General Manager of a $3+ million SaaS company
Over the past four years, with four major product launches, I've learned some key differences between FAILURE and SUCCESS when launching a new product. From the "hot" marketing channels and how they actually perform (Product Hunt, etc.) to creating a simple-but-effective product launch plan, I'm happy to share the learnings from five products we've launched that have generated millions of dollars in revenue.
I've helped launch five SaaS products from scratch. These five products each have had limited marketing and ad budgets... but have generated between six- and seven-figures of revenue. I can share the EXACT go-to-market strategies we've used to launch these products from scratch into successful businesses (even if you have limited or no marketing budget).
At AppSumo Originals, we've grown our team from zero to 10 team members as we've grown to a $3+ million per year business. I've been responsible for compensation structures, negotiation, hiring, firing, review cycles, and everything involving building a team. I'm happy to talk about how to find early employees — and make compelling compensation packages for them (using a variety of levers like bonuses, equity, and salary).
Product Management is the BIGGEST decision for new businesses. If you don't have PMF (product market fit) with a new business, you don't have anything. I have 11 years of experience as a Product Manager — including in the past for the 40th most website in the world with billions of pageviews per month — and I can help you understand how to figure out your product strategy.
A lot of people think you need lots of tools to optimize your CVR (conversion rate). But, that's often NOT the answer. Most new entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and small businesses need to focus on more fundamentals to fix their CVR. I'll share my experiences optimizing CVR for businesses ranging from brand-new to established 7-figure businesses.
My FAVORITE way to build a business is from $0. Having no marketing or growth budget might seem like a problem... but it really just requires more creative solutions to grow. And here's a secret: Many of these "secret" free marketing channels are more sustainable than paid platforms, which is subject to the paid platform's latest whim (looking at you, Facebook Ads).
Before you grow a successful company... you start out with NO marketing or ad budget. The way you grow in the early stages is mostly focused around manual outbound marketing. I'll share the lessons I've learned over the years, and how you can apply outbound marketing to help your own business grow.
A lot of founders start thinking about the advanced tactics before they've even defined product market fit. When we've identified product market fit successfully, growth has come magically — even without ads or marketing. It's possible, and I'll share lessons on how we've done it successfully with a million-dollar SaaS company... and lessons learned when we tried to do it with another business, but it wasn't successful. You can learn from both situations for your own business.
Growing a startup can be so challenging... why do we do this to ourselves?! I've been there. As recently as last year. Grinding and trying to grow a startup when we had no money to spend on advertising or marketing. But we found a way to grow to 7-figures, and a big part of it is mindset. I'll share what I know.
I'm an email marketing NERD. I was the Email Marketing Lead for Student Loan Hero, and helped email marketing become a seven-figure revenue channel for them before being sold to LendingTree. I've also helped lead email marketing for Sumo.com, plus consulted for brands like Degree 33 Surfboards.
I've helped build six-figure per month companies with small teams — and a zero-dollar marketing and ads budget. Good times! Before my current role at Sumo, I was employee #11 and the Email Marketing Lead for Student Loan Hero — which sold to LendingTree for $60 million.
I was one of the early adopters of Facebook Ads. Back in 2010, I managed monthly budgets of $50,000+ for a web content business. And recently, I ran multi-thousand-dollar ad campaigns for an ecommerce store in the cosmetics space. I'm not the biggest expert on complex Facebook Ads setup, but I can give you general tips and strategies to optimize your Facebook Ads spend as part of your larger marketing strategy.
ActiveCampaign is a great "in between" email marketing service provider (ESP), that blends together the typical email marketing features like scheduled emails and automations with CRM functionality. I've used ActiveCampaign extensively for companies ranging from a brand-new business startup to a fintech company which grew fast. I've done everything from create and setup the initial account to a full audit of how to improve existing setups.
Zapier is such a cool tool to integrate and automate your marketing processes. Especially if you're a solopreneur, or a new business owner, and you don't have much time. I've used Zapier to connect lots of different tools together — including a giveaway tool, an email tool, and lots more.
I recently helped a new SaaS product set up their first marketing automation process using Customer.io. This includes setting up the initial framework, creating the account, and configuring the marketing automations inside of Customer.io directly. I've done the work myself, so I don't just talk about "theoreticals" — I can share exactly how to do it because I've done it, too.
