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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: Category: business
May 23, 2019

Join Logikcull's CEO and Co-Founder Andy Wilson as he takes you through the mistakes made going from $0 to $10M in 19 months.

 

Missed the session? Here’s what Andy talks about:

  • Selling the way your customers want to buy.
  • What you need to know about hiring, firing, advisors, and culture
  • Why SaaS is your business model, not your mission.

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

Jason Lemkin

SaaStr

Andy Wilson

May 20, 2019

Andrew Filev is the Founder & CEO @ Wrike, the cloud based collaboration and project management software that scales across teams in any business. In Dec 2008, Vista Equity Partners acquired a majority stake in Wrike for a deal reportedly valuing the company at $800m. Before this transaction, Andrew had raised over $45m in funding from the likes of Rory @ Scale and Bain Capital Ventures just to name a few. As for Andrew, he started his first software development company at the age of 18 and has been running Wrike for the last 13 years alongside advisory roles with both Ditto and Appulate.  

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Andrew made his way into the world of SaaS from his starting his first software business at the age of just 18 and how that led to his founding of Wrike?
  • How does Andrew advise founders on the question of whether to start in enterprise or SMB? What are the benefits of starting in SMB? How does the founder know when is the right time to start moving to enterprise? What are those leading indicators? How does the product and what you invest in proactively need to change as you move into enterprise?     
  • Andrew has been the CEO for the last 13 years, how has the role of CEO changed over those years? What has been the most challenging phase? If the CEO is the guardian of the culture, what does a great guardian look like? What 3 elements does Andrew focus almost exclusively on today within his role as CEO?    
  • What does Andrew think are the major breaking points in the scaling of companies? Where does culture begin to breakdown? What can be done to mitigate this? How does Andrew think about using employee satisfaction surveys internally? How can one accurately determine the strength of your manager set?

Andrew’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Andrew know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. No man’s land in SaaS pricing, does it exist?
  3. Sales rep productivity, what is good to Andrew?

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

Andrew Filev

May 16, 2019

Duo Security Co-Founder and CEO Dug Song and PagerDuty CEO Jennifer Tejada discuss building, enabling, and leading great teams through 10K+ customers, $100M+ ARR, $1B+ valuation and beyond - all while earning 4.5+ Glassdoor company ratings and 98%+ CEO approvals from 500+ total employees!

 

Duo Security is a cloud-based provider of unified access security and multifactor authentication was acquired by Cisco for $2.35 billion in October 2018. PagerDuty is a leading digital operations management platform for organizations announced new financing in September 2018 at a $1.3 billion valuation.

 

Missed the session? Here’s what Jennifer and Dug talk about:

  • When is the right time to raise money?
  • How can you better manage the board?
  • Should you worry about competitors?

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

Jason Lemkin

SaaStr

Jennifer Tejada

Dug Song

May 9, 2019

Dave Kellogg is CEO of Host Analytics and prolific blogger. Join him as he takes you through lessons learned from Host Analytics on the top questions every SaaS CEO wrestles with. Dave was CEO of Host Analytics from 2012 to 2018 where he quintupled ARR while halving customer acquisition costs in a highly competitive market, ultimately selling the company in a private equity transaction.

 

Missed the session? Here’s what Dave talks about:

  • When is the right time to raise money?
  • How can you better manage the board?
  • Should you worry about competitors?

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

Jason Lemkin

SaaStr

Dave Kellogg

May 6, 2019

Jason Reichl is the Founder & CEO @ GoNimbly, the first SaaS consultancy to focus on revenue operations. Currently growing 100% year over year, working with companies to un-silo their operations and create one strategic revenue ops team to support their Go To Market strategy. In the past, Go Nimbly has helped companies like Zendesk, Twilio, PagerDuty and Coursera to achieve alignment and increase revenue by 26%. As for Jason, prior to co-founding GoNimbly, he was Director of Product Management @ TradeShift and before that was VP of Product Management @ Lanetix.  

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Jason made his way from Director of Product Management at Tradeshift to changing the way we think about scaling revenue operations with GoNimbly?
  • Why does Jason believe that we have to remote handoffs between go to market teams? Why are they so damaging? How does Jason believe SaaS companies can use a “swarming” effect to create the best buyer experience for their customer? What does this involve? How does this change the type of metrics that we track?
  • Why does Jason believe that your North Star has to be revenue in the go to market teams? Why does Jason also believe that it is damaging to have the same North Star across the entire company? How should North Star’s be segregated between GTM teams and biz ops teams? What are the mistakes many companies make when setting their internal North Stars?
  • Why does Jason believe that alignment is a dirty word? Why is alignment actually a negative for the customer experience? What does Jason view as vanity metrics? If one has vanity metrics in place, what does Jason recommend as to keeping them or phasing them out?

60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Jason know now that he wishes he had known in the beginning?
  2. How does Jason feel about multi-year deals?
  3. How does Jason feel about channel/partner sellers?

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 2, 2019

We live in a Shark Tank world: competition is fierce, talent is better than ever, and we’re all striving to come out on top. CEOs everywhere are seeking to innovate, but 81% say their teams are not equipped to meet the challenges needed to compete in today’s marketplace.

 

Innovation is about empathy with your customers. It's all about customer obsession! In this session, Sandy Carter, AWS Vice President will hone your superpower - not of customer focus, or customer driven, but customer obsessed.

 

 

Missed the session? Here’s what Sandy talks about:

  • How to start with success and think backwards
  • Think about how to present a feature or product before you start building.

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

Jason Lemkin

SaaStr

Sandy Carter

Apr 22, 2019

Alexandr Wang is the Founder & CEO @ Scale, the startup providing high quality training and validation data for AI applications. To date, Alexandr has raised over $23m with Scale from some of the best in the business including Index, Accel, Y Combinator, Dropbox’s Drew Houston, Justin Kan, Thumbtack’s Jonathan Swanson and more. Prior to founding Scale, Alexandr was a Tech Lead at Quora, directly responsible for all speed projects and before that a software engineer at Addepar responsible for building and maintaining financial models.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How did Alex make his way into the world of SaaS and come to found Scale? What were some of his biggest takeaways from seeing the first hand scaling of Quora and Addepar?
  • Why does Alex take the contrarian view that “TAM in the traditional sense barely matter”? What two characteristics of the market should founders really look to examine? How does Alex approach the element of market sizing? Does he prefer top down or bottoms up and why?
  • Why does Alex believe that you must invest in customer success before you think you need it? What were the benefits for Alex of investing early in customer success? Why does CS over sales ultimately drive the growth of your company? How does one know when is the right time to hire their first in customer success? What is the ideal profile of this candidate?
  • How does Alex think about the integration of customer success and product teams? Why is it crucial from the product perspective that founders pick their first customers well? How can your customers drive your product decisions? How can one ensure to be customer informed and not customer driven?     
  • Why does Alex believe that in the early days it is not important to focus on the size of the deals you are signing? What should founders be focusing on with these early customers instead? When is the right time to flip the switch and opt for value extraction as a more primary objective? How does Alex respond to the fact that VCs often look at these first customer deals as an indication of the size of the pain point you are solving?  

60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Alex know now that he wishes he had known in the beginning?
  2. What does Alex believe is the hardest role to hire for today?
  3. Who does Alex think is crushing it in the world of SaaS today?

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

Alexandr Wang

Apr 18, 2019

Leela Srinivasan is the CMO of SurveyMonkey. Join her as she takes you through her seven tips for using customer feedback and building rabid fans. Consistently ramping your ARR is a whole lot harder if your customers don’t stick around. In an age where earning customer loyalty and trust is harder than ever, the road to lifetime value is paved with customer feedback. If you take the time to listen, understand and act on what your customers are thinking and feeling, you’ll create an army of advocates and drive topline revenue growth for good measure.

 

Missed the session? Here’s what Leela talks about:

  • How to create an army of advocates
  • How to drive topline revenue growth
  • Real world examples from businesses that are listening and acting on customer feedback every day.

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

Jason Lemkin

SaaStr

Leela Srinivasan

 

Apr 15, 2019

Stephen Burton is VP of Smarketing at Harness, the industry’s first continuous delivery as a service platform. To date, Harness has raised $20m in funding from the wonderful Matt Murphy @ Menlo Ventures and BIG Labs. Prior to Harness, Stephen was VP of Marketing at Glassdoor, managing a team of 52 in product marketing, helping grow B2B revenue from $19m to $90m in just 2 years, leading to their $1.2Bn acquisition. Before Glassdoor, Stephen was VP of Product Marketing at AppDynamics where he helped grow B2B revenue from $0 to $100m in a staggering 3 year period, resulting in their $3.9Bn acquisition by Cisco.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Steve made his way into the world of SaaS and came to be VP of marketing at 2 of the larger B2B exits of the last decade in AppDynamics and Glassdoor? What were Steve’s biggest takeaways from seeing the hyper-scaling at AppDynamics?
  • Steve has previously said, “sales and marketing must be one team”. Why does he believe this is so important? What can leaders do to turn this into reality? What works? Where has Steve seen many make mistakes? Where does Steve find common points of tension between sales and marketing? WHat are the 3 elements that marketing comp should be tied and aligned to?
  • What does Steve mean when he says, “marketers need to embrace the developer first mindset”? What does this mean for the processes used by marketing teams? Speaking of developer-first, how can startups compete in a war for talent against FB and Google? How can they integrate autonomy into their hiring process as a core advantage?     
  • For Steve, what does devops really mean? What does Steve believe is the right culture for devops teams? Does it differ from traditional dev teams? How can a CEO determine when is the right time to fundamentally invest in devops? What are the required steps to make devops teams as successful as possible?

60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Steve know now that she wishes she had known at the beginning?
  2. When is the right time to pour fuel on the company fire?
  3. The playbook? Is there one? Dangers? Copyability?
  4. What would Steve most like to change in the world of SaaS?

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

Stephen Burton

 

Apr 4, 2019

Karen Peacock is COO of Intercom, one of the fastest growing SaaS businesses of all time. She has led businesses of all sizes through massive growth.  Listen to her top 5 lessons learned building and scaling SaaS businesses from $1M to $500M in ARR including expanding to serve upmarket customers, moving from product to platform, and hiring to drive breakthrough customer experiences and business growth.

Missed the session? Here’s what Karen talks about:

  • How should you expand your market?
  • How to move upmarket
  • The steps to building a product and creating an end to end experience

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

Jason Lemkin

SaaStr

Karen Peacock

Apr 3, 2019

Ben Braverman is the CRO @ Flexport, one of the world’s fastest growing startups combining technology, infrastructure and expertise, to build the operating system for global trade. To date they have $1.35Bn in funding from some of the biggest and best in the business including Softbank’s Vision Fund, Founders Fund, DST, Susa Ventures and Y Combinator, just to name a few. As for Ben, he spearheads global sales and go to market teams. Prior to Flexport, Ben helped drive two high-growth companies to successful acquisitions: URX (acquired by Pinterest) and Heyzap (acquired by Fyber).

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Ben made his way into the world of startups and came to be CRO of one of the world’s fastest growing startups in the form of Flexport?
  • Why does Ben fundamentally disagree with the specialisation of roles within SaaS companies? What does he believes this does to the customer journey and relationship? How should one thing about role segmentation and allocation of accounts with this in mind? Where does Ben see many people going wrong here?
  • Why does Ben believe it is “total horseshit to say the best sellers don’t make the best managers”? What must founders try and figure out before hiring their sales leader? What are the leading indicators that suggest a sales rep has the ability to be a sales manager? How does Ben determine between a stretch VP and a stretch too far?   
  • What does Ben mean when he says, “there are 3 distinct buckets of sales management”? What are they and what is their relationship between one another? Why does Ben believe one does not need sales management in the early days? What is the best way to train reps and determine payback period fast? Why does Ben believe sales ops is the most underappreciated role in the valley?

60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Ben know now that he wishes she had known at the beginning?
  2. What is the optimal relationship between CRO and CEO?
  3. What does Ben believe in SaaS that most around his disbelieve?

 

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

Ben Braverman

Mar 28, 2019

Mark Roberge is a senior lecturer with Harvard Business School, former CRO of Hubspot and author of the bestseller "The Sales Acceleration Formula". Join him as he takes you through his step by step guide to revenue growth.

 

Missed the session? Here’s what Mark talks about:

  • An in-depth guide to driving revenue growth by company stage
  • When to scale and how fast
  • Product market fit, go-to market fit during the experiment stages

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

Jason Lemkin

SaaStr

Mark Roberge

Mar 25, 2019

Leyla Seka is the executive vice president of the Salesforce Mobile platform experience. Over Leyla’s incredible 11 year journey with Salesforce she has seen the team scale from 1,800 to over 40,000 and revenue scale from $500m to over $16Bn. In Leyla’s role today, she leads the charge on extending the power of Salesforce with a full portfolio of mobile apps, and is responsible for driving product, go-to-market and other key programs around Salesforce’s mobile offerings. Prior to her current role, Leyla was executive vice president of the Salesforce AppExchange, where she launched a refreshed AppExchange storefront, a new partner program, and built an entire AppExchange-focused team, resulting in more than 4,000 solutions, installed nearly 6 million times. Beyond her day-to-day role, Leyla is also the executive sponsor of BOLDforce, Salesforce’s organization for expanding and empowering the black community at Salesforce.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Leyla made her way into the world of SaaS with Salesforce when it had 1,800 people and $500m in revenue?
  • What were Leyla’s biggest learnings on people and business model through seeing the first hand hyper-scaling of Salesforce from $500m to $16Bn? How did Leyla evolve and scale as a leader herself in those 11 years? What advice does Leyla give to young people considering whether to found a startup, join a startup or join a hyper-growth company?
  • Where do things start to break in the scaling of SaaS companies? What needs to be put in place to prepare for hyper-scale? What are the commonalities of where many founders go wrong in the scaling process?  
  • What does Leyla mean when she says, “growing up in product, you have to lead through influence”? How does Leyla think this influence can be created and maintained? How does Leyla think about the balance between effective influence and excessive influence?  
  • Why does Leyla believe that, “you can teach skills but you cannot teach empathy”? What have been her learnings from scaling teams when it comes to hiring and detecting candidates with true empathy? What can one do to nurture that empathy in the culture of the company?

60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Leyla know now that she wishes she had known at the beginning?
  2. What is the hardest element of Leyla’s role at Salesforce today?
  3. What does Leyla believe in SaaS that most around her disbelieve?

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

Leyla Seka

Mar 21, 2019

At Atlassian, openness is core to everything the company does: employees can access most information on Confluence; "open company, no bullshit" is one of the company’s five values. But it can be risky. Atlassians knew the company was going public four months before it filed. The entire company was told about Atlassian selling its chat products Stride and Hipchat to its largest competitor in the space, Slack, four days before the news went out. Some would say that that level of openness is unnecessary, but Atlassian believes that trust and honesty are essential to maintaining the culture its worked so hard to build.

 

Missed the session? Here’s what Jay talks about:

  • What is driving growth in the cloud?
  • Does collaboration help founders drive growth forward?
  • How do you scale an open culture?

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

Jason Lemkin

SaaStr

Mar 18, 2019

Jeff Lawson is the Founder & CEO @ Twilio, the company building the future of communications allowing you to engage customers like never before on voice, SMS, WhatsApp or Video. Prior to their IPO in 2016, Twilio had raised over $250m in VC funding from some of the best in venture including USV, Bessemer, Salesforce and Techstars just to name a few. As for Jeff, prior to founding Twilio, Jeff was the Founder & CTO @ Nine Star Inc and enjoyed a spell at Amazon as a Technical Product Manager.

 

Sameer Dholakia is the CEO @ SendGrid, the category leader in email delivery, reaching half of the world’s digital users every 3 months. Last year Twilio acquired SendGrid bringing email into one seamless customer engagement platform. As for Sameer, prior to joining SendGrid, he spent 4 years at Citrix, where he drove the company’s product strategy for cloud infrastructure and server virtualization. Sameer joined the company in 2010, when Citrix acquired VMLogix, where he served as CEO and doubled revenues during each year of his tenure. Before that, he worked for 12 years at Trilogy, where he held key leadership roles helping the company grow from a start-up to a $300 million business.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Jeff came to found Twilio and what was that a-ha moment for him? How did Sameer enter the world of SaaS and come to be CEO @ SendGrid?
  • How did Jeff and Sameer assess the culture fit between the 2 companies when deciding whether or not to join forces? How did they formulate and approach creating a new set of values with the 2 companies coming together? How do they distinguish between culture and values? How can leaders both be authoritative and vulnerable simultaneously?
  • What does Jeff mean when he says, “the developer first approach is a maturation of the supply chain of software”? How has Jeff seen his original thesis for “developer first” evolve and change with time? What does truly special customer experience look like in the developer first model?  
  • In terms of product strategy, how do Jeff and Sameer approach when is the right time to release a second product? What does Jeff mean when he says, “you have to maximise the number of at bat opportunities you have”? Why does Sameer think that SendGrid waited too long to release additional product lines? What were his core learnings from that?
  • How do Jeff and Sameer think about what what truly special leadership looks like today? How do they approach speaking so that people will remember? What are some of their biggest tips to aspiring entrepreneurs with regards to that and team empowerment? Why do both Jeff and Sameer believe that so much of the management wisdom today is outdated?

60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What do Jeff and Sameer know now that they wish they had known at the beginning?
  2. The book they have gifted most often and why?
  3. What does it take to truly be a great board member?
  4. What do the next 5 years look like for Twilio? How big could it get?

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

Jeff Lawson

Sameer Dholakia

Mar 14, 2019

Formerly a senior leader at Google, Claire Hughes Johnson is now Chief Operating Officer at Stripe, where she’s helped guide the online payments firm through rapid growth. Stripe today has more than 1,400 employees and processes billions of dollars for millions of users worldwide. Scaling the company’s employee base, sales teams, marketing, and operations—all while preserving its culture—has required a laser focus on first principles, smart processes, and effective hiring.

Missed the session? Here’s what Claire talks about:

  • How to avoid trapdoor decisions when scaling
  • Lessons for scaling high-growth organizations

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

Jason Lemkin

SaaStr

Mar 11, 2019

Dan Reich is the Founder & CEO @ Troops.ai, the startup that is the ultimate slackbot for sales teams. To date, Dan has raised over $17m in VC funding with Troops from many friends of the show including Felicis Ventures, Founder Collective, First Round, Nextview, Susa Ventures and even Slack. As for Dan, he is also the Co-Founder and President of TULA, a private equity backed health and beauty business that has developed the world's first line of probiotic skincare products. Before that, Dan was a Co-Founder of Spinback (acquired by Buddy Media in May 2011, then acquired by Salesforce in June 2012).

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Dan made his way into the world of SaaS with the founding of Spinback? How that led to his founding of the ultimate slackbot for sales teams in Troops?
  • What does Dan really mean when he says “account based collaboration”? What is this a transition from? In terms of tracking and analysis, how does this change when making the move from tracking individual performance to team performance around an account? What can one do to actively implement this? What is key to a successful transition to this style of selling?
  • What does Dan mean when he says, “sales teams are not working together the way we think they are”? What can sales leaders do to actively ensure their sales team is acting in unison? Where do many sales leaders go wrong here? How does Dan think about post mortems when an account is lost or won? How does Dan prevent dips in morale when sharing the loss of a sale?
  • With scaling orgs, siloes are often created, why does Dan think many silos come into existence? At what stage does Dan really see them become a problem and cracks in the org begin to show? What can leaders do to instantly reduce the effect of silos? How does Dan think about controlling the noise to action ratio with the firehose of data at our disposal today?

Dan’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Dan know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. What is the right time to train your sales team?
  3. The right way to structure sales comp plans?

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

Dan Reich

Mar 5, 2019

Erica Schultz is Chief Revenue Officer @ New Relic, the company that gives you the real time insights your software driven business needs to innovate faster. Prior to their IPO, New Relic raised over $214m in funding from some of the best in the business including Benchmark, Insight Venture Partners and Blackrock, to name a few. As for Erica, under her CRO role, she leads all go-to-market functions including Marketing, Sales, Operations, Customer Success, Services, and Support. Prior to New Relic, Erica served as Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Customer Success at LivePerson and before that, Erica had a 16-year tenure with Oracle Corporation, where she founded and led numerous teams within the sales organization, including pioneering the company’s cloud business, and leading teams for North American and Latin American markets.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Erica made her way into the world of SaaS and came to be Chief Revenue Officer @ New Relic? What were some of her biggest takeaways from her incredible 16 year journey with Oracle?
  • Why does Erica believe that enterprise is a “company sport”? Why does each department need to re-platform when making the move to enterprise? How can founders know when is the right time to make the move from SMB to enterprise? Where does Erica often see founders make mistakes with this scaling?
  • How does the move to enterprise fundamentally impact the sales team? How does the structure of the sales team change with the move? How does the role of marketing change with the move to enterprise? How does this move impact the relationship between sales and marketing? How should compensation plans be altered with the move?
  • With the scaling of departments and teams, what has Erica seen work really well when it comes to making cross-functional teams communicate really well? What are the inflection points where Erica often see communication or process begin to breakdown? How does Erica ensure the team are still in the trenches with the clients despite the scaling?
  • From Erica’s experience, how do the very best sales reps build relationships with their prospects? Where do many go wrong? How much time does Erica believe reps should be given when it comes to translating relationships to dollars? What is the right way to think about payback period today?   

Erica’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Erica know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. The optimal relationship between CRO and CEO?
  3. The hardest element of being CRO @ New Relic?

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

Feb 26, 2019

Tom Tunguz is General Partner @ Redpoint Ventures, the venture fund with a portfolio including the likes of Stripe, Netflix, Zuora, Hashicorp and Juniper Networks just to name a few. As for Tom, he joined Redpoint in 2008 and has since led investments in Kustomer, Looker, Expensify and Gremlin all prior guests on the show I hasten to add. He is also the co-author of Winning with Data: exploring the cultural changes big data brings to business. Tom has also been named on the Forbes Midas Brink list. Before joining Redpoint, Tomasz was the product manager for Google’s AdSense social-media products and AdSense internationalization.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Tom made his way from creating software with his father in Brazil to being GP and forefront figure in the SaaS investment community as a GP at Redpoint today?
  • Annual contracts: To what extent do annual contracts dominate today? How does this differ when comparing enterprise to SMB? Why does Tom think in the early days one should be wary of signing too many multi-year contracts? What are the dangers there? How does Tom think about calculating churn when it comes to multi-year contracts?
  • What were the findings on what good looks like when it comes to logo retention? How does this differ when comparing SMB to enterprise? What were the commonalities of leading indicators of churn? Is it fair to always surmise that when serving SMB one will always have a higher rate of churn? What is the right way to conduct a churn analysis?
  • Assisted vs unassisted: What does Tom believe are the leading benchmarks for both? How does this differ when comparing SMB to enterprise? How does the impact of a salesperson change the conversion rate? What time frame from SAL to closed lead suggests product market fit? What one question must all founders be asking in the sales process?
  • How does Tom think about constructing comp plans the right way today? How should comp plans differ when comparing AEs to customer success? Where should the responsibility for upsell lie, customer success or sales? Should sales commission be paid on renewals?  

Tom’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Tom know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. What is Tom’s favourite book and why?
  3. What is Tom’s most recent investment and why did he say yes?

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

Tom Tunguz

Feb 19, 2019

Nick Mehta is the CEO @ Gainsight, the #1 customer success platform for corporate services, turning your customers into your best growth engine. To date Gainsight have raised over $156m from some of the world’s best VCs in the form of Lightspeed, Bessemer, Insight Venture Partners, Battery Ventures and Salesforce Ventures. As for Nick, prior to Gainsight he was the CEO @ LiveOffice where he grew cloud archiving ARR from $2m in 2008 to $25m in 2011 and drove and negotiated the acquisition by Symantec for $115m in cash. Before LiveOffice Nick was Senior Director of Product Management @ Symantec where he led $378 MM market-leading email archiving / security businesses managing over 180 people across 3 continents. I do also have to say a huge thank you to both Byron Deeter and Jason Lemkin for the intro to Nick over two years ago.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Nick made his way into the world of SaaS and came to lead the charge in the category creation of customer success as CEO with Gainsight? What were some of his big lessons from being CEO at 2 companies during 2 macro market crashes?
  • What does Nick mean when he says, “customer success will fail if it is just a role and not a strategy?” What can the leader and CEO do to imbue this company wide approach to customer success? What tangible actions are on offer? What works? Where do many make mistakes?
  • Nick has previously said, “burying customer success undel sales does not work”. Why does this have such a high rate of failure? What should the optimal sales to customer success relationship look like? What does Nick mean when he says, “product is to customer success what marketing is to sales”. How should product and customer success work together?
  • Why does Nick believe the mythology of the “A player” when business building is fundamentally dangerous? What can leaders and CEOs proactively do to ensure a diverse and differentiated talent pipeline? What question does Nick find most revealing in terms of one’s character and potential? Where do many go wrong in building and scaling their teams in SaaS?
  • Why does Nick push back against the “hire fast and fire fast” thesis? What are the negative consequences of it? Why is it short-sighted and premature in many cases? What does Nick suggest for individuals struggling to find their optimal role within an organisation? How much time does one give someone struggling to find their role?

Nick’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. Who must fundamentally own the renewal, sales or customer success?
  2. What Nick know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  3. What would Nick most like to change in the world of SaaS?
  4. Most surprising action that has moved the needle for a company in terms of retention?

