What are the most important qualities to look for when hiring a sales manager for SaaS?

The top 3: #1: Have they hired 2+ quota-meeting/exceeding reps before. This is #1 by far. If they’ve never hired 2+ great reps before, you are taking on a lot of risk. 95%+ of great individual contributor reps have zero experience hiring. Do you want to be the company where you learn if they can? Ideally, no. And this is not the same as simply being given a small team to manage. The question is, can they give the names of 2 reps they hired that hit plan? If they can, they’ll know how to hire 2 and then 20 more. #2. Do they have proven success selling at your price point? Being great at $1k deals is not the same at $10k deal or $100k deals. Don’t gloss over the critical differences. #3. Can they train you? See if they can train you to sell your own product. If Continue reading "What are the most important qualities to look for when hiring a sales manager for SaaS?"

What are the 5 main differences about how sales is scaled in Europe vs the US?

Having invested in 22 Europe->U.S. companies, I am not sure the differences are all that huge, absent cases where there are regulatory differences. But in SaaS, there are fewer veterans in Europe than the U.S. This tends to mean more stretch candidates and more risky candidates for Directors and VPs. It also tends to mean worse training for more junior candidates. Surprisingly, turnover can be just as high in Europe among more junior candidates. This can meaningfully drive up the cost of employees vs. U.S., even if salaries are 1/3d to 1/2 of SF Bay Area. Having said that, there are far more veterans in Europe than even 24 months ago. And the U.S. HQ’d SaaS companies all have bigger outposts and European offices than they used to, that you can poach from. View original question on quora The post What are the 5 main Continue reading "What are the 5 main differences about how sales is scaled in Europe vs the US?"

What are the most important qualities to look for when hiring a sales manager for SaaS?

The top 3: #1: Have they hired 2+ quota-meeting/exceeding reps before. This is #1 by far. If they’ve never hired 2+ great reps before, you are taking on a lot of risk. 95%+ of great individual contributor reps have zero experience hiring. Do you want to be the company where you learn if they can? Ideally, no. And this is not the same as simply being given a small team to manage. The question is, can they give the names of 2 reps they hired that hit plan? If they can, they’ll know how to hire 2 and then 20 more. #2. Do they have proven success selling at your price point? Being great at $1k deals is not the same at $10k deal or $100k deals. Don’t gloss over the critical differences. #3. Can they train you? See if they can train you to sell your own product. If Continue reading "What are the most important qualities to look for when hiring a sales manager for SaaS?"

SaaStr Podcast #199: Jon Stein, Founder & CEO @ Betterment on The 3 Key Roles For A SaaS CEO

Welcome to Episode 199! on Stein is the Founder & CEO @ Betterment, the online financial adviser built for people who refuse to settle for average investing. To date, Jon has raised $275m in VC funding with Betterment from the likes of Bessemer Ventures Partners, Menlo Ventures, Kinnevik and Francisco Partners, just to name a few. Prior to founding Betterment, Jon spent 4 years as a consultant at First Manhattan Consulting Group where he really honed his experience in working with banks and brokers including revitalizing a bank in Australia with the launch of a best-in-market auto-finance offering, resulting in 50% lift to revenue. As a result of his phenomenal success with Betterment Jon has won many awards including Fortune’s 40 Under 40. In Today’s Episode We Discuss:
  • How Jon made his way into the world of startups and came to found democratize the world of investing with Betterment?
Continue reading "SaaStr Podcast #199: Jon Stein, Founder & CEO @ Betterment on The 3 Key Roles For A SaaS CEO"

What’s Your Loss Rate? You Really Should Know.

A ways back on SaaStr, we wrote a classic post, Beware of the Confidence of High Win Rates.  It’s something I see again and again, especially below $2m in ARR or so.  A start-up says they have a lot of problems, but winning deals isn’t one of them.  That they win every deal they are in.  Well, of course these early stage start-ups win all these deals.  Because they are only invited to just a very small percentage of the dances. So ultimately, it’s healthy and positive to see win rates decline after $1m-$2m.  That means your mini-brand is coming into its own, prospects are starting to hear about you, and that marketing, one way or another, is starting to work.  You are getting into more deals that you aren’t ready for.  That’s OK.  You’ll learn from the ones you lose,
Continue reading "What’s Your Loss Rate? You Really Should Know."

