Product Launch Hacks With Benjamin Dell Of HeySummit

Table of Contents

Benjamin Dell, founder at HeySummit joins Hammad Akbar in this episode of Launch Legends Podcast.

Key Stats

  • Launched 8 products on AppSumo as of now.
  • $130,000 revenue from HeySummit launch on Appsumo.
  • 5000 customers from AppSumo.
  • MRR went from zero to $10,000 MRR in just 4 weeks

Key Takeaways

  • Benjamin has 4 active b2b SaaS businesses; HeySummit, MissingLettr, HelpShelf and OnboardFlow.
  • Launched 8 products in the last few years.
  • One of the businesses was acquired by David Cancel of Drift.
  • David Cancel bought the business and shelved it because it was a competitive product.
  • One should not think about the business as a baby.
  • To build a successful business, it needs your sole focus.
  • You should carefully listen to what other people are saying about the product.
  • Benjamin is good at building and launching new products but wasn’t good at running day to day operations.
  • HeySummit is the only product which was evolved to a point of appointing a full time CEO.
  • Benjamin’s other products have either part or full time teams but not a full time CEO.
  • HeySummit was launched 2 years ago.
  • Initially, Benjamin wanted to do a free webinar for MissingLettr customers.
  • Wanted to invite some experts on various subject matters to provide value to the customers.
  • Later decided to conduct a summit of 100 speakers.
  • Realized there is not even a single webinar platform to do an event comprising 100 speakers.
  • Other products did not provide the exact solution.
  • Benjamin decided to create HeySummit to address this issue.
  • It took six months to build a MVP and to refine the product
  • HeySummit was more complex than the other products because he has to integrate it with webinar platforms, ticketing platforms etc.
  • Launched his product on AppSumo.
  • Benjamin has launched 5 products on Appsumo.
  • People wonder why anyone would launch a product on Appsumo and offer a lifetime deal if it is a good product.
  • AppSumo launch helped Benjamin to get huge traction and get immense feedback from the customers.
  • Generated $130,000 in revenue and got 5000 customers.
  • Maximized the recurring revenue by offering a top tier to Appsumo customers for just $10.
  • MRR went from zero MRR to $10,000 MRR in just 4 weeks.
  • Couple of weeks after the AppSumo launch, he appointed Rob as a CEO
  • AppSumo is constantly iterating so there is no perfect way to launch on Appsumo.

Transcription:

Hammad:

Hey Ben, thank you very much for coming on the show. So, we had a chat just before I started recording, so I know you did extremely well with HeySummit on AppSumo and you’ve got multiple other products.What I would talk today is you have a startup studio where you launch products very quickly. And a lot of them are doing very well. so let’s talk about that. How do you manage that many different products in parallel or what’s your process? If you have one, what do you do? So before that, let’s talk about who you are and, then let’s talk about your philosophy when it comes to building products and launching them.

Benjamin:

Cool. Sounds good. So, I’m Benjamin Dell, I’m firmly entrenched in the SaaS world and that’s kind of what I do. I like to identify opportunities, come up with ideas and the idea of it is the key part. I’ve learned over time that I’m really bad at adopting someone else’s idea. It has to be something that has to come from me. I need to feel that sort of ownership. I have four active b2b SaaS businesses. HeySummit, a virtual summit platform that handles everything from setting up your summits to running them, promoting them, engaging with sponsors, speakers, attendees, and everything in between whereas MissingLettr, which is a content marketing and social media platform that helps create social media campaigns that lasts for a whole 12 months. It drips content out based on your blog posts and is a really powerful way to basically try to get traffic back to your blog posts. Answering that question. HelpShelf, which is a customer support widget that basically combines all of your disparate sort of help and customer success resources. You might start off with a single knowledge base, but the reality is as your business sort of grows and gets older and older, you start spreading out the content, it might be demos on YouTube. It might be product walkthroughs on Vimeo. It might be blog posts. It might be knowledge based articles and feature requests on Trello, like limbs in loads of places. And yet what we end up with is as companies we still send people to this kind of help dot whatever my command is, which is always straight to your knowledge base.

So HelpShelf platform helps combine all of that content into one place so that people can actually find the content and the resources that they need so that they can understand your products and onboard and all that sort of stuff a bit more effectively.

