Behind the Scenes: Building a SaaS Platform for Product-led Growth

Building a SaaS Platform for Product-led Growth

In recent years the Product-led SaaS model has been gaining increasing mindshare in the SaaS community. Being Product-led widens the top of the funnel, allowing for greater lead generation and a host of benefits for rapidly growing companies, including: 

Product-led is a great model for agile SaaS companies that are changing just as fast as today’s digital world does. In this article, we’ll deep dive into AgencyAnalytics’ Product-led growth motors: what makes this bootstrapped SaaS business tick–and the key players that make it all happen.

At AgencyAnalytics, we take immense pride in supporting thousands of marketing agencies that enable hundreds of thousands of small businesses to thrive. These businesses play a vital role in the health and prosperity of their local communities, and knowing that our work has a positive impact on so many lives keeps the team focused and motivated to do even better.

A Platform Built for Scaling Agencies

In the early days, AgencyAnalytics began as an SEO tool built by two high-school friends Joe Kindness and Blake Acheson, offering a user-friendly way to improve website rankings for a keyword. The early version of the platform offered basic SEO functions that helped businesses reap the benefits of SEO and eliminated the need to hire an SEO consultant. 

Over the last decade, AgencyAnalytics has added 80+ integrations and client reporting features so that agencies can have all their clients’ live dashboards to access data in one place, automated reporting, and a full suite of features

AgencyAnalytics has helped create over 4.4 million client reports to date. The platform is now a dedicated growth platform for marketing agencies: allowing agencies to easily access all their clients’ marketing data under one roof–and present it in a visually intuitive and professional way to their clients. 

Delivering Growth By Maximizing Product-market Fit

AgencyAnalytics has over 6,500 agency clients–the majority of which were added with barebones marketing and sales teams. But the success of this Product-led growth was based on listening to marketing agencies and putting their needs first. 

In fact, customer feedback is what drives what AgencyAnalytics builds and leads to LTV: CAC ratios that make a profitably growing SaaS business. As we scaled from 1 employee to 90+, we have been adding more product and engineering talent to the team to refine the process. 

Here are some of the things we do to ensure we continue to leverage product-led growth while scaling the Product and Engineering teams:  

1. Making Asynchronous Work, Work 

Except for a janitor closet ‘office’ space (which was soon discarded) for a brief period of time, AgencyAnalytics has always been a fully-remote company.

The early days of the company, then called My SEO Tool:

AgencyAnalytics original office space 2012

“One of the pros to being fully remote is being able to work wherever we want,” says Dion Tu, a Toronto-based Frontend Engineer with a passion for Spikeball. He does this through clearly-defined processes built by the infrastructure team. For him, it’s easy to just set up his work environment and do the tasks he picks up daily from the Kanban board, which is key to asynchronous work. 

Our managers are actively trying to improve the process for online async communication as it's something that everyone is affected by. They aren't afraid to test the different methods/software and use a different solution if it better suits our processes. 

– Dion Tu, Frontend Engineer

When you’re providing services to businesses like marketing agencies, the net of influence you cast is wide: AgencyAnalytics reaches 100,000 people–thousands of local businesses whose successes have a positive impact on local economies.

“To see what I built being used by hundreds or thousands of people and the fact that they find value in it is the most rewarding part of my role,” adds Dion.

Maria Paz, Frontend Engineer who joined the team over a year ago, has lived in six different countries. “I love working at AgencyAnalytics because I work remotely on a flexible schedule. Although we don’t see each others’ faces every day, everybody is there to cooperate when needed.” 

Since day one, I have been asked what my opinion and ideas are on different subjects and there is a high level of trust that we can produce high-quality work and results.

– Maria Paz, Frontend Engineer

2. A Framework To Support Product-led Growth

“Customer feedback is paramount,” says Jesse Smith, VP of Product, who recently celebrated his 10th work anniversary at AgencyAnalytics. “We strive to act quickly on the most common feature suggestions and understand customer needs before putting pen to paper.”

The Rice Framework To Deliver on Client Requests

Jesse oversees the product department and works with the product managers to deliver amazing new features to our customers. The product managers evaluate feature requests based on a RICE-style framework, measuring: 

  • Reach – How many users (marketing agencies) will it affect?

  • Impact – Is this something our users use every time they use the app?

  • Confidence – Do we have data about how often this feature is used and how many requests it has received?

  • Effort – How many resources do we have to allocate to build it? 

The engineering team works with the product team to determine what provides the most value to AgencyAnalytics customers. This is often determined by Canny requests and MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue). They total up the amount of MRR attached to the current clients who are requesting specific feature enhancements or integrations as part of their “Impact” quantification.

3. Augmenting Our Client Offering  

“For features that our customers might want but aren't requesting, we evaluate other products that exist in the competitive landscape and look for gaps in our offering,” says Jesse, adding, “we are passionate about offering a complete solution.”

If our users need to augment our product with other offerings, we aren't fulfilling their needs fully.

– Jesse Smith, VP of Product

Client requests are then prioritized–because we know we can’t do everything all at once.

Testimonial on client requests

Once the new features are put into the pipeline, it’s onto the Engineering team to turn the vision into reality. 

4. Ownership of the Product Roadmap

Product and Engineering maintain a shared roadmap that they all reference in order to keep their quarterly goals front of mind. “We have cross-functional teams that are composed of members from both the product and engineering departments that meet at least weekly, ensuring that any alignment issues are addressed quickly and are out in the open,” says Jesse.

Here’s an example of the new features and integrations the product team pumps out each month:

AgencyAnalytics product roadmap

Aligning On What To Build

Engineering and Product work closely together with constant feedback to turn requests into live features.

