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Meet Adam Robinson, an incredible entrepreneur who built a $20 million company without spending a cent on marketing. Learn his secrets to creating engaging content, mastering LinkedIn, and documenting your entrepreneurial journey. Turn your ideas into reality and unlock your startup's potential with Adam's guidance.
- Learn why traditional outreach strategies are no longer effective and discover innovative approaches for today’s market.
- Uncover the secrets to creating compelling video content that captivates your audience and drives engagement.
- Find out how to establish a strong brand presence on LinkedIn and leverage it for business growth.
- Get inspired by the billion dollar challenge and learn how documenting your journey can lead to unprecedented success.
- Gain insights into transforming your ideas into market-leading strategies with real-world examples and actionable advice.
Where to find Adam Robinson:
• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/retentionadam/
• Website: https://retention.com/
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find Andy:
• Newsletter: https://www.andysnewsletter.com/
• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amewborn/
In this episode, we cover:
Uh, okay, yeah, make it look official.
What's up, man?
Adam, what's up man? How's it going? Yeah, the same. Where in Austin are you?
I live in Clarksville and I work in Clarksville as a matter of fact. Um, do you know where Jeffrey's is? The steakhouse.
No, I'm in Lakeway, going west. Yeah, I know, Clarksville. I don't even know where that is, to be honest. I'm in Lakeway? Yeah, Lakeway, so like, if you know where the world of tennis is.
Oh man, you're missing out.
Where are you?
No, but I do know where Lakeway is. I, uh, my buddy and I sometimes go on hikes like at Mount Lakeway. Do you know the Mount Lakeway hike? Yeah.
Yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, yeah. Absolutely, man. Well, dude, I'm excited to chat. There's so many questions I have for you. It's like crazy. And we got, yeah, yeah. We've got some good questions for you, man. But yeah, shoot, Clark's gonna have to come up. Let's go to the steakhouse, freakin' get some lunch or something one day. Yeah, that'd be awesome, man. Well, I just hit record, man. I just kinda.
Well, I'm glad to hear it.
Yeah dude, I'm game.
didn't know like, let's do it. So the 20, I'm going to call you the $20 million man here. Why? You went to zero to 20 million ARR in two and a half years. So I was super excited and you know, my buddies, I was talking to me, I was like, Oh, you know, Adam Robinson is, you know, we're, I'm talking to him tomorrow and he's like, every single one of them had the same question.
Ask him how he did it. They're like, how do you do it? How do you do it? Like, we want the secrets. How did he do it? Right. And so I just want to start with you. You know, I did a little bit of homework and it looks like you first started to scale the product, which is, you know, essentially in the Shopify app store. With it was funny videos of you and your wife, right? It was like the first way you started to scale this thing. I tell me about that whole thing.
So this startup was like a spin out of my last startup, which was in the MailChimp Klaviyo space, which is a very hard space. It's like, what's crazy is, you know, these Shopify stores, they don't even realize there's a competitor or an option other than Klaviyo, but.
that space is like one of the most competitive spaces that exists in the world. Claviy has just dominated it so hard in the Shopify ecosystem. They literally have like 80% market share of Shopify stores or Shopify stores that have traction, right? Like not like, you know, your grandma's selling like whatever, like, uh, but anyway, it's really hard to compete with Mailchimp's free product in billion dollars a year. They spend on ads and Claviy with this absolute.
You know, it's just a very hard life. It's like selling cola, I think. Like, you might be able to sell like a niche cola, but like Coke and Pepsi have it. You know what I mean? Like, you're not, you're not dethroning them. And you know, that's kind of frustrating. Like, I got this first business to like three million top line, million and a half bottom line, which is fine, sounds great to a lot of people, but like, it wasn't growing, you know? And like,
It had this net revenue expansion dynamic, but the customer base was shrinking. So like the revenues weren't really shrinking, but the customer base was. And the problem was like, um, it's this weird situation where our customers were really happy, but. It was impossible to acquire more of them at an economic level. If that makes sense. Like the, I could never, no matter what I did, I couldn't figure out how to get customers for this thing.
And at the end of the day, like I remember, you know, it was Thanksgiving of 2016 when I, cause like that business kind of got to 3 million pretty quickly. Cause we figured out this one strategy to get to it. And then it just got stuck because that strategy stopped. You know, it was like, uh, and I remember I was watching, I was trying to figure out how to do marketing. And I was like looking at this digital marketing dot digital
video about basic marketing and there's this like statement of value card that Ryan Dice was going over and it's like, you know, blank company helps blank group of people with, you know, blank, right? And I couldn't come up with one reason why somebody who knew about MailChimp should use my product. That's a fucking problem. You know what I mean? Like that's a real issue. So, um,
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
It started this multi-year quest to try to figure out how to be different than MailChimp, which I tried three big things in a row. Two of them failed prolifically. Big things for a small company. We had six employees, but there were large initiatives that we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to build shit and then just it didn't work.
And yeah, this identity stuff, like I heard about it. I heard about it 18 months before you figured out how to do it and just, you know, we had an email marketing company and I heard that there was, it was possible to get an email address from someone even if they didn't give it to you basically, even if they didn't fill out a form. And then it was, yeah. So I was like, what? You know, like if I was just like, that's how I'm gonna be different from MailChimp, right?
Yeah, that's what I'm like, how do you do that?
And then I also really liked this because there's this nuance about the email marketing space where the big vendors like MailChimp, Klaviyo, Active Campaign, whoever, they have to be in this self-regulatory deliverability organization called Mog because they need relationships with Gmail and Hotmail and Yahoo. Cause if something gets really fucked, they need somebody to call over there. You can't be in that organization if you sell data.
