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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 center 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
Jul 6, 2020

Neha Sampat is the Founder and CEO @ Contentstack, a modern content management system bringing business and tech teams together to deliver personalised, omnichannel experiences. Atypical in our world, but Neha scaled the business to well over $1M in ARR before raising funding. Now Neha has raised over $31M from the likes of Insight Partners and Illuminate. Prior to Contentstack, Neha was the Founder and CEO @ Built.io and before that spent 10 years as the Founder and CEO @ Raw Engineering, building a leading digital transformation consultancy.

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How did Neha make her way into the world of SaaS and content management systems having previously built a digital transformation agency?
  • How the heck did Neha scaled Contentstack to over $1M in ARR without raising capital, whilst being based in the Bay? What were the signals that made Neha realise she had a scalable software business? What did Neha look for in her first seed round investors? How did that profile change when she went out to raise the Series A?  
  • How has being a sommelier helped Neha break the glass ceiling of business? What are some lessons Neha has learned in terms of build true and genuine relationships with customers beyond the transaction? What are the counter-intuitive strategies Neha has found works when it comes to motivating remote teams?
  • Why did Neha decide to build out so much of the tech team well outside of the Bay in a town outside of Mumbai? Does Neha believe the future of tech is in the valley or decentralised?  

Neha’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. Neha’s biggest strength and biggest weakness as a leader?
  2. What does Neha believe that many around her do not?
  3. The biggest obstacle to the success Neha has achieved?

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

Neha Sampat

Jul 1, 2020

Kurt Muehmel is the Chief Customer Officer @ Dataiku, the platform democratizing access to data and enabling enterprises to build their own path to AI in a human-centric way. To date, the company has raised over $146M in funding from some of the best in the business including ICONIQ, Firstmark, Battery Ventures and CapitalG to name a few. As for Kurt, he joined the company over 5 years ago and has risen from AE to VP EMEA to VP Sales Engineering to today as Chief Customer Officer. Before Dataiku, Kurt spent 5 years at Deloitte as a Manager advising primarily European public authorities on sustainable development policies.

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Kurt made his way into the world of enterprise SaaS with Dataiku having started his career at Deloitte in Paris?
  • What does it take to go from 0-1 in implementing both AI and data science disciplines in 20th-century companies? Where do many go wrong with their first steps? How can one assist them in the right way? How does Kurt feel about services revenue? At what stage or ratio does it become too much? 
  • How does Kurt approach the challenge of change management? What does great change management look like? Where do so many go wrong? How can content be used to efficiently scale change management practices? How does one need to engage different teams for effective change management? 
  • How does Kurt think about the right pricing mechanism for the customer today? How does one find a mechanism that does not disincentivize the customer with usage? How does Kurt feel about discounting? To what extent is Kurt and Dataiku willing to engage with pilots and POCs? Where do many go wrong here? 

Kurt’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. Biggest challenge of Kurt’s role with Dataiku today?
  2. What does Kurt know now that he wishes he had known when he entered the world of SaaS?
  3. Who does Kurt look up to in the world of customer experience? Why?

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

Kurt Muehmel

Jun 23, 2020

Julie Herendeen is the CMO @ PagerDuty, the real-time operations platform ensuring less downtime and fewer outages, meaning happier customers and more productive teams. Prior to their IPO in 2019 PagerDuty raised funding from some of the best in the business including Accel, a16z, Baseline, Bessemer and Harrison Metal to name a few. As for Julie, prior to PagerDuty she was Vice President of Global Marketing @ Dropbox. Before Dropbox Julie was CMO @ Lookout and before Lookout, Julie enjoyed VP roles at both Yahoo and Shutterfly. If that was not enough, alongside her role at PagerDuty today Julie is also an angel with Broadway Angels and a Board Member @ Hubspot. 