A Cohesive Product and Engineering Vision

“Since the Product team has grown, I feel as though our teams have become a cohesive unit,” says Stephen Colarossi, Engineering Manager. “My role as an Engineering Manager is to enable the team and strive to level up the team's impact. The Reporting team is relatively smaller but has a large impact, as we work on the widgets, dashboards, and reports of our application.”

Andrew Smith, head of the client platform team, is driven by the focus on enhancing the code base to allow developers to create robust features efficiently. 

What I find most fulfilling in my position is collaborating with my team to overcome complex technical problems.

– Andrew Smith, Engineering Manager of Client Platforms

“I find the most rewarding aspect of the job is identifying common patterns between different platforms, users, concepts, and scenarios and then finding the most effective way to marry performance with convenience in a way that is succinct and concise,” says Kyle Derby MacInnis, Backend Engineer who has been working at AgencyAnalytics for over two years.” 

He works on the integrations team responsible for coding, managing, developing, and enhancing the 80+ integrations. With various different platforms to connect with and service, they work to help provide new features and fixes and expand on functionality for AgencyAnalytics clients to leverage.

It’s such a rewarding feeling when you have thought through a complex set of scenarios that at first glance seem at odds with one another and finally crystallized a solution that connects all the loose ends gracefully.

– Kyle Derby MacInnis, Backend Engineer

Turning Product Design Into Reality 

Product designers are involved in the planning phase when a feature is built to ensure that UX is incorporated early on. “We look for ways to improve our app and come up with ways to provide our users with a better experience,” notes Omer Erdogan, Product Designer who has been based near Istanbul since the pandemic. 

Omer and the team have their design vision locked down in a mockup and work with Frontend Developer Albert to “take the mockups from Design/Product and make it happen.” Albert represented Canada at age 16 in a music competition held in Tokyo. His advice for long days of coding? “If you already have a standing desk, consider buying an under-the-desk treadmill. You can work and get fit at the same time!”

AgencyAnalytics’ Latest User Interface:

automated client reporting platform overview

Creating Value For Digital Agencies

For Stephen, the most fulfilling part of his role is “working with intelligent, highly-skilled individuals to create an application that is used by thousands of agencies.” 

Jared Tanner, a PHP Developer who chuckles about the large number of plants around his office space, loves knowing that his team is constantly creating value for marketing agencies by giving them access to the Analytics that make the product indispensable. 

We carefully select those features and metrics that bring the highest value, delivered in increments–allowing for faster turnarounds and more opportunity for reinforcement learning and improvements via short cycle goals.

– Jared Tanner, PHP Developer

Maintaining a Rapid Growth Trajectory 

AgencyAnalytics is on a rapid growth trajectory. To maintain the growth and development of the platform, the Product and Engineering teams are still scaling on both the leadership and staff side.

Participating in our Product and Engineering Success

“Onboarding is crucial, especially in a remote-first organization,” says Marta. She helps develop recruiting and sourcing strategies to identify and attract candidates to fill all jobs at AgencyAnalytics and has hired over 50 employees within six months.

First impressions matter and ours is fantastic. Not only do we set you up to succeed, but the organization and people go above and beyond to ensure you feel welcomed, connected, and supported. It's not just about the perks (but who doesn't love them!)

Marta Gniewek, Recruitment Lead

Here are some words of advice from our team before applying:

1. If You’re Qualified, Just Apply!

Without a doubt, working at AgencyAnalytics is a great career move if you’re looking to grow your expertise, progress within your role, and grow within a company. 

If you’re qualified and it’s something you actually want to do, just apply. This is a great company that works based on trust, so always be honest, and you’ll have a rewarding career. 

– Maria Paz, Frontend Engineer

2. Do Your Best and Learn From Your Mistakes 

Mistakes are there for you to learn and iterate to make things better the next time. This is a company that encourages you to learn and leaves you enough room to try new things and risk failing. 

Do your best. Your team is there to help you grow, so don't be afraid to fail, just as long as you learn from your mistakes. 

– Dion Tu, Frontend Engineer

3. Bring a Positive Attitude  

Attitude is everything. Almost more important than your qualifications, we look for positive go-getters that are self-motivated and full of ideas. 

Come in with a positive attitude and bring your ideas along! 

– Kyle Derby MacInnis, Backend Engineer

Final Thoughts

It isn’t every day that your work impacts thousands of businesses–unless you’re working at AgencyAnalytics. Working here means supporting the needs of over 6,500 scaling agencies who are working hard to deliver success to their clients. 

With actionable data at their fingertips, agencies are better equipped to deliver the goal-beating results that allow local businesses to grow and thrive, in turn, leaving a positive impact on their local communities and economies. 

If you enjoy working in fast-paced environments, are self-directed, and enjoy the perks of a remote, fast-growing company, check out our open positions to apply.

At AgencyAnalytics we value an entrepreneurial mind. We really trust and recognize employees from day one, which allows employees to feel confident in their roles to do the best work they’re capable of.

Sasha Simic, Senior Technical Recruiter

The Perks:

✅ Working from anywhere in the world

✅ A competitive salary

✅ Flexible working hours

✅ Quarterly profit sharing

✅ Four weeks of paid vacation

✅ Unlimited sick days

✅ Health and wellness benefits

✅ Stock options (coming soon)

Melody Sinclair-Brooks

Written by

Melody Sinclair-Brooks

Melody Sinclair-Brooks brings nearly a decade of experience in marketing in the tech industry. Specializing in B2B messaging for startups and SaaS, she crafts campaigns that cut through the noise, leveraging customer insights and multichannel strategies for tangible growth.

Read more posts by Melody Sinclair-Brooks ›

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