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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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The Official SaaStr Podcast: SaaS | Founders | Investors
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Now displaying: Category: business
Mar 28, 2019

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

 

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

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

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

Jason Lemkin

SaaStr

Mark Roberge

Mar 25, 2019

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

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

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

60 Second SaaStr:

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

Read the full transcript on our blog.

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

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Leyla Seka

Mar 21, 2019

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

 

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

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

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

Jason Lemkin

SaaStr

Mar 18, 2019

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

 

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

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

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

60 Second SaaStr:

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

Read the full transcript on our blog.

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

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Jeff Lawson

Sameer Dholakia

Mar 14, 2019

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

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

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

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

Jason Lemkin

SaaStr

Mar 11, 2019

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

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

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

Dan’s 60 Second SaaStr:

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

Read the full transcript on our blog.

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

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Dan Reich

Mar 5, 2019

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

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

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

Erica’s 60 Second SaaStr:

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

Read the full transcript on our blog.

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

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Feb 26, 2019

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

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

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

Tom’s 60 Second SaaStr:

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

Read the full transcript on our blog.

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

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Tom Tunguz

Feb 19, 2019

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

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

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

Nick’s 60 Second SaaStr:

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

Read the full transcript on our blog.

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

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Nick Mehta

Feb 11, 2019

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

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

Read the full transcript on our blog.

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

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Feb 4, 2019

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

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

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

Bridget’s 60 Second SaaStr:

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

Read the full transcript on our blog.

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

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Bridget Gleason

Jan 28, 2019

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

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

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

Amanda’s 60 Second SaaStr:

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

Read the full transcript on our blog.

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

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Amanda Kleha

Jan 21, 2019

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

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

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

Anne’s 60 Second SaaStr:

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

Read the full transcript on our blog.

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

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Anne Raimondi

Jan 15, 2019

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

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

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

Jason’s 60 Second SaaStr:

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

Read the full transcript on our blog.

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

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Jason VandeBoom

Jan 7, 2019

Ryan Barretto is the SVP of Global Sales at Sprout Social, a leading provider of social media engagement, advocacy and analytics solutions for business. To date they have raised over $111m in funding from the likes of NEA, Goldman Sachs and their very recently announced $40m Series D led by Future Fund.  At Sprout Social Ryan oversees both the Sales and Customer Success organizations. Prior to Sprout, he was the VP of Global Sales at Pardot–a Salesforce company. At Pardot, Ryan's team tripled revenue growth in two years, making Pardot one of Salesforce's fastest growing businesses and during his 10 year tenure at Salesforce he saw the company grow from $180m to $7.5Bn.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Ryan made his way into the world of SaaS with Salesforce over 13 years ago? What were some of Ryan’s biggest takeaways from seeing Salesforce scale from $180m to $7.5Bn?
  • Why does Ryan think that it is lazy to believe that you have to pick a market and you can’t have them all? How can one approach the element of very different messaging being required for SMB vs enterprise? How can one do both? How does that change the structure of the team? How can one build a product with the simplicity of SMB and functionality of enterprise?  
  • When it comes to winning the market, what does Ryan mean when he says, “boring is better than sexy”? What are the 4 elements all founders must consider when pricing their SaaS product? Where does Ryan see many go wrong with pricing? When serving SMB, how can one provide enterprise quality customer support? How does Ryan feel about customisation? What number justifies it?  
  • Why does Ryan believe that being good at sales won’t make you a great sales leader? What is needed to make the transition? What can sales reps do to learn and bridge that gap? What has worked for Ryan in the past? Where has Ryan seen many go wrong here? What 3 elements does Ryan look for in al additions to the team?
  • What is the number 1 issue that is preventing people building truly diverse teams? How can we change our job descriptions to make the more inclusive? How can we expand our candidate pool to include more diverse people than usual? What can leaders do to build environments of inclusion where people can really bring their full selves to work?

Ryan’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Ryan know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. Sales rep productivity, what is good to Ryan?
  3. What motto or quote does Ryan frequently revert back to? Why?

Read the full transcript on our blog.

