Cover image of The Official Saastr Podcast: SaaS | Founders | Investors
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The Official Saastr Podcast: SaaS | Founders | Investors

Updated 3 days ago

Business
Technology
Investing
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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.

Read more

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.

iTunes Ratings

94 Ratings
Average Ratings
80
6
3
2
3

WhoopSaaS, Inc.

By WhoopSaaS Community - May 01 2018
Read more
I don’t podcast often, but when I do, it’s SaaStr and Harry.

Fantastic content

By Steveo939 - Dec 07 2017
Read more
I’m thru the first 100 episodes, this is a must listen for anyone running a Saas business.

iTunes Ratings

94 Ratings
Average Ratings
80
6
3
2
3

WhoopSaaS, Inc.

By WhoopSaaS Community - May 01 2018
Read more
I don’t podcast often, but when I do, it’s SaaStr and Harry.

Fantastic content

By Steveo939 - Dec 07 2017
Read more
I’m thru the first 100 episodes, this is a must listen for anyone running a Saas business.
Cover image of The Official Saastr Podcast: SaaS | Founders | Investors

The Official Saastr Podcast: SaaS | Founders | Investors

Updated 3 days ago

Read more

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.

Rank #1: SaaStr 073: David Skok Part 2: What Is Negative Churn? How To Get Different ACV's From The Same Product? Should Customer Success Be Involved In The Up Sell Process?

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Part 2 with David Skok, now David is a serial entrepreneur turned VC at Matrix Partners. He founded four companies: Skok Systems, Corporate Software Europe, Watermark Software, and SilverStream Software and did one turnaround with Xionics. Three of the companies he founded went public and one was acquired. In 2001 David joined Matrix Partners, who had backed his last two startups, as a General Partner. David’s successful exits as an investor at Matrix include: HubSpot, JBoss, AppIQ, Tabblo, Netezza, Diligent Technologies, CloudSwitch, TribeHR, GrabCAD, OpenSpan and Enservio. David currently serves on the boards of Atomist, CloudBees, Digium, Meteor, Namely HR, Salsify, and Zaius. You can also find David’s amazing blog here! Huge thanks to Hardi Meybaum and Jason Lemkin for the intro to David today.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • What is negative churn? Why is it fundamental for SaaS startups to have a strong grasp of their negative churn?
  • How does negative churn affect the pricing axis? What can startups do if they have no alternative product to upsell to?
  • To what extent should founders be willing to engage in customisation in order to upsell a product? What are the dangers? What should founders be mindful of?
  • To what extent is up sell the responsibility of customer success? Should they have a hand in the sales process? What are the dangers and concerns?
  • How important is it for a startup to track their champion with the customer company? Does it matter if your champion leaves? What should you do if so?
60 Second SaaStr

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 Skok

Nov 11 2016

15mins

Play

Rank #2: SaaStr 040: Gainsight's Allison Pickens on Scaling Your Customer Success Team, Managing Churn and Segmenting Your Customer Base

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Allison Pickens carries the customer success torch as the VP of Customer Success & Business Operations at the category leaders, Gainsight. Allison’s organization @ Gainsight includes all post-sales functions: CSMs, Support, Onboarding, Services, and Operations. Prior to Gainsight, she started her career in management consulting for Fortune 500 companies while at Boston Consulting Group and later worked in private equity investing at Bain Capital.  Allison decided that she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work at Gainsight when Bain Capital led the Series B.

In Today’s Episode With Allison You Will Learn:

1.) So let’s start with managing customer churn and I think the first and most important thing is assessing what is regrettable vs non-regrettable. How do you approach this?

  • What is the internal post mortem?
  • How do you identify why they churned?
  • Is there a blame game that follows? How do you instill ramifications but not fear?
  • How do you then look to fix the original problem that caused the churn?

2.) To do the above we need to have a great customer success team so iw ant to talk about the process of building this out and with CS being a new category this is an aspect a lot of founders are addressing at this time. So starting with the obvious?

  • When do you need a customer success team?
  • Where in the organization should the team sit?
  • What's the playbook for rolling it out?
  • How big does the team need to be? Does this vary on sector or funding availability?
  • What are the levels of seniority within the team?
  • What's your budget? How do you account for the costs of your team?
  • What teams sit within the customer success umbrella?

60 Second Saastr produced by Nick Mehta:

What surprises you most about customer success now vs a year ago?

Importance of fast iterating team?

Fave SaaS material, book, blog, podcast?

What element of the journey have you found most challenging?

Carrying the CS torch? What is it like do you feel the pressure?

3.) Now I want to finish today by discussing the segmentation of your customer base, so at what point in the company's life do you begin segmenting the customers?

  • Why is it important to segment customers?
  • How do you decide the best way to segment them?
  • Should these segments align with the sales team?

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

Jul 18 2016

23mins

Play

Rank #3: SaaStr 142: Why CAC/LTV Is The Most Important Metric In SaaS, How To Analyse Churn Correctly & Why Bookings Are Inaccurate and Easy To Manipulate with Dave Kellogg, CEO @ Host Analytics

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Dave Kellogg is the CEO @ Host Analytics, the leader in cloud-based enterprise performance management (EPM). Previously, Dave was SVP/GM of Service Cloud at Salesforce and CEO at unstructured big data provider MarkLogic. Before that, Dave was CMO at Business Objects for nearly a decade as the company grew from $30M to over $1B. Dave has also worked in various capacities with the likes of Breeze, GainSight, Tableau and MongoDB and previously sat on the boards of ag tech leader, Granular (acq by DuPont for $300M)  and big data leader Aster Data (acquired by Teradata for $325M).

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Dave made his way into the world of SaaS with Salesforce, came to be CMO at Business Objects and now running his own SaaS company as CEO at Host Analytics?
  • What does David believe is the single most important metric in SaaS? How should SaaS companies structure the first four lines of their financial statements? Why is retention and renewal not always an accurate sign of customer satisfaction?
  • How does Dave look to analyse churn? What is the post-mortem? What is more important, logos or expansion? If a startup’s churn is too high, what is the top 3 things they should do? Why must you have a “standard taxonomy” for churn? How can you construct this?
  • How does David think about taking existing customer and up-selling them? How does he view this in contrast to cross-sell? Does Dave agree with David Skok on the need for more than 1 variable pricing mechanism? Why does Dave not encourage usage based pricing?
  • How does Dave analyse the benefits of multi-year contracts paid upfront? How does this distort TCV and inflate the figures? Does upfront payment misalign the provider and the consumer, in terms of care and support? With that in mind, how does David view billing frequency? Contract durations?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. What does Dave know now which he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. What is the 90 day rule? Why is it important?
  3. How much ARR should a good sales rep add in relation to comp?

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

Dave Kellogg

Sep 11 2017

31mins

Play

Rank #4: SaaStr 278: Do You Have To Scale From SMB To Enterprise Customers, How To Make The Transition Successfully, What Changes About Customer Acquisition and Support & Why Continuous Customer Development Is The Most Important Thing You Can Do With Krish Subrama

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Krish Subramanian is the Founder & CEO @ Chargebee, the startup that lets you go beyond billing, payments and recurring invoices — to delivering subscription experiences that "wow". To date, Chargebee have “wowed” some of the world’s leading VCs to the tune of $38m including the likes of Insight Venture Partners, Tiger Global, Steadview and Accel Partners. As for Krish, under Krish’s leadership the team has grown to over 300 people and over 5,000 clients making it one of the next generation in truly global SaaS businesses started in India. 

