SaaStr Podcast #173: Jason Lemkin, Founder @ SaaStr on What To Look For In Your First Sales Reps

Welcome to Episode 173! 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, RainforestQA, and many more incredible companies. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:
  • When is the right time to hire your first sales rep? What characteristics must those sales have? Why does Jason believe it is impossible to poach a rockstar from another fast scaling startup? Should you then hire the stretch VP or the more experienced, potentially burnt out exec?
  • How does Jason think about aligning compensation to company objectives? Within the company, which functions serve as the best test areas for variable compensation? What must you be wary of when installing a system of variable compensation?

  • Continue reading "SaaStr Podcast #173: Jason Lemkin, Founder @ SaaStr on What To Look For In Your First Sales Reps"

Can You Scale Sales in the Bay Area? $30k ACV is Probably The Cut-Off

Silicon Valley / SF has gotten incredibly expensive. Rents, salaries, and perhaps most importantly, turnover. I’ve invested in 5 French start-ups. SF costs 2x Paris, fully burdened. It’s crazy.

And sales teams have gotten particularly expensive, because they don’t quite scale the same way engineers do.  You can pay great engineers a ton, eventually, because 1000s of folks can use the same software.  But you really do need Y reps for every $X00K of new bookings.  Sales gets more expensive as you add customers.  Engineering generally goes the other way, if you are doing it right. Why have sales teams gotten so exepnsive in SF?  It’s not just salaries and bonuses.  Those actually haven’t grown 2x in the past 5 years.  But the fully burdened cost probably has grown 2x, because:

SaaStr Podcast #159: Fred Shilmover, Founder & CEO @ InsightSquared Discusses Why CAC/LTV Is Not The Guiding Metric In SaaS

Welcome to Episode 159! Fred Shilmover is the CEO and co-founder of InsightSquared, one of Boston’s premiere tech startups paving the way in the sales intelligence space. Throughout the InsightSquared journey, Fred has raised over $25m in VC funding from the likes of DFJ, Bessemer, Salesforce, and Atlas Venture. Prior to founding InsightSquared, Fred was a corporate development associate with Salesforce Ventures, and before that he held several key roles at Bessemer Venture Partners, including associate and Director of IT. He is also a board member of TUGG, an organization that brings together tech entrepreneurs with social enterprises that support at-risk youth.   In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

Sales AMA with Mark Roberge: Your Burning Questions Answered (Video + Transcript)

Mark Roberge, Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School and former CRO at Hubspot, takes the Deep Dive Stage to answer burning questions that we all have about sales and running a successful sales organization. What’s the ideal churn rate for your sales team? How do you deal with the product team blaming the sales team, and vice versa, when you don’t hit your numbers? Why should you consider account-based marketing? What’s the benefit of choosing coachability over experience when hiring salespeople? Mark answers all these questions and more in this insightful and eye-opening talk. And if you haven’t heard: SaaStr Annual is only two weeks away,  and we’ve made it bigger and better than ever! Join 10,000 fellow founders, investors and execs for 3 days of unparalleled networking and epic learnings from SaaS legends like Jon MillerDavid SteinbergJennifer Tejada, and Eoghan McCabe. If you don’t
Continue reading "Sales AMA with Mark Roberge: Your Burning Questions Answered (Video + Transcript)"

TalkDesk: Top 10 VP of Sales Lessons Learned Scaling to $100m+ ARR (Video + Transcript)

Aaron Ross of Predictable Revenue hosts a panel on something we CEOs and founders all want to do: scaling the sales to $100m in ARR. He’s joined on the Hypertactical stage with Andrew Bothwell, VP of Inside Sales at TalkDesk, Aaron Schilke, VP of Enterprise Sales at TalkDesk, and Josh Stein, Partner at DFJ Venture Capital to talk about how to achieve that milestone and the often painful transformations a company has to go through to get there. What got to $1m in ARR probably won’t get you to 10, and it certainly won’t get you to 100. How do you let go of people that were great for one stage, but aren’t fit for the next? How should you think about building out your sales process? What do you need to keep in mind when communicating and making your board happy? Why should you start up your outbound marketing Continue reading "TalkDesk: Top 10 VP of Sales Lessons Learned Scaling to $100m+ ARR (Video + Transcript)"

