You guys are in for a treat.
Today we are going to be talking about some of my learnings while working in a venture studio.
These aren’t all B2B SaaS related - some are behavioral things while others are tactical.
Learning 1: Show up early
This is sure to be a hot topic for some. The age old argument of getting in early vs staying up late has always been something that people often choose sides on.
I learned that in a high performing environment that it’s crucial to be in the office early.
Getting up and into the office before sunrise has allowed me to really catch up on thoughts and work before the rest of my coworkers get in.
In an environment where everything you do could result in higher valuations for the portfolio companies (portcos) - then it is always worth getting in early.
Learning 2: B2B SaaS sales can come in many forms
There are different ways for B2B SaaS companies to generate revenue.
The most common way I have been exposed to is sales led growth (SLG).
This is the equivalent of “Get a Demo” buttons on a website.
There are others, but the most popular other one is product led growth (PLG).
This is the equivalent of “Buy Now” buttons.
PLG companies generally have established customer bases before they start selling the solution to the masses.
During SLG, the marketing and sales team works closely together to ensure lead quality is high, and deals are closing.
Marketing can help sales close deals with custom marketing material and mockups for the prospect while sales focuses on overcoming buyer objections and creating a paradigm shift for the customer.
Learning 3: Tech Stack Creep is Real
In previous roles, it felt like it was so confusing with numerous different platforms and things that all could accomplish similar things.
In the lean startup world, that is nowhere near the truth.
I have found that a very thought out tech stack not only keeps costs down, but onboarding new team members becomes easier because there are less platforms to get acquainted with.
Furthermore, it helps us use those platforms to their full potential and avoid being overencumbered with numerous pieces of needless software.
Learning 4: Confidence
This one was cool.
Essentially, if you’re being hired on to work for a venture studio, then you are being selected because of a skill set that you have.
Whether it is tactical or behavioral, you are important enough for the studio to invest funds into you.
So what does this mean?
That means speak up in meetings and don’t be afraid to take the lead.
For me specifically, I came on as a Growth Marketing Manager - which is a fancy way of saying digital marketing manager.
I am specifically in charge of bringing in quality leads for the portcos using paid and organic channels.
So when we are in meetings with CEOs or with the broader team - I answer any questions or concerns that arise from those efforts.
It isn’t my manager answering everything.
In a sense, we are all managing because we ultimately want companies to receive higher valuations.
So be confident. Speak your mind. Lead a new initiative that you believe will make things better.
It’s all super important.
Learning 5: Find 1 High Performing Channel then Double Down
For one of our portcos, we found that search engine marketing (SEM) was our highest contributor of quality leads.
So we built upon that strategy and once we were in a point where we were able to drive consistent, low cost leads, we poured gasoline on the fire and sent more budget to that channel.
In B2B SaaS marketing, there isn’t always a one size fits all solution - namely because industries are changing all the time and new markets are popping up.
With that said, SEM may work for some companies while content marketing and SEO may be better for others.
This leads well into our next point.
Learning 6: Always be testing
Since marketing performance varies across industries - AB testing is vital to improve your B2B SaaS marketing efforts.
Keeping a ledger of your ongoing and past tests has yielded massive lifts in conversion rate for our landing pages and social media campaigns.
Learning 7: Identify Opportunities
Now that you are in the forefront of ideation and creation of some cool companies - it’s time to start thinking like a CEO.
Think about new things that aren’t widely adopted yet.
Find areas where your team struggles to find an existing solution to make your lives easier.
If something doesn’t exist - consider making it?
Whether or not this actually turns into a working product that can be bought and sold in the future is besides the point.
The point is that since you are at the forefront of innovation - there are not always going to be tools that solve your problems.
It’s up to you to innovate and pioneer into uncharted territory.
And that’s that.
7 B2B SaaS learnings that have changed the way that I think and I hope they help you too.
There will be more posts like these in the future - so here is 7 to begin with.
Until next time…
To your success,
Ian “Your Favorite Growth Hacker” Binek
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