Top 10 Mistakes Getting to The First $20m in ARR

Recently, Heavybit in San Francisco invited me to talk about The Top 10 Mistakes Getting to $100m ARR.  While that’s a great headline, really it’s a bit broad so I narrowed it to my top 10 mistakes getting to the first $20m in ARR.

To make it even better, I grabbed a real-live case study to add to my mistakes — Nicolas Dessaigne, CEO of Algolia.  Algolia is a hosted search-as-a-service startup has gone from essentially $0 to millions in ARR in its feart 12 months (my original post on why I invested here) and just raised $18 million from Accel on the back of that early success.

Anyhow Nicolas made plenty of mistakes himself, thus I am glad to see, not all of my Top 10.  :)  Perhaps that’s one small reason he’s done substantially better than I did at this stage.

If you’ve read SaaStr for a while you’ve seen most of the Top 10, but watching and hearing from them in context, updates, and with Algolia added as a case study I think is pretty interesting.

The video also includes a full transcript for those of you like me who have trouble sitting still for that long.  Click on the image below or here to watch and read.

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 8.07.34 AM

Episode 95: Hey, It Worked For Me! Yeah, But Not For Me

Brecht imparts knowledge (or lack thereof) to Scott about what to do with his business from time to time.

However, Brecht realized that what happens in one business doesn't always translate well to another. Hear how he found out by some mistakes he made. Regardless, he may still tell Scott to do things with his business in this episode too...

All aboard the referral train! Scott sent out the Bat call to some previous/current customers and a few answered with people they knew who had a need that Scott's company can solve. Doing good work pays off.

PS We can see comments now! Woohoo!

How to Track the Effectiveness of Marketing Campaigns

Last week we discussed how viewing traffic sources and funneling more high-converting traffic to your site can improve your overall conversions. In this post, we’ll walk through how you can track the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns with the KISSmetrics Funnel Report.

Marketing Campaigns in the Modern World

Today’s online marketers have dozens of campaigns running at any given time. A couple paid channels, drip campaigns, a few A/B tests, and maybe some offline promotions. It can be tough to manage all this on top of an already busy schedule. Thankfully, technology is here to help.

The Typical Day of a Marketer

Meet Jan, the Director of Marketing for a medium-sized B2B SaaS company. Jan has a busy job with lots of responsibilities and goals to meet. She has a few meetings every day, gets dozens of emails, and is under constant pressure to deliver more signups. With each month that passes, she has more and more signups she needs to deliver.

To help drive traffic and signups, Jan is running a few campaigns:

  • Two Facebook ad campaigns
  • A large AdWords budget
  • A strong social presence, with traffic coming from Facebook and Twitter
  • Webinars on multiple channels
  • A YouTube ad campaign

To help track the performance of these campaigns, Jan uses KISSmetrics. There are multiple reports that help her, but today we’ll focus on the Funnel Report.

Using the Funnel Report to Track Acquisition

Let’s say it’s the end of April and time for Jan to review how her marketing campaigns have performed year-to-date. To start, she’ll use the Funnel Report to get a bird’s eye view so she can track the effectiveness of each campaign.

funnel-report-b2b-saas-example-kissmetrics-post

This funnel has strong performance at the top (lots of people visit the site) but it ends up with less than 1% of the visitors converting to customers.

Using Channels to Track Conversions for Each Campaign

To help Jan understand how her marketing campaigns are performing, she tags all URLs with a UTM code, which KISSmetrics automatically picks up. For example, one of her Facebook ads looks like this:

https://www.example.com/?utm_source=facebookad&utm_medium=socialfacebook&utm_campaign=facebookfreetrial1

This sends visitors to the homepage, but the snippet after “.com” allows Jan to track the specific campaign. Each “utm_” is called a parameter. These are used to categorize ads and traffic sources. Jan can use them to track each campaign. There are five parameters to use, and Jan uses the URL builder to create these URLs.

