$10,000,000 ARR Bootstrapped in 2,5 years - Guillaume of Lemlist - 第4期

时间:2021-11-07来源:SaaS Pirates

Guillaume是Lemlist的创始人,在这一集中,他将分享他和两位联合创始人如何在短短两年半时间里将Lemlist发展到1000万美元的ARR的故事。

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hey hey everybody so my guest today is

guillaume he's the founder of lemlist

and in this episode he'll be sharing the

story of how he and two co-founders grew

lamb list into 10 million are in just

two and a half years

so yum are you ready to take us to the talk

i'm ready mike all right so first off

kay tell us a bit more about alarm list

how would you describe it yes so

Lemlist is a sales automation platform

essentially it allows b2b companies to

get in touch with their prospects in

order to get more sales so we we

launched lemnis back in 2018

and we're now just crossed 10 million in

annual recurring revenue with users in

more than 80 countries

and we did that with zero dollar in

external funding

wow great numbers awesome we can

definitely learn from this

so what's the exact business model of

lemlist how you're making money it's a

sass where we have a monthly

subscription fee where people basically

like uh pay every single month or every

year if they want to take a nano plan

and it's pretty standard so we have like

a two weeks free trial whenever you

start and then after that people

can purchase if they're happy with the

result they get

so back to the early days how did you

exactly start the business take us back

from the idea to launch

so back in the days i actually had a

lead generation agency so i was helping

a lot of customers acquire their own

customers through cold email

so doing sales prospecting for them and

booking meetings uh for them and i was

using pretty much all the tools on the

market and what i realized is that most

tools out there were

selling you know this unique value

proposition of being you know like

putting your sales team on autopilot

and the truth is working from the

trenches i realized that

it's not like this if you really want to

do sales prospecting the right way you

need to spend time personalizing you

need to spend time researching the

person you're going to reach out to

because in the end sales is all about

relationships so i started to think okay

how exactly can we build the software

that would push the personalization and

allow people to build this relationship

in a much better way and with my two

co-founders janna and francois we we

started to work on this and the i would

say the biggest differentiator at first

was around

this area of personalization meaning

that the entire ux was meant for people

to be able to more personalize and add

things like videos or personalized

images which no one was doing at the

time

amazing founding story i especially love

your quote seals is about relationships

because that's so true right

so

what were some of the early struggles in

getting to a product market fit

i think you know like whenever you are

in a very competitive market the the

good thing is that the product market

fit is there because you know that you

have competitors and you know that

they're already making a lot of money so

for us product market fit we knew it was

there but in our case what was

difficult is like to establish ourselves

as a social leader on the market

so i think the the first step and what

worked well because we didn't have a lot

of money as we started the company with

only a thousand dollar

is that we ate our own dog food so i

knew how to do sales prospecting because

that was what i was doing with my agency

before so i decided to use our own tool

do sales prospecting and i would do

campaigns and reach out to people in two

different ways the first way was the

networking approach where it's basically

me reaching out to our potential

audience and targets so for example head

of growth head of sales of startups and

smbs

and i would reach out to them saying hey

you know like i built my agency

generated millions of dollars in revenue

for people now i'm building a sas

product and i'm trying to get in touch

with a lot of head of growth and end of

sales to basically like exchange about

tips regarding like uh user acquisition

i'd love to have 15 minutes of your time

so we or 30 minutes so we can basically

like uh exchange best practice

during these calls i would do two things

first is try to bring as much value as

possible by you know like sharing the

knowledge that i had with my agency and

at the same time i would see whether or

not the person is a fit to become a

lab-less customers if they would be a

fit then i would offer them like a demo

and usually it would close and if they

are not a fit because for example they

could be using one of our competitors i

would just ask them what are you

struggling with what are the things you

know like

um you would like to improve and for

example it could be like yeah my

open rate is too low or my reply rate is

too low or i struggle with copywriting

etc etc

and based on their answer it would give

me a lot of ideas to actually create

content around their specific needs

so what i would do is write all these

articles and when the article would be

written i would just send it back to

them and say hey you remember whenever

you were telling me about like these

struggles i actually discussed with

another like group of 10 people to

understand what and how they've been

solving these issues i put everything in

an article so i hope it will be

valuable to you and with having this two

approach i would basically be able to

create this strong relationship with

people and start building a community

around our products

