SaaStr Podcast #224: Zendesk CEO Mikkel Svane on Lessons from Zendesk Beyond $1B ARR


This post is by Deborah Findling from SaaStr


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Mikkel Svane is the CEO of Zendesk. Join him as he takes you through his lessons taking Zendesk beyond a billion in ARR.  This is SaaStr’s Founder’s Favorites Series. Every Thursday we share one of SaaStr Annual’s best of the best sessions that you might have missed. After all, you should be able to be where the cloud meets from wherever you may be listening. Stay tuned for our next Founder’s Favorites episode: April 18. This podcast is an excerpt of Mikkel’s session at SaaStr Annual 2019. Missed the session? Here’s what Mikkel talks about:
  • The future of the cloud
  • The rise of the public cloud and re-platforming of the tech stack
  • How business applications are sold and delivered leveraging SaaS

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5 Things You Need to Do to Create a Category with Gainsight (Video + Transcript)


This post is by Faith Storey from SaaStr


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Building a company is hard enough, but what if there’s no clear market to launch into? That’s the situation Gainsight CEO Nick Mehta and CMO Anthony Kennada found themselves in when they joined the company that would become Gainsight in 2013. There was no playbook for category creation, so they built their own—and catapulted Gainsight into one of the fastest growing private companies in the world.
Join Nick and Anthony for an open and honest look into their playbook to building the Customer Success category: the needle movers, the mistakes, and everything in between. Want to see more content like this session? Join us for SaaStr Annual 2020. FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW Nick Mehta – CEO @ Gainsight Anthony Kennada – CMO @ Gainsight Nick Mehta: Hi, I’m Nick. Anthony Kennada: Hi, I’m Anthony. Nick Mehta: And we’re here to talk to you about how category creation isn’t something Continue reading "5 Things You Need to Do to Create a Category with Gainsight (Video + Transcript)"

From Freemium to Explosive Growth in a Crowded Market – 8 Years of Learnings with Zoom (Video + Transcript)


This post is by Faith Storey from SaaStr


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Join Zoom Founder and CEO Eric Yuan and SaaStr COO Mallun Yen as they delve into the secrets of Zoom’s success. Eric talks about the early days of Zoom – how he secured his first investors, employees, and major customers – as well as how Zoom maintains a happiness-oriented culture while achieving skyrocketing growth. Zoom has filed to go public and plans to list on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol $ZM. Quick recap:
  • Keep your pricing simple
  • Have your user conference around $10M ARR or earlier
  • Take advantage of your VCs connections
  • Being an engineer can give you the upper hand as a CEO because you understand the product
Want to see more content like this session? Join us for SaaStr Annual 2020. FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW Eric Yuan – CEO & Founder @ Zoom Mallun Yen – COO @ SaaStr Eric Yuan: Overall, we want to be very open. Flexible
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Top Global SaaS Trends You Should Know with Google Cloud and Zenoss (Video + Transcript)


This post is by Faith Storey from SaaStr


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As a global technology provider powering thousands of SaaS companies, Google is at the forefront of driving exciting and innovative technologies to market. Join us for a fireside chat between Google Cloud and Zenoss, a leader in software-defined IT operations, as we discuss the most common and emerging challenges facing SaaS companies today for both technical and non-technical backgrounds. You’ll also learn how leading SaaS companies are able to scale and thrive in this complex, dynamic environment. Want to see more content like this session? Join us for SaaStr Annual 2020. FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW Eyal Manor – VP, Engineering @ Google Cloud Megan Lueders – CMO @ Zenoss Eyal Manor:  Hi everyone. Hi, I’m Eyal. Thanks for joining us today. I know it’s kind of the end of the day but we’re excited to talk to you, and happy to introduce Megan Leuders, CMO of Zenoss. Megan Leuders: You
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From Product-Market Fit to Product-Market-Price Fit


This post is by Kyle Poyar from Openview Labs


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The statistics are bleak, but deserve to be repeated. 90% of startups fail, according to an in-depth analysis of 3,200 companies as part of the Startup Genome Report. The researchers blame “premature scaling” as the root cause, pointing out that 70% of startups in the study scaled before they were ready and that startup founders substantially underestimate how long it takes to validate their market. It’s no wonder that the startup community obsesses over finding product-market fit. After all, product-market fit is a critical prerequisite to being able to scale in a manner that creates long-term value for shareholders. For the uninitiated, product-market fit can be understood as instances when a startup introduces a new product that meets a real customer need, does so in a way that’s better than alternatives and in a market that can support a standalone business. Product-market fit tends to be a spectrum rather than
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Scaling from $1MM to $500MM ARR: 5 Strategies to Drive Your Next Wave of Growth with Intercom (Video + Transcript)


