There are dozens of guides for startups to reference when they are researching different aspects of growth. But, it isn’t always easy to find them.
I searched with multiple tools to find as many as I could, for this post. As I find more I’ll add them in.
I’ve found calculators, tools, spreadsheets, and more, with the following topics covered; onboarding, bootstrapping, customer success, churn, retention, pricing, business model, user experience, blog, growth, marketing, sales, and various. I hope you find this useful.
For starters let’s talk about the Growth specific guides:
Rational Growth by Andrew Chen – Free, No signup- Here, Andrew Chen talks about the frameworks, questions, and thought processes you need to build a product with millions of users. The visuals are helpful, the focus on using spreadsheets is refreshing, and you walk away with a real feel of what is needed to make growth happen.
The Scientific Method: How to Design & Track Viral Growth Experiments by Brian Balfour– Slideshare- Why would you care if you are designing and tracking growth experiments correctly? Well, because the human brain has a limit to how much it can remember accurately. So, follow Brian’s suggestions and always have a resource to refer to with future teams and employees.
The Data-Driven Guide to Growing Your SaaS Company by HubSpot– This guide is about establishing sustainable and measurable growth. It includes the initial information a new SaaS founder or marketer would need, and talks about finding growth and scaling it for success.
Ultimate Guide to Growth Stage Pricing By Open View Partners– These guys know pricing and will help you understand the nuances of a pricing strategy in the growth stage. This is powerful information that will help you optimize your MRR while figuring out what your users will pay and how to get them to pay the highest prices.
SaaS Marketing Essentials 3 Chapters by Ryan Battles– If you are at all new to SaaS marketing and growth, Ryan Battles book is a foundational piece that will help you take off running with your newest project. Here you can get the first 3 chapters for free.
The Definitive Guide to SaaS Marketing by New Breed Marketing– This lengthy guide was written to help you get growth moving through your marketing efforts. It includes the basics of metrics, goals, and budgeting while discussing tactics, templates, and techniques for marketing your SaaS company.
Essential Guide to Customer Journey and Lifecycle by Gainsight– Full Guide On Site- An often overlooked aspect of growth, though not by majorly successful companies, is Customer Success. In this guide by Gainsight, the customer journey and lifecycle is discussed. While it seems this sort of thing is for corporations, these are exactly the types of things that Andrew Chen considers when working on growth, as you’ll see in the guide at the top of this list.
Strategic Marketing Tactics for SaaS Companies by Inturact– This guide by Katy Katz focuses specifically on content marketing for SaaS companies, but it doesn’t stop there, it includes the information you need to target customers and promote content, then follow up by keeping your users happy. Very useful for content marketers.
Scaling Personalization for Behavior-Based Trigger Marketing by BlueShift– In this guide by BlueShift you’ll learn about marketing based on behavior. As technology continues to impact marketing we are able to get minutely specific about who and when we share a message. Learn how to use your trigger marketing opportunities to get the highest number of conversions.
Lifecycle Marketing by Retention Science– Lifecyle marketing might sound like a highly specific, almost boring approach to marketing but it has several implications for growth. One of the things I’ve focused on for years is lifecycle marketing, and you’ll find numerous points of interest in this guide, that will impact your growth.
Growth Marketer’s Guide to Customer Engagement by BlueShift– Another guide by BlueShift, this one helps you focus on your relationship with your clients and using it to engage them, market to them, and increase revenue.
SaaS Grader by New Breed Marketing– This tool helps you figure out some of your more difficult metrics and explains the implications of each KPI. You do have to enter your information, but it’s very helpful if you aren’t already tracking on a tool like Chart Mogul.
Free Trial Conversion Rate & Cohort Analysis Template by New Breed Marketing– A spreadsheet template that analyzes your free trial conversion rate, and provides cohort analysis. Your cohort analysis will reveal what audiences you can provide better marketing experiences for, and help you further understand your personas’ needs.
The Epic Guide to Bootstrapping A SaaS From Scratch– Perhaps one of my favorite topics around growth is bootstrapping. I just have to respect someone who wants to build their startup and product on their own terms. This is a blog post, and the creator is writing a book right now for others who want to do this. I love the sense of traditional entrepreneurship in bootstrapping, I hope you enjoy the post.
You can’t talk about growth without also including sales, a major path to growth, though one that can be more difficult to scale. Either way, these guides are a couple of my favorites for advice to startups and SaaS companies looking to optimize their sales processes.
