How to build a 7-figure AI empire? 2 x SaaS-es +  1 x Agency | Vaibhav Namburi - Smartlead & SmartWriter

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Building a SaaS product is hard. But how about making multiple SaaS products? Sounds daunting right? But don't get overwhelmed.

You have Vaibhav to guide you. He has built >40 SaaS products and scaled his business to over 7 figures multiple times.

Keep on reading to know more about his process.

Say “ Hi” to Vaibhav!

A familiar name in the SaaS industry is Vaibhav Namburi. He has developed applications for websites that attract approximately 500,000 monthly users. He has collaborated with a wide range of thriving businesses in their early stages, including SocietyOne, Auto Trader, and Devery. He had previously worked in an artificial intelligence business analytics firm and bootstrapped a software consultancy that provided seed money to 55 businesses. and

Smartwriter.AI's Landing page

There was a special obstacle that the company's team had to overcome in the early stages of establishing their analytics tool for predicting. Their intended audience consisted of brick-and-mortar stores that would not respond to online ads. Cold emails and other forms of outbound marketing were the only alternatives.

They resolved this issue by employing a group of virtual assistants who were instructed to use different opening lines while sending out cold emails. The innovative approach made the business stand out from the crowd.

The advent of natural language processing (NLP) engines inspired the group to integrate AI into their offering. Engineers on staff had some familiarity with both sales and AI, so they set out to create a rudimentary natural language processing system.

The engine functioned by extracting information from lengthy descriptions, narrowing it down to the most pertinent terms, and then stringing them together. Over time, this developed into the more advanced SmartWriter.

Smartwriter.AI is essentially a cloud-based, intelligent writing tool. However, it can be used for more than one purpose. With the help of this cutting-edge AI tool, Smartwriter.Email marketing texts, Google Ads copy, Facebook Ads copy, Instagram Ads copy, LinkedIn emails, etc. may all be generated by AI uniquely and engagingly. You can use it to create an outline, come up with a title, expand on a topic, etc. for your blog.  

Open AI's GPT-3 model is embedded inside the tool. Generative Pre-trained Transformer-3 (GPT-3) is an artificial intelligence model of the autoregressive language model variety. Smartwriter, in short. The AI uses deep learning networks to study the writing habits of millions of people. After that, it creates brand-new, high-quality content that is on par with what a human writer would produce.

Smartlead.AI's landing page

SmartLead is an email automation service for sales teams. With its infinite inboxes and AI warmups, it ensures that your cold emails always reach the inboxes of your prospective customers. Improve your response rates with limitless auto-rotating email accounts and AI-optimized sending. As a result of its multi-channel outreach capabilities, you may expand your reach via SMS, LinkedIn, Twitter, WhatsApp, and other channels.

Since its inception, Vaibhabh has undergone numerous transformations. SmartWriter was the company's first major offering, and it was a complicated system that mined data from various online sources. However, it became apparent that a more streamlined strategy was required as the company matured and expanded.

Today, SmartLead is their main offering. The authoring process may appear straightforward, but the system's ability to collect and analyze data is where the real intricacy lies. To scrape data from sites like Google and LinkedIn, the company's engineering team has devised a complex architecture that uses small microservices and changeable residential IP addresses.

Complexity always brings its own set of difficulties. Because LinkedIn frequently updates its selectors and rate limits, it presents its own

special challenges. Smartlead's R&D department has created tools like cookie management and automatic IP address rotation to combat these issues.

Despite setbacks, their technology remains strong, with its code remaining relevant and useful. Its leadership in the AI-powered lead generation market can be attributed to the company's dedication to innovation and solving complicated problems.

Too much noise: Is it the right time to enter the SaaS and AI space?

Current SaaS and AI Market Trends

Companies used to need to spend money on expensive on-premises infrastructure to take advantage of software for business analytics, customer relationship management, and automation. However, with the advent of cloud computing, entire businesses can now relocate their operations to the cloud by utilizing SaaS. 

