Last January, I published an article about how we managed to reach $1,000,000 ARR in less than 2 years without any funding.

Everything was going really fine and then COVID happened 🦠 😷

In this article, I will detail exactly what are the things we implemented in order to keep an exponential growth and go from $1m to $2m ARR in 5 months in a time of global crisis and without spending any money on paid channels (#cheapfrenchbastard 🇫🇷🍷🥖)

Before I start sharing with you all the insights from our growth, make sure to hit the follow button so you’re sure to get notified once I published a new article about our journey 🙏

The numbers

I know you probably clicked on this article because of the numbers so, let’s start with that 🚀

Reaching $2m ARR in a time of crisis

Our numbers in May 2020 were split between each project as follow:

Total ARR: $2,000,000 🎉

In my previous article, I explained our strategy when it comes to multi SaaS project management and you can find more about it here.

During this crisis, we implemented a 7 step strategy to keep an exponential growth and we split it as followed (I will detail each point below with actionable tips)

1- Adapt quickly — Write valuable content — solve new problems
2- Focus on your users
3- Keep prospecting
4- Leverage the biggest community around sales automation
5- Use LinkedIn to distribute and promote content
6- Together we’re stronger
7- Together we go further

1- Adapt quickly — Write valuable content — Solve new problems

I know that this title sounds very generic but let me explain.

When COVID officially became a global pandemic, tens of millions of people (in the US only) lost their job… Since lemlist helps people building relationships for their sales prospecting and I’ve helped a lot of people found their dream job using an unconventional cold emailing approach, I thought that I could help.

The problem is simple:
With so many job seekers out there, the competition when it comes to finding a job is fierce.

The solution:
Help people stand out and use a different approach than the traditional resume + cover letter. Write a detailed step by step article explaining the best way to find a job at any company and share it massively!

Obviously, since the goal was to help people in need, I managed with a couple of other SaaS companies, to bundle these services for free so people won’t have to pay for anything during this job search

The results:
This article got 10s of thousands of views and helped a lot of people found a job! We actually even had some salespeople using it to find a job and then become paying customers with the new company they joined!

Even though we didn’t plan for such things I think that when focusing on providing value to people, you always get rewarded in the long run — which leads us to our second point.

2- Focus on your users

I remember when the crisis hit, a few SaaS founders in my network were telling me that they will not get in touch with their customers as long as they were paying their subscription 🤦‍♂️

To me, in a time of crisis, people are facing new challenges so it’s important to help them solve them.

That’s actually why we decided with the team to first get in touch with our paying customers and offer free sales prospecting consultations.

Here’s what the email looked like:

Free outbound consultation campaign

During these consultations, both Ena and Nadja were able to gather not only tons of insights about the new challenges our customers were facing but also what were the things that were working well for some of our customers.

On top of that, Ena and Ariana (from our support team) have really stepped up in the way they’ve handled our customers' relationships leading to a 20% increase in 5-star reviews 🤩

Customer review after a conversation on the chat

And also to a lot more reviews on Capterra where we officially crossed the 300+ 5 star reviews mark 🎉🎉🎉

300+ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ reviews on Capterra

In my opinion, your customers are always THE BEST source of knowledge. In our case, with all these learnings we were able to do three things:

1- Produce the right type of content in order to solve their new issues.

2- Add a lot of value to our existing customers by giving them insights from our research during some strategic calls.

3- Use these new pain points and solutions in our sales prospecting (which leads us to the 3rd part)

3- Keep prospecting

In a time of crisis, only the best salespeople strive! I know a lot of salespeople who are really really good closer — the kind of old school sales rep that will be pushy and sometimes use deceptive methods in order to get that deal signed. In my opinion, that is the opposite of a good sales rep. Let’s face it, these methods used to work well but they are outdated and will only damage your brand in the long run.


Side note: I’m not yelling, just putting that in all caps so you won’t forget it 😘

In my opinion, if you stop prospecting it means that you’ve decided to stop helping people. And that’s actually why you can easily spot great salespeople from the bad ones.

