We’re getting close! Our agenda is finished for 2020 SaaStrAnnual March 10-11-12, and it’s epic! The CEOs and CXOs of Box, Zoom, Pagerduty, Squarespace, Coupa, Zapier, Mixmax, Gainsight, Github, Stack Overflow, Figma, Shopify, Dropbox and so many other leaders!! And 100s and 100s of hands-on sessions teaching you how to scale!
We’ll begin pushing session registration live our shortly.
Plaid recently announced VIsa had acquired it for $5.3 billion dollars (!). We were very fortunate to have CEO Zach Perret join us at the last SaaStr Annual and share their top 6 learnings and I thought it would be great to update it here.
Companies that have access to more accurate financial data have the ability to develop seamless exchanges of information, providing consumers with improved ways to manage their finances. But how do companies gain secure access to that data in the first place? Enter the platform company. Hear from Plaid co-founder and CEO, Zach Perret, as he walks through his lessons learned building Plaid and how it found itself at the center of the fintech ecosystem.
We all know and could name several successful B2C and B2B companies. What sets apart some of the most successful, high-growth companies we see today—Slack, Dropbox, Atlassian—has been their ability to tap into and master a new GTM strategy: B2C2B. In this presentation, Pluralsight co-founder and CEO Aaron Skonnard will discuss how Pluralsight successfully transformed its business to serve both individual and enterprise customers independently and will share his lessons for SaaS companies looking to tap into individual customers to sell into enterprises and vice versa.
So at little old team SaaStr, we historically did not really track social followers as a core metric. We’re B2B folks 🙂 But as SaaStr grew, first we started to build a list. That became our core community metric (list growth). But we also wanted to track engagement on Quora more closely. And then we saw a big pick-up on Twitter. And after that, LinkedIn.
So we decided to do a bit of a conceit and create a “Total Social Followers” metric. We have no idea how much overlap there is in here — probably a lot. But at least we can measure it. So we started measuring it about 24 months ago. And growth in 2018 for both our list and our social followers were pretty flat.
And then in 2019, we added one element to measuring it. We
Budget 24 months to get to initial traction. It always takes longer than you’d ever think, especially in B2B / SaaS. Somehow, you have to find a way to fund it, hack it, do whatever it takes to budget at least 24 months to build a real business.
Maybe don’t do it if you can’t commit for 10 years. It’s OK to have optionality in the early days. But if you deep down aren’t sure you want to do this startup for 10 years, assuming it does even just reasonably well … then you don’t have the fire. At least not this for this one.
Q: As a venture capitalist, what are some red flags that would make you reject a startup immediately?
First, there is a lot of marginal behavior that doesn’t lead to an immediate rejection, but does lead to immediate skepticism:
Metrics that don’t quite make sense. Weird metrics like “Quarterly MRR” or odd ways to describe revenue are immediate flags. If the metrics still look interesting, I might still want to meet, but I start off very skeptical.
Anyone but the CEO reaching out. This is close to a red flag. It has to be the CEO doing the fundraising. A co-founder is OK, but really it should be the CEO.
In a competitive space, not being clear on why you are differentand why you win. Super clear. In some spaces, there are just so, so many vendors. If it’s not immediately clear why you’ll win, that’s close to an
Ep. 297: Bob Moore is the Founder & CEO @ Crossbeam, the startup that helps companies find overlapping prospects and customers while keeping the rest of their data private and secure. To date Bob has raised over $15m with Crossbeam from friends of the show including Andy @ Uncork, Matt @ Firstmark, Bill @ First Round and Matt @ Salesforce Ventures, to name a few. Prior to Crossbeam, Bob founded Stitched, a powerful ETL service built for developers that was acquired by Talend in 2018. Before that Bob co-founded RJ Metrics, where he built a global base of online retailers leading to their acquisition by Magento Commerce in 2016.
Pssst 🗣 Loving our podcast content? Listen to the start of the episode for a promo code to our upcoming events!
In Today’s Episode We Discuss:
* How Bob made his way into the world of SaaS and came to found Crossbeam.
* As an entrepreneur, Bob has previously said, “No one is coming to save you.” What did he mean by this? What were the core mistakes that he made with RJ Metrics? Is it the responsibility of the board to course correct at this early stage? How does Bob determine whether to be visionary and determined vs realizing when something is not working?
* Does Bob agree with the notion that channel sales have completely died in the world of SaaS? Why is this? What are the drivers of its death? How important is it to own the entire customer journey? At what scale does that become impossible? In terms of replacement, what does Bob believe will be the emerging trends in SaaS Go To Market that will replace it?
* How does Bob think about when is the right time to hire a Head of Partnerships? In the early days, partnerships can be a distraction, how does Bob determine between right and wrong when determining whether to engage in a partnership? Where do most startups go wrong both in hiring for partnerships and in the engagements themselves?
