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…..And Why we built SaaSNerd

 

‘What’s dangerous is to not evolve’ – Jeff Bezos

You might have noticed last week, the launch of SaaSNerd, a job site for the SaaS Industry from the team at SaaScribe. Why did we do this? SaaS hiring crisis, what crisis? Let me explain….

Through hosting our weekly podcast, The SaaS Revolution Show Podcast, one of the major recurring topics that Founders/CEO’s that we’ve spoken to, is the importance of hiring.

The challenge in hiring great people.

The competitiveness of The Bay Area for hiring talent.

Spending 50% of time on hiring.

Building out a world class team.

This got us thinking, and with the cog wheels of the SaaScribe brains moving, we just couldn’t think of a dedicated job site for the SaaS Industry. Where is the Monster.com for SaaS?

As we subscribe to the school of ‘getting shit done’ or should I say ‘doers’ we went full steam ahead and built the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for SaaSNerd.com, the job site for the SaaS Industry.

For this article, I want to share with you the journey of the why and how we got to the MVP and we plan to provide you updates along the journey to give you insights into our successes and failures, but we’re planning on more successes.

 

The podcast interviews – AKA thanks for the idea Y’all

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Much thanks needs to go to our podcast guests for giving us the AHA moment. Whilst many online tech publications such as Techcrunch, VentureBeat and Tech.eu look at a multi-channel revenue stream including putting up a jobs board, and this has been in our minds since the inception of SaaScribe, it was the almost weekly affirmation that hiring is a either a problem or the most important thing on the table that day from our SaaSStar guests that took the thinking bigger than just a jobs board add on to SaaScribe. Let’s see what some of the SaaSStar guests had to say:

Mathilde Collin, CEO of Front: On hiring in San Francisco

The negative thing is hiring, which is core for your company where the competition is far harder here. I think you’ll just spend far more hours to find one person than when you’re in Europe.

 

Gadi Shamia, COO of Talkdesk

If you ask me what I’ve done in this last 6 months that I’m most proud of is helping Tiago build this awesome team. Building a company is not just hiring people, it’s hiring people and architecting the organization in a way that will be effective and hiring the right type of people, the right managers, creating the right teams and sub-teams.

When I joined Talkdesk, we were three different types of people. We were Sales, Support, and Engineering. And obviously the company grows, now we have customer success and we have a Product Team, we have Design, we have Marketing. And designing it and working alongside Tiago and the other executives to hire the team was probably the most important thing we’ve done this year

 

Mark Roberge, CRO of Hubspot

I made the conscious decision to cut corners on the training and managing and really try to do an A+ job on hiring. Figuring that if I hire exceptionally well, I’ll get some rockstars. And even if I don’t do a phenomenal job at training and managing them, rockstars will figure out a way to win. Versus if I don’t get rockstars in and I get a bunch of the B’s and maybe a few C’s in here, even if I’m awesome at training and managing them it’s going to be an uphill battle. So I literally spent like probably 40-50% of my time when we were a small, small organisation just going out and trying to source and interview and recruit the best possible sales team.

It’s not only content that is evergreen

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Everyone from Neil Patel, to Tomasz Tunguz, John Collins at Intercom talks about the importance of creating content that is evergreen.

We are in our 8th month of building out our forest of evergreen content at SaaScribe. A SaaS Library for the SaaS Community, for you to keep reaching back into to help you and help the SaaS Community better understand SaaS, so that it might help you in your day to day job, your career, that next interview, even help your company become one of those mythical horse like creatures that ran face first into an ice cream cone.

The goals with building out the evergreen content forest are to drive repeat, compounding traffic to the site. If we went down the news route, which we dabbled in at the inception of SaaScribe, we might see some short term gains in terms of views on the day of the published post, only for the article to be confined to the graveyard of never to be read articles after initial posting. Techcrunch and many others do the news thing so well, we don’t need to even try be SaaScrunch. So heeding the words of Neil, Tomasz and John, evergreen is the content strategy of choice for SaaScribe henceforth. Thanks but what’s this got to do with hiring?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos famously Said:

‘if you want to build a successful, sustainable business, don’t ask yourself what could change in the next ten years that could affect your company.

Instead, ask yourself what won’t change, and then put all your energy and effort into those things.’

We believe that taken into the context of our idea for SaaSNerd, SaaS Companies will always be hiring. SaaS Companies will always have a challenge in hiring the best people. SaaS Companies will always be looking at the best channels to recruit rockstars to their team. The need to hire is evergreen. Ergo, finding a solution for a hiring problem could be a winning, long term strategy.

 

The hiring crisis? What hiring crisis? This hiring crisis.

