SaaS: How Did He 2x ARR In Last 12 Months from $6m to $12m?

Brandon Bruce

In Episode #780, Nathan interviews Brandon Bruce. He’s the COO and co-founder of Cirrus Insights, the sales plugin for Gmail and Outlook. The company is number 41 on the Inc. 5000 and the fastest growing company in Tennessee. Brandon once raced his bicycle 508 miles across Death Valley in 35 hours and 7 minutes.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – The Energy Bus
  • What CEO do you follow? – Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos
  • Favorite online tool? — Google Drive and Slack
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 6
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “I would’ve tried to start a full-fledged company earlier”

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:50 – Nathan introduces Brandon to the show
  • 02:25 – Brandon was in Episode 226 of The Top
    • 02:38 – They had $550K in funding
  • 02:48 – The team back then was 55-60 and now it’s 70
  • 02:59 – No additional funding has been raised
  • 03:16 – Cirrus Insights is a fast-growing company that didn’t rely too much on VC
  • 03:35 – 5 years ago, Cirrus Insights wanted to solve the problem of going back and forth between Gmail and Salesforce
  • 03:53 – Cirrus Insights brings Salesforce into the inbox
    • 04:05 – They also help sales reps to seamlessly update Salesforce from the back end
    • 04:13 – Salesforce isn’t actually a CRM
  • 04:38 – Cirrus Insights just launched Flight Plans, which is an extension of their philosophy
    • 04:42 – It is fully built-in to Outlook and Gmail
    • 04:44 – It allows people to setup a sequence of sales touches
    • 04:58 – It’s personalized and low scale
  • 05:51 – Cirrus Insights’ growth is mostly from the Salesforce app exchange
    • 06:00 – Continued growth is still from word-of-mouth
  • 06:31 – Cirrus Insights has passed 100K seats with an average seat price of $6
    • 06:53 – The average seat price has gone up now
  • 07:19 – Flight Plans is a new tier
    • 07:24 – Cirrus Insights is the product name and Flight Plans is going to be an addition
    • 07:27 – There are now 3 additions to the product
  • 08:18 – Cirrus Insights has just passed $1M in MRR
  • 09:00 – Customers are choosing Cirrus Insights over others because some are overpaying and underutilizing marketing operations
  • 09:29 – Marketing and sales are now working as a team with Cirrus Insights
  • 09:58 – Cirrus Insights now charges $8 per seat
  • 10:32 – Marketing operation has 4 big, unicorn companies
  • 10:49 – There are now hundreds of tools in marketing operation and it will be interesting to see a consolidation
  • 11:04 – Brandon is thinking customers will just utilize the best tools for the job
  • 11:33 – Cirrus Insights is trying to position themselves to be the best at what they do
    • 11:43 – They’re also continuing to offer more in the future
  • 13:00 – Gross customer churn: 15-20% annually, but they’re targeting to lower it down to 10%
    • 13:30 – There’s a lot less churn in the enterprise
  • 14:17 – Net annual revenue churn is still negative and net seat churn is below 10%
  • 15:16 – Most of the new leads are from word-of-mouth, with some small scale paid acquisition
    • 15:22 – They’re more focused on the content that can drive more people
    • 15:25 – Brandon has read The Slow Sale which is about how slowing down can win more deals
  • 16:30 – Budget for paid marketing is $25-50K
  • 18:22 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. As saturated as the market is, there’s still a way for your business to stand out.
  2. Marketing and sales teams are looking for tools that will not just help them with their workload, but encourage them to work together.
  3. If your company constantly adds value, word-of-mouth will be your driver of sales.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Simplero – The easiest way to launch your own membership course like the big influencers do but at 1/10th the cost.
  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • GetLatka – Database of all B2B SaaS companies who have been on my show including their revenue, CAC, churn, ARPU and more
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives