How do you constantly come up with good ideas? How can you know what direction you should go in your business when you have a busy schedule and very little time to just think?
In my interview today with Saud Juman, we discount how to tap into the “creative well” and what exactly that is.
Saud started a company called PolicyMedical.com almost 18 years ago. He exited the company about 2 years ago.
Policy Medical is a SaaS company that serves hospitals primarily to organize their policy documents.
Saud has a great creative framework for:
- coming up with new SaaS or other ideas
- deciding where to focus your time
- What niche to go into
We talk about something that Saud calls the “Creative Well”. Saud used the creative well to help him understand where his professional journey should go and eventually the ideas that became Policy Medical.
During the second half of the interview, we discuss content marketing strategies. Policy Medical has a really long sales cycle and the software can cost $50,000 or $100,000 or more.
He was able to apply the principles of content marketing, answering customers’ questions, and even getting customers to write some of the content for them.
Listen in to hear how he navigated the content marketing process and how it helped grow Policy Medical into the business it became.
Saud also offers business coaching and consulting. So, if you’d like to get in touch with him you can connect with him either on LinkedIn here or at SaudJuman.io.
Enjoy the interview!
Read the Full Transcript
Spencer: Hey Saud. Welcome to the niche pursuits podcast.
Saud Juman: Thank you, Spencer. It’s my pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me.
Spencer: Yeah, it’s great to connect. We connected through a mutual person, Chris Yates, who runs the rhodium weekend conference. And, so I’m super excited to have you on the podcast. as I’ve been doing my research and learning a little bit more about you, you’ve certainly built a successful company, how to successful exit.
That we’re going to dive into here a little bit, but to give our listeners a little bit more on your background, what were you doing professionally before you ever started policy medical?
Saud Juman: in terms of my profession and I mean, policy medical actually spend a longer chunk of my life, almost 17 and a half years.
so I started that company when I was in my twenties. by day, my job really was as a software or tech salesperson. That’s, that’s what I was doing by day by night. I had several other businesses that were completely unrelated. To tech, they, they were businesses that I moved away from because I felt that it didn’t serve me personally.
And it didn’t serve me in terms of where I wanted to go, in terms of my entrepreneurial career. So I left that, I took some time away, for almost 10 months to really think about. What it is I wanted to do with my life and what it is I wanted to start, because I wanted to do something impactful that would not just generate income, but have an impact on other people in general.
Spencer: Yeah, I think that’s, awesome to be able to find something that, maybe you’re passionate about or that you want to do. And so you took a break there. How did you end up coming up with this idea? Or how did you decide what area you wanted to go into that you felt like would make an impact?
Saud Juman: Great, great question.
So, I mean, it’s, it’s worth noting that the path I was on before I started policy medical, it wasn’t. It wasn’t something that I deemed to be positive or, and, or serving humanity in any good way. I felt in many ways that it was sort of a pit like of sort of a darker pit, I kind of visualized it and I wanted to do something positive.
So what I intuitively did was I in retrospect, ended up embarking on this almost 10 months of solitude where I would kind of like, just sit there at night and ponder what it is I wanted to do. With my life to positively impact people and to really whatever I was supposed to be excellent at in my career for that to kind of come out and, and really have a positive impact on people.
And the more I kind of sat with my own thoughts around what I wanted to do with my life. I started to rule out. For sure what I didn’t want to do. So what I did not want to do long-term was I didn’t want to get sort of a nine to five job that wasn’t for me, nothing against that, but it just wasn’t for me.
I, I did not want to work for someone else. So slowly I started to arrive at, okay, well, I wanted to do, my own venture, if you will. And then. As I sat with it further over the 10 months. and I realized that’s kind of an extreme amount of time. I settled on healthcare. I wanted to do something within health.
and I, I cannot divided that idea when I left my, I guess my time in solitude, if you will. And I started to look for opportunities that would come my way that were healthcare related. Now that could have manifested itself in terms of me. I dunno, trying to become a nutritionist or a doctor or a personal trainer or something in there in the area of health and wellness.
But one day, one of my friends who was, a tech recruiter, he called me and he said, Hey, you know what? There’s a. There’s a sales opening at this company. and I said, Oh really? I said, okay, well, you know, I don’t want to work for somebody long-term, but I do need a job. I gotta pay the bills here. what, what, it’s this company now with what’s it all about?
And it was in a suburb of the greater Toronto area where, where I live and he said, well, it’s a healthcare tech company. I said, Ooh, healthcare. I said, I go, I’d love to go for an interview. When I interviewed there, got hired. And then while I was at that company, I wasn’t there very long. I was there for maybe six months, you know, you know, this is a while ago.
