Why should someone buy your SaaS Now? In this episode of the “Growing a B2B SaaS” podcast, host Joran Hoffman interviews Michael Humblet, author of the books “Why Now” and “Nobody Knows You,” and founder of Chaomatic, a service company aiding VW sales companies in generating more leads through creative content. Michael shares his insights on why businesses should invest in B2B software tools right now and how to overcome common challenges in sales and marketing.
The conversation begins with Joran asking Michael why people should listen to him and why the timing is crucial. Michael explains that most businesses struggle with lead generation and lack trust-building strategies. He emphasizes the importance of fixing the “nobody knows you” problem by creating content, gaining attention, and building trust with prospects before engaging in sales conversations.
Michael further discusses the sales process, focusing on techniques to move deals forward. He highlights the significance of simplifying complex solutions, demonstrating the interface, and showcasing the value of a single feature that can bring significant benefits. He also emphasizes the need to structure sales pitches effectively and reduce the initial meeting time to increase the likelihood of progressing to the next step.
The conversation then delves into Michael’s book, “Nobody Knows You,” which addresses the challenges of building trust and gaining attention. He emphasizes the use of social proof, such as logos or faces, to establish credibility. Michael also explains the importance of attention and provides tips for structuring content and presentations effectively to guide the audience’s focus.
Finally, Michael shares insights from his book “Why Now,” which focuses on accelerating deals. He emphasizes the importance of using the right sales methodology for different situations, injecting doubt or certainty depending on the prospect’s needs, and providing a clear structure to alleviate concerns and promote faster decision-making. He suggests incorporating action steps at the end of each interaction to keep prospects engaged and move them closer to conversion.
The episode concludes with a discussion on potential challenges when implementing the strategies outlined in the books. Michael advises seeking feedback from others and existing prospects to gain valuable insights and ensure effective communication. Simplifying messaging and aligning it with the language prospects use is key to successful implementation.
Overall, this episode provides actionable advice and strategies for B2B SaaS companies to overcome common sales and marketing challenges, establish trust, and accelerate deal closure.
Key Time codes
- [00:01:13.620] Why you should listen to you Michael today? And indeed, why now?
- [00:06:05.230] Why Michael wrote the book Nobody Knows
- [00:07:00.590] – The content quality vs quantity analogy
- [00:09:08.440] – Understanding people’s interests.
- [00:10:03.360] – How long should you keep talking in a sales call?
- [00:10:48.160] – What really initiated Michael to start writing the book Why Now?
- [00:15:15.310] – How do you create doubt?
- [00:18:20.080] – What is sales?
- [00:19:24.200] – All the sales techniques to pull them very quickly to a closing.
- [00:21:26.560] – What are the biggest reasons sales get stuck?
- [00:25:13.670] – Knowing the exact words
- [00:25:40.410] – What is a good content Machine?
- [00:29:54.300] – Affiliate Marketing
- [00:34:16.280] – The five steps to the three steps.
- [00:37:53.470] – The future of AI?
[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 Hoffman.
[00:00:29.290] – Joran
Welcome back to another episode on the Grow Your B2B SaaS podcast. Our goal with this podcast is to help you grow, no matter in which stage you’re in. We all have great demos where they tell you they will get started, but they never do, or it takes ages. For you to grow your business, people need to buy your tool. But why should they do that right now? That is exactly what we’re going to talk about with Michael Humble. Michael is the author of the book called Why Now. He also wrote a book called Nobody Knows You, and he’s the founder of Chai Matic, which is a service company helping VW sales companies make creative content to generate more leads. He helps a lot of sales companies to get their sales and marketing in a good shape, which means he has been in many kitchens, as we would say in Dutch. So without further ado, welcome to the show, Michael.
[00:01:12.470] – Michael
Thank you, Joran.
[00:01:13.620] – Joran
Good. Let’s jump right in. I gave this intro. If people are not convinced yet, why should people listen to you today? And indeed, why now?
[00:01:22.110] – Michael
Why now? Because each time when I go somewhere and somebody has seen something of me on LinkedIn, and I’m very present on socials and on keynotes, routes and stages. One of the things they always ask me is, Michael, I have a sauce, I’m growing, but I need more deals. Can you train my sales and how do we close more deals? And every single time when I look into the business, like about 90 %, when I look into the business, it’s always the same thing. They either do not have enough leads to be statistically on the safe side for the closing. That whole lead gen part is where I wrote a book about nobody knows you, which is the biggest issue for any startup scale up is you got to fix that. Two, I wrote a book and then I realized two years later that it’s not because I trust you that I will buy from you today. Then I wrote a book, why now? How do you speed up the deals once they get in? How do you get them faster through the pipeline? If I can fix a bigger digital larger pipeline and I can fix the moving the deals faster, then closing for me becomes an obvious sequel to all the work you’ve done before.
