THE EVOLVED SALES LEADER PODCAST – ‘Your Product Is Great, Your Copywriting Sucks’



Your Product Is Great, Your Copywriting Sucks


  • Jonathan FisherDirector of Market Research, Overpass
  • Alex Napier Holland – Sales Copywriter, GorillaFlow

Why do so many SaaS brands get stuck in the trenches?

Jonathan Fisher:
Software as a service (SaaS) companies have become one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing sectors in the business world today.

As new players enter the SaaS industry at a rapid rate, many founders shoot for the stars just to get shot down to Earth by their competition.


Because many players in the SaaS space don’t take the time to sit down with their ideal audience and get to know their pain points – before they launch into an already crowded market.

Due to this, even the best products often get stuck in the trenches.

To prevent this from occurring, companies need to put a heavy focus on writing copy with the right message to catch the attention of the right buyers.

How sales copywriting can help build a killer SaaS product

On this episode of The Evolved Sales Leader, Alex Napier Holland combines his exceptional experience with relationship building and his super-power copywriting skills to teach you how to write directly to your target audience.

Listen in as we discuss how to…

  • Separate your product from your competitors through your copywriting and branding.
  • Use copywriting and sales pitches in tandem with building your product, not as an after-thought.
  • Show genuine, authentic, connection with potential customers so that you can receive honest feedback and create new pipelines.
  • Listen to your customers to solve future problems with your product.

Don’t forget to visit https://gorillaflow.com/ if you want a free, no strings attached breakdown of your website copywriting from Alex.

Welcome to Evolved Sales Live

Catch every single episode of The Evolved Sales Leader by following us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, our website, or your favorite podcast player.

You’re listening to the Evolved Sales Leader, an Overpass podcast.

This is a show for the sharp-minded business development or sales innovator who’s curious about new ways to grow and seeks actionable insights you can leverage to qualify for that next round of funding, achieve a successful initial public offering, or systematically get in front of more of your ideal clients or customers in a post-COVID world. 

Let’s get into the show! It’s time once again for Evolved Sales Live.

SaaS – an exciting, but competitive industry

Software as a service or SaaS companies make up one of the most dynamic and fast-growing sectors in all of business today.

  • In 2020, the U.S. SaaS industry was worth an estimated 108.4 billion dollars.
  • This figure is forecast to increase to 225 billion by 2025 – an increase of over 100 percent.

With so many new players entering the field, the competition is fierce – and with 92 percent failing, the casualties are many.

An introduction to Alex Napier Holland, GorillaFlow

If you work for one of those startups, our guest today can help you make sure your company is one of the success stories.

Alex Napier Holland is the founder of GorillaFlow – a boutique businesses services firm that specializes in creating high-performance sales copy capable of driving revenue on autopilot.

His work has launched products and boosted revenue from more than 90 SaaS companies and technology brands, and his clients include businesses of all types and sizes on five continents, including Adobe and Salesforce.

In the course of serving his clients, Alex has become very close to dozens of founders and having seen their struggles firsthand, he brings a great deal of passion to the conversation – and he’s here to help your SaaS brand to escape features and benefits trench warfare, beat the odds and win.

Alex, we’re excited to have you on the show today.

Alex Napier Holland:
Thank you. I’m excited to be here.

Sales copy combined with proven international sales experience

Jonathan Fisher:
You specialize, as I mentioned in the intro, in writing powerful sales copy for SaaS companies, but you didn’t start off as a copywriter. How did you begin and get into this industry?

Alex Napier Holland:
I come from a sales background. I graduated in international relations and journalism – and then spent six years in international sales.

My career started with the Commonwealth Secretariat – essentially selling boutique advertising solutions to predominantly energy companies and ministries based across Africa and Asia. That’s where I found a love for international sales.

I enjoy trying to understand how culture can affect the way that people think and express themselves – and the kind of angling and approach that you need to sell to them, engage them, and build rapport.