And while I was there, I was in charge of sales and that company, it was one of those companies around that time where they were not principally focused on a. Product or executing on a great service. They were more in the business of trying to raise money from their angel investors. And yeah, and I encountered a problem every time I tried to sell their product, people on the phone prospects would tell me no, you know what?
We don’t want X. We want Y and, and who we were selling to. We were trying to sell to hospitals and we were selling this generic intranet solution, just like an internet website, but internally within the hospital. And I started to get frustrated. And, and then one day I was talking to the head of engineering because this company, the engineers also did all of that implementation and deployment.
And he shared with me, he said, you know, it’s kind of frustrating. He said, why are you frustrated? He said, well, whenever you guys do lock out and sell something, then you can clients call us and say, Hey, you know, we don’t really want it to do X. We actually want it to do Y. So I said, Hey, that’s, that’s the same thing they’re telling me right at the beginning of the sales cycle.
so I took that idea and I ended up going to the CEO and the vice president of that company that we work for. And I said, Hey, no, I was naive and young. So I said, Hey, let’s just stop building this. And let’s build this other thing, because this is what, this is what the market wants. And, you know, they kind of, you know, they, they weren’t interested what I have to say.
They had their own idea of what they were doing. So they sent me back to my cubicle. And so just keep on selling what we have. And the very next day I took that lead engineer, out for a sub at subway at the port across the, across the way from her office. And I said, Hey, I, I think we should quit. He said, quit.
Why would we quit? And I said, well, maybe we can start our own company, try to build this idea that, that the customers or potential customers are telling us about. And he told me, he said, you know, I don’t even know. How to resign from a job. I said, don’t worry about it. I’m going to look it up on the internet.
I’m going to come to work tomorrow. I’m going to have two resignation letters, one for you, one for me. And that’s what I did. I showed up. We resigned, we walked out and it’s Canada. It’s cold. I walked out. I remember him looking to me and, and this is no, this is a while ago, like about 20 years ago now at this point.
So back then, You know, in a big city, like where I live, which is Toronto, you know, now we have a big tech scene and there are co-location sites and shared office spaces and we worked and all that stuff. Right. And I know we’re in a pandemic, but you know, outside of the pandemic, there’s all that infrastructure.
but back then, you know, when you start a company, your mindset is, well, you need an office, right? So he asked, he has me, he’s excited. Where the hell are we going to work? Where are we going to try to build this company? And I just thought, and I said, don’t worry. I got the perfect place. 24 by seven, access.
There’s a gym, there’s a caterer. we got, everything does even a shower. He said, Oh man, where’s this office. I said, it’s my mom’s basement. She’s going to let us, I use it. I got my old weight bench there. She’s going to cook for us. That’s where we’re going to start the company. And that’s, that’s where we started that company.
Spencer: Sounds really nice. so I want to dig into some of those details just a little bit. do you feel like the opportunity found you or you found the opportunity and what I mean by that is just based on a couple of things that you said as you were kind of taking your 10 month break there, you sort of.
Decided. Okay. You want to go into healthcare, but you were then just waiting until maybe something healthcare related and that phone call from the recruiter sort of came your way. And then as you were working at that company, you notice, Hey, customers are asking for this, perhaps that’s a good opportunity.
So how do you view that, you know, is, is, is that how people should, find their own ideas is kind of. Hone in on a certain area of interest and wait for those opportunities to kind of find them.
Saud Juman: Yeah. And, you know, I, I don’t want to get too esoteric here and I’m not a very superstitious person, but I, you know, I think, and I kind of, I, back then I adopted the Napoleon Hill think and grow rich type of mentality.
And, and for those that have not read that book, you know, it’s a great book. It’s over a hundred years old. Right. And it’s kind of the birth of the. Of the growth mindset kind of philosophy back in the 1920s. That’s now actually, because there again, but basically one tenant of that book that I always hung onto is that thoughts are real things.
They’re not just fictitious things like, so a thought actually has an impact out there has some energy to it. So, and I think that once a thought is very singular and very pure. I don’t know if you attract things to you, but I think that you start to see opportunities that you would have just overlooked before.
Right? So, and I think this works with good and bad. So for example, like you can have a singular, bad thoughts and belief like a belief. Let’s say if you’re running your own venture right now is outwardly. You’re trying to make the venture a goal, but inside your own head and inside your own chest and your own heart.
You don’t believe in your company, you believe it’s going to fail. It’s probably going to fail because you’re going to start gravitating to minimalistic type of choices that won’t really serve the venture for me back to answer your question directly. At that time, I decided to try to clear out all the clutter in my life in terms of thoughts and hone in and what I really, really wanted.