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Krish made his way into the world of SaaS and came to found one of India’s fastest growing SaaS companies in Chargebee?
  • What does Krish mean when he says, “in SaaS, you either sell to one of 2 customer profiles”? How does Krish think about purely serving the SMB market? Does one have to move to enterprise? Does one have to expand the product line to retain customers? How does he think about the mortality rate of SMBs?  
  • First, what is continuous customer development? Second, why does Krish believe it is one of the most important things any company must do? What is the process to do it efficiently? Does it have to be in person? What questions reveal the most? How should this data feedback into your product roadmap and pipeline? 
  • How does Krish think your customer acquisition and GTM strategy has to change with the movement from SMB to enterprise? What are the biggest challenges in making this transition? How does your customer success and customer support functions change with the move to enterprise? 

Krish’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. Biggest lessons from working with Lee Fixel?
  2. How does one know when is the right time to introduce a new product?
  3. What does Krish know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?

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

Krish Subramanian

Oct 28 2019

30mins

Play

Rank #5: SaaStr 222: Flexport CRO Ben Braverman on Why It Is Total Horseshit That The Best Sellers Don't Make Good Managers, Why Specialisation Does Not Lead To The Best Customer Experience & Scaling Revenue From $18k MRR in 2014 to a $472m Year In 2018

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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

Apr 03 2019

39mins

Play

Rank #6: SaaStr 171: How To Figure Out Your Pricing Strategy: The Diminishing Role of The Per Seat Model, Why Open Source Is The Only Way To Get In Front of Today's Developers & Why Capital Efficiency Is Always Key with Chetan Puttagunta, General Partner @ NEA

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Chetan Puttagunta is a General Partner @ NEA, one of the world’s largest venture capital firms in the world with over $3Bn in their latest fund and a portfolio including the likes of Mulesoft, Jet.com, Uber, Houzz and many more incredible companies. As for Chetan, Chetan focuses on enterprise software and has made investments in MuleSoft, MongoDB, Elastic, Heap, just to name a few. Due to his phenomenal track record, Chetan has been named to GrowthCap’s Top 40 under 40 Growth Investors, Forbes 30 under 30 All-Star Alumni List, and Forbes’ 30 under 30 in Venture Capital. 

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Chetan made his from the world of leveraged buyouts to the world of enterprise VC investing with NEA?
  • Why does Chetan have such conviction with regards to open source companies today? Why does he feel the big question of “Can open source product multi-billion dollar companies” has been proven”?
  • How does Chetan think about the underlying business models of open source when comparing the likes of Red Hat with 85% gross margin to Hortonworks at negative gross margins? What does Chetan believe is a healthy ratio between professional services vs closed premium features? Does Chetan believe this is the end for per seat pricing in SaaS?
  • How does Chetan approach market sizing today when evaluating potential enterprise opportunities? Why does Chetan believe there is a mental trap in the VC requirement for large markets? How can founders present the niche market they are attacking, in an exciting enough way to satiate the investor appetite for large market?
  • Chatan has said before, “if you have conviction and vision, you should not be afraid to raise capital and go big”. Does every founder not have conviction and vision in the early days? How does Chetan determine when truly is the right time to pour fuel on the fire and raise that mega war chest?   

60 Second SaaStr?

  1. A moment in Chetan’s life that has changed the way he thinks about the world?
  2. Fave SaaS reading material?
  3. What does Chetan know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?

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

Chetan Puttagunta

Apr 16 2018

26mins

Play

Rank #7: SaaStr 191: Salesloft Founder Kyle Porter on Scaling A SaaS Business to $40m ARR Outside of Silicon Valley, Pivoting a Product Generating $7m in ARR & How To Fundamentally Create Cohesion In A Leadership Team

