Intercom on How Product Education Plays a Critical Role in the Customer Journey

In my role as a Director of Growth I work with GTM teams across many SaaS companies. Marketing, sales, product, and customer success folks all ultimately want the same thing: happy customers. And yet, in my experience, startups rarely focus enough effort on setting customers up for success on day one. Nailing onboarding and activation is the biggest untapped opportunity I see. There are, however, some organizations that are doing a stellar job in this area. For instance, I recently had the pleasure of speaking at length with Ruairi Galavan, Senior Manager of Product Education at Intercom. Intercom offers a suite of messaging-first products designed specifically to help businesses accelerate growth across the customer lifecycle, and they are evolving their onboarding strategy using a very specific and strategic approach to product education. By focusing on creating happy customers, Intercom has achieved rapid growth, selling to over 30,000 businesses including
CARE Intercom
CARE framework
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Smooth Scaling: 3 Female Tech CEOs. Lessons on How to Scale Faster, Better & Farther. (Video + Transcript)

In the below session from Annual 2018, CEOs Jennifer Tejada (PagerDuty), Michel Feaster (Usermind), and Amy Chang (Accompany) discuss the challenges of scaling culture, their biggest career mistakes, and more with humor and candor. It’s definitely worth a watch. And in case you haven’t heard, we’re building a completely immersive experience for SaaStr Annual 2019! With 3 full days of sessions, featuring over 300 speakers from the best SaaS companies around the world, SaaStr Annual will be filled with actionable thought leadership to help grow your business. Get your tickets to the SaaS show everyone will be talking about! Announcer:  Please welcome Jennifer Tejada, CEO of PagerDuty, Michel Feaster, CEO of Usermind, and Amy Chang, founder of Accompany. [applause] Jennifer Tejada: All right, good morning? Audience: Good morning. Jennifer: Wow, are you guys alive? Good morning. Audience: Good morning. Jennifer: Oh, much Continue reading "Smooth Scaling: 3 Female Tech CEOs. Lessons on How to Scale Faster, Better & Farther. (Video + Transcript)"

When You Need a CMO. And The #1 Reason CMOs Fail.

To many of you, “CMO” will seem like an almost silly title.  At say $2m in ARR, when you’re just figuring our demand gen, SDRs and BDRs and all that … why would you need a CMO?  You need a VP of Demand Gen!  Maybe a VP of Marketing.  But the last thing you probably need is a fancy title running around, spouting marketing-ism. But over time, things will change.  Roughly, once you (x) have an established brand, and (y) have a marketing engine that is working, and (z) most importantly, once demand gen has finally become somewhat routine … you’ll need a CMO.  Because you’ll need a marketing quarterback.  Most CMOs aren’t demand gen gurus.  Some are, but even if they were, they’ve often left the details a bit behind.  But you’ll need someone to manage a diverse team of
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As an entrepreneur, how do you make tough business decisions? Is it better to slightly overthink it or adapt later?

I’ve screwed up a lot of tough business decisions. A lot of them. For me at least, I think the rule I’ve realized is:
  • Accelerate 90%-95% of decisions, ones that won’t kill the company
  • Push down as many decisions as you can to your team, even if you are in a better position to make the call. Decision-fatigue is real. But …
  • Slow down the few that really are make-or-break.
As founders, we are so overloaded with decisions, drama, crises, customer challenges, etc. that it can be hard to take a pause on the most important decisions. We end up with decision overload. The big ones … that customer, that offer, that opportunity, that partnership, that critical hire … it will still be there next week. It really will be. Those 2–3 critical decisions a year, go talk to your mentors. Stew it over. And probably, if these ones don’t Continue reading "As an entrepreneur, how do you make tough business decisions? Is it better to slightly overthink it or adapt later?"

Did you start your business with the intention for it to be acquired?