This post is by Faith Storey from SaaStr


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Karen Peacock, COO of Intercom, one of the fastest growing SaaS businesses of all time, has led businesses of all sizes through massive growth. She will share her top 5 lessons learned in building and scaling SaaS businesses from $1M to $500M in ARR including expanding to serve upmarket customers, moving from product to platform, and how to hire well to drive breakthrough customer experiences and business growth. Want to see more content like this session? Join us for SaaStr Annual 2020. FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW Karen Peacock – COO @ Intercom I hope you guys are having a fantastic day one of SaaStr. Now over the next couple of days, you’re going to hear some great talks about the founding story, and about that initial business success. And today, in this talk, we’re going to talk about what happens next. I’m Karen Peacock, I’m the Chief Operating Officer of Intercom.
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How the Best Tech Companies Run Growth Experiments


This post is by Kieran Flanagan from Openview Labs


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A critical part of growth in product-led companies is their approach to experiments. It’s the experiments that often unlock the door to opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise discovered. They help you to understand your users better and give you insights on how to create more value for them. We’ve gotten advice from Patreon, Pinterest, SurveyMonkey, Invision and more on how to make growth experiments a roaring success in your company. Here are five great pieces of advice you can use to improve your approach to growth experiments.

1. A hypothesis is not a prediction

The hypothesis is a central part of your experiment doc – it’s a statement you believe to be true about your users. A common mistake when forming your hypothesis is to state it as a prediction based on a metric you think will improve, something that fails to articulate what you believe to be true of
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The Best Pitches I Heard at SaaStr Annual 2019


This post is by Andy Raskin from Openview Labs


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Editor’s Note: This article was first featured on LinkedIn here Two weeks ago, I found myself with a ticket to SaaStr Annual, so I roamed the sponsor area, listening to pitches from SaaS startups large and small. Conference booths are a great place to gauge how deeply a company’s pitch (a.k.a. strategic narrative) has permeated its ranks because they’re usually staffed by a mix of sales, marketing and product people. Or haven’t permeated those ranks: One sales rep told me if I wanted to hear a really good version of the pitch, it was too bad because his CEO, who would be back shortly, was really good at that. As you might expect, I mostly heard product-centered descriptions that started and ended with: “We’re a __ platform that does x, y and z.” But as Drift’s David Cancel is fond of saying, markets are so
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Avoid Trapdoor Decisions: 5 Lessons Learned from Scaling Stripe (Video + Transcript)


This post is by Faith Storey from SaaStr


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Formerly a senior leader at Google, Claire Hughes Johnson is now Chief Operating Officer at Stripe, where she’s helped guide the online payments firm through rapid growth. Stripe today has more than 1,400 employees and processes billions of dollars for millions of users worldwide. Scaling the company’s employee base, sales teams, marketing, and operations—all while preserving its culture—has required a laser focus on first principles, smart processes, and effective hiring. In this talk, Claire will share these and other lessons for scaling high-growth organizations. Here’s a quick recap:
  1. Use your principles
    • Write down your principles (like your mission statement) and use it very early for guiding culture and decision making.
  2. Know your forever user
    • Know who is the foundation of your product and build your product for that user (in Stripe’s case, developers).
  3. Manual processes first

Value Delivery Patterns Shape Your Pricing Choices


This post is by Steven Forth from Openview Labs


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In recent work, we have found that when you deliver value is as important as how you deliver value. The when becomes a critical input into designing your pricing model. Working with a large B2B SaaS company that has a long implementation and configuration cycle, we uncovered contradictions between their pricing and how the customer was getting value. Basically, this led to internal tensions between sales, finance, the implementation team and customer success. This company manages time to capture implementation costs (how many months will it take until revenue collected exceeds investment in implementation), with a target to capture these within four months. It is a good idea to track these formally. They are as important as your customer acquisition costs (CAC). In the above figure, Vendor Position is Revenue less Vendor Investment, Customer Position is Value less Customer investment. The calculation of Customer Value is an important area that
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