Next, I moved into international sales for SaaS brands.

I started at an FTSE100 technology brand – and ended up leading international sales for an SME.

After six years of closing deals, I switched from a senior sales position to a junior marketing position – and quickly ranked up.

For the last three years, I’ve worked as a consultant. I specialize in SaaS sales copy – specifically home pages and landing pages.

So, I’m a writer, but I bring a lot of experience from real-world negotiation, pitching, and closing deals – both in enterprise and B2B environments.

Because there’s quite a difference between enterprise and B2B, but I don’t think it’s always appreciated.

Jonathan Fisher:
Yeah, that’s true. It’s not just a difference of scale, but there are some differences in terms of the concern and how to apply certain kinds of principles and insights

So, I think it’s really important for our audience to understand that you don’t come at this actually as a writer first. That may sound funny, but honestly, that’s really important – because there’s plenty of great writers, but great writing isn’t great sales copy necessarily, is it?

There’s a lot that goes into making sales copy effective. And honestly, just picking your brain on that one topic alone could probably fill up our show.

But we’re going to keep it focused today.

Beware of ‘SaaS Features and Benefits Trench Warfare’

You’ve noticed a lot of things that go wrong when it comes to the way that SaaS companies pitch what they offer – primarily in terms of the written copy on their website, email communications, and anywhere that language is being used to convey their story.

They’re making some key mistakes. And you call it ‘trench warfare’, right?

What do you mean by ‘Features and Benefits Trench Warfare for SaaS brands’?

Alex Napier Holland:
‘Features and benefits trench warfare’ is to lead your business on a costly and exhausting perpetual arms race to try and defeat your competitors through a superior set of features – but with no compass, mission, or North Star, and constant exposure to better-funded development and marketing teams.

I can’t help but think of the Cold War as an example – I mean, I was an IR student.

You look at the space race between the USSR and America – the amount that got spent on that engagement; how much money got plowed into that.

And essentially a lot of SaaS companies are trying to do the same thing as well.

They’re trying to beat each other just by out-featuring each other – which causes many problems.

Firstly, it leads you to a bloated product.

At the last company that I worked for we had a product that was very comprehensive. It was very capable, but we had essentially tried to please all of our customers.

We had a reactive roadmap – and that’s the second problem.

Features and benefits trench warfare will lead your SaaS brand towards a reactive roadmap; so you’re just constantly trying to keep up with your competitors.

Again, you really can’t silo sales copy from product and development.

You’re going to end up with a product that has plenty of capabilities – but the UI and UX will suck.

And your sales copy will suck as well – because it’s difficult to pitch your brand as being ‘everything to everybody’ and yet to somehow also sound specific to any audience.

You’re going to pour a huge amount of money into both development and marketing – while you fight fires in 360-degrees. Whereas, you could instead pick off battles with one or two competitors who are actually a decent match for your product.

It’s just an underlying lack of a ‘north star’ – a mission.

These SaaS brands are unwilling to decide which customers they DON”T exist for – and to define that line clearly. So it’s difficult to focus any of their marketing efforts or their development efforts in the right place.

They’ll end up being mediocre at a lot of different things.

That’s true in terms of development and user experience – but also from marketing.

Jonathan Fisher:
Well, it sounds like what you’re saying is that you don’t come at this like it’s ‘Mad Men’?

Even if you’ve got the right approach and if your copy is written in such a way that tells a story – you’re still going to sell something that is actually garbage.

I’m not a big fan of the show. But I’ve seen enough snippets to understand that’s kind of the premise, right? That old school marketing – where you can sell almost anything if you’re effective as a marketer.

It sounds like you have a more integrated approach with your clients – where the process has

got to be good and it has to be attuned in a certain way?

Let your customers shape your SaaS brand’s mission

It sounds like their whole stance – from product development to marketing – is too focused on their competitors and maybe not enough on end users and clients. Is that part of the issue?