Now here’s the best part. The KISSmetrics Funnel Report allows Jan (and all KISSmetrics customers) to segment her reports by any campaign parameter. KISSmetrics also automatically categorizes all these traffic sources into channels. There are seven channels:

  • Direct – These are people who come from a direct referrer. In many cases, these are people who come to you directly by typing your URL into their browser.
  • Organic – People who come to your website via a search engine are included in this channel. Also, people who set up a UTM parameter and have the utm_medium as “organic” or “search” will be put in this channel.
  • Referral – This channel is for those who come to your site via a third party that isn’t a search engine or social site. If they aren’t from those referrers, they’ll be put in this channel.
  • Email – People who are referred via an email campaign with the utm_medium as “email” or “e-mail” are put in this channel.
  • Paid – This channel includes people who come from a paid campaign. They’ll be put in this channel if their referring URL has the gclid parameter or a utm_medium of “cpc,” “cpm,” “display,” “cpv,” “cpa,” “cpp,” or “ppc.”
  • Social – These are people who come from a social network. We have a list of 276 domains and subdomains for such networks. If any visitor comes from a network on our list, they’ll be put in the social channel. Also, people who come from a campaign URL with the utm_medium of “social,” “social-network,” “social-media,” “sm,” “social network,” or “social media” will be put in this channel.
  • None – People who don’t fit into any of the above channels will be put into the None channel.

We can create a new channel by naming the utm_medium something other than email, paid, organic, or social. Jan has done this by assigning her webinars the utm_medium of “webinar”.

It’s possible to dig further into channels by using Channel: Origin. This will display the channel and the original referring domain or campaign name parameter. Since Jan has tagged all her campaign links with a campaign name, she’ll be able to see how each is performing along the funnel.

To view how every campaign is performing, she’ll segment her funnel by Channel: Origin:

funnel-report-b2b-saas-segmentation-channel-origin-example-kissmetrics-post

This data shows Jan a few important things:

  • The bulk of traffic is coming from Google and Direct.
  • The bulk of customers come from only two sources (a webinar and AdWords).
  • One Facebook ad has brought over 8k visitors, but zero customers. It’s time for Jan to remove this ad.
  • All ad campaigns (with the exception of facebookfreetrial1) are performing above average. AdWords is particularly strong. In order to find out if this is delivering profitable returns, Jan will need to look at what she has spent on the campaign to see if it’s a cost-effective channel. She can do this with every campaign.
  • Since webinars are a strong channel, Jan should ramp up her team’s efforts to produce more partner webinars.
  • The more targeted traffic Jan can get, the better. Not surprising.

How You Can Get These Insights

This kind of analysis and marketing channel breakdown works right out of the box in KISSmetrics. There are no rules needed or custom code to be written. Just install KISSmetrics on your site, and you’ll see how each marketing channel is performing. Any UTM’s you have coming in will automatically be picked up by KISSmetrics. You can also break out of the Funnel Report and use the Cohort and Revenue reports to see how each of your marketing campaigns affect conversion and retention.

43-Second Demo

Want to see the Funnel Report in action? Just hit play below:

 


Start optimizing your marketing by signing up for a free trial of KISSmetrics. You’ll get access to our suite of reports that guide decision-making and growth.

If you’re not quite ready to signup, you can view a demo of KISSmetrics to see how it benefits both SaaS and Ecommerce companies.

About the Author: Zach Bulygo (Twitter) is a Content Writer for KISSmetrics.

Burnout.

I spent my birthday crying.

I woke up, with my husband whom I love, in a beautiful hotel room, in the spectacularly lovely Colonial Williamsburg.

But I couldn’t summon up the energy to enjoy it, and that was the last straw.

Probably half of my misery could be chalked up to the hotel bed — I hurt and I was so, so tired. For my broken body, a hard bed is the physical and emotional equivalent of a beating. It defies logic, but it’s true.

But the other half? A dam break. Because I needed a damn break.

I was so upset because I was on a vacation I needed so badly. I stopped doing (or trying to do) long enough to feel what was going on.

I was burned out. I was flame-broiled, burnt to a crisp.

For weeks, I had struggled to complete new lessons for 30×500. It wasn’t just that I was tired or feeling uncreative — after nearly 6 years of chronic illness, I’ve gotten very good at achieving despite that kind of thing. I don’t let the ebb and flow of normal feelings stop me.

But now… I struggled to even put words in a sentence. I would stare at the slide for 5 or even 10 minutes, struggling to eke out just one bullet point. I couldn’t tell if my own work was any good. I didn’t have the emotional and mental energy to watch the finished lessons.

(Let me pause here to thank the universe for my 30×500 partner in crime, Alex, who kept the whole show running by himself. And my husband, Thomas, who ran the Freckle side of things, and my team, especially Amber who took over a lot of the office stuff without complaint.)

