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Case Study: How a Media Company Grew 400% and Used SEO to Get Acquired

Posted by Gaetano-DiNardi-NYC

Disclaimer: I’m currently the Director of Demand Generation at Nextiva, and writing this case study post-mortem as the former VP of Marketing at Sales Hacker (Jan. 2017 – Sept. 2018).



Every B2B company is investing in content marketing right now. Why? Because they all want the same thing: Search traffic that leads to website conversions, which leads to money.

But here’s the challenge: Companies are struggling to get traction because competition has reached an all-time high. Keyword difficulty (and CPC) has skyrocketed in most verticals. In my current space, Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS), some of the CPCs have nearly doubled since 2017, with many keywords hovering close to $ 300 per click.

Not to mention, organic CTRs are declining, and zero-click queries are rising.

Bottom line: If you’re not creating 10x quality content based on strategic keyword research that satisfies searcher intent and aligns back to business goals, you’re completely wasting your time.

So, that’s exactly what we did. The outcome? We grew from 19k monthly organic sessions to over 100k monthly organic sessions in approximately 14 months, leading to an acquisition by Outreach.io

We validated our hard work by measuring organic growth (traffic and keywords) against our email list growth and revenue, which correlated positively, as we expected. 

Organic Growth Highlights

January 2017–June 2018

As soon as I was hired at Sales Hacker as Director of Marketing, I began making SEO improvements from day one. While I didn’t waste any time, you’ll also notice that there was no silver bullet.

This was the result of daily blocking and tackling. Pure execution and no growth hacks or gimmicks. However, I firmly believe that the homepage redesign (in July 2017) was a tremendous enabler of growth.

Organic Growth to Present Day

I officially left Sales Hacker in August of 2018, when the company was acquired by Outreach.io. However, I thought it would be interesting to see the lasting impact of my work by sharing a present-day screenshot of the organic traffic trend, via Google Analytics. There appears to be a dip immediately following my departure, however, it looks like my predecessor, Colin Campbell, has picked up the slack and got the train back on the rails. Well done!

Unique considerations — Some context behind Sales Hacker’s growth

Before I dive into our findings, here’s a little context behind Sales Hacker’s growth:

  • Sales Hacker’s blog is 100 percent community-generated — This means we didn’t pay “content marketers” to write for us. Sales Hacker is a publishing hub led by B2B sales, marketing, and customer success contributors. This can be a blessing and a curse at the same time — on one hand, the site gets loads of amazing free content. On the other hand, the posts are not even close to being optimized upon receiving the first draft. That means, the editorial process is intense and laborious.
  • Aggressive publishing cadence (4–5x per week) — Sales Hacker built an incredible reputation in the B2B Sales Tech niche — we became known as the go-to destination for unbiased thought leadership for practitioners in the space (think of Sales Hacker as the sales equivalent to Growth Hackers). Due to high demand and popularity, we had more content available than we could handle. While it’s a good problem to have, we realized we needed to keep shipping content in order to avoid a content pipeline blockage and a backlog of unhappy contributors.
  • We had to “reverse engineer” SEO — In short, we got free community-generated and sponsored content from top sales and marketing leaders at SaaS companies like Intercom, HubSpot, Pipedrive, LinkedIn, Adobe and many others, but none of it was strategically built for SEO out of the box. We also had contributors like John Barrows, Richard Harris, Lauren Bailey, Tito Bohrt, and Trish Bertuzzi giving us a treasure trove of amazing content to work with. However, we had to collaborate with each contributor from beginning to end and guide them through the entire process. Topical ideation (based on what they were qualified to write about), keyword research, content structure, content type, etc. So, the real secret sauce was in our editorial process. Shout out to my teammate Alina Benny for learning and inheriting my SEO process after we hired her to run content marketing. She crushed it for us!
  • Almost all content was evergreen and highly tactical — I made it a rule that we’d never agree to publish fluffy pieces, whether it was sponsored or not. Plain and simple. Because we didn’t allow “content marketers” to publish with us, our content had a positive reputation, since it was coming from highly respected practitioners. We focused on evergreen content strategies in order to fuel our organic growth. Salespeople don’t want fluff. They want actionable and tactical advice they can implement immediately. I firmly believe that achieving audience satisfaction with our content was a major factor in our SEO success.
    • Outranking the “big guys” — If you look at the highest-ranking sales content, it’s the usual suspects. HubSpot, Salesforce, Forbes, Inc, and many other sites that were far more powerful than Sales Hacker. But it didn’t matter as much as traditional SEO wisdom tells us, largely due to the fact that we had authenticity and rawness to our content. We realized most sales practitioners would rather read insights from their peers in their community, above the traditional “Ultimate Guides,” which tended to be a tad dry.
    • We did VERY little manual link building — Our link building was literally an email from me, or our CEO, to a site we had a great relationship with. “Yo, can we get a link?” It was that simple. We never did large-scale outreach to build links. We were a very lean, remote digital marketing team, and therefore lacked the bandwidth to allocate resources to link building. However, we knew that we would acquire links naturally due to the popularity of our brand and the highly tactical nature of our content.
    • Our social media and brand firepower helped us to naturally acquire links — It helps A LOT when you have a popular brand on social media and a well-known CEO who authored an essential book called “Hacking Sales”. Most of Sales Hacker’s articles would get widely circulated by over 50+ SaaS partners which would help drive natural links.
    • Updating stale content was the lowest hanging fruit — The biggest chunk of our new-found organic traffic came from updating / refreshing old posts. We have specific examples of this coming up later in the post.
    • Email list growth was the “north star” metric — Because Sales Hacker is not a SaaS company, and the “product” is the audience, there was no need for aggressive website CTAs like “book a demo.” Instead, we built a very relationship heavy, referral-based sales cadence that was supported by marketing automation, so list growth was the metric to pay attention to. This was also a key component to positioning Sales Hacker for acquisition. Here’s how the email growth progression was trending.

    So, now that I’ve set the stage, let’s dive into exactly how I built this SEO strategy.