In our case, we never stopped prospecting but we clearly adapted our message leveraging all the learnings we had from our user interview and strategic calls.

The idea of our initial outreach was to start with value and offering tips in order to, later on, book a meeting and build relationships:

Nadja’s first email

Thanks to lemlist advanced personalization feature, the first name on the image was changed dynamically and when they would click on that image, people would be redirected to a personalized landing page where they could book a meeting directly with Nadja.

Dynamic landing page with a video and a calendly integration

As you can see, the calendly is directly embedded below the video and the landing page contains some dynamic fields such as the firstName of the person, its company logo etc… You can learn more about how to set this up easily here.

If they didn’t book a meeting, an email will be triggered a few days later using our classic, coffee follow-up.

Nadja’s first follow-up email

With this approach, Nadja was able to book more than 10 demos each week 🚀

4- Leverage the biggest community around sales automation

From day 1 at lemlist, our mission has been to empower sales teams from all over the world book more meetings with their prospects and build meaningful relationships. To do so, we decided to build the biggest community around sales automation.

The sales automation family

In the last 5 months, we grew the community from 3000 to 7500 members and thus only organically. In this community, we focus on helping lemlisters (That’s how we call lemlist users and community members) build the best outbound process possible.

This community has been of tremendous help in order for us to focus on all the necessary features and integrations.

Asking polls in the community

But also to get tons of insights in order to write the best guides possible for our users.

75% of the content in that community is actually user-generated content 😍

The fact that we are very selective in the posts we allow makes the quality of the conversation always great!

Some of our guides were actually reshared by companies like Pipedrive and gave us even more visibility.

Having Pipedrive sharing our content to their community

Because the power of a community relies on co-creation, we decided to get in touch with the best lemlisters in order to share the best tips and tricks about sales prospecting! In order to push this co-creation even further, we’ve decided to launch a new weekly content called “lemlister of the week”.

The best campaigns from lemlisters explained

Essentially, each week, we pick a lemlister who had amazing results with his/her sales prospecting campaign and we explain why it worked. From the targeting up to the copy.

Top-performing email from a lemlister explained

By doing so, people are able to see what other lemlisters are doing in order to become more successful.

For us, it’s such an amazing way to get closer to our users while at the same time provide a lot of value.

And for the lemlister of the week, it’s a great way to get tons of exposure 😎

On top of that, we even had some really cool and not traditional success story where a lemlister decided to send personalized wedding invite with lemlist, getting a 95% Click-Through Rate 😍

Post in our community from Juraj who used lemlist for wedding invites

More than just a community, we really consider this community as our family and there’s always a really cool vibe during all the online events we’ve organized.

5- Use LinkedIn to distribute and promote content

For those of you who’ve been following me on LinkedIn, you know that I post a lot of content. What I love about LinkedIn is that it’s a great place to share valuable tips to a different audience than our customers.

In 2019 my posts got more than 1 million views and I wanted to scale this strategy in 2020.

Since our team has been growing, we decided to implement a new strategy for our LinkedIn post where everyone from the team would be posting at least 3 times per week.

  • Ena and Nadja would post about actionable sales tips when it comes to doing sales prospecting
Example of one of Naja’s post

As you can see, this kind of post works really for at least 3 reasons:
1- Starting your post with a question makes people want to read what’s next
2- The post is short and super actionable, no fluff and straight to the point
3- Mentioning someone who’s perceived as a sales leader will always give your post more credibility

Thanks to valuable post like this, Nadja was able to build meaningful relationships and close more deals.

Example of a message received by Nadja after one of her post
  • Vuk and Ilya would post about growth guides and acquisition strategies
Example of one of Ilya’s post

As you can see, Ilya’s got more than 1500 comments under his post resulting into a huge engagement. Here’s why:
1- The structure of the post is clear and it generates curiosity as most of the bullet points are unique “growth hacks”
2- Asking people to comment on your post in order to get additional content is THE best way to get a huge reach. The more people comment, the more your post will be shown to a larger audience.
3- Asking people to get in touch if they have a really cool hack in order to get a mention is a great way to build credibility and show that this growth guide will be updated with all the best hacks.