Alex Napier Holland:
Yeah, absolutely.

What I love about SaaS – the reason why I’ve stayed in this sector despite opportunities outside it – is the sense of mission; the number of products I work with that actually have a big positive impact on people’s lives.

The most exciting thing in my job is working with founders who really are motivated about having some sort of a human impact.

There are SaaS products that evolve iteratively, and that’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with that at all, but you can’t just keep slinging mud at the wall and hoping that it sticks.

Marketing is a two-way process. It’s great to be mission-focused. But even if you do think you’ve got a product that can change the world, you’ve got to listen to your customers.

It would be easy to list off companies that have pivoted three or four times and ended up doing something very different to their original mission; because they listened to their customers – they ran customer feedback and they responded.

Jonathan Fisher:
So there’s a balance here between being mission focused – and also listening to your customers as well.

Getting deeper on that whole subject of mission, you mentioned that that’s part and parcel of your process in terms of coming up with a way to really make your clients more successful.

How can we do that?

How does a company begin to grapple with this issue of having a mission?

Mission-focused vs. iterative SaaS brands

Alex Napier Holland:
As I alluded to my last question, I think you could roughly divide SaaS companies into two types.

Firstly is ‘mission-focused’. One of my clients has developed a vehicle radar system that could potentially reduce road traffic deaths significantly – they have an idea that they think could change the world.

Secondly is where most of my founder friends are, which is ‘Let’s play around with a bunch of different ideas and let’s see what sticks’. That’s a completely valid idea. That’s a fun way to approach your business. But if you’re doing that, you really need to engage your customers.

Even these friends have moved away from a waterfall development process – towards Agile.

Everybody does some form of Agile nowadays.

But they often get customer feedback once they’ve launched their product.

What I’m saying is, ‘Why not do that even before you’ve launched your product’?

We used a classic startup pitch. Let’s say you haven’t even got a beta; you’ve got your first framework together. You don’t call up and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got a product to sell you’.

You call up and say, ‘Hey, I understand you’ve got this particular problem. Is that correct? Great. I’m trying to build something that I think can help people like you. And I’d love to get your feedback’.

You don’t have to give somebody a $20 Amazon gift voucher. You just show a genuine empathetic, compassionate interest in the problem that they’re dealing with. And pretty much anybody – if you sound authentic – will be willing to give up an hour of their time to give you feedback on this problem they have.

So you undersell yourself and instead of turning up with a basic framework, you’ve got a buggy beta – and they realize it’s actually on its way to being a decent product.

One of my friends launched his CRM for charities in this manner. Two to three years later they’re on track for a seven-figure valuation – because they got it in front of customers before their product even existed.

They empathized with and connected with these charities, talked about the pain points they’re experiencing – and asked if they could show them their product before they’d even already coded it.

It was just a set of screenshots at one point.

Jonathan Fisher:
Well, that sounds like a powerful way to activate a team. Now you actually know there’s a market. I mean, if you’re needing funding, if I can improve, there’s already a market because I’m that engaged with an existing marketplace of buyers. That sounds like a very powerful stance to take. Why do you think somebody could ever miss that?

Alex Napier Holland:
There’s a variety of reasons. I guess the most cynical answer first – there are some founders who are purely motivated by money. There’s nothing wrong with having a degree of motivation for money – but I think you’ve got to empathize your customers.

Some people launch products because they’ve worked that industry for five or 10 years. They know that audience really well. They really care about that audience. That’s fine.

But even if it’s a brand new product and an audience that you’ve never worked with – all you have to do is pick up a phone and show a genuine human interest in these people.

I hate to bring up a Gary Vaynerchuk quote in a marketing podcast, but – for my sins – ‘Crush It’ has one or two decent segments. Gary said, ‘If you’re not willing to spend a chunk of your time every single day engaging in the places where your audience hang out, then don’t do this. Go home. Do something else’.