So I was like, oh, so this is a feature that they won't even be able to copy because you're selling data, right? Like, I'm like, this is great. So I'm like, I just gotta figure out how to do it. So it took, it's a weird like marrying of AdTech and Martech, like the ability to be able to sort of do this, like take anonymous AdTech signals and like connect them to a...
profile that you have like implicit consent for, and that's basically the process. So, took a year and a half, finally figured out how to do it. We made it a feature in the email app, and people were using the identity feature, downloading the file, uploading it into Klaviyo, or Drip at the time, or whatever, and they were saying it was awesome. And like I'd been reading a lot of Y Combinator stuff at the time, and I was like, man, this is like a really strong indicator.
a product market fit because people are enduring this horrible user experience and saying it's unreal. So I was like, you know, the original plan was to try to get people to use the email app with this feature. And then it was like, that's not what people want. People actually want the feature and connect it to everything. And I had the business totally wrong. Like I like thought it was.
you know, it was only using third party cookies at the time we launched it, which was basically January, 2020 third party cookies were supposed to go away in the middle of 2021. So I was like, whatever, you know, I thought it was, I didn't think it was legal, but I thought we were just going to like sell it to these high volume spammers and they weren't going to care because there'd never been like a, there'd never been like a big can spam lawsuit. Like I can't even really explain how small I thought this opportunity was when we,
started this business. I literally thought it was going to be like make a million or two dollars, you know, more than that was how stuck I was in this last thing. Like, yeah, but it was right there. You know, we built it pretty fast. And like, you know, we got this. So it ended up being like, oh, wow, there's a very strong signal coming from these people using it as a feature. I don't want to rock the boat and take anybody off the mothership that's paying the bills. So I like,
So drift the chat bot, you know, app, which salespeople know about. Like we had to get a script on people's sites and they did too. So I literally just like took this. There's this app called snag it Shopify for dummies. I just like snapshot all of their onboarding full self-serve onboarding script flow, change the text. And then I got somebody on Upwork to basically like make it into Photoshop.
docs and I got like somebody else on Upwork to make the HTML and CSS. And then Tate like built up my CTO built the backend in like eight weeks. And it was, it was so the first company that I started this email app, it took us 18 months to have a product that could like send an email and we could charge $1 for this one from when Tate started working on it to when we were running ads on Facebook, it was eight weeks. And then the first month we ran ads on Facebook,
It's kind of like a crazy, I still have on our retention.com YouTube page, I have all of the funny videos that you're talking about. But I also have the original video that I made on Upwork, horrible quality recording of my voice, I watched the digital market.com, like how to create a video sales letter. And they have a format and you just like put your own words in. Yeah, you put your own words in it like agitates all this pain or whatever. And it's like kind of a wild thing. It's like what if I told you
I knew exactly who was on your website. Not only that, I could give you the email addresses of people who didn't fill out forms. Would you be interested? How would you not be interested in that? Right. Like it's powerful. So we spent five grand on ads that month and made 10 K MRR, which was like, if I spent five grand on ads for my previous company, it would have been $50 MRR. It was like very clear that there was something there. So I was like, all right, I got to get all like the, my, my sort of a team onto this.
You know, I kind of figured out how to get the other team in a position to where I could sell that other company. Um, and thank God we sold a 10 million bucks, which is like amazing. And the, the whole team's still there. The acquire loves it. Like, it's just a really good deal. Um, and yeah, I mean, from then on it was, it's been like varying degrees of. Kind of like a rocket ship ish, but you know what I mean? It's like, we didn't, we didn't like.
So we, I ran it. Diana's old boss is this guy Ross Paquette, who's got a company called Mara post and like he absolute, he like did this super lean, like he, he like a few, like three or four years in, he was like, he has a SaaS company that's 30 million top line, 20 million bottom line. And he's been making like $20 million for like last 10 years himself. Now he's doing like a rollup. Um, but he owns all the equity. Like
I didn't see many people pursuing that in SaaS. And I thought it was compelling because it's like, you can't really lose. Like maybe you end up getting annoyed at some point that your company's not more valuable than it is, but like it's impossible to lose if you're like paying yourself $2 million a month, right? Like it's just, that's the reality. So I was like, this business looks like it could be one of those. So that was sort of the plan. Like we just kept it super lean
didn't have an ideal customer profile really. We hadn't, it was a self-serve app that anybody, you know, we kind of kept raising the lowest price because we noticed that people who weren't willing to pay maybe like $350 or like $500 a month and had the appropriate amount of traffic to sort of buy leads at like 15 or 20 cents at that price. Like they just couldn't make it work. So there was like super high churn. But other than that, you know, we thought we had.
publishers and then some B2B and like e-comm, but we weren't just like, Oh, these big Shopify stores are the, are the thing we need to focus on. Um, that didn't happen till like two years in or something like that. So we got it to like 6 million ARR doing no marketing, just like spray and pray cold email with one salesperson, a sales assistant and one customer success person. So like, we had literally like six people working on this and one engineer.
Wow. And were they, were they just using like outreach or Apollo or something like that? Like, were they?
Like Diana likes to just have a team manually sending on Gmail. It's just what she likes to do. Yeah. There's no analytics and she doesn't have any proof that it does better, but she just like, she's like, and I kind of think like this about the world. Also, she's like, if everybody else is doing it, there's no way it works. You know, like, like she just believes that deeply. So
Yeah, I like that.
Um, so yeah, we've always just had this team in the Philippines that does the cold emailing for us. Um, and it's been the most. Like for how much it's given us, she spent maybe 30 minutes or an hour a week on it. Like it's just, we've, we've under invested in trying to make it good literally until now. I mean, uh, we're, we're working with this dude who is really smart. Who's like, you know, we're kind of just.
trying to do smarter things with this, you know, Tam or whatever that we have. But yeah, it was all, you know, we'd make inboxes in Gmail. And I was just like, there is no way this is going to continue to work for years, you know? Cause like every week you'd be like, you know, somebody, one of these boxes is shut down for spamming and you have to like turn it on or whatever.
Um, and it just did, you know, and like, I think the thing that I kind of think about the world is that if your product is good enough for people to talk about, then there's a lot of ways to accelerate that word of mouth. And I think cold email is one of them now. You know what I mean? It like just, just poking. It's like, it's like not a, I don't see it as an educational tool anymore. I think it's literally just like.
kind of a notification buzzer that like reminds somebody that they wanna learn more about it. But I don't necessarily think it's like a place where like a lot of people book demos through there, but I guarantee you it's not the first place they heard about it, you know.
Yeah, it's like any more.
