I resumed my continuing education in the Software as a Service (SaaS) industry this evening at the SaaStr CSS Speaking Series #4.
As I discovered while attending my first SaaStr Annual conference a few months ago, there will continue to be a lot for us to learn in SaaS as we progress up the revenue ladder. We should thus take it upon ourselves to continually improve our skill sets.
Paubox is on Network Time
I am proud to be Hawaiian. There are many facets of our culture people around the world admire and adore. As with any culture however, there are also Hawaiian stereotypes I do not relish being associated with. One of them is the concept of “Hawaiian Time.”
Paubox is not on Hawaiian Time. We are on Network Time. We are not late. We move fast. We arrive early to events.
The event started at 5:30pm. I was there by 5:21pm. As soon as I got my name badge, I zoned in on Jason Lemkin and went in. I knew he’d get swamped as the evening wore on so being early allowed me to get his full attention as I gave him our company milestones and updates. I was happy to report our HIPAA compliant email solution now has customers in all 50 states.
Are You Gonna Bring Me Awesome?
— Hoala Greevy (@HoalaGreevy) March 22, 2017
As I made my way around the room, I struck up a conversation with Don Otvos of SalesLoft. What a cool and helpful dude.
During our conversation, I learned more about:
- SalesLoft (of course).
- First Round Capital blog, go read it.
- Modern Sales Pros List (“Are you gonna bring me awesome?”)
- Upwork for scraping customer leads is legit.
- The concept of Team Cadence 8×14.
- Don is the genealogy guy in his family (with ties to Hawaii).
I’m seeing recurring themes for SaaStr events.
They are well attended.
The beverages are unique and tasty.
And the food gets annihilated.
We Like Zoom
We are new customers of Zoom. In fact, we signed up a few days after I heard Zoom CEO Eric Yuan speak at SaaStr Annual.
I struck up a conversation with Nino Repetti, who was manning the Zoom table and told him we’re happy new customers. He quickly gave me his card and offered to help going down the road. He even offered tips on how to lower our Zoom investment, which I found refreshing.
SaaStr Speaker Series: Doug Pepper, GP at Shasta Ventures and Phil Fernandez, CEO and Co-founder of Marketo
Here are my takeaways from their talk:
- Spent six months talking to customers before starting code on Marketo.
- Where is the money? Where is the spendable money? How can we build a product to get that $?
- “How do we get friction out of the system?”
- Make it incredibly easy to buy, easy to get started using the product.
- How do you incent sales team? Go do it.
- Build a go to market machine.
- Building the brand is important. Push lots of content!
- Color was a part of the Marketo brand. People wanted to be associated with the company.
- Are people routing for or against us? That’s the single best asset for a company.
- Leader in a market typically gets 75% of a market
- Do not let the competition get in your head. Do not copy them.
- Bill Bunch killed it as VP of Sales.
- Relentless mindset/personality.
- “Benioff got it right from day one.” (1-1-1 program)
- Concept of 10x engineers can also apply to 10x sales and 10x marketing hires.
- Abstract thinking, creativity, eyes up and out (interacting with the world), innate curiosity is predictive of 10x people. Did they overcome a problem or describe a defeat?
- Build an enduring brand. And your customers won’t budge.
- We follow our North Star. We don’t get distracted by the competition. We keep innovating via customer feedback. (Phil)
- Series A bar today: Big markets; lots of “why now?” ingredients; best team and best product that can win the market. Customer anecdotes are huge.
- Must grow at least 5x each year early on.
- The power of brand will help build out the company.
- Have customers Pre disposed to buy your product (because of brand). Become the default choice.
- NPS religion: a big North Star for Lemkin. Phil huge on customer success too.
- The new Bar in Silicon Valley: Beautiful UI a must. Place a high premium on UX. Don’t get carried away on ML and AI in pitch deck. 90% of pitches have them now.