I never lost my desire to do a good job, but when I reached for my motivation to do any job at all, there was nothing there. It was a blank.

I love writing. I love teaching, and crafting excellent lessons. I love 30×500. But I couldn’t feel it any more.

It should have been terrifying, but I was too shut-down to even realize it had gotten so bad.

I had assumed it was my illness rearing its head. I’d had 3 months of concussion-like symptoms over the fall, and winter sucked, so it was a logical assumption.

But in the absence of work, I was almost (almost!) ok. Yes, my sense of calendar time was more busted than usual. Yes, I let relationships with my beloved friends slip through the cracks. Yes, I was slow, and stumbled over words, and had to ask people to repeat themselves — but… I wasn’t totally frozen, unmade, like I was with my work.

Some days I felt much better — chipper, even, able to look around our brand new office and see things to be done, and do them. But it was superficial. When I sat down to work on my actual job, the new 30×500… all that energy evaporated.

Obvious in hindsight — but at the time, a slow boil.

Here’s the thing: I’m my own boss. I’ve run our business since 2008. And I love my work, but I’m no workaholic — when I got sick, I had to learn how to take it easy. It’s been a long, long time since I burned out, and I forgot what it felt like.

But this winter and spring was crazy: Concussion, endless doctors, physical therapy, Forge launch, writing a book, launching a book, launching a product package, house painting, radiator leak, roof leak, in-laws, new office hunt, contractor hunt, insurance, paperwork, office renovation, office move,podcast launch, things in the works for Freckle, new 30×500, and the last straw, negligence verging on criminal by our accountant.

I kept telling myself, “All I have to do is get through this.”

And I kept telling myself, “This has to get done.”

And because I am a responsible person who does things, I tried and tried and tried to get it done. I’d sit in front of my computer for hours, struggling.

The #1 cause of burnout is a lack of control over your work life.

And, as evidenced by my story, you can do it to yourself, even if you enjoy your work.

The only solution is to stop working and let yourself recover.

If my employees had looked like I did, I would have sent them home. I did this to myself. I’m the boss; I control my own damn work life. And whether you believe it or not, you do, too.

Some of the things I “had” to do, yes, truly couldn’t budge: the office renovation, legal paperwork, insurance, and move really did have to happen. But the rest?

I picked the schedule, the pace, the dates. I decided what do. I decided to do them at all.

A few months ago, when things weren’t nearly so bad, Alex and I looked into our future — the renovation and move and new product — and realized we had to postpone BaconBizConf.

But I should have paid more attention, gone further.

I’ve rescheduled, postponed, and even canceled so many OMG CRITICAL things in this life and I can tell you… the world has never ended. Even though it feels like it will. I know this. But the burnout made me selectively forget it. Fried those braincells right out of my head.

So, calling shit off is the name of my game right now. Rescheduling, restructuring, and not feeling a lick of guilt about it.

I’m not working. I’m peacing out. It’s not all that fun, but (ironically) it’s what I have to do.

After 10 days, now, I’m beginning to feel little flickers of ooh, that’d be nifty, I want to make it, I want to work… that’s a sign I’m getting better, and that means I need to hold off for a while longer yet.

Today, I’m going to work on a revised schedule for the new 30×500 and other projects I was working on. Then I’m going to relax.

(I couldn’t have even written this essay last week. Literally couldn’t have. That’s why I’m writing this story right now, to remind myself exactly why I am not working… aside from writing this story; and, if you’re familiar with my usual work, you can tell this essay isn’t really up to snuff, because I won’t let myself spend an hour editing it. Ouroboros.)

Are you burned out?

If you think you’re burned out, take a gander at these two links (thanks to 30×500 alum, Marjan):

2015 WordPress Business Revenue Statistics

A lot of people in the WordPress community have published transparency reports in the last year, and I wanted to gather them all in one place.

It’s mostly for statistical data for presentations, and to analyze what business models people are using. I also have some knowledge that isn’t public information (from my own businesses, and people I know) that gives me a little extra insight.

Personal note to all my fellow business owners: don’t compare yourself and feel bad because you aren’t making what some of these businesses are. There is a lot of back story to these that you don’t know about, none of these people were overnight successes. If that’s you, read this post by Matt Medeiros.

There are lots of people I left out, if you want to be included in this list or update your numbers please leave a comment or shoot me a tweet.

