Tenacity is a SaaS platform that delivers cloud clarity at scale. It eliminates all cloud governance challenges by offering users complete visibility into their public cloud asset inventory, security posture, regulatory adherence, and cost drivers.
We got an opportunity to connect with Steve LaChance, the CMO of Tenacity to talk about his journey in the SaaS space. He shares how they used problem-oriented marketing to build a product that meets customer needs. He also throws light on how content marketing and SEO rewarded them with a short cycle and boosted their conversion to 95%.
With its mission to ‘democratize the cloud,’ Tenacity aims at making its customers feel more secure, better informed, and empowered to make their decisions. Let’s look at how this Tenacity won conversions by addressing real user problems.
So, let’s hear more on this from Steve!
Thank you Steve for taking the time to share how Tenacity leveraged content and SEO to achieve your numbers.
To be very honest, my career path is not a traditional one. I don’t have a degree in Marketing or prior experience in working for an agency. I studied economics — the science of people making decisions (not always rationally) that maximize their fulfillment, followed by history.
The only common thread through all of that education has been: talking to people, collecting qualitative data, understanding their needs, designing the decision trees, and turning it into a series of actions that helps people.
I am passionate about strategy and execution. I’ve worked in human resource and finance roles. Later, I moved into market intelligence and market targeting roles, and CEO of a startup that recently had a successful exit.
Now, I’m the chief marketing officer of Tenacity. My expertise is in market intelligence and customer discovery. It involves having a firm grasp of both the demand and supply side of your target market. Additionally, understanding the customer needs, pain points, problems you’re solving, outcomes you are creating will help while you design marketing campaigns.
It’s amazing and challenging. Whereas in many industries the marketing focus is on placement and promotion, in SaaS it’s all about Product. Specifically building a product that solves a real problem better than the rest of the market.
The very first component in the 4 Ps (Product, Price, Placement, and Promotion) of marketing is the Product and that’s where the go-to market needs to start to build a successful strategy.
Find a problem with inadequate solutions and then build a product to fit. This pretty unorthodox experience and varied roles made it possible for me to recognize what skill gaps need to be filled to execute our stated strategy. Knowing what we need and what we don’t have is the whole job for a CMO. With that knowledge (and enough money) I can then resource the team to deliver.
Tenacity answers five key questions that every company having an AWS or Microsoft Azure footprint is asking every day.
With Tenacity, it takes minutes to answer these questions because we monitor and report in real-time. Real-time is critical in the cloud world because the cloud changes every minute. You’re always spinning up and winding down new resources in your cloud infrastructure.
These problems are systemic and perennial, and the solutions before Tenacity were (to be polite!) insufficient. So, we built a tool to make life easier for the 99.99% of the world that doesn’t have a cybersecurity specialization.
By the way, Tenacity offers a free sign-up. It’s the only tool that allows users to self-install.
Every single install of our product has saved our customers more than it costs. It has uncovered bankruptcy level security misconfigurations before they get exploited and reduced the configuration discovery window from weeks to minutes.
Need to know if you’re HIPAA compliant? Two clicks, five minutes, zero sales reps. You get the current status and suggestions to improve your compliance posture.
Trying to know why the bill increased (or decreased) last month? Install and get detailed line items of your bill with cost-saving recommendations. Believe it or not, AWS and Azure will not give you an easy-to-understand view of your bill.
Insane, isn’t it? Hence, we built Tenacity.
Our customers are more secure, better informed, and empowered to make decisions in their cloud that have lasting positive impacts on their company.
The cloud is an intimidating space for the most advanced engineers and the world deserves the best set of tools at an approachable price. We’re here to add value to our partners, not extract cash.
There is also a cultural barrier we aim to eliminate in the cybersecurity space. That cultural barrier is rooted in the language people use. We value easy-to-understand language that non-engineers can use to improve their cloud infrastructure and business overall. We value Inclusion!
We define our competitors into four major buckets.
The first is direct competition – so, think of products that are similar to ours or purport to deliver the same outcomes that we do.
The second is in-house teams that our customers are using to home grow a solution. This includes cobbling together a series of solutions as their custom security and configuration tool.
The third is managed service providers and the last one is “non-consumption.” It is, by far, the most popular solution on the market today for dealing with cloud misconfigurations. Most companies are approaching their security concerns, compliance problems, and cost management by doing nothing and hoping for the best.
We launched a branding initiative that has resonated with our core buyers while simultaneously delivering a product that was very well received by our users. Remember—They aren’t always the same person!
Another campaign we are consistent with customer discovery and market validation. We dedicate as much time to knowing and living our audience’s frustrations as we do when writing, editing, creating.
We’ve doubled our website traffic and more than doubled our sign-ups. Our conversion rate from sign-ups to paying customers is now over 95%.
That’s all cool, but the best results come in the form of unsolicited feedback. Some of it’s even positive (laughs).
Our funnel is straightforward, but I’m not ignorant of the complexity of the buyer’s journey. Especially in our space. We target those who have a known problem to solve— specifically a growing firm with an articulated need that is aware of our competitor’s shortfall.
That focus, in conjunction with a fantastic team and a well-designed content strategy, has rewarded us with a 60-90 day cycle.
It is the strategy! Our total ad spend is less than 1k. Ever. If you remember our company name, Tenacity, and that we’re related to cloud – type that into an incognito tab (to cut out your cookie influence) and we’re the whole first page.
We focus on consistency, breadth of content, and medium, and let the geniuses take the lead. I’m lucky enough that my team does their best work without me getting in the way.
The vocabulary in cloud and cybersecurity is largely a techno babble. We went another route and decided to brand it as a straightforward and no in-crowd nor esoteric acronyms company that will help you find the solution to your problem.
We count on our in-house team. Our first hire was a director of content. Our second was an Emmy award-winning Creative Director.
The only thing that pays a compelling ROI is the organic and sincere approach to creating and sharing your brand. If given the choice between 2 hours of dead link hunting, question answering on Quora, or Reddit spamming versus say 2 hours to secure another interview, write a piece of useful content, submit to a reputable publication, etc., I’m directing my team to improve the world with useful and helpful content.
You’re never going to outsmart Google.
Just focus on solving real problems for real people consistently and watch your growth line ramp up exponentially.
We’re ramping up our video production. Short-form video is not new and we recognize the need to include ourselves as ourselves to reinforce the brand. We’re your friend who knows the cloud. We’re not a professor or snarky malcontent forever talking down to the masses.
Two items are worth checking out right now.
The first is our self-sign-up feature here.
The second is our white paper on how managed service providers can leverage a tool like Tenacity to add more value to their customer relationships. That can be found here.
Let’s ignore the enticing revenue model of SaaS for a moment and focus on the offering structure. The software domain has risen to be the predominant mechanism to solve perennial problems. The most superficial answer is that SaaS is great because it’s popular and economically rewarding.
But the real answer – the answer that begins to address the underlying problems in our larger economy is that “SaaS levels the playing field.” SaaS democratizes solutions that used to require a lot of capital and highly specialized (read: expensive) professionals to implement.
Take Tenacity as an example. Our customers (and their customers – you) can rely on one of four strategies to keep Personally Identifiable Information and other compliant infrastructure secure:
1) Pay one of the competitors I mentioned, but they cater to the F500. So, don’t expect much in the way of service. And the price is going to be high.
2) Hire an internal team to build a solution. Staff it sufficiently to maintain and improve that solution. Each of the people needed costs about 250k in salary.
3) Hire a managed service provider who already has the staff and technical team in place to get you squared away (This is a really good option by the way)
4) Do nothing and hope bad actors don’t notice you.
There is a popular, but flawed approach to bringing new products to market.
People act on the idea of creating a product without first taking the time to find out if anyone cares for a new solution.
For your product to be successful, a problem-oriented approach is the only way out.
When you’re marketing SaaS solutions, you’re cutting through major headwinds and improving your customer’s experience exponentially.
When it comes to our product- Cloud is the future. No one is building their own data centers anymore. No company will survive to reach meaningful net operating income by operating out of a filing cabinet, either.
A major challenge we face is the slow progression of privacy protections. Content marketers rely on the ability to optimize at every stage of content’s lifecycle. They are watching their distribution campaigns run afoul of company privacy policies.
We’re still in a bit of the wild west when it comes to what marketers can impose on an audience. That will change rapidly as policymakers increase their understanding of the needs for privacy protections. We should embrace that model and recommit to content that people want instead of fighting regulation in the hopes of squeezing another aging email list to death.
Of course not, but it will force multiply and enable the delivery of services that are otherwise considered impractical. Did anyone reading this interview ever think they’d have their groceries delivered?
One trend that needs to die a fast death is this idea that solving 80% of the problem will suffice. No, not anymore. 80/20 rule is a path to mediocrity and stagnation.
The marketer will always need to be able to tell a story the buyer can be the hero of.
SaaS companies and the marketers therein will remain relevant by focusing entirely on the problems to solve and actively seeking the most complete means of solving them. Complete. Not efficient, not cheapest, not fastest. The relevant and thriving entities will pursue holistic solutions.
Content and SaaS go together because in every buyer’s journey there is a human being making the go/no-go decision.
People need the information to make informed decisions and information comes in the form of content. Period.
Pick one or five mediums to convey that information – it all comes down to content. Assuming the name of your product isn’t also exactly what it claims to deliver (5-hour energy drink anyone?), you and I rely on content to inform every step of our walk down the awareness spectrum. It’s up to us as marketers to tell the world that we can help!
SaaS products are overwhelmingly created by engineers. Engineers are not equipped to market, nor should they be. Content creators solve that problem.
With care and deliberation. Seriously. Routine and ritual with little “r” is the most useful tool in my kit for maintaining balance. Tenacity as a company value emphasizes and lives the belief that the work will always be there on Monday. If you need time, take it.
I have been blessed with my first child this past year and sometimes I’d rather spend the time she’s awake building a stronger relationship. The work can wait until after bedtime or until the morning.
Currently reading some of the nerdiest shit ever—think birding field guides, AI modeling basics, and lots of research materials for a book I’m writing on Product-Market Fit.
One excellent and not too nerdy marketing book I picked up earlier this year is “Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life” by Rory Sutherland.
Five years from now, anyone who can’t write and deploy code to get a job done will be looked at like someone who just said, “I never did get the hang of email.”
We’ve recently released a completely automated and self-directed sign-up process. You can go to tenacitycloud.com, install our platform; and have a complete picture of your cloud’s security, compliance, and cost picture in minutes.
The process used to take weeks before we came along, and automated it—now you can walk yourself through setup or call in one of our engineers as a lifeline – that option takes *gasp* 30 minutes on the phone with us. We still rely entirely on real people (currently, all midwesterners) to answer questions via chat, phone, email, etc.
Also! You can procure Tenacity Cloud via the AWS marketplace. No need to get the Purchasing department involved. We’re just another line item on your AWS bill.
We have our line of merchandise too – hats, t-shirts, stickers, hoodies, shoes…you can grab them on our website, if they are available…they usually go fast.
That was Steve sharing insights on how solving real customer problems got them precious conversions. This interaction reconfirmed one huge fact for our SaaS content marketing agency – SaaS businesses cannot thrive if they do not have their fingers on the pulse of audience frustrations. They need to consistently dig out real issues and address them through their content.