Dear Sales Hackers,
I wanted to send out an update on where we are as a company after a little over 2 years of doing this full-time. We’ve been really successful with conferences, which have been our main revenue generator. They’ve been nice to us. I started this business with a goal of connecting people in the hopes that there would be meaningful knowledge transfer, connections, employment, fundraising, and deal closing, and we would be the facilitator of it all. We’ve helped a ton of people, and companies, grow along the way.
Not including the last SaaStr Annual, we did over $2.2m on Sales Hacker event revenue alone in the past 12 months. Our month-over-month database growth is strong at over 35k targeted subscribers; our LinkedIn Community is up around 8k members with extremely active engagement; our webinars are hyper-targeted and have grown 300-400% in avg. registrants and attendants into the high hundreds/low thousands; and we’ve gone up-market from startups to mid-market and enterprise companies significantly over the past few months. We’ve also developed strong relationships with some of the larger companies in the space such as Salesforce, InsideSales, LinkedIn and more. The book Hacking Sales has sold over 25k copies and was recently published by Wiley. The brand is stronger than ever.
This is an exciting time, and it keeps us constantly trying to figure out where to invest our resources to sustain and capitalize on this growth. The good news is that we have a lot of opportunities. The bad news is that our main revenue generator, conferences, is an incredibly saturated market with customer conferences and a zillion other corporate sales events targeted at generating leads for that organization’s up-sell (software, consulting, etc).
The barrier to entry in the conference business is very low and companies’ budgets for these make it tough for us to compete because we’re being easily undercut. They don’t need to make money on their events due to that up-sell, so they can spend whatever they want and not have to worry about selling tickets/sponsorships. This low barrier also creates a lot of noise in the market.
So in an effort to keep the community in the loop, here’s where we’re going and what we’re thinking.
1) Sales Stack SF. Last year we ran our first Sales Stack in San Francisco in the Fall. It was a success in every way. In trying to do this again, we realized it was way too noisy with Dreamforce, customer conferences, holidays, and end-of-year sprints. We will move our San Francisco event to mid to late Q1 (clear of the SaaStr Annual), buying some time to throw you an A+ event without all the other market distractions going on. Stay tuned for more details on that, and our Sales Machine 2017 event in partnership with Salesforce.
2) We need to find our up-sell. Moving the event gives us time to figure out what it is we want our core business to be. Conferences are great for supporting larger endeavors. SaaStr has a fund; SiriusDecisions has Research and Advisory; Marketo has ARR SaaS sales. Some of these folks can lose money on conferences because they’ll make it up in sales/added value for their core product. We have a lot of options here and will be rolling out more training/courses and resources to support it shortly.
We could be one hell of a marketing arm for a B2B business. Imagine if we sold software or recruiting or something else. We need to figure out what that would be that significantly adds value to our community/audience members, and not just for the sake of selling things.
3) We need to build a sustainable digital business. The exciting thing about the tough conference market is that we get to figure out new ways to provide value and grow our digital business. Webinars have been the main mode of digital revenue, but I think we can do a lot more. We receive a ton of inquiries about what software to use for X part of the process. We receive a lot of inbound candidates on our job board and, separately, we have the relationships with the top talents in tech sales. We know when they’re looking and what they’re looking for.
We’re going to do everything we can to keep the education and access free for our audience while providing immense value for our partners that want to provide a service for them. This is a win-win-win if done right, and I think we’re in a great place to do that.
The business has always been profitable, so with enough runway and traction, now is a great time to figure these things out. We have an engaged audience and band of supporters that is a massive asset. We love what we do and know we’ve brought insane value to those in our community. Now it’s time to figure out which new doors to kick down and how to go about doing it.
We’ll be doing a few things at Dreamforce, so stay tuned for the details on that. I’m speaking at their Sales Summit on an amazing panel focused on 3 Key Future Sales Technologies with some awesome up and coming companies. Don’t miss it.
Plus, we have a new plan for a FREE virtual workshop in December on ABM/ABSD with some solid partners. This should be extra special, and puts a much more educational spin on tired virtual summits. Stay tuned and subscribe for updates.
Thank you all for your continued support!
CEO, Sales Hacker Inc.