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Julie made her way from the world of consumer into the world of enterprise and came to be CMO @ PagerDuty today? What were some of Julie’s biggest lessons from her time as VP Global Marketing at Dropbox?
  • Does Julie believe that marketing should be held accountable to a number tied directly to revenue? How does Julie believe sales and marketing should work in unison? How can sales be involved in pipeline generation meetings? Should AEs make themselves responsible for sourcing new leads also? What does the ideal handoff look like? 
  • How does Julie see the best marketing and product teams working together? What can marketing do to collect the most valuable data to inform product decisions? In what forum should they be relayed to product teams? How should product and marketing leaders interact most efficiently? 
  • How does Julie think about the relationship of customer success and marketing? Does Julie agree that with the increasing amount of marketing content used post-sale, marketing is doing much of the work of CS? Where does Julie see many going wrong when investing heavily into thought leadership and content marketing?

Julie’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. Which marketing leader does Julie most respect and why?
  2. What would Julie most like to change about the world of SaaS today?
  3. What is the optimal relationship between the CEO and the CMO?

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

Julie Herendeen

Jun 9, 2020

David Politis is the Founder & CEO @ BetterCloud, the company that helps IT discover, manage and secure the digital workplace. To date, David has raised over $186M in funding with BetterCloud from the likes of Accel, Warburg Pincus, Greycroft, Flybridge and Dropbox to name a few. Before founding BetterCloud, David was an early employee of Cloud Sherpas (acquired by Accenture), where he led the company to become the leading cloud services partner to SMB worldwide. Prior to Cloud Sherpas, David was a founding employee and General Manager of Vocalocity (acquired by Vonage), which he grew into one of the top providers of cloud PBX technology.

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How David made his way into the world of SaaS and came to found BetterCloud? How has David seen the rate of cloud adoption within enterprise over the last 5 years? Has it been faster or slower than he thought? 
  • People often suggest operators are suited to certain stages of a company lifecycle, does David agree with this? What are the leading indicators an individual is struggling to scale? How does one communicate that to them effectively? How does David think about the decision to move an individual to another role vs release them? 
  • What does radical transparency really mean to David? How does the ability to have radical transparency within your org change when the org is 10 people vs 100 people? What are the biggest challenges of scaling transparency? From a meeting structure view, what can leaders do to encourage transparency? 
  • How does David feel about the method of OKR setting? How has his mindset changed towards OKRs? What does the decision-making process look like for deciding which OKRs to focus on? What OKRs do they focus on at BetterCloud? How does one know when they need to change their OKRs?

David’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What would David most like to change in the world of SaaS?
  2. How has David seen himself emerge and develop as a leader?
  3. What is the biggest challenge of David’s role within BetterCloud 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

David Politis

Jun 4, 2020

Mark Suster is a managing partner at Upfront Ventures, the largest venture capital firm in Los Angeles, and a prominent blogger in the startup venture capital world.

In this episode of the SaaStr podcast, he shares his learnings on the current landscape of funding in the time of Coronavirus, including:

  • Valuation and compression 
  • Forecasting market trends
  • The slowdown in VC
  • His best advice for surviving the downturn and raising a round of funding 
Jun 2, 2020

Michael Katz is the Founder & CEO @ mParticle, the customer data platform for brands leading the customer data revolution with clients from Airbnb to Spotify to Postmates. To date Michael has raised over $120m in funding with mParticle from GV, Social Capital, Greylock, Bain Capital Ventures and a friend of the show in Zach Coelius. Prior to founding mParticle, Mike was the Founder & CEO @ Interclick, where he organically grew revenue to over $140m in 5 years. The company went public in 2009 and was acquired by Yahoo in 2012 for $270m, a 50% premium on existing share price. If that was not enough, Michael is also on the board of Brightline and a mentor with Techstars.

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Michael made his way into the world of SaaS and enterprise SaaS having founded and IPO’d an adtech business previously?
  • Why did Michael make the move to CRO 8 months ago? How does Mike think about when is the right time to hire your first CRO? How does this hire correlate to your hiring in sales enablement? What are the different CRO profiles Mike has seen? How does Mike advise founders on those that work best for early-stage?
  • Why does Mike believe that playbooks are for suckers? What is the reasoning for the reductionism towards the power of the playbook? How does Mike think about the relationship between playbooks and predictability? 
  • How does Mike make sales data really actionable within the company? What is the right way for founders to do post-mortems on won and lost deals? What is the right way to structure their sales pipeline? Who should be involved in analysing this data? What can be done to incentivize sales to be accurate in their sales data?
  • Why does Michael believe that most sales meetings are unproductive? What is the right way to structure your sales meeting? Who should be brought into the meeting other than the sales team? How does Michael advise sales reps to maintain customer relationships post-sale? Where do many go wrong here? 

Michael’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What would Michael most like to change about the world of SaaS?
  2. What is the hardest element of Michael’s role today with mParticle?

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

Michael Katz

May 26, 2020

Christine Trodella is Head of Americas for Facebook’s Workplace product, the communication tool that connects everyone in your company, through Groups, Chat, Rooms and Live video broadcasting. Prior to Workplace, Christine was Head of America’s for Facebook’s Audience Network and before that spent 5 years as a Group Director across multiple different sales and account teams within Facebook’s mid-market channel. Before Facebook, Christine was an Executive Director @ WebMD and before that spent close to 3 years in media sales at Yahoo. 

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Christine made her way into the world of SaaS as part of a non-SaaS company and how that led to her leading Americas for Workplace by Facebook?
  • What have been the biggest benefits of scaling a SaaS company within a non-SaaS company? What are the biggest challenges or misalignments of scaling Workplace within Facebook? What have been some of the core and early mistakes the team made in their strategy to build out the Workplace sales and marketing machine? 
  • What have been Christine’s biggest lessons on what it takes to sell really effectively to some of the largest enterprises in the world? What do CIOs most want in pricing? How does Christine think about the pricing problem of having a variable pricing mechanism without disincentivizing usage? How does Christine think about and approach discounting?
  • Does Christine believe remote is the new normal? What really interesting data have Christine and the Workplace team seen since the world has move to work from home? How has behaviour changed on the platform with the rise of remote work? 

Christine’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What would Christine most like to change in the world of SaaS?
  2. When I say success, who is the first person that comes to Christine’s mind?
  3. What is the biggest challenge of Christine’s role within FB 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

Christine Trodella

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May 19, 2020

David Spinks is the Founder @ CMX, the premier network for community professionals. In 2019, CMX was acquired by Bevy, where David now serves as the VP of Community. Bevy is a customer-to-customer community management platform, building products that brands use to build, grow and manage their community event programs, both virtual and IRL for companies like Slack, Twitch, Salesforce, Atlassian, and Duolingo. Prior to CMX, David founded 2 prior startups centred around different forms of community building and before that was Community Manager in the early days of LeWeb the largest tech/startup conference in Europe.

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How David made his way into the world of SaaS and came to found CMX? Why David believes that community is so central for all SaaS companies today?
  • How does David advise teams on expectation setting around virtual events? How ambitious should they be? What big mistakes does David often see in the early days of the planning? How does this differ if you have an existing cohort of users vs are starting new with no audience?  
  • How dependent is the success of the community on the platform it is hosted on? What is the ideal size for Slack, Telegram and Whatsapp communities? Should the host seed the discussion or allow it to be natural? How important is it to establish a handbook of expected actions and behaviours? Should you cull members who are inactive? 
  • What does David believe separates good from great when it comes to discussion groups? What innovative strategies has David seen work when it comes to bringing a virtual event to life? What is the right amount of people in that discussion group? What is the core role of the moderator for the group?

David’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. Biggest misconception around virtual events?
  2. Virtual events: Permanent tide change or purely in the COVID world?
  3. What has been David’s favourite virtual event? Why?