    Bonus: You can also watch the interview I had with Dan Shure on the Evolving SEO Podcast, where I breakdown this strategy in great detail.

    1) Audience research

    Imagine you are the new head of marketing for a well-known startup brand. You are tasked with tackling growth and need to show fast results — where do you start?

    That’s the exact position I was in. There were a million things I could have done, but I decided to start by surveying and interviewing our audience and customers.

    Because Sales Hacker is a business built on content, I knew this was the right choice.

    I also knew that I would be able to stand out in an unglamorous industry by talking to customers about their content interests.

    Think about it: B2B tech sales is all about numbers and selling stuff. Very few brands are really taking the time to learn about the types of content their audiences would like to consume.

    When I was asking people if I could talk to them about their media and content interests, their response was: “So, wait, you’re actually not trying to sell me something? Sure! Let’s talk!”

    Here’s what I set out to learn:

    • Goal 1 — Find one major brand messaging insight.
    • Goal 2 — Find one major audience development insight.
    • Goal 3 — Find one major content strategy insight.
    • Goal 4 — Find one major UX / website navigation insight.
    • Goal 5 — Find one major email marketing insight.

    In short, I accomplished all of these learning goals and implemented changes based on what the audience told me.

    If you’re curious, you can check out my entire UX research process for yourself, but here are some of the key learnings:

    Based on these outcomes, I was able to determine the following:

    • Topical “buckets” to focus on — Based on the most common daily tasks, the data told us to build content on sales prospecting, building partnerships and referral programs, outbound sales, sales management, sales leadership, sales training, and sales ops.
    • Thought leadership — 62 percent of site visitors said they kept coming back purely due to thought leadership content, so we had to double down on that.
    • Content Types — Step by step guides, checklists, and templates were highly desired. This told me that fluffy BS content had to be ruthlessly eliminated at all costs.
    • Sales Hacker Podcast — 76 percent of respondents said they would listen to the Sales Hacker Podcast (if it existed), so we had to launch it!

    2) SEO site audit — Key findings

    I can’t fully break down how to do an SEO site audit step by step in this post (because it would be way too much information), but I will share the key findings and takeaways from our own Site Audit that led to some major improvements in our website performance.

    Lack of referring domain growth

    Sales Hacker was not able to acquire referring domains at the same rate as competitors. I knew this wasn’t because of a link building acquisition problem, but due to a content quality problem.

    Lack of organic keyword growth

    Sales Hacker had been publishing blog content for years (before I joined) and there wasn’t much to show for it from an organic traffic standpoint. However, I do feel the brand experienced a remarkable social media uplift by building content that was helpful and engaging. 

    Sales Hacker did happen to get lucky and rank for some non-branded keywords by accident, but the amount of content published versus the amount of traffic they were getting wasn’t making sense. 

    To me, this immediately screamed that there was an issue with on-page optimization and keyword targeting. It wasn’t anyone’s fault – this was largely due to a startup founder thinking about building a community first, and then bringing SEO into the picture later. 

    At the end of the day, Sales Hacker was only ranking for 6k keywords at an estimated organic traffic cost of $ 8.9k — which is nothing. By the time Sales Hacker got acquired, the site had an organic traffic cost of $ 122k.

    Non-optimized URLs

    This is common among startups that are just looking to get content out. This is just one example, but truth be told, there was a whole mess of non-descriptive URLs that had to get cleaned up.

    Poor internal linking structure

    The internal linking concentration was poorly distributed. Most of the equity was pointing to some of the lowest value pages on the site.

    Poor taxonomy, site structure, and navigation

    I created a mind-map of how I envisioned the new site structure and internal linking scheme. I wanted all the content pages to be organized into categories and subcategories.

    My goals with the new proposed taxonomy would accomplish the following:

    • Increase engagement from natural site visitor exploration
    • Allow users to navigate to the most important content on the site
    • Improve landing page visibility from an increase in relevant internal links pointing to them.

    Topical directories and category pages eliminated with redirects

    Topical landing pages used to exist on SalesHacker.com, but they were eliminated with 301 redirects and disallowed in robots.txt. I didn’t agree with this configuration. Example: /social-selling/

    Trailing slash vs. non-trailing slash duplicate content with canonical errors

    Multiple pages for the same exact intent. Failing to specify the canonical version.

    Branded search problems — “Sales Hacker Webinar”

    Some of the site’s most important content is not discoverable from search due to technical problems. For example, a search for “Sales Hacker Webinar” returns irrelevant results in Google because there isn’t an optimized indexable hub page for webinar content. It doesn’t get that much search volume (0–10 monthly volume according to Keyword Explorer), but still, that’s 10 potential customers you are pissing off every month by not fixing this.

    3) Homepage — Before and after

    Sooooo, this beauty right here (screenshot below) was the homepage I inherited in early 2017 when I took over the site.

    Fast forward six months later, and this was the new homepage we built after doing audience and customer research…

    New homepage goals

    • Tell people EXACTLY what Sales Hacker is and what we do.
    • Make it stupidly simple to sign up for the email list.
    • Allow visitors to easily and quickly find the content they want.
    • Add social proof.
    • Improve internal linking.

    I’m proud to say, that it all went according to plan. I’m also proud to say that as a result, organic traffic skyrocketed shortly after.

    Special Note: Major shout out to Joshua Giardino, the lead developer who worked with me on the homepage redesign. Josh is one of my closest friends and my marketing mentor. I would not be writing this case study today without him!

    There wasn’t one super measurable thing we isolated in order to prove this. We just knew intuitively that there was a positive correlation with organic traffic growth, and figured it was due to the internal linking improvements and increased average session duration from improving the UX.

    4) Updating and optimizing existing content

    Special note: We enforced “Ditch the Pitch”

    Before I get into the nitty-gritty SEO stuff, I’ll tell you right now that one of the most important things we did was blockade contributors and sponsors from linking to product pages and injecting screenshots of product features into blog articles, webinars, etc.