The Cavalry Finally Came: Breaking Through the $5-$6m ARR Wall (Video + Transcript)

Scaling from $0 to a few million is already tough enough as it is, but many companies face the seemingly impossible hurdle of breaking through that $5-$6 million ARR wall. Laura Bilazarian, CEO at Teamable, leads this session with Louis Jonckheere, Co-CEO at Showpad, and Fred Stevens Smith, CEO at Rainforest QA, to discuss how they scaled past that milestone and the mistakes and triumphs they experienced during their journey in getting there. They get into detail about hiring the right people. For example, the problem with hiring SDRs in the Valley, why you should over-hire for customer success, and why bringing on an HR leader can be a game changer for your business. If you’re trying to break through the wall, you’ll also want to know how to communicate with your board and bringing on board members that understand what it’s like being a founder. One of the toughest Continue reading "The Cavalry Finally Came: Breaking Through the $5-$6m ARR Wall (Video + Transcript)"

How the Relationship Changes Between CEO and VP Sales After Funding (Video + Transcript)

You know what they say, money changes people. But how does funding change the relationship between a CEO and VP of Sales? Russ Fradin, CEO at Dynamic Signal, and Scott Schnaars, VP Sales at Dynamic Signal, explore the dramatic evolution of the relationship as the company moves from one stage to another. They answer several questions that they wished they had asked but didn’t. How aligned are investor expectations with sales expectations? What does international expansion look like? Do you, as a CEO, know what’s going on with your product and market or are you just delegating that to your head of sales? If you want to learn more about how to navigate the changing dynamic between a CEO and VP of Sales, don’t miss out on this session. You can view the slide deck here. And if you haven’t heard: SaaStr Annual will be back in 2018, bigger Continue reading "How the Relationship Changes Between CEO and VP Sales After Funding (Video + Transcript)"

Lucid Software: How 10 Million Freemium Users Built Our Enterprise Sales (Video + Transcript)

How do you successfully transition from a freemium model to serving enterprise clients? For Karl Sun, CEO of Lucid Chart, and Dan Cook, VP Sales of Lucid Chart, they had to build an extremely successful freemium business (with 10 million users!) first as it provided the foundation for the shift to selling to the enterprise. Karl and Dan discuss why they chose a freemium model, how they got to 10 million users, and the different evolutions the company experienced as they moved into enterprise sales. The first evolution was migrating from support to sales. The second was evolving from a digital marketing focus to one that was demand or lead gen. The third was an evolution from end user support to a customer success organization. The fourth was going from an end user product focus to an enterprise product focus. If you want to know more about Lucid Chart’s Continue reading "Lucid Software: How 10 Million Freemium Users Built Our Enterprise Sales (Video + Transcript)"

Nutanix: Going from 0 to $4B (Video + Transcript)

Arif Janmohamed, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, is joined by Sudheesh Nair, President at Nutanix, on the Strategy Stage to talk about the incredible journey of going from $0 to $4 billion in such a short amount of time. From starting out as a few lines of code written at a Starbucks to becoming the fastest growing public enterprise cloud company of the last couple of decades, there’s so much to learn from Nutanix’s growth. Sudheesh talks about growing and shifting from one gear the next, selling to “misfits” and why they’re beneficial at in the early stages, the best way to support salespeople and how they bring an Amazon-like experience inside the data center. And if you haven’t heard: SaaStr Annual will be back in 2018, bigger and better than ever! Join 10,000 fellow founders, investors and execs for 3 days of unparalleled networking and epic learnings from SaaS
Continue reading "Nutanix: Going from 0 to $4B (Video + Transcript)"

SaaStr Podcast #153: Spenser Skates, Founder/CEO @ Amplitude Discusses How To Build and Scale Sales Teams As A Technical Founder

Spenser Skates is the Founder & CEO of Amplitude, the only analytics solution built for modern product teams that helps you understand user behavior and ship the right solutions fast. They have raised over 55m in VC funding from many friends of SaaStr and 20VC, including Eric Vishria @ Benchmark, Neeraj Agrawal @ Battery Ventures, the teams at IVP, Data Collective, Box Group, and SV Angel, just to name a few of their incredible investors. Prior to Amplitude, Spenser founded Sonalight, an app that allowed users to text while they drive, backed by the likes of Y Combinator. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn: