Startups · Sales

How to scale and grow further an online IT security business/SaaS that is profitable?

Marcin Kozlowski IT

January 5th, 2016

What would be the best approach to scale and grow an online business/SaaS? It is profitable. The industry is a niche market: IT Security, website/web application, website firewall scanning for websites and blogs. Google Adwords campaign didn't convert successfully. Maybe product price and product need to be adjusted, re-engineered or it didn't fit. How to interpret Google Adwords failure? Does failed Google Adwords conversion attempt mean that the product/service is not valuable/good or there is no market for it? What other cost effective strategies could be used to gain more sales? I am a beginner Solopreneur and don't have much experience in Sales and Marketing.

Jessica Magoch Sales doesn't have to be a dirty word. Get more clients without being icky, sleazy, or just plain annoying.

January 5th, 2016

Hey Marcin, 
You had mentioned that your business is profitable, so I presume that means you have paying customers? That's great! Because the best thing to do is to ask them.  Ask them how they typically make a buying decision about something like this. Is there an industry resource they consult? Is it something they would search for on Google to find in the first place? Is it a problem they are already aware of? Or one you have to alert them to?
You may find out that the best place for you to test the market is at an industry trade show or magazine. Jump into some forums, too, and see what people are talking about. The best problems to solve are the ones that are hurting the most, and you will hear that when you participate. 
Good luck! 

Joe Albano, PhD Using the business of entrepreneurialism to turn ideas into products and products into sustainable businesses.

January 5th, 2016

This seems to be another example of the myth of rugged individualism. Your business has a real problem (lack of scale). You have a real talent (a great idea and the ability to translate that idea into a profitable product). But your product is not your business and successful, sustainable, scaleable businesses are rarely built by individuals. 

It's unlikely that you're going to become a sales and marketing expert based on a few answers to some quick questions that you post here and on other sites. What are you doing to build the team you will need to turn your profitable product into a thriving business? 

Karl Schulmeisters Founder ExStreamVR

January 5th, 2016

Well I looked at your site and tried it out.

1) I got a cryptic error (Your website did not pass ownership validation)  - I wonder how many people ran into the same problem.

2) your pricepoint is both too high and too low.
It is too high to run on a daily basis - which is what I would want to do for an Enterprise subscription
it is too low for the average user to trust as being valuable

Devin Carlos Irizarry Voorsanger Partner/Head of Schools, JuntoBot

January 5th, 2016


A lot of great answers here. My advice falls squarely in the marketing area. Treat this like a QA problem. Look at the metrics of your ad campaign across each stage of the marketing funnel. Just because they are not converting does not necessarily mean you have a bad product fit. 

So, in this case, your marketing funnel has the following stages:
1) Keyword targeting
2) Keyword ad copy
3) keyword landing page
a) Landing page copy
b) Pricepoint
c) userflow

Your problem could be in any of these stages. 

In stage #1 It could mean that the keywords you're using to target your ad aren't the right ones. This would lead to the wrong people with the wrong problems at the wrong stage of the sales process being targeted. 

In stage #2 what you are "promising" the potential client in the ad copy isn't coming through on the landing page. This leads to a relatively high click through on the ad but a correspondingly high landing page bounce or lack of conversion.

In stage #3 Your landing page might be causing your problem. Maybe:
a) the copy isn't selling your product well. This would lead to either an immediate bounce from your landing page or an exit to your feature page and some "poking around" your site as they try to find the answer they thought they were promised in your keyword ad.
b) as Karl mentioned the price point isn't working for your customers. This usually leads to an immediate bounce from the landing page.
c) You're making it to hard for them to buy. No clear buy button or too many clicks to get to a payment option or your dropping them off at your main page and not your specific buy page. This would lead to either an immediate bounce from your landing page or an exit to your feature page and some "poking around" your site as they try to find the answer they thought they were promised in your keyword ad.

The answer:

First thing I would do is talk to a couple of your best customers (at least 5 but better to be between 20 to 30) and ask them why they bought from you. Ask them what they needed, what they wanted from your solution. What they were worried about before they bought. Take the answers and put them together in a needs based value statement matrix. This is a basic algorithm that allows you to spit out the marketing answers you need. It looks like this:

Needs (logical) + Wants (emotional) - objections(why they wouldn't buy if it had what they needed and wanted) = your value statement.