Then more recently we have OnboardFlow, which is a SaaS analytics platform specifically for insights related to your trials or free trials. So we don’t care about MRR. We don’t care about churn rates. In fact, we don’t even care about the Google analytics style, where do your customers come from, what do we literally care about is where are your trials coming from? What are your trials doing crucially within your product over that 14 day or 30 day period? What are the key checkpoints that they go through or not?

And so we can understand the conversion rates and literally everything to do with your trials, because if you’re not monitoring and feverishly focus on what your trials are doing, chances are you’re not getting the most out of your conversion rates. 

Hammad:

Great. So you’ve got full products, which you are running at this point, you told me you’ve launched about eight products in the last couple of years, what’s your criteria for keeping the product running against some of them you just shut down. 

Benjamin:

Well, it’s nice when something gets acquired and that’s a good reason to move out.

So I don’t know, only one bought by David Cancel of Drift and that was pre-revenue so when you’re thinking about running multiple portfolios of companies A. Not thinking of it as your baby because you need to be ready to let it go at any given point.

Not for no good reason hopefully, but you need to be ready to do that emotionally and also just recognising that, that every product has its own time in the sun and that time might be ahead of you, it might be ready to be priming itself to be an incredibly powerful company, but it might be that you’re not the best person to get it and so, the one I sold to David Cancel, I think he actually just bought it and put it on the shelf and because it was a somewhat competitive to what they were doing at Drift. The point is that at that time it was pre revenue for us. And it wasn’t the thing I was gonna be focusing on over the next six months.

So there’s an opportunity to set it, focus on other things. And that’s kind of what you’re looking at. It’s kind of that supermarket shelf, you’re putting the most recent up front. And so constantly thinking about rotation and how they work and then obviously some just fail and I sold an agency I was running for 10 years and with that one of the SaaS as well, because it was kind of quite tightly ingrained with the agency. So there’s lots of different reasons why they’ve fallen off but yeah, today four active b2b SaaS businesses, with a few more in the pipeline. 

Hammad: 

Great. So Ben, I’ve spoken to a lot of great successful entrepreneurs. A lot of them are extremely successful people. They are doing $60 million a year, $160 million, talk about click funnels and then they’ll start with one product and they’re stuck to it for many years.

How would you take any one of your companies to that kind of level by just letting go? 

Benjamin:

So there’s two answers to this. One is from the perspective of the founder of the entrepreneur. The other perspective is from the perspective of the company that you may or may not be talking about.

So, first of all from the company’s perspective, it needs sole focus. Ultimately you might not need it in the first few days or the first year of its life. But ultimately, it will need a sort of unbridled focus by its team and that’s always got to be the goal from my perspective and to get the company individually to a point where they have absolute, exclusive focus of the team.

Otherwise, it’s going to be what you described to have a sort of shotgun approach and lack of focus, nothing else and all the bad things that go with them. But the focus that I care about certainly in terms of my perspective and this is where I think you’ve got to be careful listening to what other people say and I think If I could sort of give one message to anyone who’s on that entrepreneurial sort of mindset, listening to this, take any advice that you get, including the one I’m giving it out with a pinch of salt.

I mean, I think having that sort of mind that likes to inquire, learn things for yourself and to learn what’s working for you, I think is the right mindset to be had. 

So I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with having one product, suddenly. But by the same token, I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with having multiple products.

The very nature of having multiple products, doesn’t in itself, have anything wrong with it? The thing that becomes the problem is the way that it’s approached and or the person that’s managing that. So it just backs up my idea point, but I think it’s all about knowing who you are as an entrepreneur and kind of what makes you tick and where your skills lie.

We were talking off air before this, but something I’ve realized recently, which I think backs up what I’m talking about here in terms of managing multiple things, is that I’ve learned over time that I’m a really, really good founder, but I’m a really terrible CEO.

I don’t have the time for culture, for HR and policies and all of the day to day business plan management and all that sort of stuff and understanding that has helped me realize that if my job is to be the founder and not to be the CEO and I can play a bit more in this sand pit, I give myself that freedom to come up with ideas, identify opportunities in the market, build out that first early version and find that early traction, all that fun foundries sort of stuff and kickstart my b2b SaaS business. But at the point at which it needs a proper seasoned CEO, that’s the time that I jump out and I’ll bring someone else in and so. That is what works for me, based on my, what I perceive as my particular strengths will change over time. And I don’t have to adapt to this sort of approach, but right now that’s where my strengths lie. So that’s the approach I have. 

