Productizing Social Proof w/ Sam Shepler

"It was a lot of brute force, cold outreach, going direct to people. – Sam Shepler

What every agency founder knows about starting up shop, is that the reality of growth in the early days comes from simply pounding the pavement, putting in the hours, and hustling your way to success. 

Today’s guest, Sam Shepler, did just that when he founded Testimonial Hero, a global video testimonial company that helps B2B SaaS companies close more deals through video testimonials. Founded in 2017, Sam bootstrapped his now 7-figure business from the start, maintaining control all the way.

Growing mostly through cold outreach and referrals, Sam wasn’t afraid to put in the work to get his idea and agency off the ground. In this episode, he shares everything from initial tactics to hiring strategies and what roles he prioritized in the first years of Testimonial Hero.

What’s more, Corey and Sam dive into the topic of social proof, and why it is a must-have, not a nice-to-have, for marketers today. Especially in video form. And, who better to give us a lesson in building trust than the founder of a video testimonial company?

Here’s what Corey and Sam discuss in this episode:

  • Going through an acqui-hire and founding a niche video agency.
  • Why Sam decided to focus on video testimonials in B2B SaaS.
  • Where Testimonial Hero’s early growth came from.
  • How Sam landed SaaS legends like HubSpot as clients.
  • Sam’s tips on leveraging social video proof in various stages of the sales process.

Here are some actionable key takeaways for agency founders:

  • Verticalized messaging instantly signals a vendor-client fit.
  • Gross margin is the most important part of an agency’s P&L.
  • Lead with relationships when reaching out to prospects, not your sales pitch.
  • Don’t compromise on talent but sometimes you need to bring in people from unconventional backgrounds.
  • Social proof builds trust, trust is what brings you business.

The resources mentioned in this episode are:

  • Connect with Sam on Linkedin Here
  • Learn more about Testimonial Hero Here

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