SaaStock 2017 review

Amaan nathoo

Attending SaaStock 2018? Last year the Bonjoro team had the pleasure of attending the SaaStock 2017 conference. Here's our review:

With 1500 attendees including over 200 investors it promised to be an enjoyable and insightful event full of all things SaaS (and Guinness).

There was an all star line up of speakers from all corners of Europe as well as the US, Canada, Australia, and Asia representing every level of SaaS - startups, SME, and Enterprise. We saw a lot of fantastic content but some sessions really stood out from the rest. Here is a day-by-day breakdown of our favourites. 

Day 1 - SaaS.City Growth Marketing Bootcamp

Oli on our UK team attended the Growth Marketing bootcamp mentored by Bill Macaitis - former CMO at Slack and Zendesk, Pedro Magrico - Head of Product Growth at Typeform, Guilluame Cabane - former VP of Growth at Segment (now VP Growth at Drift), and Lidia Lüttin - CMO at Bynder.

Guillaume covered the particularly interesting topic of personalising experiences that delight people, even before they have actively engaged with your brand. Using tools like Clearbit, you are able to identify the names of companies, by matching them to the IP address of anonymous visitors on your site. From there you can create personalised experiences ranging from targeted in app messages through Drift, to sending physical gifts (like a cup of coffee) to leads that are a particularly strong fit for your product.

How do you know what leads are stronger than others? Guillaume suggested using a tool called Madkudu which helps lead score in real time. By running the Madkudu API alongside Clearbit you can lead score visitors based on their domain and identify the leads that fit your profile of a strong customer earlier in the process.

Why is this beneficial? If you can identify a strong fit lead earlier in the funnel, you can introduce sales resources to close that lead much earlier in the process. Sales time is valuable, so introducing it too early in the funnel would spike your cost of customer acquisition.This insight from Madkudu lets you spend your sales resources early on the right leads, which helps you close deals faster and more efficiently.

For a more in depth look at Guillaume’s tech stack and process around this, check out this blog post from Clearbit.

Day 1 ended with a pub crawl spanning across 3 pubs and several pints of Guinness courtesy of Sendgrid and Chargebee, followed by a rocking opening party hosted by the SaaStock team. 

Day 2 - From 0 to 100 trial sign ups per month without content

First, identify a valuable tool that is complementary to your main product and easy to build (Patrick suggests no more than a few days of dev time).

As it’s core product, Advocately helps companies identify their happy customers, and automate the process of getting them to write 5 star reviews on sites like G2 Crowd and Capterra. So as a lead magnet, they built a notification tool to notify companies via Slack when someone has left a review online for them or one of their competitors. This adds value to potential customers regardless of using Advocately’s main product, but anyone who signs up for the notification tool is a prime lead for Advocately to upsell..

There are a couple of ways to market a lead magnet like this. You could throw some ad money behind it and attract leads passively, similar to a white paper (this may be better suited for high LTV products), or you can reach out to prospects directly. One lesson Patrick shared was when reaching out directly, simply giving the free tool out can lead to the prospect using it but never taking the time to connect regarding your core product. Alternatively, you can reach out to a prospect and offer the free product, but first set up a meeting to ensure that you can share your story and your core product before giving away the free product.

Patrick also uses Bonjoro to reach out to prospects who are interested in using his free product offering, but have not yet set up their meeting to connect with him first. This helps him differentiate himself and cut through their inbox which is usually filled with tons of other messages. I’m a big fan of this approach, but I may be a bit biased.

If you’re interested in getting your happy customers to leave you great reviews online, definitely check out Advocately.

Day 2 closed out with some networking and a Happy Hour hosted by Facebook. Unlike other SaaS conferences, SaaStock is not overly crowded which makes for a nice experience while connecting with other attendees and speakers.

Day 3 - The Typeform retention story

David took us through his journey of segmenting Typeform users by their usage habits. Some users create one Typeform and never return again, others only need typeform for specific situations like events and only return when it’s time for another event, and others use Typeform often and consistently. What he found was there are four different types of Typeform users:

  • One-offs
  • Casuals
  • Re-activators
  • Stickies

By segmenting users in these buckets, he could then look at the churn habits of each segment, and determine their retention curves. This helped identify which user types are most valuable to the company (Re-activators and Stickies), and which are least valuable (One-offs and Casuals).

Going further, David broke down the data within the “Stickies” segment by identifying other common attributes like company size, use case, buyer persona, and location. This helped determine an ideal customer profile (ICP) which is a valuable asset in attracting and targeting future customers who will also provide long term, high value to the company.

In the early stages of your SaaS business, it can be easy to stress over churn - each customer lost feels like you’re taking two steps forward and one step back. A common theme we came across at SaaStock, sitting in David’s session as well as other discussions with speakers and investors, was to focus more on your product marketing and finding your ICP. You’re going to churn customers early, but as long as you are getting closer to learning your ICP, you’re getting closer to owning a specific niche within a market. If you can nail that in the early stages, your growth and churn numbers will fall into place in the later stages when it matters most.

If you haven’t used Typeform before, you’re missing out! Try it out here.

One of the best parts of SaaStock17 was the lack of ego. Every interaction was genuinely about learning and expanding knowledge. Between the mentor sessions, keynote speakers, networking, and access to VC’s, there was a ton of value to be gained. Whether you are a team of one just releasing your MVP, or an Enterprise solution looking to expand into Europe, there is something for you at SaaStock. We had a great time at SaaStock and will definitely be back next year. Hopefully we’ll see you there!

Did you enjoy Saastock17 as much as we did? Let us know on our Twitter @bonjoroapp. You can also check out a few more photos from our time at SaaStock on our Instagram.

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About the author
Amaan nathoo
Head of Sales & CS
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