07 Apr 2020
Gergely Sinka from ConfigCat ($4k/mo)
Gergely Sinka is the cofounder of ConfigCat, a cross-platform feature flag service with support for A/B testing, percentage rollouts, and SDKs for easy integration. Gergely dropped out of three universities, failed at a busines building websites, taught himself full-stack development, and eventually started ConfigCat with several other awesome people. He lives in Pecs, Hungary and may or may not be Batman.
What marketing channels and methods have worked best for you?
ConfigCat is a complex tool/service targeting development teams. It is based on the trunk based development approach which is getting more and more popular nowadays.
We’re doing bottom-up sales and marketing by approaching developers and product managers in organizations. Our customers are very conscious when selecting developer tools. Evaluation usually takes weeks and requires thorough review of technology, privacy, security and legal. The product needs to be the highest quality. There is no place for sales gibberish. Also on product demos and sales meeting we need to be well prepared to be able to answer all the hard questions from the dev teams. The best channels for us are review sites like G2 and TrustRadius that help people select the best alternative feature flag service for their needs.
On top of the the usual analytics tools, we measure marketing channels by initiating a conversation with everyone we can via chat, email, or in person on product demos. We ask a few questions like:
- What is your use case? Why are you looking for a feature flag service?
- How did you find us?
- What other servicse are you considering?
This info is gold. It paints a picture of the market. We don’t need to guess about what users need.
What tools have been especially important to your success?
There are eras in the life of a startup. Different eras require different abilities and tools.
Era of planning, ideas: Physical whiteboard; I know it’s obvious, but at the beginning we spent all our time drawing and NOT coding.
Era of MVP and product validation: Zoom; during the validation period we recorded user interviews and analysed them later. We also used Slack and Trello for obvious reasons.
Era of product development: Coding 24/7 for months. VSCode is my favourite editor. Would be so hard without it. Also loving Angular and .NET Core. Plus it is so great that there are cloud platform providers like Linode and Digital Ocean.
Era of growing business: A good CRM is gold. We’re using Zoho One which includes a CRM, live chat app, helpdesk ticketing, and user session recording—everything we need to keep track of the increasing number of customer requests.
What have been your biggest obstacles to success and how did you overcome them?
Being a team of engineers, the biggest obstacles were not technical but business- and marketing-related.
We had to figure out a way to present our product. Had to learn how to hold sales meetings and product demos—how to communicate with our customers properly. But the greatest challenge of all, and I believe we’re still learning about this, is how to grow the business, like how to scale the customer support resources.
When founding a company, it’s important to have the proper people on the legal and accounting fronts. Finding our way through the European tax system while keeping the service easy to use and the pricing simple has been challenging. It took a very long time until we figured out a way to be consistent with the local and general European regulations.