Saas Chats: Product Hunt Launches

SaaS Chats: Fieldmobi Smart Notes

We were recently invited to join the engaging SaaS Chats Podcast, graciously hosted by Marc Bovenzi. In this insightful episode, our founder, Shambhabi, delved into a lively conversation, unpacking the details of launching a product on Product Hunt.

Table of Contents:
  1. Introduction
  2. Why Product Hunt?
    1. Tips on leveraging Social Media for your Product Hunt
    2. Tips on Starting and Building a Community on Product Hunt

  3. Fieldmobi Smart Notes Launch Day
  4. Do you need a Hunter?
  5. Juggling Between Work and Product Hunt Launch
  6. Did the Launch attract some investors?
  7. Fieldmobi Upcoming Launches on Product Hunt
  8. Tips on Reaching Out to the Product Hunt Community

 

Introduction

Marc: Hi, Shambhabi. Welcome to the second episode of SaaS Chats. I really appreciate you being here. If you could, tell us a little bit about yourself and why you want to talk about the topic of Product Hunt. I know that you have a lot of experience going through the process. So we are excited to talk about that with you. But go ahead and tell us a little bit about Fieldmobi and what you are doing besides that, why you started Fieldmobi, etc.

Shambhabi:  Thank you so much for having me, first of all. So I'll start with Fieldmobi. Fieldmobi is basically designed to help organizations that are under-digitized connect on the same sort of workflow as larger organizations. The idea is to basically help digitize the value chain essentially completely.

If you really think about it now, you have lots of smaller companies, smaller businesses, and a lot of legacy industries that have not really digitized the same way as some other larger, more technologically advanced industries. Right. And that's actually caused more issues in the whole value chain than just growth and standard growth for these smaller companies. If you look at a large enterprise, let's take an example of say a retailer, right? If you have a large FMCG company working with lots of retailers, a lot of them are small companies. When they work, the teams that work with these small companies tend to also be under-digitized. They tend to be working on phone calls, and unstructured communication. There's data lost, and there is a lot of inefficiency built in there. Our goal is basically to, on one side, help these smaller companies digitize, and on the other side, our larger goal really is to help bring them onto large enterprise workflows. We essentially have three sets of products.

We've launched our first one on Product Hunt, which I think we're gonna talk about a lot today. That was Fieldmobi Smart Notes and that's essentially a replacement for WhatsApp for managing your field workforce. It essentially takes messages, you know, with images and audio notes and things like that from your field and converts that into searchable, analyzable, and geotagged data. You can actually use it, and you can actually take it all out on Excel and analyze it properly. You can view it on a map so you can view actual pieces of data on a map. It's designed to be as simple as WhatsApp, both to implement and use, but you get so much more out of it.

Going forward, we're about to launch our next product, which is called First ERP. We should be launching next month. That's basically a really simple ERP system designed for companies that have never had one. Just so everyone knows what ERP is. ERP is Enterprise Resource Planning.  You know, companies like SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics, the big companies, they're usually very expensive and difficult to roll out, and you need, you know, expensive consultants with very large hourly rates. They're largely inaccessible to smaller organizations.  What we're doing is we're creating an AI consultant as well to help roll that whole thing out without you necessarily needing another consultant.

Why Product Hunt?

Marc: why did you choose Product Hunt over another platform?

Shambhabi: Well, I think one of the main things is that it's very, very visible. So, I mean, everyone talks about it after a point. Once you get into tech, you start hearing about it very early on. But one of the more important parts is it's also very available in terms of, there's a lot of resources available in terms of learning how to launch and how to launch well.

Even if you're a small team, you end up kind of learning your ropes and figuring out a way to at least make some impact, and it also kind of seems like they're designed to help push smaller organizations. I don't think I knew this so early when I decided to be very honest with you. But in hindsight, I think. after sort of studying it for a while, I've noticed that larger organizations that have thousands and thousands of employees don't do quite as well as large-ish startups who are launching for the first time. I think if you're really small, you have to really be scrappy, but somewhere you go really well.

Marc: I know that Product Hunt has a really strong community. In what way did that benefit you? When promoting your product.

Shambhabi: Oh, the Product Hunt community is amazing. I don't know if you've ever tried to do sales, but anytime you actually reach out to people, usually, you expect a very small number to come back and respond to you. When you do cold messaging at least, with Product Hunt, the rates are really, really high.  You'd have like a minimum of 40-50% of people getting back to you on the same day.

Tips on leveraging Social Media for your Product Hunt Launch

Marc: You're reaching out directly on Product Hunt or through other social groups and things like that?

