Q: When should an enterprise data collection startup hire a VP Customer Success to upsell customers much larger contracts for analytics?
p class="Box-sc-9env3-0 Text-jjrgda-0 QTextPara___StyledText-anoo6m-0 kvqEEv">As early as possible.
Once you have even $1m in revenue, you are likely ready for a full-time customer success leader. Maybe even, once you have more than 2 or 3 big customers. Then it can’t just be part of your job, or someone else’s job.
Staff 1 person for every few top logos if you can, as early as you can. Watch magic happen over time.
Ep. 311: Karl Sun is the Founder & CEO @ Lucidchart, a visual workspace that combines diagramming, data visualization, and collaboration to accelerate understanding and drive innovation. To date, Karl has raised $114M with Lucidchart from some of the best in the business including K9 Ventures, Meritech, Iconiq, GV and Kickstart in Utah. As for Karl, prior to founding the company he spent 6 years at Google in some fascinating roles including Head of Patents, Head of Business Development in China and running Google’s energy investments. As a result of his success, Karl was recently announced as EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year.
Pssst 🗣 Loving our podcast content? Listen to the start of the episode for a promo code to our upcoming events!In Today’s Episode We Discuss:
How Karl made his way into the world of SaaS with the founding of Lucidchart having been Head of Business Development for Google in China and Head of Patents.
How does one know when we need to hire generalists vs specialists? How does this requirement change as the company scales? How does Karl fundamentally think about finding great talent and keeping top of funnel full? How does Karl think about working with recruiters? What works? What does not work?
Karl has been in every interview for every new hire for the first 6 years of the business, why? How does Karl think about doing this at scale? How does Karl structure the hiring process today? Why do they have a hiring committee? What does the process look like? How do they assess and test for culture?
How does Karl think about retaining agility and flexibility with scale? How does Karl maintain employee empowerment with the implementation of process? How does Karl think about the balance between creating accountability without a fear of failure? What are the challenges of this?
Ep. 312: Starting a company can be daunting, exhausting, and expensive, but with the right focus and idea – extremely rewarding; take it from Andrew Filev, Founder and CEO of Wrike. In this session, he will outline the do’s and dont’s that he learned bootstrapping Wrike. Where it makes sense to invest your precious resources when to outsource, and how to save yourself money without cutting corners.
The other day I had a whiplash moment as a customer of a Unicorn SaaS company. I had a large problem with a piece of software with a lot of integrations in it, and it really wasn’t clear whose problem it was. But one of the vendors stepped up and said they’d solve the problem. They worked over the weekend and fixed it! Beyond above and beyond.
I became the world’s biggest super fan of this vendor. I said put me on the website, make me a reference account, anything. I became Mr NPS 100.
And then something happen. The fix … broke. And things were sort of bad again.
Under the adage of No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, I went back to the vendor that did the fix and told them the fix didn’t work anymore. After some research, they Continue reading "To Have Great Support — All Of It Has to Be Great"
Q: How do you pull your SaaS competitor’s customers to your SaaS instead?
p class="Box-sc-9env3-0 Text-jjrgda-0 QTextPara___StyledText-anoo6m-0 kvqEEv">You have to be where your competitors are. You have to show up.
Many startups try to avoid the places their larger competitors are. They avoid the same tradeshows. They don’t sponsor the same newsletters and services.
They try to stake out their own marketing white space.
While that’s a good idea, you also want to be exactly where your competitors are. Why?
80%+ of customers will buy the top brand. But not 100%. Others will look for what else is out. What’s more innovative. What has a new solution to an old problem. And they will look where the top brand is. At the same events, the same podcasts, the same websites.
Q: Does valuation play into how likely anyone would want to acquire the business from the founders?
p class="Box-sc-9env3-0 Text-jjrgda-0 QTextPara___StyledText-anoo6m-0 kvqEEv">There is no question “too high” of a valuation can discourage an acquisition. Acquirers will generally assume they have to pay more than the last round price to buy you, and often 2x-3x more:
Plaid at $5b was 2x the last round price.
Credit Karma at $7b was ~2x the last round price.
Salesforce just bought Vlocity for $1.2b, a smidge more than the last round price of $1b.
So yes, your valuation really becomes your floor price in many ways for an acquistion — in both bad ways (hard to get acquired for less than last round price) and good ways (a floor for negotiation, like Plaid, etc.).
So whatever you do, don’t raise a round at a higher price than you are willing to sell for!
By Shane Murphy-Reuter, Intercom SVP of Marketing
Most marketers I know struggle over the same competing messaging challenges: to what degree should we focus our messaging on the function of what our product can do, versus the emotion of how it makes me feel when I use it?
The benefits of both approaches are clear. We’re all human, so if brands can tap into a higher, more emotional meaning for us, we reward that with loyalty. Emotional marketing cuts through the noise and makes me care. However, emotional messaging can only get you so far. At some point, if you want someone to buy your $100k software, you need to convince them of the function of your product.
Most tech companies are founded by technical people who lean towards communicating the functional, and miss the emotional “why.” So how do you create campaigns that have both emotional and functional Continue reading "Two approaches to marketing messaging at odds"