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

Ryan Barretto

Dec 17, 2018

Guy Podjarny is the Founder & CEO @ Snyk, the developer-first solution that automates finding and fixing vulnerabilities in your dependencies. To date, Guy has raised over $32m in VC funding from Snyk from some of the great of venture including Accel, GV, our friends at Boldstart and Canaan Partners, just to name a few. As for Guy, prior to Snyk, he was the CTO of Akamai’s Web Performance Business following their acquisition of his startup, Blaze.io. Before founding Blaze, Guy built Web Application Security products, including the first Web App Firewall (AppShield), Dynamic Application Security Testing tool (AppScan) and Static Application Security Testing tool (AppScan Dev Edition). Fun fact on Guy, he is the holder of 18 patents related to security and performance.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Guy made his way into the world of SaaS and came to found one of the hottest open source companies of our day in the form of Snyk?
  • How does Guy navigate between the difficult balance of going wide on market and shallow on product or narrow in market and deep in product? What is the decision-making process? What does Guy advise founders on feature prioritisation in the early days? Does Guy agree if you are not embarrassed by V1, you have shipped too late? How does support provide a feedback loop on what to build next?  
  • Why does Guy believe that, “successful freemium requires giving away your secret sauce”? How can one give away enough secret sauce in freemium without giving away too much people don’t buy? How does freemium fundamentally alter your relationship to revenue? Where does Guy see many going wrong when pursuing the freemium model?  
  • How does Guy think about the problem of agency with developers using the product but having to sell to CIOs? What 2 things can be done to make this sell easier? What does Guy believe is the right framework to think about pricing through? Why is transparency in enterprise pricing not always optimal?
  • What does Guy believe is required to have strong and seamless communication across functions and locations? How has Guy seen this change over time and with increased locations? Where does Guy see many going wrong when trying to scale team across location?   

Guy’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. How does Guy know when is the right time to hire your first sales person?
  2. How did Guy learn to let go and trust his team?
  3. What does Guy know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?

Read the full transcript on our blog.

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

Guy Podjarny

Dec 10, 2018

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?

Read the full transcript on our blog.

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

Nov 12, 2018

Brad Birnbaum is the Founder & CEO @ Kustomer, the first intelligent platform for customer experience that enables you to know everything about every customer. To date Brad has raised over $38m in funding for Kustomer from some of the very best in the SaaS business including Tomasz Tunguz @ Redpoint, Ed Sim @ Boldstart, Canaan Partners, Box Group and Social Leverage just to name a few. Previously he was the Co-founder of Assistly, which was acquired by Salesforce and became Desk.com. Prior to that, he was CTO for Talisma and Co‑founder & CTO of eShare Technologies. In addition, Brad was also the CTO @ Sean parker’s Airtime and VP of Engineering with Salesforce.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Brad made his way into the world of customer experience and SaaS over 20 years ago?
  • This is Brad’s 4th time at the roadshow, what does Brad believe are the core benefits of repeat entrepreneurship? How did his prior experience change his operating mentality with Kustomer? What has he done differently this time? What worked and he has kept the same?
  • Brad has made the transition from CTO to CEO, how did he find this transition? What were some of the most challenging elements? What have been some of the biggest surprises? What advice would Brad have for other CTOs who have made or are thinking about making the transition?
  • Brad initially served SMBs with Kustomer but now primarily focuses on mid-level, what would Brad’s biggest advice be when it comes to finding the right go-to-market strategy for you? How did their transition alter their approach to pricing, product, messaging and distribution? Where does Brad see many people go wrong on go-to-market?

Brad’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Brad know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. When is the right time to pour fuel on the company fire?
  3. What would Brad most like to change in the world of SaaS?

Read the full transcript on our blog.

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

Brad Birnbaum

Nov 5, 2018

Jon Stein is the Founder & CEO @ Betterment, the online financial advisor built for people who refuse to settle for average investing. To date, Jon has raised $275m in VC funding with Betterment from the likes of Bessemer Ventures Partners, Menlo Ventures, Kinnevik and Francisco Partners, just to name a few. Prior to founding Betterment, Jon spent 4 years as a consultant at First Manhattan Consulting Group where he really honed his experience in working with banks and brokers including revitalizing a bank in Australia with the launch of a best-in-market auto-finance offering, resulting in 50% lift to revenue. As a result of his phenomenal success with Betterment Jon has won many awards including Fortune’s 40 Under 40.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Jon made his way into the world of startups and came to found democratize the world of investing with Betterment?
  • When does Jon believe is that critical moment when the founding team must hire their first employee? What is the right strategy to build the candidate pipe for hiring those first employees? Where does Jon see many go wrong here? What 1-2 questions does Jon always find the most enlightening to ask in the interview?
  • Once hired, what have been some of Jon’s biggest lessons in terms of optimising the onboarding experience and the first 60 days? How has their process changed over time? How does Jon determine when a stretch candidate is a stretch too far? If so, what does Jon believe is the right way to let go of an individual?
  • What does Jon believe to be the 3 core roles of the CEO in any company today? From those, what has Jon found most challenging? What did he do to level up and overcome the challenges? How does Jon approach transparency with the team in delicate cases like fundraising and acquisition etc?
  • With the team and product in place, scale can occur, what are the 2-3 things that all companies need to focus on when product market fit has been achieved? How does Jon determine when is the right time to really put the pedal to the metal and scale?

