Benjamin Brandall – Page 2 – Process Street

All posts by Benjamin Brandall


User Feedback: 3 Methods We Tested to Better Understand Our Users

I’ve written before about how we collect feedback on our marketing material and how that helps us write useful posts for our subscribers, but the other reason we gather user feedback focuses on expanding and improving the Process Street app.

With user feedback data, we can:

  • Choose which features to build based on the frequency they’re requested
  • Get data on bug reports which helps our engineering team build fixes
  • See the most common industries and use cases for our product, which guides our marketing in the right direction

Whether you’re in software or not, you still need to be gathering and processing feedback from everybody possible: leads, prospects, free users, and paying customers.

In this post, I’m going to outline the three methods you can use to gather feedback for your company. These are three methods we’ve used ourselves in the past as our business has evolved, so the complexity and usefulness of each method is higher than the last. Which method is right for you?

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Study: How 4 Highly Profitable SaaS Companies Market to Enterprises

Are you ready to market your SaaS product to enterprises? Do you know what makes or breaks a million dollar deal?

There’s a huge segment of SaaS companies that target only SMBs, and an increasingly well-funded bunch that go after the enterprise market from the outset. Some, like Dropbox, Asana, and HubSpot, have gradually scaled their products to meet the needs of enterprise customers. By looking at their enterprise-specific landing pages, we can isolate the key factors these companies have chosen to persuade enterprises, and find out what works.

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How We Built and Launched a Successful Microsite on Product Hunt

On August 25th, we launched a library of 1000+ real sales and emails from the top 280 SaaS companies.

The library was hosted on a microsite, Inside SaaS Sales, which allows users to browse the full sales cadences, organized in the order the message or voicemail was sent.

The launch landed us almost 800 votes on Product Hunt, 10,000+ site visits, a mention in Hiten Shah‘s SaaS Weekly, and publicity from the SaaS and VC community.

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Web Maintenance: A Process-Driven Guide with 4 Handy Checklists

Websites are delicate, messy, and hard to manage effectively. Setup might be easy, but a beginner learning to maintain a website will hit a damaging snag sooner or later.

The main problem is that the tech behind any website is complex for beginners. The files that run your site are written in multiple different languages, depend on each other’s fixed locations, and are controlled by config files. In short, there’s a lot to grasp when you’re starting up a website.

To avoid making mistakes you need a basic knowledge of SQL, cPanel, and phpmyadmin, as well as a general idea of why and how websites work. Like I learned the hard way, tiny tweaks or careless uploads can take the entire site offline for days at a time, which is especially damaging when you have a recurring audience of any kind.

In this post, I’m going to go through the methods you’ll need when maintaining a website, and give you processes you can follow for each task.

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How to Create a Runbook: A Guide for Sysadmins & MSPs

Benjamin Brandall
September 20, 2017
IT

How do you name a new server, export config data, or fix that one really annoying bug that keeps popping up every 2nd Thursday?

For prepared IT professionals, that information is stored in a runbook. A runbook is a set of standardized documents, references and procedures that explain common recurring IT tasks. Instead of figuring out the same problem time and time again, you can refer to your runbook for an optimal way to get the work done. What’s more, you can also delegate tasks and onboard employees more effectively if you have documentation to train them with.

Whenever you do a task, think of this quote:

“Will you remember how to do these things 6 months from now? I find myself having to re-invent a process from scratch if I haven’t done it in a few months (or sometimes just a few days!). Not only do I re-invent the process, I repeat all my old mistakes and learn from them again. What a waste of time.” — Tom Limoncelli, The Operations Report Card

In short, the less time wasted figuring out how to do a task, the better it’ll be for your business efficiency, productivity, and sanity.

This post will look at runbook examples, documentation methods, and some processes you can use in your own business. Also, it will show you how to use Process Street as your cloud-based runbook for all IT documentation.

First, let’s look at some example runbooks so we can get context on what I’m going to talk about.

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7 Documented Processes for IT, MSPs and System Administrators

Benjamin Brandall
September 13, 2017
IT

Technical procedures — especially those affecting your client’s systems and operations — must always be documented. Details and specifics are too vital for you to just wing it, especially when you’re dealing with long lists of configs, server names, and other easily-forgotten information.

That could be why SOPs (and documentation in general) are so popular and well-supported in the MSP community. Thanks to the wealth of information out there, we’ve been able to put together 7 of the most in-demand IT processes among MSPs and sysadmins.

