This is a follow up story for Dux-Soup. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published over 2 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
I am Will van der Sander, Founder, and CEO of Dux-Soup. I launched Dux-Soup in 2015 to help sales and marketing professionals optimize their lead generation activities. You can read the background into how we developed one of the first LinkedIn automation tools and have grown to have over 70,000 users in our previous StarterStory article.
Dux-Soup is a tool that helps businesses grow by automating manual LinkedIn lead generation processes. The significant time investment required to get results from social activity when done manually often makes it too costly to be a viable approach. I wanted to offer an affordable way for individuals and businesses to get genuinely good results from LinkedIn without having to sacrifice other business activities.
From a time-saving point of view, Dux-Soup takes away hours of work each month. From finding email addresses and building prospect databases, to automatically visiting profiles and sending messages to prospects, it works well to free up resources. One customer cited saving 3 out of every 4 hours of lead generation time every month, and another an 80% time reduction since using Dux-Soup.
In terms of scaling sales revenue, Dux-Soup allows you to automatically run lead generation campaign sequences to targeted lists of prospects. The campaigns can drive various growth objectives, from increasing LinkedIn connections to generating event attendees, promoting content, and generating leads/sales. We’ve had users win $100,000 of sales from a single campaign, and quote a 250% increase in engagement with Dux-Soup.
These results are what we’re in business for and it’s so rewarding to hear the stats and quantify the value of our business to our users.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?
Our Turbo product (which offers all of the features of Dux-Soup), with its campaign features, lead management dashboard, and integration capability is seeing huge growth. We’re finding that users want more and more complex features, to give them the ability to personalize their outreach further and make their messaging more relevant to prospects.
We now have LinkedIn automation plans for sales teams and lead generation agencies that sell ‘Done For You’ LinkedIn lead gen services. These plans offer them economies of scale, with flexible metered billing to reduce their investment risk and keep their use of Dux-Soup agile. This is where we are seeing our growth accelerate.
Because the tool can connect LinkedIn to CRM systems like Pipedrive and Hubspot, larger organizations and agencies find that Dux-Soup introduces the ability to properly bring LinkedIn into their multi-channel marketing strategy. The added benefit is that data is kept within the organization’s CRM system rather than in an individual's LinkedIn profile.
We’re in a market that is getting busier by the day, a lot of tools come and go, and it can be quite cutthroat.
The market has been through some volatility over the past couple of years, with changes in LinkedIn’s limits on activity. This has led us to encourage users towards a ‘quality over quantity’ approach, and we have developed the tool further towards its lead management capability and ability to test different campaigns to identify the best performing strategy. All in all, it’s been a positive change I think, especially for LinkedIn users, who see more quality engagement and less spam.
And as a result, we’ve continued to grow, despite some of our target markets disappearing with these changes.
By adapting our strategy and through continual development of the tool, adding new features requested by our users, we’ve added $1mill to our bottom line and reduced churn.
Some of our major recent successes:
- We introduced an attractive new free trial offering so that users can gain full access to the entire suite of Dux-Soup features without even giving out their credit card information. We’re big believers in wanting our users to get value from our tool, so we focus on using more than revenue as a measure of success.
And we know it’s hard to decide which plan you need until you understand the features. If we can encourage users to spend time learning how to use it, and which features are right for them, then we know they will choose the best plan for their needs and be satisfied with the results. Our trial comes with an onboarding tutorial program where we can teach them how to use the main features with relative ease. And at the end, they are encouraged to select their plan (which includes a free option) moving forwards.
We launched a Customer Success Program. Our higher volume users that run enough licenses automatically become ‘High Flyers’ and qualify for free technical booster calls, invitations to user group sessions, and priority support calls. For us, it’s again about encouraging them to get the maximum benefit from the tool.
We’re partnering with more fantastic SaaS providers to create integrations between LinkedIn and their platforms, Ensable and Woodpecker are just two examples of great platforms that want seamless integration with LinkedIn. Dux-Soup offers the ability to make this happen and we’re finding this is helping to raise awareness of our product within new audiences.
We also maintain a really strong webinar strategy, with bi-weekly lead generation growth hacking tips that get up to 3000 users attending each one. We have guest speakers and look at topics that will help our user base to grow their sales.
The most common reason nobody is buying your product is simply that it's sh*t. I would recommend always keeping an open mind, pivoting or reinventing as required, or facing a long slow death.
What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?
Keeping up with LinkedIn changes is an important task that we have to keep a constant eye on. We’re regularly testing our product, listening to our users, and checking in on LinkedIn developments, to make sure that we’re abreast of any changes within the platform that could impact how our tool works. We need to be quick to adapt when this happens, and often have updates released the same day when it does. We have expanded our development team in the past year to allow us to develop even faster.
We’re in a market that is getting busier by the day, a lot of tools come and go, and it can be quite cutthroat. But we’ve learned that by sticking to our strengths, not listening too hard to social media, and working hard to innovate and stay ahead of the competition, we can maintain our strong leadership position. And we enjoy what we do, and love to hear positive feedback from our users, it motivates us.
I think with the significant change to LinkedIn last year, we responded quickly, and have a very close team that all believe passionately in the product which helped us work through the uncertainty of the change as a unit.
We have a strong ethos about customers coming first, and being our most important source of feedback. When you mix these assets alongside a powerful development arm that can respond quickly, it’s a force to be reckoned with.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
Not to react too quickly to rumors, uncertainty, and market ‘gossip’, particularly what is said on social media. Get your facts right, listen to your customers, and do your research before taking action.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
We have a strong development plan for the product, hence why we have ramped up our development resources. I’d like to take more of a back seat in the development and focus more ‘on’ the business. Partnerships are important to us, and thinking about new markets to penetrate to maintain our growth plans. We’ve come so far in the past 5 years, it’s hard to think of where we may be in another 5, but there’s still plenty to do!
What’s the best thing you read in the last year?
Business-wise, the most inspiring movie quote I've heard must be from the animated movie 'Robots': "See a need, fill a need"
A mantra to live by!
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their businesses?
Once you have taken away all barriers for potential customers to try and buy your product, and it is still not selling, then your audience just doesn't see the value. One reason for this could be that you are targeting the wrong audience. As a starting business you need to understand your market, so make sure you do enough research on this. As this is a very common aspect of marketing, I'll leave that one as an exercise to the reader.
Another common reason is that you're pitching it wrong. Make sure you spell out the value in a way that is meaningful to the prospect. Make sure you explicitly call out the pain points it addresses. Failing to do so will result in too few prospects understanding what the product would do for them.
But the most common reason nobody is buying your product is simply that it's sh*t. Now, it's very difficult as a starting business to admit that it's the product that's wrong, especially as you have invested substantial time and money into developing and marketing it. But I would recommend always keeping an open mind, pivoting or reinventing as required, or facing a long slow death.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Where can we go to learn more?
- Try Dux-Soup For Free
- Sign up to hear about or get notified of upcoming webinars and LinkedIn hacks blog releases
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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