Kicking SaaS: Why The 1st Dublin SaaS Meetup Rocked (And Rocked Hard)

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The first Dublin SaaS Meetup just happened. Intercom provided the venue, Tribal VC were sponsors. The speakers were mind-blowing. The pizzas were amazing. It was standing room only.

When people come together around common themes, you get a great feeling for the depth of a community.

Alexander Theuma of SaaScribe was buzzed by how well it all went. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the reaction to this event,” he said, “which just shows how many people there are in Dublin’s SaaS community.”

So pleased was London-based Alexander that he’s decided Dublin is the perfect location for SaaScribe’s first conference, which will be happening in September 2016.

Dublin’s a natural home for a highly focused event like this because storytelling is at the heart of how most SaaS businesses scale effectively, and it’s something we have a natural flair for.

It’s almost as if the SaaS sales handbook was written to suit the Irish temperament:

1. Build a community around what you’re passionate about.
2. Share your knowledge freely to gain credibility.
3. Don’t use hard sell techniques.
4. Think long term.

All of the above is how we roll. The world has finally copped on to our finest qualities. Let’s make hay while the sun shines and rule this space.

Niamh Bushnell, Dublin Commissioner For Startups (and boss of this very publication) kicked off proceedings by announcing the companies selected for the Newstalk SaaS Bootcamp which kicks off Dec 9th.

As Niamh explained, “We selected 11 SaaS companies scaling out of Dublin, both multinational and startup, and they are Bizimply, Edgescan, Learnupon, WorkCompass, LogoGrab, Legalshine, Pulsate, Initiafy, NewsWhip, Xsellco and Viddyad.”

Connor Keppel, the CMO at Phorest Salon Software then shared some amazing tips about how they’ve stood out in a crowded space. It’s all about knowing your audience and how you can connect with them by providing really useful content.

One thing Phorest have been doing which I love is summarising relevant books into listicles including classics like Dale Carnegie’s ‘How To Win Friends And Influence People’.

As Connor surmised, “If you listen to your audience, you distribute your content cleverly and really work hard on your thought leadership it stops you from getting into an arms race with your competitors and helps you differentiate yourself from the crowd.”

Connor’s excellent slide deck, which includes a great slide breaking down different content types can be downloaded here.

Liam Corcoran, Head Of Communications at NewsWhip was adamant about detail. “Hard facts get you noticed. We have lots of data to look at objectively which allows us to pick out trends. We blogged about Facebook instant articles. We’re able to do analysis and say things such as The New York Times’ instant articles were attracting five times the comments that regular links were.

That’s the type of stuff that gets you featured and gets you covered.”

Liam summed up his learnings on using their blog as a source of leads very succinctly: “If your content is genuinely interesting, then your audience will definitely be interested in reading and sharing.”

The evening finished off with a panel discussion which provided a range of great perspectives.

Ed Shelley, Director of Content Marketing at SaaS Analytics Platform ChartMogul, sometimes feels “Overwhelmed by the amount of shouting in the content space. The problem of how to stand out is this sea of noise is quite interesting. How can you still tell a story that’s engaging and stand out from what everyone else is doing? For us, that’s related to telling stories about how our customers use our product.”

Des Martin, Head Of Growth EMEA for Qualtrics was emphatic about quality control. “Great content is an extension of the brand of a company,” he said. “If you really nail the content and really hit home and go beyond navel gazing. Intercom do a great job of bringing in an audience and really resonating in this way. You can use great content to make people want to be involved in what your brand is about.”

Intercom have defined themselves by their total product focus, as their Managing Editor John Collins explained: “Good content has to marry up with your product. Intercom is very much a product-driven company so we believe that good marketing is about sending the right people the right message at the right time, and guess what? We have a product that does that, but then that’s also about what we write about on our blog.”

The evening was wrapped up with a promise from Alexander that there will be another one soon.

In the meantime there’s that forthcoming SaaS Bootcamp to look forward to, another great opportunity for the growing Dublin ecosystem to share crucial information and learnings.

Storytelling is moving to the heart of business. A trend that Dublin is poised to take full advantage of.

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