[00:02:20.430] – Michael
I was running 150 salespeople in my head of global sales last employee role I did, and I was buying, training, and training, and training, and training, and it was always the same sales training. So for me, all the closing techniques I learned was actually pretty simple. It’s daring to ask the question on the right moment. And most of the time I get to a phase where the fourth or the fifth meeting or the sixth meeting, I just say, Shall we do? What’s the next step? I’ll just ask the question, Shall we work together? Most of the time, Yeah, sure. But people don’t dare to ask the question and they’ll start postponing, they’ll start sabotaging their own storyline sometimes. And you’re like, Why on earth are you doing? I give you a very good example. When you arrive somewhere, you want to paint a picture of the world that is very and very messy and very sophisticated without your solution. So you start painting this and lots of sales techniques how to do it, provocative, consultative, whatever system you want to use. And then the solution is you and it’s simple, it’s wide, it’s fine, it’s simple.
[00:03:14.710] – Michael
It’s two steps, three steps, whatever. And then shit happened because then you start explaining all the things your magical SaaS can do, all the buttons. So what you’re just doing on that moment is you’re basically making the world even more complex with your solution, and then it stops. That’s one of the big issues I see going on and on and on and on. Another thing, you’ve got to paint the picture of sophisticated complex without you, you have to make things very simple, preferably do three steps. I think if you can nail that, you’re doing a really good job. That’s always the first thing I do in any SaaS comm is show me the pitch, stop. You said the word demos in your intro. I didn’t know you wanted to go to demos, which is interesting because one of the things I teach everybody with the demos is everybody makes the same basic mistake and there are two. One is when you open your demo, you start clicking away. Those people have never seen this thing and they are like, What the hell is happening? You got to base it down. That’s number one. You got to say, like an idiot, now I’m going to do this.
[00:04:13.520] – Michael
You add structure. But the most important thing is to do the following. You have to start by selling the interface. Nobody does that. The way I do it, even if it’s a startup SaaS, whatever, I’ll show the interface and I say, Listen, even if it’s not true, listen, we’ve done a lot of research, bottom up, how this thing should look, how this interface needs to look, because it’s you or your people that need to use it every single day. There is a reason why things are left and right because it’s the most efficient way that we’ve been able to find, after all the research and all the testing, that is why you have three components left. I’ll just sell the interface. If you just do that, it’s amazing how the demo goes. Everyone is like, Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Yeah, you really thought about it. Even if it’s not true, I’ll just make up a story which makes a lot of sense. The second thing people always forget is the following. At a certain stage when you’re clicking, don’t click too much, right? 1, 2, hide a black pearl. The way I do it is to say something like, I go, I want to show you.
[00:05:14.060] – Michael
Yeah, maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe you see what I’m doing? I’m creating the mystery. Maybe I shouldn’t, but you have to do it really fluent, doesn’t the way I said I shouldn’t. Now, I’m just going to show you. Here is a screen of one of our customers used, preferably customer they know or something. I’m just going to show you one feature. This thing, click, this one thing, this one single thing, only that made them gain 10 % more revenue. See what I’m doing? I call that the black pearl. I tell them something which is a mystery, which is hidden. It’s just one feature. But I’m suggesting, I’m doing the whole suggestion that imagine you have everything, right? How much will it bring you? And if you just stick to that for demos, you will win.
[00:05:50.960] – Joran
Let’s zoom out. So we’re already in the why now, right? But you also wrote the book Nobody Knows You. I think it starts there, where if you’re a SaaS company, unknown, you need to get yourself known. How important is the problem, I guess, to fix that.
[00:06:05.230] – Michael
Nobody knows you? I realized I was helping eight years ago. I was an employee, very corporate jobs, and then I wanted to do the sabbatical startup helping startups, mainly SaaS startups. For me, it was a new world opening because I love the speed and the data and all of that. They would always hire at a certain stage a guy or girl from Google or Amazon, one of these companies. Every single time the same thing happened, this guy would walk in, pick up the phone. He was used to saying, Hi, I’m this guy from Google. He would get a meeting and I would see him fail horribly. Who are you? So for me, that was like, if we start thinking about this whole thing, then we can say that if marketing is dealing in attention, then sales must be dealing in trust. So if you really consider that as a truth, the way you approach sales will become very different. And the first step in trust building is that you got to fix the nobody knows you. Imagine that I can build trust with my prospect before I actually ever call them or meet them. I’m actually doing a way better job.
