I wrote an early SaaStr post way back in 2013 on my “Year of Hell” as a SaaS CEO in 2008. In 2013, we were just 2 years removed from the real recovery from ’08-’09. And the one thing that was clear to me was that as hard as it was to see at the time, once we got out of our Year from Hell at Adobe Sign / EchoSign … things roared back. I thought it would be worth a refresh of that post here.
Will it be a V-shaped recovery this time? Or a swoosh? I don’t know. But many of you will go through not just a rough few weeks, but a Year From Hell. That happy customers and recurring revenue will pull you out of.
Almost all SaaS founders experience a Year from Hell at least once on the 7-10 year SaaS journey.
And it’s almost
Q: Which VC firms are still reviewing fundable deals during the Covid-19 quarantine?
Almost every VC firm is reviewing deals. The question is what are they doing about them.
We did a deep dive on the topic with Byron Deeter of Bessemer Venture Partners and it’s a pretty incredible look at what’s happening in VC right now:
A few summary thoughts:
A lot of time is still being taken up with “triage” on existing portfolios.
Many bigger firms have “tapped the brakes” and at least made a decision to slow down their investing pace for now.
Many bigger firms want to reserve capital for deals later in the year when valuations “reset” a bit. They feel (right or wrong) that they overpaid for deals in 2019 and early 2020 and a need to benefit from lower valuations later in 2020.
Everyone’s gone into War Mode of some sort. If you are one of the SaaS companies that is “benefitting” from the current crazy environment, you’re overloaded. If you are one of the SaaS companies that is in one of the hardest-hit categories (travel, events, housing, etc.) you’ve already been through gut-wrenching change. Many of you are in the middle right now — deals slowing down, churn or pre-churn creeping up, etc.
Wherever you are in SaaS, you’ve probably adapted. Founders are really good at this. It’s so hard to start something, you almost fail so many times, that somehow you can deal with almost anything. Even a Black Swan event. Even, somehow, a global pandemic.
I don’t have any profound insights, but perhaps one way I can help a little bit is that little old team SaaStr started going into War Mode earlier. So we might just
Things are so crazy right now, and beyond that, the pace of change is almost incomprehensible. Zoom has grown 20x in usage in just more than a month. But at the same time, we added 6,000,000 new to the unemployment rolls. SaaS for some industries is being decimated in just a week or two. In other cases, unexpected upgrades and leads seem to come out of nowhere.
We are going to see some sort of rapid evolutionary change in SaaS. Exactly where is hard to see right now.
But one thing that has already started is the erosion of the SF Bay Area as the Global HQ of SaaS.
Start-ups have certainly became very global in B2B in the past 5-7 years. Atlassian, Adyen, and so many other leaders weren’t founded in the U.S., let alone the Bay Area. MongoDB, Datadog, Continue reading "Is This The Beginning of the End of the Bay Area as The Global HQ of SaaS?"
There are no easy answers, but we do know one thing:
When things come back, you will need everyone great.
Marc Benioff said one of his top mistakes was not hiring enough salespeople in 2009, during the peak of the last downturn.
At almost every company, if we’re honest, the “bottom” 10% doesn’t contribute that much if any value. If you have to cut, start there. Every VP, every manager, and probably even most employees know who isn’t contributing enough. It’s about a 20-minute discussion to align on who the bottom 10% is. Beyond that is harder.
By that, I mean the best SaaS professionals and managers I know have a variety of approaches and temperaments. Some have a very intellectual approach to sales. Some shoot a lot from the hip. Some are aggressive, others are determined (similar, but different).
But all the best ones I know started early. Often, their first job or close to it. As an SDR. As a recruiter. Maybe even outside of technology. But they started there, learning, improving, and growing.
What I do worry about is someone that later in their career that wants to get into sales because they think it pays better, or is more glamorous. I don’t see that work out that often.
Getting 50 No’s before a Yes is tough. Probably best to learn early if that’s you.