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
Yesterday I returned for Day 2 of the SaaStr Annual 2017 conference at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in SF.
Zoom.us 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.
SaaStr Annual 2017: Veeva: The Biggest Vertical SaaS Success Story of All Time
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.”
— Hoala Greevy (@HoalaGreevy) February 9, 2017