The truth is, this strategy can work. It’s just super risky. If you know a particular acquirer well, and you know you are right in the middle of a phase transition for them, and you have a unique asset … it can work. In my first start-up, our ultimate acquirer offered to buy us for $9m before we’d even incorporated the company. They flew us out, had a steak dinner, and said they wanted to buy us then. Obviously, the interest was real. If structurally we could have done it, we probably would have sold for $9m. But our company didn’t even legally exist yet, and that posed a bunch of challenges in this particular case. They then offered to lead our entire seed/A round instead. We passed on that. We then closed $6m in deals with their Top 2 customers. So, 12 months later they offered to buy us Continue reading "Did you start your business with the intention for it to be acquired?"

Connect with 12,500 of the Best & Brightest in SaaS! The Top 7 Reasons You Can’t Miss SaaStr Annual 2019.

If you’ve been binge reading our content lately, you’ve probably noticed an increasing number of posts about the SaaStr Annual — our yearly show in the San Francisco Bay Area that brings together the best & brightest minds in SaaS. But if you haven’t had the chance to attend the show before, you’re probably asking yourself:


It’s the largest gathering in the world for B2B software. Its humble beginning started back in 2015 as a 1-day event with 2,000 people and has since grown to a 12,500 – 15,000 person, 3-day+ event in 2019. It’s an event where SaaS greats and legends, like Jeff Lawson, Leyla Seka, Stewart Butterfield, Therese Tucker, Aaron Levie, and many more come to pass on their knowledge and hard-earned lessons to the SaaS community. It is the place to come learn how to scale and grow your business and take it from
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Only 9 Spots Left in the Sponsor “Inner Hub” at SaaStr Annual

The 2019 SaaStr Annual is going to be the very best one ever. We’ve moving to the San Jose Convention Center, which will be 350% bigger than 2018 and 2017.   More space to network, to meet, to share learnings and more.  So even with 12,500+ attendees expected, there should be a lot more elbow room. Last year was fun but at times overloaded.  The sponsor expo itself worked very well.  It was the center of the action — all the braindates, food, drinks, and most of the meet-ups were there.  Traffic was constant, and it was pretty awesome. We’re doing that again, but even better.  The sponsor expo will be sandwiched right in between the two largest stages, and all the traffic, all day long, including meals, mentoring, recharging, and more will be right inside the expo.  From before the first session to
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5 Key SaaS Metrics Every Software Startup Should Track

There are plenty of activities where, at any point during the task, you can objectively know whether you’re failing or succeeding. Playing a sport? Glance at the scoreboard. Taking a class? Look at your grades. Unfortunately, determining how well (or poorly) you’re scaling a new software-as-a-service (SaaS) company is not so straightforward – unless you know what to measure. If you want to make the leap from startup to a full-fledged company, make sure you’re tracking these five SaaS metrics.

1. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

What Is It? The average amount a business invests to acquire a customer. Traditionally, CAC is calculated by adding the total sales and marketing expenses for a given period and then dividing that amount by the number of customers gained during that same period. Why Does It Matter? Knowing the average CAC gives your company insight into the efficacy of each sales strategy and marketing
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Lessons Learned from 20 Years at the Leading Edge of SaaS

Over the weekend, I read Tien Tzuo’s book, Subscribed. Tien is the founder and CEO of Zuora, and former CSO/CMO at Salesforce, where he started in 1999. He has been working in SaaS for nearly 20 years. He’s a thought leader in the world of subscriptions, and I learned a tremendous amount from his book. There were three key themes that resonated with me. First, the shift to a subscription business model reinforces customer centricity. Second, pricing is one of the most powerful growth levers subscription companies have. Third, balancing customer mix across three-tier plans is critical to long-term success, and there is a right way to think about it. In the book, Tien talks about Fender, the guitar company. Though tens of thousands of people have salivated over Fender’s guitars - notably Wayne Campbell and his love affair with the Stratocaster - 90% of people who pick up a Continue reading "Lessons Learned from 20 Years at the Leading Edge of SaaS"