SaaStr Podcast #390 with Outgrow Co-founder Randy Rayess

Ep. 390: Randy Rayess is the Co-Founder @ Outgrow, a growth marketing platform that enables marketers to build interactive content/tools to increase customer engagement and boost demand generation. Prior to founding Outgrow, Randy co-founded VenturePact, an invite-only marketplace that connects companies with trusted software development firms. Before VenturePact Randy held roles at Ampush and then on the investor side at Silver Lake. If that was not enough, Randy is also an investor having invested in the likes of SmartyPal, Nooch, Alie and AirCare Labs, to name a few.

 

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

* How Randy made his way from the world of PE with Silver Lake to changing the game of digital marketing with Outgrow?
* What does interactive content mean? What are the most common forms? When should one start to use interactive content? What resources and team does one need to engage with an interactive content strategy? Where do many people make mistakes with using interactive content?
* How should one think about idea generation for interactive content? How does one know what interactive content works best? How should we test it’s effectiveness? How should interactive content be promoted? Where should it be placed? How many text inputs is it optimal to request for?
* How does it convert more leads? How does Randy think about using interactive content to maximize sales rep efficiency? How should customer success engage with interactive content? What can be done to make the sales and customer success teamwork so well together?

 

 

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin
SaaStr
Harry Stebbings
Randy Rayess

 

Below, we’ve shared the transcript of Harry’s interview with Randy.

 

Harry Stebbings:

We are back for another week in the world of SaaStr with me, Harry Stebbings, and following from our episode with Ryan at Okta, I wanted to dive deeper into the mechanics of SaaS marketing today. I’m so thrilled to welcome Randy Rayess to the hot seat. Randy is the co-founder at Outgrow, a growth marketing platform that enables marketers to build interactive content and tools to increase customer engagement and boost demand gen. Prior to founding Outgrow, Randy co-founded VenturePact, an invite-only marketplace that connects companies with trusted software development firms. Before VenturePact, Randy held roles at Ampush and then on the investor side at Silver Lake. If that wasn’t enough, Randy is also an investor, having invested in the likes of SmartyPAL, Nooch, ALICE, and AirCare Labs. To name a few.

Harry Stebbings:

But that’s quite enough for me, so now I’m very excited to hand over to Randy Rayess, co-founder at Outgrow. Randy, it is so great to have you on the show. I’ve heard so many good things from many prior guests, so thank you so much for joining me today.

Randy Rayess:

Thanks for having me.

Harry Stebbings:

Not at all. I’m excited for this, but I’d love to start with a little bit of context. So tell me, how did you make your way into what I call the wonderful world of SaaS, but come to found Outgrow most recently.

Randy Rayess:

Sure. As you probably remember in the early 2010s, their mobile app store launched and kind of started to scale out. What we realized was that there was a lot of uncertainty and there was a lot of information that people wanted to gather around building mobile apps. As you remember, very few people had mobile apps because it had just launched. But, it became pretty clear that nearly everyone is going to have a mobile app and so that required an insane amount of mobile app developers and understanding and explanation of what are the things involved in building a mobile app.

Randy Rayess:

And so we built a mobile app cost calculator to help people understand all the moving pieces. We made it just 10 questions, and on the results page, we’d show you how the price varies by the features you listed in the 10 questions, and how the price varies kind of by the geography of the tech talent. So, it was really informative, really useful, and it turned out to be such a great marketing strategy that we said, “Hey, every marketer should be able to build this without requiring their own tech talent to build it. And so that’s when we got into world of SaaS. It’s like, “Hey, let’s create a SaaS tool for marketers to build this without any tech talent,” And that’s how we got into Outgrow and we got into SaaS.

Harry Stebbings:

I absolutely love it and I think it’s such a great lead gen with so many more should do it lovely, but I would love to center the discussion today really around the funnel itself, I guess we saw the very beginning in the majority of cases, we need the hook to fundamentally acquire that customer. And before we dive in, I guess into the hook, the question that I went with a little [inaudible] on is the ideation process. And so if we start on that and like first, what does interactive content mean in your eyes?