Oh no, it's not truly cold if they respond, right? Like it's-
Yeah, yeah, exactly. So, you know, I, and I think, you know, I've been talking a lot on LinkedIn about this BDR situation in the world. And like, I kind of just think it's like, it's like not that I don't love outbound and think it's super important. I just think that anybody, I just think it's hard to scale right now because of everything we're talking about.
Yeah, this is what I really want to get into.
Right? Like, like, and you're like, oh, these reps suck or whatever, but it's like, I don't know if all that it's doing is like kind of being like something that pops up on your phone, then having more North American based reps doing personalized outreach, like isn't economically efficient. Like maybe you get a little more out of that, but like, I just think, I mean, I talked to a lot of people who are in my position.
And, you know, at best, it's like, you know, we're sort of the same as we were last year, which works for us, right? Like, like, you know what I mean? It's like, it's like, I kind of had a back and forth with this guy from Neil from tap cart, who like, I love this dude. He walked us through all this. I'm like, dude, like, we just need our app on the work, you know, after our conversations, like, I just need our app on the work better than.
Right? Like, like that's not, it's not worth it. Like there's this other discussion. It's like, which I haven't started going into, which I think is like, like clearly it strikes a nerve when you say this thing that makes so much sense. It's like the demand is created somewhere else and the outbound salespeople are just capturing it now. Right. Maybe that wasn't the case two years ago. Maybe it was like halfway the case two years ago. It probably definitely wasn't the case five years ago. They were probably actually.
doing this. And I think there's these exceptions, which people call me out at every fucking time, of course, with, you know, seven figure, unbudgeted tech, you know, if you're, if your sales motion is bringing somebody to a Lakers game, like I get it. Right. But like most people's is not right. You're trying to sell some 10, 20, 30 K CV deal. And like, you know, you're sitting there banging your head against the wall because the shit that you were doing three years ago is not working. Right. Like, um,
So it's, and money was free and, you know, teams were, were getting built out. And, uh, you know, and I think it's really.
You know, I know several people who have scaled that team down. I'm not saying get rid of the team, but scale that team down substantially. And they haven't really noticed the pipeline change. Right. So it's like that my whole thing was like when it came to, so like the reason, and I've said this to the reason that, you know, we had a weird ride this year, like it was like, Oh my God, we're going to be a unicorn in nine months. And then it was like.
Oh my God, we were actually overselling people by like several hundred percent, which made us like totally get the Tam wrong, which is currently crushing us with all of this contraction and cancellation and stuff. And we had a VP sales leader who was still trying to hit a number based upon what everybody saw was this rocket ship. And then finally he was just like, dude, I can't do this anymore. So he quits.
And we didn't have a CS leader either at the time. And so Diana, our CRO was like supposed to be managing 27 people. And I wasn't convinced. Like I didn't. So like based on what we saw in January and February, we had the right amount of people, then everything stopped from a macro perspective. And we realized we got this Tamron.
And I was like, man, and it's just like, okay, all UAE is like, you're now hunters, right? Like we kind of did that to them, right? It wasn't really the plan coming in. And I was like, man, like, and like, I can't, it's like, you know, BDR went from like spray to pray to personalization, wherever you give it six months of personalization. And like, it was just like a team of six was booking like one or two demos a week, right? It's just so every week, I couldn't sit on these calls. It's like, you know,
you know, BDR leader, like, uh, your team booked two demos, like your target was 14, like what, what are you going to do to hit your target next week? Like if you hear that five times in a row, it's like, something is like systemically wrong with this, you know, like this is fucked. You know what I mean? So like, so like, you know, our, our finance person was actually like the BDR team, even though they're not really productive, like they're, they're profitable, you know, like we should keep them around. I'm like,
Honestly, man, like I don't, those people, there's no way that they're not miserable sitting in that seat. There is no way. Like they're putting so much out there and getting so little back. Like I don't care if we get an extra two demos a week or whatever, like I don't, like our organization will have a higher level of happiness if we just go this totally other way to like not totally inbound, but like,
Here's what I think. There's like a level of throughput going on in your business at a given moment, given where the stage you're at. Like we're at 20 million ARR, people kind of like know who we, like they're a really good job, I think creating a brand in the Shopify space. And there's just this amount that's happening based upon what we're doing in the world. And like, if you overstaff that, it feels bad, you know? It just feels like...
It creates unease. Like people are like, you know, the calendars aren't full enough. It's like, where's my next deal coming from? I got to hit my plan or whatever.
Obviously you can't have zero people, right? But there's like a level that you can sort of staff around that existing throughput to where it's like right at this perfect point where these sales guys are like, dude, like if you don't buy this like right now, I gotta get another fucking call to close. Like, you know what I mean? It's like they are so, like they're so flooded with activity to where.
They almost have a swagger about them and they believe so deeply in this product. It's like, I just wanna, that's what I want my company to be. And I was certainly willing to keep pushing, had the VP sales guy not quit, but like, I don't know, this is 90 days ago, we flipped and like, dude, we're nothing, it's like everybody's so much happier, I don't know.
And then obviously with what I'm saying about it on LinkedIn, I get like a bajillion people sort of talking to me about, oh yeah, we did the same thing. It's all the same thing. Or like, oh, we're thinking about doing this. You know, what do you think about whatever?
I featured that post that you did in my newsletter. Yeah, and I got a, to be honest, I got, usually I'll get a good number of replies from each edition that goes out, but yours was definitely one of the highest amount of replies I got from that post. I think I got like, I don't know, a number, and it would range, right? Everyone was like, there was a range. There was like...
Yeah, I still thank you for that.
A couple of people were like, you don't know what you're talking about or whatever. You know, you get some of that and then you get, and then you got, you got some other, uh, you got some other ones. There's like, yeah, we're actually thinking about this or we just did this.
I mean, that's, that is what.
So like, I think there is a, there's such a desire to create pipeline with outbound that I think people who do that as a service are crushing it, but they have super high churn organizations, but they're crushing it. Does that make sense? If you like run whatever an outbound farm for people in SaaS, like you are, people are banging down your doors. Why is that?
It's because of what we're talking about. They can't make it work in house. And these guys who do it as a service, make these high promise, make these crazy promises and then, you know, whatever it doesn't work. And then they're right back to where they were before. Right. But they're crushing it. So they, if, if I say what I'm seeing, they will literally like. Want to, they'll fucking show up with pitchforks. Like they're like, this is so untrue, whatever, blah, blah. I do this, that the other. I book.
