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Metrics that Measure Up

English, Finance, 1 season, 128 episodes, 2 days, 23 hours, 33 minutes
B2B SaaS and Cloud founders, CEOs, and Go-To-Market operating executives share their journey as they scaled their business from $0M ARR to $100M and beyond. The guests share their insights on measurements of success, performance metrics, and benchmarks they use to guide and inform their decision-making and growth journey.Guests include founders and CEOs of amazing success stories such as LinkedIn, DocuSign, Marketo, Gainsight, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, ringDNA, InsightSquared, Cloudera and Gong. Beyond founders and CEOs, we also speak with leading Venture Capitalists, Go-To-Market executives and industry thought leaders who share their experience and insights into customer acquisition, customer retention, and customer expansion best practices.
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Microsoft Product Leader to SaaS Founder - with Anand Subbaraj, Founder and CEO Zuper

Imagine being a senior product leader at Microsoft for one of the leading "cloud products" in the industry, Azure Data Factory, and deciding to leave the stability, security, and prestige behind to launch your own B2B SaaS company. This is exactly the decision and journey that Anand Subbaraj began five years ago.Anand spent 13 years at Microsoft but was fortunate to be involved with five different product launches (V1) over 13 years, with a primary focus on understanding the market and customer requirements. By being part of the founding team at Azure Data Factory, Anand learned what it took to take on established industry leaders, with a product that had not previously been introduced to the market.Anand's experience with new product introductions at Microsoft, Anand had a personal experience in servicing his refrigerator at home, which served as the catalyst that customer service was ripe for transformation. After having three different service technicians have to make six visits to fix the issue, Anand was sure there had to be a better way to leverage automation to transform field service.As a result, Zuper was launched. What learnings has Anand had starting, growing, and leading his own company? First, Anand gained an understanding that Marketing is about investing to build a brand and market awareness, and is more science than art.Anand also learned a lot about cold calling, and what is required to make the first sales in a newly formed B2B SaaS company. By taking the lead on all initial outreach for Zuper, Anand was able to directly hear from the market on what they wanted and/or needed to consider transforming how they were managing the field service process. Anand also learned that without the "Microsoft" brand, that persistence in cold calling was critical to gaining early traction.Anand executive the "founder-led sales" model from $0 to $1M ARR. By taking this responsibility himself, not only did he have direct access to product requirement input from the market, but he could also hand over a "sales process" that worked to acquire the first $1M ARR. Anand leaned on "Marketing" first to create awareness and demand before hiring his first professional Sale resource.Identifying a gap in the marketplace is a key ingredient to the idea to launch a new company. At Zuper, Anand identified that many companies were viewing field service management automation as an extension of CRM. Second, consumers now expect a seamless experience like Uber, while companies require the ability to configure their processes within an automation platform, not to force their process to adapt to take advantage of the B2B SaaS platform.Understanding and being able to measure the business value delivered to the customer is critical for early-stage B2B SaaS companies. First, the ability to improve efficiency in the business process being automated, second is improving the productivity of the field service workforce, such as spending less time on driving to the next appointment and more time on fixing the customer's issue. In the Zuper example, measuring the "first-time fix rate" of new service tickets is a key benefit, and the Zuper customers see a 30% increase in the first-time fix rate by having the right technician, the right parts, and the right tools.When asked what "SaaS metrics" Anand uses, here is what he shared:Top Lagging Indicators Used:ARR and ARR GrowthCustomer ChurnBurn RateCash runwayTop Leading Indicators Used:Product UsageCustomer Acquisition CostCustomer Lifetime ValueCAC Payback Period (new)If you are a product leader or in a large stable company today, but considering launching your own B2B Saas company, this conversation with Anand Subbaraj is a great listen!
6/6/202330 minutes, 52 seconds
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Evolving from Excel for SaaS Financial and Metrics Reporting - with Ali Rizvi Founder and CEO, TrueRev

Excel is the #1 tool B2B SaaS companies use for many financial tasks, including calculating SaaS metrics to surface insights for operating decisions and investor updates.Ali started his career in tech as an auditor at Ernst and Young, with a priority focus on revenue recognition and reporting. While auditing a top tier B2B SaaS company, he was provided multiple spreadsheets with thousands of rows of data, and it even required almost 10 minutes to just open the Excel file, and almost 6 months to complete the audit. The primary challenge, finding all of the data required for the audit in an extremely large and poorly structured Excel model.What are the top signs that a founder/CEO will see to know it might be time to move beyond Excel? Ali suggests at $1M and above that Quickbooks is a fine General Ledger, but the initial issues are associated with revenue recognition and the associated reporting. Often, this is due to not having the right human resources who truly understand revenue recognition policy, and then the manual required to create a model and the appropriate formulas for revenue recognition.One sign that Excel might not be doing the job, is if revenue is being recognized on a cash basis. Another sign might be when an investor asks what your "MRR or ARR" is, and you realize it includes professional services or one-time fees. Why is getting revenue recognition important to an early-stage company? It becomes important when external stakeholders, like existing or potential investors, ask for things like GAAP revenue growth rates, and ARR growth rates and you cannot provide the answers because the financial foundation and reporting infrastructure have not been established.Inevitably if you are quickly heading to $1M ARR or already above that level, founders and CEOs are expected to know their numbers. One common tactic is to hire an external accountant, and ask them to set up revenue recognition and other financial reporting in Excel - the challenge with this is that it is not scalable, and if the "rent an accountant" goes away, it is hard for the next resource to understand the excel model.Next, we discussed the reality of ASC 606 (GAAP accounting policy), and how it impacts the need for more advanced financial reporting capabilities. ASC 606 includes very complex and nuanced accounting rules that Excel is just not well positioned to be the primary solution for modeling and reporting GAAP revenue and the associated financial metrics such as Gross Profit, EBITDA, and Net Income.The most important initial SaaS metric is Contracted ARR, and ARR including growth rates. Quickly following is the ability to understand Sales and Marketing expenses and the associated customer acquisition cost efficiency metrics including Customer Acquisition Cost, and CAC Payback Period. Cash burn and cash runway are other critical insights that a founder/CEO needs to ensure are available and accurate early on.When I asked Ali about other SaaS Metrics, he highlighted a recent example where a company wanted to start reporting their CARR and ARR, and they close a majority of deals mid-month. They were confused about how they report ARR for the month the contract was signed, and how those decisions impact the associated recognized revenue (GAAP revenue).If you are an early-stage SaaS company and are having challenges with Excel to capture, calculate and report basis SaaS financials including GAAP revenue, CARR, ARR and the associated SaaS performance metrics the conversation with Ali Rizvi is highly informative.
5/24/202328 minutes, 12 seconds
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Event-Led Growth in B2B SaaS - with Julius Solaris, Founder and CEO Boldpush

5/24/202336 minutes, 40 seconds
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State of the Cloud 2023 - Top Five Predictions with Janelle Teng, Bessemer Venture Partners (Episode #2)

State of the Cloud 2023: Top Five Predictions:#1: Efficient GrowthAdopt new solutions to gain control of their Cloud and SaaS spend, including the infrastructure cost to deliver SaaS Solutions. Tools include Cloud FinOps tools, SaaS Spend Solutions, and engineering productivity tools to improve R&D processes.One of the areas of focus is on Cloud Spend as a way to manage the Cost of Goods Sold and thus increase Gross Margin which sets the ceiling for Saas profitability. Public SaaS companies with Gross Margins under 50% have a hard time driving Free Cash Flow of 20% or greater which is critical to enterprise value multiples.Some examples of tools to gain control of Cloud Spend are included in the Bessemer Ventures technical playbook of 40 tactics to drive profitable growth - this playbook can be found on Atlas on the website - the report is called the "CEOs tactical guide to drive profitable growth".#2: Climate Software will drive the Green Energy TransitionWith the increase in consumer activism and government regulation, the green energy revolution is here. To support this green economy, cloud software that is tailored made to power the transition to green energy will explode. Examples are software dedicated to solar, infrastructure, sustainable design, and fossil fuel infrastructure transition.#3: Initial value of AI will be to the userThe AI and Large Language Model business ecosystems are evolving quickly. Bessemer believes the ultimate winner is the user to increase individual productivity at work and in their personal lives. AI research is now democratized so end users can have access to and build upon the latest AI capabilities.One example is ChatGPT being released to the general public and acquiring over 100 million users in the first three months - the faster-growing internet site ever!!!Bessemer calls the current AI revolution a B2C2B motion. This highlights the consumer excitement about the benefits of AI, which will in return bring these tools and techniques to the corporate workplace.#4: The application layer is where the most impact from AI will happen firstDue to the democratization of access to AI, the power of AI will be available to any company, that can embed AI without their own AI team. This will make horizontal B2B SaaS companies to provide AI driven workflows and processes without the need for a large internal AI development team.With the number of transactions in many SaaS platforms, the opportunity to accelerate the insights to enhance business process efficiency.#5: AI companies will grow twice as fast as traditional B2B Cloud companiesBessemer predicts the time the best AI companies will require to grow from $100M to $1B will be 50% faster than the historic fastest growers like Canva, Zoom, and Twilio. That is truly impressive as these companies scaled from $100M to $1B in four years or less!If you are a student of the Cloud industry or just SaaS-curious about where the industry is heading - the Bessemer Venture Partners "State of the Cloud 2023" is a great read and this podcast discussing the top five predictions is a must-listen!
5/24/202325 minutes, 51 seconds
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State of the Cloud 2023 (Episode 1) - with Janelle Teng, Bessemer Venture Partners

