It was another warm Sunday afternoon in Chennai, when Rushabh Sheth (Co-founder and CEO, Docsumo) and I were all set to go on stage for our presentation about finding ICP during the biggest SaaS conference in India – SaaSBoomi Growth 2022. Life seemed to be coming full circle for me from attending tons of startup events in my early days as a founder to now presenting in front of so many founders. I was definitely amped about this opportunity.
We had a topic that we knew would resonate well with our audience, and weeks of hard work and intense Zoom calls went into our prep work over the last few weeks. Rushabh and I have prior experience presenting on stage but this time felt different. Both of us haven’t been on stage in front of a live audience for the last two years (thanks to a virus that shall not be named). We were keen on making sure we do justice to the opportunity and make the session valuable for hundreds of founders and growth leaders. The stakes were high.
Fast-forward to 45 minutes later, and the session went really well. We had tons of great conversations one-on-one as a follow-up to the session and the audience loved it. The post-conference NPS survey also reflected the same sentiment. But this post is not about that. Instead, this is going to be a sneak peek into what went into putting together a session that created meaningful value for the audience. A little behind the scenes, if you will.
Let’s rewind the clock a few quarters back. I had the privilege of partnering with Ankit Oberoi (CEO of Adpushup, now Zelto) to mentor Rushabh as he led Docsumo during their early days. This was part of SaaSBoomi’s SGx program (now called SGx). As with a lot of early-stage startups in the country, Docsumo had an interesting product on its hands, but had trouble finding its target market.
While Docsumo was trying to go after a broad market, we eventually realised that the road to success wasn’t to try and sell to as many people as possible. Instead, Docsumo had to narrow down its ideal customer profile (or ICP) in order to crack that winning formula and create a sustainable (and profitable!) business model. In order to do this effectively, it’s important to first narrow down a pain point that your product is trying to solve.
That is essentially what we did.
Through a series of exercises, Rushabh, Ankit, and I spent many an hour coming up with a game plan to find the right audience for Docsumo. This involved understanding whom the product was for, and what particular problem(s) it could solve for them. Essentially, the next step was to take a pinpointed approach to find those select few segments that could benefit from the product, and drive up ACV (Avg Contract Value). Credit to Rushabh and Bikram for going so deep and doing this exercise so diligently. It was pivotal in changing the course of Docsumo’s future.
SaaSBoomi noticed this instrumental change, and that’s how I was invited to be the Session Manager to talk about the process of finding the right ICP. I invited Rushabh to present his story as-is while I would present the overall framework. We believed this would be extremely helpful to any founder whose SaaS company is under $1M ARR (sometimes even beyond that).
Drive Action, not Inspiration
In the past, I’ve seen that SaaSBoomi sessions are very real and actionable. Incredible founders open up their own playbooks as opposed to just sharing generic advice. I wanted our session to remain true to that spirit. Again, credit to Rushabh for being comfortable with this.
Both of us had spoken with many early-stage founders in the past describing their “cool idea” and selling to everyone in the world. So we started with a comic picture and defined our own ICP for the session so that people know whether they should continue there or walk out. The idea was to reiterate the theme of picking a clear ICP.
Once we got into the Docsumo story we also paused after every few slides and recapped the story until that point to keep people hooked. We ended with a recap of the entire process and the benefits of picking a clear ICP.
All of these were deliberate choices to ensure that the audience walked away with actionable takeaways and not just inspiration.
The presentation went well, but after the presentation ended, a lot of founders from the audience approached us with specific questions related to their ICP-related problems, and this was gratifying.
Our main objective with the presentation was to create an impact for a few founders who were in the same shoes we were in, a few years back. Based on the reception and the overall audience feedback we received, I’m hoping we did justice to our goal. I’d consider all our efforts (both before, and during the conference) to be a huge success if we were able to make an impact on at least a handful of founders present that day.
I’m also happy to pay forward the knowledge and guidance I’ve received from other experienced SaaS founders. SaaSBoomi’s community is built on that thesis and I’m thrilled to see it come to life in such an amazing way.
A special shoutout to all those involved in putting together such a fantastic conference. I definitely can’t wait to do this again, should the opportunity present itself!