Unicorn Morning at SaaStr Europa!

We’ll have 3 different tracks and themes at SaaStr Europa on June 15 in Paris:  Unicorn Morning, Founder-to-Founder:  The True Stories, and Scaling Revenue. Fresh off Salesforce’s $6b+ acquisition of Mulesoft, we’ll have founder Ross Mason in an amazing conversation with Harry Stebbings.  Harry runs the 20 VC podcast and the SaaStr podcast and is one of everyone’s favorites, and he does an amazing job pulling the true stories out of the journey. Next, we’ll talk about a true Unicorn that did it the real and hard way — Meltwater.  Jørn Lyseggen will share how you build a billion dollar B2B startup without raising a billion, the challenges getting to $100m in ARR, and much more with Carl Fritjofsson of Creandum, backers of Spotify, iZettle, Mixmax, and more.   We’ll then grab one of the latest Unicorns, UiPath, with a discussion from Accel’s Luciana Lixandru and CMO Bobby Patrick. 
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What are some strategies for having new clients sign up for all their users rather than 1 or 2 users for a SaaS product?

Raj Khera’s list above/below is a great one and I can’t add any more value to it. Just one meta-learning: guide your customers to buying the right edition for them. Most customers want to be told — in a nice, non rip-off-y, fair way — which edition to buy. Most customers don’t want to be ripped off, but they also don’t have too much energy to game the system. They want to quickly find a fair price for the version of the product best suited to them. Maybe let your F500 prospects know that sure, they can buy a single seat. They can. We still want you. But … the Global Edition (or whatever max edition) is the right one for them and what we recommend. Salesforce below says:

For an Internet startup that secures, say $15m, in Series A funding, how much would the founders typically be drawing as salary?

In the Bay Area, $1X0,000. Once you raise $5m+ it’s time to pay the founders the low or middle end of “normal”. Founders may have different views of which end of normal. The high end of normal may be OK, but it will create a quiet concern among your investors. Adjusting a bit for family size (kids), etc. won’t raise any concerns. View original question on quora The post For an Internet startup that secures, say $15m, in Series A funding, how much would the founders typically be drawing as salary? appeared first on SaaStr.

For enterprise and mid-market SaaS, is there a recognizable turning point or do you just slowly realize that your sales and marketing are working?

For me, the turning point for knowing enterprise sales is working is when you get the third one of a category.
  • It took us 18 months to close Google, then 6 months to close Facebook … then 90 days to close Twitter.
  • The same with Aetna, then Cigna, then UnitedHealthcare, etc.
  • British Telecom, Comcast, TimeWarner Cable, etc.
Sales cycles are long or at least longer in the enterprise. But once you get the third big or bigger customer in a segment or category or vertical, you start to know the cadence. By then, you know the objections, the issues, and the needs. And critically, you can start to plan around that longer sales cycle. And more effectively create a target list and get outbound, ABM and marketing going on closing the rest of ‘em! View original question on quora The post For enterprise and mid-market SaaS, is there a recognizable Continue reading "For enterprise and mid-market SaaS, is there a recognizable turning point or do you just slowly realize that your sales and marketing are working?"

What is life like as an entrepreneur and how does one overcome stage fright?

Don’t worry about stage fright. You’ll get over it. I remember the very first time I had to present to a Fancy Board Meeting. I wasn’t a founder yet, but I was told I had to get up in front of a half dozen very famous, very prominent Venture Capitalists. 10 minutes in, I frozen. And walked out. It was terrible. Fast forward to the first time I had to get on stage in front of 2,000+ in a Vegas kick off. I’d done it so many times, I refused to even show up to the prep session. You’ll get better with practice. It’s OK. The secret is repetition. You’ll start to get very good at your pitch, the vision, the value proposition, once you’ve done it a few times. So a few suggestions:

What is a SaaS company cancelation policy on yearly contracts?

