Stakeholder Updates

I’m a big fan on keeping your stakeholders (employees, investors, advisors, mentors) up to date as you grow out your tech company.

  1. It shows good communications.
  2. It can build evidence of execution.
  3. It allows for people to help you along the way.

Every team will find their own way to do this, but here are a few principles that I like to apply.

  • Keep it brief. Email is so flooded that if I think there is going to be an essay waiting inside an email I just won’t open it. I can always follow up with more questions.
  • Focus on growth. What is moving forward? What has changed? What is bigger and better?
  • Be honest. I know growing a tech company is hard. Don’t just give me positive BS. Give me real numbers. Tell me the problems. Tell me major issues. I want to help.
  • Employee updates should be different but I think you should also share the stakeholder update with them. You should be even more honest with them and also explain what it all means.
  • Use the subject line to say something and sell them on opening the email. Don’t write ‘ Newsletter’ or even ‘June update’. It probably comes from you, not the company so it’s worth putting the name in. I find something like this works:

Company Name Month Year: Good news, interesting news, an ask.

Some examples:

Acme.com April 2017: 3 new clients, presenting at the UN, hiring biz dev.

Smilesr.com Nov 2017: 12k MAU, partner with Acme.com, need help with partner contracts.

Example

Here’s an example of a good update, which I’ve modified for privacy. It’s a bit long but easy to navigate and I can browse the top part and still get a good grasp of what’s going on.


Hi all,

In August we signed a partnership with ACME (announcement to follow) and cracked through automating our operations — scalable operations & customer service is everything.

We continued to work on two exciting new partnerships with the potential to bring scale on both sides of the market.

Traction Summary
 
To 31 August 2016
Wholesalers 829
Distributors 2,637

Gross Revenue $876k
Consignments 4,676

Last Month (1–31 August), MoM growth
New Wholesalers 39, 0%
New Distributors 348, 22%
Gross Revenue $122k, 13%
Consignments 796, 12%

Net Promoter Score: 9.1

Further details of our activities are listed below:

Ongoing Product Development

Here’s what we released last month:

  • International airfreight bookings functionality
  • We launched the Cost Benchmarking Calculator
  • We started white labelling the Freight Management System (FMS)
  • Workflow automation for shippers

At the moment we’re working on:

  • Truck safety app for owner drivers
  • The process of automating carrier, safety & insurance data feeds with Transport for NSW and a leading insurer
  • Android app for owner drivers beta release early October

Ongoing Marketing Activities

The following growth channels are established and ongoing:

Partnerships: ACME (signed), Inxs, John Farman (Safety & Capacity App promotions, data sharing), The Angels(air freight), a listed company (under NDA), Leading Insurer (under NDA),

Content Marketing: Monthly Newsletter, new pages for SEO optimisation, we’ve hired full time resource to manage enterprise prospecting.

Google Adwords: $36.63 Cost/Conv in Aug 2016

Marketing Automation: Customer activation, usage, referrals & user feedback

Upcoming Growth Activities

We’re testing the following channels for growth:

Content: Videoing customer testimonials, media outreach program, enterprise case studies and sales materials.

Prospecting: Kick off an affiliate model for existing customers. Outbound calling and appointment booking.

Pricing: Introducing monthly subscription fees.

International MVP: WeChat channel for China <->Wiggles (October)

Partnerships: Marvel, Yarkoni Experience Centre, Quickbooks

Industry News

Safety: We wished our App was finished, so that we could have prevented this A330 aircraft engine sliding off a truck in Sydney.

Capital Raises: Goldman Sachs invests $10m in CargoX, and makes plenty of Uber references.

Also, Aramex invests $8.5m in What3Words.

Asks

Business Development: we’re seeking a junior full time resource to focus on Business Development. Would love any referrals (Mick, Nick, Tom, Alison or Terry: do you know anyone from SF or Shenzhen?)

Intros: as usual….we’d love introductions to large wholesale, distribution or manufacturing companies with complex supply chains for further beta trials. Also, mid-sized 3PLs.

Thanks

Thanks to Mary for your work on the partnerships, to Julie for the introduction to Airplane. Also for helping intro us to marketing interns.

Until next month.

Kate