1-2-3: How to Build a Community

1 Idea, 2 Resources, And 3 Fractionals For This Week.

It’s been an incredible journey building RevGenius.

We now have over 40k GTM leaders, are throwing digital conferences for 7k people, and reaching 60k followers on LinkedIn.

But how did it start? And how can you dissect my story and framework and use it for building your community?

Today we will look at how to build a community through my experiences.

We are approaching 1,500 readers of The Community.

Thank you all for being a part of this movement.

Let’s dive in.

The Big Idea

How to Build a Community

Where to start:

Start with a challenge or gap that you feel passionate about solving.

For RevGenius, we started with a friend group of 4 people in the DMs on LinkedIn during Covid. 

We wanted to support one another on LinkedIn and in sales. We each added a handful more folks who were looking for similar support. 

It was effortless.

The energy in the group was palpable. The LinkedIn app broke (shut off) daily for all of us.

I realized that many didn’t have a space they could go to for support.

There were other communities, but they often only allowed leaders in and/or charged for entry.

A space that allowed all was critical, in my opinion, for the lifting of the space as a whole. 

I had discovered the challenge folks had.

For your community: listen on social, to customers, to prospects, in communities, and other spaces for challenges or gaps that are big, aligned to your direction, and that you’re passionate about solving.

Organizing a small direct message group of your own around that challenge will quickly help you realize if you’re onto something.

Look for that palpable energy in the group. This is essential.

Find a Place to Live & Create Rules to Follow

We had a group of about 25 people who lived in LinkedIn direct messages.

Which was OK, but we were breaking the group chat daily.

It was unsustainable.

The members suggested we move to Slack (some had been in Slack communities before). 

I thought it was an awesome idea, but told everyone I needed 24-48 hours before moving. 

It was critical to create a rough draft of a code of conduct and community values before inviting everyone in.

I ‘borrowed’ a lot of this from other communities and made it our own. 

This turned out to have been a good idea, because of how quickly we were about to grow.

These rules helped create some order in the early days of mayhem.

Acquiring Members: Evangelize the Problem 

I made posts on LinkedIn that said ‘You can sit with us’ (Mean Girls movie reference) before linking the sign-up link to join RevGenius in the comments.

It challenged the exclusivity of other communities. People got the message.

I also personally reached out to over 300 people a day through LinkedIn DMs (manually) asking them if they wanted to join RevGenius.

In my message, I used the word ‘inclusive’ which was a simple illuminator of how we were solving the problem.

Note: It was important for me to reach out manually (yes, I did copy and paste messaging but added a small personal touch to each) because I wanted to be able to respond quickly and have 1:1 conversations about what we were building and the problem we were trying to solve.

People loved the back and forth. 

Thinking back, if it was automated it would’ve been much more efficient, but far less personal (it would’ve taken me longer to reply to folks, if at all, and they would’ve seen through it). 

Think through these as you start thinking about building your community.

Next week we will look at how to scale a community…

2 Resources

I. Dark Funnel Uncovered:

Kevin White, Head of Marketing at Common Room, speaks at RevCon about how your go-to-market team can tap into the dark funnel. They can find opportunities to drive pipeline in it. And it can be measured to show the impact on investment. (watch here)

II. Is Your Brand Ready for Community-Led Growth:

Jillian Bejtlich, Community Lead at Calendly, Rebecca Marshburn, Head of Community at Common Room, and I sit down to discuss the careful consideration and strategic planning required to build a community.  (read here)

3 Fractionals

I. Jan Young

Jan Young is a phenomenal Customer Success Fractional Executive who provides courses, coaching, and consulting in Customer-Led Growth, and alignment of Go-To-Market and Post-Sales motions. She advises CS technology leaders like Catalyst Software and has been a 2X Top 25 CS Influencer, Top 50 Women Leaders in CS, and Top 100 CS Strategist. (check out her LinkedIn)

II. Dale Zwizinski

Dale is the co-founder and Chief GTM Officer at Revenue Reimagined. With more than 20 years of experience in enterprise sales, he’s now helping founders to Create a Cohesive GTM Strategy Utilizing Data vs. Gut. (check out his LinkedIn)

III. Ashleigh Early

Ashleigh brings over a decade of experience at Silicon Valley icons like Okta, FireEye, Mattermark to early-stage startups. What I love the most about Ashleigh is how she allows her clients a ‘safe place’ to get creative, be honest, and grow their sales skills. (check out her Linkedin)

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Until next week,


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