You know, it's like, I'm booking, it's like, they cite their stats, right? It's like, I have these BDRs that we train for 30 days and then they show up with three meetings, like whatever. It's like, dude, but like, you're, the reason that's happening is because of what I'm saying. People are only hiring you because they can't make this work anymore. It's a last gasp. So, you have that camp that's gonna, every time you say anything like this, you're gonna absolutely crush you, which fair enough, I would too.
There's another camp of people who are absolutely right. It's like the big deal, like, you know, sort of very long game procurement of massive contracts, you know, 150 K deals that grow to a million or whatever, like that is not what I'm talking about. Like, I don't think, you know, turning those companies into an inbound sales motion is like a smart thing to do. Right. But I think there's not, not even that it's an inbound sales motion, just like. My argument is that.
you know, you cut 80% of the fat, you know, you cut, it's like an 80, 20 thing, like you could get 80% of the productivity out of 20% of people on the SDR front, right? So, so those people are also correct in saying that I'm an idiot and I don't know what I'm talking about because in their world, I do not. Like I totally admittedly don't play that game. But I think that's only like 20% of people, right? Like...
That's not the majority. And I think the majority is exactly what you said. It's like either we just did that or we're thinking about doing that or. You know, just tell me more, right? Like, how did you arrive at this conclusion? You know, how is it working for you? Whatever. Right. Like, um, so yeah, it's, it's an interesting time. I just think fundamentally. Like, how could you sit there and argue that.
there should not be less BDRs than there were two years ago, given the paradigm of email and LinkedIn and the fact no one picks up phones anymore and works from home and like all of this, right? Like not that there should be no outbound, it's just personalized outreach from American, you know, based reps or whatever. It's like, that's not what's gonna work. It's like this, you know, trying to, it's trying to like get people to get on your site in any way possible and then using.
You know, web visits is a signal, job changes is a signal, clothes lost, you know, like using something like cross beam to like see if someone's progressing in the pipeline of a partner you have, like any signal that is beyond grabbing a lead from Apollo.io that is in your territory and emailing them is like, I think where you have to start. You know what I mean?
Yeah, no, those are, that's interesting. So you're looking at, you're looking at signals. You said cross beam was something people can look at, like job changes. I think there's like user gyms and chap, a champifier doing some stuff like that. Like I'm a B2B SaaS space. So where are you focusing at? I know you're big on this founder brand, right? Like you kind of came out of nowhere on LinkedIn. You're doing the billion dollar challenge on YouTube, right? Where you're kind of documenting this stuff. So like,
What's your growth strategy at this point? You've kind of seen what's not working, but where are you doubling down?
So interestingly, we're about to have two totally different businesses, literally completely different products. So like the D to C side, there's the D to C side, which is what I was trying to make this work for before. And then there's this B2B product, which the B2B, so like the D to C product, it does two things for an e-commerce vendor. It adds emails to your email list who don't fill out a form.
And then for abandoned carts, it basically like, there's this huge problem out there where Apple is clamping down on meta and Klaviyo's ability to track people. So like if Klaviyo can't track somebody, then if they abandon cart, they don't know who to send the message to. And it's terrible. It's like Klaviyo used to be able to track for two years. Now it's seven days. So we basically solved that problem. We make it two years again. So
That is the DTC product. And about a year ago, I mentioned we didn't have an ideal customer profile before. It was a self-serve app and we were kind of letting anybody use it. We were like, holy shit, these Shopify Plus stores never churn, they pay us a ton, they buy in one second and they send their friends. And the big mistake was we thought there were three tiers of Shopify Plus and we thought
there were a lot of tier two guys, which were our power users, and they were actually the best by far. And they were like maybe 50 people better than them. We thought there were 5,000 people bigger than them. Right. So like, that was like how the, the got the Tam wrong originally. Um, so meanwhile, I got this guy Santos who'd been advising for a year saying he was going to join full-time finally joined his full-time CEO. He's like a top three, like, you know, B2B data guy in the world. If you look at this guy's,
what he's done, like, it is literally unbelievable. Like, he showed up at Apollo.io, they had been stuck at 5 million ARR for five years. He was the COO. 18 months later, they're raised at 960 million, from Sequoia.
Now he's on your team. Now you got him.
Now they raised it 1.6 billion. Yeah. So like this guy is my COO and he's a B2B data guy. He's he's like, man, what you're doing is valuable for B2B. And we had some B2B people try the consumer product, the D2C product. And they were using it like the D2C companies. So like, they were just taking the consumer emails and emailing them.
and trying to get them to book a demo. Just, and there were tiny companies, right? Like, only the best Shopify stores can make this work because they have product market fit and they're good at emailing, a bunch of other reasons, right? Nobody on the B2B side as good as the companies that can make it work on the Shopify side has even tried it. But I had resigned to the fact that the time to value, if used that way, because that was how I was assuming people were gonna use it.
is just too long, right? Like who the fuck is gonna, you know what I mean? It's like you buy it and then by the time you sell, you know, it was just gonna be like a year until you got a dollar or something like that. But he's like somebody, I think it's like I heard it a couple times in a week. Somebody's like, no man, this isn't for marketing teams. Like, and we were, this is as we're going through our BDR struggle, right? Like it's like, dude, like,
We could hand a list of LinkedIn URLs. And if we built, if we built the tech a little bit differently on the B2B side, also page view history to a BDR. And like, if I'm asking one of these BDRs that I had, who's basically like book two demos a week or you're fired, right? Like just use the Shopify Klavia list and get contacts from Apollo or whatever they were doing, right? If I'm like, yo, I'm going to give you LinkedIn URLs for 40% of your US.
based web traffic and tell you what pages they were looking at. They would be like, I want those fucking leads full stop. Like.
Yeah, and this is a Shopify, this isn't Shopify specific, right? This is like for any. Yeah, this is okay. This is outside. So yeah.
This is for B2B SaaS we're focusing on.
The B2B SaaS Super Focus, and it's like the, I'll show you, it's.