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

Nick Mehta

Feb 11, 2019

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • David Skok: General Partner @ Matrix Partners: Why does David believe that all good products have at least one variable pricing axis? How can founders determine which variable they should choose for their product? What are the pros and cons?
  • Chetan Puttagunta: General Partner @ Benchmark: Why does Chetan believe we have seen a strong decline in the per seat pricing model? What are the major drawbacks of it? What are we seeing replace it? What has Chetan seen work well amongst his portfolio?     
  • Mark Suster: General Partner @ Upfront Ventures: What were Mark’s two biggest lessons on pricing from seeing the hyper-growth of Salesforce first hand? WHat does Mark advise founders when it comes to price anchoring and discounting? How does Mark view the sale of professional services with this in mind?
  • Amanda Kleha: Chief Customer Officer @ Figma: What were Amanda’s biggest learnings from running the Zendesk pricing playbook? What does Amanda mean when she says that successful pricing is broke up into 3 separate product features?   
  • Brad Birnbaum: Founder & CEO @ Kustomer:Why does Brad push back on the common suggestion of a “no man’s land in SaaS pricing”? Why is innovation in pricing actually detrimental to sales in most cases?
  • Guy Podjarney, Founder & CEO @ Snyk: How does Guy think about having a large enough base to test pricing strategies? How does Guy think about the balance between freemium and paid? Does one have to come first?

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

Feb 4, 2019

Bridget Gleason is VP of Sales @ Logz.io, the startup that uses predictive analytics and machine learning to provide monitoring, troubleshooting and security. To date, Logz have raised over $45m in funding from the likes of Openview, 83North and Vintage just to name a few. As for Bridget, she has the most incredible track record. Before Logz, Bridget was VP of Corporate Sales @ Sumo Logic where she drove ARR up by a record 237%. Prior to SumoLogic, Bridget was VP of Sales @ YesWare where she increased MRR per rep by 450%. Finally before YesWare, she was VP of Sales @ Engine Yard, where she tripled monthly recurring revenue, over course of 3+ year tenure, in 3 key leadership roles.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Bridget made her way into the world of sales and became the sales leader she is today, having started in the world of marketing?
  • Having led and scaled numerous sales teams, does Bridget agree the best sales reps are outgoing and extroverted? How does the successful profile of a sales rep depend on (1) whether you are selling to SMB or enterprise? (2) The stage of the company? How can one stress test the character type of the candidate pre-hire in the interview stage?     
  • Does Bridget believe that sales reps really are as coin operated as many suggest? Why is that potentially an unfair position to take? How does Bridget think about structuring the right comp plans for her team? What other methods of incentivisation does Bridget believe works equally as efficiently?    
  • Does Bridget believe that you should pay sales rep commissions on services revenue? Should one pay the same or lower commissions on renewals? Should multi-year deals be paid upfront? How does one structure commissions for the sales team with that in mind?  
  • When does Bridget believe is the right time to hire (1) your first sales reps? (2) Your first VP of Sales? Why does Bridget believe that 70% of VP of Sales positions do not work out in the first 9 months? What can founders do to increase the likelihood of success within their VP of Sales role? Where do many go wrong?  

Bridget’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Bridget know now that she wishes she had known when she started in SaaS?
  2. SDR’s are the most important function in the sales process, agree or not and why?
  3. Sales training, what works? What does not?

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

Bridget Gleason

Jan 28, 2019

Amanda Kleha is the Chief Customer Officer @ Figma, the startup that allows you to turn ideas into products faster through design, prototyping and feedback gathering, all in one place. To date, Figma have raised over $42m in VC funding from some of the best in the business including Index Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Greylock Partners and former guests on 20VC, Daniel Gross and Adam Nash. As for Amanda, prior to Figma, she held numerous roles at Zendesk including SVP of Marketing and Sales Strategy. Amanda joined Zendesk as the first marketing hire and over the next 7 years Zendesk grew to over 2,000 employees. Before Zendesk, Amanda worked on the marketing team for Google’s Enterprise SaaS businesses. If that was not enough Amanda is also an advisor at Airtable and Smartling.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Amanda made her way into the world of SaaS and came to join Zendesk as their first marketing hire seeing the company scale to over 2,000 over the next 7 years?
  • What were some of Amanda’s biggest learnings from seeing Zendesk scale from 12 to 2,000? How does one determine those that can vs cannot grow with the business? What is the sign a stretch VP is a stretch too far? How does Amanda balance between a culture of risk taking but also not accepting failure to easily?     
  • How does Amanda like to run the interview process? Why does Amanda like to not show emotion when interviewing a candidate? What are the benefits of this for the brand of your company? What single question does Amanda find most revealing in showing the abilities and character of a candidate in an interview?   
  • What does Amanda mean when she says “pricing is made up of 3 components”? Where does Amanda believe most people go wrong with pricing? Is there such thing as no man’s land in SaaS pricing? How does Amanda think the go-to-market has to change with every stage of development? What are the challenges with this?
  • How does the structure of decision-making change with scale? What are the inflection points? When does both decision-making and communication tend to break down? What can be done to ensure seamless cross-functional communication across the org? Where do most people fail here?   