[00:07:00.590] – Michael
I talk a lot about content creation, I talk a lot about batch volume, like how do you create in one day 20 dirty pieces of content because nobody has time so that you are actually enough for 6 to 8 months because every social media algorithm needs two things, movement. We’re all like cats catching the mouse, and two, you need volume. So if you can fix the qualitative quantity, you win the game. And you’re doing that with your own podcast, by the way. So you’re chopping it into pieces. So what you’re doing is by… Because I started five years ago, also did a YouTube show called The Sales Acceleration Show, put it in the podcast, did all the stuff. And now it’s funny how only after two, three years, I get sometimes so much request, which is very good, but sometimes it’s scary because it’s Michael, it’s not scalable. Here is my advice. If I would have started, I probably would have had to do it for a company with a mix of three, four brands, three, four people. Here comes the technique. I would then layer them. The way I would do it is that one of the techniques, and this, by the way, is a hardcore, really good sales technique that depends where you actually start taking a team of people and you start coordinating and you do two things.
[00:08:07.080] – Michael
One, you divide them in layers. Meaning you, for instance, would go to the executive layer, I would go to a management layer, somebody would go to an operational layer. We start adding on LinkedIn connections. Once they accept the algorithm, we’ll make sure they see my content. Then I start posting once per week in the layers, and that’s the magic mix, about the problem to be little prospect have, not the solution. We all always talk about our product and it’s fantastic and we love our baby, but people don’t understand it. They are looking for the problem because they understand their problem. I do a non sales thing to create more trust, which is talking about the problem. I do that three, four weeks. I get massive volume and then I make the switch to sales where I then do a proactive outreach. Again, no sales because it’s easy to ignore me on social. What I’ll do is I’ll try to get them to a webinar, a road show, something physical, something something they can see me move. Again, I can increase trust. Once I’m there, I build massive digital pipelines. Once I’m there, then you have to go for the kill.
[00:09:08.440] – Michael
Now I know my second thing again. Here we go. It took me 10 minutes. One of the things we started playing with and you’re doing Corona is typical companies make meetings. The first touch point is an hour. I don’t know why, but they like to block that. In SaaS, it’s sometimes less, but I see a lot of this one hour. The big problem you have with the one hour is that you can say two, three questions and then people expect you to talk and then you’ll fill the 15 minutes. The thing is, if we know in B2B, in average that you need three, four, five meetings, your job in the first meeting is to get to the second. So if you take an hour, why on Earth should your prospect talk to you for a second time? They know everything. So what I’ve been experimenting a lot with is to reduce that touch point to 15 minutes, 18 minutes, so a weird number. And then, of course, I need to end with how to get there. And then I need to give him something interesting. And people are always interesting in insights, competition, mystery, whatever.
[00:10:03.360] – Michael
Once I get them to the second meeting, conversion explodes with 30 %, 35 %. That’s, again, one of the big mistakes I see because salespeople, I’m a sales guy, you hear me talking, I don’t stop talking, which is bad. Not for a podcast, but for sales.
[00:10:18.600] – Joran
Definitely don’t want to keep talking in a sales call. They have to do the talking. You just have to create the problem, as you mentioned. You’re also creating a mystery for the.
[00:10:27.380] – Michael
Next template. You need to protect yourself? Because you keep it short, you cannot say too much. You have to think about what you will say. That’s funny because if you implement that, the first two, three calls, I’m sitting listening, and they try to say the one hour story in 20 minutes, you’re like, no, you got to do the highlights. You’re like, remain the mystery.
[00:10:48.160] – Joran
Yeah, that’s really interesting. I think it’s a mind shift, which will take a bit, but once you get that, as you mentioned, then it’s going to be really nice. We talk now about people need to trust you, you need to get, of course, yourself out there. What really initiated you to start writing the book Why Now?
[00:11:04.020] – Michael
The Why Now came because I had so many companies that said, Okay, we get the budget production and we’re starting to do it. T hen they said, Yeah, Michael, can you drop in and come and have a look? Because we’re still having issues with moving this pipeline, and I’m actually hired by a lot of investors to help their startup scale up. I’ve been literally my fingers all over the place in the Benelux. Almost every startup scale up that that’s a bit of something in technology. Almost every single time, but literally, almost every single time, I realized that their sales pitch, even if it’s the elevator pitch or the longer version in slides or whatever they do, it sucked horrible. It’s always a very similar structure. It basically says me at the best, me, hey, we can help you with your problem. That’s the bottom line. I started getting really annoyed with it. I started saying, first thing I did is, do me the pitch. It sucks. I know you’ve got training in all these incubators, how to pitch in two minutes on a stage, and I know you’ve seen all the TEDx stuff, but a sales storyline is very different.