And what I really wanted was some kind of opportunity in the realm of health care. That would allow me to serve and help other people while making a living like that was what I was. So the work was actually done in those 10 months. Yeah. The actual work, like getting to that idea. And now when I kind of left that time of solitude, right.
And that time of solitude, like I call it the creative well, Right. If before I was in a life where I call the pits, like the pit is it’s, it is a hole. It’s not serving you. You’re doing the wrong things. You’re misaligned, you’re doing, you know, and, and it doesn’t have to be dramatic addressing, it could just be a wrong career choice or the wrong job or the wrong venture.
but then I left the pit and then I went into the creative wealth, which is that time of solitude. So that I believe is where the work happened and happens. And then when I left. I left with what I say, you know what I’ve said before is eyes and ears wide open. Now I’m really looking to see, okay, what are the opportunities that are out there that ordinarily, I just kind of overlook.
I brushed to the side. I’m too skeptical. I questioned it too much. Right. I could have found like a hundred different reasons why I didn’t want to go for that interview, at that healthcare tech company that I resigned from. but because I was so focused on health, I was like, Ooh, Hello. All right, let me, let me see.
Let me see what that’s, what that’s all about.
Spencer: So let’s talk about those creative. Well, just a little bit more here. so a lot of my listeners are trying to decide, you know, what’s, what’s the niche that they want to go into to build a website or what’s the industry, right. That they want to focus on and grow, or, maybe they’re wanting to start a SAS company, right.
A small SAS company, but they’re not quite sure what the idea should be, and maybe they don’t have those. Few months where they can, you know, take a complete break, right. They still got a full-time job and they got families and a lot going on. How, how do people tap into that creative? Well,
Saud Juman: yeah, I know.
And I, I can relate to, to some of your listeners, because you know, now I’m, I’m, you know, I guess I’m painted as opposed to exit founder, but I’m getting ready to start another company. And leading up to that, you know, my wife and I, we have four kids or other pressures. I can’t, I can’t disappear for 10 months and, and, and do that.
Right. But I’ve tasted the power of what a little bit of solitude can do. Right. And the power is trying to listen to yourself. I think that’s the, in my mind, that’s the definition of thinking a lot of people when they sit and think about what needs to get into. Or what SAS company to start or what website to build most people in my humble opinion, most people’s definition of thinking.
And I’m still subject to this a lot of the time, then I catch myself. We’re not actually thinking what we’re doing is we’re hearing in our heads, the voices of our teachers from the past, our parents. Our colleagues, just really other people’s ideas and thoughts, right? And these, and these days it’s even worse because of social media, right?
People are reading stuff on, on Instagram and Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook or whatever it is. And, and that’s coming into their, what they believe is, is their thinking time. My, my belief of thinking is adopting some kind of practice. That allows that stuff to come into your head then allows it to leave and allows you to go.
And then you allow yourself to go really, really silent and quiet, and then you can start hearing your own voice and your own voice is what time, what it is you’re supposed to be doing. That’s the voice that told me healthcare, right? It’s I had no healthcare background before this. Right. But it’s it’s No.
It’s what told me healthcare, healthcare is the thing to do, right? so these days I have my own little mini practices that allow to give that allows me to take a mini retreat. If you will, within myself to see if the path I’m embarking on is actually the one I’m supposed to be taking.
Spencer: And do you use that sort of method of thinking, across all areas of your life, life?
I mean, it’s beyond business. Do you kind of take some time to think about I’ve got four kids as well, by the way I saw it, so I know where you’re coming from, you know, so maybe sit down and think about how you’re raising your family or, just other aspects. Do you kind of use the same sort of techniques.
Saud Juman: Absolutely. Absolutely. And, and, you know, the, the, the technique is, is nothing complicated. Right. you know, and it’s, I’ve always been doing it. So when Josh and I, that was my co-founder when Josh and I started that business and were in my mom’s basement, you know, he was the engineer he’d be coding away, but I would, you know, I would be doing my work for the company, but every so often I would just stop and I’d go to the weight bench and I lift some weights and then I go work again.
And then after a little while I would stop and then I’d go into the backyard that I grew up in as a kid, go to the basketball hoop and shoot some hoops, and then I’d come back in and do some more work. And then I realized these days, you know, when I talk to other entrepreneur entrepreneurs, that may come to me and say, well, how did you come up with this idea?
How’d you come up with that idea? And they would, they’d started asking me about things like meditation, right. And I do meditate. I do have some formal techniques of how I meditate and, but, but I think that the best ways of disconnecting from everyone else’s thoughts and to hear yourself is what I call the sixth grade or twelve-year-old technique.
And what I mean by that is I actually have the belief that summer around that age, like 12 years old. because, you know, we can, we can, most of us can remember back to when we were for sure. Right. What was the thing that you were doing that allowed you to lose track of time and bring you immense joy?
