To reduce your CPL (Cost Per Lead) and scale profitable campaigns, it's crucial to adopt a strategic approach. Start by meticulously analyzing your audience data to target the most promising segments and refine your messaging accordingly. Implement A/B testing to optimize ad creatives, headlines, and landing pages, ensuring they resonate with your target audience. Employ advanced audience targeting options provided by advertising platforms, such as lookalike audiences and custom audience segments. Continuously monitor campaign performance and allocate budgets to the highest-performing channels and campaigns. Leverage automation tools for bid management and ad scheduling to maximize efficiency. Lastly, stay updated with industry trends and competitor strategies to adapt and innovate. By constantly fine-tuning your campaigns and embracing data-driven decision-making, you can lower your CPL while scaling profitable marketing efforts.
- Definition of a Successful Ad Campaign
- Yann discusses the importance of defining
- a successful ad campaign and emphasizes the need to focus on lead quality, not just quantity.
- Impact of GDPR on Digital Advertising
- Yann explains how GDPR affected digital advertising, particularly in terms of tracking and data storage.
- Digtective 2.0 and Tracking Compliance
- Yann talks about the development of Digtective 2.0 and how it helps track compliance while providing accurate data for ad performance.
- Launching Digtective 3.0
- Common Mistakes in Ad Campaign Setup
- Yann highlights common mistakes, such as lacking accountability and not running enough ads to test what works.
- Effective Google Ads Strategy
- Yann shares his playbook for Google Ads, emphasizing starting with a single campaign and expanding based on data and conversions.
- Continuous Campaign Optimization
- Yann explains that campaigns never stop running, and you should continually optimize them based on data.
- Decreasing Cost Per Lead (CPL)
- Yann discusses the process of decreasing CPL, including integrating tracking tools, connecting data sources, and following the entire customer journey.
- Offline Conversion Tracking
- Yann mentions the importance of tracking offline conversions, even at events like Sastok, using QR codes.
- Challenges in Implementing Tracking Systems
- Yann talks about onboarding challenges and technical obstacles when implementing tracking systems, emphasizing simplifying the process.
- Yann discusses the simplicity of integrating tracking tools now and highlights that the main challenges often revolve around IT and decision-making processes within larger organizations.
- (0:28) Show and guest intro
- (1:30) Why you should listen to Yaan
- (1:55) What is a successful ad campaign?
- (2:48) How GDPR has affected the digital advertising landscape
- (5:04) What Common mistakes do companies make while setting up their ad campaigns?
- (8:31) The process of decreasing the cost per lead
- (11:06) Challenges and obstacles experienced while decreasing the CPLs
- (13:20) When to start running paid ads as a company?
- (15:00) The future of ad tracking
- (17:40) SaaS growth advice How to grow to 10k monthly recurring revenue
[00:00:00.000] - Intro
Welcome to Growing a B2B SaaS. On this show, you'll get actionable and usable advice. You'll hear about all aspects of growing a business to a business software company, customer success, sales, funding, bootstrapping, exits, scaling, everything you need to know about growing a startup, and you'll get it from someone who's going through the same journey. Now your host, Joran Hofman.
[00:00:28.550] - Joran
Welcome back to the Grow Your B2B SaaS Podcast, where we discuss all topics on how to grow your B2B SaaS no matter in which stage you're in. As a SaaS, you can't get around it to start running some paid ads to make sure you keep filling up your pipeline. Whether it's the first leads or the leads which go to the sales team later on. To identify if things are going well with your paid ads, you need to measure your CPO, also known as cost per lead. Today we're going to discuss how to decrease your CPO while remaining GDPR compliant. We're going to do this with Yann Skaalen, he's the founder and CEO of Detective and they had their first version of the app in 1999, already before the current web analytics tools which rely on third-party cookies weren't even available back then. Interesting things about Jan, he previously owned a mortgage broker, co-founder of the bank, owns the trademark Cpl Optimizer, and he has his own food blog. Without further ado, welcome to the show, Jan.
[00:01:24.560] - Yann
Thank you, Joran. Thanks for having me here on.
