Maintaining almost 100% growth over 6 years? Growing 4 times faster than the market? Overtaking competition in terms of technological solutions and features? Building almost organically a company valued almost 100 mln Euro in 5 years? Entering the exclusive SaaS club with 10 mln Euro ARR? We are pleased to share the fundamental ideas behind managing and growing the company prepared by our Founder and CEO Greg Blazewicz.
Surrounded by corpoworld
Krakow is recognized by many as one of the most beautiful world’s cities. But it’s also a great university centre with over 100 000 students and with best European Technology Universities. The city was also discovered by most multinational companies like IBM, Google and many others who in shared services centres employ over 70 000 talented people. In this context the fast growing startup scene with around 1000 people employed in TOP 10 largest startups seems very tiny. SALESmanago Marketing Automation founded in 2012 with 200 people onboard is one of them.
SALESmanago is a cloud AI & Machine Learning powered marketing automation platform used by over 10 000 companies in 40 countries including Lacoste, Yves Rocher, Starbucks and huge number of Medium Size Businesses. SALESmanago customers build complete behavioural and transactional profiles of over 500 million customers and use this data to personalize marketing in all channels including email marketing, dynamic website content, mobile, social media, ad networks and direct sales. Company offices are also located in main European cities but the real strength of the business comes from great reselling partners network made from over 1000 digital & marketing agencies worldwide.
In recent, 2018 Financial Times Fast 1000, SALESmanago was ranked #26 fastest growing company in Europe and fastest growing European martech platform. So let’s do the job now. Greg Blazewicz is on the floor 🙂
Organic growth over search for VC
In regular startup founder teams spend 5% for business development, 65% on search of external financing (hackathons, VC galas, pitching etc) and 30% on product development. In SALESmanago case the share was: 60% business development, 40% product development and 0% search for VC. The first VC appeared in 4th year of company activity when we raised 5 mln Euro from Vienna based 3TS Capital Partners.
Our company has always been profitable and (except for one year when we the growth has been financed from 3TS) the growth was financed from own generated cash. Additional advantages? Expect very nice cash outs for founders from funds that actually want to buy shares from you.
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Business Development is the Holy Grail
Yes, we would not exist today without top class IT – both programmers and sys admins. But the ability to sell effectively makes us absolutely different from most of SaaS companies in Europe. Till today the share of sales people within total employed is almost 50%.
We basically love to sell, but we love it because we redefined the sales process and we made it an art of speaking with potential customers as real, equal partners. To achieve that we have adapted the main ideas of Sandler’s method to our context and we treat this as our absolutely unique capability. Our reselling partner’s network in most countries on the other hand helps us to overcome the fragmented (language and culture) European market.
Execution is Gold
It is simple. We have always delivered. Delivered what we decided to our Customers, Investors, People employed. We have no acceptance for not Delivering what was decided. This creates not just results but especially a very good internal culture that facilitates trust and creates atmosphere that everyone (from board do interns) is treating the job EXTREMELY SERIOUSLY.
Learn how Customer Value Marketing may increase your sales
Change is in the Air
You cannot grow dynamically year by year by simply multiplying the stuff you did in the previous time period. If you have 20 sales people you will not make 100% growth in new MRR by raising the number of sales guys to 40. The better odds are that you will achieve this growth by increasing the number of people to 30 and change at the same time the leads to you sell, the definition of sales opportunity, or you will mess around the implementation model.
MVPs are created everyday
The first version of SALESmanago platform was launched in just 3 months from the idea to build it. We left the R&D to our customers as we have been always adding to the platform the stuff THEY wanted and not what WE would expect they need.
This made the software absolutely unique. We stick to the idea of MVP till today by having simple versions of the features implemented and then they are developed to real needs of the customers. This is why we are always first before the competition with any new features.
Youth is better than experienced
Average age at SALESmanago is 26. It’s a great pleasure and challenge at the same time to work with such people. You need a lot of patience when they learn but you need to have a great training process to make them work effectively very fast. You will immediately then see their gratefulness expressed in turbo motivation and huge amount of personal engagement in building the company. So they will probably know less, but you will never have philosophical discussions whether to do something or not. (that of course does not mean we do not have experienced people – we do, but their DNA is different from you may know from your experience)
No Human Resources – Happy Hours and Free beers instead
“Hire Fast and Fire Fast”, “Keep the bad apples away” are the common slogans of startups, but what we have learned is that people in the best and most dynamic teams simply love to socialize with each other, they truly like to spend time with each other. And such teams are developed easily if you will not delegate the responsibility of keeping the right quality of people to HR department but you will let your Directors, Team Leaders do it.
We support this by letting people sit together on Fridays Happy Hours and by assigning to teams special integration budgets which they use by going month to month for a dinner outside of workplace.
Learn how Yves Rocher increased email efficiency by 1200% with SALESmanago
Challenges and overcoming them with industry experts
Reaching 200 people and 10 mln Revenue for a startup is always a big milestone and to maintain the growth we feel we need to change many things we have been doing so far both on the level of sales, IT and customer service. Obviously we do not have that much time to make the right decisions to optimize the company by simply doing constant experimentation and hypotheses testing (which we have been always doing) but we have learned that we may build exponentially our knowledge base by reaching out to people that at some stage of their life have been operationally involved in building similar companies. Believe or not there are many of them out there on LinkedIn and they are very open to share their experiences with you
More and more Enterprise customers
Another fact that may seem obvious for many of you but to some is not. Small customer means higher churn, less LTV, more customer service cost. Large customer means more money, more margin. The cost of sales is more or less the same in both groups. That’s why most SaaS companies focus on large customers. We have not been like that. We are in the constant transformation from small to large customer and we are starting to be very good at that. In 2018, over 200 large Enterprises worldwide implemented SALESmanago i.a. Aegon, DeLonghi, Braun, and Cinépolis. SALESmanago Marketing Automation platform becomes the first choice for big companies looking for an all-in-one solution to engage their customers.