Right? That those are my two criteria mine. My, my technique, believe it or not, that’s probably the most powerful meditation technique. I have more so than like formal meditation that I will do. Is going to my driveway outside of my house right now as a 40 something year old man and shooting free throws.
So I do that like right now I’m gearing up to launch a new venture and new tech, a new SAS venture. But after I worked for like a couple hours, I’ll go outside and I’ll shoot, you know, 20, 30 free throws and this come back in and continue working. But those free throws. It’s joyful for me. And I lose track of time.
Now, my neighbors are probably wondering, you know, during this pandemic, what the hell is going on with this guy? Right? Why’s this man. Cause I don’t, I don’t see any other men, my age shooting free throws in their driveway. Sweet. But it’s my, it’s my technique, you know, for somebody else. I don’t know, maybe you played like the original super Mario brothers or mega man or duck hunt or something.
Right. And that’s, and that’s what, that’s, what allows you to lose track of time. Maybe you surf, maybe you skateboard, but usually for people my age, or even under thirties or late twenties, when you think about things like this, you’re like, Oh man. Yeah, there is that thing. And I haven’t done it for awhile.
Spencer: Yeah, I like that a lot. I can think of a couple of things. You’ve checked a few of those, you know, duck hunt and Mario brothers, right. That’s for sure I was doing those, but, you know, right now actually I, I, I run a lot and I find that when I’m out running, you know, I might go run for 30 minutes or 45 minutes or, or longer sometimes.
I do some good thinking, right? I’ve actually come up with several ideas now that I think about that during my run, you know, kind of in my minds, not usually on my business, but sometimes the thoughts just gravitate towards that and, I’m able to make some decisions. so I can appreciate that very much.
So let’s, we’re, we’re actually gonna sort of fast forward through the policy medical story just a little bit, but, Give people an idea what policy medical was, what was sort of the initial idea and you know, what, what it’s grown, what it grew into. and then I want to talk about marketing and content marketing specifically how you grew the company.
Saud Juman: Okay, great. so policy medical at the onset and it, and it is what it did all the way through in terms of its flagship product. It was a data management and document management, SAS based company. So I found that within the hospital setting back then there was, there was a specific type of document that was really important for the hospital to manage and they were not managing it correctly.
so that document was called the policy. So there, there are policies in every company. So for example, in a hospital, there’s a policy that outlines how you have to disinfect and clean a scalpel. After you finished surgery, there is a policy that says how the lobby of a hospital has to be mopped and dried to prevent falls in that particular lobby.
So, and those, those documents became super important because if a hospital did not manage it correctly, they could, encounter very serious litigation lawsuits or different fines as well. so that’s where our software came in to help them with that. and then from there we started to build other products.
an add on products as well, but the policy management piece that SAS based product, was the main focus of, of the company. And the company was a SAS based company all the way through, in terms of revenues, like it was always 90% recurring software licenses and maybe 10%. service-based revenue that came from training and everything else.
I always fought two things that I never wanted to do. One was step out of healthcare, even though we had many offers along the way to sell the product into different verticals. And the other thing that I always fought was, not to add too many professional services with some entrepreneurs didn’t get along the way there.
They’re like, well, why didn’t you just. No, you can do this and you can charge for this and do that. And in my mind, you just have to add more bodies, more human beings, more employees to do that stuff. And I knew that the company wouldn’t be as valued in the long run with, with, a heavy service revenue split.
Spencer: Right. And, again, to sort of fast forward, I know you sold the company, you exited the company in 2018. And can you give people an idea of how large the company got when you exited it?
Saud Juman: Yeah, it, it grew, exponentially in the last five and a half to six years of the, of the company. Primarily due to our content marketing strategy, which we can get into later.
and, and by the end of it, we had, you know, the, the number that’s floated around out there it’s well, over 3000 hospitals now, now hospitals, it w that was our main. focus. However, we had other healthcare related customers as well, such as long-term care, home health hospices, anything healthcare related, but our main bread and butter.
What were the hospitals? So we had 3000 hospitals. you know, if you do your research in the United States, that’s a quite a large market share, out there. and when we sold it, we sold it to one of the most prominent. Private equity firms out there as well.
Spencer: So first of all, congrats, I’m sure being able to exit a company that you ran for.
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how, how long, almost 20 years or something like that? 17 and a
Saud Juman: half 17 and a
Spencer: half years. Yeah, that’s huge. and I’m sure, you know, that does good things. It gives you options, right. for, for what you can do next. but I do want to talk about how you got it there. Right? So you had the idea it started with just you and the one, lead developer.
