Over the years at SaaStr we’ve done a lot of posts (and videos and sessions) on hiring your first great sales team. I recently re-read a bunch using our excellent Algolia-powered search and wanted to share some of my favorites, updated:
1. Your First VP Does Not Have To Be a VP of Sales.Looking back, this is just so important, I wish I’d written this in the earliest days of SaaStr. Yes, you know you want a VP of Sales. We all need one, almost all of us at least. But don’t let that stop you from hiring any other great VP first. They are all accretive. They all add to sales. Read it here:
Americans and other global citizens are increasingly self-employed, thanks to great software, the need for flexibility, and because skilled services especially can pay fairly well, among other reasons.
In fact, exactly one year ago, the Freelancers Union and Upwork, a digital platform for freelancers, released a report estimating that 35% of the U.S. workforce had begun freelancing. With COVID-19 still making its way around the country and globe, prompting massive and continued job dislocation for many tens of millions of people, that percentage is likely to rise quickly.
Unsurprisingly, savvy startups see the economic power of these individuals — many of whom aren’t interested in managing anyone or anything other than the steady growth of their own businesses. A case in point is Collective, a 2.5-year-old, 20-person San Francisco-based startup that’s been quietly building back office services like tax preparation and bookkeeping for what it dubs “business Continue reading "Collective, a back office platform that caters to ‘businesses of one,’ just landed a hefty seed round"
The time leading up to launching a new product or feature is always so exciting—and often pretty hectic. The product and engineering teams are itching to get their new thing in front of customers, sales is asking (and likely has been for a few months!) when they can start demoing the new product to prospects, and marketing needs all the details so they can send the press release.
Sound familiar? These are all important components of a launch, but there are some key areas to focus on in order for it to be a big success—and to keep things from going sideways. Next time you’re gearing up for a big launch, avoid embarrassing or costly mistakes by incorporating these five ideas into your plan:
1. Align with the most critical teams as early as possible
One of product marketing’s critical roles is alignment—and it’s got to happen on
Recently, we welcomed Kimber Lancaster to Office Hours at Redpoint to discuss running successful virtual events. It was a fantastic session in which Kimbre surfaced counterintuitive insights about one of the most critical marketing channels of 2020. Below, I’ve summarized some of my notes from the session.
First, there’s much more crossover between physical and virtual events than most people think.
The planning phase for virtual events parallels physical events. When you begin planning the virtual event, start with the event’s goals and the audience’s desires. Develop the messaging for your audience. Identify compelling speakers to further the cause. Declare metrics for success.
Not having to visit venues and plan for catering are the biggest differences and timesavers. You may also need to change your AV team, prep the speakers’ home video quality, and pre-record sessions.
Audience engagement rose to the top of the questions list from the audience. Kimbre Continue reading "Notes from Office Hours with Kimbre Lancaster on How to Run Successful Virtual Events"
Love him or hate him, Nick Saban is the most successful college football coach of the current generation. Winner of 3 out of 4 straight national championships.
And how often is he recruiting? Every. Single. Day. In fact, every single day he and his team go into their Recruiting War Room, and analyze every single possible recruit coming up the next four years. And he seals the deals himself. All season long, off-season. 50/52 weeks a year, every day.
I’m going to suggest to you that, at least from Initial Traction until Initial Scale (say $1m ARR until $10m ARR) — this is the single most important improvement you can make to your SaaS company: To recruit every single day. Or 20% of your time. The equivalent of one full day a week.
Later, when you are bigger, you can still do the same, but you’ll have more help Continue reading "Post-Traction, You Need to Spend 20% of Your Time Recruiting"
You know how everyone says you'll never look and wish you'd kept a bad VP as long as you did?
That when you make a mis-hire, you'll always look back and say you should have made a change 3-4 month earlier?
Well, everyone is right
— Jason ✨BeKind✨ Lemkin ⚫️ (@jasonlk) September 24, 2020
A lot of classic SaaStr advice has been how to spot the best potential VPs. When to hire them. How to interview them and qualify them. What they really do. Etc. etc.
Because to scale, you are going to need to add a true management team, and then a second one, and then layers of management. Otherwise, you’re growth will hit a wall.
And you’re are going to hire some VPs that … just don’t work out. It may be more your fault than theirs. After all, you know Continue reading "What Happens When You Hire the Wrong VP"
Y Combinator CEO Michael Seibel is featured in one of our most-watched SaaStr videos of all time — so we were delighted to have him back during our SaaStr at Home event to share the top 5 things that kill startups after their seed rounds, and how to avoid them.
In this tactical session, he highlights the trends he’s seen most commonly seen in startups that die and offers insights on the causes, symptoms, and solutions.
#1 Fake product-market fit
You’re company building before product building.
This is one of the most common symptoms of “impending death” for post-seed companies. So why do founders believe they have market fit, even if they don’t?
Most SaaS companies don’t hire a dedicated pricing strategist until they reach $50M ARR. So up until hitting that milestone, the person owning pricing might be the marketing director, product manager, or even the founder—and they typically have zero experience when it comes to pricing.
Getting your pricing strategy right is incredibly important for any company. How do you quickly come up with a solution without being an expert or having an expert in-house?
Related read: The Ultimate SaaS Pricing Resources Guide
A few weeks ago, I posted my best advice on LinkedIn and asked some of the smartest operators I know to comment with their feedback. I wound up receiving a ton of brilliant responses, so I’ve turned the thread into this blog post. If you’d like to join the conversation, jump in here.