And so that allows me to have multiple things therefore it means that a person over there can also run multiple things is a completely different story because it’s going to really depend on what their setup is, where their strengths lie and everything else. So just have that inquiry into the mind, ask yourself what are you good at and bad at? And is that compatible with having multiple things or not? 

Hammad:

I actually want to talk about how you, when you actually do hand over to someone else, a CEO who’s more capable at being a CEO.

Let’s actually go back from the beginning. Let’s talk about a product where you had an idea that you started building it and then you got traction. And you said that you want to give it a little, let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about a whole process from starting a product from the idea stage to traction.

What does that look like? 

Benjamin:

It’s different for every product and it’s worth noting that HeySummit is the only one where I’ve actually done what I just said. In terms of actually evolving it to a point of a full time CEO and everything else. And the other businesses either have part time teams, full time teams, but no, Fixed CEO at this stage for various reasons, or like in the case of OnboardFlow where it is just me at this stage, because it’s about scaling it out and getting it to that early point of traction.

so, it’s worth noting that I’m talking about all of this with hopefully a bit of bravado and confidence. But the reality is every single person is learning. It means I’m learning every single day and making mistakes. Some of them are fun. Some of them are horrible.

I can talk from my perspective, but you know, I can’t tell you, I’ve had 20 years worth of building these things out and I’ve unlocked the secret to bringing in a CEO and scanning out teams. I can literally just talk about my sort of recent experiences. And as I say, HeySummit is the one where I’ve been able to do that.

And it’s brought me around and this is really the catalyst. HeySummit really over the last sort of 18 months is the thing that has become the catalyst. That’s helped me understand that my skills were in founding and not in running. And so far it’s proving well, but I may tweak that, you know, I’m not fixed to a particular viewpoint, an ideology or anything else, that would evolve over time.

I’m sure it will. But right now that’s kind of what makes sense. So in terms of HeySummit’s story, when did I launch it? close to two years ago. And in fact, two years ago.

But I did it in kind of an interesting way. And this is kind of, we were talking before about where do these ideas come from and how do you elevate and promote an idea from a literal idea on the back of a napkin to something that you sort of grow?

And I think part of that is intuition. This is a good example. I think of that because it didn’t start out life as a product that I sort of fashioned in my mind and thought immediately I could see the opportunity and sort of started out as a marketing idea for another company that is MissingLettr.

It was just kind reaching out and sharing some knowledge with customers. And so I thought let’s do a little, maybe two week free webinar thing. And I’ll bring in an expert loosely around the subject matter that our customers care about.

And we’ll just share the knowledge and we’ll invite people over it, be free and get a few hundred people watching it and et cetera. And then I woke up the next morning and thought, Ben, that’s a bit boring, I mean, that’s nice. I find some interesting people, but that’s not really something you can get excited about. It’s not something that I personally get excited about. And so yeah, I pondered on it a bit more and thought, well, wouldn’t it be more fun to  turn it into a 100 speaker summit over a two week period. So still do it two weeks, but rather than have one on a Monday and then wait another week to do another one Monday afterwards, Let’s fill up that entire time two weeks with talks, turn it into more of an anonymous online events and online summit and for a nice round number let’s bring in one,100 speakers.

Then I woke up the next morning and realized that there’s no easy webinar platform out there that will let me do that to the standards of quality that I would care about and the way that I would want, there were thousand word blog posts talking about how to construct these things. And, it was complicated.

I had to piece all these things together and even then it was kind of mashed together and it never quite would feel like a cohesive sort of solution. And so not only had I committed to doing 100 speaker events in just five or six weeks but I also now committed to building the webinar software from scratch that would enable me to deliver that.

And because I’m me, I’d not like to delegate too easily and I like to get those early embryonic ideas to market as quickly as possible. I didn’t bother bringing in my team at all. I did literally automate myself. I promoted, I built, I engaged with founders, speakers, came up with talks and sponsors, and we’ve got about 10 grand in sponsorship.

So everything was sort of done from zero.

Hammad:

Let me stop you there. So you did all of that in five to six weeks, right? and I know you said you did that in about five weeks time. What was that? You had the idea you brought apart, you poached the speakers and you got the sponsors and you make money from that. You told me that you normally do that when you build a product within three, four weeks time, where it’s a very nice lovable product, which you shipped to customers to use and buy. 