And grew to over 3000 hospitals doing I’m sure, you know, significant amounts of revenue. but I want to understand how content played a part in that. you know, you shared that content was a big part of growing the company. And of course my audience is very interested in building websites and content and content marketing in general.
So yeah. Why don’t you dive into that? How did you use content to grow the company?
Saud Juman: Yeah. So that was, it was probably the most important parts of the relaunch chapter of policy medical. So six years before the exit, the company was virtually teetering on bankruptcy. We were a lifestyle company where it was at that point.
I had bought out my co-founder, you know, we were a couple of years separated at that point. He had moved on the company was me and. I think two other people at that point, right? We had an engineer because I’m not an engineer. And we had somebody that was an all-rounder helping with some customer service and helping to do some sales demos.
And I started to seek mentorship and because I started to formally seek mentorship through a specific mentorship formula, I stumbled upon. The mentors that came into my life and most of them I’m in Toronto. So most of them were in Silicon Valley. I was, I was getting mentorship from there. They started to ask me why the product was so subpar, why it was so mediocre.
and, and I, and I didn’t have an answer. Right. The only answer was I became really, really complacent with the company because it had become a lifestyle company. It was. Making enough money to provide a salary for me. you know, at that point I, I become married and we had a couple of kids and, but it wasn’t satisfying for me.
I personally didn’t want a lifestyle company. I wanted a high growth, high impact company that would help. And impact lots of people. I had this idea in my mind that I wanted to impact over a million patients every day, that would be impacted by our software. So then I had to figure out, okay, how do I, how do I do first of all, do I want to try it restart and relaunch this company?
The answer was yes, because I reconnected with that idea. I had in a time of solitude when I first started the company. Then the question was, how do I go about doing this thing? So the first I’m going to fast track, the first, phase, which was technically rebuilding the product. so to let your listeners know, we, the first, I would say 12 to 18 months of the relaunch process was me scrapping the existing product.
And rebuilding it from scratch. At that point, it was all on premises. It was many different versions of the software installed in many different hospitals. And we decided that we wanted to go to this new thing back then called the cloud. And there was this book company called Amazon that started this thing called AWS.
And we’re like, you know what, let’s just put it up in AWS. Right. and, you know, I’m joking around a little bit, cause now it’s quite, it’s quite commonplace. Right. So, so that, that was hard because engineering wise, it wasn’t as simple as one would think. But we, we pulled it off. and then because we had existing clients, it took me a good six months to migrate all the clients over to the cloud.
Now, after that something hit me, the sales guy that we had, he would come to me and you would say, Hey, you know what? Out of the few hundred clients we had at that time, which is different from the several thousand we had at the end of the journey, only three, one, one of be references. And I was like only three, one to be references.
You said? Yeah. I said, okay. And he said, and they’re getting tired of being references. So I realized that our clients weren’t really happy. I realized that they were sticking around because in healthcare it’s a pretty sticky industry, but they were not fans. And I realized that, okay, we need to do we need to do something different here because we need to pick up more revenue.
And I realized that. The way that we used to bring, acquire clients at the beginning of the bidding of the company, it was very outbound focused. We were making lots of cold calls and reaching out and dialing and everything else. And that would have completely changed. Right. Outbound was really, really difficult.
So I started to do some reading and I saw that contents content seems to be, you know, quote unquote King, and I embarked on a content strategy. And what I wanted to do was I wanted policy medical to become the Wiki pedia of our space. So I wanted that website whenever, not just my customers, but prospective customers and also prospects of my competitors.
When anybody in that, in our niche wanted information about. Policies and procedures for healthcare about policy management software, not necessarily even about our software, but issues pertaining to the ecosystem that we touched. I wanted our website to be the Wikipedia of our space. So then that was, that was a real process because the first product, the first thing I had to do was that to take stock of our current website.
And I realized that we had a lot of. Weak content. It was all sales related, marketing related garbage, to be honest with you, like it didn’t, it wasn’t, it wasn’t me. Right. And I became educated enough on all the different algorithms and the meta-tags and all the SEO best practices. And, and I, and I know that all of that is important, but in my mind, the more research I did is I realized that we need to consistently publish.
Authentic educational premium content on this website in a natural way regularly. And I also was of the belief that we can’t do this in an exclusively outsourced way. We need to do this internally. So I started to build, a process and a system to actually make that happen. So.
Spencer: How did you come up with content ideas for that new sort of Wikipedia that you wanted to make it?
you know, where w where you just, coming up with ideas, on your own anyways, explain that process a little
Saud Juman: bit. Yeah. And you know what I mean? I got to give some shout outs to you that there, there were some people that taught me some of this stuff, and I got a lot of learnings from some of these people.