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

David Spinks

Lower your burn by leveraging AI to claim R&D tax credits for a flat fee. Cash on hand is more important than ever, CrossBorder Solutions helps you keep more of your money. See why AI is the rational choice, request a demo today. [crossborder.ai/20]

May 11, 2020

Bridget Gleason is the Head of Sales and Customer Success @ Tidelift, the company providing managed open source, backed by maintainers. Tidelift has raised over $40M from some of the best in the business including Foundry Group and General Catalyst. As for Bridget, she has the most incredible track record. Before Tidelift, Bridget was VP of Sales @ Logz.io and before that 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 the course of her 3+ year tenure, in 3 key leadership roles.

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Bridget made her way into the world of SaaS and Sales and came to be Head of both Sales and Customer Success at Tidelift?
  • Why does Bridget believe the best starting point for customer success is “company culture and value”? How does company culture impact the quality of customer success? In practice, what can one do to improve it? Who has done this well? How does value drive customer success forward? 
  • How does Bridget think Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs drives the roadmap for customer success? What core elements does it change? Where do most teams go wrong in implementing the role out of their CS strategy? When should one hire their first CS rep? What should that hire look like from an experience perspective?
  • How does Bridget advise her CS reps the best ways for them to build trust with their clients? What works? What does not work? Does Bridget believe CS teams should be involved in the upsell process? Does that endanger the element of trust?

Bridget’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Bridget know now that she wishes she had known when she entered the world of SaaS?
  2. What would bridget most like to change about the world of SaaS today?
  3. What is the most challenging element of Bridget’s role with Tidelift?

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

Lower your burn by leveraging AI to claim R&D tax credits for a flat fee. Cash on hand is more important than ever, CrossBorder Solutions helps you keep more of your money. See why AI is the rational choice, request a demo today. [crossborder.ai/20]

May 6, 2020

Jessica Lin is a Co-Founder and General Partner @ Work-Bench, one of New York’s leading early-stage enterprise funds with a portfolio including the likes of Cockroach Labs, X.ai, Dialpad, VTS and Catalyst to name a few. Prior to Work-Bench, Jessica was a Learning and Development Manager at Cisco Systems, where she worked with the Engineering organization on Agile transformation, innovation and culture. Jessica is actively involved with the education and workforce development community in New York City and as chair of the Industry Advisory Board at Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow.

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Jessica made her way from learning Swahili into the world of enterprise and into the world of venture with the founding of Work-Bench?
  • How should founders expect to see their new business pipe be impacted by COVID? What does Jessica believe is the right way to do proper pipe reviews? What specific elements does Jessica really double click on in reviews? Where does Jessica find managers and founders do pipe reviews wrong?
  • What does Jessica believe is the right way for sales reps to engage with new customers during this time? What is the right tone to adopt that achieves both empathy and a business objective? How should sales teams and CS respond to requests for discounts? What should be the compromise with discounts? 
  • What specific and deliberate things can startups do not just to prevent churn but also to increase usage and upsell? Does Jessica agree with the rule of thumb that in enterprise, on an annual basis, 95% of your customers should retain? What other strategies has Jessica seen work really well for retention?

Jessica’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What would Jessica most like to change about the world of SaaS?
  2. What is the hardest element of Jessica’s role today with Work-Bench?
  3. The NYC ecosystem, pros and cons?

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

Jessica Lin 

Lower your burn by leveraging AI to claim R&D tax credits for a flat fee. Cash on hand is more important than ever, CrossBorder Solutions helps you keep more of your money. See why AI is the rational choice, request a demo today. [crossborder.ai/20]

Apr 29, 2020

Navin Chaddha is the Managing Director @ Mayfield who just last month announced $750M in new funds split across their core and select funds. As for Navin, under his leadership Mayfield has raised over $2.2Bn in new funds and he has backed some of the best of the last decade including Poshmark, Lyft, Hashicorp, CloudGenix and more. During his career Navin has invested in 50 companies, 17 have gone public, 20 have been acquired. Prior to VC, Navin was an entrepreneur where he co-founded or led 3 startups, all of which had successful exits with one being acquired by Microsoft. 

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How did Navin make his way into the world of venture from successfully founding and exiting 3 businesses? What made him take the jump into investing full-time from being an EiR?
  • How does Navin expect the B2B landscape to be impacted by COVID-19? How does Navin advise B2B founders to think about how renewals will be impacted? How does Navin advise founders to think through how to approach the topic of discounting with their customers? In what situations does Navin agree to provide discounts to customers?
  • How does Navin foresee the B2C landscape to be impacted? How does Navin advise founders to think through the level of aggression with which they pursue traditional marketing channels, now with much lower CACs? Will these CACs remain low priced? How does Navin expect company pricing to change over the next few months?
  • How has Navin seen himself evolve and change as a board member over the last decade? What have been his major moments of learning? What advice would he give to new board members joining their first boards? What can board members do to build a relationship of trust and intimacy with their founders? What works? What does not?

Navin’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Navin know now that he wishes he had known when he entered the world of venture with Mayfield in 2004?
  2. What is the hardest element of Navin’s role with Mayfield today?
  3. What would Navin most like to change about the world of venture? Why?

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

Navin Chaddha

Apr 21, 2020

John Mellor is Chief Strategy Officer @ Domo, the company that allows you to leverage BI at scale to empower your team with data. Prior to their IPO, Domo raised funding from the likes of Benchmark, Founders Fund, a16, Greylock and IVP to name a few. As for John, prior to Domo he served as vice president for strategy and business operations for Adobe’s Digital Experience business, driving more than $3 billion in annual revenue. John joined Adobe through the company’s acquisition of Omniture in 2009, where he served as executive vice president of marketing, driving all marketing efforts to strategically advance the industry’s largest standalone web analytics business.

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How did John make his way into the world of SaaS over 2 decades ago and how did that lead to his running a $3Bn ARR business line at Adobe and lead to his joining Domo? What were John’s biggest takeaways from his decade at Adobe?
  • Why does John believe that COVID will be a bigger accelerant than any other C-level led initiative? For vendors going through that digital transformation with their customers, what is the right tone to adopt that is both empathetic and achieves business objectives? Is digital transformation a technology challenge or a behavioural challenge?
  • How will a 100% virtual event environment impact physical events when and if they do come back? What were John’s biggest takeaways from running Domo’s annual event virtually? What worked? What did not work? On a conversion basis, how did it compare to in-person events? How should we structure content for these virtual events?
  • How does John think about the role of leadership in a crisis such as this? What is the right tone for the leader to adopt? Where does John believe many leadership teams go wrong in times such as this? How can leadership teams ensure that a crisis is not self-fulfilling and how can one prevent that mindset?      

John’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does John know now that he wishes he had known when he entered the world of SaaS?
  2. What is the optimal relationship between the CEO and Chief Strategy Officer?
  3. What would John most like to change about 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

John Mellor

Apr 16, 2020

Gusto's Lexi Reese walks you through scaling high performance teams. Is trust earned or given? How do you communicate for impact?

Apr 14, 2020

Carolyn Guss is VP of Corporate Marketing @ PagerDuty, the company keeping your digital operations running perfectly with their real-time operations platform. Prior to their IPO in April 2019, PagerDuty had raised funding from some of the best in the business including a16, Bessemer, Meritech, Harrison Metal and Elad Gil to name a few. As for Carolyn, prior to joining PagerDuty she spent 5 years as the GM of Method Communications San Francisco Office and before that spent time on the other side of the pond with a close to 7-year stint at Orange as Head of Corporate PR and Head of US Communications.

