How one entrepreneur met a need in an unmet niche 

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Dan Murphy was running a sales development team responsible for responding to leads for an employee feedback and performance solution. In online sales businesses like his, connecting with potential customers in a timely manner is critical.   

“If someone gets back to you immediately, within five minutes, it’s incredibly impressive,” he explained.     

Murphy’s experience aligns with research conducted by Harvard Business Review. They found that companies that responded to leads within an hour of receiving their request were more than seven times as likely to qualify the lead than those that responded within two hours.   

As such, one of Murphy’s top KPIs was how responsive his team was.  

Unfortunately, with staff spread out across four offices, leads interested in a demo request were sometimes sitting in a queue for up to four hours.  

 ”I really started focusing in on this with staff, and we started to get compliments from leads on how fast we were,” he recalled.   

Although the process was improving, Murphy knew it could be even better. As someone with an interest in building apps, he realized that he could build an app to replace the manual process of assigning leads to available reps.  

In 2019, Murphy launched RouterJet, the only application that provides lead assignments and alerts for the popular CRM platform Pipedrive. Business owners add team members’ working hours and mobile numbers for SMS notifications, then assign routing rules and let RouterJet handle the rest. This SaaS offering helps businesses increase efficiency, escalate issues as needed and measure performance.   

RouterJet caught on within the Pipedrive community and grew organically, since it was the only lead assignment app on Pipedrive. As a result, Murphy did not need to focus a ton of energy on growing the business. He promoted the solution via the Pipedrive Facebook group and via SEO, including YouTube and blog posts. Since RouterJet was a niche offering, there were not many others chasing this space.     

While not every SaaS creator will create something truly unique, the experience gave Murphy insight on the process – including how others in this space can succeed:  

Advice for those looking to found a SaaS business  

Identify a problem you are looking to solve. Murphy found that his previous method for lead assignment was inefficient and knew there had to be a better way. He developed RouterJet as a side project and noted that having a creative outlet to focus on helped him excel at his day job. He encourages others to take on side projects as well.    

Also, make sure you understand the business and the funding you will need. If you are interested in taking on a passion project, Murphy recommends identifying an uncompetitive niche. Otherwise, someone with more funding can come in, move more quickly and take away your opportunity.  

However, that doesn’t mean you have to wait until you have the perfect life situation or opportunity to build a venture-backed company. Murphy discovered that getting in and building these projects is a lot of fun, so he encourages others to dive in and do the same. If you are going the bootstrapped route, save and set aside $10-20K if possible and give yourself a runway.   

“You can prove out a lot of commercial assumptions without taking investment” he said. “Then you can raise capital, or decide to exit, like I did.”  

Advice for those looking to divest of a SaaS business  

If divesting is potentially in your future, figure out your acquisition path. Murphy noted, ”There’s a multiple on growth. When your growth starts flatlining, the value of your business goes down. You want to sell at the right time.”  

In addition to planning, Murphy recommends that you explore your options thoroughly. While he didn’t think there would be an acquisition opportunity for RouterJet initially, FE International proved him wrong.   

He explained, “After spending a lot of time in Silicon Valley, I was under the impression that it had to be venture-backed or nothing. There’s a huge world out there of opportunities that aren’t that, and this [divesting of RouterJet] proves that out. I would say, don’t wait.”

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