These days, businesses can use many apps that facilitate rapid expansion without draining resources. In light of the increasing specialization of businesses and the complexity of today's workplace, software as a service (SaaS) has surged in popularity. According to Workday, 75% of C-suite executives have adopted SaaS because it boosts company flexibility. Almost as many respondents said, they would have no problems switching entirely to SaaS because of how quickly and easily it can be implemented.

The adoption rate of SaaS will not slow down. In 2023, Gartner expects SaaS to rise by 16.8%. The value of the SaaS market is expected to grow to $60.36 Bn by 2023, according to the latest forecasts. 

Furthermore, by the year 2025, roughly 85% of business apps will be built on the SaaS model. Emerging SaaS trends and the growth of the SaaS market would have a substantial effect on the course of these projections.

Business use of AI has more than doubled over the previous five years, according to a report issued by consulting firm McKinsey & Company, which questioned some 1,492 participants internationally across a range of industries. Investigations into computer vision, natural language generation, and robotic process automation were particularly fashionable. 

Even though the economy is still in a precarious position, funding in this area has hit record highs. According to the State of AI report by private equity firm CB Insights, VC investments in the artificial intelligence industry dropped significantly in the first half of 2022, reaching their lowest levels since 2020. 

AI will follow the low-code, no-code trend in website and app development, allowing businesses to tailor these intelligent systems using pre-built templates and drag-and-drop approaches. This will speed up the process of incorporating AI into current procedures. The adoption of AI will also progress more quickly within their organization. 

In 2023, 66% of developers will either utilize (39%) or plan to use (27%) low-code or no-code technologies to modernize IT. This is due to the 70% lower cost and completion time (as short as three days) compared to traditional approaches. Meanwhile, Gartner predicted that by 2026, 80% of low-code tool development users would be "citizen developers" or those who did not take formal coding courses.

A Salesforce survey found that 69% of consumers are receptive to businesses using AI if it will enhance their buying experience, while 62% are worried about AI bias. Since 91% of customers are currently interacting with chatbots, most of which are driven by artificial intelligence, this pattern will likely persist. Businesses can improve product discovery, recommendation, and communication by analyzing consumer interactions with AI-powered marketing solutions.

Employers, too, have concerns about the potential for prejudice in AI. Experts in the industry, however, predict that AI tools will remain a viable alternative for enhancing engagement via team communication platforms and learning in the workplace via tools. PwC found that among CEOs at AI-using organizations, 54% reported increased staff productivity, and 80% expected automation to aid in making future business decisions.

Why noise can harm you

There is a lot of distraction in the SaaS and AI industries due to the proliferation of data, fads, and new technologies. The chaos can cause people to become disoriented, lose valuable time, and squander money.

Furthermore, the noise can cause unjustified hopes and enthusiasm for particular innovations. This can lead to the creation of products that are unsustainable or do not address consumer needs.

How to utilize noise without losing your sanity

Introducing a new product into a saturated, if not oversaturated, market is challenging. There are thousands of items on the market that all do the same thing, and this is especially true in the tech industry. But the rewards could be substantial for those who can use their position to their advantage.

Vaibhav experienced this when developing Smart Writer and Smart Lead, two successful products released in recent years. He claims that they could only pursue these opportunities due to the popularity of Smartwriter. They understood they needed to provide customers with something exceptional to differentiate themselves.

When breaking into a competitive market, a compelling offering is crucial. Your product must be ten times more efficient and cost less than the alternatives. The goal is to be so aggressive that prospective clients wonder if a zero was accidentally left out of the price.

A strong distribution engine is the second most important aspect of making it in a crowded market. If it can't get in front of the right people, not even the best product will do well. Because of this, a reliable distribution strategy is crucial.

While competition is a key consideration, it is not the only one. There is still hope for success with the correct offer and distribution plan. To sum up, not everyone has what it takes to launch a new product into an established market. However, those with the necessary expertise and foresight stand to gain much.

Getting started with your first product: What Vaibhav did for Smartwriter?