Randy Rayess:

So I just think of it as a way to communicate with customers. So it’s a dialogue, it’s an interaction. For example, right now, what we’re doing is we’re having a conversation. My responses are personalized to your questions and vice versa and that’s great in human to human interactions. But from a marketing standpoint, it’s a one way kind of communication. And what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to enable marketers to build this two way communication. So an example would be like, if I have a chat bot, I’m personalizing my answers based on your inputs, right? If I have a recommendation engine or a calculator or a greater I’m personalized information, I’m giving you based on the information you’re giving me. And so that’s basically interactive content. It’s just a way for you to communicate in an interactive way. And there’s so many different examples of it, like chatbots and assessments are calculators are common examples of [inaudible 00:03:35]`

Harry Stebbings:

No, totally. I love the calculator is [inaudible]. In terms of like what stages [inaudible]. Often we hear that SaaS founders have to be the ones onboarding, selling the first customers and asked me to kind of boutique almost kind of handheld process. So I guess my question is why don’t you want to start to think about interactive content in your eyes?

Randy Rayess:

It’s kind of like a blog. Most companies will start a blog very early on in their process and then the way they execute on the blog will change over time. And so I think it’s very similar to interactive content. So if you’re in the early stage, you’re going to build something to help maybe an assessment, or if these a content is going to help build some awareness and help build some trust because you’re a very new brand, but then the way you launch and promote it will change as the company evolves and grows. So once you have an ad budget, you’re going to send ad traffic to it. Whereas if you’re a small company, you kind of create one and you just have it maybe as an exit intent when someone’s leaving your page or you have the link to it on the homepage. And so I think it’s kind of relevant across the whole spectrum, but the way you launch promote and the types of content you create will vary as you grow.

Harry Stebbings:

Totally get you in terms of kind of resourcing up. I think resource allocation is the most important thing. And we think about resource allocation and tracking content and founders thinking about implementing it as a strategy, what resources both in terms of structuring of teams for teams themselves, do they need to put in place, do you think to be effective when starting interactive content as a strategy.

Randy Rayess:

From a cost standpoint, it’s pretty cost-effective if you’re using a SaaS tool. Obviously if you’re using developers, it’s a bit more time consuming and a bit more expensive, but if you’re using SaaS, the cost is relatively low. So it’s really just about the time investment. And so when it comes to time, one thing we’ve seen is sometimes content marketing department, the same content marketing team that’s building out your blogs will come and build the content on Outgrow. And we’ve seen people do that, but then we also see companies coming to like, say, Hey, we’re overwhelmed. Can you guys build it for us? And so we had added the custom build option, or you can go to agencies and freelancers to build it for you.

Randy Rayess:

So the key thing though, regardless of who’s building it is to make sure that it’s useful. And so you want to make sure that people from the content marketing team or the people from your sales or CS or product team kind of really understand the product and the value of deriving and making sure that’s some key, valuable insights are being given in the content piece. So that is very useful. So that’s the most important thing. And that time is critical, then it’s not that long, but you want to make sure you have a few hours to really think it through and make sure you’re driving that. And then the actual design and building out that can be done by company like us or by agencies or freelancers. So that’s less of an issue.

Harry Stebbings:

I’m interested, in terms of building it out. I’m sorry, this is off schedule, a lot of VCs shit on services revenue, claiming that it’s not such a high quality revenue of SaaS revenue. I fundamentally believe that’s a brilliant retention to a one thing it’s a brilliant engagement tool and I’m a big clash you thought a healthy amount of services revenue. How do you think about services revenue today driving Outgrow?

