The Fast Start Program: Your fastest path to Inbound success. Get Started

Subscribe to THE LATEST

"Building a marketing team to take Fleetio from $1M to $10M ARR Ft. Lori Sullivan" (Inbound Success Ep. 130)

"Building a marketing team to take Fleetio from $1M to $10M ARR Ft. Lori Sullivan" (Inbound Success Ep. 130) Blog Feature

February 17th, 2020 min read

What kind of marketing team is needed to take a business from $1M to $10M in ARR?

lori-sullivan-headshot
Lori Sullivan

This week on The Inbound Success Podcast, Fleetio Director of Marketing Lori Sullivan shares her journey from Fleetio's first marketing hire to head of the company's growing marketing team, and how she built a team that drove 10X revenue growth - most through inbound marketing - for Fleetio.

Listen to the episode to get Lori's thoughts on what you should look for in your first head of marketing, what roles should be your second and third hire, and transitioning from specialty roles to what she calls "scale roles."

Highlights from my conversation with Lori include:

  • Fleetio is a fleet management company with a SaaS product and customers in over 80 countries.
  • The company was founded in 2012 and Lori joined Fleetio in 2015. At the time, she was employee number six and the company had just $600,000 in annual recurring revenue (ARR). 
  • Fleetio is a marketing-driven company and more than half of its website visitors and conversions come from its inbound marketing efforts. Most of that growth can be attributed to organic.
  • Lori says that in small companies, the first marketing hire really needs to be like a swiss army knife - capable of doing many different tasks.
  • Because so much of the company's strategy revolved around SEO, Lori put in place a tech stack that enabled her to get the data necessary to build an effective SEO strategy. She relied heavily on Google Analytics and the Google keyword tool, as well as Drip for marketing automation. Now that the company has grown, she has moved from Drip to Marketo.
  • Lori's first two hires on her marketing team were a content marketer and product marketer.
  • She believes strongly in insourcing as much of your marketing talent as possible. 
  • She also believes that a manager should step in and do a role first before hiring someone to fill it, so she managed the company's paid media strategy for some time before hiring a growth marketer to take that on.
  • She strategically outsourced design work and video production until she was able to add full time specialists in those two roles.
  • In the early days, her content marketing manager handled the company's social media marketing until she was able to hire an events and PR person who took it on. 
  • As Lori has gone about filling all of these roles, she has placed great importance on culture fit, and has other members of her team interview new candidates.
  • She also has every candidate that reaches the final stages of the hiring process do some sort of hands on skills assessment.
  • While she wishes there was some sort of formula that could tell you when to hire new marketers, Lori says you really need to pay attention to the work you're doing and how that is contributing to growth.

Resources from this episode:

Listen to the podcast to learn how Lori built a marketing team designed to help Fleetio 10X its ARR - and get Lori's advice on building your own marketing organization.


Transcript

Kathleen Booth (Host): Welcome back to the Inbound Success Podcast.

I'm your host Kathleen Booth and today my guest is Lori Sullivan who's the director of marketing at Fleetio. Welcome Lori.

Lori Sullivan (Guest): Hi Kathleen. How's it going?

Lori Sullivan and Kathleen Booth
Lori and Kathleen recording this episode.

Kathleen: Great. How are you?

Lori: Doing pretty well. Wrapping up the year strong over here at Fleetio.

Kathleen: I know, I was going to say by the time this gets published it's going to be 2020 but we are recording it the week before Christmas and so I'm just grateful that you found time in your schedule to come on because I think... I'm sure like any marketer, you probably have a ton of things to do at your end.

Lori: Yeah, well, like any growing SaaS business, we're trying to hit our annual goal and end the year strong and get a good a launching point for 2020.

About Lori Sullivan and Fleetio

Kathleen: Absolutely. Now before we jump into this conversation, and we are going to talk about growing SaaS businesses, maybe you could tell my audience a little bit about yourself and who you are and what led you to the position you're in today as well as what Fleetio is?

Lori: Absolutely. So I am a seasoned B2B marketer. I spent a number of years in marketing agencies and specializing on the B2B lead gen side.

I worked with a ton of different types of clients from startup businesses to large corporations running and executing lead gen programs for them, digging into the data and analytics around those as well. And in 2015, I got the opportunity to come over to Fleetio.