Jon’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. Jon’s favourite book and why?
  2. What does on know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  3. What is Jon’s biggest strength and weakness?

Read the full transcript on our blog. 

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

Jon Stein

Oct 29, 2018

Maria Pergolino is the CMO @ Anaplan, the company that allows you to accelerate decision-making with effective planning. To date, Anaplan have raised over $299m in funding from the likes of Meritech, Salesforce Ventures, Shasta, DFJ Growth and more incredible names. As for Maria, prior to Anaplan, Maria was Senior Vice President of Global Marketing and Sales Development at Apttus, where she directed go-to-market strategy, sales development, customer advocacy, demand generation, strategic events and communications initiatives. She also has held leadership positions at Marketo, Shunra Software (acquired by Hewlett-Packard), and Chubb Ltd. It’s also important to note, Maria is renowned for building world-class teams that drive growth, product differentiation, and category development.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Maria made her way into the world of B2B marketing? What were her biggest lessons from the days of Marketo?
  • How does Maria balance between instinct driven decision making vs data-driven in B2B marketing? Is there anything wrong with instinct driven? How can marketers confidently back up their thesis with substantive proof? How does one successfully sell that to leadership?
  • Maria is famous for rallying teams around her ideas, what has Maria found to be core to the success in gaining this collective approval and excitement? What is the right way to approach the marketing portfolio of strategies as a whole? What channel or segment is Maria currently most excited for?
  • How does maria evaluate the current event landscape in terms of effectiveness? Are we in a B2B event bubble? How can companies determine whether this is the right strategy for them? Would Maria agree with Joe Chernov, “to do events, you have to have an appetite for losing money? What does Maria and her team do to get the most out of events?
  • What does the term “marketing playbook” really mean to Maria? What does Maria mean when she suggests that marketers can let their own playbook get in the way? Why does maria think it is absurd for there to be misalignment from sales and marketing?

Maria’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Maria know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. Who does Maria believe is killing it in B2B marketing today?
  3. Advice commonly stated in SaaS that Maria disagrees with?

Read the full transcript on our blog.

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

Maria Pergolino

 

 

Oct 22, 2018

Cristina Cordova leads the Payments Partnerships and Platform Partnerships teams at 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 Cristina, at Stripe she manages partnerships with some of the biggest global players including Apple Pay, Google Pay, WeChat Pay and more and has also held roles such as Head of Diversity and Inclusion and Manager of Partner Engineering. Prior to Stripe, Cristina was Head of Business Development @ Pulse (acq by LinkedIn) and was in the marketing team at Tapulous (acq by Disney).

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Cristina made her way into the world of SaaS and came to be Head of Partnerships at one of the fastest growing startups in the world, Stripe?
  • Does Cristina agree with the common notion that certain people are destined for certain stages of a company’s life? How can one determine whether some has the ability to scale or not? What are the leading indicators? What have been some of Cristina’s biggest lessons in scaling from 28 at Stripe to 1,300?
  • What does Cristina believe is the key to success when it comes to adapting to new roles? What worked? What did not work? Where does Cristina see many go wrong? How should employees think about title both when joining and when at a high growth company? What is the right way for them to think about and approach equity?
  • What does Cristina believe is so special about partnerships with early stage startups? How can partnerships be fundamentally dangerous for early stage companies? How can startups determine when is the right time to engage with partners? What are the key questions and terms startups should focus on when partnering with incumbents?
  • What makes Cristina lean in on a partnership for Stripe? What does Cristina believe is the right way to communicate this excitement and set expectations? For the larger player, what does the optimal agreement look like? What are the commonalities in the reasons that Cristina passes on potential partnerships?

Cristina’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Cristina know now that she wishes she had known at the beginning?
  2. Who is killing it in SaaS partnerships today?
  3. When is the right time to hire a Head of Partnerships?

Read the full transcript on our blog.

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

 

Cristina Cordova

Oct 15, 2018

Claire Hughes Johnson is the 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?

Read the full transcript on our blog.