I would love to see, yeah. I mean, cause you've got me intrigued. So give me, give me on the alpha, beta, you know, SATA, whatever you got.
Yeah, so like, this isn't even as clean as it's gonna look, but like, I think this is from.
This is from our site and like look at the amount of, so we are resolving seven, we, yeah, I know, I'm trying to figure out how to share my screen. Maybe I can't share here. Share, yeah, I can. Yeah, I can't screen, entire screen, boom. So like, we built the technology totally different because
I can't see anything, Aaron. Oh, OK.
Long story short, email complicates things a lot because you have to give someone an email that's not going to blow them up. So the resolution rate drops by a huge amount, but on the B2B side, you don't have that problem because we just want LinkedIn URLs, right? So like we're getting like 70% to something in like 50% of those LinkedIn URLs. So this is just, this is just our website.
all the euros checked it out. I wonder if I'm on there. This is great. And so that is crazy. Yeah, Andy, let's see. Nope.
Isn't this unbelievable?
You're not, I don't know when this is, this is like not, he, this is like a batch from last week or something. I don't know. Or two weeks ago. Yeah. But, but this is so like, I don't even think, I don't think we should, I think it's like, we don't give anybody anything that doesn't have a LinkedIn URL because like, that's what B2B wants, you know, but like when it does, you can also hit the LinkedIn API and fill out the entire profile and we could also build something where everybody's got an Apollo or like a zoom
Yeah, yeah, no, no. Dude, this is creepy.
Yeah, yeah, they don't
API, right? We can make something to where we pass the LinkedIn URL just into the Apollo account. And then they enrich the rest of the profile or whatever. You know what I mean?
Yeah, you can do that. Or you could do even like, I mean, you could even do another product really, if you think about it where you Yeah.
Yeah, there's all sorts. So like reasons I'm excited about this. Number one, when we got the inkling that this was like something that was worth pursuing, I have this guy Alec Paul who helps me with my LinkedIn, like he's a consultant. Yeah, so like, he's like, you know, basically like I wanted to step up my game in June.
Oh yeah, I know Alec. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
versus what I was doing before. And we're like, we gotta figure out if we can do lead gen like B2B does on LinkedIn with D2C. So like, just write better posts, try to get this motion going where it's like, write a killer post, get someone to inbound connect you, ask them what they're interested in, you know, and then let them get served your content for a month and then be like, yo, do you know what we do? And by that time, like you're a celebrity and they're just like, I wanna know about it. You know what I mean? So like.
trying to get that motion going for DTC. And he's like, dude, if you have a product you're selling to salespeople, he's like, we can make this absolutely rip. So I was like, cool, well, let's stop writing about DTC and I'll start writing about what we've been going through with sales and see how that does. And so like, yeah, the first post I wrote got like 3,500 likes, right? Which like, in like 700,000 impressions, right? Which like a post that my best stuff on DTC was like 30 or 40,000.
And it's too fast.
Like just 20 times less, right? So I was like, holy shit. And then I was like, dude, let me see if I can write a few more posts that are this good. And then I wrote three more and I was like, man, I think these are good, but like, we'll see. Cause I don't know, right? Like, based on what I'm writing, like I think these are fucking zingers, but you know, but I don't know. And then we post them and they all crush. And I was like, oh man.
This is so great. So like.
That motion, he works with Sam Jacobs, which is how I found him, the Pavilion CEO. And I just really liked how Sam Jacobs was presenting himself on LinkedIn. It was clear that it was real thought leadership that was working, was building the right type of followers, right, which I just didn't feel like what I was doing was doing that, you know, it was just, I don't know. We can go into that later, but my previous strategy was just not doing what I wanted it to do. So yeah.
Now, so like the pre, so like how I got started in all this is I read Dave Gerhart's, I talked to Patrick Campbell, who you may know, who like is profit well CEO. And I'm like, dude, what's up with all this fucking? So like, I thought that we were gonna maybe go for it. You know, I still hadn't decided yet, but I was like, what's up with all this founder brand shit? Why are people doing it? Like, blah, blah. He's like, unless you're really going for it,
What's the bigger strategy? Like, let's go into that, because we don't care yet.
That's not true.
I'm going to go ahead and close the video.
I don't think it's worth doing it. And he's like, I just have done stuff in my previous life where it's really natural for me to create all this content, which is why I was doing it. And he's like, but it's a pain in the ass for a lot of people. I mean, you got to whatever. So he's like, but Gerhart wrote a book, read it. It's called founder brand. I read, I read Gerhart's book and it's like such a crisp and clear articulation of why you would want to do it. The position I was in was, I was like, man, as an entrepreneur, you know, I've been
doing this shit now for 11 years or whatever, 10 years. Like there, I know if I think about how I started my first company and the decisions I made along the way, like the version of me now, it crushes that person in all of the key areas. Like I know I'm so much better at, you know, getting a product out quickly, pricing, like how to sell, like I can recognize who's a killer and who's not, like.
You know what I mean? Just, just night and day, like I knock that person out and Mike Tyson style in one punch. And I know that right. And I know what I'm good at. And by the way, like, like I know that I know that I suck at some stuff, right? Like, but I don't try, you know what I mean? Like this stuff I suck at, like other people are doing, you know? Um, and
I'd throw you off. I'd throw you.
You know, you read this fucking book and Gerhard's like, Oh yeah, I just start, put some fucking time in your calendar, go tweet or whatever. And I'm like, I'm not going to go fucking tweet against LeBron James of tweeting. Right? Like I know that I know nothing about that game. And also dude, like your time's valuable. You get in this position. It's like, I'm, I'm choosing to do this because like, I want to get in front of your audience, you know what I mean? Like this is like part of my strategy for this B2B thing, right? Like, and then it's like,
Yeah, of course.
The idea that not knowing what I'm doing or in any way how to make this work, I would just start tweeting for 30 minutes a day is asinine to me. Like I just couldn't get my head around it. So it's like, no way. So then there's this company in the Shopify space called Triple Whale, who's like an analytics dashboard. They're like ProfitWell for Shopify stores. I was pitching, so like I had heard about them and they grew their whole company on social.
pretty much organically and they crushed, they got to 20 million super fast. They raised some money but very impressive. All social and community, not a single email sent. So I was like, dude, I found the CEO through this investor and I was like, dude, we got to 10 million ARR with six people and no marketing spend only sending email with one salesperson. You guys got to 10 million ARR quicker only using social.
