Catch Up on the The Amazing Sessions from the Summer Social!

Missed the SaaStr Summer Social? Good news: all the sessions are now on-line! We’ve got:
  • The CEOs of red-hot PagerDuty + Algolia, talking about how to scale sales and culture, with customers Small, Medium and Large
  • The co-founder and President of unicorn Medallia with Sequoia Capital + CEO of Clari, on all the lessons learned building an inconic SaaS company
  • The VPs of Sales of newly-minted unicorn Duo Security + LinkedIn/EchoSign/Talkdesk on hiring a Great VP of Sales and more;
  • The CIOs of Uber and Netflix talked about how and why big companies really buy from SaaS startups (you will learn a lot from this one)
  • and more!
These really were great sessions. Check ’em out here:   The post Catch Up on the The Amazing Sessions from the Summer Social! appeared first on SaaStr.

Managing Change in Hyper Growth Mode (Video + Transcript)

Managing change when your company is going through hyper-growth is exciting and frightening all at once. There’s no set playbook for it since every company is different and the landscape changes all the time. That being said, we can learn a lot from the experiences of three former Salesforce execs who were with the company from $22 million in revenue past IPO to $5 billion in revenue. Matt Garratt, VP at Salesforce Ventures, sits down with David Obrand, COO at Radius Intelligence; Bill Macaitis, Advisor at Macaitis Advisory; and Kendall Collins, CMO at AppDynamics, to discuss how they helped Salesforce survive and thrive in their respective roles. How did they think about hiring the right people? Building infrastructure? Doing experiments, failing and learning from that? We get an insightful look into how Salesforce has gone through an incredible evolution from its early days until now. And if you haven’t heard: 
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Top Hack: Keeping a “Stub” Source of Capital in Your Back Pocket

One of the wonderful things that has changed in the years since I was running my own SaaS company is the rise of “stub” sources of capital.  Investors that, for a variety of reasons, are OK buying fewer shares than the average investor, and often, outside of the timing of traditional venture rounds. The most visceral example is how the top startups out of YCombinator Demo Day raise money.  For the top YC companies, there is always more investors than room to invest, and the startups are often fairly capital efficient.  This combo means they can leverage Demo Days to fine tune the exact amount of capital they want to raise. I wish I had had that luxury.  I didn’t have trouble raising traditional venture rounds.  But the gap in between rounds was tougher. When EchoSign was at about $6m in ARR and growing nicely, and cash flow positive,
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Continue reading "Top Hack: Keeping a “Stub” Source of Capital in Your Back Pocket"

Top Hack: Keeping a “Stub” Source of Capital in Your Back Pocket

One of the wonderful things that has changed in the years since I was running my own SaaS company is the rise of “stub” sources of capital.  Investors that, for a variety of reasons, are OK buying fewer shares than the average investor, and often, outside of the timing of traditional venture rounds. The most visceral example is how the top startups out of YCombinator Demo Day raise money.  For the top YC companies, there is always more investors than room to invest, and the startups are often fairly capital efficient.  This combo means they can leverage Demo Days to fine tune the exact amount of capital they want to raise. I wish I had had that luxury.  I didn’t have trouble raising traditional venture rounds.  But the gap in between rounds was tougher. When EchoSign was at about $6m in ARR and growing nicely, and cash flow positive,
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Continue reading "Top Hack: Keeping a “Stub” Source of Capital in Your Back Pocket"

10 Tips To Avoid SaaS Burnout

Burnout is a real risk in SaaS.

Not usually in the early days.  But as time marches on — It’s a huge risk.  

One piece of “evidence” — a lot of fairly successful SaaS startups all sell at about the same point in time … about 5 years in. Because the founders get just too burnt out around Year 4 … and as Year 5 rolls in, they’re running a bit on fumes, and … they sell.  Or take a bad venture deal.  Or just plain start to give up a little.  Often, as it’s just finally getting good.

My Top 10 suggestions to avoid long-term burn-out:

  • Hire than Extra VP — a True Owner. Don’t try to save a few nickels here. You’re responsible for everything as it is. But you have to own less as you scale. Find 1 or 2 or 3 truly great VPs that Continue reading "10 Tips To Avoid SaaS Burnout"

Why I Usually (Not Always) Prefer Customer Success to Report to the CEO

Ah, who should Customer Success report to?

It’s not super simple.

There are generally 3 options in the early and middle days:

  • CEO
  • VP of Sales (once you have one)
  • VP of Something Else. Finance sometimes. Product on occasion. Other “business” co-founder.

There are clear Pros and Cons to reporting to a VP of Sales. The Pros are:

  • Usually, a VP of Sales is your best manager. So usually, she can easily also manage Customer Success as well as all her reps.  You have too much to manage as it is.
  • Better alignment with VPS owning an ARR/MRR goal vs. just bookings goal. She’ll be better able to hit your ARR end-of-year goal if she’s also in charge of churn, and all upsell.  It’s always at least a little awkward to ask your VP of Sales to own the year-end ARR number, if she can’t also control churn.  They are Continue reading "Why I Usually (Not Always) Prefer Customer Success to Report to the CEO"

5 Advantages To Working With a New VC

We’re all attracted to brands.  We want Google and Salesforce and Amazon as our customers.  We want to be in the Cloud 100 and on TechCrunch every week.  We want to be on stage at the SaaStr Annual ? Brands do matter.  They are a proxy, albeit an imperfect one, for quality.  They at least help guide us on what vendors and products to pick, especially if we don’t have time to do the diligence ourselves. The same is true in venture capital, when you go to raise money.  There are good reasons to take money from the Top Brands in VC.  Their brand will accrete to your brand.  They likely have better networks.  And maybe even most importantly, later stage VCs all want to write bigger checks into startups funded by the VCs with the best brand at each preceding stage (pre-seed, seed, A, B, C, etc.).   Look Continue reading "5 Advantages To Working With a New VC"