Top 5 Reasons to Come to the SaaStr Annual 2019


There’s something really magical that happens when you gather with your peers. People with the same interests, the same challenges, the same unknowns.  Folks who not only understand you, but also thrive in a the same state of startup terror or euphoria.  
While SaaStr Annual has massively grown over the past few years, from 1,600 in 2015 to 12,500 in 2019, the core of what makes it great remains the same – gather with your tribe, share that knowing nod, and learn from each other. Unless you’ve been there, it’s really hard to explain how electric the atmosphere is.  It is, after all, a conference with founders talking about the scintillating topic of enterprise software. It should be a snoozefest, and yet it’s anything but.   But don’t take our word for it, check out what your peers had to say below. And though there are many great reasons to
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Continue reading "Top 5 Reasons to Come to the SaaStr Annual 2019"

7 Of The Most Common Mistakes Made Building Your First Sales Team

A few key mistakes I see start-ups making > 50% of the time:

  • Hiring Early Reps (#1 – #3) That You Personally Wouldn’t Buy From. Don’t hire someone with the right resume. Hire someone you’d buy your own product from. Later, once you have a real sales leader on board, she may hire folks you personally wouldn’t buy from. And that’s OK. But it won’t work out while you are Interim VP of Sales.
  • Hiring your first VP of Sales from a Fancy Tech Company That’s Actually Not Remotely a Startup Anymore. They almost certainly haven’t actually done what you need them to do before. A little more here: The 48 Types of VP Sales. Make Deadly Sure You Hire the Right One. | SaaStr
  • Hiring a Stretch VP of Sales Who Has Never Hired Quota-Hitting Reps Before. A stretch VP is fine, but someone who has never hired a Continue reading "7 Of The Most Common Mistakes Made Building Your First Sales Team"

How can you land a big client as a SaaS that no one has heard of?

Solve one of their top pain points, for real — that no other vendor is solving. If you haven’t sold to the F500 / Global 2000 before, you’ll be somewhat surprised to learn that between the CIO’s office and functional heads, at most huge companies, there is a clear goal to bring in a handful of new “innovative vendors” into the company each year. In fact, almost all the best run large enterprises know they have to seek out new gems in software to help their businesses run faster and better. Otherwise, their stack and approach will ossify. So they have budgets and often even innovation departments to work with emerging vendors. But here’s the thing — they can only process so many each year. Each new vendor means a lot of business process change, even for a small deployment. So that means big enterprises often only being in 1 Continue reading "How can you land a big client as a SaaS that no one has heard of?"

How would you go about implementing a sales process for a low ARPU product (less than $200)?

It’s tough, but it can be done. Just not in San Francisco using traditional SaaS employees and processes. Assume in the end, sales takes home 20% of a deal in salary and bonus. At a $200 ARPU, that means they’d have to close 1,000–1,500 deals a year. Call it a 100 a month. That’s 10x what an average Silicon Valley inside sales rep closes (at higher ACVs, of course). To pull this off, you’ll need to combine two things:
  • 50+ calls a day, most likely; and
  • You have to have a one or two call close product; and
  • A comp plan probably centered around $40k-$60k OTE. It will take 100 closed deals a month just to make that much.
That’s not what the average, somewhat soft and spoiled Silicon Valley sales rep is good at. But … you can do this outside of the Bay Area. You’ll need to combine Continue reading "How would you go about implementing a sales process for a low ARPU product (less than $200)?"

How should your approach to segmenting customers change as your sales team scales up?

I’m not sure I have any magic insights. After maybe $8m-$10m ARR, you probably should segment into 3–4 categories, assuming you have customers in all segments:
  • “Commercial”. This often means SMBs.
  • Mid-Market.
  • Field/Enterprise.
  • Named Accounts. Similar to Enterprise, but going after very specific, top-tier accounts.
And then — start to reproduce this partially in other geographies. The real key is starting as early as you can. Having the same reps handle leads in more than 1 of these 4 categories is a mistake, even in the early days. You get past it because the CEO is often the VP of Sales herself in the beginning. But even as early as 3 reps, start segmenting. View original question on quora The post How should your approach to segmenting customers change as your sales team scales up? appeared first on SaaStr.