    Side note: One thing we also had to do was add a nofollow attribute to all outbound links within sponsored content that sent referral traffic back to partner websites (which is no longer applicable due to the acquisition).

    The #1 complaint we discovered in our audience research was that people were getting irritated with content that was “too salesy” or “too pitchy” — and rightfully so, because who wants to get pitched at all day?

    So we made it all about value. Pure education. School of hard knocks style insights. Actionable and tactical. No fluff. No nonsense. To the point.

    And that’s where things really started to take off.

    Before and after: “Best sales books”

    What you are about to see is classic SEO on-page optimization at its finest.

    This is what the post originally looked like (and it didn’t rank well for “best sales books).

    And then after…

    And the result…

    Before and after: “Sales operations”

    What we noticed here was a crappy article attempting to explain the role of sales operations.

    Here are the steps we took to rank #1 for “Sales Operations:”

    • Built a super optimized mega guide on the topic.
    • Since the old crappy article had some decent links, we figured let’s 301 redirect it to the new mega guide.
    • Promote it on social, email and normal channels.

    Here’s what the new guide on Sales Ops looks like…

    And the result…

    5) New content opportunities

    One thing I quickly realized Sales Hacker had to its advantage was topical authority. Exploiting this was going to be our secret weapon, and boy, did we do it well: 

    “Cold calling”

    We knew we could win this SERP by creating content that was super actionable and tactical with examples.

    Most of the competing articles in the SERP were definition style and theory-based, or low-value roundups from domains with high authority.

    In this case, DA doesn’t really matter. The better man wins.

    “Best sales tools”

    Because Sales Hacker is an aggregator website, we had the advantage of easily out-ranking vendor websites for best and top queries.

    Of course, it also helps when you build a super helpful mega list of tools. We included over 150+ options to choose from in the list. Whereas SERP competitors did not even come close.

    “Channel sales”

    Notice how Sales Hacker’s article is from 2017 still beats HubSpot’s 2019 version. Why? Because we probably satisfied user intent better than them.

    For this query, we figured out that users really want to know about Direct Sales vs Channel Sales, and how they intersect.

    HubSpot went for the generic, “factory style” Ultimate Guide tactic.

    Don’t get me wrong, it works very well for them (especially with their 91 DA), but here is another example where nailing the user intent wins.

    “Sales excel templates”

    This was pure lead gen gold for us. Everyone loves templates, especially sales excel templates.

    The SERP was easily winnable because the competition was so BORING in their copy. Not only did we build a better content experience, but we used numbers, lists, and power words that salespeople like to see, such as FAST and Pipeline Growth.

    Special note: We never used long intros

    The one trend you’ll notice is that all of our content gets RIGHT TO THE POINT. This is inherently obvious, but we also uncovered it during audience surveying. Salespeople don’t have time for fluff. They need to cut to the chase ASAP, get what they came for, and get back to selling. It’s really that straightforward.

    When you figure out something THAT important to your audience, (like keeping intros short and sweet), and then you continuously leverage it to your advantage, it’s really powerful.

    6) Featured Snippets

    Featured snippets became a huge part of our quest for SERP dominance. Even for SERPs where organic clicks have reduced, we didn’t mind as much because we knew we were getting the snippet and free brand exposure.

    Here are some of the best-featured snippets we got!

    Featured snippet: “Channel sales”

    Featured snippet: “Sales pipeline management”

    Featured snippet: “BANT”

    Featured snippet: “Customer success manager”

    Featured snippet: “How to manage a sales team”

    Featured snippet: “How to get past the gatekeeper”

    Featured snippet: “Sales forecast modeling”

    Featured snippet: “How to build a sales pipeline”

    7) So, why did Sales Hacker get acquired?

    At first, it seems weird. Why would a SaaS company buy a blog? It really comes down to one thing — community (and the leverage you get with it).

    Two learnings from this acquisition are:

    1. It may be worth acquiring a niche media brand in your space

    2. It may be worth starting your own niche media brand in your space

    I feel like most B2B companies (not all, but most) come across as only trying to sell a product — because most of them are. You don’t see the majority of B2B brands doing a good job on social. They don’t know how to market to emotion. They completely ignore top-funnel in many cases and, as a result, get minimal engagement with their content.

    There’s really so many areas of opportunity to exploit in B2B marketing if you know how to leverage that human emotion — it’s easy to stand out if you have a soul. Sales Hacker became that “soul” for Outreach — that voice and community.

    But one final reason why a SaaS company would buy a media brand is to get the edge over a rival competitor. Especially in a niche where two giants are battling over the top spot.

    In this case, it’s Outreach’s good old arch-nemesis, Salesloft. You see, both Outreach and Salesloft are fighting tooth and nail to win a new category called “Sales Engagement”.

    As part of the acquisition process, I prepared a deck that highlighted how beneficial it would be for Outreach to acquire Sales Hacker, purely based on the traffic advantage it would give them over Salesloft.

    Sales Hacker vs. Salesloft vs Outreach — Total organic keywords

    This chart from 2018 (data exported via SEMrush), displays that Sales Hacker is ranking for more total organic keywords than Salesloft and Outreach combined.

    Sales Hacker vs. Salesloft vs Outreach — Estimated traffic cost

    This chart from 2018 (data exported via SEMrush), displays the cost of the organic traffic compared by domain. Sales Hacker ranks for more commercial terms due to having the highest traffic cost.

    Sales Hacker vs. Salesloft vs Outreach — Rank zone distributions

    This chart from 2018 (data exported via SEMrush), displays the rank zone distribution by domain. Sales Hacker ranked for more organic keywords across all search positions.

    Sales Hacker vs. Salesloft vs Outreach — Support vs. demand keywords

    This chart from 2018 (data exported via SEMrush), displays support vs demand keywords by domain. Because Sales Hacker did not have a support portal, all its keywords were inherently demand focused.

    Meanwhile, Outreach was mostly ranking for support keywords at the time. Compared to Salesloft, they were at a massive disadvantage.