[00:12:06.370] – Michael
There is less show. You have to create this internal pressure because you cannot put pressure on somebody because it doesn’t work. If I tell you what to do, you’ll say, Hey, my kids do it all the time. Hey, if I can plant a seed of doubt or I can create some friction, in English this is sandpaper, it will linger. T hat’s the thing you want to do first. I was fixing all these sales, I think I made about nine 950 sales decks or something like that. T hen I thought, hang on, there is a pattern in here and the pattern has five steps. Let me quickly run you through. First one is you got to understand how the problem works. If we talk about the problem, that’s a true why now is how can we inject the seed of doubt? You actually have three main sales techniques. There are 38 in the world methodologies, but there are three main for SaaS B2B. I’m not going to go into B2C. The first one is the famous solution selling. Very quickly, or aspect understands their problem, implicitly understands the solution comes to says, That’s what I want.
[00:13:04.450] – Michael
How do you fix that? How do you create doubt? If somebody is very sure, you have to make them unsure. You have to create this doubt, this unrest. What you say is the problem that you think you have, it’s actually way bigger. See what I’m doing? It’s way bigger. It’s not your house that’s on fire, it’s going to lit the whole street and off we go. I create this moment of, hang on, and then I can inject my whatever solution I have. The second version of that is somebody comes to you and says, Something’s wrong, I don’t know what exactly, consultative selling, right? There, the problem is that if I make them unsure, like in model 1, they will run off and will never buy again. So I have to do the opposite. Those people, I have to give certainty. I have to say, look, the root cause of what you’re saying is way easier to fix than you’re thinking. Let me help you with my three to five step model. Third one is they don’t have to have a problem. Typical startup scale up, they invent something. There you have to do the provocative selling, which got famous by the famous book, what’s it called again, the Red Book, that explains the whole provocative technique.
[00:14:10.400] – Michael
That one where you have to basically take away their food. If you say to somebody somebody’s eating your food and you’re not aware of it and they will eat more in the future, everybody stops and will watch. Thing there is talk to the right decision maker, or if you talk to the wrong people, you’re dead. So if you learn how those three work, you can actually do any sales pitch. So learn the why now, which is fixing the problem, talking about it, visualizing it, to learn how attention works. So here’s something very stupid. Every single slide I see, it almost never decides where I am looking. So you’re going to show me something and I’m like, Okay, but you have to decide where I’m looking, what the conclusion is. Stupid things like, I’ll work with an arrow because we’ve been conditioned for 20, 30, 40, 40, 40, 40 years in driving a car. If I see an arrow, I have to follow it. If you just have something, blah, blah, blah, put an arrow with the conclusion, I will follow the arrow. There’s a lot of visual examples how this works. Also very good for your social media.
[00:15:15.310] – Michael
There’s a lot of technique in there. I explain stuff like depth and shape because it makes things tangible. There’s a lot of hardcore sales that I’m explaining on a design level. That’s attention. Then you need to build trust. Trust is very simple. If you say you’re good, nobody trusts you. If you would tell the world that I’m good, people will trust me more. So we need to inject social proof. Social proof is either a number, logos. It’s a newspaper. It must be right, or it’s faces. Typically startups, early startups, they don’t have trust, so use faces. And then what they do is, and here comes something that everybody does is, they have slide six or eight as slide with all the logos. Dumb that. Every time you make a claim, you add two, three logos. Just put them there. You do not have to say it, it’s present. It’s strange how these decks completely change because then suddenly you say, Yeah, we found a solution. Three logos, or a guy saying, or a girl saying something. Attention, problem, which is the why now. The trust, something called I call structure. If I say the world is complex, sophisticated, you work with me, the solution is simple.
[00:16:22.350] – Michael
I need to also tell them how simple the implementation is. I need to have one slide near the end or something to tell them that we can do this complex AI, very complex AI, or blockchain platform. We can do it in four steps, five steps, and we’ll do it in two, three weeks. The timing and the steps is relevant. It’s funny because it actually accelerates deals. It actually calms the nerves because a lot of execs will think when they watch your stuff, they’ll go, Damn, I got to ask Danny, Emilio, and Saskia, and it stops. So you got to move. I call it structure slides. There was a whole theory, psychology theory, why your model needs three or five steps because it creates more trust. Read the book to know all about that. But you got to end with the structure slide. Then the last step is what I call the action part, which is you never know if you’re too early or you’re perfect on time. Your prospect, you come from the Netherlands, I’m from Belgium. In Belgium, we, if you say us something, will never tell you anything. And it will go, Yeah, make me a quote, will basically have 35 words for no.