  • I would post about startup tips, user acquisition and sales.
Example of one of my LinkedIn post

I post mainly videos on LinkedIn because, in my opinion, it’s a great way to connect on a much more personal level with your audience.

By splitting the different topics between our team members we were actually able to reach more than 100k people every single week while providing a lot of value.

On top of that, we were able to promote our webinar as well leading to more exposure to our partners and hence, better relationships.

Generate strong engagement on our brand page with our live interviews

6- Together we’re stronger

I love co-marketing! I love it because it is a clear win-win situation! You share your audience with someone’s else audience and you grow together!

That’s actually why we decided to start a series of interviews from top sales experts in our community!

We had guests such as Aaron Ross, Morgan Ingram, Jill Rowley, and many more! During these live interviews, we discussed a lot of sales-related topics trying to always bring as many actionable tips and advice as possible!

Since you’re probably wondering how we managed to get all these superstars into our show, here’s the exact template Vuk and I came up with:

The template we used to reach out to top sales leaders

Here’s why it worked:

  1. {{Tiramisu}} tag is replaced with a genuine compliment for that person. In most cases, it consisted of 1–3 sentences where Vuk comment on their recent work and add another sentence on why we admire that person
  2. {{Tiramisu2}} was changed with our topic proposal. In other words, what we aimed to make webinar with them about
  3. The goal was to show how their participation will bring them exposure in front of our entire audience that’s relevant for their brand too
  4. Credibility is key! We want everybody to know that we are practitioners of our craft with a real track record
  5. Always make it easy for them to answer and know what the next step is.

From this campaign, we had a 70% booking rate which is simply HUUUUGE 😍

Once our guests were booked we decided to make their life super simple by sending them a very detailed email with everything they should know about 5–7 days prior to the event.

The email we send to each interviewee prior to the Facebook live

As you can see this email is very well structured and contains:
1- The questions that will be asked with a possibility to edit them or add comments
2- The link to the official event
3- Promo image that can be used for social
4- A ready-to-use copy of a post that they could share to their network

A lot of the experts I interviewed decided to share the link to the event to their audience which ultimately leads to more people watching the live.

The type of posts our interviewee share on their social network

Each live had 100s of participants and the value brought by each expert was so huge that we even decided to open a dedicated section on our website so people could rewatch the lives on YouTube 🚀

Find the replays of all our webinars on the lemlist website

Thanks to my LinkedIn content and all the other article I wrote, I got invited to speak at a lot of international events including SaaStock with some top names from the marketing industry.

Being invited as a speaker in to top events like SaaStock

All the interviews I made were actually extremely helpful for me to learn new things from top sales experts and really build strong relationships.

Aaron Ross even invited me to present during his summit how to build a B2B outbound sales strategy from scratch!

Another really cool event organized by Aaron’s Ross team

All of these online events were a great way to bring as much value as possible to a new audience and it drove a lot of new revenue and opportunities!

But obviously, nothing would have been possible without an amazing team, which leads us to my last point 😊

7- Together we go further

In my previous article, I was mentioning the importance of hiring people only when it hurts.

Indeed we reached $1m ARR with only 7 people and in my opinion, having a small team is a great way to stay agile, adaptable, and flexible!

On top of that, managing your costs as a bootstrapped startup is critical for success!

However, since we are highly profitable (we don’t pay for any paid acquisition channels so our fixed costs are extremely low) we decided that it was time to start scaling our team 🚀

In the last 5 months, we went from 7 to 14 people allowing us to scale faster to $2m ARR.

Our goal is to become the best sales automation platform ever created and to do so we need a team of highly talented individual 🤩

If you’re interested in joining the team whether you’re a developer, marketer or sales development representative feel free to reach out to me directly on

Love you all ❤️