And it’s not your typical MVP. How do you even do that? which you can sell in four weeks. How do you do that?

I run a b2b SaaS company and to get a product out that so many people can buy and use that’s very difficult in four weeks time. It’s almost impossible. How do you do that? 

Benjamin:

Well, this is where I think you need to introspect and understand who you are as a founder, as a person, as an operator, in that particular field and knowing what you’re good at and bad at, I’m incredibly good at getting products to market very, very quickly.

Now you could argue whether they’re the right product for the time, whether it’s too early, too late. Whether the pricing model is wrong or whatever. But in its core essence, I’m really, really good at conceptualising. And then delivering products really, really quickly. I can do it in about two months, what someone would do in two years. There are a lot more people who are cleverer than me. Don’t get me wrong, but that is just one area where I’m particularly efficient. 

I wanna put it that way, but what also helped with HeySummit was that it wasn’t being designed at that point as a product. We made money from a sponsorship standpoint, but at the time it was really just putting on an event. So the revenue we got from it was really just sponsorship for that event. So I wasn’t building it in mind to work as a product, for me operating in hosting because every single one of those 100 talks were live so we had to host those, throughout the whole two weeks, it was insane, but it was so rewarding.

And by the end of it realize that actually there is a product here, but that’s when the hard work started, because really, I think that it would not need to be spun out into its own product. Took another six months after that of refining and really working it out now.

I could have launched it and got some early adopters at that point. but I knew that I wanted to get it at a different stage. And this is where, you know, one bit of advice doesn’t fit the other. And you know, most of my businesses’ early stage, I can get out of the door and into customer’s hands within four weeks.

Some of them don’t fit that mould. HeySummit, when I decided to spin it out into an actual business, it was that much more complex than anything else before, just because of the nature of the beast. And I have to integrate with webinar platforms and ticketing and sales and promotions and coupons and sponsorship management, and a whole bunch of stuff, analytics and everything else, all this sort of stuff.

So it needed its own path and you’ve got to allow yourself that freedom to break out with an old that you would normally have. And so, yeah, another six months for that to sort of get that out and that was up to Christmas. and then it was about looking at how we actually get it to market now?

I’m gonna use the dirty word here which is and I say that with absolute respect to the team there, because I love them. Hopefully they love me. I know a lot of them quite well and I love what they represent, but to a lot of people, they will see this company or this marketing channel, as a lazy way of launching something.

I launched sort of four or five coming up to the fifth AppSumo deals.
It’s one of those sort of marketing approaches when I speak with people, sometimes they sort of buy into it and they totally understand the value and other things but some people will say, why  would you put it into something like AppSumo and give it away for free, essentially giving away lifetime access.

For a small amount of upfront where those people who bought are unlikely to give you more money in the future. And that’s a valid point, but for me, it comes back. So just simply understanding what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. I’m pretty good at talking. I’ve spoken far too much already.

I’m sure. And so I’ve got no problem engaging with customers, doing a free webinar, doing all the promotional stuff. I’m pretty good at writing as well. It’s always the thing that I have to force myself to do. Like I’m much better thinking about ideas and bringing them to market. And so in that sort of example, I find that AppSumo gives me a really powerful way of kind of just putting a rocket launcher underneath that first stage. And there are multiple stages. Let’s not forget to launch the product. It does multiple things to me, deadlines. Most of them are self-imposed. Here’s one that imposed itself on me by committing to a launch date. And AppSumo, it forces me to have something ready by that point.

You then get a huge amount of traction from a feedback standpoint, from a bug reporting, from all this sort of stuff, take it with a pinch of salt, of course, because you got to learn how to pick out patterns and ignore certain other sorts of signals and everything else. But yeah, if you get good at that, it accelerates the amount of knowledge that you can gain in those crucial 30, 40, 60 days sort of things, and all of that product launch and you get cash in the bank as well. 

It will depend on the market that you’re tackling, if your total addressable market is 50 people and you know, pretty much that they’ve all got AppSumo, you’d be stupid to put it on there, even if it was a quick solution because you have no market to go to afterwards.

And you’ve got to do some level of due diligence for instance even if I sell to 5 million customers on AppSumo, do I think there’s another 50 million out there in the wider world? If there is, as far as I’m concerned and you’re kind of splitting hairs, I wouldn’t worry too much about launching a product on AppSumo.

If there really is a bigger addressable market out there that’s what I’ve done for most of my Products, because for me, it’s worked really well with my DNA and how I like to get things done. 

