Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hi everyone! My name is Guillaume Moubeche and I’m the CEO & Co-Founder of lempire. You might have heard about lemlist, our most famous product that recently hit a $10M ARR milestone, without raising any capital.
In a nutshell, lemlist is a sales outreach tool that helps entrepreneurs and SMBs start conversations with their prospects through cold email, LinkedIn, and cold calls, which then leads to booking more meetings with leads and growing their business.
Before starting lemlist, I owned a lead gen agency and was running outreach campaigns for my clients. Being in the sales trenches for quite a while and managing to generate millions in revenue for various clients, I realized outreach comes down to one and one thing only - building relationships.
In other words, sending personalized, relevant messages to your prospects and creating win-win relationships. So we decided to build a tool that will help us accomplish that and that we would love to use ourselves. Turns out, we weren’t alone. Today, there are more than 10,000 people worldwide who love using lemlist because it helps them build long-lasting connections with their customers and drive revenue.
As for lempire, our company has developed multiple products over the past few years. The latest passion is lemverse, an online workspace for remote teams and community builders. Another tool of ours, lempod, was acquired back in 2020.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
As I mentioned, in October 2021, we managed to hit an important milestone for our team and reached $10M ARR. The growth of the company is backed up by continuous developments of lemlist as a product. Having recently launched features for agencies and establishing our sales engagement platform that allows users to send campaigns across channels such as email, LinkedIn, and cold calls seamlessly gave us a big push. On top of that, cold email personalization at scale and our unique email warm-up feature already have a very strong position on the market.
But, I want to focus on some growth tactics and do an actionable teardown of the engine that helped us get here. It starts with a funnel that we like to call the growth circle of love.
- Inspire → it's the part that should motivate you to take action
- Educate → sharing knowledge with people and building trust
- Convert → people decide to take action and purchase something from you
- Retention → making your customers happy and successful in the long run
And to give you a better idea of what this looks like for us in practice here’s a quick breakdown.
At the INSPIRE stage, we want our content to show the real ups and downs of life as an entrepreneur and motivate the next generation to go and do their own thing.
1) The content includes transparent articles with actionable tips that we wrote at each stage of our business:
2) There are two vlogs at the top of the funnel as well. My YouTube channel is focused on entrepreneurial content posted weekly about our successes and failures. On the flip side, one of my co-founders who goes by the name of Vianney has his YouTube channel that speaks to developers, documents our journey from the tech side, and attracts talented devs to join our team.
3) We’re all active on Social Media and as a team, we’re reaching more than a million people on LinkedIn per month. It takes a lot of work, but it’s worth it. In my case, I post 5 times per week on LinkedIn and Twitter about startups and entrepreneurship. Imagine the impact of having more people in your team building their brands… it’s pretty crazy.
4) Our growth marketing team is also investing a lot of time in PR and networking. As we know, a good top-of-the-funnel drives attention. Getting featured on relevant podcasts, websites, interviews, generating buzz, and networking with creative people are all smart ideas.
Even magazines, especially awesome ones like Nathan’s.
5) But maybe the most exciting project yet is this docuseries about how it all started that will be live in Q1, 2022.
When it comes to the EDUCATE stage, the goal is different. This is where we focus on users’ success and bringing an insane amount of value to them always and forever.
1) First and foremost, we have built the "lemlist family". It’s probably the biggest sales community where members ask each other questions, share their learnings, and help each other grow their business.
2) Then, we created what we call the Cold Email Hub. It’s a place on our website where we showcase our users and the great outreach they did. A real win-win situation as they get exposure in front of our audience and we showcase actionable content with real results that help other users.
3) Webinars with top international sales and marketing leaders like John Barrows, Morgan Ingram, Aaron Ross, Jill Rowley, Rand Fishkin, Tim Soulo, etc… it’s never a bad idea to have your brand connected with other successful brands, as well as tapping into each other’s audiences.
4) There’s a third vlog we own and it belongs to Simon and Nadja, where they document their journey as part of the sales team in a fast-growing scale-up.
5) For lemlist’s YouTube channel, it’s important for us to focus on actionable tactics when it comes to the product and email outreach overall. These videos are then distributed across our FAQ and blog too for maximum exposure.
6) With our blog, the focus is on producing actionable and relatable content that aims to answer all the questions our users might have.
Plus, our growth marketing team is heavily focused on SEO to make sure these articles have a nice organic reach too. We know that our content brings value, converts users, and teaches them how to use lemlist before they even get on the platform, so being able to rank well is critical.
7) And finally, there’s our unique Masterclass. The goal was to create THE best course ever on cold email and sales prospecting. This was a proud moment for us as we managed to generate $100,000 one hour after the launch. You can see the entire strategy here.
And again, this is all focused on helping people get better at cold outreach. When leads see the quality of educational content we provide, they build up some trust with us. And when our users see this content, they get better at outreach which in turn keeps them using lemlist.
