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How #SaaSBOOMi Growth Got off
the Ground

How #SaaSBOOMi Growth Got off
the Ground

 
 
 

Avinash Raghava

 
 
 
 

May 19, 2020

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Avinash Raghava

 
 
 
 

May 19, 2020

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At one of the tea breaks of the Bangalore edition of SaaSBOOMi Enterprise. I bumped into Vivek of iZooto, and he started complaining. Nor did he mince any words. “Boss! Why does everything happen only in Bangalore? Why is nothing happening in Delhi?” I said, “Boss! You know, I am just a facilitator. If you tell me to do it in Delhi, we’ll do it. But you have to get the audience, you have to get the core team organized. Then we can do it.”

He immediately said, “I know many founders in Delhi. Let’s create a group now!” Vivek was driven and persistent, and he suggested a few names. I already had some 8 to 10 names. Suddenly we were all set with 14 or 15 people, the group was done and I posted a message saying, “Hey! we’re done with SaaSBOOMi Enterprise in Bangalore, Here’s the next one. We want to do it in Delhi, who wants to raise your hand and I am happy to support, but someone has to lead it. I don’t want to drive it.”

And immediately a few of them said they are happy to contribute and support.

 
 
 

Two months went by, but nothing moved! We were getting ready for the annual edition then, so we couldn’t really get this thing started. At that time, everyone was proposing September or October for the Delhi edition. I knew we had a very short time to do it, and that would probably not have the bandwidth to do another edition. I suggested May or June because that’s when we will be from this Annual conference, I thought.

The conversation ended there, and I even forgot about it a bit.

But the moment I was through with the annual edition, there were these two-three folks who reached out to me, almost immediately. Dhruvil from Loginext wanted a SaaSBOOMi Mumbai. Pune folks wanted help building the ecosystem in Pune too. While these two are also cooking up, I thought let me post a message on the Delhi/NCR group too. Luckily, seven or eight people who came forward and we started iterating.

This is when I suggested that we not follow how SaaSBOOMi Chennai/Hyderabad’s structure, and build something really unique. After a couple of conversations, it gravitated towards Growth. And since I’d been wanting to do something around Marketing and Growth for so long, it resonated immediately. We also felt that the curated format was really good as it ensured quality and exclusivity.

growth1

Collaborating for the sessions on Google docs

 
 
 

We had decided on having 50 companies for the conference. We also figure out the stage of the company, i.e. 500K — 2M ARR. And then we started looking for venue options, and that’s when things started getting really strange.

 
 

“SaaS community with ingredients, recipe and also a taster of success directly from the top chefs.” — Punit (CustomerSuccessBox)

The COVID-19 debacle

 
 
 

As the coronavirus spread throughout India, we decided to wait for two weeks and then decide on the way forward. But after two weeks, the situation had not improved.

This is when we decided on doing this online and changed the date from 8th May (Friday) to 9th May (Saturday). We formed three teams, one team to decide the logistics (platform, registrations), the second one to focus on the marketing of the event, and the third was the curation team. So everyone sort-of took on roles, and we had an eight-member core team.

I requested Ashish (Posist), Sparsh (Wingify), & Ankit (AdPushup) to lead the curation part.

growth2

Happy smiles from organising team after the event

The team and the program

 
 
 

This was indeed a weekend project because we only huddled on Sundays. Each founder actually put a lot in; they talked about the challenges that were faced in their own organizations, and how we could use that as a guide for the sessions.

As we arrived at a few topics, everyone volunteered to take up one. The goal was to have conversations with a few people in our ecosystem, and then arrive at who would be the best to articulate that specific topic.

The session managers were briefed about their role, and they put a lot of effort into curating the conference, making sure that takeaways were clear for each talk. I remember a couple of dry runs for the sessions by Mrigank & Kapil! Mrigank was up till 11 pm a day before the conference just to do the mock with Armando, the keynote speaker for the conf. Kapil was still nervous till the last minute because he had put in a lot of effort to get speakers on board. He had spoken to four or five people before he got the right speakers for his session.

Speakers were mostly nominated through references based on their familiarity with someone’s work. Ideally, we’d have wanted speakers from more companies to feature to share diverse playbooks, and that is an area for improvement. Curating the audience & curating the sessions are two significant things we do at SaaSBOOMi. And that really helps us to bring out the best in these people itself because once we do this, then everything else will follow. But if the content is not good, it’s like, you know, you’ve gone to a nice restaurant, but the food is not good. The packaging of the restaurant might not be really good, but if the food gives you a ‘wow’ feeling: well, that’s what we were aiming for.

