How to Grow a SaaS Company Past $10m ARR

How to Grow a SaaS Company Past $10m ARR – Experience from Intuit & When I Work

You made it!

Whether you have thousands of subscribers paying a small monthly fee, or a handful of big-hitting, high-paying enterprise clients, you’re making more than $10 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR).

But if you’ve been driven enough to grow your business to this stage, you likely don’t want to stop now.

I know how you feel, because I’ve been there myself with brands like Intuit, When I Work, and a slew of others as a SaaS consultant.

So here’s where to go next…

Expand Your Product

By the time you’ve surpassed the $10 million mark, you’ve likely done a lot of marketing.

Finding new prospects is becoming harder because you’re close to exhausting your current total addressable market (TAM), which is hampering your growth efforts.

So it’s time to expand your product and chase a different, or broader, TAM.

That’s what we did at Mailshake. Our product can be used for a bunch of things – we started with marketing, targeting SEOs and link-builders, then moved on to sales and customer success.

So at $10 million, it’s really time to think about who else can use your product, or what else you can do to get more usage from it.

Step up Your Branding

You should have a ton of user data by now.

When you sign up a new customer, you should have a pretty clear idea of how long they’re likely to stay with you and how much they’ll spend along the way.

In other words, your customer lifetime value (LTV) should be pretty predictable.

That means you can really afford to spend more aggressively on advertising, marketing, or branding to really scale up.

There’s so much stuff you can do, and you presumably know a thing or two about building a brand if you’ve reached this stage of growth, but in general it’s about being helpful. That could look like:

  • Creating educational content for your customers
  • Building a product or free tool or new features that people really want to use
  • Publishing reports or surveys that can be shared within the industry
  • Participating in or creating a community
  • Hosting or attending a conference
  • Taking part in talks or panel discussions

Sense-Check Your New Ideas

You and your team probably have a bunch of ideas about new stuff you could be doing to further grow the business.

Maybe you want to launch a whole new product, or target a new audience, or add a couple new features, or something else entirely.

Whatever your idea, always do the math before you do the work. Put in potential conversion rates – make them as realistic as possible, even if they’re completely hypothetical – and see how that looks.

So here’s an example. We were about to launch an outbound campaign. We were going to do cross-promotion with two of our companies, and one of those companies gets like 20,000 leads a month. 

Sounds great, right? With 20,000 leads to work from, I’m going to go make a ton of money.

Well, maybe not. When we looked at how many of those 20,000 would actually use our other product, how many of them fit our buyer persona, that number dropped to about 4,000 right off the bat.

So how am I going to promote it? Easy: I’m going to put a link on the website; I’m going to do cold email; I’m going to call them. Whatever it takes to get the word out and drum up some interest. That left us with maybe 500 leads in the new company’s pipeline.

What’s my close rate and process on converting those 500 leads to a paid plan? For argument’s sake, let’s say it’s 10%. Now those 500 leads are down to 50 actual, paying customers.

And sure, maybe I can increase my conversion rate to 12%. Or maybe I’m feeling crazy and I think 30% is achievable because they know both brands, so they’re already kind of warm leads. Well, at the end of the day I’m still only talking about 60 or 70 new customers.

As you can see, I’ve gone from a super-exciting figure – 20,000 leads! – to 50 or 60 new customers. Unless your average revenue per user is like $1,000+, who cares about 50 or 60 new customers? It’s not moving the dial significantly for a business of your size.

Hit the Ejector Button on Failing Tactics

Sure, you’ve got a company with an ARR of $10m+. But you probably haven’t gotten everything right along the way.

You’ve likely made too many mistakes to remember. I know I have!

Getting things wrong isn’t necessarily a problem – it’s how you get some of your best learnings. 

What is a problem is failing to identify when something’s just not working and reacting.

Say I’m planning a marketing push and I want to run a big PPC campaign for the first time. Maybe I’ve got a $100,000 budget.

But we’ve spent $15,000 and it just is’t working. The conversation rates don’t match up, or my cost per click is way too high.

Well, then maybe that’s not a channel that’s going to work for me. And that’s the time to call it quits. I can hit the eject button, stop, and move on.

Having a strong leadership team will help you here. No good VP is going to look at bad numbers and say, “Yeah, keep doing that.” They’ll stop you early on.

Of course, it might be that this new tactic could be effective, and you’re just executing poorly.

That’s why I often ask a third party to take a look. It’s so useful to reach out to an agency or a consultant – someone who really knows the specialism, whether it’s PPC or something else – to help you understand your blind spots.

Is your business at this stage? What are you doing to maximize growth? Let me know in the comments below:

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