What Quota Attainment Reveals About Your SaaS Startup’s Go to Market

Quota attainment is an incredibly powerful diagnostic tool when understanding your SaaS startup’s go-to-market health. Quota attainment measures both the success of individual account executives and the performance of the team. To achieve best-in-class quota attainment, a startup must execute the go-to-market strategy well across five dimensions. First, the startup must supply the sales team with a growing volume of high quality leads. SaaS companies generate leads in many ways including through sales development reps, search engine marketing, paid social, lead capture on the home page, events, customer referrals, evangelists and channel partners.

The Most Transformational Force in US Society

Taxis. Food. Cars. Mobile phones. Communications. Banking. Healthcare. Entertainment. In the past ten years, is there an industry startups haven’t upheaved? Startups have been the most transformational force in US society over the past 20 years. Uber has transformed the taxi industry, reducing taxi rides in yellow cabs in San Francisco by 65% in 2 years. Hampton Creek has created an eggless mayonnaise that terrified the US egg industry. Android is arguably the most widely distributed consumer software in history.

Startup Best Practices 19 – Recognizing the Breaking Points of Your Startup’s Management Structure

Last week, I interviewed Tien Tzuo, the former CMO & CSO at Salesforce, and founder/CEO of Zuora. During our conversation, he spoke about one of the major challenges facing fast growing startups. He called it recognizing the breaking points of management. At the founding a startup, the structure of the company is flat. Everyone is effectively a peer. At about 8 people, a leader must emerge to shepherd the growing team, and so the first management layer is created.

The Future Of Enterprise Storage Is Probably Not Storage

clouds Traditional enterprise storage is dying a slow death. The bulky old-school storage boxes that once filled the data centers of large businesses symbolize a past era. The modern data center is undergoing a tremendous transformation, with everything from hyper-converged systems and open source to software-defined storage and large cloud-scale storage systems that companies can assemble themselves. Read More

SaaS Office Hours with Kenny van Zant

On November 4, SaaS Office Hours at Redpoint will welcome Kenny van Zant, former COO of Asana and Chief Product Strategist at Solarwinds, a $4.1B market cap maker of infrastructure software. Kenny is renowned for pioneering the flywheel sales model that propelled Solarwinds to a $150M company profitably. Unlike traditional sales models, the flywheel sales model requires sales people to close business only from existing users. No outbound prospecting allowed.

Five Words of Wisdom from SaaS Office Hours with Bill Macaitis

Last night, at our inaugural event, SaaS Office Hours welcomed Bill Macaitis, CMO of Slack, former CMO of Zendesk and former SVP of Online Marketing and Operations at Salesforce. Having worked in three hypergrowth companies, Bill is an expert in building massively successful marketing teams. These are the five kernels of wisdom I learned last night. When is the right time to hire a head of marketing? The right time to hire a head of marketing for your startup is when the company has found product market fit.

Participate in 2016 Sales Development Research

 border=Today, we launch our Sales Development research focused on teams generating pipeline (aka SDRs, BDRs, LDRs, etc.).

This is our sixth round of research, since 2007. The key themes we'll explore include:

  • Rep profiles: experience, tenure, ramp time, career path
  • Compensation: base, OTE, comparisons between roles
  • Quotas: pay on what, average quotas, % attainment
  • Technology: categories, adoption, impact

We worked hard to make this year’s survey easier and it will take roughly 6 minutes to complete. If you lead a Sales Development group, please participate

All answers will be aggregated anonymously. We’ll be sharing the results with you and the rest of the Inside Sales community in the coming months.


I appreciate that so many of you take the time to share. We couldn’t do it without you.

How Much Should You Pay Your SaaS Startup’s Sales People?

How much should your startup pay its sales people? According to Pacific Crest’s Annual SaaS survey, 9% of a sales rep’s annual contract value. This figure doesn’t vary much on whether your startup’s salespeople are inside reps or outside/field sales reps. The table below computes the effective salary + commission of a sales reps as a function of average contract value and an estimated quota. The quota is an estimate based on deal velocity, how many deals a salesperson must close each year to attain quota.

Using Vaporware to Validate a Product Idea and Generate Demand for Your Startup

In 1964, IBM announced a mainframe computer family called the System 360. The mainframe wouldn’t ship for another three years, but the announcement reduced the mainframe sales of their competitor, Control Data Corporation, sufficiently to warrant an FBI investigation. And so a new marketing technique was born. To be clear, there are many different forms of vaporware. Coined in the early 80s by Esther Dyson to describe software companies preannouncing a product, the term vaporware can refer to three different types of these announcements.

5 Mistakes SaaS Startups Often Make with Pricing

The purpose of a price is to tax usage of a product. That’s how companies generate revenue. Discovering how to tax a product properly is a perpetual challenge. It’s a moving target and so it requires an ongoing discovery process as the company and market evolve together. These are some mistakes I’ve noticed. Complex or unintuitive pricing model. A good pricing model appears simple and logical to the customer. It may be complex behind the scenes, with different prices for varying customer sizes, product complexity and add ons, but the tax align itself to the customer’s perception of ROI clearly.