The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten on Smash Notes

The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten podcast.

December 31, 2019

Unfiltered insights and actionable advice straight from the trenches of startup and business life. The show hosts, Steli Efti and Hiten Shah, are both serial entrepreneurs who have founded multi-million dollar SaaS startups. Being busy CEOs of fast-growing companies, they know the value of your time and make sure you get the most out of each 22 minute episode. Tune in for new episodes every Tuesday and Friday.



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In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how to go from 100 customers to 1000—how to focus, what to zero-in on, and how to intelligently approach the next phase of scale and growth. Listen as they highlight the power of grouping and segmentation, and why clearing 100 customers means it’s time to earn an intimate understanding of customer acquisition cost.  


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:30 – Steli introducing today’s topic and why they’re covering it

00:54 – Steli and Hiten had 2 previous episodes that touched on a similar topic before today’s episode

00:59 – Knowing how to increase your customer numbers is important because it demonstrates how your business will scale in the future

01:10 – You have to start measuring your metrics, KPIs, and start deeply understanding your user base from the metric standpoint


02:22 – This is high-volume SaaS


02:40 – Measuring the metrics isn’t really meaningful until you cross the 100 customer milestone

03:05 – Once you’re in the 100 to 1000 mark, start segmenting, or creating cohorts (groups of customers)


03:30 – Grouping your customers can help you get a better idea of what type of customers you are getting from specific channels

04:04 – Knowing the numbers helps you determine where to focus to reach the thousands

05:00 – Segmentation is also about knowing what is relevant to your product and business


05:39 – Segmentation includes the size of the customers, buying percentage, and geography

06:40 – Advanced level segmentations are where the customers are using the product more, what features of the product they are using, and how much they’re using the product


08:33 – There are a lot of KPIs that you can track

09:34 – ProfitWell as an online tool for getting your SaaS business understood


10:12 – Some SaaS business that are crossing the 100 customer mark are using Stripe, Braintree, and other paid online tool


10:30 – ProfitWell integrates with a lot of systems and gives you data off the shelf. It is also free

10:50 – The key metrics are still the same


10:54 – Average revenue per user, churn rate, MRR, and how MRR is broken down on a monthly basis


11:30 – Having a tool is basic and critical

12:16 – “You need to do the right thing at the right time”


12:34 – “Once you cross the 100 mark, that is the right time to look at the numbers”


14:10 – Having that 100 customer mark may lead you to get more people in marketing and sales

15:41 – At the point of 100 customers, ask yourself; what have I done to get these 100 customers?


16:10 – Most people focus on marketing channels selection and implementation without actually verifying if that channel will work or not


16:58 – Marketing generalists are more difficult to find than marketing specialists


17:20 – Find new channels and start experimenting

17:26 – Ask professionals for advice or get courses online like DigitalMarketer which is inexpensive


17:48 – “Look at what you’re doing , break it down, and understand your process”


17:56 – The process of blogging


18:33 – Force yourself to calculate and understand your customer acquisition cost

18:52 – If you hit the right level of marketing fitness, your churn will be relatively low and you’ll ready to scale to a thousand customers

20:18 – You can’t just assign blog posting to someone without knowing what drives people to your blog

21:36 – Sales in the first 100 customers

22:05 – Blog post on different hiring stages of a startup


22:45 – The people you won’t want to take in are senior sales people like a VP of sales

23:46 – Get more fire-power to run an experiment and include yourself as the founder


25:05 – As a founder, you need to involve yourself in every aspect of the compan...

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