Finding the most effective means of promoting your startup to a wide audience of potential buyers can be difficult. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and confused when faced with many potential marketing approaches. Vaibhav's insight was particularly insightful in this area; he proposed a three-tiered structure for marketing. It was a friend who gave it to him.

According to that friend, the first layer is the most effective marketing method because it compounds the fastest. The second level is effective, and the third is for quick bursts. Most new business owners must get their feet wet at Tier 3 and never go up to Tier 2 or 1. Although Tier 3 marketing yields the best results, it cannot be maintained. Here, an ongoing marketing cycle is essential.

Many startup companies use advertisements to bring in their first customers. Particularly powerful is the ability of Google Ads to spark intent. When people are actively looking for something, they are primed to buy it. However, the vast majority of individuals are oblivious to the issue, so it is essential to focus on the problem solvers and decision-makers among your audience.

Tier 3 includes Facebook advertising. Tier 2 marketing entails generating something more defensible and building a moat around the business, such as communities, how-to guides, and blog entries. Last but not least, SEO and content with a bioform limitation make up tier-one marketing.

Vaibhav believes that organic search engine optimization is the most effective method for generating long-term business success. They claimed that organic search engine optimization accounted for 99.99% of Smart Writer's expansion. Cold emails helped initially, but now they barely send about 15 or so each year; search engine optimization is responsible for most of their visits.

More product, More Business? Where do SaaS founders go wrong?

Common mistakes SaaS founders make

Lack of awareness of target audience needs

When it comes to their target market, many SaaS businesses are clueless. Learn about your target market's needs and frustrations to provide a better service. Market size, customer profiles, ideal customer behavior, market segmentation, niche, and prospective alternatives can all be gleaned through tracking and mapping a list of potential customers. Learn about your customers' wants and desires through direct communication with them. Provide upsells and maintain low prices to attract and retain customers.

Lack of Metrics Tracking

The inability to calculate accurately is a serious issue. Many SaaS companies fail to record financial data properly. Monthly recurring revenue is tracked and assumed to be fine. The devil, however, is in the specifics. It's important to monitor key performance indicators, including Lifetime Value, Customer Acquisition Cost, Conversion Rates, and Customer Satisfaction Ratings. Customer success software can help you track metrics to use the most effective methods and procedures.

Unclear value proposition 

There is little to no value distinction between many SaaS providers. The value proposition is not communicated clearly. Customers must be better informed about what sets them apart from the competition. Make sure your end users fully understand the solution and its benefits. A product or service's value proposition describes how users will benefit from purchasing or using it. Make sure you can differentiate your offering from the competition.

Not understanding customers

Not listening to their customers is a major failing of SaaS businesses. Incorporating consumer feedback into service and product development increases customer satisfaction and loyalty, retention, and repeat business. You can use consumer feedback to improve your SaaS offering if it falls short of expectations. If you want to succeed in your mission to aid consumers in achieving their objectives, you must pay close attention to the comments they provide. To avoid this, it is essential to consistently incorporate feedback. Monthly or quarterly surveys, consistent two-way communication, and an organizational culture focused on the customer are vital to achieving this goal. Requests for feedback can be made if multiple communication channels are used and monitored.

Smartlead's content marketing

Ignoring the potential income from growth

Every SaaS organization must understand how a successful product translates into expanded operations. Similar SaaS businesses often form communities and networks with one another. You may get more recommendations from satisfied clients by simply asking them to spread the word. Customer success software is essential for a SaaS business to generate recurring revenue from sources like upsells and renewals. Coupon codes, discounts, and special offers are other methods to motivate customers to spread the word. You can employ an affiliate scheme to simplify the process of reaching out to potential new clients.

Hiring either too highly experienced or fresher candidates

Often SaaS companies need experienced folks to manage their work. A fresher might handle some not-so-analytic works. But often, companies look for only experienced ones for faster growth or hire freshers or interns to cut the hiring expenses. 