Hammad:

Let’s get back to AppSumo because I know you’ve done four product launches. I would like to compare all four of them so what happened? So you launched on Appsumo While you got a bunch of customers. What happened after that?

Benjamin:

So I can talk about numbers because I’ve actually done a blog post with AppSumo where we spoke about that. So this is kind of in the public domain already.

We’re just going through an investment round with HeySummit. So I’ve got to be somewhat careful about what I talk about, but what I’m mentioning is already out there in the public domain. So it’s very safe. I think, essentially it was a 30 day product launch.

We did about, so this is after our cuts, $130,000.

And something I’ve always tried to experiment with before talking specifically about product launch strategy here and more specifically about how one does that, or might do that on AppSumo. One must not think about the case it generated but also think about those coming through the door. And is there any other way that we might maximize either recurring revenue or just additional upsell revenue from that point. 

And of course, one must do it in a way that is natural. You don’t want to force things. You don’t want to create a product that is completely restricted but if they were only to buy this extra add on, they would get the ability to do X, Y, Z and that can create a massive backlash with the AppSumo crowd. So do first of all, make sure that the product, the core product that you’re selling through AppSumo or any other channel is of a strong quality that is pretty much giving you full access to everything albeit with some restrictions, of course. 

So we had customers who were really, really happy with the product. We brought them in on the middle tier, so they had lifetime access to the middle tier. There were a few features on the top of here. But a bunch of AppSumo customers wanted those features such as zero transaction fees.

It was $249 per month for our biggest one. And so I took the decision at that point that it’d be far better to go for a mass market that is customers who have purchased through AppSumo and bought AppSumo deals. I wanted to sell them a no brainer deal to get access to our plan, but to pay us monthly.

But for that amount to be a number that was below enough below the radar, that it wasn’t going to be a massive budget consideration for them and they will be happy doing it even if that individual customer knew that they weren’t necessarily putting on a summit for 10 months or something like that,  you couldn’t sell it for $249 recognising that half of our customers probably aren’t even going to be putting on a summit  for 10 months or something, they would never pay that money for that time just to keep it sitting.

And so I want to do it in a really low number and so I came up with instead of $249, you get it for $10.

So it was a massive save and it’s not something we would do publicly. Of course it was really just looking at the real sort of captive audience that we had. And also understanding a bit about the psychology, about what they’re willing to pay.

Patrick Campbell of Price Intelligently and ProfitWell talks about willingness to pay a lot. There’s no point selling something to them for free. I did this with the MissingLettr. I tried to offer them a similar thing on our top deal for 75% off or 50% off, a number sounded good, but the actual actual amount that they would still have to pay per month was $60, $70, $80.

No one would really go to pay that amount when they come in the door having paid. So at that time, I think it was those $9 for the MissingLettr for a lifetime plan. So understanding that is the key. So anyway, we over that four weeks, launched this, had a drip email sequence launching $10 a month for this opportunity to get access to this.

The actual deal was something like 80% off. So it would end up at sort of $60 or $58 or something like that per month which was still representing a massive traction.

The fixed deal If he wants to take it on a year after you bought the main actual deal, you’d always be able to get it for something like $58, but we didn’t want people to get that Appsumo deal for $58. We want them to get it for $10. Because we wanted the max.. We said, if you buy it now, you’ll get it for $10.

And each week we’ll rise up by $10 until it reaches the eventual landing price of $58 or whatever it was now. I think a hundred percent of people took out at $10. I think maybe we had one or two that took at $20, cause they were just a teeny bit too late. so there’s no way to know whether that FOMO thing worked or not, but it was great.

So we had pretty close to zero MRR when we launched on Appsumo or maybe about $500 or something like that. I had a few early adopters, I mean went from, I’m going to call it zero, but let’s say $500 up to about $10,000 in MRR in about four weeks. And you know, although we’re considerably higher than that now, as a starting point, it’s the sort of thing that really plus considering we were bringing in about $130,000 from AppSumo, we’ve got cash in the bank, we’ve got a bulk of customers.

Now that 5,000 customers who are now giving us really meaningful feedback, using the products, generating revenue themselves, the ticket sales, everything else. and we had about $10,000 in MRR. Almost from the get go. 

Hammad:

You said that your share was $130,000 . Was that just from the front end? Or you had some upsells as well.