 
 

“Rarely have seen such honest and transparent give aways. Could clearly see the steps that need to be taken which if taken correctly will definitely make us build a sizeable SaaS product.” — Manisha (SuperProcure)

What was unique about SaaSBOOMi
Growth

 
 

1. One of the things was the theme itself: Growth. But the other notable thing is it did not feature the likes of Suresh, Krish, Girish & Manav. For the first time, we actually discovered a lot of people who are under the hood, by which I mean the second layers of leaders in the organization. So most of the speakers were speaking for the first time in a SaaSBOOMi conference. Except for Niraj of HiverHQ, Ashwin of Synup, Varun of Kayako, and few other founders, 60 to 70% of the conference was led by Growth & Marketing leaders. We haven’t seen them in any of the SaaSBOOMi events which I feel is a big achievement for us!

2. The other unique part was, most of the founders involved here were not really very active in any of the conferences of SaaSBOOMi. Founders like Vivek(iZooto), Sachin(Ameyo), Kapil(UniCommerce), Sparsh(Wingify), Arpit(SplashLearn), Prukalpa(Atlan) & Mrigank(PeopleStrong) have also started taking the lead in organizing SaaSBooMi events and we are thrilled! We get many requests from people who really want to contribute. Still, a lot of times we don’t really get the opportunity to take their help. This time we were able to. This was the second unique thing about SaaSBOOMi Growth.

3. In many ways, this is also turning out to be the SaaS leadership academy, where growth leaders are now opening up their own playbooks! Some of the best people in SaaS came forward and spoke, which is why the conference was so interactive, and we got an excellent feedback. Each session had an NPS of 8.5 to 9, only two sessions had a lower NPS. This is quite similar to what we’ve done for other SaaSBOOMi conferences.

 
 
 

The only thing which we could not really do over here was to enable networking. We really wanted to use Airmeet because we felt it would allow people to network, and have informal conversations. But unfortunately, we couldn’t. We will definitely use them next time.

It was also fascinating to see people like Sai, Ankit, and Nivas who started as volunteers become speakers for the growth conference and share their insights, as they are all now serious professionals in their own right. That was also a very good feeling for me!

growth3

A Snap from the event

 
 

“SaaSBOOMi is the most important community which we as SaaS Founders must be connected with. Its community to find very clear actionables for the challenges and opportunities we will encounter in our entrepreneurial journey…” — Sushil (ExtraEdge)

What did we learn about doing a virtual conference?

 
 

1. We made the conference interactive by introducing Polls & Q&A in a manner that people’s minds don’t wander off.

2. We did the digital backdrops with a real conference experience with the conference branding. 3. For peers to be able to engage with each other, we asked attendees to rename themselves to First Name (Real Name) followed by Second Name (Startup Name). For, e.g. Ankit (AdPushup). This helped others identify your company for better interaction during Q&A and Chat.

4. In between every session, while the silence was there, we had music, just to make sure that we provided good experience to attendees.

5. We had extensive preparation on the online front, multiple iterations on the testing off the floor, mock runs with speakers and so on — it all actually worked out well. It was very smooth experience from a delegate perspective, or at least that’s the idea we got.

 
 
 

And yes, we will continue to do growth! With the post COVID world moving towards virtual/online, we are sort of geared up for it. And hopefully, you’ll see many more platforms from SaaSBOOMi on this front!

The Way Forward for SaaSBOOMi Growth:

 
 
 
  1. We would want to take this engagement forward and come up with SaaSBOOMi Playbooks: Pro-bono, closed, invite-only sessions aimed at helping SaaS teams get equipped with real insights of running a SaaS Business. These long-format sessions require teams to come prepared, to be open to learning and unlearning, and to share your context within a trusted environment. The idea is to conduct one playbook every month!
  2. Well curated blogs for SaaS founders & teams. We are already working on this.
  3. A WhatsApp group for all the Growth/Marketing teams to be connected and share their learnings.
  4. And lastly, while we wanted to accommodate everyone, we had to refuse many founders as this format required and necessitated curation.

To bridge this gap, we are coming up with SB Kickstart this July, an early-stage founder conference from SB community for the startups below 1 Mn ARR.

Please subscribe to our newsletter for more updates, and we’ll announce this nice and early.

With inputs from Tarun Davuluri who really made the experience smooth for all delegates and is a big support to all of us. Special thanks to Sai for editing this and adding his magic 🙂

 
 

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