    Conclusion

    I wouldn’t be writing this right now without the help, support, and trust that I got from so many people along the way.

    • Joshua Giardino — Lead developer at Sales Hacker, my marketing mentor and older brother I never had. Couldn’t have done this without you!
    • Max Altschuler — Founder of Sales Hacker, and the man who gave me a shot at the big leagues. You built an incredible platform and I am eternally grateful to have been a part of it.
    • Scott Barker — Head of Partnerships at Sales Hacker. Thanks for being in the trenches with me! It’s a pleasure to look back on this wild ride, and wonder how we pulled this off.
    • Alina Benny — My marketing protege. Super proud of your growth! You came into Sales Hacker with no fear and seized the opportunity.
    • Mike King — Founder of iPullRank, and the man who gave me my very first shot in SEO. Thanks for taking a chance on an unproven kid from the Bronx who was always late to work.
    • Yaniv Masjedi — Our phenomenal CMO at Nextiva. Thank you for always believing in me and encouraging me to flex my thought leadership muscle. Your support has enabled me to truly become a high-impact growth marketer.

    Thanks for reading — tell me what you think below in the comments!

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    Apple Is Trying To Be A Subscription Company

    “Just think about the long term value of Apple and where they’re going,”  says Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig. “They were a phone company, they were an ecommerce company, and now they’re trying to be a subscription company. You see that in their services and their service numbers. They have the largest distribution system on the planet probably other than Google. If they commit to it there is no reason they can’t be successful.”

    Dan Rosensweig, President and CEO of Chegg, discusses how Apple has pivoted and is trying to become a subscription company selling services, leveraging its huge distribution system, in an interview on CNBC:

    Apple Is Trying To Be A Subscription Company

    Where Apple wants to make (their products) is where it’s cheapest and where they can make the best quality. They’re playing the game now sort of whack-a-mole which is watching the tariffs and all these things. Just think about the long term value of Apple and where they’re going. They were a phone company, they were an ecommerce company, and now they’re trying to be a subscription company. You see that in their services and their service numbers. The supply chain is a thing to talk about over the quarter but in the long term that is all going to be resolved. They’ll be wherever they need to be.

    They have the largest distribution system on the planet probably other than Google. They have been selling other people things through the iTunes store and through the app store. They bought companies in order to be able to sell news and other things and they sell their iCloud. They really have not gotten into content that they own in any significant way. Unless they commit to it they’re not going to be successful. But if they commit to it there is no reason they can’t be successful. 

    Most Of Apple’s Subscription Profit Is Coming From the iCloud

    If you ask what is it that Apple owns proprietarily and offers to their consumer in terms of content other than the iCloud itself, you really can’t come up with anything. Whereas, Adobe has all these software and services and Microsoft has these things. They’re sort of in the content area. They’re in the music subscription area. But even in the music subscription area, they don’t own the content. So it’s hard to make those things as profitable. Although, you can sign up a lot of people. 

    I would estimate that most of their profit from that is coming from just the iCloud. It’s selling storage that everybody needs because your phone is your home base. 

    Apple Is Well-Positioned In Wearables

    I think the iPhone is cyclical. There hasn’t been a big breakthrough. Everything has gotten a little smaller, a little better, a little cleaner, a little faster, and a little bit more secure. I don’t know what the next breakthrough is. What I do know is the need for mobility is endless. The kinds of things that are going to attach to our bodies seem to be endless. I think Apple is well-positioned to be that player. 

    Just in default mode, if you are a user of Apple products you prefer to use Apple products because it’s just easier. The payments there. The clicks there. The operating system is there. It’s just too familiar for you. They chose the highest-priced model. The highest-priced model is generally the smallest group and it ends quicker. The question is can they come up with lower-priced models and then make a lot of their money on subscription services.

    Apple Is Trying To Be A Subscription Company, Says Chegg Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig

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    Is WeWork Really a Tech Company?

    “The We Company’s business model effectively is pretty simple,” says EquityZen CEO Atish Davda. “It leases buildings and then rents it out in smaller pieces. That’s not a new business model, that’s a real estate company. What’s new about The We Company is that it’s pitching itself as a technology firm. The way it says it’s going to do that is by using machine learning and a lot of other software. It’s going to help folks optimize how they build and operate offices. They’re trying to turn our offices into an Amazon warehouse in order to get the tech valuation.”

    Atish Davda, founder and CEO Of EquityZen, says that WeWork is just a real estate company positioning itself as a technology company in order to get a tech valuation, in an interview on CNBC:

    Turning Offices Into An Amazon Warehouse To Get Tech Valuation

    The We Company’s business model effectively is pretty simple. It leases buildings and then rents it out in smaller pieces. That’s not a new business model, that’s a real estate company. What’s new about The We Company is that it’s pitching itself as a technology firm. The way it says it’s going to do that is by using machine learning and a lot of other software. It’s going to help folks optimize how they build and operate offices. 

    The worst-case scenario is that it gets pegged as a real estate company in which case it would be about 20 times overvalued than its last private round of $ 47 billion. The best-case scenario, the way I at least hear what they’re saying, is we’re going to put all these gadgets and sensors and we’re going to track what everyone’s doing. It sounds to me like an Amazon warehouse. They’re trying to turn our offices into an Amazon warehouse in order to get the tech valuation. That’s the best-case scenario. I just I don’t buy it.

    Founders Have Already Taken $ 500 Million Off the Table

    Their valuation in the private markets has continued to go up. What’s interesting about this is something we hear about with WeWork that we didn’t hear about with Uber and Lyft is the amount of capital that the founders have allegedly taken off the table in secondary sales. With every one of these rounds, the founders can take a few chips off the table. This happened when Snap went public also. 

    The founders of Snap had taken tens of million dollars off the table. We’re talking about an order of magnitude more that has already gone in the pockets of the founders here, which is over $ 500 million dollars. That’s a lot of money that they are effectively just holding on to risk-free because they sold it on the ride up.