Benjamin:

That was from the front end. so just from sitting on AppSumo that’s what AppSumo paid us in our commission, essentially our cut of the sales. And then on top of that we had the monthly offer, the promotional offer that we sold only to those that have bought through Appsumo.

And that brought our MRR up to 10,000. 

Hammad:

That’s a lot, most people don’t get to that level. They wouldn’t get a $130,000 cut for themselves. So that was a very, very big product launch. 

Benjamin:

Yeah, it worked really well.

Hammad:

Well, you got $130K in the bank and you got $10,000 MRR. Was that the point you decided Okay. That’s it. I’m going to let go. Or you kept running it yourself.

Benjamin:

Just prior to that, maybe pretty much at the beginning of the product launch, maybe a couple of weeks before that I’d been speaking with Rob who is now and the CEO, and I’ve known him for a number of years.

And he was getting his feet under the rugs and everything else. At the point in which you do an AppSumo product launch, if you’ve ever done one it’s crazy. I mean, particularly we have a good product that gets a lot of traction.

You’re constantly responding to comments and questions and reviews and fixing bugs and all that sort of stuff and servers go down because of the work. It’s crazy. So Rob came in at that sort of point and we were discussing at that point, I hadn’t made my mind whether to bring Rob as a full time CEO. At the end of the AppSumo deal we had cash in the bank and the MRR, nothing else just made it that much more easy for both of us concerned because I could with freedom say you’ve got a budget now and you’ve got something to work with.

And at the same token, he could also look at it and can actually build something with this. I can take it on a little bit further. So it really, really helped just accelerate. I think, where we probably would have been maybe six months, maybe even 12 months further down the line had we not done the AppSumo deal and for us it worked pretty well.  And as I say that, the challenge is to evolve out of a post AppSumo world into, into a real world, which is people who actually are going to pay you monthly, because having people prove that they are going to pay you once for a lifetime, it’s not them proving that there’s an appetite in the marketplace to pay you monthly.

So fortunately we’ve grown considerably. And we’re doing pretty well, but that was the next challenge. We just made it up far easier, knowing that Rob had a budget and that he had the freedom to actually extend it and do stuff with it. 

Hammad:

So let’s talk about the transition from you, the point you were handing over stuff to Rob. What does that look like? 

Benjamin:

Well, it’s the unsexy stuff. It’s still messy, you know, because at that point it was just me and Rob and I was still doing 99% of the engineering. I was doing the design. I was doing a lot of the marketing. I was handing over to Rob and he was learning the ropes and it’s messy.

And then you hire your first few people and, and bring it to the engineering team, but then you train them up and then you step away and focus on the next thing. That’s kind of unrealistic.

And so it’s only now, you know, 12 months after the AppSumo deal I’m able to kind of step up a little bit more from day to day operations. In fact, that started about four months ago, to be fair.

but yeah, the ugliness of building something from nothing is just the same. Even if you have the cash, you just start hiring people, but it’s still working out paths and what’s next to be focused on and product direction and all sorts of things.

Hammad:

So what does HeySummit look like in terms of growth and how much time do you spend on it?

Benjamin:

So my personal time is not fixed or my input is not fixed to the amount of time at this stage that may change in the future, of course but it’s supporting, I’m on the board office and I support Robin team where needed, but there’s not really a sort of an operational role as such there.

I can’t talk too much because we are literally just in the process of closing a round, which may or may not happen, but, but we were close to that and so we’ll be doing a public sort of statement on that soon. And we’ll probably share a few more different bits of information, but yeah, and we’ve got a good healthy team.

So, it’s growing really well. It’s really nice to see who is genuinely good at being a CEO, kind of like building culture and building processes and seeing the team grow.

And yeah just kind of knowing that they’ve come there not through you directly, but there’s an intentionality around it, but there is a plan you can see it kind of folding out or unfolding, I should say it’s really, really nice. 

And for the very first time I’m having to kind of be at peace with this idea that for all the success that somebody is having now, although it’s still, largely my company, it’s not as a result of me anymore and obviously, I’m fine with that because I want it to succeed. You know what I mean?

This is really what we were talking about before about not seeing a business as a baby. It’s one of the things to sell it and then have it not be your baby, but here I brought someone else in to run it and it’s going incredibly well.

And I can’t really call it my baby anymore because of the results that we’re having. This stage of success has nothing to do with me and that’s interesting. 