Randy Rayess:

So this is a very, very good question. And it’s Funny because we have, I didn’t give you the backstory, but basically we didn’t have a custom build option at all. And we got it a lot, actually like, Hey, can you build this for us? And we rejected it because as you said, like services, revenue services, and it’s not easy to do because we have all these change requests after you’re done, because they might be like, Hey, can you change this design? Or can you do this in like five other languages? And so like a small, simple request can quickly become much larger. And so you kind of, how do you make sure you kind of deal with all the issues that are standard in services? But what we realized was sometimes people are trying to build very complex advanced math calculators, right? If a lot of our financial services customers have advanced calculates our recommendation engines, if you’re in automotive or in many industries, the recommendation engines can get really complicated quickly.

Randy Rayess:

And so we need to be there to help them. And we realized this pretty early on it’s like, why are we making it harder for people who want to build things? So we added it and now we’ve obviously made the product better and easier to use and in the early days, but we’ve kept it and it’s worked out well for us. So I think it just depends on your business and your use case, but in our case, it makes a lot of sense. So I think it’s fine. I think we shouldn’t get over concerned with this mentality that, Oh, someone told me at a conference that you shouldn’t have services revenue, if you’re SaaS, because then you’re not SaaS. I disagree with that.

Harry Stebbings:

I’m thrilled to hear it. And I’m totally aligned to you. Okay. So now we know that kind of, we need to interact with content. We know that we can do it across the life cycle of the business. A lot of companies that I work with just struggle bluntly on the ideation of ideas and great ideas to put into content. How do you think about what it takes to come up with great ideas for useful content from a first standpoint?

Randy Rayess:

This is a great question. Because we get that question a lot, as you can imagine, but what we usually say is your sales people, support people, and success people already have the ideas, right? So we ask them to send a list of questions. These kind of three departments will already see regularly, right? So let’s go through those frequently asked questions. And as you go through the frequently asked questions, you’re going to see many questions where your answer is, “It depends.” So for example, it’s like, where should I spend my ad dollars? Well, it depends. It depends on your business. It depends on who you’re targeting, depends on your audience. So there’s so many things it depends on, and those are the types of questions where it’s great for interactive content. And so that’s where we start. And we tell them like, look, if you only have one plan and it’s a $20 per user per month plan, then you don’t need an interactive content tool to tell people what plan they should get.

Randy Rayess:

Or what’s the price because it’s just $20 per user per month is the same for everyone. But you might want to compare your tool to other tools in that case, most companies will have multiple plans. And so maybe trying to help people understand which plan and which features are relevant to them. So there’s so many moving pieces, but what we usually start with is an assessment. So companies will start with an assessment. So let’s say you’re a sales software or an email marketing tool, look for an assessment to help people evaluate the way they currently run their sales processes, or assessment to evaluate the way they currently run their email marketing processes. And you can highlight your value through that assessment. And that’s a really good way to start.

Harry Stebbings:

I totally agree with you in terms of that being a great way. Can I ask, you’ve see multiple companies implement this from zero to one. What are the main reasons that they go wrong?

Randy Rayess:

The biggest mistake we see is people not understanding that the value of the interactive content is making it useful to your end user, whoever you’re targeting. And so what we’ll see people come in and do is they’ll say, Hey, we want to acquire name, email, company size, function, or department, and then the consent and all these fields, right? And so they’re saying, okay, we want to acquire this information. Let’s add a few questions here and put a basic result. You want to make sure that the result is valuable and you’re building trust to be honest. So that’s the first biggest mistake people make is they don’t understand that the number of fields you have in the lead form, it’s not just lead capture. It’s also value generation from the end user. It’s an understanding that balance of saying, actually, maybe we should only ask for an email because this is a basic content piece and for the more advanced ones, which you’d usually charge for and you’re giving for free, then you might be able to add a few more lead fields.

Randy Rayess:

And so kind of understanding that difference is important. And then the other thing is when you’re A/B testing, there’s so many variables you can AB test, you can have the same content piece and just A/B test the way you embed it or the way you run it. So you cannot change six items in your content piece and change the way you embed it and then say, this is an A/B test because then you don’t have signal in terms of what’s driving the change. You have to be careful with the way you run your tests so you’re able to actually find signal in terms of which specific change is driving the value.

