We’re Staffbase and the company was founded in 2014. It was a combination of a technical team that came together that had done one work productivity start-up before. Then they had a new founder into the mix who had this background in internal communications. They had this big idea to do an internal communications platform, especially on people’s mobile phones. The easiest way to describe it is, it’s an employee app, it’s a business-to-business company selling to companies that are 300 employees, to all the way up to 500 thousand employees. The company gets a branded app that their employees download into their company or personal devices, where the company uses that to communicate with their employees.
More focused on mobile, if you think about the wave of the intranet technologies, I don’t which ones were really old ones, but they were not focused on Social. Then you social media coming especially in the last 5 or 10 years, you had players like Jive coming in providing social intranet, where a big part of it was the profile and trying to get engagement and comments going, but it was still desktop based. We [Staffbase] are part of the next wave, which is building native mobile apps as the centerpiece and as the place where non-desk employees can communicate with their employers.
Today we are 85 or 90 people where there are 30 people in sales and marketing. I was the first account executive who was hired here in New York, about a year ago. I was hired as part of the first wave of local hires to try and crack the US market. When I came on-board I also had this prior experience of having done outbound at my last startup, before this one. So, using some of that experience and because Staffbase was already thinking a lot about outbound, experimenting with it and wanting to do it. So, I said, “hey guys, we should look at getting a lead provider that can also do email automation for us”. I had used Outreach.io at my last startup, so I was aware of the basic space and some of the basic services that provided, and Staffbase, as a company, hadn’t tried any of that stuff yet. We were a tiny little startup to ourselves here in New York, we started with just a handful of employees, so we were wearing a lot of hats.
I was really leading the whole sales effort, including building an outbound SDRs team and trying to figure and implement these outbound ideas. That’s how we got connected with hubsell.
We bought some leads from one of the providers that I used before, just to get a quick start and because I had familiarity with them. In this case, the service they provided was just the leads, so you would give a list of companies and what kind of titles you wanted. Based on which, they would come back to you with a lead sheet. I knew that it was a really big space and a lot of startups in it. We evaluated a lot of providers but we narrowed it down to hubsell and another San Francisco based US-startup, and we ran them against each other, with the same target markets and so on.
We looked at the data quality of the two, and there was a clear finding. Basically, the other company (the San Francisco based one) was giving us low-quality data and were not revealed to us our bounces (wrong email addresses) – so I really didn’t have a good experience there.
What we had, in contrast, with hubsell is their team’s personal involvement pretty much from day one making sure that we’re getting value out of hubsell and making that we are not having any issues with it and so on. So the level of service and attention that we had from day one was really impressive and really helpful because we had a lot to learn about some of the basics of deliverability and how we doing our campaigning and what was our ICP (ideal customer profile) and so on.
hubsell team really became more than just a vendor but like a partner in that work as we were learning and developing in this approach.
The data quality has not gone down and our approach is getting a lot better, so the results we are seeing in the meeting rates are getting better and better. That has mostly to do with us getting better at finding the right ICP and getting the copy done right. hubsell has been a great partner at that. Another thing that’s been really helpful and worth mentioning is that we as a company are really sensitive on the issue of preserving the integrity and reputation of our domain. So this was one of the big things that we worked out together with hubsell team’s support. What the hubsell platform is doing and what their whole philosophy is to be human in your outreach which you can scale with their software. The whole approach has been excellent for us, we have excellent spam scores and we are able to get a lot of reach at low risk.
I think our most successful campaign so far has been to construction companies, we find that construction companies have a really big problem reaching their employees so it’s a great industry vertical for us. So first of all, really targeting our ICP and narrowing it was really important to increase the meeting rates. Secondly, increasing the number of follow up emails was also important, where the hubsell team suggested that we do 7 follow-ups, which was great because emails 4-7 have the most conversions.
hubsell is an end-to-end provider, in the sense that you don’t have to worry about working with multiple vendors to get leads and software automation from someone else. So hubsell is going to cover you because they are one partner that you will need to do outbound, just in terms of the total services they offer. While they are not a low-cost provider, that’s not their approach as they want to be a premium provider, so it isn’t going to be very cheap leads that you can buy, but the quality is there and you see that in the meeting rates and the end you get your best ROI (return on investment).
Bigger picture stuff is that hubsell is a company that is more than just a vendor, they could really partner with you, help you work on your whole approach on your market. And they really know what they are talking about. Particularly if you have domain concerns, you really want to protect your domain you don’t want to be blacklisted, and you want to have great deliverability, then the whole philosophy of hubsell’s approach is ideal.
So if you care about your online reputation then they are a really great partner to work with for that.
I think the roadmap is really cool, I know they are working on being able to send out physical mails through integration. I would say “keep up the good work” and I hope they have a lot of success in North America.
I’m happy that Staffbase gets to be part of their success story and I hope they really take off here.