Karbon achieves stunning 20:1 return on ad spend with Outshine

Karbon · karbonhq.com

Increase in
ad budget

Rise in Marketing Qualified Leads in a single quarter

Growth in return
on ad spend

“Don’t even think about it, sign up Outshine! I would have to hire an army to cover the amount of work that Outshine does. Their team is truly exceptional.”

Tiffany Thain, Director of Performance Marketing, Karbon
Tiffany Thain
Director of Performance Marketing, Karbon

The Challenge

Maximizing brand recognition and revenue

Karbon is a collaborative practice management platform for accounting firms.

For fast-growing SaaS start-up Karbon, paid media is a vital cog in their marketing machine, driving brand recognition, building pipeline, and growing revenue.

Director of Performance Marketing Tiffany Thain explains: “Paid media is vital for any ambitious SaaS business. Your potential customers are going online to search for solutions like yours, so it’s essential that your brand is visible in that market.”

Heightened expectations on ad performance

Like most B2B SaaS businesses, Karbon’s investors and senior executives have high expectations about the level of pipeline and revenue their digital advertising budget should achieve.

It was down to Tiffany to ensure every dollar spent on paid media counted. But even with her exceptional and rounded skill-set, it wasn’t easy to attribute ads platform data and spend to pipeline and down-funnel metrics.

As Tiffany explains, “With digital spend, it can be really challenging to tie it directly to a conversion. We were looking at platform data and also at our own data, and trying to make a decision on which campaigns we should continue to invest in and apply more budget. You’re trying to take two black boxes and make your best-educated guess, so you’re never fully confident in what the data’s telling you.”

Hiring specialists to boost their market share

In a highly competitive sector, standing still wasn’t an option. Karbon decided to bring onboard external specialists to help optimize their paid media performance, help them unmistakably land in their market, and maximize brand recognition and revenue.

“Your potential customers are going online to search for solutions like yours, so it’s essential that your brand is visible in that market.”

The Solution

Scaling strategically and efficiently with Outshine

Enter Outshine, digital marketing and analytics experts who work exclusively with high-growth B2B SaaS businesses to grow their leads and sales.

“Onboarding Outshine, with their expertise and knowledge in advertising and analytics helped us get up and into the market a lot faster,” says Tiffany.

Optimized advertising and cross-platform analysis

Outshine immediately empowered Karbon to connect their ad spend with pipeline and revenue. Specifically, they:
  • Synced an array of previously siloed data, including Karbon’s CRM, web analytics, and marketing platforms to create a single point of marketing truth.
  • Deeply analyzed all of their data to understand how marketing efforts were tied to pipeline and revenue.
  • Used these cohesive insights to assess campaigns at the granular level and reallocate budget for better optimization, pipeline, revenue—and the best return on ad spend (ROAS).
With Outshine applying the latest technology and expertise to optimize their digital landscape, Karbon achieved levels of ROAS unheard of in the SaaS sector.  “Very quickly, it was clear to us that Outshine was delivering excellent results within the paid program. Our ROAS was in the 20s, which is exceptional in our space,” says Tiffany. Understandably, Karbon was keen to capitalize and scale their spend strategically.

Expertly managing an increase in ad spend

Due to the success of their campaigns and the impressive revenue generated, Karbon began to strategically increase their ad spend.

Over the year that followed, they steadily scaled their spend, resulting in a 45x increase!

While some agencies would have been fazed, Outshine already had a proven track record—and Google recognition—for successfully managing complex, high-spend accounts.

“Outshine has proven they can handle large ad budgets efficiently and successfully. They’re very honest and transparent and they stand out from other agencies because they’re in this to help you and drive your business forward,” says Tiffany.

Phased approach to scaling ad spend

With an increased budget, Karbon’s main objective was to increase share in existing markets.

Outshine was aware of the risks involved in scaling vertically. Without a clear, data-led strategy, budgets can be easily burnt. To maintain efficiency and ROAS, Outshine recommended a phased approach. They:
  • Increased Karbon’s ad spend month over month.
  • Scaled slowly and strategically, identifying areas where they’d reached maximum input, before they surpassed them.
  • Re-evaluated the growth plan regularly, limiting investment to their top-performing campaigns and channels.
“We generally receive one or two interesting analytics deep dives each week from Outshine. It’s not stuff that we thought to ask — but it helps us improve performance. It might not seem like a huge thing, but one or two insights a week over a year is a lot of information and we can make a lot of new decisions based on that,” Colin says.

Full-funnel attribution builds trust in data

Leveraging its dedicated team of analytics and attribution experts, Outshine used full-funnel attribution to make the best of Karbon’s three-figure ad budget.

With full-funnel insights, Karbon can see the impact of every activity across the complete sales cycle and credit specific touchpoints to conversions.

Tiffany explains, “You truly understand where you’re hitting your mark and what’s converting for you. You know where you should be putting your budget, instead of just going with your gut. Every decision that we take now, we base around this data.”

Collaboration and communication at every step

As a busy marketing leader, Tiffany appreciates how proactive Outshine is in communicating clearly and directly. Outshine holds weekly check-ins and always brings fresh insights and ideas to the table.

She says, “Outshine’s approach is exceptional. They bring solutions to you proactively because they understand that you have a lot on your plate. They continually push forward and never rest on their laurels, which means I can focus on the things I need to focus on and know that they’re driving the business forward on my behalf.

”Where some agencies fall down on communication, Outshine shines.
Tiffany adds, “They’re just really good at listening and exploring the space you’re in. If you give them a goal, they take off running and they don’t stop until they figure it out. Outshine is more than an agency. They’re an extension of your team and I couldn’t do my job without them.”

“Very quickly, it was clear to us that Outshine was delivering excellent results. Our ROAS was in the 20s, which is exceptional in our space.”

The Results

Pipeline volumes soar and ROAS grows 18% in a single quarter

With Outshine efficiently handling Karbon’s ad budgets, the business saw pipeline double quarter over quarter, reaching volumes they’d barely contemplated.

Karbon maintained strong and healthy ROAS as they scaled, which is particularly impressive considering many SaaS brands see ROAS tumble when they scale ad budgets.

‘Absolutely incredible’ results

As Karbon reached the end of 2022, the business achieved record results for a single quarter. Specifically, they accomplished:

76% more Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)

15% more Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR)

18% growth in ROAS

“Those results—particularly considering we spent 2% less in that quarter—are absolutely incredible,” says Tiffany.

Managing fluctuating budgets efficiently

Not only did Outshine help Karbon scale successfully, they continued to make the most efficient use of the budgets they worked with. So when fluctuations come and go, Karbon still gets the best returns.

Thanks to Outshine, Karbon:

Decreased its cost per MQL by 45%
Decreased its cost per opportunity by 13%

Helping CMOs navigate stressful and complex challenges

Outshine has solved a mountain of challenges for Karbon, and Tiffany believes they’ll hit similar peaks for any marketing leader looking to scale pipeline and revenue.

“Don’t even think about it, sign up Outshine! When it comes to pipeline, they’re very thorough and they adjust their strategy to align with your overall goals. Whatever your metric may be, they will go for it.

”With Outshine on her team, Tiffany worries less about the complexity of advertising and focuses more on the areas where she adds most value.

“I’m able to take on more responsibilities within my company because Outshine relieves the worry that something could get missed. Without them, all of the worry that they take off my plate would come rushing back,” she says.

With incredible lead volume, soaring sales, and a team she trusts, Tiffany can’t imagine life without Outshine.

“I would have to hire an army to help me with the amount of work that Outshine helps me with. Their team is truly exceptional,” she says.

“Without Outshine, all the worry that they take off my plate would come rushing back.”

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