Welcome to Episode 198! Maria Pergolino is the CMO @ Anaplan, the company that allows you to accelerate decision-making with effective planning. To date, Anaplan have raised over $299m in funding from the likes of Meritech, Salesforce Ventures, Shasta, DFJ Growth and more incredible names. As for Maria, prior to Anaplan, Maria was Senior Vice President of Global Marketing and Sales Development at Apttus, where she directed go-to-market strategy, sales development, customer advocacy, demand generation, strategic events and communications initiatives. She also has held leadership positions at Marketo, Shunra Software (acquired by Hewlett-Packard), and Chubb Ltd. It’s also important to note, Maria is renowned for building world-class teams that drive growth, product differentiation, and category development.
In Today’s Episode We Discuss:
How Maria made her way into the world of B2B marketing? What were her biggest lessons from the days of Marketo?
While at first I bristled a bit at the idea of “founding employees”, I’ve come around to thinking giving them this extra title is sometimes a great idea.
Single digit hires are special, and the first 1–2 are super special. Letting 1 or 2 be “founding employees” or “founding engineer” or “founding salesleader” costs you relatively little. Potentially some drama down the road, but relatively little.
And shows them the respect for the crazy risks they took.
View original question on quora
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I got on a call with an SDR recently who was nothing short of lovely. He asked great questions, talked about my goals, what I was looking for, what I wanted to see in their technology, etc. He listened well, was authentic, and was helpful from start to finish.
Then I asked to see the technology.
Which is when he told me it wasn’t his job and that he’d have to get me scheduled with an Account Executive because he wasn’t allowed to show me. I actually had no idea he was an SDR… talk about killing the momentum!
Fast forward to the next call. The first thing the Account Executive asks me:
“So… tell me about your business and why we are talking.”
Really? Did you all not talk behind the scenes? The LAST thing I want to do is to have the same conversation again…
They look down on them because they aren’t collecting the Funding Trophies. (We’re all impressed by a funding round. We can’t help it.)
They look down on them because they assume they are growing more slowly. Which often is true in the early days.
They look down on them because everyone is insecure and has imposter syndrome and saying you are backed by a top VC firm does brand you and help you. You do have that going for you.
And then, a few years go by, and things normalize. Rough-and-tough, bootstrapped SaaS companies grow just as fast at $10m ARR as non-bootstrapped ones.
And then, the ones that bootstrapped or “skipped a round or two” will have the brand equity, the customer cred, and all that that the venture-funded ones do.
Just without all the dilution. Or defer the dilution only until a Continue reading "Do Venture Backed Entrepreneurs look down upon Bootstrapped Entrepreneurs?"
I wish I could remember specific questions, but the most “ridiculous” ones are the ones that clearly only one vendor in the space could possibly win.
For example, in the early days of EchoSign, we closed a large telecom for $600k TCV. We had a fall-back-to-fax feature which at the time, was unique to the industry. The RFP was just to justify purchasing from us.
Similarly, we lost a similar deal that required us to be built on .NET back in the day.
Should you still compete for RFPs you’ve already lost before they start? You might say No, but the answer probably is Maybe:
First, the chosen winner can sometimes stumble due to overconfidence. This is rare, but it can happen.
Second, you can put pricing pressure on your competitor. If you’ve already lost the RFP before you’ve entered it, you can still make a low-ball pricing proposal to Continue reading "What is the most ridiculous question you have seen on an RFP (request for proposal) for a SaaS software?"
The #1 mistake I see for early-stage founders: Not Practicing.
There’s a reason the top accelerators make the founders rehearse the pitch again and again.
Practice on everyone you know, until it’s great. Board members, advisors, other founders:
Ask for concerns and objections.
Ask what they’d want to see that isn’t in there.
See if you can Get To The Point in 5 Minutes Or Less.
Ask for tough questions.
Ask for criticism of your assumptions, financial plan, and model.
Ask for criticism of your understanding of the competitive landscape.