Dan Martell started his first tech company at age 17. It failed. At age 19, he started hosting a company. Failed… again. Dan then tried consulting for three years after that. And guess what? He hated it.
It wasn’t until age 24 when he finally found success. He started a SaaS company called Spheric. He claims, though, that he almost crashed Spheric into the ground. Dan says Spheric was bootstrapped and despite all the growth, the company was stagnant. Dan and his team could not figure out the best opportunity to kick-start sales. Dan found himself in an all-too-common rut—working 100+ hours a week, running on only hours of sleep, and having no one to turn to for critical SaaS advice.
Dan says after struggling for a few years, with time, he was able to find the right mentors, read the right books, and take actionable advice. Within a few years, his accomplishments began piling on.
Some of Dan’s key accomplishments (full list here):
- Made his first million by age 27
- Raised venture capital for his previous startups (Flowtown and Clarity)
- An investor in 40+ startups
- Runs the biggest YouTube channel for SaaS entrepreneurs in the world
- Named Top Angel Investor in Canada in 2012
So, it’s safe to say Dan knows a thing or two about success in the SaaS space, which he probably wouldn’t have learned without failing a few times, first.
Today, Dan is a serial entrepreneur and founder of SaaS Academy. Through SaaS Academy, Dan works with SaaS companies that need to reach the next level in attracting and converting leads, expanding their customer base, and increasing revenues.
Lucky for us, Dan brought his knowledge to Recur 2019. He shared SaaS Academy’s Hot Principles with us. Let’s break them down.
Dan Martell’s 4 Hot Principles to accelerate growth
Dan asked, “Why is it so hard to identify, set, and hit targets?” It could be that you’re overestimating. Or perhaps you don’t have a process for estimating, to begin with. Applying the four principles were about to go over will help you identify, set, and hit targets more accurately.
First principle: forecast targets. This principle is all about setting goals, according to Dan. But, Dan says in order to predict numbers and goals, you need to predict where you even want to end up. Most people just say they want “growth” or “more.” More of what? Growth from where? You need to have a specific starting point in order to predict where you want to be in a certain amount of time.
Dan said there are three elements to this: outcomes, accountability, and measure. Write out your outcomes, i.e., where is the company going? Then, write down accountability. Who’s part of this operation? Finally, measure. Look at your performance over the previous 12-month period to predict the next 12 month period.
Dan says forecast targets are important because one mistake can cost you hundreds and thousands of dollars in monthly recurring revenue. When planning for the future, reference the past and be specific with your goals.
Next up—funnel metrics. Dan says he’s noticed that a lot of founders have a difficult time holding other parts of the business accountable. That’s why funnel metrics are so important. Funnel metrics entail holding other teams accountable to ensure everyone is hitting their targets. Because, if the sales team is not hitting its numbers, then it will throw off the goals that customer success made for the year… and so on and so forth. Holding teams accountable truly is key to operating a well-oiled machine (or in this case, a SaaS business).
The next principle is also centered around accountability. If you’re going on a road trip, someone needs to be responsible for the keys the entire trip. If not, then it’s more likely that they will get lost. It’s similar when you operate a business. Founders need to assign accountability to members of certain teams.
To a similar tune, Apple calls it DRI, or directly responsible individual. Every aspect of your business and every project needs to have a DRI. Dan promises it will change the culture of your organization.
And finally, measure actuals, which is checking in where you are at. Dan challenges companies to measure actuals on a weekly basis, although many successful companies do this on a daily basis.
This entails updating data points correlated with the metrics you track within your spreadsheets. Teams should meet weekly to look at what the target is and assess in real time if everyone is on track to hit those targets. He recommends color-coding in red, yellow, and green. While many fear to see the color red, it might just be the wakeup call teams need to get back on track to hit their targets.
The companies Dan started when he was in his teens and early 20s failed because he didn’t have the proper resources to help them succeed. Now, he is that resource for so many SaaS founders. If you have at least $10k in MRR, a functioning product, and paying customers—you may be eligible to become one of Dan’s SaaS Academy students. More information can be found here.