Taking on too much on your own

For a new company, the founders play an important role as the company's first salespeople. Many business owners avoid asking for assistance out of pride. Many people think they're the only ones who can see how to market their product successfully. However, you can't be the sole cog in a well-oiled sales machine.  

If you're trying to lead and handle sales tasks autonomously, you can hit a wall and halt growth or fail. Having reliable partners and advisors who can provide you with honest criticism of your business is essential.


How to decide on budget, features, and more!

Time is money in the field of software development. Vaibhav cares more about how swiftly it can be introduced to the market. In his opinion, the time it takes to get a product to market is the most important consideration. Instead of building a standard minimum-viable product (MVP), he suggests that startups make a minimal, lovable, exposed-to-minimum-level product (MLP).

He claims total product development costs change depending on available resources and the promised delivery date. Instead of worrying about money, his solution is to divide the team in half, with half going to marketing and the other half to engineering. He also dispels the myth that effective advertising can save a subpar item. He claims that a superior product paired with an equally impressive advertising effort will outperform the former.

SmartWriter and SmartLead are just two of his company's many successful creations. Data scraping, anonymous IP addresses, and cookie administration were all part of the elaborate process used to create these goods. However, he stresses the importance of addressing the issue with the core product before moving on to other enhancements.

According to Vaibhav, it's not about how much money you spend but how quickly you get your product to market. By concentrating on building an MLP, startups may rapidly release a product that addresses a specific need, with room to grow as needed. Startups that allocate equally to product development and marketing have a better chance of achieving sustained growth and success.

In Vaibhav's, there are 7 pillars you need to care about if you are trying to add another feature to your SaaS or AI. This feature should make people money, save time, improve confidence and convenience, and improve social status. If you can do any of these six things, you're good to go.

Entrepreneurship & Life-balance: Is That a Myth? 

Entrepreneurs are frequently perceived as having to sacrifice their personal life to thrive in their business endeavors. But Vaibhav thinks having a prosperous career and a satisfying personal life are not mutually exclusive. 

Vaibhav knows the difficulties of managing time and being productive as someone diagnosed with ADHD. He now knows when to hand off responsibility to others in his team. Through delegation, he is free to concentrate on the aspects of his role as a founder that require his unique set of skills and experience.

Vaibhav stresses the significance of employing competent individuals to handle critical roles. Because of this, not only is the workload reduced, but the quality of the completed job is also improved. He can make strategic decisions for the company since he can trust the team to do the key duties.

In conclusion, Vaibhav maintains that he can achieve entrepreneurial success and a healthy work-life balance. Entrepreneurs can strike a healthy work-life balance through methods like efficient time management, clever delegation, and the employment of competent staff. Successful business owners can maintain their health and happiness by putting first things first and playing to their strengths.

Last, but not least, Content Creation to Create a value proposition

There is a lot of excitement in the business world about launching one's own company immediately following graduation. But prosperous businessman Vaibhav sees things differently. He thinks one should establish credibility with an audience before venturing into business.

Vaibhav recommends developing a "moat," or distinctive advantage, to stay ahead of the competition. Create an insurmountable barrier to entry for competitors by dominating the digital space.

According to Vaibhav, the best way to grow an audience on any platform like Instagram or YouTube is to help people out of the goodness of your heart. The more you give, the more you'll get back; he calls it the "recoiling spring" effect.

After establishing a solid fan base, you can earn money from your writing by selling online courses or software.

Need Help with AI inegration?

Vibhav's journey to build multiple businesses with AI exemplifies how AI can change your business. So, if you want to integrate AI into your workflow or build an AI solution, Ionio can help you.

Discover how AI can help you boost your business and increase your profits. Schedule a Free AI consultation call with our CEO Rohan.

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Behind the Blog 👀
Moumita Roy

Moumita Roy is a Content writer & has been working in SaaS and AI industry for the last 3 years. When she is not at her computer, you can find her hiking in the mountains, binge-reading fiction, or cuddling up with her fur baby. She shares her content marketing journey on LinkedIn.