So we are a fleet management software company. So we help our customers track, analyze and improve their fleet operations.

We have customers in now over 80 countries, which is pretty wild, and we've really helped our fleet customers keep track of things like maintenance, fuel parts and inventory.

So any business out there that has a fleet of mobile assets, whether that's vehicles, equipment, drones, any thing that moves, Fleetio can manage it.

So we help people keep track of fleet operations and really improve the efficiency and productivity of the fleet so at the end of the day they can achieve their own businesses' mission.

So we were founded in 2012, and I came on the team in 2015 when we were at about around $600,000 in annual recurring revenue (ARR). I was employee number six, so a really small team and I was marketer number one.

So it was a really exciting opportunity for me to use my B2B lead generation skills to come in and build an inbound lead gen engine.

Kathleen: I love that. And it's so interesting for me to hear you talk about the fleets, right?

Because you said a few things, you said drones and bikes and I hadn't really thought about it until you just said it, but yeah, the definition of what constitutes a fleet is really changing these days. You even have autonomous vehicles and things.

It's so fascinating how that industry is evolving.

Lori: Yeah, absolutely. The transportation space in general is just a really interesting area right now, especially with the rise of electric and autonomous vehicles. And the transportation market in general is just growing tremendously. It's changing.

We're really trying to stay on the leading edge of what's going on and really anticipate what the market is going to need and what fleets are going to need - not just next year but in five years, 10 years, so we can really be that modern solution among our competitors to offer what's really necessary as technology and vehicles and assets change as the years go by.

Kathleen: Now you joined the company at a very early stage and this is a topic that I'm so fascinated by because I'm drawn to early stage companies and I love coming in as the first head of marketing and building a team and all that, and you have been very successful at driving leads for the company and quite a bit of it is inbound, correct?

Lori: Absolutely. Most of the revenue to date here at Fleetio has been driven by inbound.

So we've been a marketing-led organization and honestly that's one of the reasons that this opportunity, coming in early stage was really interesting to me.

I've kind of carved out that specialty for myself and I thought okay, "My background can really help to build this at this company."

So yeah, we've been fully inbound driven.

How Fleetio grew through inbound marketing

Kathleen: That's great. And that's a real feather in your cap as the person who came in to kind of build that marketing engine.

One of the things that you and I talked about, which I was excited to dig into today, is some of the mechanics that happen behind the scenes to support that kind of growth.

And maybe before we get too deeply into that, just if you could talk for a few minutes about what has driven your inbound results. Because when you talked with me it was very content oriented and that sort of thing.

So if you could provide an overview of that because I think that'll be great table setting for the conversation we're going to have.

Lori: Absolutely. So I think anyone who is in the early stages of a SaaS business and then know they're going to focus on inbound first, one of the first things that most people invest in is content marketing.

So in 2015, none of our competitors were really focused on inbound. So there was a low barrier to entry when it came to some of the categories, specific keywords that are usually really high competition in a space.

We found that we could compete for those even with limited resources back in the day through content marketing and focusing on keyword, focusing on keyword specific blog posts, content on our site, technical SEO as well, making sure that our site was well optimized, to not only register for and rank high for high competition keywords and category keywords, but also long tail keywords.

And with limited resources back in 2015 and 16, we knew that we could crank out really interesting and engaging blog posts.

Again, not a lot of our competitors were doing that at that point so we could get the leg up on the content marketing side and really position ourselves as a thought leader in this space.

So we started with blogging. We then moved into a lot of video content, white papers, eBooks, webinars. We do webinars really frequently and they're definitely popular among our customers and prospects.

So content marketing really was what led the charge.

It ended up equating for a little over half of all of our website traffic and half of conversions in the early days and it is still a really large piece of the pie when it comes to site traffic, lead generation and even revenue.

Organic specifically still leads to most of the ARR that we see today.

So it was a really great, I think strategy back in the day to start there to start building that. And as we've built our team, we specifically hired around those content roles so that we can continue to invest there and continue to double down on something that has been proven to work for us.

How Fleetio staffed and grew its marketing team

Kathleen: I love this topic because you really have done the block and tackle work of creating a very strong inbound content engine. And I can have tons of guests come on this podcast and talk about all kinds of sexy strategies, but at the end of the day that strong foundation of really just good content marketing, is what needs to underpin all of it.

