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Episode #31

Riikka Söderlund is a SaaS marketing expert and the CMO of Katana, a Tallinn-based startup that has raised over 50m€ in funding. We discuss all things SaaS marketing, from KPIs and attribution to selecting business-appropriate strategies and hiring world-class talent.

This post is based on our podcast episode with Riikka Söderlund. Riikka is a SaaS marketing expert and the CMO of Katana, a Tallinn-based startup that has raised over 50m€ in funding.  You can watch the entire conversation here.

1. Measuring what’s working

Attribution has been all the rage for a long time, with many tools and services promising to help companies answer the age-old advertising quip “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Riikka highlights the importance of a holistic understanding of attribution, rather than relying only on software tools or simplistic models. A deep understanding of the business model must be the starting point. Factors such as buying persona, average contract value, buying cycle length, and number of touchpoints have a huge impact on how performance should be measured.

Before attribution can even become relevant and a tool for better marketing decisions, there needs to be a proper understanding and alignment on the calculation of key metrics such as customer lifetime value (LTV) and customer acquisition cost (CAC).

It’s also crucial to understand the purpose of various marketing initiatives and measure the performance accordingly. For example, the objective of a social brand awareness campaign is very different from a search ad campaign.

2. SaaS metrics that matter

There are several key metrics that are important to track when it comes to SaaS marketing.

The lifetime value to customer acquisition cost ratio (LTV:CAC) is crucial, but it shouldn’t be the sole focus for growth-oriented companies. For example, at Katana they shifted from tracking free trials to closed-won customers, reflecting marketing’s impact on the entire customer journey and its role in generating monthly recurring revenue (MRR).

Riikka also highlights the importance of churn, as it affects LTV and overall business health. She points out that marketing should be involved in the entire customer lifecycle, including re-engaging lost customers, to prevent churn and maximize revenue generation.

3. Choosing her next marketing role

After leaving her role as VP of Marketing at, Riikka was looking for her next job. To help narrow her options, she came up with three criteria.

First, she wanted a company with a positive culture, where the management is genuinely commitment to its employees and the overall mission. Riikka points out that this is often preached, but seldom practiced.

Second, Rikka looked for a role where marketing was a key business driver. She wanted a position where she wouldn’t have to constantly justify the role of marketing but could instead focus on contributing to business growth

Third, she wanted a company where the available resources matched the desired outcome. Riikka highlights the unrealistic expectations often placed on marketers to achieve ambitious growth targets without corresponding resources.

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Watch video: SaaS marketing with Riikka Söderlund

SaaS marketing with Riikka Söderlund – Youtube script

today’s guest is Riikka Söderlund she previously held various marketing roles at including vpf marketing and helped the company grow from 30 to over 100 million in annual revenue she’s currently the CMO of katana a startup that makes Inventory management software and has raised over50 million EUR in funding welcome to the show ra thank you for having me so I’d be interested to learn about How Riikka got started with SaaS marketing how you got started into this world of uh sauce marketing yeah yeah um I think I kind of got started accidentally um it it wasn’t on purpose I had a decade already behind me in the kind of more traditional marketing you would call it in agencies ad agencies media agencies um and uh having been working in marketing than a company that does marketing Tech like smartly made perfect sense to me because we were marketing to marketers I was the the client basically so it was a very easy step it wasn’t a conscious choice that I want to work in a tech company but once I started I’ve never looked back I I love it and this is what I was supposed to be doing all along so when you joined smartly um like I just mentioned intro uh it’s a big success for people who don’t know it’s a Finnish company right so it’s one of our big success stories obviously the product matters a lot but I presumably you also did a lot of things right when it came to marketing and demand Genera what would you kind of attribute that that kind of success to what what did you do right at smartly in terms of of driving growth yeah that’s a good question uh and I think we did a lot of things right but I think we also did a lot of things wrong so I’m guessing the the big success factor was that we were able to experiment and we were given that space to try the different things and figure out what works and what doesn’t because that then allowed us to amplify those things that actually worked um amplify the messaging that works the ads the events and that was a of a iterative approach in that sense so definitely not a like a straight line success story it uh it was a lot of work yeah as these things always are but looking from the outside just looks like wow everything just you know keeps going up and to the right yeah I wish so one thing that we talked about Why do Finnish companies underinvest in marketing? off air which I think smartly did obviously because it’s a global company uh we talked about the fact that Finnish companies tend to underinvested marketing or look at marketing maybe just as an expense as opposed to an investment so can you talk about that yeah I uh it’s something that I’ve been trying to figure out like my entire career if anyone’s actually figured it out please share with me as well why is that why is it that we don’t see marketing as an investment like it is often seen in uh in international companies so of course in this Tech bubble where at smartly and in my current role at Katana we have international investors and they understand the value of marketing and how marketing drives growth it’s a lot easier in that environment to then also like I said experiment and actually kind of use that as a leverage and comment on how that actually drives business impact whereas if you have to start from scratch of kind of changing people’s minds or attitudes it’s a it’s an upheld battle that I I don’t know how to how to win that battle I think that’s a really good point right it’s not you know if you’re in a company where the management team or the investors or the board does not have that perspective for you as a CMO or marketing whatever title you have it’s really it’s going to be a huge uphill battle to try to convince them that you know this is actually what we need to do and it’s working yeah yeah exactly and it’s uh marketing is hard enough you don’t need to kind of have that extra layer on top of that or at least I don’t my life is a lot easier this way I can understand that um you mentioned it smartly you were able to Attribution, how it works, and how to use it experiment and to understand what was working and that there’s an obvious question there which is how do we even know and measure what’s working what are what are we looking at what is it just based on attribution so so can you talk about that of because I feel like that’s a really big sticking point even in in companies that should be able to measure a lot because it is a digital product it’s a digital buying Journey it’s still a huge confusion as to what’s actually driving the signups or whatever it is that we’re tracking so can you think talk about how you think about that measuring what’s actually working I think there are two sides of that I think the first piece is it’s incredibly important to have internal alignment on what actually matters and what is it that we measure it seems simple to say okay we’ll look at LTV CAC but if the management team hasn’t actually sat down and discussed well how do we calculate our lifetime value which expenses do we put in our acquisition cost what time frame are we like if that the alignment isn’t there then it’s a meaningless number so having internal alignment is absolutely the first step but then the second one is probably also really company specific so at smartly we were selling an Enterprise product which means long Sal sales cycles and a lot of marketing touches 27 touches on average between lead generating a lead and closing a deal at Katana we’re selling a a small mediumsized business product the average contract value is about 5,000 so a lot shorter sales cycle and a lot less marketing touches so the attribution of course kind of varies a lot with these two different types of business models and I am not a big believer on first touch attribution or any kind of chew black and white world where you can pinpoint that this is the one thing that works it’s always a holistic view but it does depend a little on the business setup that you’re at if that makes sense so companies that are um thinking that you know it’s just about finding a tool that will give us the correct attribution or looking at a specific yeah the solution is not software based it actually is about fundamentally understanding the business and doing that calculation and marketing cannot do that alone like you need to get the CFO CEO involved