In Episode #1 of this 2-episode conversation, Ray discusses the key findings from the Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP) annual "State of the Cloud" report for 2023 with Janelle Teng, Vice President and co-author of this year's report.Janelle is involved in many different research programs at BVP, including the "State of the Cloud" and the "Scaling to $100M ARR" reports.In this first episode of the "State of the Cloud 2023" report, we focus on the change in B2B Cloud company valuations in 2022 and the current state of the industry.Public cloud companies experienced the "SaaSacre" of 2022. Interest rates shocked the cloud industry in 2022 resulting in a greater than 40% reduction in public cloud company value. The forward trading multiple of public cloud companies is now below the long-term average and were halved in 2022.There are glimmers of hope from the Q123 timeframe. One example is Microsoft reported better than expected earnings in Q1, fueled by the interest in AI. These large tech companies are a great index for the smaller, private Cloud companies. The Cloud index is up about 5% in Q123, which provides hope for the re-emergence of Cloud valuations.Even with the aggressive pullback in public cloud company valuations, the average BVP Index cloud company has grown 50% faster than a traditional company - over a 10-year horizon.When will "Venture Capital" funding return to a more normalized state? Janelle asked the 60 investment professionals at BVP when will be the best time for a founder to raise VC money? The top timeframe forecasted was 2H24' with 1H24' being the second forecasted period for raising a round from Venture Capital. However, 1H23' was still in the running - highlighting the excitement around the current AI boom.The number of VC deals and the amount of VC funding in Q123 was down from the previous year and the previous quarter, so the turnaround in VC deal velocity is still in front of us.In the second half of my conversation, Episode 2 with Janelle, she shares the TOP 5 predictions for the Cloud in 2023!
5/24/202321 minutes, 29 seconds
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B2B SaaS Metrics and Prioities with the Alexander Group - Ted Grossman and Davis Giedt

The Alexander Group works with many of the leading companies in the B2B SaaS industry, and I was recently joined by Ted Grossman, their co-lead of the technology industry practice, and Davis Giedt, Director of Research and Analytics.Based upon Ted and Davis' unique insights and understanding of B2B SaaS due to the discussions and data from over one hundred customers, coupled with their historic Sales Compensation research and benchmarks with has become an industry standard.My first question was how has the use of SaaS metrics evolved. Ted's perspective is the core metrics have not changed that much over the past few years - rather it is the weight that is placed on specific metrics, especially growth vs profitability. As an example in 2021 and the first half of 2022, the weight was much higher on growth rate versus profitability metrics. One example is the Rule of 40 has increased in importance as measured by R-Squared by 3x over the last 6 months. As such "Margin + Growth" is much more balanced in 2023.Ted highlighted "expense to revenue" as a top priority at the macro level. This is also a very easy metric to benchmark against the industry. Then you can dive down into more granular revenue growth efficiency metrics such as "Profitability by Sales rep. Other things like the CAC Payback Period which measures the amount of time to pay back the acquisition of a new customer. Net and Gross Retention Rates are also high-priority metrics to understand the efficacy of retaining and expanding revenue with existing customers.What about the importance of changing the mix of revenue growth from new customers versus existing customers? The story varies in every company and depends on company-specific attributes such as do they have multiple products, or do they have a product that can expand usage to additional users, departments, or business units within an existing customer.When I asked Davis the "top" metrics he prefers, they included:Sales and Marketing expense to revenue which tests for every dollar invested in revenue growth, how much is returned on both a new and top-line revenue basis. Davis shared a 35% - 40% S&M expense to revenue as a good benchmark for growth companiesCost of Growth, sometimes known as the SaaS Magic number measures the top-line revenue growth versusSales and Marketing investment, which has a range of .5 (poor), .75 - 1 (good), and > 1 (best)CLTV:CAC measures the amount of Gross Profit (or Revenue minus Cost of Goods Sold) generated against the revenue a new customer generates over the life of a customer. A CLTV:CAC ratio of 3x is good, though has been increasing over the past 2-3 years. CLTV:CAC ratio is a long-term ROI measurementNext, we discussed the topic of "consistency of metric calculation" when using industry benchmarks. Davis highlighted that for their clients they use one standard metric calculation formula to ensure when they are benchmarking it is an apples-to-apples comparison. One specific example was if you are trying to measure the efficiency of growing new customer ARR versus existing customer growth ARR, things like a "time study" may need to be conducted to properly allocate expenses to the pursuit of each growth ARR type.If you are a B2B SaaS company leader, the discussion with Ted and Davis provides some unique insights and perspectives that only come with the unique visibility they have across hundreds of leading B2B companies.
5/24/202338 minutes, 26 seconds
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Scale your SaaS - with Matt Wolach, founder of Xsellus and "Scale your SaaS" podcast

Matt Wolach is the founder of Xsellus and host of the Scale your SaaS podcast. Matt is one of those guests that have taken over a year to be on the Metrics that Measure Up podcast. Matt has hosted over 250 episodes of "Scale your SaaS" and was one of the inspirations for this podcast.The first question I asked Matt was about the common attributes that successful SaaS founders exhibited. By being a podcast host, Matt found he often learned more than he shares. However, one of the common themes of the most successful founders was the amount of time they invest in getting to know and understand their potential customers. Those discussions to dive into the mind of their potential customers was a key to success, and Matt recommends the goal should be to have about 50 of those discussions, versus the 3-5 that far too many founders conduct.What are the top three challenges that Matt sees early-stage companies face:1) Lead generation/Pipeline which often early-stage companies over-index on one or two channels. Matt recommends finding 4 - 5 channels that work, and then continuously optimize each channel. Matt says there are 18 ways to generate leads in a B2B Saa company, including commonly missed lead sources such as a defined lead referral process with current customers. Other missed lead sources such as influencers and affiliate programs are undervalued.2) Ability to close qualified leads is another inconsistent competency of many early-stage companies, which is especially dangerous if significant money is being invested in Marketing and lead generation activities. Matt suggests fixing the qualified lead to Closed-Won process before investing more in additional lead generation.3) Lead form/demo form to demo completed is surprisingly a big leak for many early-stage companies. Matt shared the story that one of his new customers did not even measure the number of people requesting to be contacted or have a demo. The inbound demo request-to-demo completed ratio is a critical conversion rate that far too many companies do not measure. Matt said that an average of 42% of people who request a meeting or demo actually end up having a meeting with the vendor - meaning 58% of high-intent leads are not actually being followed up with timely.What metric does Matt like for B2B Saas companies in the $1M - $5M ARR range? Matt said the Customer Lifetime Value to Customer Acquisition Cost Ratio (CLTV:CAC Ratio) is one of his favorite metrics. Essentially with the industry standards that Matt shared a 3:1 CLTV:CAC ratio is a good goal, it means that for every dollar you invest in Sales and Marketing, $3 of gross profit is generated. The latest RevOps Squared benchmarks show that a 4:1 CLTV:CAC Ratio is the new benchmark.If you are an early-stage B2B SaaS company, this conversation with Matt Wolach, the founder of Xsellus is a great listen
4/26/202331 minutes, 13 seconds
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SaaS Expansion across Europe - with Rick Pizzoli, Sales Force Europe

In 2023 many SaaS companies are searching for what market(s) are going to drive their next phase of growth - and international markets, especially English-speaking countries are often considered by U.S. B2B SaaS companies.Rick Pizzoli, moved to Europe over 25 years ago to launch the European presence for U.S. based software companies. Based upon that experience, Rick and Sales Force Europe has helped over 500 companies enter and/or expand their presence beyond the United States or a single country in Europe.Rick shared that the majority of U.S. companies first start to consider entering the European market in the $5M - $10M ARR range. European companies begin to expand beyond their home country a little earlier, often in the $2M - $3M ARR range due to the more limited breadth of each country in Europe.Understanding your positioning, messaging, value proposition, and efficiency of your "home market" customer acquisition motion as measured by metrics are critical foundational elements to planning for an entry into a new country. If a company has not captured and documented the keys to success in its home country, it will be impossible to be successful in a new country.Another key factor to consider when entering into the European market is do you have a "lighthouse" account in a country you can build upon, and/or do you have a product that is localized for countries beyond English speaking? Rick's perspective is conducting market research to determine the "best" initial country is a better strategy than just saying let's just go to the United Kingdom, as it is the most like the US market and they speak English. At the same time, the UK market, especially in London is probably the most competitive market to enter, as so many U.S. based companies use the same "we similar" mentality.Bringing on local talent that understands the local market, has relationships in the local market, and can translate the "messaging and positioning" that works well in the U.S. to the local European country. There are nuances of the "talent profile" that works in one country versus another, which suggests having a local team with local leadership will yield a faster return on investment than parachuting in one or two resources from the home country.One key to success is seeding the market awareness and engagement with top-of-funnel activities beginning with a digital marketing strategy 3-6 months before having a local, on-the-ground presence. Having local Sales Development resources in place for at least 3 months before having a local Account Executive will also increase the productivity of those first 1-2 AEs. Having a local presence shows a true "commitment" to the local market and will make the majority of in-country buyers more comfortable with purchasing from a recent entrant to the local market.Should a company start with a single or at least two resources when first entering into a new country? Two resources are always better, and could also allow for additional language skills for the second target country that is being considered in a pan-European presence. It also eliminates the "resource" vs "market" specific challenges.If you are considering or just beginning the evaluation process to expand your U.S. or single European country B2B SaaS company into or across Europe, this conversation with Rick Pizzoli and Sales Force Europe is highly informative.
4/11/202333 minutes, 59 seconds
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The Future of SaaS Spend Management - with Ryan Neu, Founder and CEO Vendr

