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Cognism at SaaStr Europa 2019 - LIVE BLOG - DAY ONE

June 12, 2019

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Finally, Tricia dispels some 5 myths about SaaS marketing:

  1. All we need is more leads
  2. An innovative product will sell itself
  3. We have no content to promote
  4. I don’t need to pay to promote our content
  5. We don’t need a marketer - we have engineers who can do it

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We are moving on now to talk about how to hire your first marketer.

You want someone who understands strategy, but will roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. They will need some experience in demand generation, need to be able to speak to developers, and take an analytical approach to marketing.

Now onto the marketing stack you need. Tricia has helpfully captured how this could look across the marketing funnel - check this out below.

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Another tactic for creating content on a small budget is to create a short survey.

Once created, you can send it to your opt-in list. Analyse the data, then write and design a report from it.

You don't need to do a big, expensive survey for the data to be interesting.


Now, it’s time to think abut how you nurture the leads you generate. You need to be hammering the value message across the whole buying process, including after you have successfully sold to your prospect.

One of the easiest ways to do this is through content.

Finding it hard to create new content? Think about ways of repackaging existing content. Look at your best blogs, best emails, best webinars and work out how you can re-package them into a new content format.

You can then build a content franchise around one golden ticket asset. A top tip here is that your content must answer the one question your customers and prospects care most about.


Tricia explains how they have successfully optimised their engine at Twilio. They have invested in Facebook, AdWords, and out of home advertising.

Importantly, they looked at the onboarding process of their customer base as well, and measured and compiled all the data around this user experience. They used this to build a new and improved product which unlocked huge growth potential.

Top tip - you need to look at your site speed if you want to rank in Google! You can get heavily penalised if your site is slow.

The key takeaway here is ongoing optimisation.


Tricia suggests that you also need to look at the onboarding milestones your successful customers are having. This is important, because your product is very much a part of the marketing funnel.

You need to understand where you are losing people in the process. Consider the following:

  • What the CS and onboarding team are telling you
  • What your customers like and dislike about the UX of your product

Now it's time to look at adding more fuel to the engine. This can be done through paid, or through using cheap/free channels. Your advertising should be multi-channel and multi-touch.

Don't discount Facebook in your adverting mix. On the cheap/free side, remember that this is all about creating a buzz and this should be a fully integrated approach.

Top tip - don't underestimate the importance of employee advocacy. Are all your employees sharing your content and your marketing? If not, then you are leaving money on the table.


Often, when the problem is not getting enough leads, the solution is, you need to fix the engine.

Be careful what you optimise for - a part of this is being careful with the KPIs you set for your marketing team. More MQLs doesn't necessarily equal more paying customers.

Start by looking at where you have been successful so far.

What do your customers look like now? What triggers led them to buy? Was it a funding round? Was it a job hire? Use this intelligence and apply it to your marketing.

1:50pm - The insider’s guide to getting more leads - this quarter

Featuring Tricia Miller, SR. Director, EMEA Marketing at Twilio.

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Tricia opens her talk by acknowledging that we are all here to learn how to scale. A big part of that must be based around how you generate leads. It's not just about getting leads, it's about what you do with them once you’ve got them. This all starts before you go out and get the leads. It creates more work, but the payoff is massive.

For the last 20 years in marketing, Tricia has been asking the question: how do I get more leads?


The key takeaway here is to be curious. Part of being a salesperson is being a detective. Sales is a circular process, and you can leverage this to your advantage. You just need to find the right source for this; the value chain is a great starting point.


We have now moved onto VCS: Value Chain Selling.

This is the set of activities that a firm operating in a specific industry must perform in order to deliver a valuable product or service to the market.

Every organisation that your company buys, partners with, outsources to, and sells to - this is your gold mine.

So why does VCS work?

  1. Companies work with other companies of a similar size
  2. Companies work with other companies that share similar market demographics. For example - if you operate regionally, you will operate with other companies in the value chain which are also regional
  3. Your prospect intimately maintains close relationships with their partners in their value chain - this is the customer brand that you are leveraging

Over time - some great things will happen. You will start to have conversations, leveraging the brand of your customer. You will start to uncover this value chain, which then leads you to a whole new value chain. The script starts to write itself! You will understand how it all connects and how to leverage each of these relationships and conversations.

How does it look in practice?

Lara is talking through an example, using an advertising agency.

You land your advertising agency and they already have relationships with a set of companies that they work with on a daily basis. This is their value chain. Once you uncover this value chain, you can just wash and repeat.

It's a different approach to pipeline building, it's all about leveraging relationships, your customer brands and utilising them to your advantage.

It's in stark contrast to buying lists and prospecting in a more traditional way. The opportunity is very real when you leverage the value chain selling approach.

It cuts out so much of the noise and decreases the need for as many touches before a prospect is willing to engage with you.


