This article is the second installment in the “SaaS Weekly AI Mini-Series,” where we interview AI-based SaaS founders on how they built a mission-critical product.
Doing more with less
The common theme in today’s economic environment is doing more with less. Companies across the board look to reassess their cost structure as layoffs continue and a looming concern about an economic slowdown deepens.
As a result, efficiency is top of mind for founders. Not just for their own operations but also thinking of ways to embed it in their messaging.
Clearly articulating how your product saves a company time and money is a key ingredient to crafting a winning pitch for new customers.
In addition, finding ways to efficiently scale new pipeline creation and strengthen your product’s moat can build the foundation for a strong growth strategy.
To better understand how B2B SaaS companies can do both of those things, I spoke with Prem Kumar, the CEO and co-founder of Humanly.
Humanly offers an AI-powered recruiting platform that helps high-volume hiring teams screen, schedule, and interview candidates more efficiently and equitably. The company targets four primary verticals:
- Professional Services
- Financial Services
- SaaS Companies (those hiring for support, customer service, or sales positions)
- Hourly Workforce
Typically, Humanly’s Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) has a thousand or more employees and is recruiting for entry-to-mid-level positions. These companies are reviewing hundreds of applicants at a time. So they rely on a solution like Humanly to help them scale and streamline their hiring process.
In this article, I walk you through the lessons I learned from my conversations with Prem about how Humanly wins over customers with its unique product messaging and partnership strategy. If you are off in a rush, here are the key takeaways.
- Frame your messaging through the lens of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
- Use your product’s data and analytics to establish your company as a thought leader in your industry
- Build a partnership channel to help scale pipeline generation and improve your product’s stickiness
Frame your product messaging through the lens of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
When crafting your messaging, start by addressing how your product saves customers time and money
In this market environment, the crux of a winning pitch is centered around how your product helps your customers achieve a “basic need.”
For Humanly, that means communicating how its product helps companies save time and money. At its core, Humanly’s value proposition is streamlining the end-to-end workflow for high-volume recruiters.
Humanly does this through a combination of AI, automation, and analytics. The company’s AI chatbot helps to screen and engage with candidates, while its speech analytics extracts key insights from the interview.
Then, with a bit of generative AI, detailed write-ups about the call are added to the customer’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS).
But to make the time saving more concrete for prospects, Humanly uses an ROI calculator to translate workflow efficiency into cost savings for the company.
For example, Humanly quantifies the time allocation for a company with 20 recruiters who meet with seven candidates a day, take seven sets of notes, and do seven sets of follow-ups.
The figure is then broken down by recruiter and extrapolated by month and by year to arrive at an annualized cost number for the company.
The end result is a single value that helps Humanly get further buy-in from decision-makers in the sales process. But the company’s ROI Calculator is just one of the many metrics that Humanly showcases to prospects to win them over.
Use your product’s data and analytics to establish your company as a thought leader in your industry
Win customers over by demonstrating how your product improves their business outcomes
Once Humanly addresses the “basic needs,” the company then sells prospects on how it helps them achieve better business outcomes: which is improving the quality of their hiring.
Humanly is able to take a company’s hiring process from just good to great. By analyzing a company’s data across all its interviews, Humanly helps them ask the right questions. A few of these questions include:
- is the company being fair in the interview process
- is the company being equitable in the candidate selection
- what characteristics of a candidate predict higher employee performance
The product’s advanced analytics help prospects discover trends in their data that can surface blind spots they didn’t know to look for.
Publishing industry benchmarks helps to establish yourself as a thought leader
To further build the business case for a prospect, Humanly leverages its proprietary data to publish industry reports on high-volume recruiting.
By analyzing Humanly’s aggregated anonymized interview data, the company is able to present impactful insights that help to establish itself as a thought leader in the industry.
At the top of the funnel, these reports are used as marketing collateral to drive new inbound leads. The benchmarks draw in new prospects by helping them preview what types of analytics they can achieve using Humanly’s platform.
Collaborate with partners to help scale pipeline generation and improve your product’s stickiness
Being “partner-friendly” has been a key driver for Humanly’s growth
In a saturated ecosystem where players in the space are doing a lot of different things, being partner-friendly has helped Humanly supercharge its go-to-market motion and increase its product differentiation.
Partnerships help Humanly in three primary ways:
- Scaling its outbound sales motion
- Improving its product’s stickiness through integrations
- Enhancing its customer experience through a wider data pipeline
Alongside selling directly to in-house recruiting teams, Humanly uses partnerships with Staffing Firms and Recruitment Process Outsourcing Firms (RPOs) as another primary customer channel.
Through white labeling or a revenue share program, Humanly can scale its product distribution by partnering with firms that sell its software for them as part of their service bundle.
Humanly sees a lot of upside potential by pairing its outbound motion with a partner program. In fact, the company’s partnership channel has been one of the bigger drivers of its recent growth and Humanly has plans to expand this channel going forward.
Integrations help to increase your product’s stickiness and expand your data pipeline
Another benefit of being partner-friendly is increasing the stickiness of your product. By integrating into other recruiting software, Humanly’s platform becomes harder to replace.
Other competitors may not offer the same API integration and removing Humanly’s functionality entirely may result in a customer losing a core element in their workflow.
In addition, partnerships allow Humanly to achieve a higher volume of candidate interactions, which allows them to capture more data than they could by themselves, improving the experience for partners and customers.
Think of it like a hub-and-spoke on a bicycle. Staffing Firms and RPOs are the hubs and their customers are the spokes. To accelerate the “data collection wheel,” Humanly partners with recruiting and staffing firms to extend its reach to a wider number of interviews.
All of this collected data improves the analytics that Humanly is able to offer to customers.
Lessons learned and recommended resources for SaaS founders
At the end of my interview, I asked Prem what lessons he learned running Humanly and what resources he recommends to other SaaS founders. Here is what he said:
Lessons from the founder
- The biggest challenge when growing Humanly was not trying to be everything to everyone. To avoid this pitfall, quickly create MVPs to see which features align with specific segments before you write any code.
- “Startups that fail don’t starve for ideas, they drown in them.” It’s harder to figure out what not to build as opposed to what to build, and that distinction is decided by your customers not necessarily by your ideas.
- Lean into your Mission, Vision, and Values sooner, don’t wait for them to be perfect before publishing them internally and to your customers.
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