[00:01:26.130] - Joran
Thank you. I think I know exactly why I need to listen to you. Many people probably don't know you yet. Why should people listen to you today?
[00:01:34.750] - Yann
What should I say? Twenty-five years experience in advertising over that and detected the first time in '99. Tracking has been part of what I've been doing ever since then.
[00:01:46.420] - Joran
I think that's where we're going to start as well. We're with the basics today. You've been in tracking for a really long time, right? With that basic question, how would you define a successful ad campaign and then in terms of CPL? Cpl?
[00:02:01.050] - Yann
Depends on the goal. Of course, you have a campaign. It's one thing to getting the leads in from whatever source you're targeting or advertising on. But the thing is, the most important thing is the quality of the leads you get in. Are they convert to business? That's where we have a problem today between a lot of companies have because the marketing department and the sales department are two separate entities. The marketing department there, they're happy with 10% and they increase in the conversions and they expect the sales to then sell 10% more. That's not what the world looks like. The more leads you get, the lower the quality you get. Then you have to start looking at the quality of your leads.
[00:02:42.270] - Joran
Nice. I'm going to ask one more, I think, a bit basic question just to get into the topic and then we're going to dive in. Gdpr, it has affected the digital advertising landscape quite a bit, I think. Can you explain in your words how did it affect it? And then, of course, especially in the contact with CPO.
[00:02:58.540] - Yann
Yeah, became a challenge when I was working in the bank. We would do marketing to get application for loans. Then with GDPR, we couldn't use the cookies. We had to find a way to track cooklists and also service side. We also had to make sure that we didn't store any personal information. This is where it gets really hard. While working in a bank, you have to be compliant. That's why Detective 2.0 was born again, making sure that we could track compliance. The side effect of tracking compliance was you get 100% accurate figures because we never had that before. Because now your service side, you can't be stopped by ad blockers, Yavas blockers, bad implementation. So suddenly you have the right set of data and then when you attribute them to the right sources and then you attribute to the banking core system or your CRM system, suddenly you can see how much each ad is costing and how much each ad are converting. Then you can start stopping ads. This is where it's a shock here because I'm not going to mention the big names, but 70% of the ads are non-profitable. When you start cutting the ads that it's not profitable, magic is going to happen and then you're going to see a little hockey stick.
[00:04:13.560] - Joran
Nice. Exactly. Because if you know which ones are converting, then you can double down on those.
[00:04:18.490] - Yann
Not just converting, but the amount you get in because there's the quality. That's also really important to look at.
[00:04:24.570] - Joran
You mentioned you just launched your 2.0 version. Was that the latest launch you just did or was it already before?
[00:04:31.590] - Yann
That was before. I would say we are now on the 3.0 end of June. That's really proud of the latest version. That's what I dreamt of all my life and now we're there.
[00:04:44.100] - Joran
Exactly. I guess, a lesser for the founders, it takes a long time to actually get the product on where you want it.
[00:04:50.500] - Yann
It takes three times this long time and cost four times the amount of money that you're fault.
[00:04:55.850] - Joran
Exactly. When we go back to the running the ad campaigns, you mentioned a little bit already what's going wrong. But can you also explain what are the most common mistakes companies make while they set up their ad campaigns?
[00:05:10.030] - Yann
No person accountable. Some marketers are going to be a little bit upset. But a lot of people just create a lot of ads and they check them every month or every three months or whenever somebody needs a report. If you're doing advertising, let's take Google ads. I love Google ads. It's instant gratification. To go with the most ads in Google is the one that's going to win. Google is really smart finding the new search terms and finding out what's working for you. With a complete set of tracking, with the accurate figures, this is a place that you really can start scaling and growing. But if you have five ads, let them run for five years, yeah, maybe you're going to make money, but not the same amount you would if you have 100 ads.
[00:05:50.390] - Joran
Yeah, like I said, make some money uncountable and make sure you run multiple ads to figure out what is working.
[00:05:57.030] - Yann
Yeah. What I see a lot of people do is, you get a budget, you have €10,000 spent on advertising a month, then you're going to put 10,000 on Google ads a month. Of course, you're going to get a lot of leads for that amount, but you don't know if the right number of leads, even the right content. I would like to share my playbook if it's okay.