    I Don’t See How WeWork Can Turn Itself Into a Tech Firm

    I think they’re going to at least try and match that $ 47 million valuation in the IPO. We’ll see what the analysts today and Wall Street over the next three months actually decides to accept. You take a look at all of WeWork’s competitors, their price-to-sales multiples are between 0.5 and 1.3. The trailing 12-month multiple for the We Company is 26 times. You’re talking about something where its peers are being valued one way and this company is being valued 20 times greater. 

    For the sake of all the people I know that I’ve worked at WeWork in the past and still work there, I hope I’m wrong. I just don’t see how WeWork by acquiring a few tech companies here and there turn itself from what’s effectively is a real estate firm into a tech firm.

    Is WeWork Really a Tech Company? – EquityZen CEO Atish Davda Says No.

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    We Are An Experience-Driven Company, Says Chewy CEO

    “Last year we sent about 50,000 pet portraits to our customers,” says Chew CEO Sumit Singh.  “We’re an experience-driven company. This is not a cost. This is an engagement mechanism. We’ve partnered with about a thousand local artists across the country. We think of this as an experience building. We have 90 percent re-ups (of our subscriptions). Our customers love engaging with us.”

    Sumit Singh, CEO of Chewy, discusses their IPO (launched today) and how customer engagement has driven their phenomenal growth in an interview on CNBC:

    We Are An Experience-Driven Company

    Last year we sent about 50,000 pet portraits to our customers. We’re an experience-driven company. This is not a cost. This is an engagement mechanism. We’ve partnered with about a thousand local artists across the country. They show up to your doorstep unannounced. It’s a total surprise. You can’t buy them. When they do (the paintings) they create memories. People talk about them. They drive dinner table conversations. They show up on social media. It’s just an emotive category.

    We think of this as an experience building. We have this because we want it, not because we need it in some way. Once we get out there and once this shows up on your doorstep the engagement that it creates generates the loyalty, the repeat purchase rate. In fact, our cohorts just keep growing from $ 330 to $ 500, $ 600, and $ 700 as they go from year five, six, and into year seven. This is what does it. Pets is the only category where a consumer refers to themselves as a pet parent. The only other category where consumers do that is kids.


    “Jackson loves his Chewy portrait!” notes Chewy customer Eri Anne

    Our Customers Love Engaging With Us

    Pet ownership is underrepresented in the growth of e-commerce. First of all today in the United States we’re only about 14 percent penetrated from an online point of view. Chewy, if you look at it, is a $ 70 billion dollar industry. We’re penetrated in about roughly 10 percent of the households. We have 11 million customers. We’re growing fast and we’re engaging them hard.

    They stay with us. It’s the two flywheels, the engagement, and the acquisition. It just spins really well. Our investors love that. Our customers love that. We like it. We have 90 percent re-ups (of our subscriptions). Two-thirds of our revenue comes from Autoship and our subscription program. Our customers love engaging with us.

    We Have An Incredible Amount of Data

    Our shipping (cost) is built into our gross margins. What you’ve seen is as we’ve gotten big fast, we’ve also gotten fit fast. Our gross margin has expanded over 500 basis points over the last three years. We have a dense network. We have the predictability of Autoship. We can plan supply plan tighter and baseload build a lot tighter and get it to our customers fast and in a reliable manner. That’s how we make it work.

    We have a ton of data. When you contact us you’re giving us (information). Pet profiles is an amazing way for us to engage with you. Customers are leaning in. We talked to you via customer service. At this point, we have 11 million customers but we manage over 27 million relationships between pets and pet parents. That is an incredible amount of data and facts to have on base.

    Pets.com Was 20 Years Ago

    The company (Pets.com) was 20 years ago. Look at the way the e-commerce has built out, the inputs are changing. Look at our stickiness. Look at the number of customers that we’re attracting. The fact that we’re servicing greater than 95 percent of US households in less than two days and the fact that customers keep coming back to us. Also, the necessity and desire to continue to engage and seek information via the high-touch high-class customer service that we provide. We just closed the loop better than anybody else out there.

    We Are An Experience-Driven Company, Says Chewy CEO Sumit Singh

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    SAP CEO: We’re the Fastest Growing Cloud Company In the Enterprise Software Space

    “We’re the fastest growing cloud company in the enterprise software space,” says SAP CEO Bill McDermott. “We grew total revenue by 16% and grew cloud 48%. Let me just put this on the line. When you grow cloud 48%, that’s 80% faster than Salesforce, that’s 30% faster than Workday. So when you have a franchise that’s growing your core business in double digits, the cloud faster than anybody out there, and you’re progressing the margin one point per year between now and 2023.”

    Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, discusses SAP’s amazing growth over the last quarter, especially in cloud, in an interview on CNBC:

    Fastest Growing Cloud Company In the Enterprise Software Space

    This is a good start to the year. It’s what the capital markets have been waiting for. They’ve been getting all kinds of revenue growth. We’re the fastest growing cloud company in the enterprise software space. They wanted to see the multiples on the margin. As we raised our full-year guidance we committed to improving the operating margins by one point per year for the next five years. Now after a $ 75 billion investment in innovation for our customers, our shareholders are saying wow, this is the moment I get the multiples on the margin and therefore the leverage in the share price.

    Our cloud gross margins can improve to 75% between now and 2023. We’re hiring the absolute very best people in the world in artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, all the areas that our customers want us to go. It’s not the number of people, it’s getting the absolute very best people. If you hire right, you manage your cloud gross margins right, and you have a highly inspired customer base where you’re growing with high renewal rates, you get tremendous leverage on the operating margin.

    The Company Really Is On a Roll

    What we’re doing is when we did restructure, and that was announced in Q4 and we executed it in Q1, we basically said we’re going to take about 4,400 people from areas that were not part of the new economy and hire to those tremendous standards. We’re bringing in the best data scientists in the world, best machine learning individuals out there, best enterprise application software coders around the world, and we’re developing in China, Israel, the United States, and in Europe. The company really is on a roll.

    We’re almost done (with the restructuring) in the sense that we accounted for most all of it in Q1. We are finishing it up in the next quarter right now. For example, it’s being executed in Germany, but the majority of it has been handled. The stock today (is way up). We grew total revenue by 16% and grew cloud 48%. Let me just put this on the line. When you grow cloud 48%, that’s 80% faster than Salesforce.com, that’s 30% faster than Workday. So when you have a franchise that’s growing your core business in double digits, the cloud faster than anybody out there, and you’re progressing the margin one point per year between now and 2023, I think that’s why the shareholders have the stock up 8%.

    What’s On My Mind is Where the Customer Needs Us To Go

    All competition is on my mind. But what’s really on my mind is where the customer needs us to go. We weren’t losing to them. What the shareholders wanted, and we surveyed them, we had a capital market stay in New York and we used Qualtrics to survey them, they said we love your revenue growth we know you’re gaining share we just want more operating margin leverage out of the company. That’s what we gave them this quarter. It took us ten years and $ 75 billion in R&D and M&A to get to the point now where we have everything we need. We don’t need to do any more big M&A, we just need to perform well and spin-off margin and free cash flow for our shareholders and the stock goes on a run.

    They (our customers) know we’ve given them so much innovation. It’s coming at them so fast that now they’re saying help me integrate it, help me fully leverage it across the enterprise and get the value from it. Interestingly, the customers and the shareholders are both in the same place. They’re saying you’ve done unreal things, now let’s dig in and drive real value from all the things that you’ve done. We bought an $ 8.3 billion dollar company called Qualtrics. We now took over a new category called experience management where we can actually tell the consumer experience inside or outside the company in real time. We have data now.

    So think about this, if you’re running a company and you want to recruit to retire process in your company, how do my people feel when I recruit them? How did I feel when I trained them? Am I coaching them? Am I teaching them? Am I giving them everything they need in their compensation plan? We know this all now in real time with the Hana database built into the human capital management process. We do things that no other company can do.

    SAP CEO: Were the Fastest Growing Cloud Company In the Enterprise Software Space

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    SAP CEO: We’re the Fastest Growing Cloud Company In the Enterprise Software Space

    “We’re the fastest growing cloud company in the enterprise software space,” says SAP CEO Bill McDermott. “We grew total revenue by 16% and grew cloud 48%. Let me just put this on the line. When you grow cloud 48%, that’s 80% faster than Salesforce, that’s 30% faster than Workday. So when you have a franchise that’s growing your core business in double digits, the cloud faster than anybody out there, and you’re progressing the margin one point per year between now and 2023.”

    Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, discusses SAP’s amazing growth over the last quarter, especially in cloud, in an interview on CNBC:

    Fastest Growing Cloud Company In the Enterprise Software Space

    This is a good start to the year. It’s what the capital markets have been waiting for. They’ve been getting all kinds of revenue growth. We’re the fastest growing cloud company in the enterprise software space. They wanted to see the multiples on the margin. As we raised our full-year guidance we committed to improving the operating margins by one point per year for the next five years. Now after a $ 75 billion investment in innovation for our customers, our shareholders are saying wow, this is the moment I get the multiples on the margin and therefore the leverage in the share price.

    Our cloud gross margins can improve to 75% between now and 2023. We’re hiring the absolute very best people in the world in artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, all the areas that our customers want us to go. It’s not the number of people, it’s getting the absolute very best people. If you hire right, you manage your cloud gross margins right, and you have a highly inspired customer base where you’re growing with high renewal rates, you get tremendous leverage on the operating margin.

    The Company Really Is On a Roll

    What we’re doing is when we did restructure, and that was announced in Q4 and we executed it in Q1, we basically said we’re going to take about 4,400 people from areas that were not part of the new economy and hire to those tremendous standards. We’re bringing in the best data scientists in the world, best machine learning individuals out there, best enterprise application software coders around the world, and we’re developing in China, Israel, the United States, and in Europe. The company really is on a roll.

    We’re almost done (with the restructuring) in the sense that we accounted for most all of it in Q1. We are finishing it up in the next quarter right now. For example, it’s being executed in Germany, but the majority of it has been handled. The stock today (is way up). We grew total revenue by 16% and grew cloud 48%. Let me just put this on the line. When you grow cloud 48%, that’s 80% faster than Salesforce.com, that’s 30% faster than Workday. So when you have a franchise that’s growing your core business in double digits, the cloud faster than anybody out there, and you’re progressing the margin one point per year between now and 2023, I think that’s why the shareholders have the stock up 8%.

    What’s On My Mind is Where the Customer Needs Us To Go

    All competition is on my mind. But what’s really on my mind is where the customer needs us to go. We weren’t losing to them. What the shareholders wanted, and we surveyed them, we had a capital market stay in New York and we used Qualtrics to survey them, they said we love your revenue growth we know you’re gaining share we just want more operating margin leverage out of the company. That’s what we gave them this quarter. It took us ten years and $ 75 billion in R&D and M&A to get to the point now where we have everything we need. We don’t need to do any more big M&A, we just need to perform well and spin-off margin and free cash flow for our shareholders and the stock goes on a run.

    They (our customers) know we’ve given them so much innovation. It’s coming at them so fast that now they’re saying help me integrate it, help me fully leverage it across the enterprise and get the value from it. Interestingly, the customers and the shareholders are both in the same place. They’re saying you’ve done unreal things, now let’s dig in and drive real value from all the things that you’ve done. We bought an $ 8.3 billion dollar company called Qualtrics. We now took over a new category called experience management where we can actually tell the consumer experience inside or outside the company in real time. We have data now.

    So think about this, if you’re running a company and you want to recruit to retire process in your company, how do my people feel when I recruit them? How did I feel when I trained them? Am I coaching them? Am I teaching them? Am I giving them everything they need in their compensation plan? We know this all now in real time with the Hana database built into the human capital management process. We do things that no other company can do.

