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47 things I Wrote Down @ SaaStr Annual 2017

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Ah, SaaStr Annual. The conference of all conferences for us SaaS nerds. The pinnacle of PLU (People Like Us) networking and experience cross-pollination.

I’m not a newbie. I’ve read, heard, or lived most of it before, many times over, but I had a very specific goal for myself this year: to focus on answering a few burning questions related to my key objectives for the next 12 months. I found what I was looking for, (hope you did too), and happened to take some decent notes in the process. Enjoy!

Published in: Software
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47 things I Wrote Down @ SaaStr Annual 2017

  1. 1. 47 THINGS I WROTE DOWN @SAASTR ANNUAL 2017 J E R E M Y S T E W A R T, H E A D O F C L I E N T S E R V I C E S
  2. 2. Thanks to all of the organizers and speakers that contributed to the assembly of this material SaaStr Annual 2017 2 Josh James, CEO @ Domo → ONLY CARE @ SALES → Recruit like you’re selling BIG customer’s → In non-tech hubs, have candidates meet other local CEO’s to give them confidence in the unpopular area → Celebrate successes - have a short dance party for each closed deal Michael Pryor, CEO @ Trello → “If you get to $20M ARR, don’t sell” – because you will already have the momentum to get to $100M ARR Chris O’Neill, CEO @ Evernote → Shrinking focus to 3 things saved the company Jeff Lawson, CEO @ Twilio → Wear your customers’ shoes - don’t just walk in them (experience vs. understanding)
  3. 3. Thanks to all of the organizers and speakers that contributed to the assembly of this material SaaStr Annual 2017 3 Peter Gassner, CEO @ Veeva Systems → Don’t follow the herd…if no one sees the opportunity, it’s probably real → Be aggressive, don’t be wreckless, but be intentional → Don’t over-cover on sales reps → Pick a clear and correct target market, then focus on value Jon Miller, CEO @ Engag.io → Concentrate on building a healthy company with teamwork Mikkel Svane, CEO @ Zendesk → **Simplicity** → Build a pricing model that allows flexibility and creativity Brad Feld, Managing Director @ Foundry Group → CEO with hands in the product is a weakness for the company @ $5M ARR
  4. 4. Thanks to all of the organizers and speakers that contributed to the assembly of this material SaaStr Annual 2017 4 Nick Mehta, CEO @ Gainsight → CS needs to be a “state of mind” in the company, and a revenue driver, not a cost → Don’t worry about making customers happy, work to make them successful → Avoid throwing high cost CSM @ clients with no opportunity to spend Anand Sanwal, CEO @ CB Insights → Don’t half-ass employee onboarding → Don’t waste money on PR to get customers, but it’s ok for recruitment & brand awareness → Don’t be boring to prospects, they expect dry and boring → Don’t do demo’s…have conversations → Invest in Sales Training Promise Phelon, CEO @ TapInfluence → If it requires a pros and cons list, the answer is “no”
  5. 5. Thanks to all of the organizers and speakers that contributed to the assembly of this material SaaStr Annual 2017 5 Patrick Meenan, Partner @ Arthur Ventures “5 operational consistencies of our most successful investments” 1. Product first 2. 50% of revenue growth comes from upsells, changes to product and pricing 3. Triple down on what worked to achieve $1M ARR → Takes 2 years to double $3M to $6M ARR, or $5M to $10M ARR, etc. → Will take slightly less than $5M burn to get to $10M ARR 4. Need a recruiter @ 20 employees, need leadership @ 40 employees 5. Turn customers into a community Fred Stevens-Smith, CEO @ Rainforest QA, Louis Jonckheere, CEO @ Showpad, & Laura Bilazarian, CEO @ Teamable “Breaking through the $5M ARR wall” 1. Lack of Sales 2. Lack of Exec Team 3. Marketing often fails → Scale will come from investing in outbound and building teams around AE’s. Whystall?
  6. 6. Thanks to all of the organizers and speakers that contributed to the assembly of this material SaaStr Annual 2017 6 Byron Deeter, Partner @ Bessimer VP, Kristina Shen, VP @ Bessimer VP 2017 Predictions 1. The era of human-assisted AI 2. APIs will serve as the backbone for a majority of software infrastructure 3. Architect for success in an infinite compute world: infinite scale without infinite spend → Cost optimize your cloud infrastructure as you grow 4. Mobile unlocks non-desk worker productivity 5. NPS everything – leading indicator of churn (internal & external) 6. Diverse teams win → 75% funded have 1 core foreign born member → 51% unicorns founded by immigrants → 20% of top 10 in SV by market cap run by women 7. The screenless software movement - virtual assistants Other notables → After you find product-market fit, and biz is repeatable & scalable, HIT THE GAS! → If there’s any friction in the product, fix it now or scalability and success will suffer

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