It is difficult to define a single reason for Enterprise customers choosing SALESmanago, but most probably it will be a mix of:
- Full platform customization to customer needs
- State of the art technology powered by AI
- 100% fully refundable proof of concept
- Consultants, data scientists and growth hackers
- Great UX and ease of use of the platform
FULL PLATFORM CUSTOMIZATION TO CUSTOMER NEEDS
All of Enterprise customers have a couple things in common. Large pools of unstructured data, complex, very specific business processes and huge expert knowledge that has been gathered over the years of business activity. To harness this potential we are implementing dedicated solutions and adapting the platform to most sophisticated customer needs and integrate with any solutions you already use in the software infrastructure at your company.
STATE OF THE ART TECHNOLOGY POWERED BY AI
Marketing technology market is very dynamic with new solutions and opportunities appearing every day. We keep our platform always equipped to enable them use marketing innovations as first on the market and this is how they are outpacing their competition. Additionally, our key Enterprise customers have direct influence on SALESmanago product roadmap. All our marketing features are powered by Copernicus, our home grown, AI engine that redefines the way SALESmanago customers engage their own end customers.
100% FULLY REFUNDABLE PROOF OF CONCEPT
We understand the risk factor in implementing any type of software. This is why 90% of Enterprise deals are preceded by solid Proof of Concept, which lasts around 2-3 months, during which we are delivering KPIs defined by the potential customer and building business cases that will bring the desired ROI. Our best consultants and growth hackers are involved in this process to make sure everything works fine before entering into a long term obligation.
CONSULTANTS, DATA SCIENTISTS AND GROWTH HACKERS
7 years of experience of working with world’s top brands have equipped us with deep understanding of marketing technology market as well as business processes that appear in various industries. We use this unique experience and expertise to build unique marketing automation projects with our customers.
GREAT UX AND EASE OF USE OF THE PLATFORM
Enterprise software solutions tend to be very demanding in terms of IT staff and technical positions. SALESmanago front-end is build out of next generation drag & drop wizards that make it very easy to set up very advanced marketing & sales processes directly by marketing teams.
FLEXIBLE IMPLEMENTATION MODELS
SALESmanago is available not only in pure SaaS model. Large companies are very often choosing private cloud servers or on premises installations to assure highest levels of data security and corporate compliance as well as to achieve non-standard customization options.
If you are interested in giving a try please apply for a Free Proof of Concept. CLICK HERE
If you are still not convinced let’s have a look at names of a couple of companies that signed with SALESmanago recently:
Cinépolis (Mexico) – Cinépolis is the biggest cineplex chain in Mexico with 427 theaters in 97 cities. It is also the largest chain in Latin America and the fourth largest in the world. In addition to traditional screenings, Cinépolis also displays movies in 3D, 2DX and IMAX technologies.
DeLonghi Group (Italy) An Italian company associated with every coffee maniac with the best quality coffee machines. DeLonghi offers innovative and technologically advanced household equipment. The company consists of 4 well-known brands: DeLonghi, Kenwood, Braun, and Ariete.
Aegon (Hungary) Multinational life insurance, pensions and asset management company headquartered in Budapest, Hungary.
Vivacom (Bulgaria) – The first telecommunications company in Bulgaria, is currently a leader in providing advanced telecommunications solutions for individual and business customers – mobile and fixed-line telephony services, internet, digital HD television of the latest generation.
Asana Young Up (Hong Kong) – A cosmetics brand from Hong Kong, inspired by traditional Korean care, whose mission is to protect the skin against aging. Slimming products and dietary supplements are also available on sale.
Oponeo (Poland) – Polish online store selling automotive products, mainly tires and rims, through direct distribution channels – internet, call center. Local Central European champion.
Eddy home and Electronics (Saudi Arabia) – Shop with interior design, home appliances and electronics at the best quality and attractive prices.
Fabricas de Calzado Andrea S.A. (Mexico) – Andrea is a clothing store offering a wide range of products for adults, youth and children. They are selling the products in the USA and Mexico.
Romania Hypermarche S.A./ cora.ro (Romania) – A retail group of hypermarkets located in France and elsewhere in Europe. Cora was founded in 1974 by the supermarket holding Louis Delhaize Group after taking over three Carrefour hypermarkets located in Belgium.
DSM BEAUTY, S.L. (Spain) – A leading beauty shop in Spain. Maquillalia.com was created in 2009 to fill a market niche: quality cosmetics at good prices. In Maquillalia you can find over 15,000 products available to purchase in an easy and intuitive platform.
Coral Travel (Russia) A travel agency that will take you to some amazing destinations such as Abu Dhabi, Sri Lanka Thailand and many more.
GoWork.pl (Poland) – One of the largest recruitment and training companies in Poland. This is a work service with over 90,000 job offers and opinion-forming portal with a database of over 2.5 million entries related to employers.
Green Ice (Spain) – Green Ice offers efficient, eco-friendly LED lighting technologies at prices that are right for every pocket.
SPOT-A-SHOP (Finland) – A platform that collects the best online sale offers from many stores in one place. Thanks to this company from Finland, you will save money and hunt for great deals.
Citroen (Slovenia) – Citroën cars and vans that meet the requirements of even the most demanding users
Peugeot (Slovenia) – A car dealer of a well-known and proven French brand in Slovenia.
O bag (Poland) – A remarkable design, juicy colors, and innovative materials are the highlights of this brand. The company sells not only the famous customizable O bags but also clocks, sunglasses, bracelets, and shoes.