Earlier this week I attended a SalesCollider meetup in San Francisco. It was hosted by our man Ryan Williams at a Breather spot. It was great to see familiar faces like Jane Wang of Optimity and Ryan's wife, Jenny. There were about ten other founders in attendance and I consider events like this my continuing education in SaaS.
SEE ALSO: Jane Wang: Proactive Health Evangelist
SEE ALSO: My Continuing Education via SaaStr CSS Speaking Series
Sam Trachtenberg: How Big Companies Make Buying Decisions
Sam Trachtenberg is VP of Operations at AdRoll, a 500-person AdTech startup in SF. Ryan used to work with him several years ago while at AdRoll. Here are my takeaways from his thoughtful presentation:
- His team is constantly looking to learn about and experiment with new software solutions.
- Only 15% of sales tech purchases actually result in increased revenue.
- Sam hates auto-renewals and product bundles.
- "The less friction the better. Obviously."
- Start legal conversations early.
- He pays attention to G2 Crowd reviews.
- "If we win together, we're willing to tell the world."
- "Are we getting value out of this thing?"
- Start small. Then scale. Similar to land and expand.
- Soft costs worry Sam. How much employee time is needed to maintain a new product?
- Think of using a 12-month buyout to replace your solution against an incumbent with a multi-year contract already in place.
Joseph Floyd: The Traction Needed for Series A (Fireside Chat)
After a short break, Ryan and Joe Floyd assembled couches and a coffee table into a fireside chat configuration. Joe Floyd is Partner at Emergence Capital. Here are my takeaways from their fireside chat:
- "I sell money for a piece of their dreams."
- 100% focused on cloud B2B companies.
- Warm intros strongly preferred.
- "You're too early" is a nice way of saying no.
- Hates seeing "Machine Learning" in decks.
- Defines Product Market fit as, "Hey the market is starting to pull us in."
- Any logo you put on a website, know that a VC will call and talk to them.
- Churn and engagement are leading indicators.
- CEO's should talk to a customer every week.
- Creator of Silicon Heroes comic book.
- Pick your Series A investor wisely. "It's like tandem sky diving."
- "Team matters more than anything."
SalesCollider is a mentorship group for technical founders who want to jumpstart B2B sales. Companies are typically very early in evolution, though many have already graduated from an accelerator such as Y Combinator, AngelPad or 500Startups. They host private trainings and quarterly meet ups like the one I attended. Speakers have included sales leaders from Autodesk, AdRoll, Box, Twitter, SumoLogic, and many other fast-growing, sales-driven, B2B companies.