October 11, 2018

We Bootstrapped to $1M in Two Years Yet We're Starting All Over Again


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    Your excellent rate of signups must mean that the 70% on non-actives believe that they'll benefit greatly from your service.

    So congratulations on your sales team doing so well!

    And with all of the training that you're doing it seems like you're doing everything right there. It makes me think...

    You say that the 70% are lagging in their tech skills, but clearly they want to take advantage of your awesome service, but inspite of training they just can't quite figure it out.

    This leads me to think (having never used your product) that you might have a UI/UX problem.

    Could you provide us with some screen shots of what setting up the automation flow looks like?

    Because you've proven that you can sell, you've proven that people want it, I think then that the problem has to be product usability.

    I'd be happy to go through and do a teardown on the process for you if you wanted to send me a demo account login (used to do that professionally, now I just do it for fun and to help out fellow IH folk)

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      Hi, Armen. Thank you for the reply! I am grateful that one of my co-founders, Robert, is a successful salesperson and a great sales manager.

      Our signup rate is actually not good. Our demo schedule rate is a little less than 1%, demo success rate is about 4%. So for every 2000 cold calls, we can almost sign up 1 person. And it's been very inconsistent.

      UI/UX is definitely a factor that contributes to inactive customers. Besides UI/UX, there're also other factors. Many of the store owners are told by sales that we can bring them new foot traffic(Training sales is another headache for us), which our product cannot. Some of the store owners are not even computer-literate. And of course, we need also to do a better job at customer success.

      Currently, we're working with the customers to decide which features to remove(yes, remove!) and which parts need to be clearer. I'd love to show you a demo later. Thank you for being so helpful! Appreciated!

      :)

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        Many of the store owners are told by sales that we can bring them new foot traffic(Training sales is another headache for us), which our product cannot.

        Well that's not awesome! Are you contracting out your sales?

        Good, customer interviews are by far the BEST way to figure out what features to focus on (and remove!)

        Just followed you on twitter, feel free to drop a pm

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          Thanks, Armen! We hire sales as contractors so they are all commision-based. We used to hire W2 sales, paying by the hour was just not possible for us.

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    In LA if you ever want to grab a beer and talk SaaS

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    Very insightful, it's an important problem to tackle.

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    This was a great read. Thank you for sharing.

    Can you share any feedback about what the 30% of active customers find really valuable?

    And what are you going to do to better qualify customers who are a good fit for your product?

    Thanks again for sharing these insights!

    Cheers,

    Jonathan

    1. 2

      Hi Jonathan, thank you! And, great questions!

      Based on the user events we track and the survey from our active customers, being able to communicate with customers via SMS is the most valuable. Simply because it gets their jobs done better than other channels. For example, they want to get a higher response rate when sending holiday campaigns, send appointment reminders, etc.

      Another one is getting feedback. Our product lets them send feedback requests proactively so they can deal with unhappy customers faster(related to the first one).

      Note that without enough foot traffic, the owners won't care about the above and they need to deal with bringing new customers first.

      We qualify customers based on the characteristic of the active customers. So here is the first approach:

      • Foot traffic must not be less than 10 per day

      • Running or have run Ads previously or understand ROI.

      • 2 or more employees

      :)

  5. 1

    Hey Qi,

    Just read your post in IH.

    I launched a landing page and PPC Saas for local business. Have some paying customers and want to scale.

    I had good experience with cold calls in my home market (Germany).

    Could you advise me on how to approach client acquisition in the US?

    Every advise is much appreciated.

    Daniel

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      Hi Daniel, from our experience, the fastest way to approach local business owners in the U.S. is still cold calling. Many big players do this as well, such as Five Star, Square, etc. Good luck!

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    Rather than starting over, have you considered building an Account Management team that could help onboard new customers?

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      Hi Chris, thank you for the reply. Yes, we do have an Account Management team(or Customer Success team) help onboard new customers. Also, instead of training customers to use ALL the features, we train them to use the core features that are proven to bring them initial success fast.

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        Have you reached out to your existing customers who haven't engaged with the platform?

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          Yes, we currently offer them free Ad services to help get new customers.

          :)

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    What are your plans for the 70% of that customers?

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      Hi Srikanth, for the 70%, we offer them free Ad services to help get new customers. We also have a blog about how to use Groupon alongside our product How to Use Groupon to Skyrocket Your Business.

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    Hey @he9qi . Thanks for the great insight.

    Most software companies targeting offline businesses have the product usage frequency issue.

    I might have a potential proposal, I'll send you an email to the email mentioned in the website.

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      Email sent :)

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        Thanks!