If you’re a developer, if you’re building a product, then just put aside an hour a day to hang out with these people and empathize with them.

The most important thing that I think that any founder can do is – let’s say you’ve got a two or a three-person company – each of you spend one day a week on the phone either talking to your first customers or people in your industry, to listen to their problems.

You’ll get so many ideas for features, but – more importantly in some ways – the angling for your features.

‘What’s the human impact of this feature?’

Every B2B SaaS product ever made can ‘save time’ and ‘save money’ – so no one cares.

But what does ‘Save time’ and ‘Save money’ look like for your particular audience?

You can pull up examples, like….

  • Instead of ‘Save time’, you can say ‘Give your support team their evenings back’.
  • Instead of ‘Save money’, you can say ‘Hire and scale faster, just like these brands did’.
  • Instead of ‘Measure your performance’, you can say ‘Build a culture where great work gets celebrated’.

And back each benefit up with a quick one-line quote from a customer who fits that particular persona.

Jonathan Fisher:
Great example. I love that. I’m going to come back to the whole thing about some of your tips and tricks for copywriters that might be listening as well. So I’ll plant that seed and we’ll circle back.

How to win ‘SaaS features and benefits trench warfare’

So, let’s say that we’re either interacting with our audience as it exists now; or – if we’re really radical – let’s get out there and find out about them ahead of time. I love that model.

What’s next? How can you discover your mission and win this whole ‘trench warfare’ thing?

Alex Napier Holland:
I’d essentially break this up into two stages.

  1. Win features and benefits trench warfare
  2. Escape features and benefits trench warfare

Let’s start with winning. There are two parts to this. The first is to build customer research into your culture. And the issue is that some brands don’t do customer research at all.

I’d tell them – do it right now.

If you need help, hire a copywriter. And never, ever hire a copywriter that doesn’t talk about strategy and customer research. Any sales copywriter should talk about these two things.

There are two key activities for customer research:

  1. Customer surveys – great for scale
  2. Customer interviews – great for depth

You can send out a customer survey using Google Forms, with questions like…

  • How did you discover our product?
  • Why did you choose us over our competitors?
  • What’s the business impact of our product?
  • How does it feel to have our product in your life?

It’s helpful to ask these kinds of open-ended questions.

Sure, B2B sales can include technical concerns – like whether this product achieves compliance with GDPR or specific financial reporting regulations. But there’s always a human being at the other end who wants to understand how it will make their lives better in some way.

B2B sales are defined against B2C by being multi-stakeholder.

So sure, we have to reach our end-user – but also people in accounting and C-Suite.

Interviews are the second way to conduct customer research.

While I might survey as many as 200-250 customers, I’ll potentially interview just 10 customers.

Next, I’ll pull these quotes in and organize them into each stage of a purchase journey – from a customer evaluating your product through to choosing and then using it.

This gives us a lot of intel for our marketing activities. But the second thing I’d say is once you’ve done this as a one-time event, you should build customer research into your business on an ongoing basis.

Agile should unify every department through customer research

One thing that really worries me is when you look at Agile as a concept – as a development process – this stuff should happen in Agile. So what worries me is when marketers aren’t doing customer research.

There’s one of two possibilities here.

  1. Development is doing product research and marketing doesn’t know about it. Well, that’s bad because they’re siloed – but that’s easy to fix.
  2. The bigger problem here – the real worry – is that product development isn’t doing customer research. No one’s doing customer research and people are building features that haven’t been put in front of customers. That’s terrible. You’re not doing Agile properly if you’re not doing customer research.

That leads me onto my second point, which is that customer research shouldn’t just be about marketing.

This is about unifying and un-siloing marketing, customer support, development, and sales. The interesting and ironic thing is that I find big companies are worse at this.

Big companies often are so heavily funded that they disappear under a mountain of marketing metrics.

They can talk about clicks and engagement. They may be marketing qualified leads on a good day, but you ask them how much revenue have you actually generated from each campaign and they can’t do that. 