Amanda’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Amanda know now that she wishes she had known when she started in SaaS?
  2. Is there such thing as no man’s land in SaaS pricing?
  3. How to ensure customer support is strategic and not just reactionary?

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

Amanda Kleha

Jan 21, 2019

Anne Raimondi has more than 20 years experience driving growth at startups and building them into nationally recognized brands. She has served as a leader and executive for technology innovators including Zendesk, Survey Monkey, Blue Nile, and eBay. Anne is also a Lecturer in Management at Stanford Graduate School of Business, teaching two popular courses, “Startup Garage” and “POWer: Building the Entrepreneurial Mindset.” She currently serves on the board of directors for SendGrid (NYSE: SEND) and MyHealthTeams. If that was not enough, Anne is also an active angel investor with an incredible portfolio including the likes of Canva, ipsy, and Minted just to name a few.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Anne made her way into the world of startups with Zendesk? How did seeing the hyperscaling of Zendesk impact Anne’s operational approach and mindset?
  • Does Anne agree that certain individuals are destined for certain stages of company development? What are the leading indicators that one can or cannot scale? What are the inflection points in company growth where process tend to break? What can managers do to provide security in these times of change?   
  • Why does Anne believe that everyone should be a product person in SaaS? What are the inherent benefits of this product centricity? How does the element of product centricity change when catering to 2 customers, CIO and consumer? How does Anne advise on this issue of agency?  
  • How does Anne approach optimising internal decision-making processes? Where do many leadership teams make mistakes here? What is the right way for leadership teams to communicate their decisions to the wider team? How does Anne approach ensuring cross-functional communication at scale?
  • How has Anne seen her style of board membership change over the last 8 years? What has been an inflection point that has changed the way she thinks about what it takes to be a great board member? Who has been the best board member Anne has worked with? What made them so special?  

Anne’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Anne know now that she wishes she had known at the beginning?
  2. The right way for founders to view competition?
  3. What would Anne most like to change in the world of SaaS today?

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

Anne Raimondi

Jan 15, 2019

Jason VandeBoom is the Founder and CEO of ActiveCampaign, a sales and marketing automation platform that enables small businesses around the world to meaningfully connect and engage with their customers. Jason founded the company in 2003 and under Jason's leadership, ActiveCampaign has flourished from a successful but small company and then in 2013, they transition to SaaS, since they have grown to more than $50 million in ARR in less than five years, while still maintaining profitability and its culture. They have also only raised a single $20m PE round to accelerate their growth, making them a market leader in terms of funds raised/ARR generated.  

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Jason made his way into the world of SaaS and came to found ActiveCampaign?
  • Why is Jason so bullish that “SMB first, works”? What are the inherent benefits from starting at SMB? How does it affect product feedback? How does it affect how you build and scale your team? How does one start to layer in market and enterprise over time? Why does it give you additional leverage?  
  • What does Jason think is the right way to scale your sales team> Why does one not need funding to scale sales teams? When does Jason believe is the right time to hire your first VP of Sales? What were the biggest mistakes that Jason made in the scaling of his sales team? Why should hire 3 reps to start at one time?  
  • How does Jason view the current fundraising environment? Why does Jason believe that “no one cares if you get funding”? Why does Jason believe there is a fear around needing fast growth? Who is to blame for this? How should founders in the messy middle feel when seeing large fundraises in the media?
  • Why does Jason believe that all leaders need to be consuming all feedback? How does Jason consume feedback on a daily basis? What metrics and elements does he look for in this assessment? How has Jason’s role changed over the 16-year CEOship? Does it get easier over time in Jason’s mind? What has been the biggest challenge?

Jason’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Jason know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. No man’s land of SaaS pricing, exist or a myth?
  3. Multi-year deals, all they are cracked up to be or overrated?

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

Jason VandeBoom

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