SaaS from a Sales and Marketing Standpoint with Jesse Ouellette, Part 1

About This Episode

Have you ever been wondering who the customers are that check your website, but don’t fill out your forms? A lot of wasted potential everytime a visitor doesn’t fill out the form, isn’t it? With Jesse’s experience, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Jesse Ouellette stops by Decision Point to talk with Brad about his experiences in sales, and SaaS that led to him founding not one, but two companies to help improve the efficiency of SaaS and their sales and marketing teams.

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SaaS from a Sales and Marketing Standpoint with Jesse Ouellette, Part 1

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Brad Seaman: Take me back. Tell me how how, how do you get where you’re at?

[00:00:03] Jesse Oullette: Yeah, right. Yeah. Thanks for kind of joining tonight, Brad, and thanks for inviting me to the program. So what, what happened to me was I was, you know, I had 15 years of kind of enterprise traditional enterprise software, and I was coming to this point of, I’m seeing a lot of trends that are happening.

I see more of my job was marked. Right owned by the marketing team. I saw more of the product was a kind of a consumption impact, PLG model pricing. And the third, the third trend I saw was more of the job was just getting done by the marketing team. And they had more of that. Like that was kind of what was going on.

So I was like, man, what am I going to do here? Am I going to continue down and try to close these big deals? When the event, the actual sale is not even really tight. The event is the event of closing. The deal is only important to the salesperson. It’s not important to the company now because they don’t care that they’re trying to get anybody in the door because of cost acquisition.

If you take PLG or lower costs. So I said, how, how do I solve this problem? And you know, what happened was I was kind of like working at a place and you know, I was working with some, some, I had a little bit of a dream that, Hey, I didn’t really agree with the the CEO and, you know, I thought marketing and sales should be.

And I ended up switching careers you know, and kind of had a good, good discussion there, but basically I said, Hey, I wonder how hard it would be to leave enterprise software and build my own software on. Where I, you know, SaaS, a Saasproduct where I could actually build it and I could sell to sell it to sales and marketing people because I knew what the kind of one or two problems were that I saw.

And what I basically did is I built my own Saasproduct while I was doing some management consulting. So. I wanted to make sure I knew the problem set that was still impacting sales reps. I think it’s still the same thing, but you know, I guess what happened was I ended up basically leaving enterprise software for SaaS to build my own company.

And now I’m essentially a SaaS founder, you know, so that’s, I know it sounds a little trivial. I learned how to code from YouTube and get hub.

[00:00:00] Brad Seaman: Take me back. Tell me how how, how do you get where you’re at?

[00:00:03] Jesse Oullette: Yeah, right. Yeah. Thanks for kind of joining tonight, Brad, and thanks for inviting me to the program. So what, what happened to me was I was, you know, I had 15 years of kind of enterprise traditional enterprise software, and I was coming to this point of, I’m seeing a lot of trends that are happening.

I see more of my job was marked. Right owned by the marketing team. I saw more of the product was a kind of a consumption impact, PLG model pricing. And the third, the third trend I saw was more of the job was just getting done by the marketing team. And they had more of that. Like that was kind of what was going on.

So I was like, man, what am I going to do here? Am I going to continue down and try to close these big deals? When the event, the actual sale is not even really tight. The event is the event of closing. The deal is only important to the salesperson. It’s not important to the company now because they don’t care that they’re trying to get anybody in the door because of cost acquisition.

If you take PLG or lower costs. So I said, how, how do I solve this problem? And you know, what happened was I was kind of like working at a place and you know, I was working with some, some, I had a little bit of a dream that, Hey, I didn’t really agree with the the CEO and, you know, I thought marketing and sales should be.

And I ended up switching careers you know, and kind of had a good, good discussion there, but basically I said, Hey, I wonder how hard it would be to leave enterprise software and build my own software on. Where I, you know, SaaS, a Saasproduct where I could actually build it and I could sell to sell it to sales and marketing people because I knew what the kind of one or two problems were that I saw.

And what I basically did is I built my own Saasproduct while I was doing some management consulting. So. I wanted to make sure I knew the problem set that was still impacting sales reps. I think it’s still the same thing, but you know, I guess what happened was I ended up basically leaving enterprise software for SaaS to build my own company.

And now I’m essentially a SaaS founder, you know, so that’s, I know it sounds a little trivial. I learned how to code from YouTube and get hub.

[00:02:10] Brad Seaman: Okay. So you taught, so the product you’re on today, you taught yourself to you developed yourself and taught yourself.

[00:02:16] Jesse Oullette: Yeah, I was always fairly technical. And what’s happened is there’s so much code out there.

There’s so many boiler plates. There’s so many sandboxes and I vetted the code. I mean, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve tested it. I’ve, you know, family. My brother works at Google and I mean, I’ve tested all of this technology and I know that I’ve got a product. It holds up to all of, all of the products and, you know, and I coded it.