I was one of the early testers of Optimizely — and I can show you how to take advantage of CRO and split testing on your website. Even more important, I'll show you how to split test what matters... and ignore the noise. The biggest mistake growth marketers, founders, and entrepreneurs make is focusing on what doesn't really matter.
I've used Ahrefs on a blog with over a million visitors per year. We did careful keyword research to find the BEST keywords to target for organic SEO. I'm very comfortable using Ahrefs to identify SEO-focused keywords for blogs and other businesses that want to get more SEO traffic.
I've e-met Laura (the founder of Edgar) a few times over the years, and I've used the Buffer platform for helping blogs and content businesses get more social traffic to their site. I'm familiar with setting up variations, adding a bunch of content, a lot of small optimizations — and of course measuring results.
I used to lead many of the social channels at Fox Corporation when I was a Product Manager for News Corp. To push out messages on social, we were early users of the Buffer platform. To this day, I use Buffer to schedule social messages — and I'm friends with a few Buffer guys so I know the tool extra-well.
As a marketer, my bread-and-butter for measuring how campaigns are performing is within Google Analytics. I'm familiar with tracking marketing results, campaigns, and more within GA. I love GA so much I even use it on my personal site — and have custom alerts set up on it, too!
I've used Infusionsoft for both an ecommerce company and for a marketing thought leader with an email list of 250,000. I've set up campaigns, emails, and everything. I've personally done the work inside of Infusionsoft — I haven't off-shored it — so I can see how it's REALLY done, and can help REALLY guide.
I've used Mailchimp for so many brands — a marketing thought leader with a 100,000+ email list, an ecommerce brand who relied on email marketing for 70%+ of their revenue, my own personal brand. I wasn't off-shoring the work either. I was the one in the weeds of setting up emails and automations.
Have used AWeber to manage an email list of 100,000+. I wasn't off-shoring this either — I was in AWeber every day managing our campaigns, writing emails, setting up automations...
I run AppSumo Originals, which is the moonshot division of AppSumo. We're the team behind the $3-million-per-year SaaS products Sumo.com, KingSumo, SendFox, TidyCal, and SleekBio. My responsibilities include P&L, defining high-level strategy, running growth and marketing, hiring and firing, and making sure our business is growing.
Employee #11, first full-time marketer, and part of leadership team. Grew email marketing to a seven-figure revenue channel with only one other team member. Then we sold the company to LendingTree for $60 million in cash.
I've been recruited by, or a growth consultant for, some of the most successful businesses and startups in the world: McKinsey, Massage Envy, Bitly, Sticker Mule, Gadget Flow, and even the government of Switzerland. Overall, I've helped 100+ businesses and startups define their growth strategy, build a better marketing funnel, and grow faster than ever.
As ever, a thoroughly helpful and insightful session, which was very much appreciated at a critical time prior to the launch of a new, heavily invested project
David is a Ferrari of the growth industry! His energy, wisdom, and ability to dissect complex marketing scenarios is unmatched and I would highly recommend him to anyone looking to build a unicorno.
Thxs David Talk soon again
David was well prepared for the session and really took the time to understand my business and the challenges I was having. More than that, he left me with some great inspiration for marketing and made sure I had a couple of clear action points to follow after the call. I would highly recommend you speak with him. Thanks, David!
Awesome tips! Thank you for the session, David. I recommend.
David was extremely helpful in uncovering simple but powerful techniques to improve my speed in getting to product-market fit. His tips reminded me, once again, to not build software before I have fully vetted that I am solving a problem for my customers. He is also a very nice guy to boot.
Such a worthwhile session and conversation. I feel so aligned and ready to go. If you want an awesome session link up with David.
Amazing call! David is an expert with Email Marketing. His knowledge and passion for the subject was obvious. He spoke clearly, broke things down and simplified a process for me to follow. I walked away with two clear action items that will help me with my next steps. He's eager to share his knowledge and guide business owners on their journey towards success.
Blown away by David's session! 30 min of logical thinking, filled with a lot of information and expertise, all divided into small pieces for easy ingestion 😅 Loved the analogies he made! Can't wait for the next session.
