Welcome to our spotlight series of conversations with some of today’s most exciting MarTech leaders.
In today’s discussion with Dennis Sturm, Samdock’s head of marketing, we explore the challenge of finding a balance when marketing a new product or service.
Samdock is a young German SaaS company that provides a new kind of CRM designed for small businesses. Since launching just half a year ago, Samdock has helped over 1,000 companies transform the way they manage and use their customer data.
Our founder, Nicolas Jacobeus, sat down with Dennis Sturm to discuss the challenges of marketing a small SaaS company in an increasingly competitive marketplace and the strategies that helped Sturm and his team find success so quickly.
Tell us about Samdock
Samdock is a young, small CRM for small businesses. A lot of people ask us why we’ve created another CRM since the market is pretty crowded. Of course, when you start a new CRM, you need to have good positioning on the market. You need to find your niche. And that’s what we did. The most popular CRM systems mainly focus either more on larger companies or, if they are suitable for smaller companies, they are not really made for them.
With Samdock, we’re targeting companies from 1 up to 50. The feedback we get from these small companies is that the most popular CRM systems are really over-featured with things that they don’t need. They just need something that can organize their data quickly.
How did the new CRM gain a foothold among small businesses? “We really focused on having the most intuitive and simple user interface. We also focused on making it out-of-the-box usable,” says Dennis Sturm, Head of Marketing at Samdock.
We really focused on having the most intuitive and simple user interface. We also focused on making it out-of-the-box usable. So, you need a minute to sign up and you can start right away, even if you’ve never worked with a CRM before.
What do you do in your day-to-day work as head of marketing at Samdock?
The way that we market our product is based on two things.
First is our direct marketing—gathering our own leads, getting our own customers, and so on.
On the other hand, we work with partners. I call this indirect marketing. It can be other companies and agencies or it can be other SaaS companies that we integrate with.
This one-to-many approach is something that we really try to focus on, because that brings you the growth. It would take much longer if you only focused on your own marketing.
Samdock has been able to speed up growth by partnering with agencies and other SaaS companies that the tool integrates with. Says Dennis Sturm, head of marketing: “This indirect work with partners gives us a bit of flexibility and takes the pressure off direct marketing.”
It's really important because we are funded by investors, and they want to see numbers. The more customers we get with our partners, the less we have to get on our own. So this indirect work with partners, this gives us a bit of flexibility and takes the pressure off direct marketing.
What are some of your goals and challenges at Samdock?
Because Samdock is such a young company, we are largely funded by investors. This means that we can’t always focus on long-term marketing goals.
Our goal is to reach a point where we can afford to invest more in long-term marketing. Currently, we delegate tasks to some freelancers but in the future we plan on expanding our in-house marketing team.
What has been most effective and why?
When it comes to marketing our young, small CRM, it’s always about using trial and error to find what works. Of course, there's the typical marketing things that everyone is doing, like performance marketing or content marketing, but at the end of the day, you never know what works best for your business. Are you targeting the right people? Does it give you the right responses that you were expecting?
So, even though you know what kind of marketing measures you can start, you never know if that works for your business. In fact, it doesn't really matter too much how much experience you have, because it depends on so many things.
“It’s about trial and error to find what works. So, even though you know what kind of marketing measures you can start, it doesn't really matter too much how much experience you have, because [success] depends on so many things.” - Dennis Sturm, head of marketing at Samdock
For example, look at a paid social ad. Of course, paid social ads can work for your business, but then you need the right content in that ad, you need the right targeting, you need the right landing page, you need the right content in the right places, you need the right follow-ups and stuff.
There's so many things that require trial and error all the time. And even though the whole thing might not be working, within the whole thing there are so many little factors. So, you’re always fine tuning.
Of course, the more you think about it beforehand, especially strategically and conceptually, the more likely it is to work. But at the end of the day, you never have 100% safety.
How does content marketing fit into your strategy?
There's not too much that we've done so far in content marketing, because of exactly this balance of trial and error I’ve been discussing.
Many things in content marketing are more mid- or long-term. They don't bring you short-term results. For investors, we needed to get numbers and we needed to get the first customers so that they could see that things are working out.
But on the other hand, you also want to encourage a more sustainable brand-building approach.
That is the balance that is really hard to find, especially when you have the pressure on the one side [to get results], but on the other side you have to care about building the brand.
“That is the balance that is really hard to find, especially when you have the pressure on the one side [to get results], but on the other side you have to care about building the brand.” - Dennis Sturm, head of marketing at Samdock, on content marketing versus performance marketing.
Some people say that content marketing is not needed at all; some say content marketing is the most important thing. I don't think there's actually a right or wrong answer. It really depends on what your goals are and what you need to achieve—and how quickly.
I mean . . . if we weren’t funded by investors and having this constant pressure of getting results, probably we would have done a lot of things differently. We might have focused more on mid- or long-term goals, which can also give you growth but just at a later point. So, it really depends on what your business looks like and what your business goals are. But of course, we are really happy and thankful to have these investors on our side.
I'm really happy when I see that things are running smoothly and customers are coming in, because that gives me a bit of flexibility as head of marketing to start focusing on things that are more mid- or long-term.
That's why some companies are starting that way with content marketing and doing no performance marketing at all. And some start with almost 100% performance marketing, and then, step by step, work on improving brand awareness.
Especially in terms of content, the trend that I am detecting is that it's way more important than it was a few years ago to have a really, really good content concept and strategy. There's a lot of content going around. A lot of people are producing a lot of content—and a lot of it is good, but it doesn't really have a strategy or goals behind it.
An idea that became popular a few years ago was that the more content I do, the more likely it is that my brand becomes popular. Of course, that's right to a certain point, but the amount of available content is growing so fast that it’s become important to have all these thoughts around it: Who do I want to target, what are the goals that I want to achieve with the content, where do I place it best, and so on. So it’s not only about spreading your content but spreading it in the right places.
That's actually a trend that I'm really noticing, because I feel that I get overwhelmed with content.
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