and that should be absolutely that should be the starting point I guess then for any discussion about think about marketing as an investment this actually knowing what the CAC and LTV uh reasonably are absolutely and understanding the attribution model holistically as well and like understanding it the same way across the company a concrete example events are in insanely uh expensive so showing a positive LTV C or showing Roi on a specific event a specific trade show for example it’s virtually impossible to generate enough leads to actually do that and yet those are incredibly crucial on an Enterprise deal where relationships and just whining and dining our customers and partners is what actually drives business forward so understanding that even attribution is in black and white internally in the management team incredibly important are there any kind of tactics or or specific ways that you think about attribution obviously you can use different attribution software but when you have something that’s also when a lot of touch points are happening offline and they’re hard to quantify how how do you go about doing that again I think it comes down to that of a holistic understanding of what matters most what are those touch points that matter most and yes I look at we currently use HubSpot yes I look at the influenced Revenue number and see which assets and which channels influence Revenue the most but with of at the back of my head constantly also thinking that there are those channels that don’t show up here what could those be and what kind of value could I attribute them and again that’s a conversation that’s probably not a conversation with the management team though that’s more a conversation with my marketing team of us together understanding of well what kind of value did um a YouTube awareness video campaign generate we’re not expecting clicks that’s not how it’s supposed to work so what is it that we are and this of course happens before the campaign runs what is it that we’re actually expecting it to generate and then just kind of trying to see if those awareness or offline activations are actually driving those metrics things like traffic to the website or uh organic search for example that makes a lot of sense do you think that in general in your experience Why marketers must focus on revenue in in marketing as a whole but perhaps specifically when it comes to the SAS that marketers tend to focus on things that are easily quantifiable at the expense of what’s actually having a lot of impact like we love showing mqls or signups um and and less interested in actually trying to look at hard numbers whether it’s revenue or something else well um this might be a a black and white view of the world but then they’re not very good marketers if they’re not looking at revenue or actual business results um my team is uh the new customers not leads or mqls or even sqls the metric is new customers and if we’re not interested in Revenue then how are we ever going to be successful and it is hard sometimes to draw the line between the marketing activity and the revenue like I said it’s not always linear and there are multiple milestones in that Journey but if you have that common understanding of the fact that it is not easy then it’s a discussion it’s a continuous discussion it happens all the time the company and then um you can thrive in that environment so it’s kind of incumbent on marketers to understand both the business very deeply but also things like just being able to read a p&l so you can speak the language of the rest of the company right is absolutely how how would you recommend that I mean there was probably a lot of sources but how have you done it personally like how did you go from just having that kind of marketing perspective to then getting that holistic business understanding that allows you to yeah you know be be in the position you are at that’s a good question actually because well I would assume that if you study Marketing in a university perhaps you are taught those things and I didn’t I’m actually a journalist by education so I actually never studied this and I actually had to learn it uh through through work so I’ve been lucky enough to have uh both managers but also just mentors in companies that I’ve worked at and I’ve also been proactive I’ve raised my hand and said hey I would like to understand this better can you explain it to me and no one’s ever said no we don’t want you to understand this isn’t your B like why would anyone ever deny you the understanding of how business works but of course you have to be the one who’s proactive and actually wants to learn that journalistic background comes with I think a lot of in curiosity and and kind of analytical and um yeah then probably helps a lot I ask a lot of questions yeah I I I literally I have a phrase I always say to my team that uh I am not questioning I’m asking questions because that’s just who I am but sometimes it can even come off as I’m questioning what they’re doing because I’m asking so many questions that makes sense um we talked about C LTV um just to to kind quickly SaaS metrics that matter Circle back and talk about a little bit about metrics are those the two metrics when they’re properly understood and defined as as you mentioned are those the two metrics that you know are should be on the top of Mind of every marketer SAS marketers kind of yeah at the top of their list or are there additional metrics that you look at as like these are absolutely crucial to understand what’s happening Sal marketers yes I don’t think there’s any scenario where you shouldn’t look at LTV hack but it depends on what the business goal is marketing is of course there to help uh achieve whatever the goal of the business is and it’s easy to achieve a really good LTV CAC if you’re not growing if you have no Ambitions to actually grow the company just stay steady not acquire a lot of new customers then easy peasy at Katana we have very ambitious growth calls so just looking at LTV CAC will not be enough uh we used to look at free trials top of funnel the lead metric but that was something I’ve now changed to looking at actual closed one customers because I do believe that marketing plays a pivotal role in the entire customer journey and not just the customer journey to customer but actual generation