10 Tips To Avoid SaaS Burnout


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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Burnout is a real risk in SaaS.

Not usually in the early days.  But as time marches on — It’s a huge risk.  

One piece of “evidence” — a lot of fairly successful SaaS startups all sell at about the same point in time … about 5 years in. Because the founders get just too burnt out around Year 4 … and as Year 5 rolls in, they’re running a bit on fumes, and … they sell.  Or take a bad venture deal.  Or just plain start to give up a little.  Often, as it’s just finally getting good.

My Top 10 suggestions to avoid long-term burn-out:

  • Hire that Extra VP — a True Owner. Don’t try to save a few nickels here. You’re responsible for everything as it is. But you have to own less as you scale. Find 1 or 2 or 3 truly great VPs that Continue reading "10 Tips To Avoid SaaS Burnout"

Why You’ll Need Just About $3,000,000 to Build Your First Real Sales & Marketing Team


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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Every week, I meet with several entrepreneurs, often bootstrapped or close to it, who fit the following sort of model:
  • Gotten to Initial Traction (~$1m-$1.5m ARR), or getting close to it, or a bit beyond; and
  • With nice growth (>=100% YoY); and
  • Company isn’t really burning much cash because
  • The CEO basically is the VP of Sales and Revenue and Customer Success, with maybe a junior resource or two helping.
And they realize, now that they’ve gotten here, that — it’s time to Go Bigger:

Should Your VP Sales Start Off as a Player-Coach?


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 7.35.44 PMThe moment comes when it’s time to hire your first VP Sales. We’ve talked in the past about the 48 Different Types of VP Sales, What a VP Sales Really Does, and even given you a Script to Use When Interviewing a VP Sales. So then that time comes.  Probably, unless you have a ton of funding, the time to hire your VP Sales will come after you have Initial Traction but well before you are at Initial Scale. So some money is coming in, but not enough on its own yet to make the business sustainable or at least achieve the type of velocity you want. So at this stage, the VP Sales, while necessary, sure looks expensive. He or she will likely not only have the highest salary in the entire company (at least if he or she hits her plan and earns the full OTE, Continue reading "Should Your VP Sales Start Off as a Player-Coach?"

Here’s Who’s Hiring a VP of Sales in January


This post is by Brian Brannon from SaaStr


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Finding the perfect VP of Sales position can be daunting, especially in the middle of a global pandemic. Candidates need to find opportunities that not only fit their sales experience and stretch goals, but also companies that are coming out of the pandemic with momentum. Add all of these considerations to an already competitive job market, and the search may seem insurmountable. Take heart, with the stock market still performing well into 2021 and vaccines beginning distribution across the United States, things are looking up. Now is the perfect time to find your destined VP of Sales position, even if you’re still in the Bay Area. To help you with your search, we’ve compiled a list of sales leadership opportunities from around our community to help connect leading startups with the best candidates. 

Your (Belated) SaaS New Year’s Resolution: Add a Layer


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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I agree with most Start-Up Truisms.  One of the best ones is Don’t Chase the Shiny Penny.  Double Down on What Works. For sure this is true in SaaS.  If you’ve got a good thing in a certain vertical, double down there.  If you have mid-market customers but not many in the enterprise or low-end, focus there even more this year.  Etc., etc. And yet … What tends to happen for most SaaS businesses even as early as $2m ARR or so, is that they get a core engine that’s working.  At least at 20,000 feet.  It’s hard, yes.  But assuming you execute, and the leads continue to come in, etc. … you should grow say 100% over the next 12 months.  Based just on the velocity rate from the past X months. I completely agree you should spend 90%+ of your time just doing what’s working, only better,
😉
Continue reading "Your (Belated) SaaS New Year’s Resolution: Add a Layer"

If Your VP Sales Isn’t Going to Work Out — You’ll Know in 30 Days


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 2.23.15 PMWe’ve talked a lot on SaaStr about how to make that critical hire: the VP Sales.  I’ve done it right, and I’ve done it wrong.  When it’s good … it’s just so good.  It all clicks.  But when you make a mis-hire, it’s about the worst mis-hire you can make.  Because you’ll lose not just some incremental revenue, but potentially far more.  All the second-order revenue you could have had (6x the initial lost revenue).  You’ll end up with a crummy sales team under a mis-hire.  And you’ll get lost.  You can end up in a Year of Hell. So I’ve tried to help here.  We’ve posted a script to use when interviewing a VP Sales.  A guideline to what phase and type to hire.  And lessons learned on what a VP Sales really does. And yet … Even with all that … You may screw it up.  In fact,
Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 1.41.03 PM
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Continue reading "If Your VP Sales Isn’t Going to Work Out — You’ll Know in 30 Days"

If You Are Going to Hire a Stretch VP — Do It Early.


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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There’s an interesting corollary to the fact that the best SaaS companies grow faster than ever today. The corollary is that the window to hire a Stretch VP is shorter than ever.
  • If you hit $1m ARR growing 6-8% a month, you can probably hire a Stretch VP of Sales any time the following 12 months.
  • If you hit $1m ARR growing 15-20% a month, you probably only have a 3-6 month window to hire a Stretch VP of Sales.  Before you outgrow her too quickly.
stretch-body-mindWe’ve talked a lot about Stretch VP hires on SaaStr, and Brendon Cassidy did a great dedicated piece here recently. The reality is when you go to hire your VPs, you’ll be left with 4 types:  1) Stretch, 2) Absolutely Perfect, 3) Too “Heavy” — (i.e., needs too much infrastructure to scale at your stage), 4) Nice LinkedIn / Resume — But Continue reading "If You Are Going to Hire a Stretch VP — Do It Early."

If You Don’t Think You Need a VP of Product, VP of Marketing, Etc. — Then You Haven’t Worked With a Great One


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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I hear again and again from SaaS founders growing to $5m, $10m ARR or even more that they don’t need a certain VP — with the exception of a VP of Sales.  That they can get away without no one in the role, or a just a junior person in marketing, in product, in success, in biz dev, etc. vice_president_of_awesome_mugBasically, in SaaS, everyone “gets” that they need a VP of Sales.  Even if they’ve never sold anything before.  They don’t have enough customers, enough velocity, so they get they need someone to help them do better in “sales”.  Now they often expect a magician, as we’ve discussed here.  But, as founders, at least as we cross $1-$1.5m in ARR, get to Initial Traction, we then realize we have to scale.  Hire not just 1-2 reps, but 10.  To get to $5m-$10m ARR and beyond, we’ll Continue reading "If You Don’t Think You Need a VP of Product, VP of Marketing, Etc. — Then You Haven’t Worked With a Great One"

Outbound Always Works. If You Do It Right. And You Put In The Time.


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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These days, it can really feel like the Old Bag of Sales Tricks is starting to just not work anymore:
  • With maybe 500x the SaaS vendors of 10 years ago, there’s so much noise.
  • Emails get blocked, spam filtered.
  • No one even has voice mail anymore.
  • 50 calls a day feels awfully dated.
  • Everyone gets 10,000 drip email campaigns sent to them.
Are there categories where outbound sales just doesn’t work? Well maybe, but let’s step back a minute. One thing has not changed in SaaS in the last 10 years:

When The Team Revolts


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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Start-ups aren’t democracies, no matter what some employees may think.  The CEO is the CEO, and the founders are the founders. But start-ups also aren’t IBM or Cisco.  Or even, anything like DropBox or Slack or Box or Hubspot, not organizationally at least. From 1-10 employees, it’s a family.  After 150 or so, somewhere in there, it starts to become a traditional hierarchical structure. revoltIn between … from 10ish employees to 1X0ish … a start-up is something unique.  Something organic.  A couple of platoons.  An organization that has come together voluntarily to take on a mission, at least in part.  Later, it’s just a job.  Maybe a cool job, but just a job.  But from 10-150, it’s no longer a (squabbling?) family, but for many of your team, it’s more than just the best way to pay the rent. And in this phase, most likely, at least once — the troops will revolt. Continue reading "When The Team Revolts"