I mean, it's The Inbound Success podcast, that is what inbound marketing is all about. So I love that.

And like I said, I was really interested maybe to focus on the things you did behind the scenes to support that. Because I think most of my listeners understand what it means to do good inbound marketing. It's funny, not everyone will do it, but everyone understands it conceptually.

So as the first marketer coming in, I've been in that position and I sometimes feel like it's a little bit of a chicken and egg situation because you know what needs to get done for a business, but you also have the realities of resource constraints and revenue, et cetera.

So talk me through what that looked like in terms of how soon did you hire someone, what was that role and what did you do in the interim? How did you do it all in the beginning?

Lori: Absolutely.

So I think it's important when a SaaS business is hiring its first marketer, if the hope is to have that person come in, be a marketing team of one for a short time, and then build a team, which was the case with me and Fleetio, that person does need to be a little bit of a Swiss army knife because you are going to be, like you said, blocking and tackling.

There's a lot of things that need to get done, but especially if you're going to focus on inbound and content in general, the person also needs to be a strong writer.

Now when I stepped into work at Fleetio, I didn't have a fleet background, probably not surprising.

I didn't have a fleet background and so I sourced a lot of external resources to do Q and A's and calls and interviews and would cite these people in our blog posts.

I looked externally to get that expertise that we were building at the time. I also looked to see what competitors were doing in adjacent markets.

So like I mentioned, a lot of our competitors weren't really doing content marketing as we were and as we were hoping to.

But there was a lot of that going on in adjacent markets.

And so I looked at what other people were doing and tried to replicate that with our own flare and then also looked at where our actual competitors were ranking for certain keywords where we were not.

So we did a lot of keyword gap analysis to see what topics we needed to talk about.

A lot of people, when they start out kind of building a content marketing presence, building blogging presence, they start to develop content themes just around what they think is interesting or what they think their market thinks is interesting. And it really should be grounded in data.

And so we adopted the tools early on to do that keyword research, to invest in analytics tools to see how we were performing and really tried to understand what would be the most valuable keywords or themes to talk about on our blog, in our white papers, instead of just kind of deciding for our market what they thought was interesting.

So we've really tried to rely on data as much as we could. Even in the early days. We'd do that even more today with different tools and technologies that we've adopted to give us that visibility. But we've really tried to listen to the data to do that.

Kathleen: That's a great analogy about being a Swiss army knife and it's really true. There's so much that needs to get done at that early stage and I completely agree with you about writing skills.

That's one of those tough things that you can't... those are a lot of things you can Google and learn how to do as a marketer. If you can't write at that point, you can't Google and become a better writer. I mean I suppose you could, but it would take way too long. So totally agree on that.

Fleetio's marketing tech stack

Kathleen: Now you mentioned technology. What tech stack did you put in place back in those early days?

Lori: Absolutely. So technology was really important to us. We like to think we're good consumers and technology since we're a SaaS company and we build tech.

In the early days we didn't have a lot of monetary resources to invest in tools, so we used a lot within the Google suite, so we use Google analytics. We used Google's keyword tool to do a lot of keyword research.

We quickly adopted a marketing automation software. We use a tool called Drip, which was kind of a lightweight version of a HubSpot or Marketo, though their platform has grown tremendously over the last few years.

We've since moved off that to something a little more powerful, we use Marketo today.

But that tool set early on allowed us to have the visibility that we needed.

We've since grown that to look into kind of more areas and have more data around the full customer journey. But in the early days especially trying to figure out what keywords to focus on, it was helpful with Google analytics, their keyword tool and our marketing automation software.

Making the first marketing hire

Kathleen: Got it. Now how long were you at the company before you hired someone else to join your team?

Lori: About a year.

Kathleen: Wow.

Lori: So I was a marketer of one for close to a year and we really tried to be strategic around creating a marketing team. We didn't want to bring on anyone that wasn't absolutely necessary and super critical at the time because in the early days we were of course investing a lot in content marketing.

Our first two marketing hires were a content marketing manager and a product marketing manager. And really both of those were very content focused.

The way we split up those roles and responsibilities was, our content marketing manager really owned blogging, white papers, webinars, anything under the lead generation umbrella.

