Day two of Saastr 2018 got off to a better start than day one with noticeably less people looking lost and annoyed! The day kicked off an hour earlier providing the opportunity for attendees to take in more content and get their money’s worth.

Hunters, farmers, trappers and….guns

The first presentation I saw today was by David Kellogg, CEO of Host Analytics. It was mostly about SaaS metrics but near the end he gave a really neat summary of the puzzle of finding the right Hunter/Farmer sales model:

  • If you have a straightforward upsell process (like adding fries to a burger) – then you need a simple hunter and farmer model but if the expansion needs to be sold then you need “farmers with guns”.
  • When expansion is harder to sell, maybe against competitive alternatives then you need your farmers to find and qualify targets and call in the hunters.
  • Where there are small initial sales with big expansion opportunities, you need ‘trappers’ to catch the initial deal, then bring in the big hunters who are actually doing high-value installed base selling.

Kellogg’s most striking image was this: If you put your farmers up against your competitors’ hunters you will end up with dead farmers.

Winning the vertical battle

I found Ara Mahdessian’s talk on winning in vertical markets particularly thought provoking. The CEO of ServiceTitan made a compelling case that the playbook for vertical solutions (ServiceTitan markets business software for tradespeople and contractors) is fundamentally different to horizontal solutions – the middle ground is a death zone.

  • For vertical solutions you are selling to a total market of tens or hundreds of thousands.
  • The addressable market is defined by a common workflow – and so a winning SaaS solution must automate a whole workflow.
  • People know each other, word of mouth is very powerful. People want to know how your software has changed the lives of people like them, people they probably know.
  • Understanding their business is just as important as having great software. You must lead through subject matter expertise and be able to speak about real pain points and practical solutions on every contact point.

Email is alive and kicking

My final “star” presentation today was from SendGrid’s Scott Heimes. He gave a brilliant seminar on how to optimise email marketing. He divided the challenge into optimising Design, Content, Personalisation, Global Appropriateness and Deliverability. Some of the things he emphasized that I found most striking:

  • 67% of consumers between 16 and 55 believe email is essential to their lives – including Gen Z, three quarters of whom prefer email for communications from businesses.
  • Your logo should be the first thing people see when they open your email. Emails must be brand reinforcing.
  • Must A/B test everything at every step – he was religious about this
  • For Subject lines – 3 words always win out.
  • The pre-header text is very powerful real estate – avoid placing the ‘if you can’t see this email…’ text here
  • Personalised Emails triggered by actions taken by the recipient inside your app are especially effective.
  • Email is becoming more and more interactive – delivering shopping including buying from inside the email.
  • Deliverability cannot be taken for granted – only 80% of ‘wanted’ email reaches its intended recipient.
  • Use dedicated IP addresses. Segment transactional from marketing emails on different IP addresses – the former are highly wanted and must keep a very strong reputation.

So that’s my two cents worth. Tomorrow is the final day of the conference so watch out for the last roundup…

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