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Kyle Porter is the Founder & CEO @ Salesloft, the leading sales engagement platform delivering a better sales experience. To date, Salesloft have raised over $75m in funding from some of the best in the business including Emergence, Insight Venture Partners, Techstars and even LinkedIn. As for Kyle, he has led the team from 4 employees in 2014 to over 320 today where they have also been awarded Atlanta’s No 1 best place to work. Prior to founding Salesloft, Kyle was the Founder @ B2B camp, a conference focused on B2B revenue generating professionals. Before that he was Vice President of Marketing @ NanoLumens.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Kyle made his way into the world of SaaS and came to found Salesloft?
  • Kyle made the decision to pivot the product when it was at $7m in ARR, what was the thinking behind that? How does Kyle think about pivots more broadly? How does one know when it is truly not working? How long did it take Kyle to get the core Salesloft product to $1m in ARR?
  • With the pivot, what were Kyle’s core learnings on migrating from a prior product and platform to a new one? What were his big lessons on seeing the change in buyer persona? What does Kyle mean when he says “selling is hard but buying is even harder”?
  • Does Kyle agree with many CEO’s the most important role of the CEO is “management upscaling”? What elements does he find most challenging? What have been Kyle’s big lessons in the building out of his exec team? What is the fundamental element for a successful exec team to function?
  • Salesloft is in an immensely competitive space, what would Kyle’s advice be in standing out in an intensely competitive space? Where do many go wrong? What are the pros and cons of being in Atlanta and not SF? What advice would Kyle give to founders operating their HQs external to the core hubs?

Kyle’s 60 Second SaaStr

Is it important to have early champions? How does one get them?

How has having kids changed your perspective on work?

Tell me a moment in your life that has served as an inflection point and changed the way you think?

When I say success in SaaS who is the embodiment of this to you?

What does Kyle know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning? 

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 Kyle Porter

Sep 04 2018

32mins

Play

Rank #8: SaaStr 277: SaaStr CEO Jason Lemkin and Shopify Plus GM Loren Padleford on Revenue, Ecosystems and The Right Time to Go Upmarket

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When is the right time to go upmarket and how do you serve small, medium and large customers in the same company. SaaStr CEO Jason Lemkin sits down with Shopify Plus GM Loren Padelford to discuss.

Oct 25 2019

44mins

Play

Rank #9: SaaStr 139: Why Hiring Sales People Is Like Being Thirsty, Why You Have to Separate Between Customers and Money & Why Time Kills More Companies Than Dollars with Mike Dauber, General Partner @ Amplify Partners

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Mike Dauber is a General Partner @ Amplify Partners, the fund that backs technical founders, building technical products for technical buyers. Their portfolio consists of the likes of DataDog, Fastly, Engagio and many more incredible companies. As for Mike, prior to joining Amplify he spent more than six years at Battery Ventures, where he lead early-stage enterprise investments on the West Coast. While at Battery, he was on the Boards of Cask, Duetto, Interana, and Platfora (acquired WDAY). Mike also lead Battery’s investment in Vera, which is also in Amplify’s portfolio. He also previously invested in Splunk (SPLK) and RelateIQ (acquired CRM). As a result of this success, Mike was named to Forbes’ Midas Brink List in 2014.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Mike made his way into the world of early stage enterprise investing with Battery and came to be a GP with Amplify?
  • What does Mike mean when he says he looks for “practitioner founders”? What are the benefits of these types of founders? Why do they find product market fit faster? Does this tunnel vision not sometimes mean a lack of naivete, which can be good?
  • Why does Mike believe that hiring sales people is like being thirsty? How can founders discover the optimal cadence for expanding the sales team? Why must founders differentiate between customers and money?
  • Why does Mike believe that everyone needs to find their Hobbesian advisor? What characteristics should this person have? How can you find this advisor? What should their incentives be?  
  • Why does Mike believe that founders need to set the hook for VCs in the first meeting? How does this compare to how founders traditionally pitch? What should they look for in those early VC meetings?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. Why does Mike disagree with deal attribution in VC?
  2. Cyber investing: Should you invest if not a domain expert?
  3. Is enterprise investing spreadsheet investing?