David is the best. One of the most knowledgeable people working in growth that I know, as well as one of the best listeners. After doing several sessions with him on GM, I consider him a friend. Definitely book a session with him if you get a chance!
Thanks for call, info and the bonus material!
David was awesome! He was on time, prepared and helpful! within 30 minutes he gave me 2 action plans aka homework:) His positive energy makes all the difference and will lift you up and make you believe in yourself! looking forward for our next call!
David is a smart guy who quickly identifies the key issues and hurdles, and tackles them head-on. Our challenge was trying to streamline our sales process so our two top people were not totally consumed by sales appointments. He recommended two solutions. We implemented the first one immediately and think it is going to work out great. The second solution requires more preparation but we are going to test it, too. Thank you, David! In one short meeting you are making a major impact here.
Another great session with David. Really appreciate his breakdown of approaching lots of conflicting marketing challenges and opportunities. Cheers
Very knowledgeable, and great feedback provided!
David came in with an agenda and ran the meeting expertly. He gave me a set of deliverables to be accountable to, and made sure he covered the various questions I had on virality. His advice was simple but effective — he keeps it real.
Really satisfied with David, straight to the point & the conversation was ended with a really solid actionable plan. Planning on scheduling more sessions with him for sure. :)
Once again, David gave me some really helpful ideas during our call.
Really enjoyed my first session with David. Lots of ideas and recommendations which have got me thinking about ways to approach a new role and challenge. Great to get insight from his growth experience. Looking forward to a follow session in a week or so. Cheers.
David was punctual, well spoken and we had a nice conversation to clarify some gaps that I had in my idea
David was very knowledgeable, easy to talk to and helped me clarify the path forward on my business concept. He helped guide me along a process to better understand the direction that is the best fit for my interests and strengths, as well as how to best identify my ideal target market. I plan on following up with him further along this process. Highly recommended!
David brought a ton of enthusiasm and interest to the phone call - especially appreciated with very early-stage ventures. He prepared for the call by guiding me through a Google doc which assisted me with taking notes and listening to his sterling advice. We even collaborated on specific action items for next steps in our company's progress. I would definitely recommend David for anyone looking for creative methods to analyze and test p/m fit. David's sense of deep caring and interest for my idea remained front-and-center throughout out brief phone call.
Our conversation was great. David listened to my story, shared his story and advice, and give me concrete action items to complete before we speak again.
David is very knowledgeable and was also well-prepared for the call. He looks at things from a broader perspective and gave us at least two specific ideas to get more B2B leads, along with many ready-to-implement tips to increase our conversions across the different channels. He also took a position on which channels whe should invest in first.
It was great talking to David. He is not only a very nice person but also a very insightful mentor. I do look forward to catching up with him in the future!
David was absolutely awesome! Super personable and very cool guy. Very knowledgable and really understood our business and it was relatable content for what we need and what we needed to hear. Considering we are early stage, his advice and growth strategies we can actually implement which is great. It's also awesome just to be reminded that he also was at the same stage we were at first too! Will certainly be having more calls with him in the not to distant future! Can't recommend him highly enough :)
David offered some simple, easy to follow and test next steps to improving my email marketing. Thank you for your help!
awesome as usual :)
David is awesome! He gave me tips and also action items to follow up on. I had a great call with him and I plan to book another one soon!
David came prepared with key talking-points and suggestions. Lots of great questions and a fantastic growth mindset. Wish I could give a 6th star for friendliness :D
Unbelievably valuable session after a single hour. Exactly the kind of growth "coach" I need. Clear next steps laid out. Read up on the details I sent him prior to our call. Can't wait for future sessions!
Great session with David. Brings experience and focus to the discussions.
David is first of all, fantastic guy! I think he is capable of understanding and connecting with just about anyone. As a more experienced fellow marketer, David pointed me in the right direction regarding the product-market fit. We started an action plan and even before the session, he prepared some action points. Looking forward to another talk with him.
David was great. He asked the right questions at the start to make sure the conversation was always relevant, identified goals, and broke down action points to make progress. Highly recommended!
Thanks, David for the valuable call. David had reviewed our info and provided actional able tasks before we got started. Happy to work with David.