SaaS Spend Management is an emerging and rapidly evolving category - yet Ryan Neu, Co-Founder, and CEO of Vendr has a unique vision for how the category needs to evolve.Ryan has a background in public accounting, and then transitioned to software sales, including a role in the early days at Hubspot. During his career selling, he realized that selling great products is hard, takes too much time and the distribution is quite inefficient - thus the catalyst to founding Vendr in 2018.Vendr was created as a new way to buy and sell software....and it is the "SELL" comment that is unique amongst SaaS Spend Management 
3/28/202333 minutes, 4 seconds
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SaaS Spend Management Trends - with Eric Christopher, Founder and CEO Zylo

Eric Christopher, the founder, and CEO of Zylo is sitting on top of one of the industry's largest SaaS spend data repositories and thus benchmarks, a key reason I knew I needed to have Eric as a guest on the podcast.What was the catalyst for founding Zylo? It started with Eric's experience as a revenue leader in two social media platform companies. Eric realized that by introducing new solutions directly to the Marketing department, it was becoming difficult for companies to manage and govern SaaS spend."A business idea with complexity is worth pursuing" - the words an advisor shared with Eric which was part of the motivation to founding Zylo! Since anyone in a company can be a buyer of a SaaS solution, coupled with the existence of thousands of vendors with very different features and pricing, buying a SaaS product is complex. Moreover, measuring the value is very difficult and often, ill-defined.How does Eric define SaaS Spend Management? "Helping companies manage, measure and maximize value from every SaaS application purchased". The lifecycle of a SaaS solution starts with understanding how to receive the best price, and then how to optimize the value received. Questions to ask include, are employees using the product, are they receiving value, and how does the value compare to other solutions with similar functionality? Zylo uses a "value framework" that starts with understanding every application being used through a discovery process. Next, is being able to manage adoption and usage, which may be as much about maximizing value versus reducing costs. Next, identify opportunities for cost avoidance, while considering the renewal process to know the best terms based on the current utilization rates. Finally, gaining visibility into the existence and usage of every SaaS product in a company materially increases the ability to have the governance and controls in place to purchase, utilize, renew, and purchase the right products in the future.One surprising aspect of SaaS sprawl is that many organizations do not know what SaaS solutions are being used by their employees and the associated expenses! The best SaaS Spend management programs start with the ability to conduct "discovery" to identify all the SaaS tools being used in a company....but when is it the right time to consider implementing a SaaS Spend Management solution?Eric highlighted that when you are hitting $1M - $2M in annual SaaS spend is one milestone. Another milestone is that at 500 employees if you do not have a SaaS Spend Management program in place - alarms should be sounding. ...however, Eric shared that it is never too early to introduce a more structured SaaS purchasing, management, and governance process.Zylo is sitting on a treasure trove of "SaaS Spend Management" data from over $30B in annual SaaS spending across industries including a few of the below :SaaS spend by employee has increased by 50% over the last 2 yearsSaaS spend has been increasing by over 20% per year for several yearsTotal SaaS spend is underreported by 50% due to decentralized purchasing The average company has over 300 "paid" SaaS subscriptionsThis increases to > 1,000 in Enterprise companiesInterestingly, the cost of the SaaS spend may not be the primary opportunity for many companies, it may be minimizing the risk of not managing and governing the flow of data outside of the company!Several new trends in SaaS spend will be disclosed in the Zylo Benchmark report being published on April 4th, 2023!If you are interested in the evolution of purchasing and managing SaaS spend in your company, this product with Eric is a great listen!
3/28/202334 minutes, 11 seconds
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The evolution of forecast management - with Guy Rubin, Founder and CEO ebsta

If you have ever been frustrated with the forecasting process and accuracy at your company - this episode is for you!Guy Rubin is the founder and CEO of ebsta, a leading provider of Revenue Intelligence - the next generation of forecast management.Guy founded ebsta to automate the logging of sales rep activity directly into their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) like Salesforce and Hubspot. Over 50,000 companies have used ebsta in this environment which is when the breakthrough happened to begin scoring target buyer relationships - essentially a "relationship score".The strength of relationships is a key factor in an opportunity's probability to convert into a new customer....and thus making the revenue forecast more accurate. More on that later in the episode.Back to the core problem, ebsta has been solving for years - having timely and accurate account, contact, and opportunity data in their CRM. Since most of this data is captured in their email, and/or calendar. By using technology to capture every email, event, and meeting with an account or opportunity, it can be automatically imported into the CRM. Then, a company can use AI to determine the frequency of communications with an opportunity and begin to create an "opportunity score" based on the recency, frequency, and level of activities with specific opportunities.What about including insights from "conversational intelligence" platforms? This is another signal that ebsta uses to evolve the "engagement score", but Guy highlighted that CI is only one signal that informs their platform.Intent data is another signal that ebsta uses to inform and evolve their engagement and thus opportunity score. In a recent research report that ebsta published, one of the challenges is to determine what is the actual impact of intent data on the opportunity "win rate". In this report, ebsta was able to identify the level of influence that intent data has on win rates.Forecast accuracy is a challenge for every company. Initially, Guy felt the "ebsta" internal forecasts were superior to those of a "bottoms-up" process that begins with the AE or front-line sales manager. Those customers still require the ability to include the sales "bottoms-up" forecast, the ebsta automated forecast is typically within a +/- 5% error of margin - which is superior to the 69% of companies that miss the forecast by +/- 10% or greater.If you are involved in your company's "forecasting process" this conversation with Guy provides great insights and ideas to enhance your forecast accuracy!!!
3/21/202329 minutes, 56 seconds
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Lessons learned from the Silicon Valley Bank collapse - with Todd Gardner, SaaS Advisors

Friday, March 10th, 2023 - a moment in B2B Technology and Start-Up ecosystem history that many will never forget and hopefully provides a foundation for learning the risks and rewards of venture-backed, early-stage entrepreneurship.Todd Gardner founded SaaS Capital in 2007, the industry's first "recurring revenue credit facility".  Before names like Salesforce, Workday, and Snowflake were well-known names, Todd experienced the financial crisis of 2008 and experienced firsthand the impact of a systemic banking issue including the meltdown of his financial partners.Our goal for this episode of the podcast is to provide practical insights and advice that SaaS founders, CEOs, and CFOs can apply to decrease the risks associated with their financial related decisions and banking decisions.We started with the basic, summary facts surrounding the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB):December 31, 2022, SVB financial disclosure:  - $209 B in total assets - $175.4B in total depositsMarch 8th: SVB disclosed a $1.8B loss on the fire sale of $21B in long-term assetsMarch 8th - 10th: ~ $42B in deposit withdraws were made by SVB customersFriday, March 10th: SVB was declared insolvent and closed by U.S regulatorsSunday, March 12th: U.S. government including the FDIC, US Treasury, and Federal Reserve announced that all deposits (100%) would be backstopped - made good because SVB had more than enough assets to cover the outstanding liabilities, primarily customer deposits. Essentially the US government is managing the risk which is primarily a "time-based" issue versus a balance sheet issue.Todd next provided an industry backdrop that lead to the run on SVB. Due to the accelerated ramp of venture capital investing in 2020 - 2021, the deposits on hand at SVB doubles. As standard bank operating practice, SVB invested a significant portion of those deposits in long-term bonds and treasuries, which had a low return due to the low-interest rates of the moment.During the second half of 2022, interest rates began to increase dramatically, and the result was that the value of the long-term bonds decreased in value. Simultaneously many customers were moving their deposits at SVB into higher interest-rate instruments outside of SVB - forcing SVB to sell some long-term assets to support the decrease in deposits.Due to the above macroeconomic interest rate dynamics, coupled with the short-term issues created by a handful of Venture Capital firms quietly recommending their portfolio companies move their deposits out of SVB.We next discussed the "financial ecosystem" that has been the foundation that fueled the amazing growth of the technology industry which includes:  - Over half of the technology start-ups banked with SVB - Over half of Venture Capital firms in technology banked with SVB for Capital Call - Line of CreditHaving the primary source of assets and liabilities from the same industry ultimately becomes a material issue for SVB.The above is a backdrop to the insights and advice that Todd shared for how this experience can inform future financial and banking decisions by SaaS founders, CEOs, and CFOs which include:#1: Diversify banking relationships including checking, savings, and credit facilities                  - have at least 2 banks and/or treasury based money-market account#2: Understand the banking relationships that your payables and payroll firms use#3. Maintain fiscal discipline throughout the start-up journey to change the narrative from "cash runway" to ongoing operating profit as early as possibleIf you are interested in learning more about the Silicon Valley Bank collapse and what it means to the financial strategy of SaaS CEOs and CFOs going forward, this conversation with Todd is a great listen.
3/14/202332 minutes, 34 seconds
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When to introduce SaaS Spend Management - with Cledara co-founder and COO, Brad Van Leeuwen