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

Mike Dauber

Aug 21 2017

26mins

Play

Rank #10: SaaStr 211: The Ultimate Guide To SaaS Pricing From Investors @ Benchmark, Matrix, Upfront Ventures & Operators @ Figma, Snyk and Kustomer

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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 11 2019

26mins

Play

Rank #11: SaaStr 229: The 2 Most Important Numbers For Your SaaS Business, Why You Should Not Have VPs Until $5m in Revenue & How To Manage Top Of Funnel Efficiently But Aggressively with Manny Medina, Founder & CEO @ Outreach

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Manny Medina is the Founder & CEO @ Outreach, the market leading sales engagement platform that turns your team into a revenue driving machine. To date, Manny has raised over $114m in funding from some great people including friends of the show in the form of Alex Clayton @ Spark, Mayfield, Trinity Ventures and DFJ Growth, just to name a few. Prior to founding Outreach, Manny spent 7 years with Microsoft where he ran the Latin America and Canada business development group for Microsoft’s emerging mobile division, representing $50M of yearly revenue. Befofe that Manny was a Senior Product Manager @ Amazon where he engineered the compensation system for Amazon Associates and Web-Services which accounts for 15% of Amazon's traffic.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Manny made his way to found the leader in sales engagement from product management at Amazon and Business Development @ Microsoft?
  • How does Manny fundamentally approach managing top of funnel? What are the 2 big dangers of not managing it aggressively? What can be done to ensure not only full but high quality top of funnel?
  • Why does Manny believe it is so important to track pipeline coverage as one of your core metrics? What does good look like when it comes to pipeline coverage? How does this change if you are creating vs in an existing market? How does Manny think about specialisation within the sales function? Why are SDR’s 99% of the time not able to carry leads to completion?
  • How does Manny think about quota construction today? Does Manny err on the side of setting high to be ambitious or setting low to increase confidence? How can managers really empower their reps to be aggressive in hitting their quota and exceeding it? How does Manny think about resource allocation on the individual rep level? What is sufficient? What is excessive?
  • Does Manny believe that the founder should always be responsible for selling their product at one moment in time? How did Manny sell the first $1m in ARR simply through walking the streets of SOMA and selling door-to-door? What were his biggest lessons from doing this?  Why does Manny believe that you should not have a VP before $5m?

60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Manny know now that he wishes he had known in the beginning?
  2. What does the future of sales prospecting look like to Manny?
  3. What would Manny like to change about 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

Manny Medina

Apr 29 2019

27mins

Play

Rank #12: SaaStr 210: Why The Best Sales Reps Are Not Outgoing and Extroverted, Why Sales Reps Are Fundamentally Not Coin Operated and The Right Way To Structure Both Comp Plans and Sales Training with Bridget Gleason, VP of Sales @ Logz.io

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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

Feb 04 2019

32mins

Play

Rank #13: SaaStr 184: Step by Step Guide To Scaling Your Sales Team, Why Founders Need To Spend More Time On Top of Funnel & Why Discounting Is A Great Tool with Sam Blond, Chief Sales Officer @ Brex

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Sam Blond is Chief Sales Officer @ Brex, the startup that provides corporate cards for startups. To date they have raised over $57m in funding from the likes of Y Combinator, Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, Yuri Milner, Elad Gil and many more incredible names. Prior to Brex, Sam Was Chief Revenue Officer at Rainforest QA. Before Rainforest, Sam saw firsthand the hypergrowth scaling of Zenefits as VP of Sales where he saw the company grow from 18 employees and $1m in ARR to over 1,800 employees and over $70m in ARR. Sam got his start in the SaaS industry with Jason Lemkin @ Echosign as Director of Sales.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Sam made his way into the world of sales and came to join Jason Lemkin with his first role in sales at Echosign?
  • Why does Sam believe that more sales reps does not always equal more revenue? What are the benchmarks that suggest founders really need to add to their sales team? Does Sam agree Founders should be selling up to $1m in ARR?
  • How does Sam assess who is the best person to hire for the role? What have been Sam’s lessons on what it fundamentally takes to attract the best talent? In the early days how does Sam think about both role allocation and whether to hire the young jack of all trades vs the more senior executive?
  • Why does Sam believe that founders need to spend more time on top of funnel? Why does Sam believe that not all opportunities are created equal? How does Sam think about the right structure and time it should take to pass from lead to MQL to SAL to opportunity to deal? Where does this most commonly breakdown?
  • Why does Sam believe the key to success in SaaS sales teams is “urgency”? Literally, how can reps instil a sense of urgency in their current pipeline? Why does Sam disagree with the conventional wisdom and say discounting is a great tool? How does Sam determine the right level of discount to give? How does Sam assess pilots as an alternative approach to getting leads over the line?  

