In this week's newsletter: What is Anti-Scaling? (How Doing Less Leads to More)
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Scale Smarter #205
by Edwin Abl

This may sound crazy, but...

​I'm going to say it anyway.

Do you focus on anti-scaling strategies?

Now, on to this week's ideas...


Hey, it's Ed, and welcome to the weekend. Thank you for reading the Scale Smarter Newsletter — a once-a-week briefing with ideas from me, SaaS GTM insight and mindset tools for everyday life. This newsletter aims to provide you with actionable information in condensed form.


I have a surprise for people who subscribe to my newsletter. It's a special package I'm calling the "Marketing Machine Curriculum". It includes all of my blogs, newsletters, helpful templates, and more. Here's a draft copy for you to check out.

🤔 What’s inside: 

→ 100+ blog posts on marketing, SaaS, mindset and personal development 
→ 188 weekly briefings 
→ ABM playbook 
→ Course: Pathway to CMO (launching soon) 
→ An appendix with 50+ frameworks 

Here is your UNIQUE URL
(Please make a copy if you want to save it in your drive)

2. I’m reading: Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark. Why? , I believe that writing is at the core of most of what we do day-to-day.

The better you can write, the more it helps your mind, your communication skills, and how to influence (in a good way), and well, it’s powerful to be good with words in your professional life.

3. Many of the companies I'm advising are currently looking to hire for FY23. Some are looking for fractional leaders, and others are looking for permanent leaders. Here's my article about what type of marketer you need for each growth stage.

Re-read for a refresh.

But at the same time, Openview released a concise and insightful lens on hiring the right CMO/VP of marketing and avoiding the common trap: wanting the perfect hire. 



5. Your ultimate goal should be to engage with the *right accounts* at the *right time* with the *right message* based on what you know about them. Here’s why Product Qualified Accounts (PQAs) are >>> Product Qualified Leads (PQLs). 

4. We think about new markets all the time. The question always crops up on how you validate ideas and the market. This checklist is helpful for thinking about the problem statement.

1️⃣ Talk to people and find their most painful problem  
2️⃣ Create a unique solution to help solve that problem 
3️⃣ Make sure people love the solution and recommend it to others 
4️⃣ Get your solution problem in the hands of others 

5. A question got asked on a recent webinar, how do you forecast in a product-led sales cycle? This led me to dig into further research and this article from ChartMogul.

If you are unsure about what it means to be product-led. You need to read the differences between product-led, sales-led and marketing-led.



7. How to work effectively when you're overwhelmed. It covers a practical summary of making self-care a priority. What do you need to do to get your mental energy where you want it to be effective and focused? If we can’t get this fundamental thing down, then we can’t create what we want to create in the world.

It could mean prioritising:

💚 Rest and recovery
💚 Spaciousness
💚 Exercise
💚 Eating well
💚 Something comforting like a hot shower, hot tea, or hugs from a loved one
💚 Loving yourself compassionately




One more thing... Thanks for reading.

Enjoy your day. And if you like this newsletter and want to support it, forward it to a friend 🤝, tweet me 👏, or if you’re seeing this newsletter for the first time, you can subscribe here.



🤔  What is Anti-Scaling? How Doing Less Leads to More

Seven simple ideas on how to embed anti-scaling in your GTM:  

1. Positioning and value proposition 

Most SaaS between $2m - $10m ARR companies get far too ahead of themselves with positioning. They believe the vision (and using the significant change in the world story will motivate buyers). Anti-scaling focuses on making your positioning simple enough to engage a small audience that understands the sales story; then, you expand the vision later. 

Everything starts with the sales story (you need revenue). 

You don't want a confusing ideological message externally or internally.

2. Content Marketing 

Post or pre-investment is all about "scaling" content production and distribution. The content plan will never get done because the program often contains too much, i.e. six blogs per month, one thought leadership piece, 6 SEO blogs, and two new case studies. 

Slim the content plan. Don't think about scaling it. Just focus on one or two content streams. Do them well, and then go broader. 

You don't want lots of poor-quality content that does not engage a minimum viable audience. 

3. Outbound Marketing

To hit your number, it's all about "automating" and "scaling" outbound. Most do this without ever knowing what's working. Most spend six months evaluating tech because they feel it will make your process scalable. You buy it and spend one day writing the content before a mass send. Congratulations, you managed to scale your email sends, but your conversion rate is 0%. 

Anti-scaling says to focus on a smaller set of accounts, focus efforts on writing, getting the right message and getting results. Once you determine whether outbound works, you build a more scalable plan.

Not the other way around. 

You don't want loads of activities and zero results. 

4. Field Marketing

Get started. Scaling field marketing is about getting started, consistency and a mixture of event types. For example, owned (small breakfasts, dinners and small co-marketing events), webinars, conferences, round-tables and more. 

You can wait to know the complete plan. Start with running small breakfasts or dinners once per month. Start with one conference. Get a good process before investing heavily in "scaling" your events program. 

You don't want 50+ events with no pipeline delivered. 

5. OKRs

You don't need to have 55 OKRs across the business. 

a) You'll probably only finish writing them halfway through the quarter, and before you know it, it's quarter-end already—a waste of time. 

b) It won't help you scale. 

But keeping a lean set of OKRs that are simple will.

You don't want ineffective OKRs every quarter. 

6. Hiring 

You get investment to "scale" the team, sure thing that's part of the plan. But the anti-scaling mindset is about "getting the right capabilities" and "resources", not the number of resources. 

Understand how to use resources efficiently. Most groups or teams must be more productive and fail because the plan is too broad. 

Create a slim, high-performance environment. Then scale the team.

You don't want a large group of unproductive people. 

7. Hiring the CMO or CRO

Most CEOs want to hire someone who has "scaled" revenue previously at their ARR range. In theory, great. Often, it fails to work out because it's hard to go back into the trenches if they have become too BAU. 

Anti-scaling says to look at the capabilities and potential of an individual to adapt to the needs within the ARR phase. These people may not over-complicate things and get support through a mentor to validate their plan. 

It makes a world of difference.

You don't want someone to come in and solely focus on building systems and infrastructure. 


Those are seven simple ideas that have an anti-scaling mindset at the core.

What would you add to the list?




Pitch: I'll give you proven playbook templates used by fast-growing teams and my experience scaling B2B marketing machines.

Take it for a test drive



This newsletter is my passion project. I hope it helps you gain deeper insight and equips you to learn at the pace needed to keep up. Many readers have asked about how we can work together. In case you’re interested, I do three things.

(1) DUE DILIGENCE: Demand Karma helps B2B SaaS VCs validate investments, benchmark capabilities, and supercharge the 100-day plan—companies love complex, customers love simple, and VCs love that we make it simple.

(2) GTM COACH: Retained advising at funded scale-ups. A simple monthly fee. Helping CEOs build a scalable marketing machine. I'll help you fix your biggest challenges.

(3) MENTORING: Monthly coaching for marketing teams, CMOs / CROs / VPs, revenue teams and CEO insights for solving GTM problems. 

If you’re interested, let’s jump on a call to see if you’re a good fit. 

Click here to schedule a call.
Copyright © 2023 Edwin Abl, All rights reserved.

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Edwin Abl · 32 Lavender Sweep · London, London SW11 1HA · United Kingdom