Up next: Charles looks at the 2 pipeline building tracks you should follow.

  1. Competitive industry landscape
  2. Customer value chain

The customer value chain is about how you can manufacture more of the opportunistic chances that come about from your customers. How can you do this strategically?

Charles is now touching on the danger of using the sales tactic of targeting your customers’ direct competitors. He is using the example of their Red Bull customer win and how and why they didn't succeed in targeting Monster straight after this win.

Monster took offence at being grouped in the same bracket as Red Bull - they are in fact actively differentiating themselves from their top competitor. So, this is not always a winning tactic!

But where you can use your customer competitors to build pipeline is by looking at the competitors of your customers who are much earlier on in their journey. These are the companies who would look to Red Bull as an example to follow, as opposed to a competitor they need to differentiate against.

The brand will resonate across the industry landscape, but only with those companies that are in the lower tiers of the industry and those emerging companies that are doing some new, innovative things

So you need to be intelligent about how you leverage big customer wins.

Don't go straight to targeting the direct, top tier competitors.


Lara explains that they are starting this session by making 2 important assumptions:

  1. That you have landed some customers
  2. That they fit what you at this time think is your perfect customer profile

This sets you up with 2 types of brand to build on:

  1. Customer Brand
  2. Sales Representative Brand. This type of brand is key here. All the conversations your sales reps have will form the basis of your brand

1pm - How to build pipeline with no brand and sometimes no market

Charles Lawson - General Manger of EMEA Egnyte is speaking with Lara Badanes, the Sales Development Manager at Egnyte. Egnyte is a SaaS-based content platform for businesses.

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Moving onto live questions from the audience:

Do you have any golden rules for hiring someone vs buying a platform for doing the same function?

Guillaume says he tries to always hire people who can improve existing products - for instance, engineers.

Pauline adds that what she looks for in her hires is someone who can look at the tech stack and work out how to connect it together. You don't want to have a tech stack filled with lots of stand-alone products that don't link up and don't talk to each other.

What are your favourite tools?

The panel is unanimous in their favourite tool being Zapier.

Guillaume has a caveat: that if you have a big team creating zaps, it can get very confusing when it comes to understanding the data flows.

How should your first demand gen hire spend their first 3 months?

Guillaume explains that their job should be all about experimenting. It should be about minimum viable product building, testing and iterating. The focus should be on the data, on understanding the size of your audience, the cost of acquisition for that audience and how that looks across all of your paid channels.

Should the CMO be the first marketing team employee?

Guillaume says no, that is not the right way to approach building a marketing team.

It is very rare that you will get a very knowledgeable hands-on marketer who has also succeeded at being a team lead.

And that is a wrap from our first session at SaaStr Europa 2019!


The speakers: Guillaume Cabane, Alice Default and Pauline Fumeron.

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We are now hearing from Alice and Pauline as they discuss their backgrounds and open the floor up to questions.

Alice talks about her tech stack. Being from a company which is pre-market fit, her stack comprises of: Zapier, Trello and Intercom.

In contrast, Pauline uses tools such as HubSpot, Salesforce, Zapier and Tableau.

Guillaume is touching on how you can make decisions on tech which are difficult to reverse, such as which CRM you implement.

Pauline reflects on how her company has grown quickly over the past year. They are now a team of 8 and increasingly they are specialising in roles. She has found that there is a gap in technology knowledge which she wants to bridge, to enable the team to move faster, experiment more and react more quickly.

For Pauline, the focus of the tech stack is lead generation and the tools which allow her and her team to measure the results of all their activities.

We are now looking at how you should consolidate your tech stack, not just within marketing, but across the whole company. When you are growing very quickly, you can soon lose control of the number of software platforms you are using. Too often, many of them don't talk to each other.

Guillaume is talking about how he approaches buying tech - for him, it is all about building custom solutions on top of any off-the-shelf software. This is so that he can have a competitive advantage.

He says that the essential tech stack for any company is:

  • Data collection
  • Data analysis
  • Data action

In his previous role, he spent $700,000 on people and $300,000 on technology. So, $1M in total, with the team bringing in 5x this spend.

The key was building a tech stack that enabled the tracking of all spend and activity, to prove out the ROI on the costs. Another important investment was in hiring engineers within the team to build custom technology solutions. This gave the business a significant competitive advantage.

12pm - How to build your marketing tech stack

We are kicking off SaaStr Europa 2019 with a session all about how to build your marketing tech stack.

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Guillaume is setting the scene for the discussion by looking at the state of marketing spend as it stands today. Gartner research has shown that CAC is increasing year on year within SaaS and as a result channels are becoming saturated.

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The reaction from CMOs to this has been to shift money, spending more of it on their technology stack. This spend is grouped predominantly into two main buckets: marketing and customer data analytics, and marketing technology acquisition and use.

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