wow that's awesome i think a lot of

listeners will appreciate these lessons

what is the one thing that you would say

has brought you the most success and

either getting more customers or more

revenue from your customers i feel like

it's really a long-term game and for us

it was really linked to the community um

so the truth is like

we started a community because i was the

only one doing customer support and at

some point because people were asking me

the same questions i was thinking okay

there there's gotta be a better way so i

asked people if they wanted to join a

facebook group where i could answer

everything and at first i was basically

daily in a facebook group answering all

questions and then i realized that some

people on top of asking questions

regarding to the product they were also

asking questions regarding how to do

sales prospecting so what i would do is

document everything and every single

week i would share

the cold email and sales prospecting

templates that i would use with the

exact you know like results that i would

get in order for people to understand

how they can reproduce this exact

campaign and potentially get the same

results so at that time you have to

picture that

no one would ever share their campaigns

because everyone believed that it was

kind of their secret sauce and within

the the sale space there is a lot of

competition so people really don't want

to share their cold email templates um

so for for that time it was very very

innovative and by being super

transparent after about six months i

started to see people helping each other

out i started people sharing you know

like their their results and it's

basically it was a great driver

for organic growth because we had a lot

of word of mouth we had people

recommending the software to others

recommending to join the community and

because we were like bringing so much

value in that community we were building

trust with people and once you have

their trust it's much easier for them to

purchase your product and then become

customer yeah perfect example of what a

community can do well done

what is your most important acquisition

channel to get new customers on board

right now

so right now it's kind of like splitted

into i would say like um

three main channels so we have obviously

like word of mouth that is big we also

do a lot of outbound so we keep using

like our own tool to generate like

revenue

and on top of it i think we we have

managed to build a lot of personal

brands within the company

so at first i was the only one

writing and giving value and providing

value on linkedin

but as we scale i was wondering okay you

know like you often see the ceo posting

and sometimes getting traction but can

all your employees actually build their

personal brand and help the company grow

and that was the hypothesis we had at

the time so i really helped um each of

the head off we hired to build their own

personal brand and as we grew the entire

company started to do it to do this

and it was actually a huge driver of

growth because

by doing this the outbound campaign that

we did we're actually

giving much better results so just to

give you like the the kind of the

process

what we usually do now

is that we would add on linkedin

the specific person that we believe that

can be potential customers

once they accept our invitation we don't

do anything for three weeks because we

know that because we're gonna produce

really good content they're gonna see it

and when they see it they start to get

to know a bit more about us and three

weeks after this invite is sent we start

sending a cold email sequence

first an email

then a follow-up email then after that a

message on linkedin and then after that

another email and we end with

another linkedin message and finally a

call if people didn't reply but the

truth is every time we reach out that

way we see people that actually know

about us and because you know that

they've been watching the linkedin

the linkedin post that we made so to

scale this process internally what we

decided to do is that we have what we

call linkedin buddies so we put people

in pairs in the company so they can each

build their personal brand so we're

gonna have for example one people in

marketing working with someone in sales

and they're gonna really like

work together to write the best post

possible to bring the most value so

bringing value in our case means giving

tips around for example sales

prospecting so it could be like uh you

could write a post saying like how to

write a really good subject line and

then explain you know like the different

things you can do like

either make it very casual as if you

were talking to a friend so something

like coffee lunch or things like that

make it about a partnership so it's

intriguing and you're triggering

curiosity so for example partnership

between company name and your name of

your company or make it extremely

specific so let's say that you've seen

that the person went to an online event

as you did

put it directly in the subject line so

the person understand the specificity of

it

so by doing these things you provide a

lot of value to your audience and they

see you and they perceive you as a sock

leader and we really try to

level this up for the entire company and

scale it in order to kind of generate

this

pure value which ultimately allow us to

really increase

the number of leads we get either via

inbound or inbound on linkedin

or the

the actual like reply rate we get from

our unbound campaigns well i have to say

again a lot of value here awesome

framework by the way

now