And then I started to integrate it into my own business. In sort of a real-world practical way. one of the guys that I did learn a lot from his name is Marcus Sheridan. You’ve heard of Marcus, but he’s a longtime friend. Yeah. And this was like right after he left this pool company. So he taught me a lot of what he did, but basically what I ended up doing is I, I realized that, you know what, I can’t afford to go hire healthcare specific consultants to write content for us.
And also it didn’t feel right. To have other people writing content because we should be the experts. and especially if we’re going to, my, my belief was, the best salespeople don’t sell anymore. They teach like we have to be teaching our customers about their own environment and our own, our own industry.
So we created this insourcing type of a process. So, what we ended up doing was we would gather the employees for a lunch and learn, you know, just get some pizza. We go into the big boardroom, once a month and we had a whiteboard wall. So it’s like a huge wall of white boarding. And we would brainstorm, we would brainstorm ideas that people had for content.
And at first it was a little bit difficult for them because. You were like, what, how do we think of content ideas side? So then I started to tell them, I said, Hey, you know what? Okay. Customer service person, client success person, what are clients telling you on the phone? They’re like, Oh, well, they’re talking about this.
And they’re asking me about that. I said, okay, turn that into a topic. Right. and then salespeople, I would say, well, when you’re trying to sell the product, What are they telling you on the phone? What are they telling you by email? Right. What’s going on? They’re like, well, they’re asking about this recently, or, you know what they’re really asking about?
Can we integrate Microsoft office into the cloud? Right. Like back then, for example, you know, Google docs, wasn’t a thing. you know, so, so I’m giving you an example. I can use case the idea of, of taking Microsoft word and integrating it to the cloud so people can collaborate on one document, remotely.
That was, that was a big push. So the employees started to come up with these different ideas and we put them all up in a whiteboard over the course of an hour. Then after the hour was done, we would step back and I’d give everybody five, 10 minutes to look at all the topics. And then we would go around and we’d say, okay, you know what?
Pick one for this month. And then you don’t have, you don’t have to pick your own. You can pick somebody else’s right. Pick one for this month that you want to help with. So then everybody pick one, and then we would write that down in a spreadsheet. Now in that same spreadsheet, we have, we had interviewed the people that work at the company and we’d asked them, they said, Hey, you know, what, what do you view yourself as in terms of a content contributor?
Do you view yourself as a writer? Are you more comfortable writing? Because some people just like to write, do you hate writing? Do you just want to be interviewed by somebody? and they’ll do the writing. Are you more of an audio person? Do you just want to speak into a voice memo? Right. And then we can just have that transcribed to Otter or something like that.
And then, and then we can go from there. do you love seeing yourself on video? Come on. Just like, you know, let’s just admit it. Do you want to be, you know, do you want to do a bunch of videos? Right? so we would, you know, we would talk to them to see what their comfort level was and how they wanted to contribute.
And then we would adjust that, like there was one guy, one executive, for example, that. That felt he was great on video, but he was horrible in video. Right. and then felt that he was great writing, but he was horrible writer. Right. It turns out that he was great at spewing, a bunch of amazing facts to somebody that would interview him.
Right. Right. So basically the insourcing is coming up with the initial drafts of everything. And then we would take those drafts and send it to our marketing team and the marketing team. That’s where I went. That’s where I spent most of the money in terms of hiring because the marketing team, if I give you the makeup, we had the head of marketing and that was hard to find, but we eventually found an amazing head of marketing.
And then within the head of marketing, We had a writer that would actually, we have two writers, right. That would take some of this content and Polish it. Right. Make it, make it beautiful. and then we had a digital person, digital person was, you know, they would help with some video editing, audio editing, you know, we had a green screen and some cameras and stuff like that in another room.
Right. So they would help with that type of stuff. and then also we had, a marketing automation person because we were big HubSpot users. So they would, they, they would kind of help help with that, but backtracking that’s how the content got produced. It, the ideas came from the employees. We categorize them, just recapping here into how they would initially come up with those drafts.
And then it would be given to the marketing team to Polish and, and, and get ready to actually be released. And then we would stage it and release it on the website, sometimes the newsletters, et cetera. And then we would actually track statistics and feed it back to the employees every month to say, Hey.
Just so everybody knows, you know what, one of the tools that’s helping the sales team close some serious business and close. A lot of deals is actually Kim’s article. Right. And this is a true thing. It’s like, you know, Kim was, my executive assistant, but she also did all of the invoicing and bookkeeping and, and collection calls and things like that.
Right. and she read it, I forget she wrote some kind of article on, on, On an invoicing, right. And, and how hospitals, effectively pay on time or something like that. But that was like, that was some, some way the sales team ended up using that. and she was, you know, she was giving stats as to the effect of her actual article.