    SAP CEO: Were the Fastest Growing Cloud Company In the Enterprise Software Space

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    SAP CEO: We’re the Fastest Growing Cloud Company In the Enterprise Software Space

    “We’re the fastest growing cloud company in the enterprise software space,” says SAP CEO Bill McDermott. “We grew total revenue by 16% and grew cloud 48%. Let me just put this on the line. When you grow cloud 48%, that’s 80% faster than Salesforce, that’s 30% faster than Workday. So when you have a franchise that’s growing your core business in double digits, the cloud faster than anybody out there, and you’re progressing the margin one point per year between now and 2023.”

    Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, discusses SAP’s amazing growth over the last quarter, especially in cloud, in an interview on CNBC:

    Fastest Growing Cloud Company In the Enterprise Software Space

    This is a good start to the year. It’s what the capital markets have been waiting for. They’ve been getting all kinds of revenue growth. We’re the fastest growing cloud company in the enterprise software space. They wanted to see the multiples on the margin. As we raised our full-year guidance we committed to improving the operating margins by one point per year for the next five years. Now after a $ 75 billion investment in innovation for our customers, our shareholders are saying wow, this is the moment I get the multiples on the margin and therefore the leverage in the share price.

    Our cloud gross margins can improve to 75% between now and 2023. We’re hiring the absolute very best people in the world in artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, all the areas that our customers want us to go. It’s not the number of people, it’s getting the absolute very best people. If you hire right, you manage your cloud gross margins right, and you have a highly inspired customer base where you’re growing with high renewal rates, you get tremendous leverage on the operating margin.

    The Company Really Is On a Roll

    What we’re doing is when we did restructure, and that was announced in Q4 and we executed it in Q1, we basically said we’re going to take about 4,400 people from areas that were not part of the new economy and hire to those tremendous standards. We’re bringing in the best data scientists in the world, best machine learning individuals out there, best enterprise application software coders around the world, and we’re developing in China, Israel, the United States, and in Europe. The company really is on a roll.

    We’re almost done (with the restructuring) in the sense that we accounted for most all of it in Q1. We are finishing it up in the next quarter right now. For example, it’s being executed in Germany, but the majority of it has been handled. The stock today (is way up). We grew total revenue by 16% and grew cloud 48%. Let me just put this on the line. When you grow cloud 48%, that’s 80% faster than Salesforce.com, that’s 30% faster than Workday. So when you have a franchise that’s growing your core business in double digits, the cloud faster than anybody out there, and you’re progressing the margin one point per year between now and 2023, I think that’s why the shareholders have the stock up 8%.

    What’s On My Mind is Where the Customer Needs Us To Go

    All competition is on my mind. But what’s really on my mind is where the customer needs us to go. We weren’t losing to them. What the shareholders wanted, and we surveyed them, we had a capital market stay in New York and we used Qualtrics to survey them, they said we love your revenue growth we know you’re gaining share we just want more operating margin leverage out of the company. That’s what we gave them this quarter. It took us ten years and $ 75 billion in R&D and M&A to get to the point now where we have everything we need. We don’t need to do any more big M&A, we just need to perform well and spin-off margin and free cash flow for our shareholders and the stock goes on a run.

    They (our customers) know we’ve given them so much innovation. It’s coming at them so fast that now they’re saying help me integrate it, help me fully leverage it across the enterprise and get the value from it. Interestingly, the customers and the shareholders are both in the same place. They’re saying you’ve done unreal things, now let’s dig in and drive real value from all the things that you’ve done. We bought an $ 8.3 billion dollar company called Qualtrics. We now took over a new category called experience management where we can actually tell the consumer experience inside or outside the company in real time. We have data now.

    So think about this, if you’re running a company and you want to recruit to retire process in your company, how do my people feel when I recruit them? How did I feel when I trained them? Am I coaching them? Am I teaching them? Am I giving them everything they need in their compensation plan? We know this all now in real time with the Hana database built into the human capital management process. We do things that no other company can do.

    SAP CEO: Were the Fastest Growing Cloud Company In the Enterprise Software Space

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    Salesforce CEO: Every B2B and B2C Company Is Becoming a B2B2C Company

    Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff says that every company is becoming a B2B2C company. “Every B2B company and B2C company is becoming a B2B2C company,” says Benioff. “What company does not have to directly connect with the consumer? You could be a traditional industrial company who’s selling to B2B resellers and you have to be ready in this connected digital revolution to be able to connect directly to your consumer as well.”

    Marc Benioff, co-CEO of Salesforce, discusses their recent high flying quarterly results and talks about how every company is becoming a B2B2C company in an interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC:

    We Just Had a Fantastic Fourth Quarter

    We just had a fantastic fourth quarter. We’re taking a look at those numbers right now and it was an amazing quarter. In fact, we beat our revenue estimates quite handily. As part of that, our co-CEO Keith Block closed the largest transaction in our history and the largest transaction ever in Barclays history. It was a deep nine digit transaction to help automate their 50 million customers. It really goes to show how the three major trends that are playing out in computing today, the cloud, broad digital transformation, and a focus on the customer, can really impact our company by creating a huge deal and also being able to support a huge transformation at Barclays.

    I feel great about our business. I’ve always felt great about it. We’re coming up on our 20 year anniversary this Friday. It’s been 20 years that have been unbelievable to us here. We are coming up on a year that we’re going to do $ 16 billion in revenue that far exceeds my expectation. I still have never been more excited about Salesforce than I am right now. When I look at the short term I see $ 20 billion right around the quarter and I see $ 30 billion right around the corner. In fact, we initiated a four-year guidance today of $ 26 to $ 28 billion.

    Every B2B and B2C Company Is Becoming a B2B2C Company

    You can look at a great deal that we did this quarter with Amgen, a tremendous biotechnology company. This is a company that’s really expanding with our health cloud. This is our vertical strategy to build products specifically for certain industries. In this case, our health cloud is going to help Amgen connect with their customers in a whole new way.  Every B2B company and B2C company is becoming a B2B2C company. What company does not have to directly connect with the consumer?

