Top 5 Things That Change at $50m ARR (Video + Transcript)

You’ve done it; you’ve reached $50 million in ARR. When you’re at 0 working towards your first million, that number almost feels like an impossible milestone to reach. But when you get there, perspectives and realities change once again. Now you’re trying to hit $60 million and eventually $100 million. In this panel, Tien Tzuo, Founder & CEO of Zuora; Aaron Skonnard, CEO at Pluralsight; Nitsa Zuppas, CMO at Veeva Systems; and Scott Dorsey, Managing Partner at High Alpha, discuss the big changes that companies face as the hit that $50 million mark and how to navigate them. They talk about the importance of having people on your team who have gone past your current phase to help you scale. Not only that, but pricing isn’t really about cost, it should be determined by the value you can communicate to your customers. The bigger you get, the harder it is Continue reading "Top 5 Things That Change at $50m ARR (Video + Transcript)"

10 Unicorns at the SaaStr Annual You Can’t Miss! (And We’re Just 87 Days Out!!)

You may be just recovering from Dreamforce or WebSummit today.  Take a break, relax, get that Convention Smell out of your clothes. But after you’ve rested up, we need 100% of your attention on The SaaStr Annual.  We’re just 87 days out! We’ll have 200+ sessions from the best up-and-coming CEOs, VPs of Sales, Product, Marketing, Engineering and Customer Success, and so much more.  As well as 50+ sessions where the VCs pitch you! We’ll also have our fair share of unicorns.  Now SaaStr isn’t all about $1b+ SaaS companies — even though we now have almost 30 (!) of them!  But having the best CEO and unicorn founders on stage, sharing how they got here and the mistakes they made, is always a special experience when done right. Here are 10 of the 20+ unicorns coming to speak — and meet with you
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Field Sales: When Domain Expertise Does Matter. Just Don’t Over-index.

Imagine you are selling a $100,000+ product and you yourself as CEO/founders have limited knowledge selling to the customer base. You’ll be very tempted to hire someone with a seemingly magical rolodex.

What doesn’t work for sure is hiring someone with (x) no domain expertise who also (y) has also only sold small (e.g, $10k) deals. That’s a Double No.

But as the deals get bigger, the value of domain expertise in the early part of a reps tenure does go up.

Because reps with a lot of industry experience in bigger deals don’t always quite have the rolodex they claim — but they often can bring you at least 1 or 2 strong leads. At $1k a year, so what? But at $250k a year, those two ringer deals can more than justify the hire.

Rarely have I seen a sales rep’s enterprise rolodex from past jobs really Continue reading "Field Sales: When Domain Expertise Does Matter. Just Don’t Over-index."

$3 Billion Is the New $1 Billion in SaaS

A funny thing happened as part of the overall bull run the last 2 years: $3 Billion became the New $1 Billion In SaaS.  So maybe it’s time to change the definition of a SaaS Unicorn. Let’s look at Bessemer’s Cloud Index at the last batch of SaaS and SaaS-ish companies to IPO:  Box, Hubspot, Mulesoft, RingCentral, Xero, Zendesk, etc: They are all now $3 Billion+ companies, or close to it. A lot has changed.  I remember in the Series Seed fundraising deck for EchoSign in 2005 (I know, a long time ago), I put on Slide 0 (the cover slide): “Positioned between eFax ($800m) and Salesforce ($2.6b)” to give investors context. Back then, even Salesforce wasn’t at $3b at yet.  Today, the three poster childen for “on prem to SaaS” (Salesforce, Workday, ServiceNow) are worth $130b+ collectively, and Salesforce has grown 40x in value since
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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.

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"

Josh James, Domo/Omniture: DoubleUnicorns – How Things Are Different Now And Things That Never Change (Video + Transcript)

For many CEOs and founders, taking their company to unicorn status might seem like a pipe dream. Now try to imagine having two unicorn SaaS companies under your belt. As someone who has achieved just that, Josh James, CEO and Founder of Domo, can teach us some of the things he learned the second time around. One thing’s for sure, there’s a lot more pressure to be successful. He has a unique and quirky approach to many things. When recruiting, he likes to make potential hires really uncomfortable as a way to test them. The way he goes about building comp plans and incentives will make salespeople drool as well. He even talks about some fun ways, though they may only be short term solutions, to get focused on closing a lead or retaining a customer. Josh is in a unique position to shed some light on the mistakes and
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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"