of monthly recurring Revenue so um LTV CAC new customers and insas mrr monthly recurring Revenue and I guess you know if all those metrics are heading in the right direction then something is um is is something you’re doing something right something is working and now it’s just our job to constantly figure out what is it what’s working and can it work better can we accelerate can we amplify that’s the that’s the fun part what about churn so in the SAS business model churn obviously there a huge impact on LTV and the overall business success do you think that’s something that marketing should be concerned with is it something that marketing can influence or or how do you think about is that the the responsibility of other business functions now turn is definitely everyone’s problem because the seeds of churn are planted way before the actual uh when it actually happens I think marketing is responsible for customer life cycle so be before they become a customer during when they are a customer and yes then also when they are a lost Customer because lost customers are often a really valuable Target segments that you can potentially reactivate but it’s good to remember that while marketing really focuses on customer acquisition whether it’s net new customers or those turned customers the value creation happens in between the mrr is generated in in between acquisition and churn that’s where all the revenue comes from and if marketing is overlooking that then we’re not only leaving money at the table because we’re not trying to activate the customer and provide value for them but we’re also probably planting those seeds of churn because we’re not engaging them and making them feel special during their life cycle that’s a really good point and so if if all the value happens in between do you see it as a problem that companies are incentivizing marketing through bonuses or just you know based on what they’re tracking to focus on everything that’s not in between and that has huge potential negative impacts on value creation do you think that that’s something you’re seeing and at at companies yeah it’s uh I think it depends a lot on the management yes I see it at some companies but then I I live in this happy Tech bubble where customer centricity is a really big thing and focusing on customers while it might not be the responsibility of marketing and it doesn’t have to be that’s what customer success teams are for marketing still can play a role and have input in that customer experience so it’s perhaps not as big of a problem in this sector but it is a lot harder to of course get investment for it or resource it right because it’s not as easily measurable as acquisition or big term prevention got it um you mentioned off The criteria that led her to Katana air when we were talking that when you had left smartly and you were looking for your next gig um you had a pretty good kind of clear view of what you wanted to do uh sorry or or what kind of company you wanted to work for can you talk about some of the criteria and why uh why you chose them yeah I was incredibly strict about what I wanted for my next role and Katana was the only one that ticked all the boxes so I’m extremely grateful that I found them uh a big thing of course was just the company culture the fact that the management team and the founders care about not just what they’re doing but how they’re doing it and are engaging the employees is just a to me it’s an no-brainer um but still a lot of times it’s just said not actually executed on day-to-day life but Katana that’s something bad that that does happen every day another extremely important part for me was that marketing is a business driver I said I don’t often see that in Finland and I don’t want to spend my days explaining to management or convincing a board of directors of why we should do marketing I don’t want to be constantly justifying my existence I much rather do good things that drive business value and at Katana that’s possible because most of the revenue does come from marketing sources marketing uh plays a pivotal role in the company’s growth and they wanted someone to help them accelerate that growth so it was a business challenge perhaps even more than a marketing challenge that I wanted to take on and then the third piece which is perhaps obvious is that you had to have the resources to actually do it we uh often see these impossible requests of here’s the growth goal here are the resources you’re given now bridge the gap like doesn’t really work that way marketing kind of is a coin up rated machine so you do have to invest according to those business goals and the resources were in check at Katana so here I am it sounds that’s awesome you found something that trick ticked uh all those three boxes and you know it’s not they may seem like really obvious things that companies should be doing but it’s I think it’s also quite rare it’s extremely rare and I don’t really understand why that is because it’s not really rocket science it’s actually especially again in SAS marketing it’s kind of just math of what you need to invest in order to get the output that you want and it should be fairly obvious but yet it somehow seems to be very very rare but uh hopefully getting more and more common let’s hope so yeah so when you The first things she did as CMO started then at Katana what was the first thing um that you decided to do but where kind of the questions you wanted answer what was the the top priorities y top priority whenever I start a new role would be to get to know the people not the business but the people and secondary the business and the data and what’s happening in the business but because the people often tell you things that they see behind the numbers and they can give you the context that you need before you look at the actual data and the numbers so that was my first step understanding the organization and the Dynamics and how different teams and different functions work and do they work is there room to improve the way that they work because a lot of times even the data that you look at might not be relevant if there are underlying issues in the organization or the flow of work or the processes that are in place uh which was to some extent true at Katana there were certain things that we changed both within the marketing team