The simple answer “of course” in that yearly contracts can’t be cancelled — per se. That’s the whole point of whatever explicit or implicit discount you give for doing a yearly contract (vs. monthly or quarterly). And the language likely will plainly say the contract cannot be cancelled. But … it’s just one contract. So a few qualifiers:
  • If you haven’t received pre-paid cash, it doesn’t matter. Do NOT threaten to send the customer into collections – period. There is no effective way to enforce a customer contract if the customer doesn’t want to pay and doesn’t need the service any longer. Do not create drama. This won’t work, and it will turn someone who just might be a customer again into someone that won’t be a customer again. Any “annual” contract in fact at a practical level is only as long as the pre-paid cash attached to it.
  • They Continue reading "What is a SaaS company cancelation policy on yearly contracts?"

Does a CEO have the right to fire an employee down the chain?

Of course. As you scale, you’ll have more formal processes here and in particular, around who and how to terminate an employee. Get a great HR professional on board as early as you can, maybe even by employee #50. But one suggestion when you are small — have whomever is “best” at firing, fire an employee. What I mean is that firing an employee is very hard. Legally, sometimes it’s not hard, especially in places like California with at will employment. But it’s very hard on most people to fire someone. It wrecks them. So if the CEO is the most experienced in terminations, often she or he should consider handling terminations even for non direct reports in the early days. And folks that have never terminated anyone are often unintentionally very hard on the employee being fired. They ramble, they blame themselves, they dredge up mistakes … and they Continue reading "Does a CEO have the right to fire an employee down the chain?"

How much easier is hiring when you are venture backed?

It’s always easier to hire when you have a brand. Once your company itself has and is itself a brand, it won’t matter. It doesn’t matter for hiring who invested in Slack, Intercom, Zoom, etc. But until you have a brand, leveraging an investor’s brand can help in recruiting. Especially in the early days. Like brands in general, a strong brand in your investor is a signal to “customers” (including prospective hires) of quality. There are so, so, so many startups. How does a potential hire know which one to pick? They look for a product and CEO they believe in. And they look for whatever early signals of quality they can find. Look at how powerful YCombinator is at attracting capital and talent to startups at an extremely early stage … that’s brand as a signal for potential quality. View original question on quora The post How much easier Continue reading "How much easier is hiring when you are venture backed?"

Squeezing Out That Last 10%-20% Growth

Once you have something in SaaS, somewhere on the path from $1m to $10m where you’re either on your way to Initial Scale or getting past it, you’ll often end up with a subtle choice: Should you go for the extra 10%-20% of growth a year? After a few years, a few management team mistakes, and a few cycles, finally it will be repeatable.  Net negative churn and renewals will kick in.  Your mini-brand will start drive in a regular stream of leads (more on that here).  You’ll be a known vendor, have a decent sales team, a proven product, a steady stream of leads.  You’ll more or less know how you’ll do next quarter and maybe even this year, within a wide variance at least. You’ll finally, sort of, have some of it dialed in and figured out.  Folks will start to get Continue reading "Squeezing Out That Last 10%-20% Growth"

SaaStr Podcast #175: Jason Lemkin, Founder @ SaaStr on How To Approach Long Sales Cycles

Welcome to Episode 175! Jason Lemkin is the Founder @ SaaStr, the world’s largest SaaS event with over 20,000 of the world’s best SaaS founders and investors attending every year. Jason also invests from SaaStr’s debut $70m fund and has made prior investments in the likes of Algolia, TalkDesk, MixMax, Rainforest QA, and many more incredible companies. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:
  • How does Jason think founders should approach long sales cycles in the early days? Why does Jason believe that ultimately long sales cycles do not matter? What can the truly great VPs do to impact those long sales cycles?
  • How does Jason think founders can tackle lead optimization with their team? How can founders determine which leads to send to which AEs? What will the effect of this tailored lead distribution be?

  • When is the right time for the founder to begin to take Continue reading "SaaStr Podcast #175: Jason Lemkin, Founder @ SaaStr on How To Approach Long Sales Cycles"