And that started to give people more and more and more confidence. and a little bit of friendly competition of like, Oh, okay, well, you know what I’d like to see. I like my name to come up in the next meeting.
Spencer: So where did the traffic come from? You publish the content. Was it mostly that you were trying to get traffic from Google people just searching or was it other places.
Saud Juman: Yeah. I mean, there were those, short tail keywords that we were targeting. Right. So, in terms of organic search results, that started to increase a lot more. We started to see the, I guess the Seesaw scale tip a little bit where we started to spend less on PPC and then the, the SEO organic traffic started to increase in terms of demo requests.
we also use that content. We, we learned. We learned over time from, from people like Marcus and others, that the more content we can give prospects between the time of when they contact us for a demo of a SAS based product or products to the first demo, the higher, the close ratio went up and that number was somewhere around 30.
30 pieces of content. So for example, Spencer, if you, if you contact me today, if I have that company said, Hey, Saud, you know what, I’ve been on your site and I’m ready for a demo. I’d love to see your software. We got the site so well populated with credible content. That by the time you would request the demo, I knew you were a qualified lead.
I knew that you had a budget. I knew that you’re looking to spend money and buy this product within three to six months. You weren’t just kicking the tires just to see, just, just to see what, what, what we have and waste your time. So by the time that came in, I knew you were somewhat serious. So between that outreach to when we actually give you the demo, on zoom or WebEx or go to meetings or whatever, we ended up using back then, If I can get you to consume about 30 pieces of content, we, and which, which we ended up doing our close ratio, our win rate in terms of winning deals went up from 20% and 20% MuleSoft soft SAS companies will tell you like, Oh yeah, 20%.
That’s pretty good. Because for the last 25, 30 years, SAS companies are like, you know what? A 10% hit ratio is great, which means that for every hundred people, you somehow talk to, you’re going to close 10 of them. Right. So that, that would be great. But our close ratio, by the time we, I sold the company, went up to 70%, seven zero now.
Yeah. And that is really because of content, because if you think about it, only the serious people that are thinking about buying will stick around on this detailed website. So by the time they consume enough stuff and we kind of architect their journey through the site and they get to, okay. Yeah. You know what?
I want a demo. They’re already pretty warm. They converted they’re pre-qualified. And then between requests to actually demo execution, we would send a newsletter and in the newsletter would be embedded the approximate 30 pieces of content. Now a piece of content could be a little paragraph. That piece of content could be a video, right.
It looks like a nice one-page newsletter. But it has all the content embedded in there and what we would, what the sales person would say is, Hey, you know what? We’re really excited to show you to spend time with you to do a double. We actually don’t want to waste your time during the demo. we have realized from our experience that.
You’re probably going to have this question this way and we would list all the questions and they’d be reading the questions to the email, like, yeah, those are the, those are the questions we’re coming into the, the demo with we’d even say, yeah, you might want to know pricing and you say, you know, we’ve actually prepared this newsletter.
It’s probably best for you to gather with your team. And by the way, here’s who the team should be. So a lot of those, a lot of those, a lot of this stuff in the email, It came from, from pain. We encountered in the past pain, for example, would be going to a demo. And there’s a low level or mid-level manager that doesn’t have any real power to make a decision.
We’re spending an hour doing a demo and we’re, and they’re like, well, I got to take, kick it up to my boss. Right. So we’re telling them to prepare for a demo. You need these people in the room, right. And by the way, bring them to the demo. But you should meet with them this week. If you can. Just get together virtually or in a room somewhere and go through all the content in this particular newsletter, because it’s going to answer, but 80% of the questions that we know you’re going to have.
And then when we get together, guess what? Maybe our demo time instead of an hour, it could be half an hour. so that actually is what took our close ratio up quite a bit. And then the, during the demo time we went from spending, you know, out of a 60 minute time block, we would be given. we went from, you know, talking for 15 minutes and saying, Oh, do you have any questions at the end of 10 minutes to talking for 20 minutes?
And then having them talk for the rest of the hour, right? And the more you get the customer talking, the higher chance will be for you to win that deal. The more you talk, the less likely we’ll be for you to win the deal.
Spencer: Right. And so your potential customers are just much more educated all along the way, because they’re getting these emails, they’re reading the blog posts or the watching videos.
They’re, they’re getting all this content. And so hopefully you’re answering just a ton of the questions along the way. and to kind of, a point I wanna make here is that it. I don’t know what the price point was for your software tool, but I’m sure it’s not small. Like what, what was sort of the average, sales cycle life, life cycle of the sales process and what was the price?