I could name a lot of smaller companies that are much better at telling you how much money their campaigns have generated.

So yeah, I think that buying into customer research and customer engagement as an ongoing, business-wide process to unify every department in your company is huge.

And if you do all of these things, you’re going to end up with not just features and benefits-oriented copy, but features and benefits-oriented copy that is relatable and humanistic.

I can give a case study here.

There’s a real estate SaaS brand that I’ve worked with in Canada – the biggest in North America as it stands. Before their app, most real estate reps had to use four or five different desktop apps that were badly integrated with clunky and horrible APIs.

Their sales reps would work all weekend a lot of the time. Two reps told us something like, ‘Before I used this product, I‘d often miss out on weekends. I would end up upsetting my wife and my kids.

‘But now I have this app, I can leave work on Friday early – and go camping with the kids and check my mobile app twice’.

So we’re not selling a business benefit here. We’re not talking about KPIs or ROI. We’re telling somebody, ‘We can give you all your weekends back’.

That blows any business benefit out of the water.

When you can take a business product and start talking to people about feelings and emotions and family time and making their lives better in a very human and relatable way, you’re doing great.

But there’s a second step to this.

How to escape ‘SaaS features and benefits trench warfare’

So far we’ve talked about winning ‘features and benefits trench warfare’. But the next level is escaping ‘features and benefits trench warfare’. And we do that with positioning.

Positioning asks questions like…

  • ‘Who is our company?
  • Who is our brand?
  • Who is our business?
  • What is our brand?
  • Who do we stand for?
  • Who are the customers that we serve?

So when somebody lands on your page – just from the headline and explainer alone – if we get it really right, they’ll think, ‘That’s me. This company exists just for millions of people like me’.

So yeah, I’d say always start with customer research. Use this to develop more humanistic and relatable features and benefits.

But also ask yourself…

  • What’s the common thread here?
  • What is the relatable human impact that our business offers?
  • What are we doing to people’s lives?

And if you haven’t already got a mission yet, can you develop a mission?

Because you can go out into the world with your own mission,

But you can equally get a mission given to you by your customers. Because you’re talking and listening to them – and they’re telling you, ‘This is what you did for us and did to our lives’.

You can define your own mission based on this – by finding out how your products impacted them.

Jonathan Fisher:
That’s very powerful stuff. And that kind of, again, that level of interaction requires a real commitment on the part of the founders and the leadership.

I also like what you said about being siloed and having these separate departments. And that does certainly seem to be a common feature among some of the larger players.

What advantage do small SaaS brands have over big players?

Now, in some of our private conversations, you mentioned to me that there are other advantages that some smaller players may have over their big behemoth, well-known name-ran competitors. What are some of those as well?

Like if we’re comparing marketing departments, for example, why could it be an advantage to be smaller? 

Alex Napier Holland:
A lot of my friends are in the ‘maker’ (solo entrepreneur) scene in Bali and Thailand – and they’re ridiculously agile.

Back when I lead sales for an SME with under 15 people I would come back into the office and say, “Right, I’ve just spoken to the third customer in the last two months who wants this particular feature that we’re not developing until two years from now. Can I please have a sit-down and talk to development?’.

The key thing here for sales reps – and this should not need to be told – but you should never promise features in a meeting. I mean, that’s basic. I would always say, “Okay, I understand this is a product feature that you’d like – let me go and speak to the guys in development”.

We’d sit down, look at the product roadmap and think, “How much revenue is tied to each of these features”? I might mention that there are three leads and $200k on the line if we could get a particular feature in before the end of the year.

A smaller company’s got that ability to break siloes and get everybody sitting around one table.

I’m not going to drop in the Jeff Bezos quote about two pizzas in one room – but we all know it.

If you can get everybody in the same room, you can talk, you can hash things out, and you can switch the product roadmap around. That’s both because the company’s smaller – and also culturally too.