Harry Stebbings:

I’m so interested. You said that about kind of the amount of input fields. What’s the data around conversions on input field amount? And if you have four, is it 50% less likely to convert than two? What are your suggestions of actually just the number of input fields. Cause it’s easy to get like, Oh, name, Oh, email, oh company is necessary. Oh, whatever else is. And suddenly you’ve got five or six. What do you see in terms of conversion and drop off rate with the number of input fields?

Randy Rayess:

So first you have to look at number of input fields. And second thing is to look at is words, and the question, right? Those are two things. So let’s assume you’re asking for name and email on the welcome page and you ask them four questions. And then you ask for phone number and then you have the results page.That model generally works really well if your results page is useful. So people are more likely to give you the phone number. If the results page is not as useful, you want to put the phone number field on the results page after you showed them the results. You already got the name and email, the phone number is a nice to have. You put it on the results page so people can kind of drive value. And then if they really interested, they see the results, then they’re like, Oh, now I want to give you my phone number.

Randy Rayess:

There’s a lot of nuance here in terms of how to execute on it. But you know, usually what people will do is they’ll put name and email before the result page. But you only ask for those two before the results page. And then on the results page, you can ask for a phone number as well, but that is in general, the best conversion rate that we’ve seen, the drop off rate is actually very significant. If you have name, email, phone number, if you have four or more fields on the welcome page. And so basically in terms of start rate, if you usually have a 70% start rate, it’s going to drop to below 50%. If you go from two to four or more fields and that’s a big drop off. And so you generally, there are a few caveats, obviously for people who are sharing their content, you’ve done say you have a really, really powerful assessment of security assessment.

Randy Rayess:

Okay, if it’s really powerful and people usually charge for it and people are start to share it, then you can get by. But with asking for fields, you can get by with asking, even on the welcome page, because so many people are validating and seeing it’s useful. And so you are going to find use case examples of companies doing something and it working really well for them, but you have to understand the quality of their assessment and the results page is so high that this is something people are used to paying for. And so that is why they’re able to have so many fields and even put it early on. But in general would say, be careful with that and focus on good value you’re giving to end users because we’ve seen a lot of customers where they just focus so much on all this qualification data. And they forget that the goal of this is to actually build trust with the audience and give them value. So you have to balance these two forces,

Harry Stebbings:

That’s fascinating to hear the drop in start by raising two to four. I didn’t know that. That was pretty huge. In terms of the location you mentioned as the second, what’s important to understand about the location in particular of the fields.

Randy Rayess:

Yeah. Well, so the key thing, when you want to think about location is what value are you giving the user? And when are you giving the value? And so in general, if you’re giving a lot of feedback, it’s eight questions or 10 questions. And so you can say, okay, well, I’m going to ask five questions, give them feedback throughout it. Then I want to ask for email. Then I ask for five more questions. And then I asked for phone and company size before the results, if you’re going to do it, something like that. So as you can see, I like dividing things. There’s simple ones that are easy to get and then the hard to get. And I really like to think about, it’s like a relationship, like I’m not going to ask you for your phone number or your home address or things like that when you first meet someone in a personal relationship.

Randy Rayess:

You want to say, okay, when is the right time to ask something? And it might not be at all, like, it might be like this content piece, like five fun things you should know about email,subject lines. Take this test and see if, you know, like these five fun things. There. you’re probably just asking for name and email and you might put it on the results page. So after they’ve completed the whole thing there’s showing the result, then you ask for name and email. And so, because it’s the fun one, it’s more for engagement. It’s not really a lead–It’s not focused only on lead acquisition. And so you get the brand exposure there. So I really like to think about first, how to divide it second, which fields you actually need. And third for this specific content type and this specific content piece, does it make sense for me to ask for function and company size and phone number, etc. If it’s more of a fun one, then a really value driven one.

