SaaStr Annual 2017: Day 2 Highlights on SaaS Growth

By Erika Malzberg February 8, 2017

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]On the second day of SaaStr Annual 2017, we heard from leaders from SaaS companies including Zoom, PagerDuty, Lithium Technologies, Asana, PayPal, and more. And our own Tien Tzuo led a great panel discussion…while getting to enjoy his “David Letterman moment” behind the desk on stage at the historic Bill Graham Civic Center Auditorium (not quite the Ed Sullivan Theater in NYC, but close enough!).

If we had to name one theme for the day, it would be growth: What changes after employee 200, what changes at $20M ARR — and then again at $50M ARR — and how to get to $100M ARR while burning almost nothing.

Here are just a few of the great learnings that were shared throughout the day:

“We forget that the reason that we’re here is to solve big problems for our customers. And when we forget that, we not only fail our customers, but we fail our employees and our investors.” – Jennifer Tejada, CEO Pager Duty @jenntejada

“The value proposition that we usually orient ourselves around has something to do with revenue, or profit, or growth…or stardom, or fame. But when you really think about the most valued currency in our days today, it’s time.” – Jennifer Tejada, CEO Pager Duty @jenntejada

“You know you have a good idea when you find yourself thinking ‘I can’t believe nobody’s ever thought about doing this before.’ — and then you go after it before anyone else does.” – Scott Berg, COO ServiceMax @scottbergmail

“Everytime we went and raised money, we had a plan as to where we were going to end up after. If this is the last time we raise money, can we make it from here. Is this a good play? Is this enough money? Can we see how this plays out? This kept us facing a sobering reality. And it kept us healthy.” – Scott Berg, COO ServiceMax @scottbergmail

“Lithium is really an emergent market in social. For those of us who are forging new categories, we have a lot of ambiguity in the sales cycle. Land and expand becomes a way to kick the door in.” – Katy Keim, CMO and GM Lithium Technologies @Katykeim

“Do nothing in the sales process is the killer. If I lose, I can learn, and if I win, I can learn. But a push… we don’t learn. We’re just stuck.” – Katy Keim, CMO and GM Lithium Technologies @Katykeim

“The context of who you are — and what stage your company is at — is very important for absorbing advice.” – Tien Tzuo, Founder and CEO Zuora @tientzuo

“By the time you get to $50-60M, you forget what it’s like to sell the first product. But that’s when you need to think like a startup again.” – Tien Tzuo, Founder and CEO Zuora @tientzuo

“Before you decide to change your pricing, understand what value you think it’s delivering. You may need to develop the capability within your organization to quantify and communicate that value. If you can do that within the sales cycle, you can go back and do it again later and make it part of the enterprise software sell.” – Nitsa Zuppas, CMO Veeva Systems @veevasystems

“Pricing has nothing to do with what it costs to build your product, it has everything to do with the vision and value that you communicate that makes your customers true believers.” – Scott Dorsey, Managing Partner High Alpha @ScottDorsey

“As we moved into enterprise, our sales started to teach us about value. We’ve done research, but once sales is actually talking to customers, they teach you about the value we have. “ – Aaron Skonnard, CEO Pluralsight @skonnard

According to evolutionary anthropologist Robin Dunbar, the limit of meaningful relationships that you can have is around 150. Wheels start to come off around 150-200 employees in startups because founder can no longer connect to everyone on a meaningful level.” Matt Straz – Founder and CEO, Namely @mattstraz

“You need to think about which customers you’re going to target. We talk about product market fit like it’s this one time magical thing, but it’s something that you need to sharpen over time.” – Alex Fala, CEO Vend @vendhq

“Most of our employees sit in customer support or sales. Keeping that open loop/open feedback is critical. As we’re designing, building, and expanding on products, the important thing is that we’re designing from the outside in.”. – Amit Mathradas, GM and Head of Small Business NA at PayPal @PayPal

“There’s a cultural bias towards analysis. You have to be really careful that the bias towards analytics doesn’t make you really boring. You still have to have the courage to try new things. – Alex Fala, CEO Vend @vendhq

“You will be tempted to create a bullshit NPS score because it’s something you can control how you use internally and then you can use that for marketing. But then you don’t know how your customers are really reacting to your product. You’ll drink your own Kool Aid. Create your NPS with best practices instead. Make sure you do it with some level of integrity or you won’t have the feedback you need to make important decisions.” – Matt Rissell, CEO TSheets @MattRissell

“Our goal was to find an investor who wanted to invest in me, not in the business.” Eric Yuan – CEO, Zoom Video Communications @ericsyuan

“We don’t want to grow too fast. We’re really focus on making our existing customers happy. We do not aggressively pursue our new customers. We prioritize features that existing customers want over what new prospects might want.’ Eric Yuan – CEO, Zoom Video Communications @ericsyuan

Learn more about SaaS growth and the 10 core growth strategies.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]