    Not just Amgen, everybody. You could be a traditional industrial company who’s selling to B2B resellers and you have to be ready in this connected digital revolution to be able to connect directly to your consumer as well. That’s a major trend that we’ve benefited from for so many years now and you’re going to see that continue to play out. That’s certainly something driving this relationship with Amgen as well.

    Brunello Cucinelli and Lamborghini Using Salesforce to Connect

    Brunello Cucinelli is one of the great fashion brands in the world and we’ve completely transformed Brunello Cucinelli. He actually touches the customer in many different forms. He has a direct B2C relationship. He’s online with them. We run his website. You go into his stores. That’s a direct consumer connection. But did you know he’s a B2B company also? That’s because he’s selling to resellers who are reselling his products in some of the big retail stores around the world. He’s a B2B and a B2C company. We have to bring it all together with him and give him a single view of his customer. That’s the transformation he has to go through and has gone through and that’s why he’s had such great growth and we’re so excited for him.

    Another great example is Lamborghini. Of course, Lamborghini is actually traditionally a B2B type company. They’re selling to their dealers and they’re making sure their dealers are successful. some of those dealers are not even owned by Lamborghini but now they need to be able to connect with their customer in real time, all the time. They’re also a B2C direct customer. That’s why the new Urus, their new SUV, is built entirely on Salesforce. It’s the connected Lamborghini. That’s a vision for all car companies in the future that they can directly connect with you, not just connect with their dealer. That’s the B2C and B2B transformation that we’re talking about.

    The post Salesforce CEO: Every B2B and B2C Company Is Becoming a B2B2C Company appeared first on WebProNews.


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    David Hauser: Founder Of Virtual Telephone Company Grasshopper (Acquired By Citrix For $170 Million) Explains How He Builds SAAS Companies

    [ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] I can remember listening to many podcasts over the years that featured a certain sponsor – Grasshopper, a company that provides virtual telephone services. David Hauser is the founder of, among many companies, Grasshopper, by far his most successful business. It reached $ 30 […]

    The post David Hauser: Founder Of Virtual Telephone Company Grasshopper (Acquired By Citrix For $ 170 Million) Explains How He Builds SAAS Companies appeared first on Yaro.Blog.

    Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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    You Don’t Have to Buy Google Ads to Create a Big Company

    Self-made marketing phenomena Neil Patel says that there is an alternative to buying Google Ads to grow your company. The answer he says is creating a free leader product or service that drive customers to your site for you to later upsell. Patel sees this alternative solution as a less expensive and more sustainable “growth hacking” strategy.

    Neil Patel discussed this growth hacking strategy in a recent video:

    You Don’t Have to Buy Google Ads to Create a Big Company

    Google Ads are continually rising in cost. What if I told you I have a really cool solution that’ll give you a much better ROI in the long run than Google Ads. Today, I’m going to share with you the best alternative to Google Ads. What most people don’t realize is, you don’t have to spend money on Google Ads to create a multibillion-dollar company.

    Have you heard of Dropbox? Of course, you have and the chances are it’s on your computer. Did you know that when Dropbox first came out they tried to grow by doing Google advertising? And what they found is, even though they had a product that costs around $ 5 a month, which is around $ 60 a year per customer, they were spending roughly $ 200 to $ 300 to acquire a customer from Google Ads.

    Can you see how those numbers don’t work out? Not only are they spending more to acquire a customer than what they’re paying in the first year, but just because someone’s paying you $ 5 a month, doesn’t mean that $ 5 is pure profit either.

    How to Leverage a Growth Hacking Strategy

    So, what did Dropbox do? They leveraged growth hacking. They figured out a way to get users to come to their site and generate more customers. They did this by creating a free product or a service, and that’s a better alternative to Google Ads. If you look at Dropbox, you look at Slack, even look at Amazon, although Amazon’s not really doing free with Prime buy you get free two-day shipping.

    By creating something that’s free or such an amazing offer, think of it as your carrot that you’re dangling, you’re going to get so many people over to your website that then when you upsell them into your paid products or services, it’s so much easier because they’re already using your product or service, you’ve already built that brand loyalty, that connection, that rapport with them. It’s much easier to get that upsell.

    It Does Cost a Lot to Offer a Free Product or Service

    And here’s what most people don’t understand; they’re like, “Whoa Nellie, if I spent all this money getting people over to my website by having a ‘free’ product or service, it’s going to cost me a lot of money,” and it does. I recently released a tool called Ubersuggest. If you look at Uber suggest, I’m spending $ 150,000 a month releasing a lot of the features you see in tools like BuzzSumo or SEMrush, for free; 150 grand a month, that’s my cost. My cost isn’t going down, it’s continually rising too.

    But you know what, if I had to do paid advertising on Google to get those visitors, my estimation shows that I would be spending a bit more than $ 600,000. Do you see how giving something away for free that costs me $ 150,000 a month is much better than spending $ 600,000 a month on paid ads?

    Get Creative with Your Marketing

    You do not have to spend money on Google Ads to create a big business, just look at Dropbox. Leverage growth hacking, and then as you have these free tools, these free products, these free services, and it may not be the best ones out there but something that people are used to paying for, what you can do is do things like creating invite flows. Dropbox has it: you want more free space, invite more users. I can do the same thing with Ubersuggest; I don’t, but I can say “Want more free usage? Invite more members.”

    You can get creative with your marketing, leverage growth hacking. Just don’t put all your money into Google Ads, and the reason I say that is not because I don’t like Google Ads. Ideally, you should be doing both. But the reason I say this is, the moment you stop Google Ads you don’t have any more traffic.

    By creating something that’s free, and it doesn’t have to continually cost a ton of money, like HubSpot, they have this free email signature generator. It doesn’t cost them much money; they only spent a few thousand dollars creating it. They don’t even spend any money maintaining it each and every single month. But they found that it can drive over seven figures worth of revenue to their business per year; not too bad from one free tool.

    The post You Don’t Have to Buy Google Ads to Create a Big Company appeared first on WebProNews.


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