Harry Stebbings:

Can I ask you, you mentioned the testing on them before, but when I think about kind of A/B testing, the question is always like how long is it enough to gather enough data to build conclusions on whether it’s effective or not, and how you think about the right amount of time to gather enough data versus too short. And what do you advise on like A/B testing?

Randy Rayess:

Sure, Okay. So it depends on traffic. So let’s say some companies are able to generate a thousand visits in a few hours. And so you’re able to get data very quickly on what’s working and what’s not working, but in general, you have about 300 visits at about a 100 leads. You are able to get some insights into, is this working? What’s my start rate? Where’s the drop-off, but what we like to look at is the whole funnel. There’s the question funnel. And so you see traffic coming in and so you want to make sure that you don’t have traffic coming in from an ad or from your homepage. And then you have the visit to the welcome page and then you have start rate and then you have all the questions. Then there’s the separation, depending on how you’ve divided the lead form, how that converts, and then you have on the results page, is there some CTA or some other field capture?

Randy Rayess:

So you want to look at that whole funnel and across the whole funnel, you want to look at kind of drop off rates and see how that compares. When you go from a 10 question to a six question assessment, and usually you’ll see that unless it’s a really powerful assessment, people would rather go from 10 to 6 and you give a range instead of giving a more accurate number at the bottom. Like your conversion rates are going to be better in general, if you go from 10 questions to six questions to actually drive that result. Again, these are in general. So you’re going to see some people with 12 questions and they’re hitting it out of the park, but the results page and the value they’re driving is going to be much higher. So that’s the first thing/ is that when you’re looking at the A/B testing, understand what things you’re optimizing for, is it email conversion rate?

Randy Rayess:

Is that your number one thing? Okay. So then we’re going to look at that and make that the key focus. So that’s number one. And then what are the changes you’re making? What’s your core metric? If it’s email capture or is it all four fields that you want to capture and then it’s, what are the variables we want to test? Is it the number of questions and embed location as exit intent, pop up and chat bot? Or is it just on the homepage? Doesn’t like, you kind of play with that. Now what we’ll do is you’ll say we’re going to do an ABC test or UCD test. And there’s always a version there’s only one change between the two versions. So then when I evaluate these two content pieces, I’m evaluating them based on the thing we talked about, which is, let’s say email capture rate, we evaluate them based on email capture, and we’ve only made this one change.

Randy Rayess:

Now I know that once it’s significant and significant just means that your confidence in that variation is in general over 95%. I’m over 95% confident that the difference between these two content pieces is not chance. It’s actual because of this change, right? Obviously you’re never a 100% certain that it’s not a chance. So you just say, okay, well, if I’m over 90% confident, it’s not a chance. It’s not a random difference. Then it’s basically considered to be statistically significant or whatever you want to call it. But it’s basically like this version is better. So I’m going to kill the other version and invest more in that version that’s winning. And so that’s usually how we think about it.

Harry Stebbings:

Got it. No, and I love that. I guess the question for me is when I hear about kind of the effectiveness of driving through the A/B testing and the data that you accumulate, my question is, yes, I completely see it’s an incredible lead gen tool. I completely see it as an incredible qualification tool, but I think about an actual conversion, honestly, I don’t understand how it helps with conversions. So help me out here. How does it convert more, from your perspective and does it not just lead to more leads being handed to reps?

Randy Rayess:

Okay. So when we look at conversion rate, we look at a few things. We look at traffic to email capture, how that rate changes, then from email capture to activation or purchase or acquisition. So we kind of look at these two things. So let’s look at the first one: traffic to lead. So usually if you have traffic, your blog or your homepage, you want to capture leads. Having just a contact us form is just saying, give me your email. And I tell you, thank you, right? So that’s like a survey or just a regular form, but now I’m saying, Hey, you’re on our legal page. And we have some law software that helps you better manage all your legal docs. I’m going to tell you how much time you’re going to spend on your legal docs. And I’m going to tell you how much I’m going to save by using us.