Ep. 298: Startup success is not exclusive to Silicon Valley. With more companies launching and thriving outside of Silicon Valley, regions such as ‘Silicon Slopes’ in Utah and ‘Silicon Alley’ in New York City are gaining traction within the startup scene. Podium, an interaction management platform for local businesses, was founded in Utah and grew from five employees in 2015 to more than 300 in 2019 to become one of the fastest-growing SaaS companies in the United States. In just four years, Podium has raised almost $100 million, with annual recurring revenue increasing to almost $60 million. Eric Rea, CEO of Podium, will share how he grew the company he launched from his spare bedroom into one of the fastest-growing SaaS companies in the country.
In his excellent article, The Manufacturer’s Dilemma, the author Geoffrey Moore gives perhaps the most succinct economic premise of the shift to the SaaS model:
“The ultimate consequence of all this is as simple as it is devastating: product is no longer king. Supply is not the scarce ingredient in the economic equation any longer. Now it is demand. And that means the customer is king.”
In the context of the larger article, he’s making the case for manufacturers to adopt a SaaS playbook: become customer-centric, hire Customer Success Managers (CSMs) to engage customers more deeply, deploy technology to manage the customer relationship beyond the initial sale, etc.
A key question for the Cloud infrastructure leaders (Amazon, MSFT, and Google) is how deep do they want to go on the application layer.
The PaaS layer is huge and has become a bit of an oligopoly of a Big 3.
The application layer though is even larger, depending on how you define it. Or at least, just as large or close. Here are Gartner’s estimates of each segment:
But, the SaaS/application layer is much more diverse than just 3 main vendors. It’s very hard to even get 5% market share across the entire application / SaaS layer. But Salesforce, at ~$20b in ARR growing 20%+, has that.
So to keep the engine going, the leaders have to be asking themselves if they can leverage the SaaS / application layer to win overall in Cloud.
The point of SaaStr Annual is to learn. March 10-11-12 in SF Bay Area.
To learn how to scale. Faster, with less stress, and more success.
We’ll have 300+ speakers and workshops.
3,000+ braindates and mentoring sessions.
And 1,000+ VCs.
Everyone, sharing their mistakes, learnings, and the playbooks to success.
But having fun is also important. To meet more people, to process things, and to just make the journey to $100m ARR and beyond a little easier.
As part of that, every evening from Monday Mar 9 to Thursday Mar 12 at Annual we have awesome activities. Including the Out of Towners Party on Mar 9, SaaStr Nights on Mar 10, the BBQ on Mar 12 … and on Wed, Mar 11, The Big Party.
Joining us this year is Evan Rachel World of Westworld fame. Along with some SaaS celebrity DJs 🙂
Culture matters. Growth matters. Mission matters. They all matter. You have to do this.
And that may be enough for most of your early employees. They may even be OK with low salaries, and not even care that much about money, or where it is all going, or who they’ll report to, most of your earliest folks.
But to a true sales professional, a successful one, really only two things truly matter at the end of the day to motivate them:
They need to see the top reps making real money. Like, really good money. That will show everyone it is possible. That it can be done. And that maybe it isn’t even that hard if you hustle, listen and learn. Not everyone needs to make huge bucks. But the top 10%-15% do.
Q: What is the best way to tell relatively new clients that you’ll be away for 1 week?
This may be controversial, but I say — you don’t.
If it’s an important client, then you have two choices:
Hire a customer success lead and then team. Then it’s their job to manage the accounts 52 weeks a year, and back each other up during vacations, sick days, etc. They become the front line with new clients.
If there’s no one to do that — then it’s you. You have to be there. If you are so small there is no one in support or success yet, then those customers are critical. You have to keep them. You can’t disappear for a week.
Bring the laptop.
And before the next time you go away, hire someone good in customer support or customer success.
Auren Hoffman is the CEO of SafeGraph and Co-Founder and former CEO of Live Ramp. Hear his top tough management lessons and mistakes he learned along the way to founding what is now a $3.8 Billion company. Live Ramp, a middleware company that connects marketing applications was acquired by Acxiom in 2014 for $310 million.
Auren Hoffman | CEO of SafeGraph and Co-Founder and former CEO of Live Ramp
FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW
All right. How you all doing?
Wait, are we at just an average B2B software company? How are all you doing?
All right. We’re at SaaStr. Okay, awesome. Awesome. Okay. Now, just a trigger warning. This is going to be pretty controversial, so you can still leave, you can still go away. We’re going to actually really dissect and go through a lot
Q: Why would any big business take a risk on a start-up?
They wouldn’t. Unless, the gain way outweighs the risk.
And yet … they do all the time.
If you have a product that (x) uniquely, or in an importantly superior, fashion (y) solves a real, large painful problem for a Big Co … they will buy from a start-up.If their top vendors they use already don’t provide that unique/superior solution.
So how do you create that scenario? How do you get large customers when you don’t have any yet?