Sam’s 60 Second SaaStr

  1. What does Sam know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. Quality or quantity of logos in the early days?
  3. Sales rep productivity, what does Sam believe is good?

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

Sam Blond

Jul 16 2018

30mins

Play

Rank #14: SaaStr 156: Most Downloaded SaaStr of 2017: David Skok, General Partner @ Matrix Partners

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David Skok is a serial entrepreneur turned VC at Matrix Partners. He founded four companies: Skok Systems, Corporate Software Europe, Watermark Software, and SilverStream Software and did one turnaround with Xionics. Three of the companies he founded went public and one was acquired. In 2001 David joined Matrix Partners, who had backed his last two startups, as a General Partner. David’s successful exits as an investor at Matrix include: HubSpot, JBoss, AppIQ, Tabblo, Netezza, Diligent Technologies, CloudSwitch, TribeHR, GrabCAD, OpenSpan and Enservio. David currently serves on the boards of Atomist, CloudBees, Digium, Meteor, Namely HR, Salsify, and Zaius. You can also find David’s amazing blog here!

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did David make his way into the world of SaaS? What was it about Matrix that made him want to make the transition from operations to VC?
  • Metrics: Why are metrics so important? What role do they play in an organisation? How do good founders respond to questions on not achieving sales targets? What metrics in SaaS really determine the trajectory of the business?
  • How can founders examine unit economics to determine whether they have a sustainable SaaS business?
  • How does David address sales rep productivity? How much in ARR should they be booking in relation to their annual comp package?
  • Negative Churn: What is negative churn? Why is it fundamental for SaaS startups to have a strong grasp of their negative churn? How does negative churn affect the pricing axis? What can startups do if they have no alternative product to upsell to?
  • Upsell: To what extent should founders be willing to engage in customisation in order to upsell a product? What are the dangers? What should founders be mindful of? To what extent is upsell the responsibility of customer success? Should they have a hand in the sales process? What are the dangers and concerns?
  • How important is it for a startup to track their champion with the customer company? Does it matter if your champion leaves? What should you do if so?

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 Skok

Dec 18 2017

46mins

Play

Rank #15: SaaStr 209: The 3 Components To Successful SaaS Pricing, Lessons From Seeing Zendesk Scale From 12 to 2,000 and How To Ensure Successful Cross-Functional Communication with Amanda Kleha, Chief Customer Officer @ Figma

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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 28 2019

37mins

Play

Rank #16: SaaStr 231: Why SQLs and MQLs Are Redundant, Why You Have To Eliminate Hand Offs Between Go-To-Market Teams & Why One North Star For The Whole Company Can Be Damaging with Jason Reichl, Founder & CEO @ GoNimbly

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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 06 2019

26mins

Play

Rank #17: SaaStr 204: 2018's Most Downloaded Episode, Claire Hughes Johnson, COO @ Stripe

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Claire Hughes Johnson, COO @ Stripe the new standard in online payments that handles billions of dollars of business every year for forward thinking businesses around the world. To date, Stripe has raised over $680m in funding from some of the very best in the business including Sequoia, Founders Fund, General Catalyst, Thrive, CapitalG, Kleiner Perkins and Tiger Global. As for Claire, prior to Stripe she spent over 10 years at Google in a range of different roles from VP of Google's self-driving car division to VP of Global Online Sales to VP of Google Offers. At Stripe, Claire has helped take Stripe global in February 2016 with the launch of Atlas, a toolkit that enables any business, anywhere in the world, to incorporate in the United States. If that was not enough, Claire is also a Board Member @ Hallmark Cards.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Claire made her way into the world of SaaS with Stripe following her leading of Google’s self-driving car division?
  • What does Claire mean when she discusses “founding documents”? What is the right way to go about creating them? What element do they need to contain? How can one optimise internal decision-making process with these documents? What question must one always try and ask when making big decisions?
  • How does Claire define a truly special COO? What does that truly great look like? When is the right time for founders to hire that COO? Where do the majority of people go wrong in their assessment of when and what they need in a COO? What is the optimal relationship one can have between CEO and COO?
  • How does Claire think about what Stripe have done right to hire so effectively at scale? What does it take in terms of benchmarks and standards to do so? What does Claire mean when she says you have to step function up your capabilities with scale? What are the core challenges in hiring at scale?  