[00:06:16.950] - Joran
Yeah, go ahead.
[00:06:17.970] - Yann
The people who don't know me, they know I'm interested in wine. I would talk about this like wine. My approach to Google Ads is, and I'm going to use wine, this is your product, but I'm going to use wine. I'm going to start with red wine. One campaign, one algorithm, one ad, one search trip, red wine. I'm going to set the budget for €5 or €10 a day and I'm just going to leave it because I can lose €5 or €10. Every new founder is going to use €5 or €10, but they can't spend €10,000 a month to see what's working. What's going to happen then? Then Google is going to find a lot of search terms for you. Then you go into the search terms report and you're going to see that, Oh, Spanish wine is converting. I'm back to the wine again. French wine is converting. Now we have an indicator or something. The Spanish wines and the French wines. Okay, cool. That's a new campaign. French wine, one campaign. New ad group, French champagne wine. Same strategy again. Then again, because now it's French wine, then they're going to find the producers.
[00:07:20.090] - Yann
Oh, so the producers that's converting, they get a new ad group. Then in that ad group, you're going to find the vintages and that's a new app. Suddenly, now for 5-10 years a day, you're finding out what resonate with your target group, and that's something that people spend a long time to find out. But with Google Ads, you can find out what they're searching for and what their intentions are. And then you can create your ads based on that. And suddenly, now we have the basis for your content.
[00:07:50.250] - Joran
I guess how long would you run the Red Wine campaign? Just until, I guess, Google Ads is going to give you suggestions for.
[00:07:58.000] - Yann
The- It never stops.
[00:07:59.560] - Joran
[00:08:00.510] - Yann
Because you're going to dig down. That's why I call our tool Digger, because you're digging down and you get things that you make the most money on.
[00:08:07.320] - Joran
Yeah, makes sense. You always keep them running and you just keep adding ads towards the on the campaigns.
[00:08:13.660] - Yann
Yeah, because Google is crazy smart. A lot of people create AI to try to trip Google and do stuff with Google. Well, maybe try to use Google's algorithm to find out what's working for you instead.
[00:08:25.160] - Joran
Makes sense. You own the trademark Cpl Optimizer. That's what I find out when I download your e-book. Can you share the process that you use to decrease a cost per lead?
[00:08:36.280] - Yann
It's quite simple because when you integrate our tool, we are service-side and we're connected to your CRM system. We connect with MAD and Bing. We get all your advertising data there, your cost, your clicks, everything. Then we're going to track each click you get from that source with the value. Then you're going to go through your homepage and hopefully they're going to sign up for a trial or they're going to sign up for a book of demo. This is where a lot of people miss out because the book of demo thing, you need to track what's happening with the demo. A conversion from a book of demo could be 120 days. I think the longest sales cycle to track now is 630 days something. At major department, we don't have to delete the data after 90 days, so we can keep the whole sales cycle. That's really important because then you can see the quality and you also can see the salesperson, how they are working. They are also going to pop up in the graphics if they are not closing or winning.
[00:09:30.650] - Joran
Is that then also a way to identify if the salesperson is indeed performing or is it a bit.
[00:09:36.110] - Yann
Too much? Yeah, we can see that. But yeah, you as a CMO can see that because you're going to see either closed, won't close, lost, or is something in the middle. What we are going to show in our platform when it's connected to all the APIs with the advertising channel, but also with your CRM. You're going to see the ones that's close, one, and that's where you're making money. You have the close, lost, the red ones. That's where we have a pause button inside of Cysmos. We actually stopped the ads from our tool. So you see it's losing €10,000, stop. Gaining, okay, that's one's going to get more money. But the other ones, you can't either stop or do anything with because they're still in process.
[00:10:15.730] - Joran
Yeah, makes sense. And I think then to summarize it, making sure you connect all the data sources to each other, make sure you actually connect it with the CRM system so you can follow the entire funnel basically until the end of close one or close last.
[00:10:30.210] - Yann
Or even longer with, yeah, churn and further revenue down the line, stacking the MRR, for example.