in terms of where we focus and what roles we have in the team and how we work together but then also more broadly in the entire company in the entire goto Market function of how do we bring our product to Market how do we sell how does marketing and sales teams work together Etc so starting with that people component I think that’s important absolutely and and you Creating internal alignment mentioned offline as well that uh one of the first things you did was was creating a unified sales funnel sorry or funnel between sales and marketing so you can talk about why you did that what that looked like and what the results have been yeah it’s uh it unified funnel that was the name of our our project we uh had a fairly Enterprise Pro uh sales process in place at Katana when I joined so uh of a typical sales development rep first as qualifying calls and Scopes out the deal then hands it over to a sales rep uh for a close and all of this happens in a complete Silo where marketing has done something here then sales does something here there’s abs absolutely no visibility to how these two things connect so it was a a project of both combining that funnel into one so that sales always knows what’s coming in and marketing can actually monitor what the size of the pipeline is so that sales has enough pipeline to close enough deals to reach those business goals but then also removing that uh step of sales development reps from the process because we’re uh a small medium-sized business product with that ACV of about 5,000 doesn’t really make sense that numbers don’t really add up if you have a too long or too complicated too heavy off a sales process it has to be more streamlined especially since uh about half of the revenue comes from product Le growth so people who simply do a free trial decide to use the product on their own there is no human touch in between so optimizing the entire funnel making sure sure that we all look at it that the same way was absolutely the first priority and we’re almost there almost there that’s such a huge project because it requires I mean you have to get everyone to think alike and that it’s it’s um easier said than done for sure yeah again it’s that internal alignment that you need and that’s why I say I always start with people because if the people don’t agree if we don’t see the issues the same way or disagree on what priorities we should take these types of projects become absolutely impossible to execute you cannot execute a big shift like a goto Market model change without the unequivocal support of the entire management team so creating that alignment you know I I suppose one or two of the listeners who are listening to this will be in a position where they feel Ah that’s what we lack in our organization um is there anything kind of tools that you’ve seen be be particularly effective or is it just a matter of like bringing you back to the kind of numerical objective reality of like hey we need to you know our ACB is this therefore we need to spend you know we have to change the model like how do you get people convinced especially when um there may be people who are literally getting paid to work in a different way right now and they’re not very let’s say eager to start changing their ways yeah alignment happens between people doesn’t happen between numbers or tools or functions or it happens between people so it’s a stakeholder management exercise I guess I’m quite methodical in how I approach stakeholder management so I make sure I have regular meetings with everyone and I do have agendas of what I need to discuss with with different not just management team members but the senior leadership of the company and also every single employee at the company I have a method to that as well making sure I’m available to everyone and it’s through those conversations that you build the foundation and the trust and sometimes even those decisions that then lead to that alignment it is my experience that it’s more rare to achieve alignment in a called management team meeting through a presentation where I present everyone else is listening and they’re nodding the alignment is actually created long before that meeting happens and it continues to happen after that meeting as well so it’s a it’s a stakeholder uh management exercise more than anything else that’s interesting because you you highlighted like you need to have in order to make it successful you need to have both the authority and the resources but then you also need to you can just Ram it down everyone’s throats you actually also need to do that very tedious work of onetoone explaining building understanding um and I guess without both of those pieces it’s not going to work yeah exactly and it’s not just about explaining it’s more often than not about listening like what is it that the other person cares about what what’s important to them and how does this thing that I want to achieve connect with that thing how do I build a bridge between them how do I make them care why it my issue is actually important um so I think communication often is more about listening than actually talking yeah just as a side note I I I think it’s striking how often you come back to the fact that success in various completely different business functions can often be summed down into just interpersonal communication or empathy even like it’s such a huge on yes absolutely I mean success happens through decisions that are made by people and often made when you are not in the room so the impact you’ve created or the perception that they have of you has been created when you are not in the room so it’s it’s all about every business is a people business well said um so talking about some of the specific things you decided Picking the right strategies the strategies you decided now to to kind of deploy at Katana so you know the first thing you kind of realized was hey you know given our ACD uh our business model the way we’re doing things that’s just not going to work like it won’t make sense but when you have kind of the then defined you know your Universe of potential things you could be doing um there’s still a lot of different strategies channels tools way you could ways you could go about it how do you have a process or a framework for how you start selecting what you will be um which kind of tools you will be