Andrew Ishimaru©

@andrewishimaru

Scaling Beyond 150 Employees: 6 Growth Strategies for Signal Science’s $35m Series C

One of the top mega-trends of 2019 and beyond, is wtf we’re doing to protect data across the web.

The last few years have seen a whole stack of high profile security breaches. Not to mention questionable data collection practices. The people are starting to notice. Politicians and regulators are starting to notice.

I think we’re at a crossroads with data protection right now. Either social pressure or regulation (probably both) will soon force companies to deploy new tools and protocols aimed at data protection.

So in that context, let’s dive into a marketing analysis of a company that does exactly that. They’re called Signal Sciences, and they just raised a $35m Series C round.

They have two core products called WAF (web application firewall) and RASP (runtime application self protection).

They’re currently at 150 employees and doubling every year. I’m sure a $35m cash infusion will help with that growth.

Brief background on their marketing efforts:

Their website is rock solid. Clear copy, clear offerings, good design, good CTAs, awesome trust factors, the whole 9.

They’re currently doing about 25,000 visits to their website each month.

They have a solid suite of tools including HubSpot, Salesforce, and CrazyEgg.

Solid. Not much room for obvious improvement.

So, what can we do here?

There is one big thing missing on their website.

And that’s some indication of what size of companies work best with their products.

They have tons and tons of case studies and logos… but have opted to remove pricing from the site. And they don’t show any kind of company size dropdown on their demo request form.

If I were a buyer of tools like this at a smaller company, I’d want to know if they support companies of my size before signing up.

Moving on to channel strategy and demand gen…

Their personas are pretty clear and their market is well defined.

It’s DevOps, CTOs, IT Directors, etc. at SaaS/PaaS/Software companies.

And they have a solid case study and logo showcase.

At this point the whole crux of their strategy is to tell customer stories in as many places as possible.

They’re also B2B, so that immediately brings up a couple obvious channels:

  • LinkedIn Ads
  • Google Ads
  • Content marketing
  • Outbound email
  • Conferences / event marketing
  • PR
  • All things ABM

I’m assuming that they’re playing in all those channels at this point though, so let’s go deeper.

First of all, they could also run Reddit ads. Reddit is a tough nut to crack but with the right social media marketer, they could make it work. IT and Dev has a strong Reddit community.

Second, they’re positioned well to build a powerful brand. Perhaps oriented around next-gen web app security. They should take a page from Drift’s playbook and own their product category. I could see this working well if they can execute on it right.

Third, tap into audio and podcast channels. If they hired the right talent (a combo of personality, marketer, and security background) I think they could shine here.

Fourth, build a community. They can leverage their position as market-leaders and innovators to band together their market base. I think DevOps is the obvious persona. This might take the form of a Facebook community, a subreddit, or some kind of forum. They could also acquire an existing community and funnel capital into expansion.

Fifth, experiment with engineering-as-marketing. They clearly have a top-notch product team and I’d bet they could make some real nice free SaaS tools for DevOps. This can double as product development as well. A great example of this is HubSpot’s Sales plugin. It started out as a simple (free) tool that generated thousands of leads and customers… then over time it became it’s own $100m business unit.

Sixth, They could deploy some of that $35m round to create a self-signup or freemium version of their products for the SMB market. They could run a play similar to Heroku or Browserstack or similar dev tools. This would allow them to capture a bigger share of the market by going downstream. They can also upsell into larger organizations when solo developers, freelancers, and talent from small companies move up into the big leagues.

Originally published at AndrewIshimaru.com.

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