I think agility is more of a cultural thing as well. Not getting too tied into a single way of doing things or a fixed set of ideas; being willing to challenge what it is your business does and how it operates.

I think agility is the main thing that smaller companies have going for them.

Jonathan Fisher:
Yeah. One of our guests put a comment here that small and medium enterprises rock – they take action 10 times faster. Thanks, Andrew. I think you’re right on the money there.

That’s what it’s all about – especially when the market is in such a growth mode. I mean, a curve of doubling within the next three years. That’s pretty amazing.

So let me circle back. What else can the smaller players do?

I’ve noticed that in areas like marketing, creativity, and developing a voice, some of the bigger corporate brands almost seem like they’re scared – like they’re going to mess that up. So you get this stodgy approach. And I think that being able to play a little bit in this space really speaks to the whole range of marketing efforts – but especially copywriting.

How humour can help define your SaaS brand’s mission

What additional insights and tips would you offer to copywriters?

Alex Napier Holland:
Simply pick up a phone each day and try to talk to your customers.

I think be more playful, have fun, and be willing to poke fun at outdated ideas – and even people that you don’t want to work with.

Toggl Time Tracking did this recently. They have a page that says, ‘We don’t develop features for the kind of managers who want to spy on their employees – because we believe that people should be free to focus on productive work output’.

I think you should define your club, group, or gang.

A lot of my SaaS founder friends have taken remote work as an opportunity to pitch their brand – eg. ‘We support remote work, remote teams, and remote businesses’.

Personally, I’m going to make fun of people and businesses who won’t go remote. You can be a little provocative, cheeky, and make fun of outdated ideas –  while also being respectful. I’m bullish on remote work and I will poke fun at anyone who tries to ‘Get everyone back into the office again’.

This is a way to show customers your mission and values.

Someone who is bullish on remote work will know they share our values and mission – and they’re going to choose to work with us, against someone with a similar product.

What do you think the future looks like?

That’s a key question to help choose your mission – and it’s a good opportunity for storytelling as well.

Q&A session

Jonathan Fisher:
Excellent. Well, it’s been a great conversation already Alex. We’re going to move over to Q&A here in just a minute, but Alex, you’ve extended a really gracious offer to all of our audience members today. Why don’t you share with our listeners what they can do to go further with what you’ve got to offer in terms of successful copywriting?

Alex Napier Holland:
Sure. Thanks Jonathan. If anybody would like to get a 15-minute breakdown or teardown of their home page or landing page, then I’ll record a loom for you and point out any customer experience or copy factors for your homepage or landing page that could be improved and help to boost your conversions.

Feel free to visit me at gorillaflow.com and use my contact form.

Jonathan Fisher:
Oh, that’s awesome. Really appreciate that. Well, as I mentioned, we’re going to get to Q&A in one moment, but not before we remind everybody that our show is always sponsored by Overpass.com.

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All right, well, let’s get into some Q&A. We’ve got some questions coming in from our audience and folks keep them coming.

What role does storytelling play in business communications?

So, this is an interesting question from Andrew Ellenberg.

What role does storytelling play in business communications?

Alex Napier Holland:
That’s a great question – it’s something I’ve thought about quite a bit.

I wouldn’t say that I’m bearish or skeptical about storytelling – but I think it’s done badly a lot of the time.

  • I think that storytelling works when you make it about your customer.
  • But storytelling doesn’t work when you make it exclusively about you.

You can tell a story that’s ostensibly about you, but related back to your audience – and that can work.  So yeah, I think storytelling can work well within a SaaS brand’s website, particularly on an ‘About’ page.

Joel Klettke has discussed ‘About’ pages quite a bit.

Essentially, an About page is often used to brag about brands and accomplishments.

But you could instead use it to build relatability. So, I think storytelling can be a really powerful tool – but always question how it benefits or relates to your audience.