using yeah I think the first step is always to listen to smart people like what we’ve talked about now it sounds like I’m super smart and I’m doing all these smart moves all on my own no no no I have both a really good team but also the help of agencies Consultants Freelancers our investors who have done this before with other companies so just listening to other people their ideas is their input is usually a really good Catalyst to get to that thought process of well what could work here yes there are some obvious things when you’re in sauce marketing most of it has to happen digitally anyway so you have a a limited amount of channels and in SAS LinkedIn tends to be one that you can’t over look so that’s kind of an obvious one but you still have to figure out how to use it if in what way do you want to utilize it like are we talking about inmail campaigns and like doing that SDR motion of just approaching people through Linkedin or are you advertising are you doing brand advertising are you doing product advertising are you generating leads so there are still a lot of choices to be made after the channel selections happened but again it’s an iterative process and you have to be able to experiment if you want to grow you have to be able to do that because the world changes all the time channels change algorithms change what works this year is not going to be the thing that works in two years and growth doesn’t happen happen overnight so we need to be able to constantly experiment and iterate what we do how do you strike that balance between on one hand constantly experimenting and testing things and then on the other hand when we see that something’s working like oh we did this thing on LinkedIn and not just this thing but this like specific messaging or or what whatever it was seems to be really working and and then trying to leverage that while it’s working as much as possible like how do you strike that balance between between the two that’s fairly simple isn’t it you leave on the things that are working and you turn off the things that aren’t working and come up with something else that’s hopefully based at least partially to the things that are working and again if you’re in a company that understands the value of Market then the things that are working are providing profitable Revenue to the company which then gives you leverage to ask for more budget for those experiments again because you’re constantly growing that Baseline of Revenue and it just building incremental streams on top of it Budgeting speaking of budgeting how are you approaching it um because what I’m hearing is it’s really important to take a very Dynamic approach you know if you find that something’s really working or let’s say something you know something happens in the external environment that causes the um CAC to significantly change in whatever Direction um how do you approach budgeting at at Katana that’s a that’s a good question because this is the first time ever in my career and I’ve been at Katana now for eight months so this the first time that I’m budgeting at Katana the first time ever that I am not given a budget but I get to create a budget and tell what I need in order to reach those business goals first time I’ve been doing marketing almost 20 years it’s uh actually quite scary it’s it’s really daunting to actually have the freedom of like there are no excuses if this fails it’s on me so it’s uh it’s scary but it’s also an incredible show of trust to be able to look look at our numbers look at our data understand what our cost per lead is in which channel uh how many leads we need to generate with our conversion rate percentages that we currently have and then do the back engineering from that of well this is what we need to create next year in order to reach our business goals and then we just constantly monitor if any of those attributes starts to change like you said then we’ll need to make changes is and it’s a conversation in the management so it’s not a a strict line of this is the cost per action we can afford it’s a conversation where we then constantly make the decision of well can we afford a little bit more is there some other area of the business where we can scale down or is there another area of business that’s working better at the moment like is Partnerships for example scaling faster than let’s use the marketing lever down and put more bets into the partner side of things so it’s a constant balancing but it’s it’s a conversation it’s not a there’s no algorithm doing the allocation for us it’s it’s like NeverEnding work right it’s like you said constant um it also SS incredibly complex because you have you know you’re Visualizations and managing complexity marketing you’re selling across across the globe I would guess um yes so many different channels um so many different initiatives do you have any just personal framework that you use or or way or approach that you use to just make sense of it and just feel like oh I am on top of this I understand what’s going on um because I feel like it could be very easily quite overwhelming yeah my uh my team is listening they will be laughing because I have to say I mean it’s just I can’t live without it’s it’s the way that I organize my thoughts but on a more broader scope I think it really helps if you visualize your business strategy I think some companies do this really really well in just building a picture rather than a list or bullet point or a table where they tell who they are what are they trying to do how are they doing it and maybe they have a few of those key initiatives listed there the visual format because then that’s something that you can return to again and again and again it becomes a tool of internal communic unication but it really just becomes a tool of of understanding and reminding yourself of what is it that we’re trying to do and when that is done really well it’s easy to then kind of map back the initiatives to that strategy as well I love that because it’s it’s so easy to forget that we don’t really as humans maybe with a few exceptions we don’t really resonate so much by numbers it’s more stories and pictures yeah and just one thing that came to mind um was was that in in the early days of Amazon they would have themes for the year like one year I think was get big fast because they needed