Shambhabi: Reaching out was almost entirely through LinkedIn or Twitter. I know a lot of people send emails and things like that. I feel like that's a little invasive because you're basically actually taking their information and stuff like that. But LinkedIn and Twitter were very helpful.  You can get people's LinkedIn and Twitter IDs from Product Hunt. So it's a lot easier to find people. That was primarily how we did it, but we were really careful because both of those platforms have a tendency to stop you from contacting people after a point.

Marc: How soon, I mean, what did you do exactly on LinkedIn? Were you a part of any groups or anything like that?

Shambhabi: We were part of every group we could find on LinkedIn, on WhatsApp, on Discord, on Twitter, on anything you could name it, Facebook. We were two people trying to work really hard to do well here for the first time and we hunted it ourselves. We were just everywhere we could be basically.

Marc: Did you send connection requests or how did you do it? I'm not sure if you're aware but when you're in a LinkedIn group, you can actually message people without being connected to them. Is that one of the things that you took advantage of?

Shambhabi: We did. We started with connection requests and then over time, you can't send too many without LinkedIn blocking you. So you need to be careful.

Marc: They might think you are a robot too!

Shambhabi: Oh, that happened. You have to keep convincing them that you're not. It does help to make sure you time it and don't overdo it in one day. Being consistent is really important. We did add people that way first. And honestly, I think adding was one of the best things we did because, on the day of the launch, we could contact everybody without LinkedIn saying anything to us.

Marc: Yeah. because you know them.

Shambhabi: Exactly. Or they know you. But we did use groups as well. When we ran out of other sources, we started using groups.

Marc:  It sounds like a lot of manual outreach and that's totally fine. That's what you got to do to promote it, right?

Shambhabi: I'll be honest, I don't think there's any other way, to be honest.

Tips on Starting and Building a Community on Product Hunt

Marc: What were some other tactics that you used during the time up until the launch day?

Shambhabi: What we did, when we started, we were basically not on Product Hunt. It's like, you can imagine getting on any sort of social media on the first day and you have zero followers. We had to start by building our own follower base. We started getting active on Product Hunt, you know, commenting on people, supporting people, you know, actually chatting, talking, getting involved. 

Marc: Being social on social media, that's a hidden art, right?

Shambhabi: Yeah, I mean, on Product Hunt, it's so much easier than other platforms though, because you actually get to look at new products and do it, it's not like you're just randomly putting your views out there about something that you don't necessarily care about, right? It's a little easier on Product Hunt, in my opinion. 

Marc: Oh, that's good to hear.

Shambhabi:  A lot of reaching out initially. And the other thing is maintaining a streak, I think is quite important. People underestimate how valuable that is. The benefit of the streak is when you hit around a hundred days or like, you have people who start reaching out to you because it's easiest to find people on the streak. 

Marc: Oh yeah, because they have a list on the side of people who maintained logging in and are active for like the last 100 days or whatever. 

Shambhabi: And there's a trick to it honestly.  If you download the Product Hunt app it just reminds you if you're going to lose your streak. It's very easy to keep your streak going once you've actually built like a small streak. 

Marc: That could be useful in a lot of ways for the gamification. Like even at work you know. Awesome.

Fieldmobi Smart Notes Launch Day

Marc: On launch day, there's a lot of outreach stuff and things like that.  What really helped you get to the point where you reached the Product Hunt number 5 of the day? How did you get to that point?

Shambhabi: To give you a little context we launched on the most competitive day of the month.

Marc: What?

Shambhabi: That day we had a YC startup launching. There was another startup. They had over 50 million in funding and they were funded by The Chainsmokers. It was just kind of madness. There were four products that came in with over a thousand upvotes. And if you've been on Product Hunt for a while, you know that's not usual. It was quite crazy, honestly. 

We ended up top five of the day and top 10 of the week, which is crazy. But that did happen. Going in, what we basically did was, first of all, on social media, we were just really active through the month. Five days prior to the launch day, we started a countdown. And then we started on the day we posted everywhere we could post too. Every group, everywhere we found ways to sort of get support from, and we did it as ethically as possible. The groups that don't allow you to post on your own, we talked to, the guys managing it and made sure it was all done properly. 

We spent no money because we didn't want to. Just sweat, but we basically put our product out there as much as we could. And then the second we went live, we contacted every single person who followed us and we basically had a very rigorous schedule the month before contacting a hundred people per day, no matter what our day was like. By the time we launched, we had about 400 people following us. We had 400 people who clicked notify me on our Coming Soon page. Each of those people, we contacted manually on that day to remind them to support us. Consistency is really the key. You know, day in and day out, you have to participate and actually be a part of the community for it to reward you back. 