  • Why did you start the business?
  • Why do you build products for them?
  • How can you help them?
  • Why might your audience care?
  • Why might they buy into your mission and values?

Jonathan Fisher:
So yeah, storytelling can build empathy, but if it’s done in a two-way manner.

  • Do you think that storytelling is best done in the first person?
  • How playful should storytelling be?

Alex Napier Holland:
It depends on the size of the business. I guess it would be a given that if you’re a solo maker, it’s going to be the first person. Whereas, if you’re a much larger company, it’s inevitably going to be third person. In between, there’s a little bit of a gradient there. I don’t think there’s a hard and fast rule there.

Jonathan Fisher:
Dennis wonders, ‘How important is the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) – against features and benefits?’

Alex Napier Holland:
I think your UI and UX become more important as your product matures.

Two crucial factors that dictate sales copywriting are…

  • Problem awareness – how aware are our audience of their problem?
  • Solution awareness – how aware is our audience of potential solutions?

If your customers have a high level of problem awareness then they’re likely to be more tolerant of your product when it’s buggy and the user experience isn’t refined.

But as your product becomes more mature and you need to reach people with a lower level of problem awareness, they’re likely to be more cautious – and factors like optimizing the user experience will become more valuable.

Small businesses are often more willing to use products that aren’t necessarily polished because they love the brand, they love the mission. But B2B sales typically lead to Requests For Quotes (RFQs), spreadsheets, and having to explain how your product works.

Enterprise can be a nightmare that I don’t think most people actually want to deal with – in terms of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) etc.

Jonathan Fisher:
So, I think that core user experience is likely to mature as you’re selling to larger organizations?

And I think the logical follow-on will be some kind of phased rollout?

So, if we take your ideal model, phase one would be that we’ve already done our research before our developers start work – so it’s at least on a whiteboard, or wire-framed somewhere.

Next, we’d develop our first iteration based on close contact with potential users. We know the features and benefits they’ll want – but our UI might not be the first priority. We want to make sure the thing works well and doesn’t have downtime; that it’s not glitchy, right?

After this, you’d potentially take a look at the user interface – so would that be another round of research with your users?

Alex Napier Holland:
Yeah. I mean, there’s that famous quote, ‘If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product then you launched too late’.

I like that a lot. It should be made out of cardboard and have strings and wires hanging off it.

Obviously, it’s better to have a polished product. But the point is that you want to get in front of people when it’s barely working – so you can create a more relevant product.

You need to get your first customer by any means possible – so that you can afford to eat.

So, it’s about getting enough features into the product so that it can perform the things they need it to do.

We used the standard startup sales pitch, which is, ‘If you start using our product then you have a unique opportunity to shape its future’.

This is a great way to say, ‘It’s half-built – please buy it now before we finish making it’.

UI is important and I’m bullish on user experience in general. I like polished products. I love dark mode. I want to switch my app icon over to a black version because I like everything to be monochrome.

That’s me as an end user. But – as a marketer – I know that if you add dark mode before you’ve got customers, then you’re doing it wrong.

Jonathan Fisher:
So, if you’ve honed in on passionate people and your product really addresses their needs, they won’t care if it’s polished, they won’t care if it’s got dark mode.

But as your product expands and you’re trying to sell it to large professional organizations, you’ll need to add certain features and make optimizations. That makes a lot of sense. Love it.

I think that there’s an appeal in being a part of that 10% early adopter cohort, right? We get to be part of building the whole thing.

Alex Napier Holland:
Definitely, for certain people. If you were trying to pitch a hospital for software they use to run their life support machines, probably not.

But I’m sure that a creative tool like Figma probably had some extremely passionate early users – where the product working wouldn’t be life and death. It’s just something fun and relatable.

Jonathan Fisher:
Great stuff. We could probably continue on even longer, but Alex, you’ve been gracious with your time and we’re grateful to have you with us today. Thanks so much for being with us on our show today.

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