What are the signs that an enterprise SaaS startup is ready to scale by hiring more sales people?

In the early days, it’s simply that you have a few more leads than you can currently handle. For a higher-velocity, in-bound driven SaaS product, most sales reps will have trouble processing more than 50 or so half-decent leads a month. There are only so many demos, so many Zooms, so many follow-up calls you can do. Maybe they can do 100, but the revenue per lead will fall: Why Lead Velocity Rate (LVR) Is The Most Important Metric in SaaS | SaaStr So roughly, if your deal size is in the $5k-$20k range, as you approach 50 leads per rep … hire more reps. Later, as you approach $8m-$10m ARR, it will flip around. You’ll start to have a pretty fine sense of your lead and opportunity velocity, and sales will become a capacity game. You’ll start to learn how much ARR you can close per rep (often in Continue reading "What are the signs that an enterprise SaaS startup is ready to scale by hiring more sales people?"

Why did Peter Fenton leave Accel for Benchmark?

I think it was just foreshadowing. Until recently, it was tough to leave a venture firm if it, and you, were successful:
  • “Carry” (or the profits from the investments) vests over 10 years (although the vesting is front-loaded in some firms).
  • And it would often take 2–3 funds before a partner’s carry percentage was even close to equal. I.e., it might take 5–10 years to get enough carry in a fund to even matter.
  • Switching to another fund was rarely a much better deal. Your vesting would often start from scratch, the cash comp wouldn’t be much better, and there’d be another set of old guard running the shop. And you might be leaving just about the time you start to get your firm carry checks.
  • And finally, it was very tough and rare to raise your own fund. LPs (the folks that invest in VC firms and Continue reading "Why did Peter Fenton leave Accel for Benchmark?"

What are some good questions to ask a CEO in regards to their leadership?

Some thoughts. You may not be comfortable asking all of these in all circumstances, but I think they are telling:
  1. What’s a key hire you made that didn’t work out? What lessons did you learn?
  2. Who are the best 1 or 2 hires you’ve ever made?
  3. What will the industry look like in [X} years? X=how long the company has been in existence.
  4. Who are some of the folks who have grown their careers here? How did they do it?
  5. What happens if we miss the quarter?
  6. Who was the best boss you ever had yourself? The worst?
  7. How strong is the competition? What do you respect about them?
  8. How does the company incorporate diverse thinking and perspectives?
  9. Why are you doing this?
I think that’s a pretty good start to learn about 10x more than you might otherwise learn. I think they are pretty good for VPs, too. In Continue reading "What are some good questions to ask a CEO in regards to their leadership?"

Is 90-days too long to give notice for leaving an executive position?

I think the best, classiest thing to do if you (x) have truly done well there, and (y) are in a critical position, is to provide a 14/60 notice. I.e, “It’s time for me to move on to the next journey. I want to do it in the way that best supports the company and my team. 2 weeks if that’s all you want. But 60 days if you need it.” No one really wants a long, labored public transition. But really, a true VP that is doing amazing things, the company often can really benefit from 60 days. That’s enough time to get the replacement process going. To fill in the gaps, to finish a few key projects. And importantly, to plan a thoughtful succession. And you can delay the announcement for the first 30 days, to give you and your boss a chance to just plan Continue reading "Is 90-days too long to give notice for leaving an executive position?"

What was the critical thing you did to earn your biggest client/sale/contract ever?

Pretty simple for me, at both my start-ups: Keep Showing Up. In Person. Both the super critical, super large deals I closed that made each company took way longer from first meeting to close than I even expected. Over a year in each case, from the initial pilot / handshake to close. They key was simple: going there in person. Not (just) phone calls and emails. As often as they’d meet with me. At least every 45 days. Checking in. Giving updates. Sharing product news. Just having a coffee. Did that accelerate the deal? Not sure. But it always kept us top of mind, and in the game. It kept the deal at least moving on. View original question on quora The post What was the critical thing you did to earn your biggest client/sale/contract ever? appeared first on SaaStr.

Is Your Product Right for Product-led Growth?

Editor’s Note: Product-led growth is a go-to-market strategy propelling the rapid expansion of companies like Slack, Dropbox and Expensify. In fact, we’re seeing it as the primary driver behind many of the companies OpenView has invested in most recently. We feel this strategy is so important to SaaS companies looking to scale, we’re ungating our Product-led Growth Playbook, which features advice on how to implement a PLG strategy in your own company. You can access the full book here and read the eight characteristics of PLG companies below.
There are primarily eight characteristics that product-led growth companies embody. Without following at least some of these eight qualities, it is extremely difficult to make a PLG strategy work for your current product or company. These eight characteristics are:

1. The product market conditions are right for the strategy.

When it comes to implementing a product-led growth strategy, the right market conditions
Continue reading "Is Your Product Right for Product-led Growth?"

SaaStr Podcast #181: Jerry Jao, Founder & CEO @ Retention Science Shares How To Gain Enterprise Clients As A Startup

Welcome to Episode 181! Jerry Jao is the Founder & CEO @ Retention Science, the startup that brings intelligence to your marketing automation through artificial intelligence that delivers a personalized customer experience, at scale. To date, Jerry has raised over $10m in VC funding with Retention Science from great friends of the show in Forerunner Ventures, Upfront Ventures, Clark Landry, Andy Rankin, and more fantastic names. Prior to founding Retention Science, Jerry founded two other e-Commerce marketing technologies and served as Strategic Innovation Officer to Clear Channel Radio. Jerry is also a Guest Lecturer at The Kellogg School of Management and sits on the board of Penango. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

A High Growth SaaS Playbook – 12 Metrics to Drive Success

I recently gave a talk at the 2018 SaaStock NYC conference in June. I had two goals I wanted to accomplish, present a simple model to understand SaaS business and to show a simple model of a SaaS business and to show the key levers a CEO can pull to achieve the greatest impact on their business....