Over February and March 2023, we spoke with several founders, CEOs, and executives at SaaS Spend Management vendors.In this episode of the Metrics that Measure Up podcast, we discussed the evolution, best practices, and ideas on how to introduce a SaaS Spend Management program with Brad Van Leeuwen, Co-Founder and COO at Cledara.Brad stated that his own experience as an entrepreneur with the challenges associated with SaaS spend was the catalyst to founding Cledara. When a company is small, a manual process such as using the founders' credit card for all expenses is fine, but when you scale to 100+ employees that process does not provide the level of control and capital efficiency required to build a sustainable, durable growth company.Spend management solutions have been around for 20+ years - why is SaaS Spend Management so popular in 2023? First, the technology solutions have evolved significantly, and are much easier to use. Secondly, almost every company requires technology (software) to operate efficiently so the demand for SaaS solutions has exploded. Third, no longer is IT guarding the "data center or servers" so the procurement of software has become a decentralized process.SaaS Spend Management goes far beyond issuing a "corporate credit card" for all purchases, and includes a more proactive identification and then usage monitoring of the most relevant and used SaaS solutions in a company - thus providing centralized visibility and control.When should a company evaluate introducing a SaaS Spend Management solution - early on the focus needs to be 100% focused on developing and selling your product to establish Product Market Fit. Then, as a company evolves to 30 -50 companies, a general spend management tool centered on corporate credit cards is a good place to start. Once a company hits 50 - 100 employees, the SaaS Spend sprawl becomes harder to control and is a good time to consider introducing a corporate SaaS Spend Management solution.One of the key benefits of a SaaS Spend Management solution is that decentralized buyers can now have access to a pre-approved list of solutions. This empowers the employee to engage with the solution category of their choice, and the approved vendors without having to deal with a difficult procurement process. One of the trends in SaaS pricing and billing is the increased use of "Usage-Based Billing". One of the benefits of using a SaaS spend management solution is to have real-time insights into billing trends measured against budget and provide an early warning signal or even stop the use of a specific solution when the costs exceed the budgeted or contracted amount.One other benefit of SaaS Spend Management is to provide a pre-vetted list of vendors and the associated "realized pricing" that should guide a new solution purchase and/or renewal.If you are interested in learning more about how your company could gain increased visibility, control and reduced costs of your SaaS Spend while improving your employee experience in buying new SaaS software - this discussion with Brad Van Leeuwen is a great listen.
3/7/202328 minutes, 32 seconds
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CFO lessons learned in planning and forecasting - with Dan Fletcher, CFO Planful

Planning in 2020 continues to be chalked full of uncertainty based on the current macroeconomic reality. Assuch, being a finance leader in 2023 is even more challenging, and unpredictable -  but developing an operating plan and budget is an important and critical component of the CFO's job.First, is being "hyper-realistic" is the theme of the year, especially on top-line revenue. Understanding revenue drivers like pipeline generation and conversion is critical to informing the 23' budget and operating plan. Factoring in longer sales cycles closed lost - no decision and buyer hesitancy is part of the art in building the 23' plan.Second is being "hyper-responsible" in managing costs. Third is "running multiple scenarios" highlighting the goal of profitable growth, which should always be in style, but even more imperative in 2023. Though Net Income is always interesting, in the B2B SaaS industry revenue growth is still a key driver, while EBITDA and Free Cash Flow are key indicators of profitable growth.Fourth is "obsessing on the leading indicators" impacting revenue trends.How have the relationships between CFOs and CROs changed heading into 2023? Dan highlighted he is lucky as both his head of revenue and head of customer success are metrics focused, and they collaborate closely on planning and forecasting - using over 80 metrics to continuously monitor their progress toward their operating plan.Next, we discussed the challenges of forecasting - especially in today's uncertain environment. Dan shared that hitting a +/- 5% accuracy is probably best in class, while Planful targets 3% - 5% forecast accuracy. Then we discussed the "triangulation methodology" which evolved into using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. However, Dan started by ensuring front-line sales professionals need to see forecast accuracy as a priority. Dan shared a few tips to improve forecast accuracy. First, sales managers should provide a weekly forecast update as they are the closest to the pipeline, Second, Finance should be monitoring pipeline generation and conversion rates to continuously update the forecast. Third, using AI to capture the signals that impact opportunity conversion rates to provide an automated forecast to be combined with the first and second manual forecast management processes.What are the top 3-5 performance metrics that Dan is focusing on in 2023? Dan highlighted ARR growth is still a top metric. However, Dan focused on "leading indicators" including outbound pipeline development trends - including the pipeline from SDRs. Other leading indicators Dan tracks include outbound connect rates, conversation rates, opportunity conversion rates, and sales team acceptance rates. Start by looking for "trends" which can serve as very important pipeline trend insights. Next, looking at the opportunity funnel conversion rates in concert with analyzing conversational intelligence insights is very helpful to understanding "early signals" impacting revenue growth.A strong financial operations capability starts with instrumenting the infrastructure that can quickly surface leading and lagging indicators to inform decision-making. Dan highlighted the importance of technology to compress time from activity to insights to a decision. Being buttoned up on the CRM infrastructure and data are table stakes to fully leverage automated planning, forecasting and reporting.At what stage of company evolution should a SaaS company start the "instrumentation and automation" journey for planning, forecasting, and metrics reporting. "Complexity" of business operations is a critical factor to determine when to begin the automation journey.  If you are considering how to increase your planning and forecasting accuracy, the conversation with Dan is very insightful and full of great ideas
3/1/202337 minutes, 57 seconds
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SaaS Spend Management - with David Campbell, Founder and CEO

How does writing a 400-page novel lead to founding a SaaS Spend Management company? It was the start of David Campbell's journey which including breaking into B2B technology sales where he saw the challenges companies of all sizes have with buying technology.What is the definition of "SaaS Spend Management" according to David? David defines it as "spend management for the most important asset category in business today and tomorrow". Most companies are becoming software companies, and thus why SaaS spend management will become the top spend in most companies.Where investors focused primarily on revenue growth over the last few years, today the focus is now on efficiency and profitability, and as such "procurement and efficiency is the new Sales". A hot take, but a comment that is intentionally provocative to move the pendulum closing to an equal balance of revenue growth and profitability.Over the past 12 months, Tropic has grown over 3x, due to the outsized demand for "efficiency levels" beginning in 2022 and continuing into 2023. One of the trends David has seen, is that company CEOs and CFOs were so focused on revenue growth, that they were comfortable with outsourcing SaaS procurement management to a third party.There are three components to a successful SaaS Spend Management deployment:1. Identify SaaS products in use today and optimize current spend2. Deploy an infrastructure and process to increase visibility and control 3. Ensure the process uses automation to make the SaaS procurement process easier not more difficult for employeesMaking the process of buying a SaaS tool needs to continue to be decentralized and easy, but powered by a process and infrastructure that also centralizes control and visibility into the SaaS purchase and usage analytics.When should a company implement a SaaS Spend Management program? David suggests 100 employees is a good place to start. By implementing a solution early, the culture of a structured SaaS procurement process is much easier to scale as companies hit 500 and 1000 employees. Attempting to introduce a formal SaaS Spend Management below 50 employees is most likely to meet significant resistance..In today's evolving world, software is often either the number two or number three expense category after compensation and benefits. For companies in this category, introducing a SaaS spend program prior to a full fledge "procurement function" can provide early financial wins without needed to invest in a larger purchasing infrastructure and organization.SaaS spend management does often include a "managed buying service" and technology to automate SaaS purchasing while simulatenousy increasing ease of purchasing and control the on-going expense and risk of SaaS sprawl.Procurement Paradise is the primary goal of and is a unique approach to gaining company wide adoption of a process targetted at providing greater control of the SaaS spend, while empowering every employee to purchase sofware that increased their job productivity within the approved framework and process of a well defined SaaS Spend Management program.If you are responsible or interested in controlling SaaS spend in your company, or a B2B SaaS sales professionals looking to sell into companies with a formal SaaS Spending Management program in place - this conversation with David Campbell provdies a good lens into procurement paradise.
2/21/202337 minutes, 39 seconds
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Corporate Spend Management - with Oded Zehavi, Founder and CEO Mesh Payments

Oded Zehavi has global payment experience from his time as an executive at leaders including PayPal and Payoneer.With Spend Management, especially SaaS Spend Management, becoming such a hot topic in 2023 - we wanted to start our conversation with Oded to understand his definition of "Spend Management"?Oded defines spend management as enabling finance teams to automate, control, and increase visibility into non-payroll spending. Spend Management has been around for 20+ years - why is it trendy again? Before Covid - spend management was primarily about travel and entertainment, including how to collect manual receipts and reimburse employees for those expenses incurred. During Covid, travel and entertainment expenses were reduced materially and provided finance a chance to pivot to new strategic financial control opportunities. Covid also increased the decentralization of the majority of employees and added another level of complexity to traditional expense receive collection, review, and payment processes.Finally, the maturation of SaaS adoption across all sizes of companies introduced new challenges for finance teams to gain visibility into the distributed procurement, usage, and individual expensing of cloud-based software.Oded also highlighted that traditionally the expense submission, reporting, and payment processes were not integrated. Specifically, first-generation expense management solutions were not integrated with the financial payment infrastructure. With today's more sophisticated spend management technology, companies can identify in real-time expenses and even expense payment attempts and ensure they are adhering to internal expense policies and controls.Next, we pivoted to "when should a company consider implementing a spend management program"? In a company's early days, there are general-purpose tools that can handle the majority of financial transactions, including non-payroll expenses. Beginning at 50 employees is when finance processes being to have more complexity and is a good time to begin considering a spend management program. At 150 employees implementing a spend management program becomes more important and at 1,000 employees a more sophisticated spend management program that integrates expense management and financial payment infrastructure becomes imperative.98% of US-based companies are not using advanced technology and process to manage and control expenses. A growing trend is the evolution of dedicated, vertical spend management solutions such as "SaaS Spend Management". One of Oded's "aha" moments was when he was speaking with a CFO when a corporate credit card linked to 40+ SaaS vendors expired, and one by one SaaS vendors started to terminate their access to their platform. As such, SaaS Spend Management was an area of top focus for Mesh Payment early in their evolution.If you are evaluating spend management in your company, or just want to better understand how next-generation spend management solutions can increase visibility and control of all your non-payroll expenses, including your SaaS expenses, this episode with Oded Zehavi is a highly informative listen.
2/14/202329 minutes, 44 seconds
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Full Funnel Conversion Optimization - With Guy Yalif, Founder and CEO - Intellimize