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

Oct 1, 2018

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

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Dan made his way into the world of SaaS with the founding of Spinback? How that led to his founding of the ultimate slackbot for sales teams in Troops? How the experience with Spinback affected his operating mindset with Troops today?
  • Why does Dan believe that the current modelling of org charts is fundamentally upside down? How does Dan think about when is the right time to insert the first level of managers? What should one look for in those managers? Does Dan believe you have to hire “logo players” from big firms at some point in the journey?
  • Why does Dan believe that your customer success has to be obsessed with asking why? Taking a step back, how does Dan think about when the right time is to hire your first CS rep? How has Dan seen the best companies do post mortem analysis on churn? What can be done to ensure seamless communications between product and customer success teams?
  • Dan has a knack for knowing where the puck is going with large enterprises before anyone else. How? What does this ideation process look like? Once the idea has been created, what does Dan believe is crucial to the success of partnering with the behemoths of Salesforce and Slack?
  • How can startups navigate the internal politics of these mega enterprises? How can they use this exercise to not only understand the politics themselves but also build credibility and trust with the organisations once inside? Where does Dan see most founders going wrong both in introductions to enterprise and then building trust once inside?

Dan’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Dan know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. What is Dan’s favourite story of hustle? Why that one?
  3. Who does Dan believe is killing it in the world of SaaS today?

Read the full transcript on our blog.

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

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Dan Reich

 

Sep 24, 2018

Steve Newman is the Founder & CEO @ Scalyr, the startup that helps your devops team solve more problems in less time with log monitoring and analysis in seconds. Steve has raised over $27.5m in funding with Scalyr from many friends of the show including Susa Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, Shasta and GV. As for Steve, prior to Scalyr, he was the Founder of Writely which was acquired by Google to become the little known, Google Docs. Before that he founded 2 prior startups, Ann Arbour Softworks (acq by Ashton-Tate) and BitCraft (acquired by Macromedia). If that was not enough, Steve also sat on the Technical Advisory Board at Box for over 3 years.   

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Steve made his way into the world of startups and SaaS over 30 years ago? What is the founding story with Scalyr and what was that a-ha moment?
  • Why does Steve believe that you should involve customers very early in the process of developing your narrative? Where does Steve see most startups go wrong when it comes to messaging? How does one structure the feedback mechanism? How does one determine between feedback you integrate and feedback you do not?
  • Why does Steve believe that you should not focus too much on numbers in the early days? What makes them deceiving at this stage? If not numbers, what should early stage founders be focusing on and measuring? Why does Steve believe that ARR is not the leading metric? What metrics should early stage SaaS founders really be prioritising?
  • How does Steve respond to PG’s “to scale, you have to do unscalable things”? What challenges and nuance does Steve present that founders must be wary of? How does Steve’s thinking here affect his view towards customisation? Why does manual input not put a cap on scalability? What are the parameters for manual involvement to be scalable?   

Steve’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Steve know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. Who does Steve believe is crushing it in the world of SaaS today?
  3. The hardest element about the move from tech co-founder to CEO?

Read the full transcript on our blog.

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

 

Sep 17, 2018

Joe Chernov is the Chief Marketing Officer at Robin, the startup that simplifies scheduling, visibility and management of meeting rooms, desks and people in your workplace. To date, Robin have raised over £9m in funding from some of our dear friends in the form of BoldStart, Accomplice and FirstMark, just to name a few. As for Joe, prior to Robin he was the CMO @ Insight Squared where he led the transition from an email-driven leads model to an account-based marketing model that's tightly coupled with sales. Before InsightSquared, Joe was Head of Content Marketing at Hubspot where he increased blog traffic by more than 1M visits/month and increased leads by 40%. Finally, pre-Hubspot, Joe held VP of Marketing roles at Kinvey and Eloqua.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Joe made his way into the world of startups and SaaS marketing many years ago? What was Joe’s missed founding story and how does that affect his thinking today?
  • Does Joe believe that ABM is a paradigm shift in the way we approach marketing or another word for high ACV target sales? How can founders determine whether they have the right business, pricing and hiring strategy that will align with an ABM strategy? Is it the right decision to focus squarely on ABM? How should it play into your overall marketing portfolio?
  • Why does Joe believe we have seen a massive rise in SaaS conferences? How can a startup determine whether the conference strategy is the right strategy for them? Where does Joe see many startups going wrong when selecting this approach? Why does Joe believe you have to get comfortable with losing money in conferences? What are the determinants or leading indicators of a successful conference? What is the ideal composition in terms of attendance?
  • Why does Joe believe that marketing should be held accountable to a number that is directly tied to revenue? Why does Joe believe that Head of Sales and Head of Marketing should not be separate functions? What is it that leads Joe’s thinking when saying, sales and marketing are overlapping functions?  
  • What are the commonalities of the truly special CMOs? When is the right time to really consider adding the CMO to your exec team? What is the ideal relationship between the CMO and the CEO? What is the one question that will largely determine the strength of a potential CMO?

Joe’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Joe know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. Who does Joe believe is killing it in SaaS today and why?
  3. Advice Joe often hears in the world of SaaS that he actively disagrees with?

Read the full transcript on our blog.

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

Joe Chernov

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