[00:10:36.890] - Joran
Yeah, makes sense. I think one of the things, for example, we're going like both of us were going to Sastok, people are going to have a boot there. So connecting your CRM would also allow you to actually track offline conversions or at least offline conversations because that is something you always lose.
[00:10:51.660] - Yann
On Sastok, you will use a QR code and have a giveaway because that's really offline. Then we scanned the QR code, we will know that was Sastok, we are our tool with NADDA, and then you can see the conversion afterwards from Sastok.
[00:11:04.100] - Joran
When implementing a system like yours or at least like decreasing the CPLs, I think it sounds easy, but you probably run into quite a few challenges and obstacles along the way. I guess, can you explain me what are the most common ones and how do you normally overcome those?
[00:11:19.390] - Yann
The first client is a really big real estate company in Norway. From the start to the end, it took seven months to integrate them. That's just horrible. I've had some worse in too. But onboarding has been our pain, not the data, but the onboarding and the technical process. We got it down to two weeks. Now we are in March. We're going to be completely product-led. We are now in the Magenta, Adobe store, so you can download us from there, but you can't still connect everything yourself. We're going into the HubSpot store. For now, you can just connect Google, Meta, Bing, HubSpot. You can do that instant. The only thing we need now is to service I've scraped on it. But six months, totally product-led.
[00:11:59.820] - Joran
Nice. I guess in general, when people want to decrease their CPM and want to follow the process you just mentioned, I think what are the... Besides making sure that's actually up and running, are there any other challenges they might.
[00:12:13.170] - Yann
Run into? No. Now it's so simple to integrate, but IT is always a challenge because the small companies don't have an IT department, so they have to buy it somewhere else. Then we do it for them if it's a small client. If it's a bigger client, like I work a lot with banks and you have to talk with compliance, CMOs, CTO, so the sales cycles are going to be long. But when they first decide to do the project, then it's not on Wales, but it goes fast.
[00:12:40.570] - Commercial break
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[00:13:20.730] - Joran
Maybe one question before we're going to decrease the CPLs. A lot of companies try to do like even ourselves, like we ran some paid asset and then we turned them down again. I think is there an ideal moment where you should be start running paid ads as a company?
[00:13:35.770] - Yann
I'm not going to talk to the season's founder. I would like to talk to the founders that are just one guy starting to set up his shop. The first thing I think is important is to create the base, the foundation of the house, because the company is going to be a house. The foundation for a SaaS company is obviously a web page. You should create a web page that is SEO, good or ready, because if you have to change that latest, that's going to be hard and expensive. I will hope they're connected with a CRM, whatever they like. But I like WordPress and HubSpot if I want to share my playbook because it's easy to grow in them. Then I would start with the €5 a day as to go to market strategy because you're going to learn so much about what the intent they have and what they're searching on. I wouldn't call that paid ads, but that's just testing your messaging and you're going to learn so much from it. Then you're also going to learn what searches you get and then you're going to create content and then you're going to SEO optimize it because SEO is going to be with you for the rest of the company's life.
[00:14:37.250] - Joran
I guess start early. Make sure you already have something running so you can actually start learning from it based on just those few ads you're running and that small budget you're putting into it.
[00:14:47.410] - Yann
Obviously, LinkedIn, our push and call emails or call calls and friends and family and you know the deal.
[00:14:53.660] - Joran
Yeah, we definitely have a good summary episode on that, like what you should be doing as an early-stage founder. What wetalk about the future of ad tracking? There's a lot of things going on, of course. How do you see the future of ad tracking?
[00:15:06.830] - Yann
The compliance part. Gdpr, I would say nobody actually cares. The big corporation cares. The people that are having a brand that they don't want to lose, they care. The rest actually don't care and they are doing whatever they need. But you can see now in Europe, we have GDPR. The e-pricing regulation was due to come at the same time as GDPR, still not finished. But you see in the States, you have CPA. I know that Virginia and Washington are looking at regulation. I think the regulations are going to... It's going to be more and more regulated and it's going to be harder and harder and track. Now, in five days, IOS 17 is coming and then they're removing the click ID. The talk was they're removing it only in Safari in privacy mode. We don't know that. When the click ID disappears from both Google and Facebook, it's going to be even harder to track in just a week. Big changes are happening now.
