“Talk to You in 2021”: When There Isn’t Budget

“Thanks for the discussion, but we’ve have 4 years more on our contract with your competitor.  Talk to you in 2021.” — email forwarded from SaaStr community CEO this week

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screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-9-27-41-amOnce you’ve been selling for even a little while, you’ll start to assemble a list of the common “objections” to buying your app.  These so-called objections will bother you, not because they are wrong per se — but because they are coming from leads.  Especially, in-bound leads.  I mean — why did the prospect even bother to in-bound if they aren’t interested in buying?

It’s the most common objection you’ll get in SaaS sales … Not Right Now. I Don’t Have Budget. It’s Great, But Not This Quarter.

Let’s de-pack this for a minute. No one needs another piece of business software. No one. Every business is mostly running OK already with its tech stack, and it’s unlikely Continue reading "“Talk to You in 2021”: When There Isn’t Budget"

An Overview of the Growing “SaaS Enabled Marketplace” Ecosystem

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Medium. You can read it here. As a VC firm focused on both SaaS and marketplaces, we have not only witnessed the rise of the “SaaS enabled marketplace” hybrid model (SEM in the rest of the post) but also invested in several of them [Docplanner, Eversports, Deskbookers, Styleseat, Xeneta, Infakt]. Through our deal flow and our deep dives we encounter many of these startups in a variety of verticals and industries. This is why we wanted to share an overview of this fragmented landscape and make our approach transparent.

What’s our definition of a SaaS enabled marketplace?

From our point of view, a SaaS enabled marketplace is a business which combines the characteristics of both models:

Are We Seeing the Beginning of SaaS Consolidation?

The number of vendors selling to sales and marketing has exploded from 500 to more than 3000 over the last three years. Are we reaching the end of an expansionary cycle? The software pendulum tends to swing between software suites, offering a collection of different tools, and best-of-breed point solutions. But, have we reached the point where the best-of-breed, fragmented ecosystem is a permanent fixture? Okta’s Businesses at Work 2016 report calculates most enterprises pay for somewhere between 10-15 corporate applications. Those are the ones sanctioned by IT. How about the others? Netskope’s Cloud Report calculates the average enterprise uses 613 cloud apps, a figure that doubled over the course of 2015. In addition, more than 20 percent of those surveyed use more than 1000. CEB found more than 30% of IT spend is bottoms up. Can this continue? Consumerization of IT is a powerful secular trend that has shifted Continue reading "Are We Seeing the Beginning of SaaS Consolidation?"

SaaStr Podcast #068: Ryan Petersen, Founder & CEO @ Flexport On Why NPS Is the Most Important Metric for SaaS Startups

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Welcome to Episode 68! Ryan Petersen is the Founder and CEO of Flexport, the freight forwarder for the internet age. Flexport recently raised a phenomenal $65m Series B from the likes of Founders Fund, First Round, Felicis Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, Yuri Milner, Susa Ventures and more incredible investors. With none other than YC founder Paul Graham stating, “Ryan has the rare ability to not just satisfy the market but grow it.” Prior to Flexport, Ryan was Founder and CEO of ImportGenius.com, the largest provider of business intelligence to the import-export industry. A huge hand to Chad Byers at Susa and Jason Lemkin for the intro.ryan_petersen

In today’s episode you will learn:
How did Ryan make his way into the world of SaaS and come to found Flexport?
How does Ryan view NPS? Why is he so bullish? Why is it the most important metric? What are the downsides to relying Continue reading "SaaStr Podcast #068: Ryan Petersen, Founder & CEO @ Flexport On Why NPS Is the Most Important Metric for SaaS Startups"

How to Optimize Your Marketing Mix & Spend

Depending on your role and experience, you will have very specific opinions on how to market your products and services. Unfortunately there are a lot of options to choose from and getting the right balance of programs and level-of-spend can be a challenge. Most will agree that customer acquisition, retention and revenue is the end goal, but every executive (CEO, CRO, CFO) has a different notion of what marketing should do to support these goals.

Getting Everyone Aligned is Key

No matter how big or small your company is, it is critically important to have executive agreement and commitment to a marketing strategy and plan that is aligned to achieve company goals. Your strategy, plan and spend will be dictated by:
  • Customer acquisition and revenue goals
  • Sales/business development strategy
  • Target market (B2B, B2C, C2C)
  • Geography (local, regional, national, international)
  • Resources (budget and people)
Many technology companies often waste time
Continue reading "How to Optimize Your Marketing Mix & Spend"

Friday Q&A: How to Compensate Startup Advisors

Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more. Happy Friday! This week’s question comes from SS, who asks: I’ve written about finding the right advisors and maintaining great relationships with them, but compensation isn’t something we’ve addressed yet. And that’s because there’s no blanket advice here that’s going to work for everybody. First of all, we’re not talking about cash compensation here. For advisors that you actually want, you won’t be able to offer enough cash to make things interesting for them (that is, they’re already financially successful). Anyone you pay for advice without having them invested in your success is simply a consultant. Good advisors might not even ask for compensation at all, though it’s good practice, if they’ve consistently been delivering value for your company, to formalize the relationship with equity shares. The two most important factors are:
  1. Value: How involved Continue reading "Friday Q&A: How to Compensate Startup Advisors"

Annie Tsai, CCO @ DoubleDutch: Customer Success: Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes. I Did. (Video + Transcript)

Customer Success is a relatively new function in SaaS and we talk a lot about it at SaaStr. While it’s only been around in it’s current iteration since 2010-ish, leaders have quickly realized Customer Success was is unequivocally integral part of a company’s growth. Annie Tsai, Chief Customer Officer, knows a thing or two about what it takes to make customers happy and successful as this is her second turn as CCO. While she’s learned a lot of best practices, she’s also learned what not to do and wants to help you avoid the same mistakes she made. Annie chats with Gadi Shamia, Chief Operating Officer at Talkdesk, about how to avoid listening to the wrong customers, using the right tools to help you drive customer success, and why it’s so important to treat success and support as two separate entities. Check out the full transcript below! You can view Annie’s slides
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Continue reading "Annie Tsai, CCO @ DoubleDutch: Customer Success: Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes. I Did. (Video + Transcript)"