The Week In Cloud: March 31, 2019


This post is by Amelia Ibarra from SaaStr


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5 Interesting Learnings From RingCentral. As It Approaches $1b in ARR.


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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While companies that are about to go public get a lot of metrics analysis, we can also learn some interesting things from the quarterly reports and check-ins from various public SaaS companies.  We’ll check in with a bunch.  First up is RingCentral, which IPO’d relatively early and quietly in 2013.  Since then, revenue has grown 5x and market cap 10x to an impressive $8.8 billion. Some of the interesting learnings from RingCentral:
  • RingCentral is coming up on $1b in ARR (on track for 2020), still growing 34%.  This is pretty darn impressive, and probably more importantly, shows the continued jaw-dropping growth of Cloud.  The space Ring Central plays in is huge, but has been surprisingly slow to move to the Cloud.  This is despite the fact that Ring Central has many strong, fast-growing direct and adjacent competitors, from Five9 to Talkdesk to Dialpad
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We are a SaaS company. A larger partner of ours who sells a complimentary product wants to have their sales reps sell our product alongside theirs. They want 25-50% of the first year’s revenue. Should we do it?


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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Yes, probably.
  • The simplest way to think of payments to partners is as a marketing cost.
  • The reality is, it’s tough to acquire a good customer for < 20%-25% of your first year ACV anyway. So anything in this range is a good deal viewed as a marketing program.
  • What is much harder is when partners want an annuity, a piece of later years. If possible, avoid that.
If you keep a customer for 10 years, paying 25% of Year 1 to a partner is … nothing. Yes, probably.

How To Simplify Non-Transparent Pricing: Assume Everyone Knows What Everyone Else Pays


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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Now being on the buying end of several products with “Contact Me” pricing, I’ve found many reps (especially more junior ones) very aggressive on the lack of transparency in non-transparent pricing.  I’ve also watched us walk away from several interesting vendors because it was just too hard to work with the sales reps. From that, I’ve tried to create a simple paradigm around non-transparent pricing:  Assume Every Other Customer Knows.  I’ve found this radically simplifies things at least until, and maybe even after, you have a big CPQ system in place, a strong sales ops process, and careful monitoring of deal structures, discounts, etc. The idea is so simple it’s hard to even bullet it out, but when you put together a custom deal: First, just assume all the other similar customers know each other’s pricing.  And they may well find out.  If you charge Google Continue reading "How To Simplify Non-Transparent Pricing: Assume Everyone Knows What Everyone Else Pays"

What should the dynamic between co-founders be like?


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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I think there’s one sign you can see in healthy co-founders: if they want to catch up every day. Being a founder and a leader is … isolating. There’s often no one else as CEO especially that you can really share the day’s and week’s challenges with, not really. Ideally, that would be your co-founder. When you see that relationship, the end-of-the day meet-up, every day. That’s when you see 1+1=3. Conversely, if you don’t really want to meet every day … It’s probably somewhat broken. Try to fix it. The longer you wait, the tougher it will be. View original question on quora The post What should the dynamic between co-founders be like? appeared first on SaaStr.

How do I motivate a sales team working commission only?


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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It is really, really tough. While I am sure there are examples of “1099 reps” that have done extremely well, I haven’t seen it work in SaaS. Pay the reps at least a small base salary, with a large commission. It’s what folks are used to. Otherwise, they sort of drift off when they don’t get a big commission check the first week or two … View original question on quora The post How do I motivate a sales team working commission only? appeared first on SaaStr.

In sales, is it most important to know exactly what a client wants?


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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Yes, but realistically, the bigger the check size, the bigger the deal, the more important it is. Ideally, very small deals are close to 1–2 call closes. A handful of the same questions, again and again. The bigger the deal, the more the questions will be about how to implement business process change effectively. That requires a deep, thoughtful understanding of how a prospect’s business works — and how to improve it. That’s a very, very different skill set than the first case. This is why it’s tough for hyper-transactional sales reps to close big deals, at least at first. And why big-deal reps often get overwhelmed with the flood of leads in transactional sales — and can’t keep up. View original question on quora The post In sales, is it most important to know exactly what a client wants? appeared first on SaaStr.

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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Is it advisable for startup owners to hire experienced staff for marketing instead of doing it themselves?


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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In a perfect world, you’d learn something about marketing first before you hire someone to take it over. I.e., you’d experiment and at least make some progress in:
  • Content Marketing. Can you get even 1 customer from blogging and writing?
  • Growth Hacking. Can you get even a couple of customers by emailing to a list?
  • Event Marketing. Can you get any good leads by going to an industry event first?
  • Drip Marketing. Can you set up Hubspot or Intercom or something to reach out programmatically to your leads, and see them convert at a higher rate?
  • PR. Can you get some great PR for your company that leads to customers — any customers?
  • Adwords and paid media. Can you prove this works at all, even just to get a few customers?
You can hire someone without any indications any of these channels work. But you’ll likely have more Continue reading "Is it advisable for startup owners to hire experienced staff for marketing instead of doing it themselves?"

The Meet-a-VC Program Comes to SaaStr Europa in June! Get Funded!


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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We’re not that far off from the second-ever SaaStr Europa, again back in Paris, on 12-13 June.  Just bigger and better!  More new friends!  More Unicorns!  More amazing sessions!  More mentors! And as part of Europa, we’re bringing the Meet-a-VC program from Annual to Europa. Apply now, and we’ll do our best to match you with a handful of top-tier VCs that might be a good fit for your SaaS start-up. Point Nine, Sapphire, Notion, Shasta, Bessemer and other top-tier firms are participating! And if you aren’t coming to Europa yet, grab a ticket now!  They are super cheap and prices GO UP, UP, UP on April 1 !! The post The Meet-a-VC Program Comes to SaaStr Europa in June! Get Funded! appeared first on SaaStr.