So in your case ( and this is obviously over simplified):
Need = I need IT security for my company
Want = I want to not be hacked and held up by some shady dark web mafia hacker group looking like a fool to my CEO
Objection = I wouldn't use it if it was too expensive or too hard to implement it.
  1. The keywords would come from the need column.
  2. The ad copy would come from the need and want columns 
  3. The landing page copy would come from your total value statement.
the second thing I would do is invest in some basic landing page software and create specific landing pages for your product that are outside the normal website structure of your mar comm website.  (it can be of course accessible via the website but should not be beholden to it. This will allow you to mess around with the landing pages and change things up while not diving into complete website redesign.

I hope that helps.

Jatin Maniar Enterprise Software & Security Business Leader in Products, Marketing, Alliances & Operations

January 5th, 2016

You may want to consider email marketing, inside sales and channels as a way to grow. apart from the recommendations above

Sean Wilcox

January 5th, 2016

Talk to or survey your existing customer base and learn EVERYTHING you can about them. Where do they go to learn about security services? Where do they go to learn about new technology that can help their business? Do they do this themselves or rely on trusted business partners, vendors, or resellers? What do they eat for breakfast? (I'm exaggerating to make a point). You will undoubtedly find online (eg, newsletters, online forums, discussion groups) and offline opportunities (eg, local meet ups) in order to connect with more people and businesses like them. 

Sean Wilcox

January 6th, 2016

Hi M - I've worked at Verisign, Proofpoint and advise Agari, all of which are large b2b security companies. You have two options in security: sell insurance (for a future breach) or chase the ambulance (sell after a breach occurs). Each require different strategies. Message me to discuss more. Best, S


January 11th, 2016


Just a few thoughts to consider:

1. From my experience it can take years with Adwords and other online ads to begin to build a semblance of a brand that would finally result in even moderate conversions. Bottom line is that it won't pay off for a very, very long time, if ever...

2. $5/report may appeal to a very small business but others won't take it seriously. The website is great but it's hard to find a compelling reason why I should trust your product versus all the others doing the same thing. There would also be a hesitation on my part to allow an unknown entity to scan my website.

3. To emphasize the others' comments, you cannot do this alone. You need sales & marketing help. Preferably a partner that has this expertise but you should consider channel sales as well. On another note, as a hands-on, technical sole proprietor, you don't yet realize all the overhead you will have once you run this business properly with admin, HR, sales, etc... In other words, you will need much higher pricing eventually to survive.

4. The comment above about an enterprise needing continuous monitoring/scanning is right on. I would consider tailoring the product as a recurring subscription model with ongoing services. An issue may arise with less sophisticated enterprises in that they don't know what to do in the event of a breach anyway. This leads right back to perhaps your product needing to resold and managed by IT partners who offer more holistic services to their clients.

5. Final thought about marketing... I feel it's become a popular and successful model to give away A LOT of services for free until you build momentum. E.g. consider making it a compelling ongoing service and giving it all away for free until you've built a considerable client base.

Wishing you all the best!


Dina Moskowitz

January 10th, 2016

HI Marcin,
Not sure if you're already leveraging the IT Channel, but you're  providing a security solution there is an enormous amount of interest amongst VARs, MSPs, IT Solution Providers - to purchase themselves but also to resell to their clients.'s main mission is matching up SaaS Vendors with the Right Reseller Partners, helping accelerate adoption and sales.  We also recently launched a solution called PartnerOptimizer, which also focuses around how to identify the Right reseller partners.  Happy to discuss further with you or refer you to someone on our team. -Dina

Marcin Kozlowski IT

January 6th, 2016

Thanks for all the answers, I appreciate it.

To close this question fully for me, is there maybe anybody from IT security industry that can chime in about what works and what doesn't for marketing & selling IT security services/products? What would be the important points potential customers would look for, where will they look for it and how would they look for it. People outside the industry are also welcome to give their inputs. As I said, this is optional and I am very satisfied with the answers above.