[00:17:22.020] – Michael
And it all sounds, Hey, interesting. See? I used to run a business in the Netherlands. It was really fun because they were literally in my face after five minutes, say, No, not going to do this. It was a very clear thing. The next step is always to do something when you’re too early, which means learn how to do it yourself or learn something. The second one is really, I’m on time. The step, this is what you can do now. Think about it, HubSpot. Every single email they send you always have those two steps. Every single email. They’ll always have, We have somebody available to fix it now. We have an expert. You can do this quiz. It’s always something like that. Then you have the name, and then below it has something like, Try it yourself, read the state of play of a market. Always, whatever you do, you tend to go there, click it. You got to get that into your model. I think the more I think about sales, the more I think about the radio commercial model, which is you listen to the radio and then out of the of nowhere, they say, you know what, we just had a call with the guys from called play and something crazy happened, man.
[00:18:20.080] – Michael
It was so well, but we don’t have time now after the commercial break. I think sales, everything that leads up to the closing should be exactly that. But then in a nice, intelligent, B2B subtle way, but that’s sales for me. It’s always this planting the seed constantly. I do it in everything. I do it on my team post, I do it on social, I do it even in every single email. I always have my name and then I have something Bety. Every month I change it like the ultimate sales trick, or that’s too cheap, but like the three top sales techniques for 2023 or AI in sales, whatever. I still have about 30 to 40 emails a day. I like emails because I can structure that. All these social DMing, I can’t structure it. I t was in about 30 to 40 emails a day and I see a click rate of 80 %. So 30 to 40 emails multiplied by 220 work days at 8 % click rate. So if I then start adding my teams, do you know how much that is? It’s insane. So I make these self contained loops from our own content.
[00:19:24.200] – Michael
But then again, nobody knows you. It’s scaling trust at scale before you meet them. Why now is once you meet them. That’s a hardcore sales book. All the sales techniques to pull them very quickly to a closing.
[00:19:37.950] – Joran
I’m definitely going to steal this one quote at the end. I’m definitely going.
[00:19:41.500] – Michael
To add it. You should. Probably the greatest podcast. Or learn all the magic of or learn all the secrets. You know what? On YouTube, I figured out if I use the word ultimate, I have double the amount of viewers. So I started all the episodes with the ultimate.
[00:19:55.270] – Joran
Nice. I am actually going to do this. With season one, we just compiled the end of the answers of 20 guests in one episode or one video, and it is the ultimate feedback for growing your B2B SaaS to 10K.
[00:20:08.780] – Michael
I’m going to end this one. It’s not you saying it, it’s them saying it. Funnily enough, it’s their credibility actually shines on your aura. It’s weird, isn’t it? When people want to start content, a lot of them, they ask me, Hey, Michael, but we are the experts. Well, one, talk about your expertise. Two, if nobody knows you, ask people that rest your audience’s nose just to start doing interviews in a very simple way. And it’s really funny how that can change a complete business.
[00:20:35.200] – Joran
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[00:21:15.460] – Joran
So you had these conversations, you worked on through the structure, but people probably still get stuck, or they got stuck before and you got them unstuck. What are the biggest reasons sales get stuck?
[00:21:26.560] – Michael
A lot of investors hire me actually when they want to do a series investment or they just invested and they’re like, Something’s wrong, we don’t know. T ypically, first thing I do is show me the pipeline. B y the way, two things, the other thing that investors always ask me, said, Michael, these people, they think they know how to forecast, but what they’re showing me is a pipeline, it is not a forecast. L et me get the record straight. A pipeline is everything that’s moving, all the deals that’s coming. Where I’m interested in that is to see quantitatively how is it growing quality wise, how is it moving, how fast is it moving. A forecast is where you say, this month I will close those five deals or this quarter. That is two completely separate things. You have these pipelines and then you classically in the middle somewhere around the offer stage in the negotiation stage and whatever system you’re using. I see a lot of deals get stuck and then every sales meeting you talk about the same for six months. There are two reasons why I think they get stuck. One is you’re using the wrong sales methodology to the wrong people.
[00:22:31.930] – Michael
That’s why I was explaining how it works. If I do a consultant, somebody that really understands their problem, I need to go solution selling. Somebody that really knows something is wrong but they don’t know why, I need to go consultative selling. T here are two opposite kids. So I do not believe in one pitch. I believe you need to have three all the time. So that’s one of the major mistakes, the pitch has been done wrong and people get scared and they back off. So that’s something easy to fix. The second one is the structure slide. I had a CEO, we’re talking about 800K MRR, and I know they had the money. I know the problem was massive, yet he liked us, and yet the guy didn’t decide. And it’s because I made life complex. I was constantly like bombarding, we can do this and that, Oh, by the way, I was thinking about… And I didn’t realize he wanted to be unburdened. So then I started injecting this one slide where in three, four steps, I explained with a time frame. In the book, I have 10 examples of that, how it should look like.
[00:23:30.560] – Michael
And it’s funny, the moment I started doing that, they calm down and it sped up. So if you can fix those two, which is easy to fix, you really see the impact straight away.
[00:23:42.120] – Joran
Nice. We’re definitely going to add links to the books in the show notes and in the show notes because I think this is definitely going to be a good one for everybody. I guess me being Dutch and me being blunt, reading a book and actually implementing something is always a bit tricky, right? What challenges will I run into when I start implementing Y now in my startup?
[00:24:02.650] – Michael
The problem I see a lot is that I give a lot of examples and people get lost and say, Yeah, but my company is very different and it’s funny for me it’s not. One of the biggest mistakes everybody has is that when you’re doing your own company and I have the same with my company, Chai Metic, you’re in the trenches, you have no overview, you get stuck. Me doing all the sales techniques and helping companies with pricing, all of that, I get stuck with my own pricing. It’s just the fact. Make sure that you ask others at a certain stage, just feedback. One of the really interesting things is to ask your existing prospects, How would you sell me? How do you explain this to others? What they say is always shocking. It’s never perfect, and you’re always very disappointed. But it’s always true, and they’re using the exact right words you need to use. Sometimes I stop doing it because it makes me… I’m like, No, I’m so much more than that. Henry, no, no, no, no, no. Okay, yeah, I’ll just say to people I’m a coach.
[00:25:07.300] – Joran
In the end, they probably make it simple where you indeed make a huge thing, and then in the end, they…
[00:25:13.670] – Michael
The right words the words they are using is what actually your future prospects are looking for. But you are overthinking this and making way too complex. Then they’d say something and say, That’s actually not bad.
[00:25:27.320] – Joran
You spoke also a little bit about content, especially regarding the earlier book Nobody Knows You, but I can imagine that a good content machine will also help you in the why now phase. Any thoughts there?
[00:25:40.410] – Michael
By the way, it’s hard to produce a lot of content. So if you can crack the nut on how to produce quantitative quality content, you win. It’s actually as simple as that. And they made some comparison. There’s some really interesting studies between HubSpot and competitors, and then they see who made the most content. And then it’s HubSpot, and that’s why in a lot of cases they’re basically winning. So quantity matters. And then people say, Yeah, but, Michael, and quality. Quality will at the end always win, but you cannot get to quality without the quantity. You got to fix stuff. So my advice is ink in batch. My advice is different. So one, look into the layers, executive management operational. Start. The first thing you do is make it layered. So you record with your webcam, whatever you do, I don’t care what you do, but it needs to be all your video. You take five videos, five topics, two minutes about executive, what is that? The future of where is it going? Management operational is, you have shit today, let me solve it now for you. Not with my product, but let me explain. Try and record that in one day and then you can worry about the distribution because distribution is a different ball game.
[00:26:51.050] – Michael
That’s where you take the real scale. I do a lot of organic work, but I think if you’re a scale up, you should spend money on ads. Of course, you need to know what will work. Well, what will work is what you’ve tested in your organic because that’s what people will click on. But you need a content machine. One, two, don’t forget to put your target persona into the titles of what you’re doing. A lot of people make too way too generic. I believe you got to go from niche to niche. I don’t need to explain all these red blue ocean strategies, but I would always try to inject to whom I’m talking to. I give you a good example. You can do interviews like you’re doing, or you can do inspiring interviews for creative entrepreneurs. Very different ball game. And if you’re looking to do the big grew marketing, these objectives, the word you put, that’s actually the key for conversion and doing that. So you basically need a content machine which is based on non sales salesy stuff because that simply generates more trust. It’s going to take you 6 to 8 weeks before people trust you.
[00:28:00.000] – Michael
T he trust in the beginning doesn’t come from the quality, the trust comes from the consistency. That’s what people make mistakes on. If I see how do I get to 26,000 connections on LinkedIn and then it’s very simple. I’m very consistent, except in summer holiday. Then I do not, you need it. But for the rest, I’m extremely consistent. They will be one post and it will always be layered. If I’m with a group, although it’s simultaneously, if I’m alone, although it’s sequentially, six weeks about the future of sales, executive style, six weeks operational stuff, short cuts. People will always keep for the short cut. All of us always are always looking for the short cut. That’s the magical marketing thing or sales team. The reason why I want sales, because I used to be hardcore sales, hating marketing. Now I sound like I’m very marketing and against it. No. For me, sales sits with the prospects. They hear the problems. Sales is very good in convincing, saying the right words. If I can take that, give that to marketing, I win. That’s why I need to push them together. And it’s not for… That’s the only reason why I want to put them together.
[00:29:12.770] – Michael
Because for me, sales is content, content is sales. What I say now, what I write to you, what I put on LinkedIn, what I put on my landing pages, what I do in my sales letters is all the same thing. That’s how I made the bridge to charismatic because people don’t get it. But CareMatic is a content agency. B2b content agency. People are like, Why are you doing that, Michael? You’re like a sales guru. No, it’s the same thing.
[00:29:38.550] – Joran
Because in the end, you need to get people to the product first before you can sell. But in the end, you need to sell them in a proper way with your marketing.
[00:29:45.270] – Michael
You need to get trust.
[00:29:46.670] – Joran
Exactly. When we talk about why now, how do you think affiliate marketing can help? Because as you were an affiliate management platform?
[00:29:54.300] – Michael
For me, affiliate marketing is a very interesting way approaching of because you can actually build larger audiences and different audiences. That’s why I think affiliate marketing is absolutely key. You need to do it. There are many versions of how to do it and figuring out where would you match and all of that. From a SaaS point of view, it lowers your cost of acquisition very quickly because investors look into cost of acquisition. Hey, the famous CAC. It’s like one of those topics that will happen. So for me, if I need to explain it, it’s one, scale into other audiences, also credibility into other audiences, which is a shortcut to trust, by the way. And two, it lowers your cost of acquisition, which, yeah, it makes absolute sense, right? But managing it, it takes a while to get used to it. And it also takes a while to get to trust the affiliates. At the beginning, you’re like, What will they do? And in most cases, I see FV it’s being much faster and better in marketing than the original vendors actually, by the way.
[00:30:51.930] – Joran
Yeah, and that’s what we see a lot as well. So if you want to learn more about that, just contact me and that’s my hook. We are going to come to the end where I like to ask these questions at the end of the interview. So when we talk about the why now specifically, what advice would you give SaaS founders who are growing to 10K monthly recurring revenue?
[00:31:09.960] – Michael
I think when you are in the beginning, early days, there is almost no other option than to go in very provocative, to go in a bit provocative. The polarizing way, because at the end of the day, you can talk to everybody in a nice way, but only a limited amount of people will actually buy from you. The famous early adopters. It’s trying to figure out who are the early adopters. The first 10, for me still, you got to buy. What that means is you’re either going to give discount on your time or on your product or features, whatever. The first 10, you got to buy. But if you give something, always ask the logo, the use case in return because that’s the ultimate trust. The use case is key. Be a bit provocative, be a bit polarizing, be a bit careful with Belgium. They don’t like that too much. You got to downplay a bit, but get the use case. Give discount whatever you do, get the use case. That is the ultimate.
[00:32:03.440] – Joran
I think that’s also the key in sales. If you give something away, either a discount or time, indeed always ask something.
[00:32:10.620] – Michael
In return. Very interesting on pricing because I get in the pricing discussions. I have some friends who own these large consultancy where they do all these pricing comparison and all of that. Every single time when I ask them, How’s the pricing going in the world? And he’s like, Every single time, we realize that people in average ask 35 % less than they should. So their 10K MRR startup friends immediately put two, three products, even if they do not exist, just double, triple the pricing from a sales point of view. It’s just a way better position to discuss because that’s the next thing I is putting the pricing up.
[00:32:44.570] – Joran
Yeah, and I would definitely then recommend people to listen to the season one episode with Patrick Campbell, where we talked about profit. Well, he definitely had touched this as well. When we are past the 10K monthly recurring revenue and we’re growing towards 10 million ARR, what advice would you give SaaS founders here?
[00:33:01.710] – Michael
There, we have to really start digging into these sales decks. That’s the first thing. You got to really start digging into the sales decks, the sales storyline. You have to really optimize that. And then you need to have a massive content machine where you actually start drip feeding with valuable content. You basically want to build this massive pipeline of trust and then you can actually start controlling your flow. A lot of SaaS, the dream is always inbound and I understand from all the reasons why. But the problem I see with these larger companies, the 10 millions, is they’ve optimized the perfection of this inbound, that if things go wrong and they will go wrong always is that they forgot the way to control their own destiny with their outbound. One of the things I always take back is we got to find ways to do some outbound into markets we don’t know yet because you need to be sharp on that level. Because if shit hits the fan, you can scale that up. It’s always the same. It’s like expanding to another country, it’s expanding with a new product, your region. It’s for me, the trickiest fix ing the Nobody Knows It with the content approach and then accelerating by getting the why now techniques in there from the storyline, the internal hunger and the structure and all of those techniques, which would work really well on landing pages, by the way.
[00:34:16.280] – Michael
The structure slides, you can just put it on your landing page. Everybody will get it. The five steps to the three steps to whatever.
[00:34:22.590] – Joran
Nice. Where can people find them? They’re in the book. Do you also have them on your.