you've already shared some numbers when

we started this interview but at what

stage is slumless right now in terms of

revenue yes so

we just crossed um 10 million in annual

recurring revenue

um so it's it's been three and a half

years which has been like pretty pretty

intense

and and the goal is for us to to reach

like 100 million in the in the next

three years

so it's a long road ahead but it's

exciting amazing growth well done

so

being one of the founders what is your

most valuable lesson up to this point

that's uh one lesson is

tough to highlight

but

i think the most important one is uh

is really around like relationships

because i think like no matter what you

do in business whether it's

with your customers or whether it's with

your team what matters the most in the

end is the relationships you build

so typically

with my co-founders

we we have like my co-founders are a bit

older like they they've been handling

the tech side for the the start and

because we were both really like

specifically working on a part of the

business them on the product and me

really on the business side of things we

kind of like as we grew stop

communicating because of the hyper

growth and we're like too focused on

actually like the execution how to make

things like the best possible that we

kind of grew separately and we realized

a bit later as we were scaling the team

that the fact that we had a different

vision of where we wanted to go was an

issue because we wouldn't spend time

together enough to discuss

to communicate so we decided to actually

like uh take a coach and start you know

working the three of us on building the

vision building the mission etc etc

talking also about our frustration

because you know like sometimes you say

things that people can misinterpret and

vice versa and really like for me the

biggest lesson was

make sure to really communicate as much

as possible with your team and with your

co-founders because in the end once the

funding team is super aligned the rest

is very smooth

but if you know like there are

disagreements within the team it's often

because something is not clear

love it great gum

well thanks for sharing the story behind

lemlist now let's wrap it up with a

lightning round of six questions to

inspire others

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now let's go back to the interview

if you would start a sas today what

would be the first action to take

the first action for me is build your

audience document everything

and show your true personality because

in the end

even though a sas is a technical product

people buy from people

and the truth is that everyone can copy

your features but no one can copy who

you are your brand and your story that's

so true

what is some of your favorite software

that you can leave it out in running

daily operations of lem list

i would say like notion is uh is

something that i use a lot

so i use it like to build our entire

processes in marketing sales etc our dev

team use it also like for product

development

uh we use slack a lot

and uh the last tool that we really love

it's called lamverse it's something we

developed which is basically a virtual

office where because the team is also

like very remote and it's a virtual

office where we can just walk and see

each other and the camera pops in and we

can just have a chat which is quite cool

well i have to say that does sound very

cool

what about your phone what's your

favorite app on your phone

i would say like a spotify

i listen to uh to a lot of music or

podcasts what is your favorite book that

you would recommend to people that are

starting in sas

if people are starting in sas i would

recommend to read

i really enjoyed lost and thunder from

ren fishkin i think it's a i think it's

nice to see that what matters the most

is a journey you will get ups and downs

but this is really in the moments where

you are

at the lowest that you can get back to

it and really like uh grow and and do

amazing things but what matters the most

is a journey and this book is all about

that yeah great book

what sas brand do you admire the most

that's

that's quite difficult i i think that uh

there is a lot of work to do in the in

the subspace especially when it comes

when it comes to branding i think that

slack did the overall a pretty good job

um in in what they do i also like

the one that i really like though it's

uh i would say webflow just because they

have like this uh funny tone and i think

that they understand that b2b doesn't

have to stand for boring too boring and

that you can do things a bit differently

so webflow is doing a good job with that

and what is your favorite sas person to

follow or read um

to be honest i really like

even though i'm not a fan of their

software

but i really like what uh

russell branson did i think it's super

impressive how we built a community we

can like him or not and

agree with what he's doing etc or not

it's for me it's not too much a question

but the the process of how we built his

software with no funding to more than

130 million in revenue and creating this

huge community in such a little time is

really impressive yeah agree it's all

about the value he's providing right

absolutely yeah

well greg gum thanks for your time today

and sharing your story with us to

conclude this interview where can we

learn more about you and lemlist

people can follow me on linkedin i also

answer like every single message i

receive so if you have any question

always happy to

to answer and thanks a lot for having me

on the podcast

[Music]

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