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Carolyn made her way across the pond from Head of US Communications at Orange to GM of Method in SF to then playing a key role in the marketing team at PagerDuty?
  • How does Carolyn think startups and larger companies can replace the leads that are lost from having no events in a COVID world? How are PagerDuty shifting their strategy? How does PagerDuty think about brand marketing? Does it have to be tied to a number directly tied to revenue? What are the challenges with brand marketing?
  • What does Carolyn believe is the right tone to approach customers within this time? How can one be supportive but also drive towards business objectives? In terms of tone, what is the right tone to approach the broader team with? How does PagerDuty gain a sense of company morale at scale? What tools do they use?   
  • How does Carolyn think about the benefits of transparency both with employees and with customers? Is there an extent to the benefits of transparency? Can one ever been too transparent? How does one think about this in a very corporate perspective with PagerDuty now being a public company?      

Carolyn’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Carolyn know now that she wishes she had known at the beginning of her time in marketing?
  2. Hardest element of her role with PagerDuty today?
  3. Who is killing it in the world of SaaS marketing? Why? 

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

Carolyn Guss

Apr 9, 2020

Join SaaStr CEO Jason Lemkin and Bessemer Venture Partners Partner Byron Deeter for a deep dive on what's going on in Venture Capital and Cloud.

Apr 6, 2020

Bhavin Shah is the Founder & CEO @ Moveworks, the cloud-based AI platform, purpose-built for large enterprises, that resolves employees' IT support issues⁠—instantly and automatically. To date Bhavin has raised over $108M with Moveworks from the likes of Mamoon Hamid @ Kleiner Perkins, Arij Janmohamed @ Lightspeed, Bain Capital, Sapphire Ventures and ICONIQ. Prior to Moveworks, Bhavin was the Founder and CEO @ Refresh which was later acquired by LinkedIn and then before that founded Gazillion Entertainment, a company he scaled to over 200 employees. 

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Bhavin made his way into the wonderful world of SaaS and came to found Moveworks?
  • What are the core challenges IT teams are facing as a result of the move to remote work? Where do many make mistakes here? What can one do from a structural perspective to set them up for success when moving to remote? 
  • What does great change management look like in Bhavin’s mind today? Where do so many go wrong here? How does this change in the world of remote? Who should be involved in executing on the change management plan?  
  • How does Bhavin think about the role of customer success today? Why does Bhavin believe that customer success and product should be in one org? How does Bhavin think about the interplay of marketing and customer success? Is marketing moving closer and closer to customer success with their content?      

Bhavin’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What is the hardest element of Bhavin’s role with Moveworks today?
  2. Hardest role to hire for today? Why? 
  3. If Bhavin could change one thing in the world of SaaS today, what would it be?

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

Bhavin Shah

Apr 2, 2020

Many people make the false assumption that the path for a highly successful SaaS company is straight “up and to the right”. Of course, for those involved, the reality of the journey is characterized by a series of obstacles that must be navigated. Fmr. Shasta Ventures Doug Pepper will share the key challenges that were overcome to allow Marketo to become a $5B SaaS Category Leader in Marketing Automation.