Have you ever met someone in their "early career" that you just knew was going to be successful? That was my feeling when I first met Guy Yalif, Founder and CEO of Intellimize almost 20 years ago!Guy has been both a Marketing and Product leader, which led to his creation of a company focused on optimizing full funnel conversion. Guy's vision is to personalize each website visit at the moment to create high-converting websites to optimize conversion and revenue. 1:1 web personalization has been discussed and evangelized as the holy grail of web experiences for over 20 years - so why is it just happening now? First, the technology is finally available to make this vision a reality, second marketers have been conditioned to create "segments" and then create custom lead routing rules for each segment due to the limitations of the technology.The reality is that humans max at 10-20 different business rules, and we cannot scale to the ultimate goal of 1:1 marketing which can combine thousands of different signals to show a user, in real-time content that is highlighted relevant to a market of one.The common trends of the day include defining Ideal Customer Profile segments and then combining that with different content and paths for each buyer persona(s). Third-party information such as "intent data" has been a recent development to further "segment" content to visitors based upon their intent, but still does not get us down to a unique website experience for each and every visitor - resulting in increased conversion rates.When asked if the technology is now available to convert this vision into reality, Guy said that before Intellimize the technology did not yet exist. Couple that with the need for scale and volume of traffic to train the machine learning, the infrastructure, and capabilities were not yet available for the masses.Large scale B2C companies, such as Amazon and Netflix have the resources and scale to build their own highly personalized 1:1 engagement methods. Unfortunately, smaller scale companies did not have access to a similar capability with similar capabilities but bundled as an easy-to-use, out-of-the-box solution for B2B Marketers.The conversation pivoted to the signals being used to enhance full-funnel, continuous conversion optimization? Signals can include data from any source including internal sources such as the marketing automation system, CRM system, and external signals such as time of day, day of week, location, previous activity/behavior on the website, and what content has previously led to conversion and revenue.Next, we discussed the measurements (metrics) that B2B Marketers should be measuring - limited to the top three. First, pipeline ($) generated, second was "cost per Lead (actually cost per MQL) and third was "share of voice".  MQL to opportunity and MQL to Closed-Won conversion rates should also be a high priority. When I pushed on "cost per $ revenue", Guy highlighted that this was a great "quality" measurement to determine the quality of Marketing Qualified Leads and their conversion rates to revenue generated.I had to go to my favorite topic - and that is the time spent on "attribution". Guy said Marketers must be able to highlight the value that Marketing delivers, and though the ultimate focus needs to be placed on the ultimate outcomes of pipeline ($) and revenue ($), it is important to understand the touch points and engagement levels that lead to new customers. If you are interested in how to optimize the conversion rate starting at the first point of engagement on your website, this conversation with Guy Yalif is a great listen!
2/7/202333 minutes, 23 seconds
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No Forms - No SPAM - No Cold Calls - with Latane Conant, Chief Market Officer 6sense

How many times have you visited a B2B website and cringed at being asked to provide your contact information, including your email just to download a white paper or watch a video?Why is this a reality in 2023 on most B2B SaaS websites? Because "leads" are still a primary measurement of Marketing success and marketers have not yet invested in the processes and instrumentation to focus on both the "pre-opportunity process" and then the ultimate outcomes of pipeline and revenue.One of the first topics we discussed was the "buying journey" which in the 6sense land is focused on the "pre-buying" or pre-opportunity journey which is often the area that is understood the least. A majority of the pre-opportunity journey is anonymous, most B2B companies will have multiple resources touching the early phase of the journey and there is real friction and resistance for buyers to reveal their identity early in the process.However, by understanding the pre-opportunity journey, a company is better positioned to engage with potential buyers in a more personalized and impactful way. Latane' defines the pre-opportunity buying journey into 5 phases including:- Target- Awareness- Consideration- Decision- Purchase (meaning they are ready to enter the active opportunity phase)Once a company moves into the "decision" of which company a buyer wants to engage in a sales process is the best time for B2B marketers to proactively reach out to a potential future customer. The concept of "IICP" takes the Ideal Customer Profile to another level by introducing the "in-market" Ideal Customer Profile. By understanding that an account is actively researching and evaluating a specific market category that your company plays in. Taking this concept to something that "Sales" cares about includes being able to provide the Sales organization with real-time leads that are actively "in-market" and thus have a much higher conversion rate to qualified opportunities.Next, we double-clicked into why a minority of B2B companies are not actively using "intent data" to determine when an "ICP" account is actively in-market. Latane highlights that a major obstacle is that a well-defined "workflow" is not often in place to ensure that the Sales Development team comes in each morning with a complete, prioritized list available for them to start the day off productively...versus spending their time researching and building a prioritized list for outreach.If you are responsible for engaging a target market and buyer to generate high-quality leads, and/or are interested in how to take advantage of intent data, account-based programs, and the dark web to increase pipeline quality - Latane is a great listen and her book NO FORMS, NO SPAM, NO COLD CALLS is a great read!
1/31/202339 minutes, 2 seconds
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Building a media asset inside a B2B SaaS company - with Patrick Campbell, Founder and CEO ProfitWell (Paddle)

Media-Led Growth (MLG) is a term first introduced here on the Metrics that Measure Up podcast and the central theme of this episode.Who better to discuss this topic than Patrick Campbell, Founder, and CEO of ProfitWell, recently purchased by Paddle for an unofficial $180M+Patrick was a pioneer in building brand media assets inside a B2B SaaS company at ProfitWell - what led to the decision to invest in media properties?ProfitWell was facing a common challenge that most B2B SaaS companies face, how to sustain growth and generate "outsized" gains in a very competitive landscape. Eight (8) years ago the macro-level environment was different. Early on, email open rates were much higher, Google ads were much lower, and social media channels were just beginning to gain relevance. Over the last 3 - 5 years, those digital channels become noisy and much less effective.Resultantly, Patrick was looking for a more innovative, and more efficient marketing channels. ProfitWell was bootstrapped, which made efficient growth an even higher imperative. Early on, Patrick started posting information on churn rates, retention rates, and pricing which was a less saturated topic.Quickly, Patrick found the content was resonating, and based upon research discovered that traditional inbound marketing strategy (blogs/ebooks/whitepapers) averaged 1.6 touches per week from a qualified lead and traditional media companies average 5+ touches per week. With Customer Acquisition Cost increasing, Patrick had a hypothesis that media might be a "marketing secret weapon" within ProfitWell.On an economic basis, Patrick discovered they could produce a media asset like a podcast or video series with 13 episodes for the same or even less money than a traditional content marketing asset. As such - ProfitWell created multiple media assets - a media company inside a B2B SaaS company. Moreover, this "pool" of media properties provided an opportunity to engage potential buyers and influencers weekly. Additionally, Patrick didn't stop at a single media asset, at one point in time ProfitWell had 9 different media properties that engaged different buyers with different subjects.Patrick framed the value like this "imagine having 500 people attend a webinar you sponsor every week!" Having "shows based on the "problem and/or role" that ProfitWell was trying to reach as potential buyers of their SaaS product was the primary focus. This resulted in a "grid" of content and buyer personas that informed the decision to create multiple media properties. Patrick also highlighted the importance to measure performance early and continuously to end any properties that are not producing positive returns as measured listeners, downloads, and engagement.I asked Patrick "is audio or video the best place to start?" Patrick highlighted that audio is an easier and cheaper way to start, but introducing a video asset is a natural evolution.Finally, we pivoted to ProfitWell's use of "benchmarks" as another asset. Patrick started with his belief that benchmarks are not used properly. Benchmarks provide a "focus" on which metrics to review and where to prioritize focus. Those areas where your internal metrics are far off the benchmarks are a great place to start. If you are a B2B SaaS founder/CEO, Chief Marketing Officer, or other Go-to-Market executive looking for innovative and differentiated ways to reach your target audience and increase the frequency of engagement, this podcast is a GREAT listen that is chalked full of thought-provoking ideas from an expert!!!
1/25/202341 minutes, 31 seconds
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Product Analytics and Metrics that Matter - with Todd Olson, Founder and CEO Pendo

Product-Led Growth is one of the hottest topics and trends in the B2B SaaS industry. Heading into 2023, most company will be evaluating their usage of every SaaS tool, and as a vendor understanding how customers are using your product is foundational to understanding and forecast customer retention metrics.Todd Olso founded Pendo, the leading Product Analytics solution provider, over 9 years ago. His vision was to combine product analytics and product utilization to enhance the user experience.Todd highlighted that as "software eats the world" the Pendo customer base has expanded far beyond software companies to mainstream industries such as retail.The first macro industry term we discussed was "Product-Led Growth". Todd re-framed the question to be a "product-centric" company and that product-led growth is just one aspect of a company's culture. Todd explained that when selling to highly regulated industries like governmental entities, that product-centric may be more about enhancing the user's experience in a digital-led model, even though the sale of the product was executed by and with humans.Todd highlighted the phrase "is this a feature or a bug". The context of the phrase is that when the user experience requires a human being to train users, this is a bug that needs to be fixed by being a product-led company.Pendo has recently launched a "product-led certification course", to teach professionals, including product managers and any other leader looking to learn more about how to introduce product-led concepts into their company.We pivoted to the concept of the Chief Product Officer (CPO) and their role in a product-centric organization. The CPO should own the strategic goals of how the product directly drives the company strategy and goals including how to connect the product to market/customer needs.Todd's personal belief is that a product-led company requires having both a Chief Technical Officer and a Chief Product Officer. The primary difference is the CTO is more conservative and focuses on the "-bilities" of technical products while the CPO is looking for strategic growth advantages that have a higher risk profile. This differentiation provides a healthy friction between the two different primary goals.If you are currently using a product-centric, customer facing process, or considering a product-led growth strategy, this conversation with Todd Olson, Founder, and CEO of Pendo is a great listen!
1/17/202331 minutes, 43 seconds
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The Power of Go-to-Market Experience + Capital - with Mark Roberge, Stage 2 Capital