to get to a certain scale and so everyone understands okay that’s the overarching goal so is it is that kind of what you’re talking about yeah kind kind of yes we uh at Katana the way that we did it is uh our strategy visualization is of course inventory we’re an inventory management software so there is a picture of let’s say the warehouse where we have the different shelves of different initiatives and different motions that we want to uh do in order to reach that Nord star that we have together defined as well so yes and it’s in a visual format so that’s what makes it a lot easier to then also digest um internally youve mentioned uh the team a few times how are you thinking about um Why you must hire the best talent how how do you think about hiring and building a team that will be able to drive growth in a global global market um in a you know very competitive market like what kind of skill sets are you looking for and also maybe what kind of um personalities are you trying to build a team with complimentary personalities or temperaments or or is it just about you know we need a we need this designer here we need a copywriter here how are you thinking about building building a team well first of all I am building a Global team I do think that we’re shooting ourselves on life if we try to build a team that’s only based in one location that’s just very difficult to do our customers are in North America so I need people in my team that are North American so that they have that kind of same context cultural understanding vocabulary that our customers have uh personality is less of a factor but it has become an interesting Factor because we’re working in a hybrid envir environment and we’re working over video so personality plays a different role than it did in the office because often the people who are really loud and visible in the office are not on video which is an interesting Dynamic it gives uh much more opportunity for introverts but then again kind of requires a little bit of a different maybe a skill set as well but overall I think the most important advice I have in hiring is always always always hire the best possible talent and never settle because that’s always when you also then fail if you settle if you think oh I just need a designer or I just need a copywriter there are very few instances where you just need a copywriter you very likely need an excellent copywriter if you have ambitious International growth goals totally I feel like that’s one of those very clear cases where saving money can actually become really expensive exactly and again if marketing plays an actual pivotal role in your business then that’s not the place where you can save it’s almost easier to go without than to have a mediocre talent in your team so if you’re if the goal is to hire the the the very best um sort of kind of by definition the very best they have option you know presumably people recognize they’re good what’s been your kind of like how do you get those people to join um to join Katana to to buy into to what you’re trying to accomplish yeah uh a part of that is of course the culture and our employer branding and of truly living to our values so that regardless of which cut and out you would ask the question they would all say that it’s a wonderful place to work so it’s it so it actually resonates then with uh with potential employees as well I think specifically in marketing we have an extremely compelling situation when you have resources because right now in this economic climate that’s simply not the case even in some of the most desirable uh Employers in the world they still struggle with resources so for us it’s a combination of having those resources to play with but then also the exciting growth phase of where you get to try and experiment things it’s not for everyone and I’m super transparent about that as well like there are a lot of people who really really hate scaleup marketing I love it but it’s not for everyone yeah I think that’s a that that’s probably also really good advice to be very clear in the beginning stage I feel like companies can make the mistake of like oh we really want this person so will paint a better picture but the problem is once they join and they realize oh this was not a good fit then you’ll have you know problems with retention exactly and uh with growth companies time is money you cannot afford to lose two months in hiring then two months on boarding and then two months realizing oh this didn’t work and start all over again time is money you need to succeed on the first round so you need to be honest and you need to hire the best person for the job easier said than done but that’s that’s really good advice exactly is there any kind of final question here uh is there any specific resource whether Education and constant learning it’s a book or um online resource that you find yourself going to back to when it comes to understanding uh let’s say specifically sauce marketing oh my gosh if someone writes a book about sales marketing it’s going to be outdated already when it comes out no no specifically about SAU marketing I think uh events are are really good source just hearing other companies stories and what they’re doing so and I mean so easy now listen to a podcast go to an events uh watch a video and do that constantly it is something that you actually have to do constantly that’s a a requirement also again for my team it’s not an option to not follow what what’s happening in s marketing because it is changing all the time you have to keep up and I guess also constantly be asking questions um as you mentioned exactly you can never be too curious on that very good note um ra thank you so much for joining us it’s been a a real pleasure talking to you um is there any place are you active on LinkedIn any place where people can can follow or connect with you yeah you can follow me on LinkedIn of course so uh is the name you’ll find me there not really active on other social media platforms currently so you will see me it’s speaking at events so that’s about it okay well that’s awesome and thank you so much ra and have a great rest of the day thank you so much for having me thank you for listening you can find all episodes of the growth pod on Spotify YouTube and apple podcasts

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