Replays & Interviews
Back in December, we had super interesting chat with Andrus Purde, Head of Marketing at Pipedrive.
We talked about early stage marketing strategies for startups and how to get "findable".
I'm Andrus, I'm from Estonia, and I'm the Head of Marketing at Pipedrive.
Pipedrive is a sales tool that helps small teams get organised and close more deals.
It is definitely a busy market. Most of them are much better funded than Pipedrive.
From day 1, what helped us is to focus on helping small businesses.
Although we have some big teams as well, at Amazon for example.
The focus was not to please people in executive suits. We help the people in the small teams to get more sales done.
This different starting point has guided most of our marketing efforts down the line.
Yeah I did write my own. I call it the Two-Hedgehog Model. A reference to Jim Collins and the “Hedgehog Concept” he popularized.
As a backstory, if you take a hedgehog, it does only one thing really well: it closes to protect itself.
So, the premise is to do only one thing, and do it really well.
If you focus on only two things and do them very well you’ll have your early stage startup marketing priorities sorted.
For example, there are a few things a startup needs to get right early one.
First is: focus on getting referrals. Which means: getting a great product out there and then working on triggers and incentives to encourage people to share the product with their friends.
Absolutely. Plus, the marketing can help with the customer development and eventually the product.
Marketing can also work on the messaging so that it's easy to refer the product.
However, it does not make sense to be build the referral program too early on. Simply because you don't have anyone to refer your product to.
So, you should wait to have certain volume.
We waited two years before actually starting a true referral program here at Pipedrive.
During those two years, we used the experience from our founders to build the best CRM software for small teams.
Marketing helped with the messaging and create triggers to share the product with their colleagues.
This was our first hedgehog.
The second one was to be findable.
Either in Google, or in app stores, or whatever channel is dominant for you.
At the time people were finding new products from their friends or via Google.
At Pipedrive, in the early days, all we could afford was my two hand on the keyboard.
We wanted to do paid search but we did not have the funds. So we started with SEO by necessity.
In an ideal world you should have a budget and some funds to really test channels. Moreover, there's no one-size-fits-all, being findable is a subtle combination of SEO, PR, partnership and Paid marketing.
Yes, even if you do a lot of SEO work, when you're on a competitive market, it's still hard to get on the front page. Even on paid search actually.
The first keyword I focused on seriously with Pipedrive was "Sales pipeline management software".
"CRM software" was really expensive, and this one was still relevant to the product.
One other thing that worked really well for us, when it comes to being findable, is the Chrome Web Store.
It was a new channel and people were starting to look for software there.
We were among the first CRM softwares there and we got a lot of traction and signups from there.
Even though the traffic was not that qualified, it was really helpful in the early days, we were getting enough signups from that source.
Long story short, there are always some new channels, every year you have opportunities like that to exploit early on.
Yes, definitely, but at the same time new marketplaces and app stores have popped out.
There are new platforms more relevant for us, specialise in SaaS softwares. We have been testing those smaller ecosystems and it's been great so far.
And every month there's a new platform launch where you can be findable.
Yes, we tried I think all of them. Some of them are hugely profitable, and we would like to put more money in those platforms but we can't, due to limited volume.
There are other platforms where I feel the traffic is a bit less qualified.
However, I've been talking to other marketers about this and apparently it can really depend on your vertical. There's no one size fits all.
I'd recommend to test them all and see which one works best for you.
Actually, I have advised to some startups to test them even early on.
But as you said, it's probably not the first thing you want to do since you need reviews to get ranked properly.
So, you should probably not start with this.
We did not do any big launch or hustle that impacted our trajectory.
We launched Pipedrive in Estonia, at the time we had a MVP and a small growth.
Then one of the founders had pitched their way into AngelPad and made contact with Appsumo.
So we had an MVP but in the hands of people in the Valley not in Estonia.
The growth started to change because the product was on the hands of influential people.
So having a great product is half the job, the other half is putting it in the hands of the right people.