Mark Roberge is the founder and Managing Director of Stage 2 Capital and previously was the Chief Revenue Officer at HubSpot from 2007 to 2016.  Mark is also the author of the best-selling book "The Sales Acceleration Formula".The lessons learned over his nine years leading revenue at HubSpot have led to several new endeavors including creating a Sales curriculum being taught at Harvard Business School and founding Stage 2 Capital. We started the podcast by discussing "The Sales Acceleration Formula" which was first published in 2015. The bool was stimulated by a breakfast between Mark and enterprise sales influencer and author, Jill Konrath. It evolved from a concept called "The Art and Science of Sales" to become the basis for the book. The Sales Acceleration Formula is essentially an autobiography of how Mark built and scaled the revenue organization at HubSpot.The presence of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems enabled Sales to become more data-driven, and changed how Mark leveraged that data to inform how he built and managed the sales organization. One of the most interesting perspectives Mark shared was how he and his management team used the data being generated from the CRM. Using the insights from the CRM data changed how HubSpot Sales Managers were able to better coach sales reps based on the "signals" being generated. Foundational to capturing those insights was the need to develop a very well-defined and structured sales process that generated performance metrics at each stage of the sales process.We quickly pivoted to a leading sales technology of the day, Conversational Intelligence. I asked Mark why with the ability to capture and listen to every Sales conversation has not made full sales funnel performance a more data-driven, sale management and coaching process.Mark highlighted one reason is that Sales organizations are often so focused on "chasing the number", that they do not carve out the time to step back, take a strategic planning approach to the future based on historical performance metrics and incorporate that into the planning process. This "reactive mode" cascades and impacts the organizational culture to one of high urgency - low value reactions versus one of high value - low urgency strategic activities leading to increased performance.Another topic we discussed was the 360 lead review process at HubSpot, which lead to the concept of the SMarketing SLA (Service Level Agreement). Marketing and Sales co-owned the pipeline generation and lead development process, and as a result consistently led to analysis of  pipeline generation performance. Far too often, there is significant friction between Sales and Marketing, which can be addressed by leading into the data. This starts with defining what a "lead" really is and starting to measure lead performance and conversion across the entire lead-to-customer process.Finally, we discussed the catalyst for founding Stage 2 Capital. Stage 2 Capital is unique in that the Limited Partners (investors) are primarily successful B2B SaaS Go-to-Market executives who can provide both capital and applied operating experience across each stage of a B2B SaaS company's growth. One of the important findings was the failure rate to scale across different stages of growth is much too high. The Science of Scaling was based on research that Mark conducted across several early-stage companies, and then he applied the "challenges of scale" to the formation of Stage 2 Capital.If you are considering raising funding for your SaaS company, or are just looking at how to more efficiently scale your revenue generation engine at the next phase of growth, the conversation with Mark Roberge is extremely instructive based upon the experience and success of Mark and hundreds of other GTM executives involved in Stage 2 Capital.
1/11/202338 minutes, 38 seconds
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A Chief Revenue Officer's learnings from $0 - $100M+ ARR - with Mark Kosoglow, CRO Catalyst and SVP Sales, Outreach

Imagine having your founder and CEO working weekends to develop leads and a calling list for the VP Sales in an early-stage B2B SaaS company. That was Mark Kosoglow's experience when he first joined Manny Medina, the founder, and CEO at Outreach - the leading Sales Engagement Platform company in the industry.I asked Mark about the reality of leading Sales at an early-stage B2B SaaS company, and if he could share a couple of lessons he would share. The importance of building pipeline was priority #1 and is something he is living with in his new role as the CRO at Catalyst Software. In fact, Mark said pipeline cures most ills of an early-stage B2B SaaS company.When we double-clicked on pipeline, I asked Mark about the importance of identifying the Ideal Customer Profile early in the journey. Mark said this was critical to focus the outbound demand generation efforts early on, and to also build a buyer persona map to identify the different key members of the buying team, and create messaging that resonates with each buyer. Mark requires Sales Development Representatives to conduct at least 50 activities per day, and add 15 new contacts into a cadence every day while ensuring there are no outstanding to-do activities at the end of every day.What is the role of Account Executives in creating pipeline? Mark has a standard operating model which depends on the profile of the actual average contract value. But, as a rule, he uses the goal of 25 opportunities in the pipeline. Once that opportunity goal is hit the goal of outbound pipeline generation activities is reduced from 50 activities and 10 people sequenced per day to 50 activities and 10 people sequenced per week. Once the number of active deals in the pipeline reduces back to 15, then the activity goals increase back to 50 activities per day.Cold calling is a lower value for Account Executives in the early stage but is a reality of the role until the active pipeline is to a point where 100% of an AEs time can be allocated to the highest value activity of turning opportunities into revenue.Next, conversion becomes a top priority. One is a well-defined, stage-based deal management sales process, and second a strong deal review and management process to help the AE successfully move from opportunity to revenue. How a rep can "guide" the buyer through the buying process is a top priority in how sales management should be coaching an AE in the early days.Mark does not believe stage-by-stage conversion is a priority early on, as there is not enough data to provide statistically valid feedback. However, at each stage of the Sales process there should be a primary "question" that should be answered such as:- Do they have problems we can solve?- Are the problems big enough to solve?- Will the buyer agree "how to buy"?- Will their investment be worth it? - Will they buy?A key to his success is encapsulated in the quote: "process makes you great, but documentation makes you legendary". This was discussed in the context of when to introduce a Sales Enablement function. Are there any signals that suggest when to invest in a Sales Enablement function? Mark highlighted that Sales Enablement is responsible for onboarding and not ongoing coaching or figuring out Sales Process, that is the Sales leader's role.If you are considering a Sales leadership role at an early-stage B2B SaaS company, or are a founder/CEO looking to scale beyond founder-led sales, this conversation with Mark is a great listen!
1/4/202338 minutes, 46 seconds
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The Different Buying Team Profiles - with Brent Adamson, author the Challenger Customer

Heading into 2023 companies are preparing for larger buying teams, and increased scrutiny on every purchase. I could not think of a better backdrop to speak with Brent Adamson, the author of The Challenger Sale and The Challenger Customer.The Challenger Customer is based on research focusing on the different "profiles" of the buying team in a considered "SaaS" purchase. This is one of my all-time favorite books focusing on how to understand the buying process and charting the sales process accordingly.We started the conversation with a comment Brent recently made on another podcast, and that was "the SaaS industry has broken sales". As we double-clicked on this comment, what Brent was highlighting was that due to the large influx of capital and thus the number of companies increased so quickly, sales became more of a volume-centered process versus the more traditional, value-based, solution selling that traditional software companies used before the "growth at any cost" phase of the SaaS industry evolution.Another variable that impacted the volume-centric approach was the rapid evolution of "Sales Technology" which automated many of those processes that were traditionally executed manually by a sales professional. As a result, many sales professionals over-indexed activity and volume and lost some level of attention to what makes each target account and the individual members of the buying team unique.When Brent conducted the initial research to write The Challenger Sale, one consistent truth uncovered was that no single buyer, not even the executive decision maker wants to make a decision isolated from the broader team. Their driving need is to gain team agreement or consensus on strategic purchases - such as SaaS solutions.In the initial book, it was discovered that there were 5.4 individuals in every strategic purchase decision, and that number has consistently increased over the last few years - hitting 11 or even more in 2022. Though even though this number is significant, the more important aspect of this reality is the "diversity" of the profiles, functions, roles, and decision criteria for a strategic purchase. The above was the basis for Brent's second book, The Challenger Customer. The first topic we discussed was the different profiles of members of the buying team who are "mobilizers".What is a mobilizer? Based upon a survey of 2,000+ B2B Sales Professionals, the top performers identified that the most important attribute of a buyer persona was their ability to build consensus and willingness to drive change in their organization. This is much different than the standard, find a coach, champion, or executive decision-maker in the sales process. What are the different types of "mobilizers":- Skeptic- Go-Getter- TeacherSkeptics typically are the most difficult to accept the value proposition of your solution and how it will work in their environment. However, once the skeptic is won over, they will be the best advocate for your solution being purchased and implemented. On the other hand, the "friends and the guides" may want to talk with you more than anyone else at the potential customer, but are not good at mobilizing change in their company.Next, we discussed the importance of tapping into the "emotions" of the buyer. It  comes down to the concept of "Identity Value" and goes beyond company value or professional value. Identity Value is the value that sponsoring a  purchase will impact how a person feels they are viewed and how they view themselves. Once a person feels your solution impacts their "identity value" it will dramatically increase their desire advocate purchasing your solution.As we enter 2023 and encounter a "cautious capital" approach to purchasing new solutions, I cannot think of a better use of time than listening to Brent AND reading The Challenger Sale!
12/29/202237 minutes, 38 seconds
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Marketing Metrics that Matter to the CFO - with Chris Golec, Founder and CEO Channel99 and Demandbase