I think that's true for any type of social media type thing, right? You kind of need to be active for anybody to care that you exist. People have short attention spans, and short memories, and they might not remember a post that you made or something like that. You know, unless you have personally talked to them, they may not remember exactly what you talked about, but in general what you talked about maybe. I'll be really honest, the community on Product Hunt is incredible. I met you through one of these conversations as well. A lot of people actually came out and reached out and spoke to me. I actually had a lot of insights coming in from other makers and hunters essentially. And it was very nice. The community was more than just upvotes and comments, right? You actually learn from people.

Do you need a Hunter?

Marc: Why didn't you choose to use a hunter? And for people that don't know what is a hunter, what is their job?

Shambhabi: On Product Hunt you have makers and you have hunters. Makers are the guys who actually build the product. Hunters are the guys who essentially post the product on Product Hunt. You can be the same person, you can be both the maker and the hunter. There are lots of people who choose to use a different hunter because they have a lot of following on Product Hunt you know they kind of know how to set it up for you and things like that but the irony is that only the makers' followers get notified on the day of launch so it doesn't really matter if the hunter has you know a million followers because they don't get notified I think people overvalue that.

But I think the real benefit though is sometimes it helps when you know the hunter, right? If you have say, you know, the YC CEO hunting for you, people know that they are backing you which kind of helps. Those guys obviously benefit from it. But I think doing it yourself, the benefit of it is that you have full control. You know what's going on. You know what's happening. You know what you're posting, you can change it when you need to. I mean I think there are pros and cons really. 

Marc: From what you said, I don't see the benefit of a hunter unless they're able to send massive traffic to your page on the launch day. 

Shambhabi: I think the only benefit of a hunter is credibility. Like if it is a hunter who is highly credible and people know which is true for like, again, as I said, YC, CEOs, etc, which you do have on Product Hunt. Aside from that, honestly, I have not figured out the value of a Hunter.

Marc: What makes them credible in your opinion?

Shambhabi: I mean, I think people just, we're talking to a community of founders and makers and things like that, right? Most people know the YC CEO. I mean, I don't think it's much more. You kind of know that. these companies are coming out of a certain place and things like that.

Marc: Exactly, that totally makes sense. Overall, how did you feel about the launch and how many more of these are you gonna do in the future?

Shambhabi: We're definitely going to have upgrades right so it's not going to just be new products it's also going to be a huge amount of changes to our products based on a lot of the feedback we got through Product Hunt as well. I mean it's a continuous thing I don't see it sort of ending anytime soon which is another reason I chose to be the hunter myself because it allowed me to start building that network. My followers increased over the last few months. All of those things happen. So I feel more connected to the community.

Juggling Between Work and Product Hunt Launch

Marc: What would you say is fun to be in Product Hunt and do that, launching products off of there? 

Shambhabi: It is. It is almost a little bit distracting, to be honest, and considering how many things you have to do per day as a founder, it is very interesting watching different kinds of companies come up and different kinds of products come up. I think you get a little addicted to seeing what's going on in the world. 

Marc: As a founder, how do you juggle the product launch with all the other stuff that you have to do throughout the day, like managing your employees and making sure that any finishing touches on your product are done, things like that? 

Shambhabi: Well, I think that's the biggest problem that any founder has, right? I think it's the same as everything else. You got to just prioritize certain things. In our case It doesn't take that long to reach out to 100 people per day. It takes you maybe like an hour if you do it if you're smart about it. If you just make sure you give it that time, you just make sure you allocate certain sorts of targets so that consistency lasts. My day would just kind of extend to however long it took to finish.

Marc: You just made it the priority for the day. You said, okay If I reach these 100 contacts per day, then it was a successful day. And if I don't reach it, then I'm not going home. 

Shambhabi: I think it's just, you have to have a few things that you decide you are going to do. And then some things you're just not going to end up being able to do and you have to be okay with it. You just want to pick what those things are

Marc: Is there any advice that you would give founders for a Product Hunt overall? What's the mentality that you have to go through before the launch and during the launch?

Shambhabi: I think being scrappy really, really helps. I think it's almost like a micro sales test. If you think that you just get things randomly, you don't get traction. If you don't actively build traction on Product Hunt. I know at least a few founders who've launched on Product Hunt and were really unhappy that they got, you know, maybe 30 people to sort of upvote and things like that, because it's difficult, right? You're competing with at least 50-60 products on the day. So reaching out is really important. And for, founders who are a little afraid to reach out. Honestly, you just have to kill that instinct really quickly and just do it. The community is amazing. It's like a cushiony, happy sales experiment where people are nice to you as opposed to not listen to you.

Did the Launch attract some investors?

Marc: Has your experience with Product Hunt attracted some investors to you as well because you did so well?

