GE 268: Alex Theuma Reveals How Starting a Podcast Led to Hosting SaaStock Conference with 3K+ Attendees (podcast) With Alex Theuma

Hey everyone! In today’s episode, I share the mic with Alex Theuma, Co-Founder of SaaStock, which is an annual 3-day conference in Dublin on the topic of building and scaling B2B software-as-a-service companies.
Tune in to hear Alex share his entrepreneurial journey of starting a conference, how starting his podcast helped him develop relationships with influencers, and why they are adding smaller events this year to SaaStock conference accelerates growth.

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • [00:52] Before we jump into today’s interview, please leave a review and rating and subscribe to the Growth Everywhere Podcast!
  • [01:50] Alex worked in sales for 11 years and began immediately after graduating college.
  • [02:25] He learned a lot about SaaS and other software through selling.
  • [03:00] He didn’t want to work for someone else.
  • [03:40] He began writing a blog, through which he started writing SaaS articles and it gained some traction.
  • [05:10] He then decided to do a podcast.
  • [05:38] His first guest was the HubSpot CRO.
  • [05:50] It snowballed and he has always had great guests.
  • [06:01] This hobby helped him develop the idea for SaaStock.
  • [07:45] The blog has gone by the wayside, while the podcast is going strong.
  • [08:06] The podcast has allowed him to reach influencers in the industry.
  • [09:45] The podcast gets 2000 downloads per week.
  • [10:03] Their goal for the first SaaStock event was to get 700 people, which was a large goal.
  • [10:22] Every other conference starts fairly small, but they wanted to challenge themselves.
  • [10:43] The first conference earned them 350,000 Euros.
  • [13:00] One of the challenges is that they don’t have monthly recurring revenue.
  • [13:25] Ticket sales are sporadic throughout the year and they sell the most within two months of the conference.
  • [14:44] Alex knows they need to launch more events to create more consistent cash flow.
  • [15:03] They have added 7 additional events this year.
  • [17:20] Two people from the team are in charge of all the new events,
  • [17:35] They just hired their first Event Manager, whereas they used to outsource that sort of work.
  • [17:40] The first 2 years, SaaStock was a sales and marketing organization.
  • [17:48] They would use Catapult to manage and put on events. However, it was an expensive line item.
  • [18:50] They have a list of 11,000 conference attendees to date.
  • [20:05] They weren’t very data-driven in the first year, but they have since gotten much better.
  • [20:35] This has helped them set and reach goals more effectively.
  • [21:10] They have four full-time marketing employees.
  • [21:24] They provide at least 2-3 pieces of content per week on their site (this includes the podcast).
  • [23:55] Alex thinks they are providing high-quality content at a consistent pace.
  • [24:24] Alex once built up a community on Slack, which has since been moved to Facebook,
  • [24:55] Moving it to Facebook allowed the group to double in size very quickly.
  • [27:12] If Alex could have had a mentor during his first year, he would have made far fewer mistakes.
  • [27:50] Up until a few months before the conference, he didn’t have an idea about what everything would cost.
  • [28:10] He ended up losing money on sponsorship deals because of his misunderstanding of costs.
  • [28:30] Alex recommends reaching out to someone who has put on a conference and ask for their guidance.
  • [30:37] Alex has found that 50% of tickets are sold to people on your email list. The other half are all marketing and word-of-mouth.
  • [31:45] Alex loves DocSend and uses it in his work at SaaStock. It has proven to be a very powerful sales tool.
  • [33:25] Alex also likes Asana. He thinks it’s cool how it is a collaborative tool.
  • [34:10] Alex recommends the book Shoe Dog by Phil Knight.

Resources from the Interview: 

Leave Some Feedback:

  • What should I talk about next? Who should I interview? Please let me know on Twitter or in the comments below.
  • Did you enjoy this episode? If so, leave a short review here
  • Subscribe to Growth Everywhere on iTunes
  • Get the non-iTunes RSS Feed

Connect With Eric Siu:

Disclaimer: As with any digital marketing campaign, your individual results may vary.