Like we both need to be doing both of these things. We're selling to the same people, right? So like I go in there and pitch them like this. And then basically I told them my concerns and their head of social was like, I think you should start on LinkedIn. There's this dearth of content creators. It's like 1% of active users or content creators, whatever. So it's like easier, it's less competitive than Twitter. The brands may not be there as much as Twitter, but the ecosystem is.
And you'll get a following quickly because you know, I'm like, yeah, I'm willing to just work in public thing too, which like not many people are. So, and he's like, I'll write for you, which was the big thing. You know, he's like, we'll just, you know, we'll sort of piggyback off of chase diamonds email content and then we can talk 60% of the time we can like talk about your business 40% of the time. And then, you know, like in the argument that he made, which I thought was spot on, you know, we had decided to go for it. And it's like the quickest way to grow a brand.
Like people are not on social media to connect to brands. They're on social media to connect to people, right? So like, if you wanna grow awareness for a brand, be the CEO of it and, you know, make your profile a magnet or whatever. So, it worked pretty well and like, but like, you know, the strategy was more of like, get attention with memes and, you know, then have them listen to your podcast or join a newsletter or whatever.
Nah. Deep on the earth.
I just never liked the way it felt the whole time. And I had this problem where, like I felt like I was not somebody who should be giving advice on email and D2C because I'd never sent a D2C email, right? Like it just, I wasn't the right guy to be delivering the message, right? And I was conflicted about this. So I like kept talking to more and more people and then eventually this dude who ran
this real estate info guys organic named Ryan Panetta like his organic guy or his like CMO or whatever he's called Yeah, he's like he's like dude like you're the expert in your business And he's like you're making two videos a week try to make three more videos make a video every day He's like if you have the right editing team, then you'd be everywhere. So I was like, alright I'm gonna just try to make a video a day of like me working in public, you know, and then yeah and then
No, Ryan, yeah, Ryan's awesome.
And I remember this. Yeah.
I'm gonna like try to find an editor who could get it everywhere, but I'm gonna first see if I can do that, you know? So like, I tried that and like, it was fine, but like my problem with it was, I knew that I didn't know what I was doing. You know, and people were saying they were watching him and saying that they liked him or whatever, but like, I just knew that I had no idea what the fuck I was doing. It was super expensive to like line up this team.
you know, to like do it all or whatever. And then finally in June, I was like, I really wanna learn how to like do this. I wanna be perceived like Sam Jacobs on LinkedIn, not some dude throwing memes up, you know, like. And so I hit Alec up, he's like, I gotta drop a client, but it'll take you like your vision or whatever. And then we started writing, you know, sort of better thought leadership stuff on the DTC side and it did better, I think, than what I was doing before. I killed the daily videos, cause I was just like, I'm not sure what these are doing for me.
really, right? Like it's building a fan base, I guess, but like the reach wasn't good or whatever. And then, and then he's like, dude, if there's a chance you're going to sell this, I'm like, I think we're going to push forward with this B2B product. And now I know, like I see these LinkedIn URLs are coming in like this. People are going to think this is unbelievable, you know, like 40% of the U S traffic too. So it's like, we start writing for sales and it's like, wow, like this can really be an amazing inbound Legion thing. And
By the way, why do I think it's working? It's like, I think I'm hitting a nerve with this BDR thing that like, is people either have, it's like you said, they're like feeling it, or like they're thinking about it, or like whatever. And also, I'm the right guy to be giving this message. Like if Alec wrote the same words that I was writing, they wouldn't rip, because he's not the guy with the 20 million ARR startup working in public who just like had to go through his VP sales quitting on him and whacked his fucking sales force. Like that's,
Yeah, you've got like a market fit, right?
It's like, yeah, it's like, it's like the author to audience on platform fit with this space. So, so yeah. And then I love Chris Walker. Like, I think this guy is a fucking genius master at what he is doing. He's saying three, he's saying, he's saying he probably, I'm sure he knows what I, who I am at this point, cause I'm kind of draft drafting off of some of this shit, but like he.
I just, you know he's one of my best friends, I just had dinner with him.
Oh he does, we talked about him, yeah. Yeah, he's one of the guys that was like, how did he do it? I wanna know how he did it.
Yeah. So like he is a ninja master at saying like two to four things over and over again. And every time you hear it, you're like, yeah, man, that's fucking new idea. You know, like, and then you think about it, you're like, wait, that's literally what he told me yesterday and two weeks ago and a month ago. But he's got this way of saying it to where you're like, it seems revelatory every time, right. And.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I love the fact that like, I'm, I think this video thing is way more powerful than people realize. I just believe that deeply. Like if you can get people like this fucking lot. So like, anyway, I've been trying to like do that. My whole goal was to eventually be this kind of Chris Walker playbook, but for DTC. And now it's like Chris Walker playbook, but for salespeople works a lot better, you know?
And for this first time I made a video asset like he sort of does, I did it three days ago. It crushed. It's like amazing. It got, you know, it's not as good as the all text posts because they get deeper prioritized, but like, dude, the analytics on this thing are bananas. It got 8,500 minutes viewed, you know, I'm like, I'm like a two minute video. Can you imagine that? Like, what if you're putting out like two or three of those a week?
and you have people listening to you for 25,000 minutes, right? Like, I don't even know what the implications of that are, but like, there's something, it will help me in ways that I don't even know exist, right? Like, like every single day I hear, I feel like I know you because I read your LinkedIn posts every single day from a total fucking stranger.
total stranger, right? Yeah.
Yeah, it's crazy. It's crazy. It's a question on this. Is this just you talking to the camera? Like, or were you actually talking to someone? That's the key.