[00:34:26.210] – Michael
Site somewhere? Yeah. E ither, I have a YouTube channel, which is my name, Michael Humble at the way you can find everything. Or I have my website, MichaelHumble. Com, where you can download all the stuff and all the videos and do share a lot. The whole book is actually on YouTube chopped into little videos because I believe this model. There’s a lot of stuff you can find, you can download. Follow me on LinkedIn. Linkedin is I’m just trying to give as much value as possible. Then sometimes stuff happens, people say to me, Hey, Michael, why don’t you organize a LinkedIn event? I say, You know what? We’re going to run out the biggest LinkedIn event in Belgium. In three weeks, we sold out 250 seats. I’m actually one of the best examples of personal brand content wise that works. The problem we were discussing before we actually pressed the record button is that I’m not scalable, which is a very nice vanity metric because people recognize you and it’s fun. But from a company point of view, I’m struggling sometimes because they want me. What I’m doing now with the company is I’ll keep the sales brand of Michael with the books and the keynotes, but I’m actually going to…
[00:35:28.950] – Michael
The way Kinematic will operate is you won’t see me too much there. It’s all my teams, but in a layered models, we’ll start creating. We are already doing this content. So it’s not Michael. It shouldn’t be Michael all the time. A bit of humbleness is good, not too much.
[00:35:44.820] – Joran
Now, nice. I think that’s going to be one of my issues later on, hopefully when we go to company that I need to put myself.
[00:35:50.320] – Michael
Out there. But what you can do, because we also do a lot of podcast for others, is you can actually add somebody sometimes next to you, and then you go off on holiday, you let them run a bit, and you can vary, but you’re a fixed person, but sometimes people… And it’s okay. It’s okay.
[00:36:03.790] – Joran
Yeah, in the end, the questions are probably going to be the same. So the answers are going to be good anyways.
[00:36:08.690] – Michael
It’s fun when you do it to an interview. Completely different dynamic. Nice.
[00:36:15.480] – Joran
Final question, what would you wish you’d known 10 years ago? This can be really anything.
[00:36:21.220] – Michael
I wish somebody would have told me this 20 years ago that sales is actually extremely simple. You only have three options. You’re either too early, you’re either perfect on time or you’re too late. Let’s ignore the too late. I think most prospects you’ll talk to, you are too early in the process. But yet all the sales gurus and information and trade training. I used to buy all these trainings. They’re always geared around the what do you say when you’re perfect on time? Now, here is an answer for that. Statistically, if you go out into the world with a good or bad product, a lot of startups with bad products, what we see is that every cold outreach is always around 2 % closing ratio. Cold email, cold calling, whatever you do, cold DMing. So that means that if you go out into the world shouting about your products, you will find 2 % customers. But for me, that is way too low. So if I move my content, my sales, my everything I do to the trust face, to the too early, I actually have a very different thing because one, I can scale it digitally like crazy.
[00:37:32.090] – Michael
I’m in the trust zone too. I’m actually always before any competition because the moment the house starts getting smoked or something’s happening, I am the expert, I am the go to person, I control the flow. I think that’s the big game changer for the next two, three years. By then, AI will have taken us all and will have killed us all probably.
[00:37:53.470] – Joran
Who knows what’s going to happen with AI? Happy I didn’t ask the question regarding that.
[00:37:58.640] – Michael
It’s again a trust thing. You have to start thinking about AI. I actually, one little small thing, I see a lot of chat chit post these days, I smell them from a mile away. If it’s friends, I tell them, said, listen, nobody’s that perfect. Just make it a bit imperfect. I’m very curious to see what’s going to happen there. But for me, it’s a speed game changer. It’s just a speed game changer. The rest, I’m not there yet. It’s going to take a while to see what that’s going to do.
[00:38:26.760] – Joran
Nice. You already mentioned it. If people want to get contact with you is LinkedIn. You have a YouTube channel, of course, you have the books, you have the Michael Humble website. What would be the best way? Email, you said?
[00:38:38.090] – Michael
I’m an emailer. I love email or LinkedIn, Connect and then send the chat or something. It’s Michael@chamatic. Com. I like to work really early in the morning for two, three hours, and then there is nobody bothering me and I’m just answering stuff. I have a feeling of control, which I don’t have with all the rest. But I stopped giving out my phone number because I used to get 60, 70 phone calls a day. It was nuts. I said no more more of that. I only pick up for my team and my wife and the kids and some friends and the rest, you mail me.
[00:39:06.020] – Joran
I already stopped doing that a long time ago. Here in the Netherlands, everybody bugs you when you fill out your phone number at the Chamber of Commerce.
[00:39:13.060] – Michael
[00:39:13.940] – Joran
Thank you very much for coming on to the show. Thanks, Michael.
[00:39:17.430] – Michael
Thank you. Catch you later.
[00:39:20.120] – Joran
You’ve been listening to Growing a B2B SaaS. Yooran 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 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.getreditus. Com. See you next time on Growing a B2B Sad. You.