Randy Rayess:

And so you’re going to put information around how many paralegals you have, et cetera, et cetera. And then I can tell you how much time you’re saving. So it’s much more valuable. So the likelihood that someone goes through that versus just give me your email, maybe schedule a call in two weeks. That’s much more valuable. So usually what we see from traffic to lead, that conversion rates goes up from a , say, usually at 20, it goes up to around 40. So you get that big jump in traffic to lead conversion rates. But you’re right. The question is how does that lead improve traffic to lead? How does it improve your lead [inaudible] From that standpoint, think about it from the standpoint of the sales person who’s getting this lead. And so we do a couple of things here. The first is, once you acquire the lead, you’re going to know all the information about the lead.

Randy Rayess:

You’re not just getting their name and email, right? Cause you to provide that recommendation on the results page, they’ve given you, maybe let’s say six questions of answers. So let’s say you had an ad allocation calculator. You ask some questions of marketing budget, audience targeting, and you ask them questions about industry and B2C versus B2B, etc, demographics, and current budget allocation. Then you give them a recommendation for, okay, well, you should actually spend more on Snapchat and less on Facebook and more on Instagram and less on TikTok, et cetera, et cetera. You give them these recommendations based on the information they gave you. The salesperson now isn’t just getting a name and email and this guy or girl wants to talk at X time. They are now getting your current marketing budget. They’re getting your current allocation of spend across these channels. And you might ask them a question on strategy.

Randy Rayess:

Like if there’s specific keywords or specific audiences, they target within Facebook, within Instagram, etc. And then they get to see the results you have to give them. And the person that opted into this call. So you’re getting so much more qualified lead, and it’s not going to the salesperson unless the budget is relevant to that salesperson. Like the salesperson might usually work with marketing companies that have 50K a month in budget. So they know that this person’s qualified relevant to them. And you can segment the person coming through to say, if they have less than 10K budget, then I’m going to put them on this specific email list. And maybe in a one or two years, they’ll be ready. Their budget will match our requirements, but if they have XYZ budget, then I’m going to auto send them to my CRM and assign them to a sales person within that budget range.

Randy Rayess:

Sales people love it because imagine for they’re getting onto a call, they know your budget, they know your allocation. They know everything. The ability to pitch and talk to you is much more personalized because they already know everything before the call. And so their ability to prep. So if we see this activation rates actually go up a lot because of that. And of course, if you’re selling a million dollar contract versus a thousand dollar contract, your activation rates are going to vary, but in general, that boost is significant. So those two things, traffic to lead and then lead to activation are amazing.

Randy Rayess:

And then the last thing is, does it increase the actual traffic you get to your site? And I would say in general, the traffic increase happens when you have for your signature content piece, right so if you have a signature assessment, it’s amazing. People are going to start to share it for you. And so you get free organic referrals, organic traffic from it that you might not have done otherwise. So you also get a boost in traffic as well. So from all three standpoints, which is increasing traffic, traffic to lead and lead to activation, it’s better, but obviously the increase in traffic, that first one is really only relevant for your top three content pieces, which are amazing that people are actually going to share on your behalf.

Harry Stebbings:

Can I ask? When you look at the sales team. I love that in terms of kind of what it does to sales rep efficiency. When you think about kind of sales training and sales playbooks, does one need to alter sales training and sales playbooks. When you incorporate interactive content into your core strategy.

Randy Rayess:

A little bit. I do think you need to do that. And we have the companies that have been using us for the longest and the most successful do incorporate this added information, because the thing is most companies, the way they do lead scoring is they look at certain information they generate from a tool like Zoom and for there better things like this, which are useful. And you can do these scoring based on this. But the thing now is that you’re getting a lot more information. And so you’re going to have to update the way you do lead scoring with all this added information, because you’re not used to getting all these fields. And so what happens is we usually recommend, and we’ve kind of built this in Outgrow. We built our segmentation feature, such that you can run the whole lead scoring and lead routing, right? Within Outgrow because we want you to run a more powerful lead segmentation and lead scoring system than just based on location, company, size, title, and things like that.

