SaaS Company Grows at 30% / Month Thanks To Partnership Program & Blog

“Nave is a self-funded company. Financing the company on my own is one of my strongest motivators to grow the business as fast as possible.”

 

Written by Simon Alcott: Published Sept 6th, 2019 | Updated Sept 6th, 2019.

Simon Alcott is a growth hacker and the driving force behind WhalePages, a SaaS growth agency. Today, he sits down with Sonya Siderova, the founder of Nave, to talk about her SaaS growth journey so far.

 

8 Minute Read

Having a Self Funded SaaS Company Keeps Your Mind Sharp and Reminds You How Important Your Initiative Is From Both a Professional and Persponal Perspective.

Today, WhalePages was fortunate enough to chat with Nave, which is a SaaS company that creates beautiful dashboards to help teams focus on improving workflow efficiency. Their tool integrates with popular productivity tools like Trello and Asana, which means that you simply need to integrate Nave and voila! Your team’s efficiency data will be displayed in ways that will help you take actionable steps to improve workflow. Productivity optimization is a big part of what we do here at WhalePages, so I’m really excited to chat with the team at Nave about both their product as well as their SaaS company’s growth. So let’s jump in.

Hi and thanks for joining us today to chat with our blog readers about your SaaS company. Can you begin by giving us a little bit of background about Nave?

Our company was founded in 2014. It was initially a software development agency. The idea of building our own proprietary product was born 2 years ago when it became obvious that businesses need to serve their customers in a fast, stable and efficient manner if they are to remain competitive and adaptive to the fast-changing market needs.

As a software development agency, we had to optimize the time we deliver value without causing team burnout. Moving along the path of business agility, we didn’t want to make any drastic changes, we just wanted to work with what we had back then and slowly improve by applying small evolutionary changes. Adopting the Kanban Method helped us achieve amazing results from the start. Keeping the current tools was part of that course. However, we were missing the means to evaluate our progress and assess our improvement efforts. So we decided to build them on our own. That is how Nave’s came to being. We managed to increase our productivity by 250%. We optimized our workflows, drastically reduced our delivery times and relieved team overburden. We started making probabilistic data-driven forecasts and we always kept our commitments. Our clients noticed the difference and wondered how we’re able to produce such remarkable results in such a short timeframe. We soon realized Nave was the way to go and we’ve been working on it ever since.

“We managed to increase our productivity by 250%. We optimized our workflows, drastically reduced our delivery times and relieved team overburden. We started making probabilistic data-driven forecasts and we always kept our commitments.”

So Nave helps teams identify inefficiencies in their workflow and processes. Because our audience is made up specifically of SaaS founders, CEOs and programmers, tell us how your software could be used by SaaS companies to help optimize SaaS efficiency?

Our product equips SaaS companies with a data-driven decision making framework. It provides the tools and metrics to confidently answer tough questions from above and to solve the tough problems from below. As a result, Nave drives efficiency, productivity and predictability throughout the entire organization.

Explain how nave helps not only identify problem areas, but also provides insight on how to fix those problems.

Nave is a data-visualization analytics suite that enables users to reveal bottlenecks and areas for improvement in their workflows. It’s important to note, however, that no two users are alike and the tools are highly contextual. The same pattern could mean a disaster in one system while it could be totally expected in another. There is no right or wrong here – it is up to the user to evaluate the insights gained through Nave. All results should be analyzed considering the environment they occur in. Our role is to educate people on how to recognize these patterns and raise awareness of what they mean for their processes. We continually promote resources people can access to learn more about it.

“Nave is a data-visualization analytics suite that enables users to reveal bottlenecks and areas for improvement in their workflows. It’s important to note, however, that no two users are alike and the tools are highly contextual.”

Now let’s talk a little bit more about how you’ve approached Nave’s funding and growth strategy. Is Nave backed by investors or is the company self-funded? Tell us a little bit more about the pros and cons of your funding approach.

Nave is a self-funded company. Financing the company on my own is one of my strongest motivators to grow the business as fast as possible. It keeps my mind sharp and it always reminds me how important this initiative is from both a professional and personal perspective. There is a lot of pressure and responsibility that comes with it, though.

Tell us a little bit more about how you helped Nave gain its initial traction. What SaaS marketing strategies did you use to on-board your first paying customers? How have your marketing strategies changed over time?

Content marketing is what made the difference for us. Right from the start, we pushed out high-quality, relevant content that set us apart as reputable and trustworthy brand. In fact, we started the conversation around the concept we were building even before the product entered the development phase. This approach helped us set foot in the market with a pre-established degree of respect. Content marketing was, and remains, one of our main focal points, and we’ll continue to promote the conversation of increasing efficiency and productivity in the foreseeable future.