And then on the product marketing side, our product marketing manager really owned value-based content around our product features, creating a walk through videos or demo videos of the product. There's a lot of video happening on the product marketing side.

So those two areas were really important to us to fill early on, and then we've grown them from that point. But we hired both of those roles about a year in to my tenure here at Fleetio.

Insourcing v. outsourcing

Kathleen: Now were you also outsourcing at the same time for some things?

Lori: We did a little bit in the early days. We keep almost everything on the marketing side in house today, which I think is really exciting. I mean, we know our brand better than anyone else, but in the early days, especially design work was really necessary to outsource.

And we would get creative in the ways that we found people to do that. We outsourced a lot through Upwork and would find some really solid designers on Upwork that we could give repeat projects.

And Upwork's a great way to find different freelancers for different types of things. But we we did outsource a good bit of design work that we could not do in house.

Kathleen: And how about the video, because you mentioned that video was a key part of your strategy? Did you have a team in house for that or did you outsource that as well?

Lori: In the early days we outsourced our video work, especially animation, animated explainer videos and things like that. We would outsource that work.

Our original product marketing manager and people we've added to that team got really great at doing screen shares, screen share videos to walk through the product and do different feature tours and things like that.

So we tried to develop that expertise in house, but we would outsource the more heavy design or heavy animation type videos.

Today we do have someone on the content team that is fully focused on video because it is a key part of our strategy. We were able to bring that role on board this year in 2019, and that was a really exciting one for us.

Kathleen: That's great. I love that you're going in that direction. I believe so strongly in video as well. And there's plenty to keep a good videographer busy as you grow.

Lori: Absolutely. Yeah. Whenever we hired our multimedia specialists, that's our videographer role, I quickly learned that we could have two. It's such a powerful medium, especially when it comes to our market. Telling the story of all the different things Fleetio can do to help a company's fleet operations, it's become a very robust product.

And so video is a very powerful tool and one of the best communication tools that we have to really communicate our product's value. So was very excited to invest in that role this year.

What to delegate

Kathleen: That's great. Now you mentioned after a year you added the product marketing person and the content manager. You mentioned how they were splitting responsibilities, but how were they splitting things with you? Like what did you hold onto at that point?

Lori: Absolutely. So at that point I was helping on both ends, still developing some content, helping kind of strategize around where we wanted to take content marketing, where we wanted to take product marketing, the roles we were going to add in the future to support both of those areas, we have multiple people on both of those teams now, also focusing still on kind of adding more to our marketing mix.

So at that point we were dipping our toe into paid media through Google Adwords and we were using AdRoll for retargeting at the time.

We were starting to figure out what a paid strategy looks like for us, and so that was one of the big responsibilities to start developing what that looks like.

When it came to building a team, my philosophy and our CEO's philosophy, it was always let's have our director step in, start to build the area, kind of do the job for a month or two and prove a solid case for the next hire.

So we really got hands on with, especially in the early days, we got really hands on with that area of the business before we made a hire. So just to really prove that it was a crucial need, a critical need at that time and it was the right time for making that hire.

Pay-per-click marketing

Kathleen: You mentioned pay per click marketing, where you actually doing the paper click at that time or?

Lori: I was. I was and in 2018, so a few years of years later, we hired a growth marketing manager, which he has really two roles here at Fleetio.

One is to run our pay per click advertising, he is an expert in that, much better than I was trying to really string that together.

But the other area that he focuses in is true growth marketing. So he does a lot of experimentation alongside engineers and product designers within our signup flow, within the onboarding flow for new customers, really trying to improve things like trial to paid activation.

And so we've really, within the last couple of years, started to dig in to true growth marketing. And so that's an element of his job as well but he also focuses and has wonderful expertise on the pay per click side.

Who manages social media?

Kathleen: Great. Now I'm curious, back in those early days when there was just three of you who handled social media?

Lori: It was on the content side. So our content marketing manager at the time handled social media. Now we actually have a media and event specialist on our team and social media, PR, communications, things like that fall under her responsibilities along with events.

So events and trade shows are still really big in our industry, in the transportation and fleet space. People are still heavy going to trade shows each year and so we definitely want to have a presence there. So that's part of that role. But she also focuses on social media now.