Saud Juman: Typical, typical sales cycle would be around, let’s say three to six months. Hmm. And the median deal size. I mean, we would price it out based on the number of full-time employees per year. So our typical deal size, it could range. It could be as low as $30,000 a year. And then it can go all the way up to the seven figures per year.
But our median deal size was about 200 K a year.
Spencer: Wow. So I love that. because I just want to contrast with maybe my typical listener, right? they’re building websites and a lot of them are just selling products that people can buy on Amazon. Right? So they come to their website, they read one article, they go over and they click and they buy their widget.
Right. you know, something might cost $50, right? It’s a super short sales cycle. They Googled something, they found the website. They go by it all within an hour. Right. But I just, I love the fact that content and some of the exact same principles for answering people’s questions for, you know, writing this great content that people can reference.
It still works. even at this higher end of 30,000 to a million dollars a year, potentially. Right. for a software product, I, I I’d love that fact, that content, a lot of the same principles still apply.
Saud Juman: You know, and there, and there were three things that took us from what we’re talking about now. So I guess we can just call it like content strategy, 2.0 for us.
the first thing we realized in our content after a while was really, really that customers really love. They love this thing called the truth. So we started to be like the truth, the integrity police, the truth police, because as content started to. Be put out there and sometimes some employees would call me out on it.
You know, they mean we’ve all done it. Like when you get into sales mode and you get excited, you start maybe teetering on the line of saying something that may or may not be true. Like, I don’t know. It’s like, yeah, we, we we’re, we are going to build this cool new feature. Right. So, so it took us, you know, a few months to get really good at calling each other on that might not be the truth that might not be the truth.
So all of a sudden now, just exclusively telling the truth in our content. And that that’s actually a big thing because most of the competitors out there for most, in whatever industry, they don’t always tell the truth. And then the second thing was looking for the notes. So whenever I would think of an idea or an employee or the team would think of an idea where it was no.
It’s not a good idea to do what the customer’s asking in this case. Most people, they don’t, they want to just brush that over, or it might be a feature that, you know, the customer is craving, but you know, that it’s a bad idea to build and we don’t want to build it instead of building it and giving it to them and just selling it to them.
We would relish the opportunity to write content. Around why we think this is a bad idea, right. That actually bolsters your credibility in the customer’s mind. And leads to sales, because think about it. Like if you go to a store and you’re really like, you’re really an advert to biases of this thing. And the, and the salesperson is like, no, you know what, Oh, you’re in a bike store or you want to buy that?
No, don’t buy that. That’s, that’s not good. You should buy this instead. Right. All of a sudden you’re like, Oh man, I had to trust this guy. Right. And then the last thing we did was, involving the customers. In the content creation. And that part was, was just like, can’t underscore how valuable that was for us when they started to write for us, speak for us, do webinars for us.
Right. And there was a whole new strategy around how we got them to do that. that, that, that really, really worked well.
Spencer: Wow. I would love to dive in to the content strategy a little bit more, but people may be, can get in touch with you afterwards if they want to hear more about that. because I do want to give you a chance to be able to share with people.
What are you doing now? I mean, you sold the company a couple of years ago. What are you up to these days?
Saud Juman: Yeah. Great, great question, Spencer. I mean the first year it’s been about two, two years and change the first year I rested. And recovered from the journey and spent, spent time with my wife and kids and everything else like that.
and then the last year or so, it’s been kind of figuring out what I want to do next. So these days, I guess there are three, three main focuses. One is, I’m getting ready to start a new SAS venture. so that’s, that’s pretty exciting. It’s like, yeah, it’s like doing it all over again. The second bucket that I’m really focused on is, is content actually is writing.
I’m not a big social media person in terms of, of content there, but I’m more sort of long form. So there, there are a couple of books that I’ve committed to. the one book I’m actively working on right now is around, raising entrepreneurial kids. So that’s, that’s something that I’m actively working on.
And then lastly, just being of service to other entrepreneurs, by sharing the mistakes, I’ve made anything good that may have worked out. and that looks, you know, sometimes it’s in the form of coaching, mentoring, advising those, those, those types of things.
Spencer: So if people wanted to reach out to you and maybe get some of your advice, or maybe even have you coached them a little bit, where should they go?
Saud Juman: my website is probably the best, place to go. So that’s Saad juman.io. and also in terms of social media, the one Avenue that I’m semi-active on, that you can, you can reach me and contact me on is on LinkedIn. And, it’s just at .
Spencer: Awesome. Thank you so much, Saud. if people want to reach out to you, they can do that.
you’ve shared a ton of awesome strategies tips, for both content marketing coming up with great, ideas through sort of that creative well, so I just want to thank you so much for coming on the niche pursuits podcast and sharing your
Saud Juman: thank you, Spencer. It’s been my pleasure and thank you for having me.