So, yeah, so I wrote the code and I, but I wanted to do that to learn it. And then now, I mean, honestly, I can, I knew exactly what parts I can contract out now if I need to do stuff, but yeah, I own the entire code base and I basically sell the product now. It’s a, it’s a it’s a product for basically sales and marketing people to figure out who’s coming to their website so they can come.

[00:03:01] Brad Seaman: No. Is that being done with, is that being done with cookies or how’s the, it’s using first party cookies and just using IP addresses?

[00:03:08] Jesse Oullette: So I take the data, GDPR anonymize it. What I do is I don’t take any European data. I don’t take California data. I just basically take that I try to reverse engineer who it is at the account at the account level, not the person level.

And I throw out all the PII stuff that I just. Kind of give that over to the sales team. What I found is some of the solutions that are out there now are all doing a lot of sampling. And when I was a sales rep, I was actually using server log files to find my leads. Like I wasn’t relying on, I didn’t trust the SQL server.

Yeah. So I would use the the web server logs. I would always go into whenever I went into a company, I would always make friends with the the person who was on the Mar I knew who to go to. It wasn’t any, it was a contributor. It was like somebody who was on the web site, whoever ran the website, I would get them to get me access to them.

The, the, the, the, the kind of the server logs. So basically like the log files for the S for the server. The server that the people that are coming inbound to your website, because I knew we were only seeing, I saw we had a thousand people on the website a month or 10,000, and we got one person who came in and said, I want to talk to you or 15 ebook downloads or whatever it was.

So I said, well, how do I get more of these? And the way I did it was I was just using the server logs. And that’s how I was picking my accounts and getting all my leads. It was great. I mean, I had tons of leads all the time.

[00:04:32] Brad Seaman: That’s awesome. So you sort of parlay that strategy. Into. So are you taking the server log information, then you’re going back to some IP directory and matching it by hand.

Is that how you were doing it as a sales rep? Okay.

[00:04:44] Jesse Oullette: So that’s what I was, I was doing the server a lot. I mean, you, the way you can also access the server logs is you’re going to have JavaScript running on the browser and you kind of have the same effect. So you can basically have the same effect because you can, you know, I don’t know if people understand how JavaScript works, but every website has a bunch of these JavaScript.

S snippets installed in that’s where they get the data collection. So like obviously average website might have 20 or 30 of these kind of applications. If you will, you know, all your ads and all your programmatic ads are going to be running on your S on your, your website. And, you know, there’s this little small piece of JavaScript that’s in the.

That’s how it works.

[00:05:21] Brad Seaman: Like, like lead for rent, you know, lead forensics or any, anytime they’re trying to track something on your side, your Google.

[00:05:26] Jesse Oullette: Yeah. I sense a demand, but I don’t really look at myself as competing against some of those ABM products. I don’t really, quite frankly, I don’t know what ABM is.

Like. I really, I still haven’t heard it a definition of like what it, I mean, I did, I worked for one of the top management consulting companies in the world. Right. SaaSand I won’t name the names cause we had some private projects, but I, I, we were doing ABM consulting, but we were, it was a lot of, it was expensive.

Number one. And it was, I just don’t know what you get out of it. And I don’t really understand what it is.

[00:05:57] Brad Seaman: So now do you mean when you talk about that or you talk about that? Like, I don’t know what it is. From the web, like from a software piece or like, I don’t know what it is from a strategy.

[00:06:07] Jesse Oullette: It more of a strategy.

Like it’s just a lot. It feels like it’s like, you’re out with your family on the deck. And you’re like moving a bunch of patio chairs around all day and you’re just like do it a lot of work, but you’re not actually getting anything done. That’s like, anytime I see an ABM program at a company, I like, oh, how’s that going?

You know, like it’s, it’s probably costing you a lot of money and you’re probably not getting much.

[00:06:29] Brad Seaman: Now, now, do you so unpack that? Cause I’m curious, your thought on that is that because you feel like, Hey, there’s all, there’s all kinds of these kinds of maybe the random, maybe they’re focused, but there’s a bunch of activity going into an account, but there’s not a lot of movement.

[00:06:45] Jesse Oullette: Yeah. So for me, what I saw ABM wise was two things. The only two things I could derive out of it was they tell you who’s coming to your website. If you’re a sales rep, And then they let the marketing team run programmatic ads against those people, the ones coming more should get more ads or vice, you know, whatever audience matching of their ads.

Those are the only two things. Now, what I see happening is these big invasive, like strategies coming into these companies, when really what the hardest problem I always saw was the salespeople never got. The D I mean, I always did, because I just went in and made friends with the people that I knew. It wasn’t a senior level person on the team either.

This was like a little bit of a, by the way, pro tip here, if you’re working at a SaaS company and you don’t know who’s coming to your website, call, call me obviously. But like you go to your marketing team and trying to figure out how they know that they probably will try to like, not tell it, like, I don’t know who knows what your company is, but that’s where kind of this friction started for me.

And you know, ABM world is just a, it’s just a lot of moving parts and I don’t totally get it. I mean, it’s two things, ads and visitor identification, but I don’t think you need like a whole, like, you know, seven, six figure seven figure management consulting project to do that, to figure that out, like give your sales team the information, call the people who are coming to your website.

And let it go and then run ads at those people and maybe coordinate a little bit. Right. But I don’t think you need, like, you know, some of these programs are, so you forget what’s going really, really what’s going on, you know?

[00:08:28] Brad Seaman: Yeah. No, well, I mean, look, it’s in, it’s in it’s in the vendor’s best interest for the buyer to be confused or maybe not confused buyers don’t buy, but confused.

Like not know how the sausage is made.

[00:08:41] Jesse Oullette: Yeah, what’s scary about it is I’ll tell you like the ABM, the, the, the ones that I kind of put at risk are the ones that are like above the fold of ABM, where they’re in that big ABM. And they’re trying to become the data platform. The reason that’s not going to work is because they’re not a data warehouse.

So the data warehouse and company. Are like your snowflakes and your, your cloud computing, your red shifts and all that. That’s where the data is going to be. You’re not going to be in that business.

[00:09:06] Brad Seaman: So who like, who specifically are you talking about? Which vendors are trying to be in that, that crossover space.

[00:09:12] Jesse Oullette: You’re going to see this look, this is my opinion. I’ve been public about this on LinkedIn, so, right. So, so I think we’re down. You have a big problem. Is companies like Demandbase and Engagio. They had, you know, they merged together. I mean, who knows why they merged, but you don’t usually merge as a SaaS company, like running like that.

It usually one of them struggling. Right. I don’t know. I mean, I have no information on this other than I just know that that space is like a completely, you know, there’s people that have basically made their entire job. This, this role, and it’s not really a role. Like it’s more of a data role. If you really want to go fix the problem, go figure out how to get like segment or data warehouse in your website.

But what I see happening is a lot of those companies are trying to become the data platform, but they’re not, they can’t be, they just don’t have the compute and storage in the platform. Right. So they’ll, they’ll have to use other data. They’ll have to use like segment underneath the covers or something like that.

Like another one.

[00:10:10] Brad Seaman: Yeah, it’s interesting. So do you think of like a Terminus and that same, that same vein and the term is,

[00:10:16] Jesse Oullette: I mean, we’re there, where there, you know, where they’re good as they’re running ads, they’re targeting the ads. Right? So that, that could add some value, especially if they kind of add some extra data sets.

Right. So that I’m not, I’m more, more about like the visitor tracking or the, the like big ABM where they’re doing, they’re trying to allot the ones who are always talking about aligning the sales team and the marketing team. I don’t think you can align them anymore. I think they have to just be one. I don’t think it can be two.

[00:10:42] Brad Seaman: I mean, I, I, so I’m definitely in agreement with you. Like, I, I think where the separation happens is when you get to a certain size and then you hire some, you hire somebody. Who’s not on the same page, whether you have a marketing person, you hire a sales person, you have a sales person and a marketing person, and they have different beliefs because they came from different schools.

And once you hire two people from two different schools at three different thoughts and are aligned and incentivized on two separate things, then you’ve got division. Right.

[00:00:00] Brad Seaman: Take me back. Tell me how how, how do you get where you’re at?

[00:00:03] Jesse Oullette: Yeah, right. Yeah. Thanks for kind of joining tonight, Brad, and thanks for inviting me to the program. So what, what happened to me was I was, you know, I had 15 years of kind of enterprise traditional enterprise software, and I was coming to this point of, I’m seeing a lot of trends that are happening.

I see more of my job was marked. Right owned by the marketing team. I saw more of the product was a kind of a consumption impact, PLG model pricing. And the third, the third trend I saw was more of the job was just getting done by the marketing team. And they had more of that. Like that was kind of what was going on.

So I was like, man, what am I going to do here? Am I going to continue down and try to close these big deals? When the event, the actual sale is not even really tight. The event is the event of closing. The deal is only important to the salesperson. It’s not important to the company now because they don’t care that they’re trying to get anybody in the door because of cost acquisition.

If you take PLG or lower costs. So I said, how, how do I solve this problem? And you know, what happened was I was kind of like working at a place and you know, I was working with some, some, I had a little bit of a dream that, Hey, I didn’t really agree with the the CEO and, you know, I thought marketing and sales should be.

And I ended up switching careers you know, and kind of had a good, good discussion there, but basically I said, Hey, I wonder how hard it would be to leave enterprise software and build my own software on. Where I, you know, SaaS, a Saasproduct where I could actually build it and I could sell to sell it to sales and marketing people because I knew what the kind of one or two problems were that I saw.

And what I basically did is I built my own Saasproduct while I was doing some management consulting. So. I wanted to make sure I knew the problem set that was still impacting sales reps. I think it’s still the same thing, but you know, I guess what happened was I ended up basically leaving enterprise software for SaaS to build my own company.

And now I’m essentially a SaaS founder, you know, so that’s, I know it sounds a little trivial. I learned how to code from YouTube and get hub.

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