Randy Rayess:

Because now I can add marketing budget, current allocation of spend, let’s say you’re focused on Facebook marketing and you know they’re spending 50K total budget and they’re only spending 20K of their 50K on Facebook, etc. You want to say if they’re in this level of spend on Facebook, this level of total marketing spend, I’m going to give them this much of a boost on my lead score. And then I want to send them to my reps that usually work on this type of, let’s say, enterprise deal in this territory. And so I think both lead scoring and lead routing should incorporate the added information.

Harry Stebbings:

Yeah, no, listen, I totally agree in terms of being incorporated. Can I ask? The other big thing was going to content that always comes up for me. It’s like ROI and payback periods on content. And when you have blogs and much more kind of native organic content, payback periods are long. As everyone knows, six to nine months is not completely unexpected. How do you think and advise on payback periods for interactive content and how does that differ?

Randy Rayess:

It took a long time for people to get used to these very long payback periods on blogs. And that’s a challenge because blogs are mainly going to be SEO based and the lead conversion rate on blogs, it’s hard. So I think the advantage that we have is that people are used to long payback periods on blogs. And what we do is we kind of say, you’re going to have a few of your main content pieces. Your assessment, your key ROI calculator, your key recommendation engine or chatbox. And then you’re going to take your top 10 blog posts and create maybe a knowledge test out of them. And so if you’re kind of doing the all encompassing strategy, or you want to look at the actual individual content piece ROI, it’s a bit different in terms of how you look at it. But in general, you want to look at obviously how much time you’re taking to build it, how much you’re spending on the SaaS tool or software, and then how much you’re spending on promotion and you see kind of assess the ROI on it.

Randy Rayess:

And so usually what we say is that let’s say you’re taking a week to finalize the idea and really iron it out, a week to build it and make sure you’re happy with it, and then the first two weeks you are in this kind of implementation phase of really kind of like starting to get a sense of what’s working with your audience. So that’s one month. And then after the first month, you’re starting to see, these are things that kind of work. And then from month one to three, you’re running a wide range of different tests, right? So it’s going be fields. It could be questions. It could be promotion channels. And usually within that second or third month, you start to find that all this is generating positive ROI, and this is working. So usually it’s within that second or third month.

Randy Rayess:

And obviously companies with a lot of traffic, it could be by the end of the first month. And then they’ve really identified, okay, this is working and the ROI is going to be way higher than my spend relative to profits. There’s going to be a big difference there. So you can kind of get a sense of that pretty early on. If you have a lot of traffic. If you don’t have a lot of traffic and you don’t have a lot of ad budget, then it’s going to dive in towards the end of the second month or into the third month to get the data around the costs versus potential sales that’s driving.

Randy Rayess:

Because you also have to look at, if you’re looking at it from a sales standpoint, you also have to look at your own sales cycle, but people can look at MQLs, marketing qualified leads, and things like that, to get a sense of it earlier on. And then if you have a really long sales cycle, then you might take even longer to really make sure that you are getting more, your dollars in versus dollars out is positive. But I think you can kind of get a sense of that pretty early on.

Harry Stebbings:

Totally. No, and I think it is dependent on sales cycle, but as you said there, I think that the litmus test is clear pretty early on. I do want to move into my favorite around here, which is a quickfire. I say short statement, and then you give me your immediate thoughts. How does that sound?

Randy Rayess:

All right. Let’s do it.

Harry Stebbings:

Okay. So what’s the biggest challenge for you of your role with Outgrow?

Randy Rayess:

I think it’s kind of balancing all the feature requests from like our power users, who’ve been using us forever, and then the new customers who want the product to be accessible, to kind of balancing that out as a challenge,

Harry Stebbings:

Always adding to the team, what was the hardest role to hire for today?

Randy Rayess:

In our customer success team. We have a lot of math related questions. And so we try to find great mathematicians who also want to be in customer success and customer facing roles and kind of finding those two components in one person can be a bit of a challenge.