David provided me clarity on my thoughts and helped me to focus on the main goal. Very knowledgeable about email marketing and tips on how to build an audience.
David was amazing - he asked me questions before meeting, and came to our session with a full doc of notes and thoughts that went beyond the topics we had time to discuss. He took control of creating a deliverable, which made it really easy for me to reference our discussion afterwards. I got a lot of value from an hour with David, and look forward to talking again!
Hey what an amazing guy! I think like if we would be in the same city we could be best friends. David thinking very analytical understand where you are what are the circumstances. So first part of the session was to introduce the product and the market and talk about the issues what we have. Than he gave advice where we should focus our energy and might step back three steps before we go on to further. He even created an action plan what I going to follow. I am very excited to continue our conversation. Thanks David!
Really glad to have these calls with David – they are invaluable. I really appreciate not only his advice, but his ability to listen, and mirror back to me what I'm thinking, and offer constructive thought in service of that. Will definitely be booking with him in the future. Thanks, David – you rule!!
A professional and a true gent! David was super helpful, listened to where I'm at with the current business and we set some tangible goals to make me accountable. One takeaway is "we have lots of inbound commmunications e.g blogs, podcasts, etc telling us what we should do, but we should focus on just measuring the outbound in defined activity KPI's."I will be rebooking a session with David soon!
What a friendly and helpful guy! We talked about goals, obstacles, and possible ways to get the first paying customers. He took the time and had a look at our website in advance and prepared a gdoc with questions and we already had some discussions about my ideas and his suggestions in this gdoc. During the call he wrote down some clear action items for me and offered me to ask for help and suggestions any time via email. Further he wants to keep me on track by having the next call in short time to see how things are going and help me to stay motivated and focused. Awesome!
David is an amazing guy. I scheduled a call with him and even before the call he created a Google Docs with high-level thoughts on what I needed. I could tell that he naturally cares for his mentees. On the call he was extremely easy to talk to. He's the kind of guy you know would be cool to hang out with on a daily basis. Aside from personality, he knows - A LOT. And I say that because he made long-term actionable marketing steps (+ great examples) with so much ease that I knew he was doing that from muscle memory (and yes, you can only do that with a lot of experience in the field). Thank you so much David!
Awesome session! Great conversation on how to move things forward. Thanks, David!
Without a doubt, one of the coolest and most helpful people I've met on GrowthMentor! He went above and beyond my expectations in terms of what we covered, and the advice he shared with me in terms of leading a team and how to prioritize marketing initiatives properly. I highly recommend booking a call with him - and I bet you'll be very happy you did.
My call with David exceeded my expectations by a mile. Not only does he know SaaS marketing at a Jedi-master level, but he is an exceptional listener, and just a fun dude to chat with. He gave me actionable next steps and we made a plan to check in the following week. As a result of the call, I feel like a major psychic weight has been lifted, and I am exponentially more hopeful about attracting clients to my copywriting business. Very much looking forward to my next session with him. Thanks, David!!
I could tell within minutes that David truly loves mentorship. He has an infectious passion for business and for helping startup entrepreneurs strategize and execute with their GoToMarket plans. He is one of the most truly encouraging people I've met in a long time and I am delighted to say that after giving me some action points to execute on regarding email marketing, we will be continuing with our mentor/mentee relationship as I will meet with him soon again so that we can discuss further progress.
David is super friendly, empathetic and enthusiastic! He shared a few very unique approaches to lead generation we can apply he has used successfully. And he helped me identify areas of opportunity that may need some attention. A very informative and valuable call.
Ultra friendly guy, who even makes up time beforehand to read into your situation. This guy understand you AND help you find the solution yourself. I'm definitely inspired by David and hope to talk to him again :).
As always, David is eager to help. This was a very productive session.
This should have been a 6-star review, actually. David went above and beyond this session: we set specific questions in advance, and David prepared answers ahead of time, which was already SO valuable. During the session we went through details and clarified more, so I can't express how much I got out of it. Enough for me to keep implementing for weeks. Thanks David. I'd book this again (multiple times)
David is knowledgeable, patient and very friendly! Our first session was very productive. He was able to give me solid action items to start.