TechCrunch+ roundup: Optimizing acquisition, parental leave tips, riding the downturn express
I try to keep things fresh, so I was dismayed to realize that I'd used the word "downturn" in two different headlines this morning.
Despite the quickening pace of layoffs, there is some good news for SaaS startups: 70% of SMBs plan to increase IT spending in 2023, and the procurement process is getting faster.
According to Caroline Hogan, senior director of vendor marketing at Gartner Digital Markets, this means companies can boost growth and revenue just by studying buyer decision patterns.
"At the awareness stage, businesses are looking to solve a problem or challenge using technology," writes Hogan.
Full TechCrunch+ articles are only available to members.
Use discount code TCPLUSROUNDUP to save 20% off a one- or two-year subscription.
"Therefore, it’s essential to clearly communicate the benefits of your product and develop use cases tailored to the challenges businesses are facing."
For example, Gartner found that 41% of SMB customers rely on customer ratings and reviews before making a purchase.
Which begs the question: When was the last time you checked your reviews on Capterra or GetApp? Here's a follow-up: Which methods are your sales team using to encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews?
If you don't have ready answers, you're leaving money on the table. (Don't worry, I won't tell your investors.)
"Understanding shifts in how buyers are researching, evaluating, selecting and purchasing software is critical to accelerating growth," says Hogan, who shares several tactics for gathering actionable insights.
Thanks very much for reading,
Editorial Manager, TechCrunch+
5 key metrics that help edtech startups improve profitability
Image Credits: Nicklas Karlsson / EyeEm (opens in a new window)
Edtech startups have been riding a roller coaster over the last few years.
COVID-19 school shutdowns made the sleepy sector hot overnight, but today, many companies that overhired are reducing headcount just to stay afloat.
But this isn't a problem for the CEO to solve. Sales, product and marketing teams have multiple levers they can pull to optimize revenue, writes Roman Kumar Vyas, CEO and founder of edtech startup Refocus.
Finding ways to nudge KPIs like service-level agreements and approval rates will reveal strengths and weaknesses in your current offerings, but "these metrics can help you build trust with investors" as well, according to Vyas.
5 tactics for managing paid customer acquisition during a downturn
Image Credits: akinbostanci (opens in a new window) / Getty Images
When economic conditions change, companies adjust their marketing tactics. When the pandemic began, I stopped receiving almost all junk mail, but after vaccines rolled out, my mailbox was once again full of irrelevant offers.
Paid marketing is a core tactic for early-stage startups, but this downturn is a good time for founders to reexamine customer acquisition strategies, says Brian Rothenberg, an investment partner at early-stage VC fund Defy.
"Capital is more expensive now than it’s been in years," he writes in TC+. "Where else can you invest to drive higher returns and to build a more durable competitive advantage?"
3 tips for CEOs planning to take parental leave
Image Credits: Frank Rothe (opens in a new window) / Getty Images
The U.S. is one of only six countries in the world that lacks a paid parental leave policy.
Combine that with the fact that startup founders are praised for sleeping under their desks, and it's easy to see why many tech workers don't even take the 12 weeks they have coming their way after having a child.
Before giving birth, Cory Siskind, founder and CEO of Base Operations, created a plan that would let her take time off while keeping her business on track.
"Taking time off is a personal decision, but it should be just that: a decision," she writes. "It’s an option for everyone, even CEOs."
Your MVP doesn't need to be perfect; it needs to be stage appropriate
Image Credits: Nuthawut Somsuk (opens in a new window) / Getty Images
If you recall the movie "The Social Network," Facebook didn't launch as a place for family and friends to keep in touch: Its first iteration scraped photos from Harvard's student directory so users could rate their looks.
When it comes to finding the MVP "for a pre-seed company, you don’t need perfect design and scalability; you need to build enough product and traction to get user feedback," writes Haje Jan Kamps.
'From there, you can iterate and create value for the customers."