Claire’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What would Claire say are her biggest strengths and weaknesses?
  2. What does Claire know now that she wishes she had known at the beginning?
  3. A moment in Claire’s life that has served as an inflection point and changed the way she thinks?

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

Claire Hughes Johnson

Dec 10 2018

33mins

Play

Rank #18: SaaStr 188: Why The Best CEOs Are Inspirational Assholes, How To Optimise Decision-Making within Your Organisation & The Benefits of Being Old In SaaS with Fouad ElNaggar, Founder & CEO @ Sapho

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Fouad ElNaggar is the Founder & CEO @ Sapho, the only employee experience portal designed for the digital workforce. To date, Ray has raised over $27m in funding with Sapho from some real favourites of ours including Ray @ Caffeinated, Felicis, Uncork, Bloomberg Beta, Clark Landry and Howard Lindzon @ Social Leverage, just to name a few. Prior to founding Sapho, Fouad was the Chief Strategy Officer at CBS Interactive overseeing strategy, operations, partnerships, and M&A. At CBSi, Fouad structured deals with partners such as Yahoo, IAC, and Twitch and acquired premium brands such as TV Guide and Giant Bomb. Prior to CBSi, Fouad was a VC at Redpoint Ventures overseeing the firm’s LA office and helping establish a dedicated fund in Brazil. Fouad has previously founded three venture-backed companies – Marketing Technology Solutions (acquired), Liquid Light (acquired), and Hark.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Fouad made his way from the world of VC to the world of CBS and media to founding SaaS companies being a serial SaaS founder with his 4th company, Sapho?
  • What does Fouad mean when he says the role of the CEO is to be an “inspirational asshole”? Why is this role so crucial and how is it embodied both in the approach to inspiring a team and driving goals and decision-making? How does Fouad think about structuring decision-making internally? Where do so many go wrong in implementing a decision-making process?
  • Why is Fouad a believer that “it is about coaching and promoting rather than signal hiring”? What does Fouad really interpret as signal hiring? When does signal hiring work well? How does Fouad determine when a stretch VP is a stretch too far? What are the leading indicators? Does Fouad agree with Mariam Naficy that rotation of function is key to internal upscaling?
  • What does Fouad believe are the 2 fundamental benefits of “being old” in SaaS? How would Fouad respond to the suggestion that the rate of decay on experience has never been greater with Moore’s law effect on technology? Applied to hiring, how does Fouad think about the decision to hire a jack of all trades vs a specialist? When is the time to make the transition?  

Fouad’s 60 Second SaaStr

  1. What does Fouad know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. A moment in Fouad’s business life that changed the way he thinks?
  3. What would Fouad 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

Fouad ElNaggar

Aug 13 2018

40mins

Play

Rank #19: SaaStr 213: Redpoint's Tom Tunguz on What Makes The Most Effective Free Trial, What Makes Good vs Great When It Comes To Benchmarks for Assisted vs Unassisted Conversion & Why Scoring Leads May Actually Be Dangerous

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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 26 2019

35mins

Play

Rank #20: SaaStr 218: Twilio Founder, Jeff Lawson & SendGrid CEO, Sameer Dholakia on Why Developer First Is A Maturation In The Supply Chain Of Software & Why With Software Innovation Costs Being Lower Than Ever, Operators Must Maximise The Number of "At Bat" Oppor

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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 18 2019

38mins

Play