So I was trying to do some head on stuff and I get too salesy when I do it, right? And then we're sitting there talking about how Chris does it with Alec and his motion is just, like the system he's got is so unreal where he's got people asking him questions and then he's just, so it's like, this is my interpretation of what he has accomplished and I'm not sure if he would agree with this assessment, but he has built a community around this set of ideas that he has. And there's like,
a couple core ideas and then he rotates in these smaller ideas, right? So his community comes on his event to ask him about these ideas in different ways. So he's just spitting out different responses that are the same ideas that those people are there for to talk to him about, right? Like nobody's there to talk to him about like product marketing or whatever, whatever thing is like, like some other type of thing that he's not an advocate of because he would smash them, right? Like the...
So there's nobody on there that's like attribution software is amazing, right? It's the only way, like they're not saying that to him. And then other people are having him on their podcast for the same reason, because they want him to come say this shit. You know? So then he says it and he's like taking notes and then, you know, he's just, he's got this amazing system of putting out, you know, different versions of the same thing with people asking him.
And then it didn't feel right when it was straight on with this camera situation I have. So I was like, I'm just going to put, I'm going to act like Chris Walker. I'm going to put a script on my laptop and just look at it and act like I'm talking to a webinar or whatever. And I think it turned out, you know, it was better than the straight on thing by far, like my, my straight on one was, was really shitty.
Yeah, that's fun. There's a there's a word for this. I forget what it's called. It's like the TikTok phenomenon or something where you like act like you're on a podcast or something. But as you're talking to the camera. Yeah. I was like, because you have the mic and everything. People think like, Oh, this person is I'm gonna listen. This person's on a podcast, you know.
Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's like it's like in the thing that I the thing that I go ahead.
It, but it's like, it's like, I think people, the podcast thing has conditioned people to just want to be like, you just want to listen to Joe Rogan, talk to somebody. You know, it's like, you just kind of want to be, it's like, you don't really want Joe Rogan talking to you. You want to hear him talking to someone else, you know? Uh, it's like, it's like in a weird way, more authoritative. If I'm not sitting here talking directly to you.
You know, in this strange world we live in, you know.
Yeah. Well, it looks like it worked out well, man. So.
I mean, so yeah, we're going to do another one.
Uh, tomorrow or Saturday, Alex says, um,
Alex is just going to sit there and ask you questions and then you're just going to answer basically.
No, no, no. They don't even ask me questions. So like, I literally just put the script up of the text LinkedIn post and I'm sitting here thumbing through it on my mouse, like not reading it. Like I did one where I read it and it was really bad because I thought that's what Chris was doing originally. First time I saw him, I was like, this dude's just crushing it on video and he's just reading off his laptop. That's ridiculous. Surely I can do something better than that. You know? But then he either was
Oh, he's getting...
doing this all the time or like I understand what he's doing now and I think it's fucking genius. Either way, he's totally the man. I'd like to meet him at some point. Can we like hang out?
Yeah. Let's go. Let's go. I'll go to dinner. Uh, yeah, we'll get, we'll get, get doing on a couple of weeks or something. Uh, or freaking next week or whenever. Uh, yeah, let's all hang out and it'd be awesome. I just put them the other night. Uh, yeah. And so we were always kind of, uh, getting together and you know, he built his whole business off like, dude, right. His whole thing.
Yeah. No, I literally think the way this B2B thing is going, I literally think that's going to be 80% of the, you know, it's like, we'll like in the same way, like we'll do cold email, but like people will hear about it originally from LinkedIn. For sure.
Yeah. I mean, LinkedIn is so like, we get into this. I've been on LinkedIn a couple of years. I'm talking about Chris. So I like, it's so underrated. I like, I don't even know how to explain it to people. Like the fact that you can post a video like that and get like a hundred thousand views is just insane to me. We won't get into that. It's, but it's great.
It's crazy. You know, like, and like you look at who is engaging and commenting and they're the right people. It's like revenue leaders at B2B SaaS companies, you know, it's fucking awesome. And they're super engaged in it, you know, and these dickheads who have these agencies that tell me I am an idiot and don't know what I'm doing, but they're fine too, cause they make the post go better.
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Well, here's the thing. Everyone's like so worried. So founder brands, a big thing, right? In my, in quite a week, it get really into this. And I think people are leaving a lot of money on the table by not hiring a ghost writer or something to help them do this. Right. Because if you're, if you're B2B, like you need to be on LinkedIn, I think that's the one thing everyone can agree on that's done it. And you don't know until you do it. Right. Um, but the next thing is
Yeah. And by the way, like even with the ghost rider, I noticed there was like an uptick in awareness in my status when I was walking around trade shows and stuff. You know what I mean? Like now this is something very different. I'm really interested to see what happens like if I keep, you know, like I'm sure everywhere Chris Walker goes, people are like, Oh my God, like what kind of in this, in this world, right? Like if he goes to like a marketing conference, he's like, whatever.
I imagine the same thing will happen if I put video out a few times a week and like, I keep building this audience, you know, it's like you, it's amazing. You know? Yeah. Keeps, I didn't, I didn't mean to cut you off. Keep saying what you're saying.
No, no, no. I just think it's unbelievable. And people will make the mistake. I think the big mistake that people are making here is they're like, well, I wanna do LinkedIn and I wanna do Twitter and I wanna do TikTok and I wanna do this. And I'm like, dude, just do one and get really freaking good at it. Like, they're like, you're in B2B, just do one, right? And everyone's trying to go to Twitter. And I see you getting active on Twitter and I wanna ask you about, like, how's that going? Like, are you impressed?
waters or like what's going on there?
There's the pro the fundamental issue. Like LinkedIn is set up really well to do that actual lead gen motion that I described to you. Like write these huge posts, you get inbound connection requests, you accept the ones who are ICP. You do like a, you start that you can, after a while these guys can get it to where it's a robot, but they just need every single branch of the tree. And like,
You know, I don't know if Chris is doing that or not. Like I know Sam Jacobs is like, people are growing their, Sam Jacobs, entire businesses, LinkedIn also, and it's just writing these big posts. He gets inbound demand from revenue leaders. And then there's a sort of warmup in the beginning. They get his content for two months and then they think he's a celebrity and he has all the answers to all their questions and they joined Pavilion. Like that's the, that's the motion. Right. So like that, I don't think.
works for Shopify founders. They're just not on LinkedIn in that way. Revenue leaders are, for sure. They're on it all day, right? They're prospecting people, they're looking people up, whatever. The Shopify founders are on Twitter, but Twitter is not set up to do that. It's, you know what I mean? It's not set up to sell in that way. So.
