Cornerstone OnDemand’s Kirsten Helvey: Scaling from 30-1,500 in SaaS: Lessons From the Frontlines (Video + Transcript)

In anticipation of the upcoming SaaStr Annual 2017, we’ll be releasing the full series of transcripts and videos from all the awesome 2016 sessions. In this session, Jason Lemkin receives some valuable insight from Kirsten Helvey, COO of Cornerstone OnDemand, a cloud-based learning and talent management solutions provider. Drawing from her 11 years of experience with rising up in the ranks from employee #30 to her current position in the company, which is now 1500-strong, she talks candidly about the importance of customer success, how to create a thriving culture around people, providing individuals with the opportunity to shine in their current and future roles, upsells versus renewals and “topping” your boss. Watch the video or read the full transcript below – and grab a ticket for you and your team to the SaaStr Annual 2017!

Marketo: Winning, IPOing, and Going Upmarket (Video + Transcript)

In anticipation of the upcoming SaaStr Annual 2017, we’ll be releasing the full series of transcripts and videos from all the awesome 2016 sessions. We were super excited to have Phil Fernandez, CEO and co-founder of Marketo, sit down and talk to us about the triumphs (and struggles) leading Marketo from inception to IPO. Phil shares his insights on topics, “How do you react and engage with your competitors in a highly competitive market?”, “Do I need a CFO? What kind should I be hiring and when?”, “What’s the difference between the management team you need at $10m ARR vs $500m ARR? And how do you know who you need when?” and more. Watch the video or read the full transcript below – and grab a ticket for you and your team to the SaaStr Annual 2017!

All Pricing is Relative. How To Make That Work in Your Favor.

You could spend days reading about pricing and pricing strategies in software on the web, but a lot of this content doesn’t really hit one, basic fundamental point — there is no real reason any particular piece of software should cost anything in particular.  Or something.  Or a lot.  Or anywhere in between.  Because it costs next to nothing to deliver. Facebook and Google are free — and both are better software than anything you’ll ever ship, my friends.  Evernote is dirt cheap.  Dropbox is cheap.  Box Enterprise isn’t.  Salesforce is fairly expensive.  Workday is really expensive.  All seven apps basically cost the same amount to build, host, serve, and ship.  Yes, enterprise software costs more to sell and support and, sometimes, to market than consumer software.  But so what?  Who cares?  The cost to ship the bits every time you log-in or hit refresh is about $0.0000232.  Real software has basically zero core
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SaaS Financial Plan 2.0 (from Christoph Janz)

Recently on SaaStr, we did an important post on a simple Trailing Four Month Financial Model.  This is one of my best hacks.  If you average the growth rate over your last four months, and keep updating it — you’ll have a real-time model that keeps you honest.  More on that here. But what about just building a model in the first place?  I’ve seen terrible ones.  I’ve seen 100% Gross Margins.  I’ve seen terrible misunderstandings of the differences between MRR, ARR, and revenue. Get help.  Get at least an outsourced controller that has done SaaS. And if you don’t have a strong core financial model and plan — use Christoph Janz’s model here and below.  Christoph is my co-investor in Great SaaS companies, co-founder of Point Nine Capital, and just as passionate about the operating side of SaaS as any of us. I’m reproducing his post in its entirety
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