In post, you’ll get 7 processes you can easily edit, share, and use in your own organization. Since they’re built inside Process Street, when you add them to your account they’re stored in the cloud and provided to anyone in your organization with the right access permissions.

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15 Load Testing Tools, Tips and Methods to Protect You from Crashes

Do you find your website users complaining about it being sluggish at times? Does performance degrade when traffic is high? How certain are you that a new feature or build isn’t responsible for your laggy site? These are questions best answered through load testing.

Load testing is a branch of software performance testing. It involves subjecting a website to simulated workloads that stretch its specified operational capacity to its limits in order to assess its performance.

A slow and vulnerable site can affect your search visibility, user experience, and conversion rate — all of which can negatively impact your revenue.

In this article, I’m going to explain the advantages, goals, and metrics of load testing, and then give you 6 tools and 9 tips to try.

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The Needlessly Complex History of SaaS, Simplified

Benjamin Brandall
August 30, 2017

Look up the history of any modern technology, and you’re taken on a quick-fire tour of antiques, innovations, failures, successes, bubbles, booms, and busts.

Unlike the history of the Roman Empire or Greek poetry, software history is almost immeasurably short.

It’s rich and it’s exciting, but it’s also full of strange developments. Developments that never really went anywhere, but serve as warnings to organizations of the kinds of flops to avoid.

New terminology and seemingly revolutionary inventions have cropped up every single year since the 1960s, but by now most of what formed the foundations for today’s software market is obsolete.

The Department of Defense’s SaaS timeline is broad (and not particularly exciting-looking), but it gets the job done.

In today’s world, the majority of businesses and consumers use software-as-a-service (SaaS). If you define SaaS an application that can be accessed through a web browser and is managed and hosted by a third-party, then Facebook, Snapchat, Google — and many things that most people would just call ‘websites’ — are SaaS products.

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What We Learned Analyzing 281 Full Sales Cycles (1,183 Emails & Voicemails)

Every SaaS company pours mountains of resources into building a sales team, creating efficient sales processes, and optimizing sales emails.

That’s because the most direct way to impact your revenues is by making sure your sales processes are as tight as possible.

But, how can you be sure you use the most effective methods to follow up with leads and close more deals?

Maybe we can help.

In partnership with PersistIQ, we analyzed the complete sales cadences of 281 SaaS companies, from intro to break-up. That included signing up for a whole heap of free trials, and then collecting over 1,000 emails and voicemail transcriptions.

If you want to get proven insights from some of the world’s best SaaS sales teams, build your ideal sales sequence and learn to write emails that close deals, then check out Inside SaaS Sales.

Inside SaaS Sales is a microsite we launched that collects and organizes every single piece of sales communication we received. It’s all there for you to browse through, swipe, and analyze.

With such a lot of data, it’d be silly not to study it to find out the key trends and share that knowledge with you. So, keep reading for our full analysis of the data!

Here are our key findings:

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21 Ways to Use Slack Bots to Simplify Everyday Tasks

Imagine if you had an invisible robot running around the internet doing all kinds of tasks for you.

That’s a bot. 🤖

Bots live on Twitter, on Wall Street and in factories.

They cut down on pesky repetitive tasks and do things that would take humans much more time and energy.

Bots started out as weak, experimental and expensive, but the rise of SaaS and automation means that you can have your very own family of bots, living exactly where you work: Slack.

Slack isn’t just a place to chat with your team, it can be extended to:

  • Check your emails or aggregate your newsletters into a public channel
  • Send notifications from Trello, JIRA, or hundreds of other apps
  • Stream tweets that match a certain hashtag or keyword
  • Update your calendar
  • Save your reminders and to-dos
  • Store company knowledge and resources (like a chatbot attached to a wiki)
  • …and a million more time-saving (and fun) things

Slack is simple, text-based, searchable and allows you to customize it in creative ways. It’s the perfect environment for simple bots that can replace the need for time-consuming or interrupting tasks, and its Slack App directory makes it easy to find and plug a bot right into Slack ready to use.

But, before we get into all of the cool stuff Slack bots can do, let’s get the basics down first and talk about the original: Slackbot!

Most Slack users know Slackbot as the friendly and helpful character that helps them set up their profile. It sits in always-on mode in your direct messages, occasionally popping up to give you notifications. It’s easy to forget, but you’re missing out on a lot of great features if you overlook it.

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