In the CONVERT stage, the game changes. Here are a few lessons we’ve learned on the road that are particularly important for this funnel phase.
1) Focus on your core audience and don’t try to adjust your product for too many verticals at the same time. For example, our product is made for SMBs and startups, and we’re fully focused on them. From the product roadmap to the language we use to communicate our value proposition.
2) Your support team is critical. We have heavily invested in our support team to treat every customer as a VIP. It just takes dedication and commitment.
3) Onboarding to boost activation. Whenever a user has the first touch with the product, you want to make sure it counts. We don’t want to overwhelm users with too much info, nor do we want to spread our best content across two weeks of their free trial. The ambition is for them to see only the most important stuff that helps them see the promised land and how to get there.
Finally, there’s the RETAIN stage, where the goal is to have happy users in the long run, continue to develop your product, and make it sticky for the users.
1) The rule is simple… the better our integrations are - the more people stick around. That’s why we developed full-funnel integrations with Pipedrive, HubSpot, and Pipedrive. Or email enrichment workflow with Dropcontact or LinkedIn. Or native integration with Aircall. And we chose these integrations based on what’s most important for our users.
2) How you do product marketing is essential for your business. First and foremost, keep your product simple to use and use language that resonates with your audience. Make sure different segments of your users get adapted content for their particular needs. In-app optimizations and the way you communicate about new features. It’s a part of the marketing you never get best at, but you continue to get better and better over time. And there’s always room for more improvement.
3) Extra value for people. Our users trusted us by putting their faith in our product. Hence, we are relentlessly trying to repay their trust by always looking out for their feedback, giving them exclusive access to our latest features, adapting them to their feedback, organizing private coaching sessions, and building a partner network with them.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
For all of us entrepreneurs, talking about growth comes down to two things: your product and your growth strategy. Both are extremely important, but there’s one pillar missing. People you hire in your team.
No good product can be built without talented developers working behind it. No growth strategy can be executed successfully if you don’t have passionate individuals focused on it. People are the foundation of your business! Without this pillar, the other two will crumble.
And with more business growth, more people start joining your company.
In our case, we went from being a team of 10 to 40+ people super fast. The mistake we made is failing to understand that company growth and personal growth are two different concepts.
Failing at measuring people's growth and passion over time resulted in a lot of misalignments. Honestly speaking, we consider every member of our team as family. So having to go through a situation where we had to let some people go, for whom we had mad love was hard. We did our best to make these transitions smooth and fair. We also offered to help them, if needed, to find new jobs where they fit and that they are passionate about.
There are important lessons we learned on this road. Your hiring process needs to be clean as a whistle to be able to spot the right people. Put in place clear and measurable objectives so you end up understanding if a person is the right fit or not. And you also have to communicate honestly with your candidates, because “being a fit” goes both ways.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
Our mission is to inspire 1 million entrepreneurs to grow profitable and successful businesses.
Your network is your net worth. But it’s never a copy/paste situation where there’s one silver bullet for everything. So listen, learn, and then go and do your thing.
When it comes to lemlist, we’re passionate about amplifying the message that outreach is really about building relationships and having more people see how our tool can help them achieve that. With a top-quality product that we’ll never stop improving and actionable content on top of it to showcase best practices, the sky is the limit.
Crossing $10,000,000 in ARR was something we thought was impossible. Until we saw that magical number in Profitwell. Especially if you take into consideration that we’re a fully bootstrapped company that started with a capital of $1,000. The next goal is to scale the operation and grow to a $100M ARR in four years.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness, and Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. All great books to get inspired to get shit done!
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
There’s a mantra that the lempire team lives by. Do things that you shouldn’t. We’ve followed this since it was just Vianney, Francois, and me back in 2018. We still follow it to this day.
Our second hire was a videographer. Our video team is currently bigger than the sales team. After reaching $1M in ARR, we didn’t hire people with long track records in the SaaS industry. We went for doers who were curious individuals and had a grinder mentality. At the time of writing this article, our sales team is running outreach campaigns for some of our clients. Free of charge and fully transparent, documenting the entire process on Youtube. And we never want this mindset to change.
The moral of the story here is that it’s your company, hence it’s your rules. Following our gut and doing the things we shouldn’t lead us to where we are today.
It’s always a good idea to ask people for advice and take a few lessons from their journey. I do that all the time. Your network is your net worth. But it’s never a copy/paste situation where there’s one silver bullet for everything. So listen, learn, and then go and do your thing.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are hiring right now and we have 15+ positions open across multiple teams. You can see all the listings on our career page.
From sales and marketing to developers and videographers, there are so many cool opportunities. And if you want to have a basic idea of what kind of a team you will be joining, I recommended watching the video below.
Where can we go to learn more?
- Discover lempire
- Find out more about lemlist
- Join our community
- YouTube channel for ambitious entrepreneurs
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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