In your experience running Nave, what have been the most and least successful marketing channels you’ve used to gain traffic and on-board new users? If you had to double down on only one marketing channel today, what would that channel be?

Nave’s lead-generation trifecta consists of our website, blog, and social media. If I had to choose a channel to double down on, it’d definitely be the blog – our efforts to engage, inform and educate continually turns curious readers into loyal customers. As for the least effective channel, that would have to be PPC. The nature of our business makes it really difficult to implement a successful pay-per-click campaign as we need to compete with the biggest players on the market. What makes much more sense for us is to partner with them instead.

“Nave’s lead-generation trifecta consists of our website, blog, and social media. If I had to choose a channel to double down on, it’d definitely be the blog – our efforts to engage, inform and educate continually turns curious readers into loyal customers.”

I notice you have a partner program. How actively have you been promoting your partner program and how are you going about finding partners for the program?

Our partner program is our main sales channel. Naturally, we spend a lot of time and effort on its development and promotion. We partner with agile training institutions, coaching organizations and consultants who run agility initiatives in organizations. It is a win-win relationship for everyone. Nave gains additional exposure through our partner distribution channel, our partners adhere to their commitments with proper tooling as part of their service packages and their clients are better able to implement the theory in practice using our analytical suite. Nave is also a frequent sponsor of large events associated with business agility and we often share our experiences at conferences worldwide.

“Our partner program is our main sales channel. Naturally, we spend a lot of time and effort on its development and promotion.”

Very interesting. We see that answer time and time again. Partnership programs (in all of their different shapes and sizes) are hugely important to SaaS growth. When new customers sign up for WhalePages to have us manage their partnership outreach campaign for them, we often see that their partnership campaigns were either not created, or created but then entirely neglected. We have many other posts on our SaaS marketing blog where SaaS founders talk about how fundamental their partnership programs were to their growth. When we ask why SaaS founders neglect their partnership programs, we often get the same answer: “it’s harder than we thought and we underestimated how time consuming it is”. But it’s nice to see in Nave’s case that you took it seriously and you are benefiting from it. Well done! 

Moving on now, How much of a role does SEO play for Nave? What SEO strategies have worked best for you so far?

Roughly 30% of our traffic comes from organic search. Of course, we pay attention to keyword research, on-page SEO optimization and link building but we don’t stuff blog posts and web copy just to rank high on search engines. Instead, we go the organic way, tailoring our content to audiences with specific queries. Translating complex concepts into engaging, concise, and visually compelling information. That’s what really sets Nave’s marketing strategy apart.

How big of a role does A/B testing and conversion rate optimization play in your SaaS company’s growth strategy? What are some important lessons learnt when it comes to CR optimization?

We tend to experiment with A/B testing quite a lot – especially with our design and brand’s identity. I think it’s always beneficial to compare two versions of whatever you’re building to determine which one is producing better results, and this is particularly true for marketing. After all, Nave is all about data-driven decision making, so we A/B test a lot to find out what truly captivates and engages our customers. The most important lesson learnt when it comes to CR optimization? Make sure your site is easy to navigate, across all devices. You can have the best product in the world, but if the user experience is lacking, your conversion rates will suffer.

Tell us a little bit more about Nave’s growth rate. How quickly have you been able to scale?

The initial and most important goal for us was to get our business cash flow positive. The time we needed to make that happen exceeded our expectations. Currently our user growth rate increases by 30% every month and our MRR – by more than 60%. Our focus is now on sustaining a consistent growth by becoming a fit-for-purpose organization. The goal is to deliver value in a stable, predictable manner and delight our customers by always providing strong results which in turn maximizes profitability.

How long did it take you to hit $1000 MRR?

It took us six months to get there.

Lastly, if you had to start over again and do three things differently, what would those three things be?

1. Partners.

2. Partners

3. And partners.

I’d start negotiating with potential partners right from the very start. I believe we’d have achieved much more in less time if we had our distribution channels set up earlier.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today Sonya. You’ve been an incredible help and I know with certainty that everyone reading this today will have taken something really valuable away from this interview today. To our readers, if you want to learn more about Nave and all of the cool things it can do, please head over to Nave’s website to learn more!

If you have enjoyed this interview and would like to read more just like it, then head over to our SaaS marketing blog.

Written by Simon Alcott: Published Sept 2nd, 2019 | Updated Sept 3rd, 2019.

Simon Alcott is a growth hacker and the driving force behind WhalePages, a company that grows SaaS websites. So, if you have a SaaS company and you’re kinda into things like website traffic and increasing your MRR, then our SaaS growth boxes are probably for you.

 

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