[SaaS Club Newsletter] Bootstrapping to Tens of Millions in ARR

Mar 9, 2023

Here's a quick round-up of what's been going on at SaaS Club:

🎧 Podcast

Bootstrapping a SaaS to Tens of Millions in ARR

In 2012, Alex and his three co-founders had just graduated from a university in Australia. While they were still students, they had built software to solve a pain they were experiencing.

Now, they decided to try and turn that into a business and gave themselves a year to generate sales.

By the end of the first year, they were making about $5K monthly recurring revenue (MRR). Although it was not a lot of revenue, it was enough to give them a reason to keep going.

It took the team another three years to hit their first $1 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR). During that time, they underwent a lot of trial and error, trying to find product-market fit.

The team got a big break when they built one of the first integrations with a leading SaaS product, which helped spread the word about their offering. Plus, they honed their inside sales skills and started closing more inbound leads quickly.

Despite their initial success, the team still faced many challenges. They operate in a highly competitive market with many big and well-funded competitors such as ADP, Workday, and UKG.

When Covid hit, they faced a major problem because half of their customers were in the hard-hit hospitality industry.

Despite all these challenges, they've been able to grow a SaaS business doing tens of millions of dollars in ARR, with over 7,000 customers, and a team of 150. Most significantly, the business is totally bootstrapped.

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • How they found product-market fit after 3 years of trial and error
  • The challenges they faced in the highly competitive software market (and still do) and how they have been able to compete with much larger, well-funded competitors
  • How they have been able to drive growth through word of mouth, inside sales, and smart integrations
  • How they weathered the impact of COVID-19 on their customer base and were able to come out stronger on the other side.

I hope you enjoy it.

Listen to the full podcast episode


🚀 Merge: The Unified API

Are you looking to accelerate your SaaS product roadmap, but your engineering resources are stretched thin? Is your sales team blocked by a lack of integrations? Merge can help.

Merge is the leading Unified API that enables you to launch integrations in days, not quarters. With 150+ integrations Merge allows you to authenticate, normalize and sync data easily. Plus, with a recent $55 million Series B, Merge is well-positioned to help you achieve your business goals.

Merge saves you time and resources and has been trusted by companies like Ramp, Drata, Assemble, and more.

Try Merge today and see the difference for yourself

Get started for free.


📗 Book of the Week

This week's book recommendation is from Roxanne:

No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer


🧠 Insights

SaaS Inbound Marketing & Sales Engine: A Proven Framework

SaaS inbound marketing and sales are crucial for every startup, but many struggle to build a strategy that drives growth and sales.

Maybe you're not sure where to start, struggle to create content that resonates with your target audience, or have difficulty generating or nurturing leads.

Here's a proven 7-step framework to help you build a sustainable and successful inbound sales engine.


1. Understand your ideal customer

This is a crucial step for building a successful inbound sales engine.

Create a detailed buyer persona using the demographics, pain points, and goals of your existing customers. Use your website analytics to identify characteristics of engaged visitors. And research industry reports, and social media channels to identify trends your target audience cares about.

Understanding your ideal customer will let you create content and messaging that resonates with them and builds a strong foundation for inbound sales.


2. Create content customers actually want to read

Valuable content builds trust and positions you as a thought leader.

Create content that addresses customer pain points and provides actionable solutions to those problems. Consider creating content that addresses common challenges your ideal customers face and provides helpful tips, strategies, or best practices to overcome them. Your content should also showcase your expertise and unique value proposition, without being overly promotional.

Build trust by providing high-quality and valuable content to your ideal customers.


3. Optimize your website for SEO and conversions

Optimizing your website is essential for growing traffic and visitors.

Use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to analyze your website performance, looking for high bounce rates, slow load times, etc. Then create comprehensive ‘pillar pages’ on broad topics related to your product, linking to relevant blog posts and resources. Additionally, optimize your website for mobile with a responsive design, ensure fast page load times, and add clear calls-to-actions (CTAs) on every single page.

Optimizing your website will give you a solid foundation for future growth.


4. Build and nurture an email list

Building an email list is a critical component of inbound marketing.

To build an email list, offer incentives such as eBooks or free trials to encourage sign-ups. Use marketing automation tools like Hubspot or ActiveCampaign to nurture leads and move them through the sales funnel. And segment your email list for personalized and targeted email campaigns.

Your email list helps you stay connected to your leads.


5. Create a strong social media presence

Social media is essential for building relationships with your target audience.

To use social media effectively, start by choosing the platforms that are most relevant to your target audience. Share valuable content on social media and engage with your followers by responding to comments, asking questions, and encouraging conversation. Don't be afraid to tell your story, document your journey, and share customer wins to help build a community around your brand.

Social media isn’t about self-promotion. It’s about engaging and being helpful.


6. Boost your website traffic with paid advertising

Paid ads are a quick way to drive website traffic and reach a wider audience.

To effectively leverage paid advertising, you can use Google AdWords or social ads to drive traffic to your website. Reach out to visitors who have already viewed your website but have not converted by using retargeting ads. Test different ad creatives and messaging through A/B testing to optimize your campaigns.

Maximize your ad spend by doing lots of small tests and doubling down on what works.


7. Nurture and convert inbound leads

Your inbound leads are only valuable if you can turn them into paying customers.

Use email campaigns and targeted content to educate and engage them. Equip your sales team with the necessary tools, such as marketing automation software and CRM systems, to follow up and convert leads effectively. Offering free demos of your product or service is an effective way to guide leads toward conversion by allowing them to experience the value of your offering firsthand.

Finally, measure and fine-tune your inbound engine for continuous improvement and a successful sales strategy.  Always be testing and improving.

I hope this framework helps you build a better inbound marketing and sales engine. 👍


🌐 Around the Web

YouTube Channel

We've started posting daily highlight clips from interviews.

So if you don't have time for the full episode, you can get ‘bite-size' insights in a few minutes every day.

Check out our YouTube channel here.


😍 Let's Get Social

Want to get more social? Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.Have a great week!


– Omer

Interested in sponsoring The SaaS Podcast? Learn more here.


P.S. whenever you're ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:

1. SaaS Club Plus: We're re-launching a brand new paid community for SaaS founders with an exciting new offering. Join the waitlist!

2. SaaS Club Launch: A 12-week coaching program to help you launch your SaaS and/or get to $10K MRR faster.

3. SaaS Accelerate:  A private coaching program to help SaaS founders get breakthrough results.