Session Registration for 2020 SaaStr Annual Going Live for our Equality, Inclusion and Balance Program Now

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.

If you are part of our Equality, Inclusion and Balance program, you’ll get first access to our 300+ workshops, sessions, panels and mentorship programs.   Look for an email shortly!

Registration for everyone else will open up next week.  If you don’t have a ticket yet, now is the time if you want your choice of sessions.  Strop procrastinating!  Grab a final ticket here.

You can check out the detailed agenda here.  It’s so rich that it’s a bit easier to use on

Continue reading “Session Registration for 2020 SaaStr Annual Going Live for our Equality, Inclusion and Balance Program Now”

How much should you pay a salesperson?

Q: How much should you pay a salesperson?

Three ways to simplify the answer here, especially in the early days:

  • In the end, in base salary AND commission, most sales reps take home about 20%-25% of what they close in first year deal value. So if you model sums up to that or close, you are in the zone.
  • You have to pay a living wage. No one in sales wants to work just for the fun of it. This may mean in the early days you have to pay out more than 20% of the deal size of the initial deals.
  • You probably have to pay a competitive “OTE” (On Target Earnings), or base + bonus. Or else, they will do the same work at a company with a market OTE.

Back solve for these 3 points, and you’ll have the start of your first sales rep comp plan.

Continue reading “How much should you pay a salesperson?”

Where can I find commission-only salespeople online to sell B2B software?

Q: Where can I find commission-only salespeople online to sell B2B software?

Don’t.

While there may be exceptions, I’ve never seen “1099 reps”, i.e. commission-only, work in B2B and SaaS.

There are just too many vendors, too much competition, and it’s too much work for someone with little incentive if they can’t close instantly to … pull off a deal.

You are better off:

  • selling yourself first
  • building up to being just big enough to support 1–2 reps to start. if you’re on a tight budget, look for reps with slightly nonstandard backgrounds that can still sell your product.

Remember, done right, sales professionals aren’t that expensive, once you have a tiny bit of an engine going.

Why not?

The Plaid Story: Integrating with 10,000 Institutions. On The Way to a $5 Billion Acquisition.

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.

—  Jason

______

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.

Want to see more content like this? Join us at SaaStr Annual 2020.

Zach Perret | Co-Founder and CEO @ Plaid

Ari Levy | Sr.

Continue reading “The Plaid Story: Integrating with 10,000 Institutions. On The Way to a $5 Billion Acquisition.”

Taking a $4B Company from Consumer to B2B with Pluralsight (Video + Transcript)

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.

Want to see more content like this? Join us at SaaStr Annual 2020.

 

Aaron Skonnard | Co-Founder and CEO @ Pluralsight

FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW

Please welcome Pluralsight Co-founder and CEO, Aaron Skonnard.

 

Thanks everybody. Wow. Those were old videos, blasts from the past. It’s awesome to be back at SaaStr and be with all of you, and I’m really looking forward to

Continue reading “Taking a $4B Company from Consumer to B2B with Pluralsight (Video + Transcript)”

SaaStr Annual Prices Go Up to $1,999 For Late Birds. Don’t Pay That.

We know 50% of you will buy tickets to the 2020 SaaStr Annual on March 10-11-12 at the last minute.  I get it.  I often do the same.

But if you are going to go, please don’t pay the Late Bird prices of $1,999 for founders and $2,999 for VCs.  I mean you can … but … don’t.

Buy now.

Buy here and save a ton.

Late bird or not — we’ll see you then!!

The post SaaStr Annual Prices Go Up to $1,999 For Late Birds. Don’t Pay That. appeared first on SaaStr.

SaaStr Crosses 1,000,000 Social Followers. Lessons Learned.

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

Continue reading “SaaStr Crosses 1,000,000 Social Followers. Lessons Learned.”

What is your advice for startup CEOs?

Q: What is your advice for startup CEOs?

For first-time CEOs, here’s my top list:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Slow down if you don’t have the right co-founders. Many folks settle for the best co-founder they can find. At some level, that’s always true. But don’t settle, anyways. Make Continue reading “What is your advice for startup CEOs?”

As a venture capitalist, what are some red flags that would make you reject a startup immediately?

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 different and 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

    Continue reading “As a venture capitalist, what are some red flags that would make you reject a startup immediately?”

SaaStr Podcasts for the Week with Crossbeam and Podium – January 10, 2020

 

 

 

 

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.

This episode is sponsored by Brex.

 

 

SaaStr’s Founder’s Favorites Series features one of SaaStr’s best of the best sessions that you might have missed.

This podcast is an excerpt from Eric’s session at SaaStr Europa 2019.

 

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin
SaaStr
Harry Stebbings
Bob Moore
Eric Rea

Below, we’ve shared the transcript of Harry’s interview with Bob.

