Letter from the Founder 2023

Chantelle Little December 21, 2023 2 min read Tiller

Doom and gloom, or opportunity? Depends on how you see the world.

We’ve all seen the news. 2023 has been a pretty tough year for tech. Pipelines dried up. Investment rounds didn’t close. A lot of talented people were laid off. And marketing budgets were obliterated because many companies wrongly assumed marketing was a “nice-to-have”, not business-critical.

Jason Lemkin, SaaStr CEO, said it best, “Cutback on sales, miss the plan for the year. Cutback on marketing, miss the plan for next year. It’s complicated.” So relatable, right?

I’ve seen firsthand the tremendous amount of pressure SaaS CMOs and marketing teams are under to deliver results. Pressure to:

  • Align shrinking budgets with growing expectations (do more, with less)
  • Demonstrate immediate results from long-term strategies (or sacrifice the long term in the interest of the short term)
  • Take on additional responsibilities during downsizing
  • Prove the ROI on every dollar invested

When marketing performance is scrutinized, agency performance is too. Now more than ever, the client and agency have to collectively prove value and ROI. And in this pressure lies the opportunity for a deeper client-agency relationship.

One aspect of collaboration I’m particularly interested in is the bringing together of marketing and sales. While it’s widely known that the success of one is dependent on the other, it’s still far too common to see these teams work in silos. The bigger the company, the more challenging it is to bridge the gap. But the success of the marketing function largely depends on the free flow of quality information from sales:

  • Lead qualification
  • Deal size
  • Buying committee
  • Close rate
  • Win/lose factors
  • Objections
  • Price testing
  • Competitors

These details (and more) are the very insights needed for effective branding and marketing.

Yes, this close collaboration between marketing, sales, and the agency requires the free flow of information and data, as well as higher degrees of trust. Both are completely possible if we can get everyone’s buy-in on the “why”. Working more closely together allows us to surface the most actionable insights and the most meaningful story. All we have to do is stop holding the keys to Hubspot, Salesforce, and Marketo hostage.

In addition to helping our clients better leverage sales and marketing data, I see Tiller further supporting our clients in two key areas: conversion rate optimization (CRO) and generative AI.

CRO is how we will help our clients put valuable data to use and directly impact lead generation and revenue. Generative AI is how we will help brands push the creative envelope and maximize sales and marketing efficiency.

Both areas require a lot of trust and collaboration — and can yield game-changing results.

Now for the fun part. Here are a few of my favorite highlights from 2023…

Celebrating 15 years in business in Palm Springs

In February, we took our entire team to Palm Springs on a 4-day, no-work getaway to celebrate 15 years in business. It was an unforgettable time of team bonding and celebrating each person’s impact on our success, regardless of how long they’ve been part of our story.

Experiencing new cultures

We welcomed three more talented Ukrainians to our team. Their optimism, gratitude, and collaborative spirits have taught me a lot. A personal highlight was enjoying not one, but two Ukrainian feasts together. My caterer had nothing on their cooking. I highly recommend the Syrnyky (cottage cheese pancakes).

Growing our leadership team

A few months ago, after an extensive search for the right fit, we welcomed Adile Abbadi-MacIntosh as our new Head of Technology. And just last week, Mona Csada joined as our very first Head of Marketing. I’m thrilled at the caliber of leadership Tiller continues to attract and am confident that these leaders will be instrumental in our growth.

Evolving the Tiller brand

We continued to evolve our brand to further reflect our brand story and our vision for the future. You can see the elevated brand expressed throughout our website and read about our rationale here.

Bringing Lemonade Day® to Calgary

After years of dreaming about it, we brought the Lemonade Day® youth entrepreneurship program to Calgary to inspire and equip the next generation of entrepreneurs. In our first year, 164 kids set up lemonade stands around the city on the same sunny Saturday. Some walked away with $200+ in profit. I can’t wait to make 2024 even bigger and better.

Attending SaaStr (again!)

We attended the SaaStr Annual conference in San Francisco. Spending three days with thousands of leading B2B SaaS founders, VCs, and executives is nothing short of inspiring and educational. And of course, we used the opportunity to promote Tiller. Conversations turned into leads that turned into clients. Needless to say, we’re doing that again next year.

Embracing a new chapter of innovation

We took intentional steps to better integrate our copy, design, and development teams for greater creativity, innovation, and performance. Practically, this has included changing our toolsets, rearranging desks, creating cross-functional focus groups, and more. We’ve already seen exciting results in a short period of time.

Receiving the honour of Top 40 Under 40

I was humbled to be part of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 Class of 2023. What meant the most to me was celebrating with my family, friends, and team — the people who have believed in me and supported me every step of the way.

What’s next?

Oh, wouldn’t you like to know! As you may have learned by now, we have a big vision for the future and we’re working relentlessly to realize it.

I hope you’ll come along with us.

— Chantelle


PS – You know how I said we’re diving into AI? Check out our AI-illustrated book, Tech for Tots: 10 Gifts to Raise the Next Big Tech CEO.

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