Mar 30, 2020

Anthony Kennada is the CMO @ Front, the startup that provides your team with better email so they can treat every customer like your only customer. To date, Front have raised over $138M from some leading names including Sequoia, Eric Yuan @ Zoom, Ryan and Jared Smith @ Qualtrics, Michael Cannon-Brookes and Jay Simmons @ Atlassian and Frederic Kerrest @ Okta to name a few. As for Anthony, prior to Front Anthony was the founding CMO at Gainsight where he and his team are credited with creating the Customer Success category. At Gainsight Anthony and the team developed a new playbook for B2B marketing that fueled the company’s growth from $0 to over $100M of ARR. If that was not enough, Anthony is also the author of Category Creation: How to Build a Brand that Customers, Employees, and Investors Will Love. The book debuted as a number one new release on Amazon.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Anthony made his way into the world of SaaS starting in the sales team at Box and how that led to his entering the world of marketing and creating the customer success category?
  • How does Anthony marketing playbook change when making the move from Gainsight with higher ACV’s and longer sales cycles to Front with lowers ACV’s and much higher volume? How does Anthony think about ABM today with Front given the lower ACVs? At what ticket size does ABM make sense?
  • How does Anthony feel about brand marketing? Why did Anthony and Front decide now was the right time to engage with billboards? How does Anthony think about data and tracking for brand marketing? Does Anthony believe that all marketing has to be tied to a number directly related to revenue?  
  • How does Anthony seeing a changing relationship between customer success and marketing? How is marketing being pushed further into the realms of CS? What is the optimal relationship between CS and marketing? How does this compare to the relationship of sales and marketing more traditionally?       

Anthony’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Anthony know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning of his time in marketing?
  2. What is the hardest element of Anthony’s role with Front today?
  3. Who does Anthony think is killing it in the world of marketing 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

Anthony Kennada

Mar 26, 2020

We’re obviously in a very unique situation today. The pace at which Corona is impacting us all right now is so fast, it’s hard to keep up.

Today is different from other times but in SaaS. It will probably be like ’08-’09 downturn — just faster.

Join Jason Lemkin, CEO and Founder of SaaStr, and Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight, as they take a look back at what happened to them as a SaaS vendor in ’08-’09, and what learnings you can leverage.

Mar 23, 2020

May Habib is the Founder & CEO @ Qordoba, the platform that helps everyone at your company write with the same style, terminology and voice. To date, May has raised over $21M in funding with Qordoba from the likes of Upfront Ventures, Aspect Ventures, Bonfire Ventures and Michael Stoppelman to name a few. Before entering the world of SaaS, May was a vice president at one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds, where she was the first employee on the technology investment team, building a portfolio now worth over $20B. Before that, May started her career in the New York Office of Lehman Brothers raising capital for software companies.  

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How May made her way into the world of startups and SaaS from being a VP at one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East?
  • How does May think about and assess operational survival in times of such uncertainty? Why does this downturn feel so different to prior downturns? Operationally, what needs to fundamentally change about your processes?
  • How does May think about when is the right time to engage with pre-emptive burn cuts? Where does one look first in the organisation when making these cuts? How does one structure those discussions? What is the right way to do it? What is the right way to communicate the cuts to the team, customers and investors? 
  • How does one keep the existing teams spirits high when they have just seen many of their friends be released? What is the right way to manage those discussions? What can founders do to build unity in their team now everyone is WFH? What has worked well for the Qordoba team? Where do many go wrong here?       

May’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What is the most challenging element of May’s role with Qordoba today?
  2. What does May know now that she wishes she had known at the beginning?
  3. If May could change one thing about the world of SaaS, what would it be and why?

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 Habib

Mar 16, 2020

Rachel Hepworth is VP of Marketing @ Pilot, the startup that offers the best bookkeeping, tax and CFO services for growing businesses. To date they have raised over $58M from some of the best in the business including Index Ventures, John Collison, Paul English, Drew Houston, Frederic Kerrest, Diane Greene and more incredible names. As for Rachel, prior to joining Pilot, she saw the hyper-growth of Slack firsthand enjoying a couple of different roles including Head of Growth Marketing and then also Head of Self Service and Platform Marketing. Before Slack, Rachel spent 4 years at LinkedIn where she led the product marketing team for content experiences. Finally, before LinkedIn, Rachel spent close to 3 years at Climate Corporation, prior to their $1Bn exit to Monsanto. 