Harry Stebbings:

Yeah, no, I totally see that as challenge. What angel investor’s been most impactful to you?

Randy Rayess:

Oh, there’s so many great angel investors. I think Paul Graham is great.

Harry Stebbings:

Totally Paul is the best. And it was actually his blogs in the early days that inspired a lot of my thinking. Tell me, what would you most like to change about the world of SaaS today?

Randy Rayess:

I think when we think of success, we think a lot about activity and product. So like these other customer success, how much time this time is people spending on a product and let’s see if 10 users and they’re spending X hours in Outgrow. That’s great, but I think we should look a bit deeper. So for us, specifically, at least for people to be successful, they need to have an idea. They need to build it to launch it. They need to promote it. They need to generate leads from it and they need to activate those leads and make sure those leads are successful with their product. And that’s a lot, right? But that’s the right way to look at success. Obviously it’s hard to do and because activities are easy, like I know how much time this person spends on the product.

Randy Rayess:

And so you can say, okay, well, I guess we’re successful. But then the question is their goal is not to spend time on your product. Their goal is to actually like, what’s their goal. So you want to understand from their perspective. And I think it’s a bit harder to do. It’s harder to quantify. It’s harder to fully internalize this value in customer success, but we think that customer success should be more focused on the entire value chain for the end customer than just activity.

Harry Stebbings:

Penultimate one here. But what moment in your life has maybe served to change the way you think?

Randy Rayess:

I mean, when we launched that mobile app cost calculator, it really changed the way I thought about marketing. And it helped me realize that the intersection of marketing and software in that case, like marketing and kind of software development skillset, that intersection is really interesting because most marketers don’t have that easily accessible. And so you don’t see a lot of marketers using that. And so obviously we’re trying to democratize that right now, but I think in general, this intersection between certain fields, it’s pretty interesting.

Harry Stebbings:

Totally with you in terms of that. Tell me the final one. I’m probably the most exciting of all. What do the next five years hold for you and for Outgrow? Paint that picture for me.

Randy Rayess:

Sure. Well, so at a high level, I think we want to continue to improve how successful our existing and how successful our new customers are with Outgrow. So that’s kind of like the high level goal, which is basically the same goal we’ve always pledges how can we make the marketers using our product more successful? And so that breaks down into many things. Like obviously number one would be like hiring, find the right people, bring them on board, training them with our processes and our methods. So that’s number one. The second is our performance tab, like within Outgrow, we have a performance tab. And so where we give personalized recommendations based on your content. Handling the questions that you’ve been asking me, right about location, number, fields, all these things. And so we already have a version of that. How do we continue to improve our personalized recommendations so that you’re not making a mistake that our previous customer has made or that we’ve seen other people make in the past.

Randy Rayess:

And so you can have learning from best practices from all the data we have. So continue to grow our performance tab and then continuing to maintain like a very good reply rate. So right now our average reply rate to questions is under two minutes. So anyone who asks a question can go to the bottom right of their chat and ask us a question and we’re usually averages less than two minutes. How do we maintain that as we grow? And that’s a big challenge. And then the final thing I would say is continuing to increase kind of the power and value that marketers generate from using Outgrow and making sure that they’re able to continue to types of things they want to build and content pieces they want to create that can’t do that with Outgrow, so.

Harry Stebbings:

Some very exciting times ahead, Randy, as I said, I’ve wanted to do this for a while and I so appreciate you putting up with me going so far off schedule, but thank you so much for joining me today.

Randy Rayess:

Thank you. This was great. I loved the questions and it was very thorough.

Harry Stebbings:

I mean, my word, what a strategic and tactical episode that was with Randy. And if you haven’t got your notebook out with multiple lines of incredible notes, then I will be very surprised. If you’d like to see more from us behind the scenes, you can on Instagram at HStebbings1996 with two Bs. I always love to see you there. As always, I so appreciate all your support and I can’t wait to bring you a fantastic episode next week.

 

Published on October 30, 2020

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