Ultimate Guide SaaS Sales– 31 things you need to know about selling SaaS by Steli Efti at Close.io. First of all, Close.io is a top blog for SaaS Sales, and Steli knows what he is talking about. Read through their backlog of blog posts and this guide to find pieces of information that will no doubt help your company grow.
My Favorite Startup & Growth Blogs
ProfitWell Blog– Let’s talk about your churn and MRR optimization. ProfitWell runs experiments, works with clients, and shares what they learn about improving profits at startups and SaaS companies. You’ll love Why Annual Plans Are Crucial for Reducing Churn.
What Users Do & Why Blog– I like this blog because it talks about user experience, something that is still a relatively new topic. Similar to my blog post on Inbound.org 9 Reasons I Won’t Buy Your SaaS Tool, the posts on What Users Do help you understand your market better so you can optimize their experience and revenue.
Tomasz Tunguz– A partner at Redpoint and the co-author of ‘Winning With Data’. Tomasz is a venture capitalist that writes blog posts every day about startups and does a great job of using data.
Brian Balfour– formerly Growth at HubSpot, Brian has years of experience and writes monthly essays teaching about growth frameworks and the other processes needed to see extensive user success.
Jason Cohen– A Smart Bear might be my newest and most favorite startup blog. While I’ve heard of him before, I didn’t take the time to go back through his old posts and fall in love with how he shares. This is a great blog and I look forward to new posts.
First Round Review– If you go through the posts here you’ll find a lot of interviews and stories of founders and startups and their successes and failures. It’s a treasure trove of education from some of the biggest companies to some of the fastest growing.
Alex Turnbull on Groove’s Journey to 100k- Think of these posts as over-the-shoulder pieces that fully explain what it’s like to grow a SaaS startup. Great content by a dedicated team who really wants to help others be successful.
Cohort Analysis – A collection of tools that explain cohort analysis and how to use the information obtained to improve marketing and churn.
Understanding and Managing Subscription Businesses by Recurly– An informative guide that gives founders a look at the metrics they need to track and a great deal of information on identifying and fixing churn.
The SaaS CEO’s Guide to Happier Customers by Drift– Drift is killing growth and one of the reasons why is their focus on keeping customers happy. This is customer success and growth at its best and something we can all learn from. Check out my piece to 29 Growth Lessons from Drift.
SaaStr Academy- Learn anything you need to about running a SaaS startup at SaaStr Academy, but this link will take you straight to their growth stage section where you can learn about founder mistakes, raising funds, and tips to growth 10-20% faster.
How to Nail Your SaaS Trial by Autopilot– Once you already have people in a trial, it’s much easier to convert them to a paying customer, right? Not so fast! In this guide by Autopilot they take you through the necessary steps to make sure you convert as many of your trial users as possible. Having gone through a trial with them I can attest to their helpfulness and passion to convert.
Creating Successful SaaS Products by Ramen– Many people launch their product or service without considering whether it will sell. Here the team at Ramen help you consider successful SaaS products and how you can emulate their achievements.
The Essential SaaS Metrics Guide by SaaS Metrics– An analytics guide to the metrics of importance at any SaaS company, this has been put together by a highly knowledgeable expert in SaaS analytics and we can all learn a thing or two about SaaS metrics here.
More Resources for Startups:
- The User Onboarding Academy by Appcues
- Ultimate Guide to Mobile Onboarding by Apptimize
- 12 Step User Onboarding Checklist by Cobloom
- Customer Success Definitive Guide by Lincoln Murphy
- Contents of An Awesome Customer Success Playbook by Lincoln Murphy
- Essential Guide to Customer Success by Gainsight
- Complete Guide to Customer Success for SaaS Companies by Process
- Essential Guide to Churn Gainsight
- Predicting Churn by Retention Science
- Spreadsheet- Churn, Cohort, MRR Analysis Spreadsheet by Andrew Chen
- Tool- Churn Calculator by Less Churn
- Proven Customer Retention Strategies by Appcues
- Optimize User Retention by InnerTrends
- Scientific Marketer’s Guide to Retention Marketing and Predictive Analytics by Retention Science
- Ultimate SaaS Pricing Guide for Seed Stage Companies by Open View Partners
- Ultimate Guide SaaS Pricing by Chargify
- Guide to Optimize SaaS Pricing by Invesp
- SaaS Pricing Page Blueprint eBook by Price Intelligently
- SaaS Business Model Calculator by SaaS You Later
- Freemium vs Premium: Which is best for your SaaS company? by Cobloom