[00:16:03.470] - Joran
Yeah, when we put that into real practice, it's going to be harder to actually measure the cost per lead because you don't know where the traffic is coming from because they're making it harder and harder for people to track things.
[00:16:16.610] - Yann
Yeah, but this is for me that I'm so old. I learned marketing in school. Way back to where we started. The thing with the cookies and the tracking and attribution and everything, the funnel, the way that you'll think about the as a SaaS company, that's going to change for you because you're going to... The top fun are going to be more and more unclear. It is today, if you look at the Google ads figures or the Google Analytics figures and you look at what you actually have in the CRM system, the discrepancy is 20% to 40% and even more. You're still running a business based on faulty data and you actually don't know what anything is worth.
[00:16:58.290] - Joran
You said maybe then a couple of... I mistake that people don't know that they're actually running on faulty data. Because do you think everybody knows that they're actually looking at faulty data?
[00:17:08.100] - Yann
No, most of them have no clue. I had a meeting with a bank one time and we were talking about the folded data and the CMO went into the system to check if I was lying. Then he says, Oh, we are losing over 20% of the applications here. Then they looked at the guy from the CTO and said, Did you know this? He said, Yeah, for everybody, know that. Now that you keep consent and the cookie is not being said, it's getting even worse.
[00:17:31.810] - Joran
Cool. When we're going to talk about advice per stage, you gave a little bit advice already for the early-stage founders. But when we talk about optimizing your CPL or maybe even more in general, what advice would you give a SaaS founders who are starting their business and growing to 10K monthly recurring revenue?
[00:17:49.640] - Yann
Yeah, first of all, it's friends and family, the people. You got to get the first clients to having a proof of concept. I would say that's the hardest part, getting the first 10 clients. When you've got to 10 clients, you're not all good, but you're in a lot better place. But it's just looking at us as a house. You're building a house and the foundation has to be solid. You have to start thinking about what are you doing your home page, your planning. I have strategies that three years down the road, not even touch link, but I have the diagram. I need to do this and then I can do this and then I can do this and then I can do this and then I can do this. Don't try to overachieve and do everything at once. Just start with the home page, call the office, friends, family, 5, 10 years a day on ads, and then the LinkedIn outfinish and they call the emails. Then if you manage with just focusing on those things, then you're going to be a lot further than a lot of people that are all over the place.
[00:18:48.770] - Yann
I'm not talking to the bootstrap guys because the other ones are going to waste the 10,000 euros on ads the first month and 70, 80% of it is going to be lost. I like the bootstrap with the red wine.
[00:19:00.580] - Joran
I know you love wine and I like that you bring it up like this. I think it's a really great advice. Indeed, it's like building a house because if you really are ready to start scaling, you want to do it on a good foundation instead of everything is shaky and tied together. And then at one point things are going to break.
[00:19:20.120] - Yann
A lot. And for me personally, the thing I'm working for is getting my time back, because now I'm everything. So hiring people. So for me, the strategy is hiring people that is better than me in all the positions so I can just leave the things to them.
[00:19:37.360] - Joran
Yeah. I think you're a surpass 10K MR. You're now growing towards 10 million ARR. So this advice is also going towards yourself. What advice would you give SaaS founders who are going through the same journey as you are right now?
[00:19:51.580] - Yann
Just as I said, good foundation. I'm lucky. I already have four exits, so I know what it takes to build a company. So I would say like you and me are a member of the same SaaS talk founders membership. Don't listen to everybody because you're going to get so many advices from a early LinkedIn. The experts are talking about how to build and scale and create things. Well, how many companies did they sell? How many companies did they create? Some are really good, but most of them, 90% of them, none. And you shouldn't listen to them. Being part of community with like-minded people and learning, and that's what I don't like with our talks in the SFM, because I'm learning from your mistakes. I don't care about how you succeed because maybe I can put that to my company. But when I hear where somebody really messed up, I make a lot of that. I've tried not to do the same mistake. I think that smart people try to learn from other people's mistakes, and that's where I take my learning, not the success stories about everything that is great.