WordPress Products

Ultimate Member

Business model: Free + Paid extensions
Description: WordPress Membership Plugin, Paid Extensions
Revenue: $12K/mo

Source

Aesopinteractive

Business model: Free + Paid extensions
Description: WordPress Plugin/Themes
Revenue: $5K+/mo

Source

AffiliateWP

Business model: Premium
Description: WordPress Affiliate Marketing Plugin
Revenue: $30k/mo

Source

GravityView

Business model: Premium
Description: Display for Gravity Forms
Revenue: $10k/mo
Notes: Entirely dependent on Gravity Forms business, that’s always risky

Source

Theme Isle

Business model: Freemium
Description: WordPress Themes
Revenue: $60k/mo
Notes: 50% of revenue is from a single theme

Source

WP Ninjas

Business model: Free + Paid extensions
Description: Ninja Forms – WordPress Forms Plugin
Revenue: $75K+/mo
Notes: They didn’t make any money for 2 years, had to completely rebuild. These guys are growing fast!

Source

WP Rocket

Business model: Premium
Description: WordPress Caching Plugin
Revenue: $45K/mo

Source

WP Curve

Business model: Services
Description: WordPress small jobs and support
Revenue: $64K/mo
Notes: Not really a product, more of a productized service

Source

Theme Review

Business model: Services
Description: WordPress Theme Reviews
Revenue: $2K/mo

Source

Easy Digital Downloads

Business model: Free + Paid extensions
Description: WordPress Plugins
Revenue: $800K+/yr
Notes: Pippin was not an overnight success, he built like 5,000 plugins before EDD started making money

Source

Post Status

Business model: Membership
Description: Online WordPress Magazine
Revenue: $7K/mo
Notes: Brian seems to be the first to make decent money with paid memberships for a WP magazine

MailChimp for WordPress

Business model: Freemium
Description: Plugin
Revenue: $30K/mo

WP Popup Maker

Business model: Free + Paid extensions
Description: Plugin
Revenue: $2K/mo

Source

 

Companies over $1MM/yr

Copyblogger

Revenue: $10MM+/yr
Notes: They a LOT of different parts to their business. Hosting, products, themes, paid content, etc.

Source

Woothemes

Revenue: $10MM+/yr
Notes: 10MM is probably a low estimate. They were recently acquired by Automattic, rumors are it was in the $35MM range, although that could be way off. They have previously stated WooCommerce is more than 80% of their revenue.

Gravity Forms

Description: WordPress Forms Plugin
Revenue: $5MM+/yr
Notes: The most successful premium WordPress product by far. The fact that a single plugin makes this much money is mind-blowing.

Automattic

Valuation: $1-2B
Notes: Parent company of WordPress.com, VaultPress, Jetpack, and others.

WP Engine

Valuation: $120MM+
Notes: They have raised over $40MM in funding, most recently at a $120MM valuation.

 

Services

Freelancers

Good freelancers can make a 6 figure income, as Curtis Mchale has shared in the past. I would note that it takes time and personal branding to get there, it’s certainly not easy.

Agencies

Agencies don’t typically write transparency posts, so this is mostly conjecture (which means you can ignore it). My impression is that several small WordPress agencies (5-10 people) are doing around $500k-1MM/yr.

The larger agencies have to be doing in the low multi-millions just to support their big payrolls, it’s likely that a company like 10up is in the 10 million dollar range. Again, total guesses here.

Employees

Employee salaries can vary greatly based on location, company, and skillset.

Ahmad Awais compiled data from the recent #talkpay hashtag and got a lot of salary information, you can find it here.

Businesses that didn’t last

WP Candy

Business model: Free content
Description: Online Magazine
Notes: One of the earliest online WP magazines, it was difficult to monetize.

Source

PressGram

Description: Free mobile app
Notes: Funded through Kickstarter, the time and costs for the project became too much for John.

Source

Know any others I can add to this part?

Conclusion

The success of many of these plugins has been distribution on the wordpress.org repository, through the freemium or upsell models. That’s certainly not the only way to go, the success of Gravity Forms proves that a premium only model can also work great.

Keep in mind that for every successful business in this list, there are 100 others that are not doing as well. The people who release numbers tend to be doing really well, so it may look like it’s easy, or everyone else is doing well except you. That’s not the case at all.

These numbers are just from people who shared them publicly, so it’s a very small sampling of a large market.