Continue reading “SaaStr Podcasts for the Week with Crossbeam and Podium – January 10, 2020”

The Case for A Cross-Functional Pod Structure

By Matthew Klassen, Gainsight Head of Creative

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.

In other words, the Manufacturer’s Dilemma is that vendors are separated from their customers by layers and layers of abstraction, and closing that gap requires a fundamental shift in mentality and business model. Continue reading “The Case for A Cross-Functional Pod Structure”

Should Google acquire Salesforce?

Q: Should Google acquire Salesforce?

Maybe. It would move the needle.

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.

There are just too

Continue reading “Should Google acquire Salesforce?”

How do you hire account executives that rank in the top 5% of sales reps?

Q: How do you hire account executives that rank in the top 5% of sales reps?

You probably can’t yourself hire proven, Top 5% sales reps. I wouldn’t even try yourself. Instead, focus on finding smart sales execs that you believe in and yourself would buy your product from.

But a great VP of Sales can. The top 5% of sales reps want two things:

  1. They want a real chance to make a lot of money. A lot of it.
  2. They want to work for a great boss that takes care of them. So they don’t have to worry about their comp and commissions to be cut, etc.

You probably as a founder can’t deliver both 1+2. But a great VP of Sales will hunt for these top 5%’ers, at least a few for her team. And she’ll make sure there is a comp plan where they can make Continue reading “How do you hire account executives that rank in the top 5% of sales reps?”

SaaStr Annual Braindates are Live!

As we count down to SaaStr Annual 2020 (can you believe we’re only 60 days out!) We are happy to announce that braindates have launched!

Braindate is back! What is a braindate?

You came here to meet great people and learn about new things. But how do you spark those meaningful conversations? It all starts with a braindate.

Braindates are about sharing knowledge. They are one-on-one or group conversations that you book with other participants while you’re at SaaStr Annual 2020.

  1. Log into Braindate to create your profile:https://saastrannual.braindate.com/ 
  2. Explore the topic market–where all participants (including you!) post the knowledge they are willing to share.
  3. Pick something you want to learn or create your own topic.
  4. Book your braindates and meet in person at SaaStr Annual at the Braindate Lounge (presented by Microsoft for Startups in the Expo Hall)!

Here are the best ways

Braindate SaaStr Annual 2020
SaaStr Annual Braindates 2019

Continue reading “SaaStr Annual Braindates are Live!”

Evan Rachel Wood Joins Us at 2020 SaaStr Annual!

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 🙂

Join us

Continue reading “Evan Rachel Wood Joins Us at 2020 SaaStr Annual!”

The Only 2 Things That Really Motivate a Salesteam

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.
  • A great VP of Sales / boss. Sales is a risky career. You can get Continue reading “The Only 2 Things That Really Motivate a Salesteam”

What is the best way to tell relatively new clients that you’ll be away for 1 week?

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.

So you can get away.

View original question Continue reading “What is the best way to tell relatively new clients that you’ll be away for 1 week?”

The Top Tough Management Lessons – and Mistakes – from Founding a $3.8 Billion Market Leader (Video + Transcript)

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.

Want to see more content like this? Join us at SaaStr Annual 2020.

 

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

Continue reading “The Top Tough Management Lessons – and Mistakes – from Founding a $3.8 Billion Market Leader (Video + Transcript)”

10 Tips to Start Selling to Big Companies as a Tiny Startup

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?

A few thoughts, 10 ideas at least:

  1. Figure our your 10x feature for large enterprises — and distill it to a headline. What is the top thing you do, that the Big Competitors don’t, that matters to a Big Customer. And that solves a big headache for them. Then, distill that down to a sentence. And Continue reading “10 Tips to Start Selling to Big Companies as a Tiny Startup”

How hard is it to raise venture capital? If you have solid traction and a great team, are your chances significantly higher than 0.05% and will you find at least one investor if you keep hustling?

Q: How hard is it to raise venture capital? If you have solid traction and a great team, are your chances significantly higher than 0.05% and will you find at least one investor if you keep hustling?

This is a case where statistics are misleading. The overall odds of raising venture capital may be 0.05%. And goodness, there are just so, so many start-ups today. So many.

But it’s a story of both privilege but also traction — and bending the odds in your favor.

Let’s look at YCombinator. According to YC, “Each batch of YC companies raises about $250M of seed capital in the weeks following Demo Day.” Investors

Woah. That’s $250,000,000 in seed capital in each YC batch. With 2 batches a year.

>50% of each YC batch does, or can raise capital. It may be much higher.

Also, if you’ve been an investor, you

Continue reading “How hard is it to raise venture capital? If you have solid traction and a great team, are your chances significantly higher than 0.05% and will you find at least one investor if you keep hustling?”