[00:20:58.040] - Joran
I think as you mentioned, like learning from somebody's mistake, you need to be in some community because everybody shares the good things on LinkedIn, but they don't share the ugly, of course. So find a community like SFM which is going to help you to actually build those relationships and have people share them with you.
[00:21:17.140] - Yann
Yeah. And if anybody, after I said Forex has created a fifth company, if anybody thinks I'm really successful, all the mistakes you can do, I probably have done them. It's just minimizing the damage when you do Yeah.
[00:21:30.250] - Joran
And I know we had a really good conversation regarding this as in indeed you learn a lot. I learn a lot from you. I even call you my SaaS dad just because indeed you're way further than I am. I'm just building my first SaaS. You already have four companies, four assets. That's where I learn a lot from. And that's why, of course, we have this conversation right now. With all the experience, is there one thing you wish you knew ten.
[00:21:53.640] - Yann
Years ago? Yeah, a lot. But the most important thing, 10 years ago, what did I learn 10 years ago? Don't spend too much money on technology before you have tested your product. That's something I think I should have learned over 10 years. But in the bank, you have a better budget. But I would make some mistakes there that I don't want to do in detective.
[00:22:21.810] - Joran
Yeah. And is that then because you saw a new shiny tool who could do maybe something for you and then you spend a lot of money and time on it?
[00:22:30.530] - Yann
Yeah, I bought all the shiny tools. I was actually sitting yesterday looking at the iPhone and said, Oh, I bought it. I bought it. I bought it. I didn't know I bought it. I bought it. I haven't bought it yet, but I'm going to discuss with myself probably next week. But yeah, we worked withthe things we do. We do love the shiny tools and the new tools and the new tech.
[00:22:49.580] - Joran
Yeah. Let's see if you can behave yourself because I'm going to see a tasks talk. I'm going to ask which phone you have in three weeks from now.
[00:22:56.040] - Yann
If you ask somebody in my family, I probably have it.
[00:22:59.210] - Joran
Because we are coming to the end. I know when I investigated more about you, I found an ebook where you run through, I think, we discussed as well. Are you okay with me sharing it in the show notes?
[00:23:11.350] - Yann
Yeah, of course. We are launching the new web pages now with the new tool. So the official launch date for the new tool is actually first of October. But we are launching the web pages hopefully next week. And then I'm going to start creating some more videos and do some more content because now we are finished. We are finished to the startup phase. We are now going into the scale phase.
[00:23:33.690] - Joran
Yeah. Nice. So this episode is going to come out before that. So when people listen to this, I think look at a week from after the launch of this podcast and go to detective. Com. If people want to get in contact with you, Jan, what is the best way?
[00:23:48.990] - Yann
No, LinkedIn. I write a lot on LinkedIn and I share a lot of my tips on LinkedIn. I would just jump, go into the page, book a demo, book a call with me and I'll be there.
[00:23:59.930] - Joran
Nice. Any final thoughts before we jump off?
[00:24:04.510] - Yann
Yeah, I'm always there to support bootstrap guys. Even if you don't have that much money and you need to start scaling, reach out. If I can help, I will help. And we're not charging full price for good trust. Not at all. It's all about helping out the other founders.
[00:24:22.130] - Joran
Yeah. And I know out of experience it's just good to have a chat with you as well because you're going to learn a lot. So I would definitely recommend people doing so if they're still listening now. Good. Thanks for coming on to the show and see you in Dublin.
[00:24:36.220] - Yann
Yeah, we'll do. And thanks for having me.
[00:24:38.490] - Joran
No worries. Thanks, Jan.
[00:24:39.770] - Yann
All right. You've been.
[00:24:41.630] - Commercial break
Listening to Growing a B2B SaaS. Yoron has been ahead of customer success before founding his own startup. He's experiencing the same journey you are. We hope you've gotten some actionable advice from the show, and we hope you had fun along the way. We know what we did. Make sure to like, rate, and review the podcast in the meantime. To find out more and to hook up with us on our social media sites, go to www. Getreditas. Com. See you next time on Growing a B2B Sass.