I knew that there’s always different ways of looking at how things pan out. 

Hammad:

Great. So let’s talk about your AppSumo product launch. You are probably the best person to talk to. You’ve done four launches. I know I’ve seen AppSumo has changed a lot in terms of how much revenue one can make and on average it’s calmed down slightly.

So let’s talk about first. What does a normal AppSumo product launch look like? What changes have you seen over time? If you can compare it. 

Benjamin:

Normal is whatever a day of the week, because AppSumo is constantly iterating and experimenting. So normal when I did the first one it was a 30 day stint.

There were probably, I think there would be two deals in total, including yours. And they would rotate every other week. So you’d have your sort of promotion on the front page. So you’d land on Appsumo and it would literally take you to your deal page.

And so you’ve got a huge amount of traffic. They have a list of a million and they probably got more great now. And you had a real sort of focus and pride of place. and although a bad product still wouldn’t have fared well. if you had a half decent product you would have had a lot of eyeballs and a lot of early sales where it is today, as you alluded to,

There are too many deals. If you go to Appsumo.com now it does not take you to the main deal at the time, because there is no main deal. There are now 50 or so deals being run at any given time and deals now, although they can, they don’t on average run for 30 days. There’s now the options, I’ve got a deal on there right now called OnboardFlows.

I mentioned the beginning and that’s actually running a six month period. and it’s almost up, I think, for all of the companies doing six months on that, it just means that there is a lot more noise and that’s a good thing. 

In the old world you might have had to wait six months or 10 months, or even 12 months before your deal gets a slot. Now I suspect, I don’t know this for sure. I don’t speak for AppSumo, but I suspect. It’s a little bit quicker to get something on there because they’re just letting ahead more on that.

So I don’t think it’s anywhere near a good AppSumo deal for the vendor. I’ve got a lot of deals going on there in a few weeks for some products within MissingLettr. And, I’m going to monitor that because I really want to see whether or not it delivers in a way that I’ve been used to.

Because if it doesn’t, for everything I’ve said with the experience we have with HeySummit and everything else. I don’t know whether it necessarily becomes as viable a marketing channel as it perhaps previously was, but I will hold judgment until I see what it does.

Well one thing I have learned, I have done four businesses on Appsumo, and probably six deals. I’ve learned some interesting sort of correlations with the industry. So we’ve got HeySummit, quite trendy marketing kind of landing pages, online conferences, particularly trying to do with COVID although COVID wasn’t obviously around back then we did, 5,000 sales. Let’s say something like that. We then have at the bottom end of the spectrum, we have humbled flow. We’ve probably done about a thousand sales because it’s a saas product. It’s very much more niche. Not only do you have to be in SaaS, but you have to specifically have free trials and the more specific that you have to use one of our payment providers.

And I knew it wasn’t, it was just kind of a way of forcing a delivery date and a deadline, but it’s not the ideal product, but you can see the difference.

I think the industry with which your product sits in to a large extent determines the success you have. 

Hammad:

So one last question. I know you said that you have no one playbook but if you were to start again, would you still take the same approach, idea of building a product, get out, get traction, and then deal with it. What would you do? 

Benjamin:

I would hold judgment until the next product to see whether it still delivers an impact but  everything else would absolutely be the same thing. If anything, my skills are becoming more and more honed in being able to pick and have a good gut instinct about whether a product is viable or not, identifying market opportunity, seeing the vision of how that product will look and be engaged with and interact with and how it will compete in the marketplace and then pricing around that.

And then knowing that I can iterate and build that and design it and get it to market in a rapid amount of time frame. That’s very much my modus operandi. I don’t really want to use the word playbook, but that’s kind of my approach and that’s where my strengths lie, to go against that would be denying my strengths, I think.

And that’s kind of the cool point. I’m not doing it because someone else says, this is the playbook that wins. I’m doing it because this is the playbook that works for me. It plays to my strengths. And I would absolutely reiterate that kind of point if you’re listening to this and you’re thinking, well, that’s great.

I’m gonna do what Ben does and then next week you’re listening to Bob and you’re gonna go do what Bob does. And next week it’s Jane like work, spend the time to work out where your strengths lie, because that is the thing that will serve you in moving down the line, 

Hammad:

Great, Ben. Thank you very much.

Thank you for coming on the show and we can speak sometime soon. 

Benjamin:

Thank you. Thanks for having me on.

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