When to Add a European (or Other International) Office

SaaS has been global from the earliest days, although how and when you go global can vary.  Salesforce went very early into Japan (it takes a lot longer to add a lot of Japanese customers for most of us), which quickly accounted for almost 10% of their revenue in the early days.  I had 15% of my revenue in the U.K. in Year 1. And these days, the opposite is just as common.  European and Indian SaaS startups in particular start selling in the U.S. early in their lifecycles. The mistake most U.S. SaaS companies make however — that most European and Asian SaaS startups don’t — is they wait too long in setting up other offices.  You’ve got to be near your customers and partners, at least, if the customers are larger.  You leave too much money on the table, in
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15+ of The Top Sales & Marketing Mistakes SaaS Startups Make

Recently I assembled my “Top 15” list of Sales & Marketing mistakes SaaS startups make as things start to take-off.  We’ve touched on quite a few of these before on SaaStr (will link to them), but I thought this might be a helpful checklist to challenge your thinking at a minimum. We’ve all made many of these mistakes ourselves, myself included ?  I’m even making a few myself again.  But if you see yourself making any of the mistakes below, it’s fairly easy to make a course correction.  Just do it!  It will help. Sales:

How to Know if a Key Hire is an A or a B (or even a C)

The biggest mistake you are probably going to make is hiring B or even C players for key director and VP positions when you get your startup going.  This will set you back many, many months.  Time and money lost investing in a key individual who simply doesn’t deliver in a critical position.

As a first-time manager, you really won’t have the experience to know really who is an A, B or C player for any position you haven’t held yourself.It’s hard to judge if you haven’t done it before and/or if you are a first-time hiring manager. How do you really know who is a decent director of product management when you’ve never even worked with one, for example?

But there is an easy hack / fix: get an advisor / mentor who has done it before — and well — to interview your final list Continue reading "How to Know if a Key Hire is an A or a B (or even a C)"

2018-2025: The Golden Age of SaaS Freemium

Way back in 2012, in the early days of SaaStr, we wrote a piece challenging everyone out there who dreamed of going freemium in SaaS.  That’d you’d need at least 50 million users to build a Unicorn, or at least, to build something big.  To challenge you to make sure you can really get at least 10m+ users if you want to truly go the freemium / self-service / no sales route.  More of that math here. Freemium is nothing new.  In fact, it’s where most of us start, or close to it.  And fast forward to today, now there are many SaaS freemium Unicorns and freemium pre-nicorns, from DropBox to Slack to Mailchimp to Squarespace and Wix and so many more. But for most of us, we’re going to make it by going a bit upmarket.  In fact, a good percentage of the
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2018-2025: The Golden Age of SaaS Freemium

Way back in 2012, in the early days of SaaStr, we wrote a piece challenging everyone out there who dreamed of going freemium in SaaS.  That’d you’d need at least 50 million users to build a Unicorn, or at least, to build something big.  To challenge you to make sure you can really get at least 10m+ users if you want to truly go the freemium / self-service / no sales route.  More of that math here. Freemium is nothing new.  In fact, it’s where most of us start, or close to it.  And fast forward to today, now there are many SaaS freemium Unicorns and freemium pre-nicorns, from DropBox to Slack to Mailchimp to Squarespace and Wix and so many more. But for most of us, we’re going to make it by going a bit upmarket.  In fact, a good percentage of the
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The One Best, “Secret” Hack to Getting Venture Funding

I am fairly confident there are at least 10,000 Medium posts, 20,000 WordPress articles, and over well over 1,000,000 Tweets on How to Get Funded. It bores me personally, but I know it’s an important topic.  Raising money for many CEOs is one of the their top 5 priorities.  Without venture capital, I’d be nowhere.  Both of my first two-startups were venture-backed.  And it’s a weird, strange world that until recently was highly opaque. Now having been on three sides of the table ? — founder 3x, worked at someone’s VC firm, solo investor — I’d like to take a moment to boil down all the possible advice I could into one learning: The Highest Chance You Have to Get Funded is When the VC Already Wants to Invest Before The First Meeting.  Before you’ve even met him or her. Trust me.  VCs claim to
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10 Super Cool New Sessions at the SaaStr Annual

So this is shaping up to be the most intense, amazing SaaStr Annual ever.  We’ll have five (5!) stages, with registrations for all sessions, and 200+ sessions with the best founders, CEOs, VCs and more in SaaS. If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, here’s a special 20% discount just for our blog readers:

We’ve talked a lot about the Big Unicorn sessions with the CEOs of Atlassian, MongoDB, Coupa, Box, Blackline, Basecamp, The Trade Desk, and more, as well as amazing Bootstrappers sessions with Qualtrics, Mailchimp, Grammarly, and many more. I don’t want to pick any favorites, but I thought I’d pick out 10 new, super unique sessions I am looking forward to:

How You Can Help Your Sales Team in 2018

Hopefully you are closing the year out strong.  Even if you are coming up a bit short, there’s one thing I do know.  If you have a good sales team, they are leaving nothing on the table.  They won’t go home until 11:59 on December 31.  They’re going to do everything they can to hit the plan, or exceed it. (If they aren’t — you need a new VP of Sales). Then January 2 will come, and the team will be exhausted, at least the managers will be.  I don’t mean physically.  They will rest up over the holiday.  But the fact that the Closed/Won dials in Salesforce will roll all the way back to $0 for the year on Jan 1 … that’s tough.  Oh man.  Whatever great work the sales team did in 2017 will be 100% behind them
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