Hiring a designer

Kathleen: Okay, great. All right, so you had three people - you, your product marketing manager, your content marketing manager. Who was your next hire after that?

Lori: After the content marketing manager and growth marketing manager, our next hire was actually a designer.

We had been outsourcing our design work for a while and we had a couple of freelancers that we worked with regularly on the content production and video production side, but we really wanted to bring that expertise in house. And like I said today, most of almost all design work that we do happens in house.

So we hired a brand or visual designer to come in and really work with people on both the content and product marketing sides to develop assets for our website, which is really our most important marketing assets as inbound marketers, develop sales collateral, really everything under the marketing umbrella here at Fleetio.

So we brought on a designer, we've since brought on web designers, so someone's specific to our website, again, it's an incredibly important resource for us when it comes to lead generation. So adding that design talent was really critical as well.

Kathleen: Yeah, and you guys have a really nice cohesive visual brand, so if you're listening you should check it out. It's Fleetio, F.L.E.E.T.I.O.com. The website is very tight visually. So that really shows that you have that resource focused on it. It looks like you've got custom icons and really good consistent imagery, et cetera.

Lori: Yeah, design is really important to us here, both on the marketing side and the product design side.

We believe that design flows through every single thing we do, whether it is through visual design or the way that we design our professional services offerings for customers. So design is a huge focus here.

In the early days we also had a designer come on board around the same time I did.

He was more focused on the product design side, but did play a huge role in kind of architecting the initial kind of brand of Fleetio, laid some of the foundation there, which was really, really wonderful to have that asset early on.

Adding specialized and "scale roles"

Kathleen: Yeah, that's great. So talk me through from there, what happened, like how did the rest of the team growth occur?

Lori: Absolutely. So the way I thought about building a team, a couple of years into my time at Fleetio, it was really about filling the specialized roles, the areas of expertise that I needed to build.

And then once those were filled, it was about hiring what I call scale roles.

So I may have two or three content marketing specialists developing blog posts and white papers, I may have multiple designers to support a lot of the content marketing and product marketing work, the web design work that's happening on a regular basis.

So first we finished filling those specialty roles.

I mentioned bringing on a web designer, that was really key for us. I mentioned bringing on a media and events specialist that was also very important hire.

We also brought on a partnership marketing manager. So integrations and partnerships are really important to us here at Fleetio. We have a number of integration partners, different telematics programs, fuel cards, maintenance shops.

We integrate with a lot of different types of products and have a lot of integration partners that we can collaborate with, co-brand different marketing efforts.

And so we brought someone on to really facilitate and grow, not only those relationships, but the revenue that we're getting from our channel partners as well.

And then we started to look at the scale roles.

Like I mentioned, we brought on a couple more product marketers to further drive home the value of Fleetio in our sales collateral and on our website to really own the customer communication that we were sending out, whether that was through email or in-app messages.

And then we also started to double down on the content marketing side. We hired a videographer. We hired another content marketing specialist who focuses on written content.

So it was all about laying the foundation with those areas of expertise and what I call specialty roles, and then stepping into kind of hiring for what I would call scale roles.

Managing a growing marketing team

Kathleen: Now, at what point in the evolution of the team did you introduce kind of layered management?

Lori: Yeah, that's a great question. So we just started kind of having that layered or middle management layer really in early 2018.

So it's newer to our team and it really happened first on the content marketing side and then on the product marketing side and it has definitely, I feel made the team more efficient. It gives really talented people even more ownership of their areas and the ability to teach and coach and even learn from their direct reports.

So that was a really exciting thing to kind of build out more of a structure on the team. We'll continue to build that out, especially in 2020. But 2018 was the first time that we really saw that middle management layer established.

And I was really excited by that. That to me felt like, "Oh okay, this team is really growing. We're really becoming this powerful force." So that was a really exciting milestone.

Kathleen: That really also fundamentally changes your job and your day to day as well, doesn't it?

Lori: Absolutely. Yeah. So whenever I am having kind of a one-on-ones and during the week with my direct reports, I always want to make sure and check in with people that don't report to me.

For instance on the content marketing side, have a dotted line to our content specialists or to our videographer.

It's definitely important to me to have the strategic conversations with them and that one on one relationship, even though I'm not the person who they technically report to.