Heading into 2023, B2B SaaS CFOs are doubling down on using performance metrics to guide the 2023 operating budget. A key question is what metrics they use to help evaluate the Marketing budget, and what metrics they wish they had from Marketing to help inform budget allocation and investment decisions.Chris Golec, the founder, and CEO of intent data and account-based program platform leader Demandbase has recently launched his new company, Channel99 which is purpose-built to help bridge the gap between Marketing performance metrics that Marketing is currently capturing and those performance metrics that Finance leaders would like to see that help inform their budget allocation and investment analysis.We started the conversation with Chris on the evolution of B2B Marketing over the last ten years. In the early 2010s, Marketing Automation platforms enabled broader and more frequent outreach to their target buyers, and then Account-Based programs started to evolve in the 2015 - 2020 timeframe to increase the "quality of Marketing outreach. Chris predicts that moving into 2023 and beyond, B2B Marketing organizations will be held to more "performance-centric" measurements that focus on the ultimate outcomes of pipeline and revenue ($) that the CFO uses to evaluate return on investment for all Marketing program investments.We dove into the megatrends that Chris mentioned early in the podcast, and the impact of Marketing Automation, Intent Data, and Account-Based Marketing programs. Chris highlighted, though self-admittedly from a biased perspective that these investments did increase the Return on Marketing investment, but most companies do not have the infrastructure to measure the impact of Marketing investments down to the last mile of pipeline and revenue ($).When asked if Marketing is using metrics to inform decisions, Chris highlighted that the majority of Marketing performance measurements (metrics) are primarily department focused, and not linked to the ultimate outcomes that CFO and CEO are most interested in - Pipeline and Revenue generated. One quick action to change this reality is for the CEO and CFO to require Marketing leaders to measure the ultimate outcomes in dollars...not activity, engagement, and leads.Chris shared his premise that one reason that Marketing does not provide more granular "finance performance metrics" to the CFO is the lack of easy-to-use infrastructure that can measure dollars invested in high-priority target accounts that fit the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) through to revenue generated.Another key requirement to capturing and generating good Marketing ROI performance metrics is to start with understanding discretionary program spending on things like paid and organic search and understanding not only the engagement levels, but the engagement levels with accounts in their target market (ICP) and then pulling the thread all the way through to revenue.If you are a "performance" centric B2B Marketer or a Finance leader trying to better understand the return on Marketing investment, the conversation with Chris Golec is highly informative and thought-provoking!!!
12/20/202234 minutes, 53 seconds
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The journey from FP&A to SaaS CFO - with CJ Gustafson, CFO PartsTech

Mergers and Acquisition analyst to FP&A professional to SaaS CFO. This is the path that CJ Gustafson took on his journey to becoming the CFO at Parts Tech.The common thread across each step of his journey was metrics, a perfect subject for CJ's appearance on the show. CJ developed his excel and financial chops during his first role as an M&A analyst, which served as the foundation for his success in modeling financial plans and budgets.What are the critical experiences and learnings CJ learned in his FP&A role that prepared him for being a SaaS CFO. A unique opportunity in FP&A is being in the room with senior executives, and learning how successful leaders organize their resources for success. Building upon that, being able to ask questions of the senior leadership team provided him access and insights that most roles do not afford.Having cross-functional insight across Marketing, Sales, Products, and Operations provided a holistic view of how businesses plan, make decisions and manage. When asked what the most surprising part of being a CFO, was the sheer number of vendor agreements that required review and approval, and the associated skills required to negotiate strategic agreements that directly impact the operational and financial performance of the company.Mostly Metrics is the newsletter CJ launched about 2 years ago. What was the motivation to create a newsletter focused on metrics? First, being able to document and reference his learnings in previous roles. Secondly, the newsletter provided CJ the opportunity to ask thought leaders and successful executives, and investors about topics directly related to his newsletter. Third, CJ finds writing things down is key to him remembering and thus being able to recall previous learnings when required in the current working environment.Heading into 2023, many CFOs are scrutinizing revenue and expense budgets at another level of granularity. So I asked CJ for his advice to other first-time CFOs as they prepare their first annual budget. First, CJ recommended the value of experiments before committing the annual budget to new ideas and investment areas. Secondly, make sure the headcount plan is very detailed by month, and use a "max" headcount model versus incremental headcount centric, as attrition is hard to forecast. Finally, CJ recommended no more than one new software platform be implemented per quarter. Limiting new software implementations is as much about the organization's ability to implement, train users and ensure effective utilization of the new software to gain the benefits, as it is to control the expenses.What are the "metrics" that CJ is focusing on heading into 2023? CJ highlighted the need for a CFO to understand the metrics that departmental leaders use to inform their decisions. An example is going beyond CAC Payback Period to learn something like the importance of "activation rate" in a PLG motion and how that ultimately impacts the company-level financial metrics. Understanding the departmental top priority metrics also informs CJ's understanding of the budget requests the department executives are making, and how they will measure the ROI. We also went into those "metrics" that are specific to a company, maybe even a North Star metric. CJ highlighted the shopping cart abandonment rate as key to understanding the PartsTech user, and how that one metric provides both product priority, and also a key performance metric to improve that has a direct impact on revenue growth. A North Star metric that CJ now uses is Gross Merchandise Value which is critical to understand, as it's at the center of forecasting.If you are interested in the path to becoming a CFO, this episode with CJ is a great listen.
12/13/202232 minutes, 52 seconds
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Kind Folks Finish First - Sam Jacobs, Founder and CEO Pavilion

STOP if you do not think that the concept of "Kind Folks Finish First" is applicable in corporate America!Sam Jacobs, the founder, and CEO of Pavilion realized that getting fired for the third time was the catalyst for finally understanding that pursuing his real passion "to help others" was the key to finding both success and fulfillment.Sam credits a shift in "mindset" as foundational to creating a company and a passion that enable him to find happiness and success. The Power of Failure are the first four words in Chapter 1 of Sam's best-selling book - Kind Folks Finish First. As Sam's CEO shared that his services were no longer needed, he realized that believing you are a failure, you are a failure. Rather, if you think about failure as learning, experience, and wisdom your path to success will become much easier. Why is it so hard to stop being a "victim of your situation" versus the master of your destiny? The common emotion is "fear" because they are afraid. Often this mindset provides the motivation to identify why what you experience is unfair and not due to your own decisions and actions. Admitting to yourself that you are responsible for your experiences and outcomes can be liberating and the foundation for real growth.What do you stand for was the opening to Chapter 3. Sam highlighted that this was not a question he asked himself, it was a question that his coach forced Sam to answer for himself. Being in New York City, Sam felt that "making money" was his primary goal and motivation. Sam's coach said is that where you find energy, and after a few week's Sam realized he stood for "helping people to cared about to meet their professional goals". This clarifying moment was the catalyst for the "what and how" of building Pavilion.Getting by Giving, was a central theme throughout the book and is also a key Pavilion value. Sam said being very selective in investors and employees who share that mindset and value is key to ensuring the culture of a company lives by those values. Being able to focus on the long-term goals and building the culture, means you might sacrifice growth rates to build a long-term, durable growth company that uses its values to guide its journey.Every crisis is an opportunity, another key phrase Sam shared in the book. Sam's primary advice is that you must look outside of yourself. The instinct in a difficult environment is to focus on yourself - but in times of challenges focus first on your "customer's" challenges and situation and allow that to be your guide for decision-making. With that mindset and focus, the investment you make in your customers now will provide returns over time that cannot be measured with a short-term orientation focused on "your needs" versus "your customer's needs".Sam's transformation which started once he realized "his true calling to help others" is an inspirational story and message for anyone looking for happiness and success in their professional life.
12/6/202224 minutes, 49 seconds
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Saas Metrics for Investors and Execution Decision Making - with Nick Franklin, Founder and CEO ChartMogul

Nick Franklin is the Founder and CEO of ChartMogul, a leading SaaS Metrics Reporting, and Subscription Analytics Platform. Nick worked for five years at ZenDesk, where he led both Europe and then Asia-Pacific before founding ChartMogul eight years ago.With 2,500 B2B SaaS companies as customers, Nick's insights around how companies use metrics to inform decision-making are unmatched. Nick's perspective is that during the earliest days of a B2B SaaS company's evolution, the importance of being able to track metrics begins. An example early on is how pricing and packaging impact customer acquisition and growth. Another example Nick highlighted is if a founder is considering raising external funds, having a grasp on the key financial performance metrics is critical to gaining investor confidence.Nick highlighted the importance of providing access to company performance metrics to all employees is critical to creating a metrics-centric culture. When I asked Nick "why companies do not provide performance metrics transparency to their employees?", Nick shared that many of their customers simply say they prefer to keep company financial information "on a need-to-know basis". Nick could not explain why that is beyond history and an old-fashioned mentality.Nick responded that they wanted to ensure that even the earliest-stage companies could develop a metrics culture, and use ChartMogul as that infrastructure. That is why ChartMogul provides a free version of its platform to companies with less than $10,000 MRR. Over fifty percent of their customers are paying customers up to $100M ARR. Some companies decide to use a metrics and subscription analytics platform in preparation for an impending financing event, which begged the question of what are the top metrics investors want to see a founder truly understand. Nick highlighted early customer retention, revenue and product engagement growth, and eventually dollar-based customer retention and expansion.Double clicking on the "engagement" measurement, what are the common metrics to measure? How many users, how many times do they log into/use the platform on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, and then almost always there is a product-specific "North Star Metric" such as messages, API calls, documents sent, etc...During our discussion on "engagement", I asked Nick what the aha moment, often referred to as the "activation point" is for ChartMogul. He shared that integrating into a subscription management platform is the first activation point, but more importantly the "high-value activation point" is when the user gains insight or perspective on a metric that was not previously available, understood, or even considered as a critical business metric.If you are evaluating how best to capture, calculate, publish and use metrics to inform your B2B SaaS journey and decisions, this conversation with Nick is a great listen.
11/30/202235 minutes, 41 seconds
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Revenue Operations Outsourcing Strategy - with Cliff Simon, CRO Carabiner Group