I’d love to get a wider view of the WordPress product economy, if you have anything to add, please let me know in the comments.

The post 2015 WordPress Business Revenue Statistics appeared first on Scott Bolinger.

How to Keep Zombies Out of Your Office

The statistics read like the script for a horror film: 70% of employees are disengaged at work. The working dead haggardly hack away at their computers and drag their lifeless bodies through the motions.

We are experiencing an epidemic of toxic workplaces, with 17.5% of employees so actively disengaged that they may be purposefully sabotaging their employers. How did we get here? And how do we avoid this?

A huge part of the employee engagement problem stems from poor culture fit. When someone feels at odds with their job, their coworkers, or their manager, their work suffers, their attitude stinks, and their very presence can suck the lifeblood out of the entire company.

So how do you create a compelling company culture that attracts superstars and repels zombies?

The Case for Cultural Fit

First, just in case you think this company culture business is some woo-woo concept that’s only relevant to granola-crunching hippies, I’ve got a couple of hard facts for you. Psychologist Natalie Baumgartner attributes 89% of an employee’s success on the job to cultural fit. Or, put another way, a mere 11% of an employee’s success on the job depends on their ability to do the work.

Happiness at work can manifest itself in several ways: the length of time an employee stays with you, the quality of their on-the-job performance, and their commitment to your company and its values. Perhaps not surprisingly, researchers Amy Kristof-Brown, Ryan Zimmerman, and Erin Johnson found that employees who fit well with their organization, coworkers, and supervisor consistently scored higher in these areas than their counterparts who were not as aligned with their environment.

One of the factors that has the biggest impact on someone’s workplace happiness is having a friend at work. Economists have even put a number on this (typical economist behavior, isn’t it?). Having a friend you see most days is equivalent to earning an additional $100,000 a year.

And happiness at work doesn’t just affect employees on an individual level. Glassdoor has found a correlation between companies that have a healthy workplace culture and their overall financial performance. If you’ll allow me to be all economist about it for a moment, “an investment in Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work” companies would’ve grown to between $2,797 and $3,470, far outpacing the $2,210 for the overall market.” So you can see that taking the time to build a positive company culture quite literally pays off.

The Honeymoon Phase of Company Culture (and Its Bittersweet End)

When you’re a small startup, you may not spend much time or energy building your company culture. Luckily, it’s pretty easy for the CEO to have a heavy hand in the hiring process and draw upon a pool of friends and friends-of-friends, which can automatically create a culture of people who share similar values. This is how it worked for Tony Hsieh when he started LinkExchange, and then again when he joined Zappos, where he now is the CEO. Countless other startups follow the same pattern.

But if things go the way you hope, at some point, you’re going to have to hire outside your friend group. Plus, your organization will be growing so quickly that the CEO will no longer have time to personally meet with each candidate.

So how do you keep company culture a priority once the honeymoon is over and your company still needs to grow?

Here are three approaches to building a positive company culture:

1. Make Your Business Attractive with Content Marketing

Marketing genius Seth Godin has quipped that “the only marketing that’s left is content marketing.” We might often think of content marketing in the context of products or services, but it’s also an excellent way to educate prospective candidates about what it would be like to work for a company.

One of the HUGE advantages of content marketing as a recruiting technique is that you get to set the tone and build your employer brand in precisely the way you want to.

Use video, blog posts, infographics – or whatever format makes the most sense for you – to send out the message about what your company is all about, what it’s like to work for you, and what type of person you’re looking for.

People who are interested in you can discover this content through a Google search, via social media, or even on the “careers” page of your website. Giving candidates the ability to discover you on their own terms can completely transform the application experience.

Take, for example, the HubSpot Culture Code, a document that was originally designed to define HubSpot’s company culture internally. Since HubSpot decided to make the presentation public on SlideShare, it has earned a cool 1.6 million views. Katie Burke, Director of Talent and Culture, has called it the company’s “top recruiting tool bar-none.”

Image1-HubSpot-culture-code

HubSpot’s Culture Code has attracted 1.6 million views on SildeShare and is considered their top recruiting tool.

So how exactly does one piece of content become a recruiting tool?

Influence & Co CEO John Hall spells it all out in this Harvard Business Review article, “Your Content Strategy Is Also a Recruiting Strategy”:

“Imagine that the ideal candidate finds an article that you published in an outside publication. As she reads the article, she develops a deeper understanding of your industry niche.

