The 10 Things I’d Tell My Younger CEO Self to Do Better Next Time

We’ve hit some of these points before, but what are the Top 10 things I’d tell myself to do better, if I could go back in time?

My top list:

  • Slow down big decisions — when you aren’t sure. You have to move fast and break things, but if the pit in your stomach says “maybe don’t do that” — slow that decision down. My biggest mistakes was when I said roll the dice, but my gut wasn’t sure the downside risk was worth it.
  • Budget an extra 6–12 months beyond the longest timeframe you have budgeted. We raised 18 months of seed money. We needed 30, or at least, 24 months to get to a true business. It always takes longer.
  • Slow down the initial team formation phase if you don’t have it right. Fire fast doesn’t work so well with co-founders. No one has a perfect team to Continue reading "The 10 Things I’d Tell My Younger CEO Self to Do Better Next Time"

5 Metrics B2B Startups Need to Focus on to Scale from 100 to 1,000 Customers

If you managed to land your first 100 customers, congratulations! You’ve already made it further than the majority of startups ever will. The road to 100 was brutal, but it’s just the beginning. Now, everything’s about to change. What got you here won’t get you there. To make it to 1,000, you’re going to need a new set of skills, strategies, and processes. It won’t be easy, but it is possible. To prepare your business for 10x growth, you’re going to need to master your metrics, ramp up your sales, and optimize your marketing. Ready? Let’s start at the top.

Master Your Metrics and Segment Your Data

In their early stages, most startups don’t care about data. Those that do care learn pretty quickly that when they only have 25 customers, metrics aren’t very useful. Even in the range of 100 to 1,000 customers, you often won’t have
Continue reading "5 Metrics B2B Startups Need to Focus on to Scale from 100 to 1,000 Customers"

5 Metrics B2B Startups Need to Focus on to Scale from 100 to 1,000 Customers

If you managed to land your first 100 customers, congratulations! You’ve already made it further than the majority of startups ever will. The road to 100 was brutal, but it’s just the beginning. Now, everything’s about to change. What got you here won’t get you there. To make it to 1,000, you’re going to need a new set of skills, strategies, and processes. It won’t be easy, but it is possible. To prepare your business for 10x growth, you’re going to need to master your metrics, ramp up your sales, and optimize your marketing. Ready? Let’s start at the top.

Master Your Metrics and Segment Your Data

In their early stages, most startups don’t care about data. Those that do care learn pretty quickly that when they only have 25 customers, metrics aren’t very useful. Even in the range of 100 to 1,000 customers, you often won’t have
Continue reading "5 Metrics B2B Startups Need to Focus on to Scale from 100 to 1,000 Customers"

2017 SaaS AE Metrics Report

In the SaaS world, metrics can be finicky beasts. What works at LinkedIn, Salesforce, Twilio, or Zendesk might not be transferable from one to the other, let alone work for you. Questions around how can I benchmark myself make leading an AE group all the more challenging. In our 2017 SaaS AE Metrics & Compensation Report, we analyze the biggest shifts in recent years and provide core metrics to measure AE teams. We also break findings down by company revenue, ACV, and other factors. This is our sixth round of this research project and I can honestly say it's our best release yet. The report is organized into five sections:
  1. Group Structure
  2. Ramp and Retention
  3. Quota and Compensation
  4. Activity and Technologies
  5. AE Leadership
384 Executives from a broad diversity of SaaS companies participated. 89% were headquartered in North America. Median respondent revenue was $27M and median respondent ACV was $25K.

Download the
17saas2.jpg
Continue reading "2017 SaaS AE Metrics Report"

As a VC, if you could go back to your operational experience (as part of a hyper-growth startup), then what would you remind yourself to take note of?

My top list:
  • Slow down big decisions — when you aren’t sure. You have to move fast and break things, but if the pit in your stomach says “maybe don’t do that” — slow that decision down. At least, sleep on it. My biggest mistakes were when I said roll the dice, but my gut wasn’t sure the downside risk was worth it.
  • Budget an extra 6–12 months beyond the longest timeframe you have budgeted. We raised 18 months of seed money. We needed 30, or at least, 24 months to get to a true business. It always takes longer.
  • Slow down the initial team formation phase if you don’t have it right. Fire fast doesn’t work so well with co-founders. No one has a perfect team to start, or ever. But if the initial team’s goals aren’t aligned … that never gets fixed. It’s OK to wait another 3 Continue reading "As a VC, if you could go back to your operational experience (as part of a hyper-growth startup), then what would you remind yourself to take note of?"

We are a B2B SaaS startup and want to develop our product in pilots with customers – should we charge for the pilots and how much?

If you don’t charge, it’s not a pilot. It’s an extended demo. Now, that’s better than nothing. It’s something. But a free demo is fraught with issues. Most importantly, the feedback you get is often radically different from free “customers” than paying customers. You have to start somewhere. Getting someone to use your product is better than no one using your product. But getting someone to pay something to use your product is 50x better still. The feedback is 10–100x more honest and real when there is money attached to that usage. View original question on quora

With Okta and Yext filing for IPOs in 2017, will there be a tech bubble soon?

No. The latest group of SaaS and B2B IPOs — Twilio, MuleSoft, Okta, Yext, Coupa, etc. etc. — are anything but a bubble. Most are at $150m+ in ARR growing 50–70% or more year over year, with relatively modest losses, and net negative churn. See, e.g., Mulesoft: These are serious businesses, almost all of which should, eventually, scale to $1b+ in ARR and beyond. Are the multiples too high? Hopefully not. But even if they are overvalued by 20–50%, it doesn’t matter. They’ll grow into their valuations. That’s not a bubble. It’s just a variance in revenue multiples within historical bounds. More here: https://www.saastr.com/coupa-twi… View original question on quora