Shambhabi: We've had a few people who've talked to us. We haven't actually opened our round yet, to be honest with you. We've actively pushed back around for as long as we can for multiple reasons, I think the current sort of situation made that possible also for us. What we, basically did is we had a source of revenue early on. We've managed to  get by without necessarily raising for some time. However, we will open it up soon. And some of the people who've contacted us, are going to be the first people we reach out to.  

Marc: I mean, if you can bootstrap it, great. But a lot of times to take the product to the next level, it might be necessary to have some investors come in, right? 

Shambhabi: We have absolutely no intention of bootstrapping. We're just trying to make sure that we know where we're going when we raise. Because I think we're in a world right now where you need to make sure you can grow when you raise.

We have the luxury of not having raised at all so far and getting this far, which means we don't have the pressure that a lot of people have to raise their next round without it. And if you're raising a pre-seed round, most of the time you don't know where you're going. We managed to skip pre-seed for sure. We're hoping to raise a seed round quite soon. Once we get a little more initial traction, we get our products out. That's when we want to raise.

Marc:  I see a lot of startup SaaS companies, try to get funding without proving their concept first, without giving sales. I think what you're doing is the right path to go down because especially when you get a sales team in there as well, it's important to be able to show the sales team that it can be done and how to do it, right? That's excellent. I'm really glad that you saw a lot of success on there on Product Hunt. 

Shambhabi: Thank you. Honestly, in terms of the little bit about the investor, but honestly, we had never had any intention not to raise early, very honestly. But looking at how things are right now, versus how things were when we started, people were getting funding for nothing at that point, and people are now much more cautious about funds, right? Once we realized that shift happened, we realized there was no need for us to unnecessarily push for a round too early. We took a call to make sure we got ourselves going before raising quickly.

Fieldmobi Upcoming Launches on Product Hunt

Marc: How many products do you plan on bringing out in the future? What's your idea for the next product coming out? 

Shambhabi: As I said earlier, the next product we're launching is First ERP, which is that ERP system for organizations that have never had one. But in terms of how we're functioning post that, What we basically have is a no-code platform. We can build products through it and then sell it as products, or we can create customized solutions for specific businesses, and specific partnerships. We actually have a running partnership in the road maintenance space, which has been one of the areas where we've been getting revenue from. We did that really early. We spent a little time making sure that got active first. And that allowed us to sort of not be under pressure to raise too early. Similarly, we're looking to create more partnerships in specific industries, especially legacy ones where, people have not been able to digitize quite as quickly, quite as well, right? So trying to get those going is one part. And then that's where the ERP field extensions come in. The ERP field extension is designed for large enterprises. Whether it's say their retail network, you can create an extension for retail. You can create an extension for your service network, your contact, your sort of contractors and manufacturing network, and things like that. You have various different kinds of networks that are, that can be connected to the same thing.

Marc: It sounds like it can be distributed across several different industries.

Shambhabi: It can. And the truth is that it's all one platform. It's not like we have a different app or a different product. All of these are sort of configurations and solutions built out of this one product, which means you can actually connect each of these pieces together and in the end have one full-running ecosystem. 

Tips on Reaching Out to the Product Hunt Community

Marc: In your messaging, if we get a little bit more technical with the question, what do you say in the message when you're reaching out to someone to get them to go ahead and support you?

Shambhabi: What we ask for is support always. I think what we did was we mentioned that we are launching this product and we're asking for your support and that's it. We would love for your support and that's it. And we would love your feedback and comments when we launch. One of the things we really always ask for is feedback. 

Marc: It's so simple, right?  

Shambhabi: It's funny that you get so much more traction just asking for feedback than asking for someone to come out and say, you know, I like you. It was maybe a really simple thing, but we just made sure we didn't ask for direct upvotes ever. And I don't think you're supposed to. Product Hunt doesn't allow you to do it. But beyond that, I think it's a bad idea to do it, honestly. 

Marc: I mean, when you're first starting out, you want honest feedback too about your product so you can make changes and stuff like that. It kind of ties into the go-to marketing strategy from the last chat. Where it helps you decide on your pricing and your product market fit, right? And who your customers actually are because sometimes when you're first launching, you don't know who is actually gonna like your product and use it. There's people who might just wanna do a free trial or they actually wanna purchase your product. You know, it really depends on how bad that need is, right?

Shambhabi: Sometimes with tech, you don't even know if people understand what you're talking about. And I know that sounds really silly, but it's the truth. I mean, you could be building the most amazing thing in the world, but no one knows what it is.

Marc: Especially if you're a programmer yourself and you're in that world every day, the words might not be translatable in regular human language. 

Shambhabi: I used to be a copywriter. And when you're this close to a product, it's really not about whether you're the programmer, the marketer, or whatever you are, you're just too close. You know everything about it. You assume, there's a part of you that will always assume it's simple to understand.

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