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‘In the last two or three years, I’ve witnessed something new: a hiring crisis so severe that it is crippling startup’s abilities to get products built on time, and starving them of the talent they need to market and sell those products. There is an intense skills shortage created by the explosion in startups over the past few years. Demand has drastically outstripped supply. I’m pretty sure that I don’t need to describe this phenomenon as most of my readers are living with this problem day to day.’
‘When I talk with the founders of my portfolio companies, much of the discussion is about hiring, and how hard it is. It’s no longer surprising to hear that as much as 70% of their time is spent on hiring. There are plenty of candidates out there, but finding the right candidates is a huge challenge.’

This is an excerpt from ‘Recruiting – The third crucial startup skill’ another fantastic post from David Skok, VC at Matrix partners, on his blog For Entrepreneurs. David cements what many of our SaaSStars had been saying and even takes the anecdotal 50% time spent on hiring stat up to a whacking great 70%. Holy Hiring SaaS Stats SaaSMan!

Meanwhile, i’m reading about hiring in SaaS on an almost daily basis:

“Given fast revenue and customer growth, SaaS companies are hiring rapidly to support and prepare for future growth with the effect of slightly reducing revenue per employee as they hire in advance of growth.” source – SaaS heats up in revenue and hiring – Infoworld

 

From MVP to SaaSMonster.com

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Getting back to when we had our lab coats on and channelling our SaaS versions of Dr.Frankenstein, we moved quickly to our creation:

  • From brainstorming the name: SaaSNerd was our first and last choice, ergo winner winner chicken dinner.
  • Validation of idea: speaking with a number of SaaS friends looking and receiving the Gladiator thumbs up. We did not use any SaaS survey products in this validation. Shame on us.
  • To discussing with our developer and deciding to build on WordPress for the MVP.
  • Hosting and domain with Godaddy
  • Setting up Email with Microsoft Office 365
  • Design of our logo
  • Setting up Twitter and Facebook pages. LinkedIN on it’s way
  • Reaching out to some SaaS friends to post some initial jobs on the site so it wasn’t an empty showroom when the lights were switched on.
  • To Launch

All in less than 4 weeks.

Our launch strategy was fairly simple and cost effective as we are bootstrapping like there’s no tomorrow.

  • Email pretty much everyone in the industry i’ve spoken to since inception of SaaScribe and let them know of the launch of SaaScribe and kindly ask them to check it out and for a tweet out – This drove around 308 visitors to the site
  • Facebook campaign – 302 website clicks in 5 days
  • Google Adwords campaign – 148 website clicks in 5 days
  • Display AD on SaaScribe – 44 website clicks in 4 days
  • Product Hunt launch – Drove 1,224 visitors to the site and resulted in 50% of website traffic on launch day and 3 days later is now 5% of website traffic.

Clear winner here is Product Hunt. Check out our Product Hunt page here. Then email resulted in the second largest source of traffic. Don’t underestimate email. The challenge with both of those, is that you cant launch our product on Product Hunt everyday. It doesn’t scale to email everyone you know personally to ask to to check out your new product. This is where the next phase of the marketing strategy comes into play. More on that next time.

7 days on – it’s not a conclusion it’s a commencement

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I can’t write a conclusion, as this is just the beginning. The chapter and journey in activating the second revenue stream of SaaScribe is but a week old and the intention is to keep you, the readers, up to date on whether we become a monster or a mouse.

My learnings in this short amount of time:

  • You have a better opportunity than ever before, to turn your idea into a business today. Barriers to entry are so low, you can bootstrap and launch your ideas into projects into businesses in the evenings and weekends. Sujan Patel did this with two SaaS projects. I’ve done this. You can too
  • Be a Doer, not a Don’t er. Just get shit done. Don’t delay, launch today.
  • If you see a problem and a market and you think you have a solution, validate that idea and then build.
  • Having a network helps. have you got a network of people you can count on? If not, start building one today.
  • Launching on Product Hunt was the biggest driver of traffic. I wish we could launch on product hunt everyday. But now google analytics tells me that traffic from Product Hunt has gone from 50% of all traffic to 5% and soon that will be 1%. So work is never done. Onto the next one. Phase 2 of the Marketing plan that is
  • If you build it, they don’t come. You all know that right? Just checking.
  • Bill Gates. Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Sundar Pichai. Richard Hendriks. Just Saying.

 

 

For the next article on SaaSNerd, I’ll go deeper into the sales and marketing plus initial challenges and solutions. For now, we’d love it if you took a look at SaaSNerd for yourselves and feel free to comment, in the comments section below as to what you like and/or dislike to help us improve the product. Also, comments on the article if you have them would be awesome.

by Alex Theuma. @alextheuma

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