We have a pretty close knit team. So we're a team of nine right now and we have a really close knit team. I think we get a lot done for just being nine people and every single person on the team teaches me something weekly.

I'm incredibly proud of the caliber of people, both personally and professionally that we've brought on. I think at Fleetio we do a really killer job at hiring and the marketing team is definitely true to that.

Lori's approach to hiring marketers

Kathleen: Now any specific tips or secrets to hiring that you think have worked really well for you?

Lori: That's a great question. We really... I would say picky is a bad word, but really I am picky in the hiring process. I think really having those deep conversations with people in the hiring process, try to envision not just yourself working with them but different members of your team working with them.

We have a pretty stringent hiring process as well. I'll start the conversations and then I'll always loop in at least one or more members of my team to interview them as well, kind of in the later stages.

I think that's really important. And to get the feedback from those team members. How do you feel about working with this person? Do you feel that they're a good culture fit? We really drive home the idea of culture fit here at Fleetio in the hiring process and it's really paid off.

We also typically for most roles do some sort of quick hands on assessment in the later stages of the hiring process.

Just because, I mean you can have a wonderful interview with someone, you can get along with them great, you can visualize yourself working with them being very productive. But just seeing their hands on work really makes a huge difference.

And so that's something we leaned on in most roles here in the hiring process and I think that's a great and very impactful part of of the process in general.

Kathleen: I just want to stop for a second and underscore what you just said about having a hands on activity as part of the hiring process.

Because I have done that as well, and the quality of candidates that make it past that stage differs dramatically from the quality of candidate that sort of makes it to that stage, and then it is revealed in that activity that either they're great or they're not as great as you seem to think they were.

And I've had phenomenal results with that.

So I love that you guys do that too. But that's actually kind of controversial, I have discovered. I'm a member of a bunch of groups online and there've been several conversations about this with a lot of people saying that they don't think it's right to have activities. I personally disagree, but I think it's interesting the different outlooks on it.

Lori: Yeah, I've seen that as well. And I also personally disagree. I think as long as you limit it to a certain amount of time, for instance, any project or hands on assessment that I give someone in the hiring process, we usually say, "Dedicate an hour or less to this."

You don't want to get people into those too early on in the process or take up too much of their time, but I truly believe in them. And it's also not just to prove their hard skills, you also get an idea of how much effort they put into getting this job, right?

Kathleen: Yeah. How much do they want it.

Lori: Absolutely. So I think you can just, you can learn a lot.

We also use it as a talking point in final hiring conversations. "Tell me about your experience doing the assessment? How did that experience go? How did you start? What were the steps that you went through?"

I think you can get a lot from someone asking those questions about something that they literally did hands on and really understand how they work, how they think about their work, their intensity.

I personally disagree with anyone online that would say that it's not a great thing. I think it's been really valuable to us.

Kathleen: Same. And I like what you said, it does show you how someone thinks, which is almost as important as the quality of work that comes out on the other end, really-

Lori: Sure.

Kathleen: -from an alignment standpoint and et cetera. So that's so fascinating.

How to know when its time to hire another member of the marketing team

Kathleen: Well, one thing I wanted to ask you is, you've built this team, you've been successful in growing revenue and leads for the company, do you have any benchmarks that you personally use, financial benchmarks, to determine when it's worth adding another member of the team?

And I asked this because it's fascinating to me in sales it can be very cut and dry. If when you add X amount of revenue, you need X numbers more of salespeople, or if you add X number of customers, you need X more sales people.

In marketing it is definitely not as cut and dry. So I'm just curious and the answer may be "no", I'm curious if you have any benchmarks that you use?

Lori: Yeah, that's a wonderful question. I've read a few articles online about this topic as well. It's so interesting in marketing because there's not an exact formula.

So I think the short answer to your question is there's not an exact formula. However, I do believe in... we build projection models every year.

I think about how much lead generation, the velocity at which lead generation is going to grow month over month to really get us to that revenue goal for the year. So we build these projection models and I do use those to kind of pace hiring.

But I think intuitively based on the team's capacity, what areas are really leading to the most revenue?

I mentioned organic is a huge generator of revenue for us, so we want to continue to scale that team.

I think intuitively I know the roles that we'll need for the next quarter or the next year, but the pacing that we lay out for ourselves, the goal setting that we do, it kind of helps me determine the timing.

