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The Official Saastr Podcast: SaaS | Founders | Investors

The Official Saastr Podcast is the latest and greatest from the world of Saastr, interviewing the most prominent operators and investors to discover their tips, tactics and strategies to attain success in the fiercely competitive world of SaaS. On the side of the operators, we centre around getting from $0 to $100m ARR faster, what it takes to scale successfully and what are the core elements of hiring. As for the investors, we learn what metrics they hone in on when examining SaaS business, what type of metrics excites them and what they look for in SaaS founders.
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Now displaying: May, 2017
May 29, 2017

Jeetu Patel is Senior Vice President of Platform and Chief Strategy Officer of Box where he leads the Box Platform organization, driving the strategy of the platform business and developer relations. He also oversees the corporate strategy and development organization for Box. Before joining the company, Patel was General Manager and Chief Executive of EMC's Syncplicity business unit. Prior to EMC, Patel was president of Doculabs, a research and advisory firm focused on collaboration and content management across a range of industries.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Jeetu made his way into the world of SaaS and came to be one of the key executives at Box?
  • What are Jeetu’s 3 tips to startup founders looking to build high performing teams? Why does Jeetu believe that team sizes must always remain small? What are the inflection points in team size when dynamics change?
  • What does Jeetu argue that founders must pursue really hard problems? What are the benefits of this when hiring new people to the team? How does Jeetu balance between visionary hard problems and unrealistic?
  • What does Jeetu mean when he says, ‘do things that do not scale so you can do things that sustainably scale? What are some examples of how this has been done effectively? Where do most startups go wrong in scaling sustainably?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. What does Jeetu believe that most around him do not?
  2. Fave SaaS reading material?
  3. Why businesses will find the rules of the future very different to the rules of the past?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Jeetu Patel

May 26, 2017

Laura Bilazarian is the Founder & CEO @ Teamable, the startup that allows you to recruit the best talent from your network. They have raised funding from some stellar investors including the likes of True Ventures and SaaStr. As for Laura, she started out her career on Wall St before making forays into the world of Vietnamese hotel building and being a National Rugby Champion. Laura has also spent time with the likes of Fairmount Partners where she worked on dozens of M&A transactions to large public companies.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Laura make her way from Wall St to rugby captain to founder of SaaS startup, Teamable?
  • Why does Laura believe that “you should always be premium”? What are the benefits to this? How does this affect how Laura views both freemium versions of products and free trials?
  • Why does Laura believe that you have to “create an outbound sales culture as early as possible”? Why is this? Does this change according to the differing customer profiles?
  • How can SaaS businesses aid in the closing of their clients? What can they do to make this process as seamless and easy as possible? What are the requirements for this process?
  • Why does Laura believe there are only ‘2 ways to hire’? What are those 2 ways? What methods of inbound applications must be ignored? How can founders ensure continued quality when hiring at scale?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. What does Laura know now that she wishes she had known at the beginning?
  2. What is Laura’s fave SaaS reading materials?
  3. Competitive advantages of being a female CEO?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Laura Bilazarian

May 22, 2017

Mark Suster is Managing Partner at Upfront Ventures which he joined in 2007, having previously worked with Upfront for nearly 8 years as a two-time entrepreneur. Before joining Upfront Mark was Vice President, Product Management at Salesforce.com following its acquisition of Koral, where Mark was Founder and CEO. Prior to Koral, Mark was Founder and CEO of BuildOnline, a European SaaS company that was acquired by SWORD Group. Mark is also the writer of one of my favourite VC blogs, Both Sides Of The Table which is a centre piece to the whole VC community and is a must read for all interested in entrepreneurship and VC.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Mark made his way into the world of startups and came to invest in SaaS with Upfront today?
  • What are 4 reasons why startups should prioritise professional services in the early days? Why do most VCs disagree with this? How did Salesforce do this right in their period of hyper-growth?
  • How should early stage startups approach the topic of pricing? How can they evaluate whether to call high or low? What are the pros and cons of doing both?
  • Mark has previously discussed the importance of finding your champion in the buying process. How can startups determine whether your champion is a decision-maker? What questions can you ask to find this out?
  • What changes as a SaaS business scales? What are the key inflection points of company development? How does Mark view the amount B2B startups are raising today? How does Mark evaluate responsible and right spend?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. What should your first sales reps be really good at?
  2. How has Mark seen early stage SaaS startups go wrong most often?
  3. IPO markets, frothy or fantastic?
  4. What does Mark know now that he wishes he had known before?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Mark Suster

May 19, 2017

Today’s show is centred around The Top 10 VP of Sales Lessons Learned In Scaling To $100M ARR. Leading this conversation is Aaron Ross, author of best selling book, Predictable Revenue, providing the framework for the outbound process & sales team Aaron created for Salesforce.com. During his time at Salesforce as Director of Corporate Development and Acquisitions, Aaron added an extra $100 million in revenue in just a few years. Joining Aaron from the sales perspective we have Andrew Bothwell, VP of Sales @ TalkDesk and Aaron Schilke, VP Enterprise Sales @ Talkdesk, one of the fastest growing SaaS startups today. Providing insight from the other side of the table we have Josh Stein, Partner @ DFJ where his current board responsibilities include Box (NYSE: BOX), Chartbeat, LaunchDarkly, LendKey, SugarCRM, and previous guest with me on SaaStr in Talkdesk. But enough from me so without further ado I am going to hand over the reigns to Aaron Ross.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • What does Josh Stein believe is the toughest growth stage in SaaS? Which stage separates the men from the boys?
  • Why is growing to 100 a case of simple maths? How does this maths affect how you should think about your sales hiring pipeline? How does this maths affect your view of forecasting?
  • How do TalkDesk look to build a repeatable and scalable sales process? What have been their major learnings? Where do most startups make mistakes and falter?
  • How should VPs of sales approach feedback with their reps? Why has a VP failed if a rep is blindsided by a particular piece of feedback?

 

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

May 15, 2017

Edith Harbaugh is the Founder & CEO @ LaunchDarkly, the startup that allows you to fearlessly and swiftly release software by separating feature rollout from code deployment. They have raised over $10m in funding from many previous guests of The Twenty Minute VC including Andy McLoughlin @ SoftTech, Josh Stein @ DFJ and the wonderful team at Bloomberg Beta. As for Edith, prior to LaunchDarkly, she was a Director of Product @ Tripit and Concur. Edith also holds two patents in deployment from her time in engineering at Vignette.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Edith made her way into the world of SaaS and came to found LaunchDarkly?
  • Does Edith agree with Jason Lemkin that the hardest element is the 1-10 customer phase? How has Edith navigated this process with her differing companies?
  • How does Edith look to structure her sales team to successfully close Fortune 500 deals? What is the fundamental difference in selling to enterprise rather than SMB?
  • What can founders do to make NPS a more intelligent metric? How can NPS be analysed effectively to tell you more about the state of your business?
  • What are the signs of a truly great sales person? How do they aid not only their company but the customer they are serving? What is their required knowledge base?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. What is Edith’s fave SaaS resource?
  2. What does Edith know now that she wishes she had known before?
  3. Oakland Office: Why not SF? What are the benefits?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Edith Harbaugh

 

May 12, 2017

Lauren Vacarrello is VP of Marketing @ Box, one of the leading enterprise B2B brands today. At Box, Lauren leads a 50 person team that involves demand generation, global campaigns, events and more. Prior to Box, Lauren was VP of Marketing @ Adroll, where she built and scaled a 25 person global marketing team from the ground up. If that was not enough, Lauren is also the Co-Author of “The Retargeting Playbook” and “Complete B2B Online Marketing”.   

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How does Lauren view the relationship between sales and marketing? Why does Lauren believe the ARR pipeline is not just the responsibility of the sales team?
  • Why is lead nurturing not just about email? What are the other core components to ensure successful progression of leads through the funnel?
  • How does Lauren view successful lead segmentation? Why does Lauren like to segment leads into 3 distinct buckets? How does this strategy play out at different ends of the market?
  • What is the role of marketing post-purchase? How has Lauren seen this change since the early days of her career? How does this differ when comparing SMB to enterprise?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Lauren Vaccarello




May 8, 2017

Aaref Hilaly is a Partner @ Sequoia Capital, one of the world’s most successful VC funds with investments in the likes of Apple, Google, Paypal, Whatsapp and LinkedIn just to name a few. As for Aaref he came to the valley with 2 suitcases and the ambition to start a company. That he did and had 2 companies that were Sequoia backed, first CenterRun and then ClearWell Systems where Aaref was instrumental in the company’s growth from 0 to a $100m revenue run rate in just 4 years, prior to their $410m acquisition by Symantec. Today Aaref draws on this incredible operational success to illustrate how to manage up and have a very happy board.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • Why does Aaref advocate for founders not to manage the board but to engage them? How can this be done effectively?
  • What does Aaref state are the dangers of focussing on metrics with your board? Why should you focus on product instead? How does this shift change the dialogue with the board?
  • When things do go wrong and the company misses a quarter, how should the founder react? Why does Aaref suggest that founders need to own the miss? How should they structure these conversations? What should they not do when they miss a quarter?
  • How can founders most effectively put their board to work? How should this be communicated and then followed up on by the founder? Where has Aaref found the board can provide the most value?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Aaref Hilaly

May 5, 2017

Mark Roberge is a Senior Lecturer @ Harvard Business School where he teaches entrepreneurial sales and marketing. Prior to his role with HBS, Mark was the Chief Revenue Officer @ Hubspot where he increased revenue over 6,000% and expanded the team from 1 to 450 employees. As a result, Mark has been named Forbes' Top 30 Social Sellers in the World and awarded the 2010 Salesperson of the Year by MIT.

Michele Law is an investor and advisor specialising in building and executing on go to market strategies, creating new revenue models and the operations to support them. Michelle has sat on both sides of the table having been a Principal at Greylock for 8 years before moving to be COO at OpenDNS where she led the sales and customer success team growing enterprise revenue from $0 to $20M ARR in 4 years, prior to the company’s acquisition by Cisco for $635m. Michele then moved to Castlight Health where she grew revenue from $13 to $75m.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • Why it is fundamentally dangerous to prematurely focus on growth? How can founders know when is the right time to focus on growth? What does the path to growth phase look like?
  • How should founders assess and structure the core components: customer success, unit economics and growth? In which order should they be prioritised? What does the funnel look like?
  • What should the profile of your first sales hire be? How can founders understand who and when to hire? From Hubspot days, when has Mark seen the transition from generalist to specialist?
  • What should your sales compensation plan look like in the early days of the company? Why does Mark believe that churn is rooted in the sales compensation plan?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

May 1, 2017

Todd Olson is the Founder & CEO @ Pendo, the startup that allows you to capture all user behaviour, gather feedback and then provide contextual support.  They have raised over $30m in VC funding from some of the very best in the business including Neeraj @ Battery Ventures, Megan @ Spark and Matt @ Salesforce Ventures just to name a few. As for Todd, prior to Pendo he held various different roles in product as well as co-founding 2 prior startups.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Todd make his way into the world of SaaS and come to found Pendo?
  • Why does Todd believe that there is inherent tension between customer success and product teams? How has this changed from sales and marketing team tension? What does Todd suggest to mitigate this tension?
  • How does Todd evaluate his hiring process? At what stage does one become a specialist vs a jack of all trades? Why does Todd always believe that you should hire ahead of where you are?
  • Todd has previously said that ‘money is not all the same’. How does Todd look to select his investors? What value adds are most desired for Todd? What do the best investors do that make them so?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. What does Todd know now that he wishes he had known in the beginning?
  2. What is Todd’s favourite SaaS reading material: Mattermark Daily, Tom Tunguz
  3. Creating a startup culture for adults?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Todd Olson

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