If you want to test the limits of human relationships get a group of people together and design a website. In the 12 years I’ve been running startups, I’ve seen more meltdowns over font colors and stock images than fundraising or hiring.
Broadly speaking, I’m also generally of the opinion that B2B SaaS companies should spend as little time and money on their marketing assets as possible until there’s real clarity on who you’re selling to and most importantly what you’re selling. This can take years.
At Electric, we probably took this “minimum viable marketing” strategy as far as possible. Every now and again in our first year a prospect would ask if we were a “real” company. Not only did we not have a ‘real’ website (just a splash page) it wasn’t even a good splash page. On the positive side, all the money we didn’t spend on agencies and designers went straight to buying qualified leads for our sales team. There wasn’t much waste and it gave the sellers enough shots-on-goal for us to figure out who our customers really were and what the messaging needed to be.
But at some point in a companies lifecycle it’s time to grow up. We’re still just 2 ½ years into the journey here, but we’ve grown to ~150 full-time employees, $37M in paid in capital as of June 2019, and our sales team booked more business this past month (~$1.3M in ARR) than we did in our first 10 months in business in 2017.
More important than growth, we’ve learned a lot about our industry and our customers and what it means to serve them well. Among the major takeaways of the last 2 ½ years:
- We’ve learned a lot about who our ideal customer is and isn’t: serving our ideal customer well means having the discipline to say “no” to companies who want to work with us, but maybe aren’t the best fit right now.
- We’re doubling down on working with companies who are a great fit: even if that means fewer sales in a given month or quarter, or (from time to time) working with a customer who’s needs have drastically changed to help them find a new partner.
- We’ve made the product strategy and the company strategy the same thing: we built this company with the goal of automating IT tasks to create a faster, more accurate and more efficient solution for businesses – but along the way we’ve had the opportunity grow in a lot of different ways. Most of these tactical wins would be strategic losses. As a result we live and die off of our product roadmap and our product roadmap is dictated by the most impactful customer wins we can deliver in a given quarter.
You’re probably noticing a theme here. Customers. Our entire reason for existence is to serve the companies who choose to work with us. So today we launch our refreshed brand which includes a new website and new product color palette.
The goal of Electric is to advance the IT industry and push forward. The brand refresh is part of that. We want to make it as easy as possible to communicate to our customers and the IT community as a whole. Whether it’s a webinar for prospects, a new dashboard for power users, how-to guides for new users, or an event for IT leaders – we want the messages to get across seamlessly and without Electric itself being the message.
We had a lot of fun pulling this together and we’re psyched for what’s ahead.