So I would say not an exact formula, but if you build a good prediction model or projection model, it can help you on the pacing and the timing around your hiring.

Kathleen: Yeah, absolutely. And I just recorded yesterday a great interview with Peter Schroeder from Onna about growth modeling.

So if you're listening to this, by the time this airs, I think the previous episode, the one immediately prior will be on growth modeling. So check that out because then you can learn how to build your prediction model.

Lori: Nice.

Kathleen's two questions

Kathleen: Well I could talk all day about this because it's not the sexy stuff, but it's the really important stuff about how you build a team and what that growth engine looks like.

Shifting gears. I have two questions I always ask my guests and I'm curious to hear what you think about this. The first is when you think about inbound marketing, is there a particular company or individual that's really killing it these days?

Lori: Absolutely. There are a ton. I constantly am looking to other growing B2B SaaS organizations for inspiration from an inbound perspective.

I think Intercom always kills it and they've just grown so fast, mostly driven through content SEO. I really respect their efforts.

Another one that's really interesting to me is Autopilot. I think what they did is pretty interesting, just their tremendous growth.

I think it was zero to over 2,000 customers in just two years and most of that was really focusing on inbound and nurturing across the full customer journey. I think their model is really interesting.

One smaller company that I always look out for is called FullStory. We actually use their products here at Fleetio and it's a wonderful product.

I think they're an Atlanta based company and they did a big raise earlier this year, but I just think they've really differentiated themselves amongst their competitors, like Mixpanel and Amplitude and I continue to watch them grow and I think just their strategy and what they continue to do is pretty impressive.

So those stand out to me for sure.

And then of course anyone that's created a category for themselves, Drift, Outreach. I'm always looking for any content that they publish around their growth strategy and kind of how they continue to grow then double down on their efforts.

Those always are really interesting stories to me.

Kathleen: Yes, I am obsessed with the topic of category design. It's really interesting. Absolutely. Well those are great. Now marketing is changing so quickly. How do you personally stay educated and up to date?

Lori: That's a great question. I think there's a million ways to answer that, a million places to look for that type of information these days luckily. I'm glad there's a lot out there.

I'm a huge podcast person, so as I know you are. And so I love again a plug for Intercom, but I love Inside Intercom. I think their podcast is great.

They did a growth series recently. I think it was around seven or eight episodes that I found really interesting, both from a sales and marketing perspective.

And then, let's see, I like HubSpot's Growth Show a lot. I think that's a great one.

And then just kind of under the SaaS umbrella and not necessarily marketing, I like Scale or Die and then SaaStr, an oldie but a goodie.

Kathleen: Those are all good ones. And I will put links to all of those in the show notes. So if you're listening and you want to check them out, head over to the show notes and you can click right through and listen. Great stuff.

How to connect with Lori

Kathleen: So interesting. Lori, if somebody wants to reach out and ask a question or learn more about you or Fleetio, what's the best way for them to connect with you online?

Lori: Absolutely. I would love that. The best place to reach out to me is LinkedIn. It's Lori Sullivan and I'm sure you can post a link as well.

Definitely check out Fleetio at fleetio.com F. L. E. E. T. I. O. We are constantly updating our website. Great thought leadership content. Again, a wonderful team producing that content and really kind of shaking things up in our space that we're super proud of.

Kathleen: It is a great site, like I said earlier, not just from a visual branding standpoint, but from a content standpoint, with lots of good examples on the blog of types of articles, you've got video case studies, there's so much good stuff here.

So definitely check that out if you want to see an example of a company that's doing inbound really well.

You know what to do next...

Kathleen: And if you're listening and you liked what you heard today or you learned something new, I would be incredibly grateful if you would take a minute and head over to Apple podcasts and leave the podcast a five star review. That really helps us to get found and find new listeners.

And if you know someone else who is doing kick ass inbound marketing work, tweet me @workmommywork, because they could be my next interview. That's it for today. Thanks so much, Lori.

Lori: Thanks so much for having me, Kathleen.

Want to stay updated when the podcast is released?

Drop us your name and email address below and we’ll send you the show notes every Monday!  

Here Are Some Related Articles You May Find Interesting

Want to Contribute Content to impactbnd.com? Click Here.