“Clicking through to your social media presence, she finds herself immersed in your team’s content. Your blog posts, LinkedIn discussions, and tweets come together to create a clear picture of what it’s like to work at your company. The candidate feels a sense of connection to your corporate culture and decides to send in her résumé.

“At the interview table, she proves herself knowledgeable about your business strategy. She understands the industry and has a clear idea of how she can contribute to growth. While other interviews were stiff and formal, this one is conversational and exciting.

“The candidate gets the job. Because she has access to all your digital content, much of her training is self-directed, and it begins immediately. This new hire is ready to add value the moment she joins the team.”

Hall goes on to say that this is not a hypothetical situation. Numerous employees have come to his organization through this precise path. In Hall’s words, content is their “most powerful recruiting tool.” (Are you noticing a trend here? Yeah, so am I.)

Now here’s a fun example of how you can really infuse company culture and personality into your recruiting content.

Is your crew an irreverent band of gamers? That’s certainly the case for the folks at Kixeye. So instead of just listing off their current job openings in the typical “careers” page style, they offer the “Are you one of us?” quiz.

Image-2-Kixeye-quiz

Kixeye uses interactive content to appeal to potential employees, and scare off those who wouldn’t be a good fit.

Applicants start by selecting their weapon of choice and then take aim at various inanimate objects to answer questions like, “How do you describe your coworkers?” At the end, they get a compatibility score. (Somehow, viewing your coworkers as “potential dates” and your dream job as “secret agent” earns you a score of 92%. Go figure.)

Image-3-Kixeye-quiz-results

Once you’ve completed the quiz and cemented your interest in Kixeye, you’re prompted to view the current job openings.

This is actually pretty brilliant on Kixeye’s part. Anyone interested in working for them will probably have no problem spending an additional two minutes on their site taking the quiz, and most potential applicants will find it hilarious that they’re shooting a Desert Eagle at a can of SPAM.

If anyone is turned off by this or any of the content in the quiz (like referring to your manager as a douche, for example), they’re probably not a good fit for Kixeye. So the company manages to appear even more attractive to applicants who can get down with their foul-mouthed culture, while weeding out those timid souls who wouldn’t last a day in their sassy offices.

Sounds relatively simple, right?

But getting candidates flocking to you is just the first step in building a positive culture. Next, you’ll need to make sure you’re considering cultural fit during the interview stage.

2. Hire Candidates That Fit Your Culture like a Glove

Building an attractive culture and sharing it with the world is a good start, but it’s not enough. You’ll also need to make sure that your hiring practices set you up for maintaining a strong company culture.

You can easily build some cultural aspects into your interview by asking candidates questions that relate to your core values or inviting them to participate in a social event like a team lunch or happy hour.

Or you can take it up a notch like some of the companies known for being über-protective of their culture.

At Netflix, for example, the approach to hiring is simple. Former Chief Talent Officer Patty McCord explains, “The best thing you can do for employees – a perk better than foosball or free sushi – is hire only ‘A’ players to work alongside them. Excellent colleagues trump everything else.”

Other companies, like Zappos, use company values as a litmus test for culture fit. Zappos holds two separate interviews: one where a candidate is assessed on their abilities and one where the interviewer determines their cultural fit. During the cultural fit interview, a candidate will be asked at least one question related to each of Zappos’s ten core values.

Cultural fit is so important, CEO Tony Hsieh explains, that Zappos has “passed on a lot of smart, talented people who we knew could make an immediate impact on our top or bottom line because they weren’t a fit for the company culture.”

The Zappos interview doesn’t just take place in some stuffy office. Candidates are assessed on every interaction, like the one they had with the driver who picked them up at the airport. It’s also common for candidates to be invited to company or department events so that their potential coworkers can meet them in a casual setting.

Zappos has also introduced the “Zappos Insider” program, where candidates can create a profile and express their interest in working for Zappos at some point in the future. Part of the profile includes a “video cover letter” that gives applicants the chance to let their personality shine through and demonstrate why they think they’re a good fit.

Image-4-Inside-Zappos

The Inside Zappos portal, where potential candidates can create a profile and show off their cultural fit.

Hiring for cultural fit is one way to keep your company on track and discourage those disconnected zombies from joining the team. But as we all know, most people don’t start a new job already deadened and disengaged. It can take months or years of a toxic environment to wear down employees who started out chipper and cheerful. In the next section, we’ll look at a few ways to avoid turning your existing employees into zombies.