A couple months ago, I went from not tweeting at all to like, you know, trying, we got a ghostwriter for Twitter and just trying to like muck it up. And then like, before I started writing these sales LinkedIn posts, I was actually myself spending half an hour a day going through this list of 30 people and engaging with their stuff every day, which was kind of brutal. I hate being, you know, it's like, I don't like what social media does to my brain.
I'm sure everybody feels this way. Yeah, but like it's weird because writing doesn't do that. Writing does the opposite. It makes me feel creative. Like when I write something that I know is hot, like it's so satisfying. Like, man, I can't fucking wait till he drops this to like see how it is or like whatever. Like I come out of it with this creative bliss, right? Whereas like you come out of engaging with people on Twitter for 30 minutes and you have this
I'm like... Yeah!
like this, you have the frenetic social media, FOMO, you know, scatter brain, whatever. So I didn't like doing it. And once I started seeing these B2B posts hit, I was like, this is not what I'm going to spend my time doing. We still had the go. I think we, I think we stopped using the ghostwriter on like October 1st. I think Alex is going to like repurpose some of my best LinkedIn content and put it on Twitter. But the intention was before.
Like this B2B thing's relatively new. You know, three months ago, I didn't even know we were, it was a thing that we were gonna pursue. So I was like, the LinkedIn thing is working for me on DDC to the extent that the ecosystem, investors, and potential employees definitely know who I am. I'm nowhere in Twitter, which is like where the actual brands who are on social media are spending most of their time. So that was the intention there. I'm way less motivated now that I think.
that my founder brand stuff will be so much more effective on the B2B side. We're gonna do something where like actually, this is a bit, so like I have this docu-series I'm making. Check out my LinkedIn page, it's called Billion Dollar Challenge. It's like a really high quality, it looks like Netflix or something. And they're just kind of following me around when I travel and they're trying to basically show the lifestyle of being in the middle of this shit show, right?
And I think it's a really, I think it's good shit. A lot of people tell me it's good shit. There's a new episode dropping in a couple weeks. They're gonna do 10 in a row every week, 10 minutes. And there's 10 up already, so.
My problem with the DTC side is that I don't feel like we have anyone at our company who can create content that's worth a shit to any DTC person we're trying. Why would anyone listen to us about anything other than how to expand the audience of abandoned carts, which is not enough to talk about. No one cares. Right. So like the other weird thing about creating DTC content is that there's
two podcasts that dominate, it's Nick Sharma and Moises limited supply and one's called Operators Only. They won't, none of these e-comm guys want a SaaS vendor on their podcast. Like it's very strange. Like they, so it's like hard, it's like I can't even tell my entrepreneur story and get in that way to their audiences because they don't.
They'll, so like the people, the only guy Nick and Moyes will have on is the president of true classic teas. Who's the fastest growing Shopify store. That's it. I mean, in guys like him, maybe they'll have somebody on from Dr. Squatch or whatever, right? Zero interest in having SAS people on their podcasts. So it's like, what are we going to do to compete with these guys? You know, so the thing that I'm trying to do, like we're doing all these cool small events.
which is what we crush with, like a New York City pizza tour with like all these pizza restaurants you can't get into or whatever, right? We do this stuff all the time. We don't, yeah, we don't document it well. And up until now, it's been really effective for us just being like, hey, person who knows brands, I'll throw you a couple grand, get me 10 brands. Doesn't matter who they are, so long as they're like above a couple million in revenue. It needs to shift to.
I want an invite to this one, man.
here's our account list of 350 people. We need 10 of these at the pizza drawer. Or maybe eight and two current customers, right? So like our whole content and marketing effort, we're going to attempt to flip to creating FOMO about these small events and basically creating the perception that we're everywhere and they're going on all the time. And that like this
shit we're doing in the physical world is like the coolest stuff there is. And we're going to interview these influencer types when we're at these events and try to broadcast you know, DTC content that they're saying off of their channels with our brand on it. This is the pipe dream, right? Because like, nobody can write a blog post about like how to optimize conversion rates on a landing page or whatever. So like this is going to be the attempt. Let's just make...
sizzle reel type content, trying to create FOMO to help us get people to these things and then use all these influencer social channels to blast that out. That's gonna be the DTC play now. I mean, we'll see, dude. Like, it sounds good. We're literally here on it right now.
Wow. Well... Yeah.
Yeah, I have a feeling you can deliver man. So I think
Yeah, well, so like there's a couple of things that make this TV show cool. I think one is the actual quality of the, like the guy we have shooting the footage shoots in a really cool way. He's just got like a lot of motion and like he, he just can capture things like really well. Um, and the editor is great. And then the girl, there's a girl, Christie, who does the story. So she's like pulling storylines out over the course of however long. Um,
The guy who shoots the video is a full-time employee. So like my thought is we can easily use him for this DDC site too. I don't know. You gotta go, it's to level five.
Yeah, yeah. Let's do a part two, man. This is, yeah, let's do a part two because we can get, Sue, I wanna get like, there's so many other things I wanna add, like tactics, stuff that I'm working through that we can just jam on and we can record. It's like, I'm gonna get to Alec or I'll show you what we got going too because we're building a tool for LinkedIn to help you get emails from your posts. So, yeah, so it'll be, is distribute. So we can talk more about that. Let's do a part two.
Yeah, I'm happy to.
Um, which would be awesome, man. We can get into it and I have so many ideas for you on this product, by the way, just cause I come from outreach, right? That's where I, yeah. So I have 10 plus ideas literally written down for you. Um, so that some will suck, some will be good, but let's do it, man. And then, uh, I'm going to put a group text together with me, you and Chris right now, so we can, we can, yeah, man, that would be fun. Yeah. So. All right, man. Well, Adam, dude, it's been real. We'll talk soon.
Yeah. I love it.
Yeah, great. Cool, man.
Yeah, sounds great.
Part two, I'll email you, we'll schedule, we'll get this going, man. I'm excited, dude, this'll be fun. All right, dude. Yeah, of course, man. I'll talk to you soon. Later.
Awesome. Well, thanks for having me on Andy. Bye.