by Hoala Greevy Founder CEO of Paubox
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SaaStr 2017: My takeaways from day 2

by Hoala Greevy Founder CEO of Paubox
View of the audience at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

SaaStr Annual 2017 packed the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

Yesterday I returned for Day 2 of the SaaStr Annual 2017 conference at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in SF. CEO Eric Yuan went on stage and declared SaaStr Annual as our Superbowl of SaaS. I think he’s right.

Here are some of my takeaways from Day 2 of SaaStr Annual 2017.

Twilio Founder Jeff Lawson with Jason Lemkin

Twilio Founder Jeff Lawson with Jason Lemkin

SaaStr Annual 2017: Veeva: The Biggest Vertical SaaS Success Story of All Time

Veeva CEO Peter Gassner giving a speech

Veeva CEO Peter Gassner does not follow the herd

  • Do not give away professional services.
  • There is no chance to be great if all you are doing is following the herd.
  • Revenue follows the people.
  • Pricing is relative at big software companies.
  • You can’t sell something for more $ than the customer gets in value over the long term.
  • “I like to focus on the value.”
  • Veeva is a mission-driven digital disruption.
  • “I’m a Swiss American. I like trains to run on time.”
  • “Good enough is not good enough.”
  • “Execution matters most. Over the long term, any good idea gets copied. Execution does not.”
  • Adjacent Possible: Every three weeks, take a day off and meet with someone outside the industry.

SaaStr Annual 2017: Get to $100m ARR While Burning Almost Nothing: 6 Learnings in 6 Years

Zoom CEO Eric Yuan giving a speech CEO Eric Yuan calls SaaStr Annual the Superbowl of SaaS

  • Started Zoom 6 yrs ago.
  • Crowded market (video conferencing) but no happy customers.
  • Focused on existing customers and sustainable growth.
  • Don’t wait to raise until you need it.
  • First $1M ARR was the hardest.
  • Always wanted to have a billboard. So he got billboards.
  • 40 min. free by Zoom. 45 min. is the most effective meeting length.
  • Zoom NPS is at 69. Everyone else in the space is at 20.
  • Big believer in making the work place a happy place.
  • “This is our Superbowl moment for SaaS companies.”

SaaStr Annual 2017: AI: The New Platform for SaaS

Tom Tunguz giving a presentation

Tom Tunguz packed the room for his presentation

  • What is ML really? Optimize, Identify objects, Anomalies, Segmentation.
  • There’s a Convergence of three trends around ML.
  • ML will be as huge as iPhone and cloud.
  • Tunguz loves speech recognition.
  • ML is hidden, doing work behind the scenes.
  • Why is the customer going to care about your ML solution? You still have to provide value.
  • “If you’re wrong in ML you lose the trust of the user.”
  • ML with humans relationships need to build trust first.
  • What value can a startup add on top of mono cloud platforms like AWS ML?
  • Access to proprietary data for ML: Create it yourself or have customers give you access to theirs.

SaaStr Annual 2017: 12 Key Levers of SaaS Success

David Skok giving a presentation

David Skok nailed it

  • A simple model is needed to understand a SaaS business.
  • 3 phases of a SaaS startup: Product market fit /Search for repeatable results & scalable growth / Scaling the business
  • SaaS funnel: Onboard, Retain, Expand.
  • SaaS funnel governed by simple math: Top of funnel deal flow & Conversion rate.
  • 2 sales motions: Touchless & Sales people.
  • Not all lead sources equal.
  • Fix the conversion rate first before spending on heavy traffic.
  • Find the optimal customer segments.
  • Clear simple powerful messaging is often missing.
  • Every funnel will have blockage problems. Can find it by asking “what happens if revenue grows 10x in 12 months?”
  • Can you trigger someone into a buying process via marketing?
  • Microfunnels: What is your Wow! Moment?
  • Sales Teams: Sales people have a ramp time and capacity limit. Unit growth becomes amount of sales people on staff.
  • Top piece of advice: Optimize the funnel.
  • Diagram the funnel: Draw micro steps for key parts.

SaaStr Annual 2017: The Unconventional Road to 20,000 Customers

Edghan McCabe giving a presentation

Edghan McCabe just wants to build cool stuff

  • Constantly question previously held beliefs.
  • Core motivator is to create and make.
  • Wrote a lot of blogs in the beginning. Genuine authentic content. Very good results.
  • Spread the message far and wide via content. Customers and investors came to them.
  • “Any conversation a customer is willing to have with us is a privilege.”

SEE ALSO: My Takeaways from SaaStr Annual 2017 Conference (Day 1)

SEE ALSO: My Takeaways from SaaStr Annual 2017 Conference (Day 3)

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