3. Ask Employees for Feedback on a Regular Basis

As your company grows, how do you ensure that new hires and more senior employees stay on the same page?

One simple method, advocated in the Deloitte University Press 2015 Global Human Capital Trends report, is to ask for feedback. Regularly surveying your employees gives them the chance to air any grievances before they begin to fester and sends the message that management actually cares about their experience.

Getting feedback is especially important during the crucial early stages of an employee’s time with you. Dissatisfaction during the first 90 days on the job leads 17% of employees to quit within this timeframe.

Create a culture of feedback from the very beginning, and you’ll show employees that their input matters. Of course, this means that you’ll actually have to listen and respond to feedback.

A survey doesn’t need to be anything too fancy. In a Harvard Business Review report, the head of Bain & Company’s Global Customer Strategy and Marketing Practice, Rob Markey, advocates using the Net Promoter System (NPS) to measure employee satisfaction and engagement. NPS relies on a simple question:

“How likely is it that you would recommend this company, or this product or service, to a friend or colleague?”

AnyPerk offers step-by-step instructions on calculating your employee NPS and suggests following it up with the question, “What’s the primary reason for the score you gave?”

Image-5-AnyPerk-eNPS

AnyPerk’s step-by-step instructions on how to calculate your employee Net Promoter Score.

The AnyPerk post warns that your eNPS number may be shockingly low, so try to mentally prepare yourself for this possibility. This is why that follow-up question is especially important, since it’ll allow you to understand the context of employees’ satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Try to capitalize on the points the promoters highlight and address the points the detractors identify in order to get the most out of your survey results.

A Few Final Thoughts

Company culture might sound like a loosey-goosey concept, but it has a very real impact on your company’s bottom line. As Katie Burke of HubSpot puts it, when it comes to company culture and finding the right people, “the soft stuff is the hard stuff.” Taking the time to define and purposefully build a positive company culture will attract top talent, ensure your employees are engaged, and keep the life-sucking work zombies at bay.

About the Author: Melissa Suzuno is the Content Marketing Manager at Parklet, the leading employee experience solution that helps companies solve the biggest headaches around new hire experience, employee engagement, and talent development. Follow the Parklet blog for insight into onboarding, company culture, and other topics related to employee engagement and happiness.

Come to the SaaStr Annual and Make a Week of It

2016-event-4-3It’s not often you get an opportunity to join 5,000 of your peers in SaaS in one location for a week.  Sure we gather at Dreamforce, wave as we run across Moscone to our next customer meeting or maybe catch up for 5 minutes at one of the 17 parties that night, but rarely do we get to have meaningful conversations with other founders and execs who are grinding it out everyday.

We’ve got a lofty goal here at SaaStr: to be the largest non-vendor confab in the world by uniting the global SaaS community both online and off. We want to help everyone do better, more quickly and with less stress. (Piece o’ cake, right?)

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s simply no place on earth better than Dreamforce for getting face time with your customers and prospects or reconnecting with folks from the small-world-that-is-SaaS.  But the SaaStr Annual is for you, the founders and execs, to take a step back and really think about your business, to learn from the very best, to connect with your future VP Sales, to have a beer with a potential investor, or just to share that knowing nod with someone who is pushing a different boulder up the same hill.

So come and make a week of it.

tweetsIn 2016, we’re taking the SaaStr Annual to the next level – 3x amazing speakers, 3x networking opportunities, 3x incredible content.  You’ll join 5,000 SaaS founders, execs and investors in San Francisco for three jam-packed days of unparalleled networking, amazing speakers, great food and, of course, generously poured drinks (bars open at noon sharp!).

Why did we expand to three days?  Several reasons.  First, we were blown away by how many folks flew in last year from all over the world for a one day event.  They made a week of it, set meetings with customers and investors, and made full use of time in the Valley. So we thought why not cut out the Uber costs and make it easier for everyone?

Second, the networking last year was so ridiculous we actually had folks complain that it was too loud.  People were fired up and the energy in the room was truly electric.  So this year we’ve moved to a bigger venue with way more time for everyone to connect.

Finally, there are so many learnings to share! We wanted to make time to delve into the functional areas that matter most. You can pick and choose the sessions and spend the rest of the time connecting with your peers, meeting with customers and investors, and still have time to put out the occasional fire back at the homestead. After all, you’re making a week of it, right?

