensuring that they have the right tools or the right training with the right kind of conversations with their commanders to ensure that like if they have. So often times we’ll find out like behind the scenes that part of the reason why they might be doing this is that the reason same account was a different person using it, right? And so will find that actually the verification of the product are actually dramatically different but on the front end, we actually didn’t know that that happened and so some of those things that we’ve helped the marketing team has helped with the sales organizations is to just provide collateral and sort of product marketing and sort of positioning to help have this conversations with their clients. But I’d argue that like one of these that we focus on is actually less around resurrection so to speak, or like post churn bring them back but customer success before they actually do churn.

Cool. So we’re limited here. We take, can we take one more, how much we got? We’re pretty much, we gotta go. We gotta go. All right.

But if it’s quick, let’s do it especially from God. Autopilot.

Man from audience:
Kind of the counter to that question or the other side of that question is for Jessica, perhaps you mentioned your latent expand model curious on how much should have how much of the expand phase after the latent happens organically versus in sales or online methods and what you’re doing to stimulate that.

So on the enterprise business, expansion happens somewhat organically. So the thing that we’re trying to overcome right now is InVision is well adopted in the design team, but design impacts people out even outside of that. So products, you know, marketing, etc. So what we’re doing is we’re proactively building expansion plays into different departments and teams that don’t use InVision or know of InVision first.
So for example, we developed a new product called inspect which takes prototypes and turns prototypes into code. So it’s all about improving the design to development hand off of design. And so right now we’re trying to build awareness of that product, building incentives for developers to get into the InVision plan to start using that product. So a lot of it is more proactive, now some of it still happens organically, but we’re trying to do more to expand into different types of users.

Okay, cool, so we’re going to be hanging out all the panels from hanging out afterwards, so if you have any more questions, feel free to feel free to come up to them. I just want to give them a round of applause. Thank you guys so much for making it out here and doing this with us.

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