Close.io More Than $200k MRR, > 500 Customers, > $400 ARPU with CEO Steli Efti Who Won’t Sell for $40M

steli-efti

In Episode #463, Nathan interviews Steli Efti, CEO and founder of Close.io. Listen as Steli talks about how he uses sales and communication to his company’s advantage and why he won’t disclose their churn rate—his answer WILL surprise you.

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Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? –The Paypal Wars
  • What CEO do you follow? – N/A
  • Favorite online tool? — Evernote
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— Yes
  • If you could let your 20-year old self know one thing, what would it be? – “I wish I knew how to manage my own emotions and focus on consistency”

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:23 – Nathan introduces Steli to the show
  • 01:52 – Steli’s entrepreneurial power is in sales and communication
  • 02:02 – Close.io is Steli’s biggest success
  • 02:15 – There are less than 20 people in the team
  • 02:21 – Steli is competing with massive organizations
  • 02:40 – They launched their first product in 2013
  • 02:56 – First year revenue is $ 200,000
    • 03:10 – They started as a services business
  • 04:08 – There’s a common pattern with SaaS companies building product
  • 04:45 – Close.io is a CRM
    • 04:55 – Focused on inside sales team
    • 05:12 – Paid monthly
    • 05:26 – RPU
      • 05:58 – The average per month is $ 400 to $ 500
  • 07:01 – Total number of customers is between 500 and 5000
  • 07:54 – They are self-funded but they did raise for the business
  • 08:45 – CAP table
  • 09:29 – Raised a little after graduating
    • 10:08 – They raised $ 1 million
  • 10:32 – They are not currently in any acquisition talks and not raising capital
    • 11:09 – They have all the funds they need
  • 11:35 – There are 2 co-founders
  • 12:00 – Monthly gross churn is horrible
    • 12:26 – “Every customer we are losing is a tragedy”
    • 12:50 – They don’t share churn numbers
  • 13:11 – Their sales tactics
  • 13:41 – When they launched Close.io, it doesn’t have any record in it
  • 14:15 – People will buy the product even if it’s not sufficient
  • 14:54 – They are now doing a ton of blog posts, public speaking, etc
  • 16:20 – Consistently improve your product
  • 17:22 – Fully-weighted CAC
  • 17:55 – “The most important thing in trying new channels is to determine what a success and failure look like”
  • 19:30 – Steli won’t accept sample acquisition offer
  • 21:00 – Connect with Steli through his blog and Twitter
  • 22:30 – Steli’s podcast has thousands of followers
  • 23:30 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. If you have the solution to your customer’s problem, they will stay longer.
  2. Plan your failure scenarios. Know what to do when you succeed AND fail.
  3. Every business is different. The value of your business is determined by what the market is willing to pay for it, and what you’re able to create in terms of market demand.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Toptal – Nathan found his development team using Toptal  for his new business Send Later. He was able to keep 100% equity and didn’t have to hire a co-founder due to the quality of Toptal  developers.
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible.
  • Freshbooks – The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
  • Leadpages  – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.
  • Assistant.to – The site Nathan uses to book meetings with one email.
  • Blog.Close.io – Steli’s blog site
  • @Steli – Steli’s Twitter handle
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives

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