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Rachel made her way from marketing manager at Climate Corporation to VP of marketing at Pilot today? What were Rachel’s biggest takeaways from her time seeing the hyper-growth at Slack?
  • How does Rachel think about organic growth and inciting word of mouth today? How does Rachel think they can be more accurately tracked and measured? How does Rachel think about the optimal ratio of paid to organic in growth? Would Rachel agree in paid, your payback period doubles every $5M you spend?
  • With the rise of product-led growth, are we seeing a fundamental shift in the structure of sales and marketing? How does Rachel see marketing move ever close to the function of customer success today? What is the optimal way for customer success and marketing to work together? 
  • How does Rachel think about the importance of getting in front of your customers? Why does Rachel believe that data tells you the what and customer conversations tell you the why? What is the right way to structure your customer conversations? Where do so many people go wrong here?      

Rachel’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. Hardest element of your role with Pilot today?
  2. If Rachel could change one thing about SaaS today, what would it be?
  3. Who is killing it in SaaS marketing? Why?

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

Rachel Hepworth

Mar 12, 2020

The startup journey moves in waves—whether you’re ready or not. After finding funding and product/market fit, your next steps as a founder in the hypergrowth phase can determine the future of your company. Harry Stebbings of Stride.VC and Robert Vis of MessageBird will walk through lessons learned to survive hypergrowth and what will make a difference when it comes to scaling. Hear how to navigate fast growth and how to look ahead as you travel forward.

Mar 9, 2020

Harry Hurst is the Co-Founder & Co-CEO @ Pipe, the startup that gives you control of your cash flow by giving you access to the full annual value of your monthly subscriptions, upfront. This month they announced their $6M seed round led by David Saks @ Craft and joined by Fika, Weekend Fund, Naval Ravikant and WorkLife Ventures to name a few. Prior to Pipe, Harry co-founded Skurt raising over $11M in the process before being acquired by Fair.com. Harry has also angel invested in the likes of BreathePod and Try.com. 

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Harry made his way from the UK to founding one of Silicon Valley’s hottest SaaS startups with the founding of Pipe?
  • How does Harry think about when is the right time for a startup to raise VC funding? How does Harry stress test the alignment between the founder and the VC/ Opposingly, when is the right time for a founder to take non-dilutive capital from Pipe instead?
  • Pipe’s lending model is so centred around churn prediction, what does their churn analysis look like at Pipe? How does Harry think about the right way to structure churn post mortems? Why does Harry believe investing in customer success is far more important than customer acquisition? 
  • How does Harry think about the importance of brand for enterprise startups today? Do you have to invest in it from Day 1? What mistakes does Harry see many founders make when it comes to investing in their early brand?      

Harry’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Harry know that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. What does Harry believe is the hardest role to hire for today? Why?
  3. What does Harry believe 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

Harry Hurst

Mar 2, 2020

Today we deep dive into what startups can learn from the large SaaS incumbents of today. 

Sara Varni: CMO @ Twilio on her biggest takeaways from her time at Salesforce.

Erica Schultz: President of Field Operations @ Confluent on her biggest takeaways from her time at Oracle.

Whitney Bouck: COO @ Hellosign on her biggest takeaways from her time at Box.

Leyla Seka: Partner @ Operator Collective on her biggest takeaways from her time at Salesforce.

Ryan Bonnici: CMO @ G2 on his biggest takeaways from his time at Salesforce.

Ryan Barretto: SVP @ Sprout Social on his biggest takeaways from his time at Salesforce

Tien Tzuo: Founder & CEO @ Zuora on his biggest takeaways from his time at Salesforce.

Paul Albright: Board member @ Clarizen on his biggest takeaways from his time at SuccessFactors.

Jaleh Rezaei: Founder & CEO @ Mutiny on her biggest takeaways from her time at Gusto.

Eugenio Pace: Founder & CEO @ Auth0 on his biggest takeaways from his time at Microsoft.

Liat Bycel: VP @ Airtable on her biggest takeaways from her time at Twitter.

Mark Goldberg: Partner @ Index on his biggest takeaways from his time at Dropbox.

 

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 27, 2020

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.

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