You can’t afford to not to come (for real).

The 2016 SaaStr Annual is your opportunity to join your peers in SaaS, to learn from the best in the business, to avoid the big mistakes, to strengthen your ties, to do better – so we can all achieve The Impossible.

This year, in addition to the CEO sessions, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the topics that are most critical to your success – Sales & Success, Scaling, Demand Gen and Raising Money.  Every session is led by someone who has already done it, and done it well, candidly sharing their learnings and advice. We’ve already confirmed incredible CEOs from Marketo, New Relic,  Zenefits, Mattermark, Intercom and Hubspot, as well as Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures – and we’ll be adding many, many more over the coming months.  And, of course, it wouldn’t be SaaStr Annual without the epic after party.

Even though we’re packing in three days of nonstop speakers and no-fluff content, like last year, we insist you don’t attend every session.  The real power of SaaStr is the community, so make sure you’re spending ample time in “the lobby” connecting with your peers gathered from all over the world in one venue.  We’ll record all of the sessions and make them available to everyone. We promise you won’t miss a moment.

So get your tickets now (really, now, we sold out in four weeks last year) and plan to make a week of it. We’ll create plenty of opportunities for you to connect during the day as well as in the evenings, so you can pick and choose your activities.  Don’t miss the opportunity to take your business to the next level, or at the very least, avoid making the costliest mistakes.

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The Fine Print

Venue. February 9-11, 2015 at the Nob Hill Masonic Center, San Francisco, CA.

Tickets. Super Early Bird tickets start at $1199 and will increase $100 each month through January.  We want to be completely transparent in the pricing and let you choose how much you want to pay and when. We will sell out – don’t say you weren’t warned 😉.

Sponsorships. We’ve got a limited number of sponsorship options available.  We ran out of space last year and expect the same this year, so if you’re interested, check out the datasheet and contact us to reserve your space now.

 

How to Get More Sales From Your Mobile Visitors

Over the next few years, most of your traffic growth will come from mobile devices. Mobile is becoming so important that Google is making algorithm changes based on mobile device usage.

But what you’ll notice as your traffic increases from mobile is that your conversions and sales won’t increase as fast. Why? Because your website isn’t set up for mobile conversions.

In order to help you grow, I’ve created an infographic that will teach you how to get more sales from your mobile visitors.

Click on the image below to see a larger view:

How to Get More Sales From Your Mobile Visitors

Click here to view an enlarged version of this infographic.

Conclusion

Increasing your mobile conversions isn’t difficult. From making your phone number clickable to speeding up your load time and adding a call to action above the fold, it’s the little things that will impact your sales.

How else can you improve your mobile sales?

Embed This Image On Your Site (copy code below):

The Female Perspective on Startups and Lifestyle Businesses (FS111)

In this episode we’re joined by a very special guest: the new Director of Member Success here at Fizzle, Steph Crowder.

In Steph’s inaugural episode we explore the experience and perspectives of women in startups and lifestyle businesses.

  • Is there discrimination against women in the indie business world?
  • What has Steph’s experience been like?
  • What steps can all of us take right now to discover where gender bias is limiting our content strategies?
  • Plus a crap ton more.

I mean it, we discuss a lot more, and Steph is so awesome. Enjoy!

It’s better to listen on the go!    Subscribe on iTunes 


The Female Perspective on Startups and Lifestyle Businesses


Show Notes:

Marie Forleo will help you create a business and life you love.

Jess Lively | Designing a Life & Business with Intention

Emily Ley | Joy & Simplicity

Jessica Livingston (@foundersatwork) | Twitter


Question for you:

We cover a lot in this episode about gender bias, equality and business stuff. What’s your biggest takeaway?

How to Acquire Customers on a $0 Marketing Budget (Infographic)

The old adage “you have to spend money to make money” doesn’t always apply to marketing. If you have a product that people want, you don’t need a $100,000 marketing budget to acquire customers. There are ways to acquire them without spending a penny.

Today’s infographic shows you how to do just that. It applies to both startups and established companies. Following the infographic, you’ll find some recommended reading on acquiring customers without spending money.

How to Get Customers Without Spending Any Money
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

Recommended Reading:

Somewhat related:

Paul Graham’s essay on Doing Things That Don’t Scale.

About the Author: Zach Bulygo (Twitter) is a Content Writer for KISSmetrics.