Revenue Operations - the buzz has continued in 2022 but how to introduce and then maximize the return on investment is still a work in process.Cliff Simon, the Chief Revenue Officer at Carabiner Group, an early leader in Revenue Operations stopped by to share his insights into how to maximize the return on RevOps.First, we discussed if Revenue Operations is viewed and delivering as a Strategic function or being relegated to tactical activities such as data management, revenue technology administration, integration, and report development. Cliff shared that Revenue Operations MUST be a strategic, data-driven organization that surfaces and highlights opportunities for increased revenue growth in partnership with the C-Suite.One large risk, despite the best intentions, RevOps often gets so overwhelmed with daily, reactive activities that they forget to take the time to step back and take a more holistic, strategic approach to the insights they are gaining from the data, metrics and process improvement opportunities they see every day. One reality is that RevOps as a profession has grown so quickly, as highlighted by the increase from 5,600 to 17,000 RevOps titles on LinkedIn today, and the 30K+ open positions being promoted online today. This increase in demand for RevOps professionals has led to the current lack of experienced Revenue Operations leaders who understand the strategic impact of Revenue Operations.How is a strategic Revenue Operations function be measured to show the return on investment? Though it is hard to benchmark the impact RevOps has on financial performance metrics, RevOps should be responsible to surface the insights, metrics, and benchmarks for internal revenue performance metrics to the executive team, including highlighting the opportunities for increasing revenue growth and revenue efficiency. One recent research program highlighted that companies with a centralized Revenue Operations function grow 30% faster than those without the function.Today's reality is that the majority of Revenue Operations departments are still primarily focused on tactical activities, and only at $50M ARR and above do companies have the resources and capacity to have a Revenue Operations leader is truly strategic. However, companies should invest early in a RevOps function, and that includes having Sales Ops and Marketing Ops as roles that report into a broader Revenue Operations organization.Another topic Cliff highlighted is that RevOps owns the process to "document" the processes that underly and support the entire Revenue lifecycle. This supports the growth of the company, and as new leaders and resources enter the organization, they can quickly under the "current state" of revenue-generating processes and the associated performance (in the form of metrics) to better inform their decisions on how to evolve the organization and accelerate revenue performance.What metrics should RevOps be measuring: 1) Revenue Growth; 2) Sales Cycle Time; 3) Win Rate; 4) Pipeline Generation Metrics; 5) Net Dollar Retention (including churn)If you are a SaaS CEO, CFO, CRO, or Revenue Operations leader, this conversation with Cliff Simon provides some great knowledge nuggets on increasing the impact that Revenue Operations can make in your company.
11/15/202229 minutes, 13 seconds
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RevOps as a Strategic Revenue Planning Partner - with Toni Hohlbein, Growblocks

As a Chief Revenue Officer, Toni has had a front-row view on scaling revenue engines, and one major challenge he faced was that too much time was spent on financial planning and budgets, versus how to best make money.The first question we discussed was the difference between FP&A and Revenue Operations. Toni's perspective is that Revenue Operations is much closer to the revenue generating process, and thus has a deeper insight into how revenue is generated, and as such should be a key part of the revenue planning process.Next, we discussed how being involved in the revenue planning process makes RevOps a more strategic partner to the executive team. RevOps top three responsibilities are data, process, and tools but only the start. The trick is to take the insights from the aforementioned three responsibilities and becoming the primary purveyor of insights into how the revenue engine is performing on an end-to-end basis.Potential strategic activities starts with revenue planning, which starts with how to generate revenue efficiently. Next, RevOps should be the "mission control" through regular meetings with the commercial (revenue) leaders, and discuss the insights from the dashboards and reports they are providing. Key to the value of these discussions is how to overcome the issues that the data is surfacing.One of the opportunities in today's business culture is becoming data-driven without becoming data overwhelmed. Revenue Operations should take the lead on determining how the data, reports, and dashboards they are creating inform the decisions on how to increase the probability of making the number and even forecasting how the current "data" predicts the revenue future.How can a company ensure that Revenue Operations does not become so reactive to the daily requests, that they cannot carve out the time to be strategic partners to the CRO? First, RevOps leaders should ensure there are good "outcome goals" for how the data and reports will be used, and prioritize time to analyze the data in the context of "how does this data and metrics inform our future revenue outcomes".What are the top "5" metrics that a RevOps leader should own? First, the mindset needs to be that they own the revenue number along with the CRO. Second, CAC Payback Period by cohort including regional, customer segments, and even product level in larger companies. Third, Customer Lifetime Value is a great metric, but since it is so multi-variate in nature, it must be broken down into the input metrics (variables) to isolate which leading indicators are impacting CLTV - a classic outcome metric.If you are a Revenue Operations professional or a senior executive evaluating how to increase the business impact of RevOps, this conversation with Toni is a great listen!
11/10/202229 minutes, 55 seconds
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Customer Lifecycle Metrics - With Craig Rosenberg

Craig Rosenberg has worked with hundreds, if not thousands of B2B SaaS companies as the co-founder of TOPO, Distinguished analyst at Gartner, and now as Chief Platform Officer at Scale Venture Partners.Across Craig's roles, he was able to take an expensive view across each stage of a SaaS company's growth including strategy, people, process, technology, tactics, and over time METRICS!Craig highlighted that the best companies in the world were/are "metrics" driven, and as Craig started to work with larger, enterprise-class companies beyond SaaS being "metrics and data" driven was even more critical to decision-making."End to End" Customer Journey is an often discussed subject, but what is it really? Craig's perspective is most customer journey mapping is too generic and needs to be very focused on how the customer buys starting with using third-party internet activity to marketing interactions to Sales Development to Sales and then ending at "Closed-Won". Going beyond Closed-Won to include customer engagement, retention, and expansion,Going beyond mapping and understanding the entire customer journey including acquisition, retention, and expansion, companies need to "SEGMENT" the metrics by customer cohort, such as SMB vs Mid-Market vs Enterprise. Another view should be based upon "HOW" the prospect/customer came into the customer lifecycle process, such as lead source and/or lead channel.When I asked "who" in a company should map the customer lifecycle, Craig's response was quite pragmatic: "whoever is best at mapping the customer lifecycle in your company". Craig added that Revenue Operations is a perfect organization to take the lead on customer journey mapping, and building a "coalition" across Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success. An important caveat is that without the support and involvement of the CEO it becomes less significant and strategic.Another topic we discussed, was if a company should involve customers in the "journey mapping" process. Craig said of course, but you only need to include a few customers in the process as talking with more than 10 customers will provide diminishing returns.Next, I asked Craig about what metrics are priorities to measure the efficiency of the customer lifecycle across acquisition, retention, and expansion. Craig started with the Four Vital Signs Framework to track in a SaaS company:- Growth- Efficiency- Churn- BurnNext, we discussed if any of the Vital Signs are more important at each stage of a company's evolution. Craig's first recommendation was to instrument and begin capturing metrics for all four vital signs early in the journey. Certain metrics like churn/Customer Retention will become more important as a company grows beyond the first and second renewal cycles, but identifying and instrumenting for metrics should begin earlier than most companies believe are required.No matter what stage of growth your SaaS company is currently in, this discussion with Craig Rosenberg provides many interesting, insightful perspectives on the importance and priority of metrics across the customer lifecycle.
11/1/202238 minutes, 50 seconds
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Metrics Require Context - with Scott Stouffer, founder and CEO scaleMatters

Have you ever looked at all of the reports, dashboards, and data presented across your company and felt overwhelmed and under-informed?Today's data-driven world far too often results in a lot of data but not better decision-making or company performance.Scott Stouffer founded his first company in 1993 and has lived the reality of how Go-to-Market Strategy is not a one-time thing, but a series of iterations over time. Scott compares today's need to continuously evolve your GTM strategy much as Agile did for software development. Basically an "Agile Go-to-Market" model.The above reduces the amount of investment wasted on strategies and tactics that never provide the required return. By definition, the majority of companies will not nail the Go-to-Market motion on the first try. Examples include identifying the top Ideal Customer Profile, creating the perfect messaging and positioning strategy, or even the best sales motion to engage, interest and acquire new customers.One key to successfully using an "agile" GTM model is to limit the number of new variables you introduce at any given time. One example Scott provided was an experiment that uses "new messaging" as the only new variable and measures how that performs as measured by activity to conversation to meeting to opportunities.A key to identifying which GTM motion is working is to ensure you instrument and measure the performance metrics that provide real market feedback on the efficacy of your GTM tactic(s). This applies not only when you first enter a market with a new product, but when you enter a new market with an existing product that was successful in a different market. The next topic we covered was the "DEFINING" moment in the podcast (11:40 in the podcast). Scott started with an analogy on how a cholesterol measurement of 50 is meaningless without context, but if you know the measurement was 45 six months ago AND the appropriate benchmark for the patient is 20-35 there is CONTEXT to the measurement (metric) and requires attention.Scott's point on "Go-To-Market Metrics Require Context" was defined by using one if not all of the following variables: 1. Time - how is the metric trending over time 2. Plan - how is the metric performing against the plan 3. Causality - what variable(s) impacts the metric 4. Significance - How does this impact our business 5. External Industry Benchmarks - how do I compare to the external marketAnother topic we discussed was WHEN and HOW to instrument your Go-To-Market systems to capture and then use the GTM metrics to inform decisions. Scott suggested that when a company moves beyond "Founder Led Growth" into Sales Led Growth is the time to instrument GTM metrics. One caveat was metrics become more instructive once Product Market Fit is established, and it is appropriate to scale Marketing and Sales investment.Growth efficiency, a trending topic in 2022 becomes more important once Product Market Fit is achieved and the investment in Marketing and Sales continues to increase..even in $1M - $5M ARR companies.If you are looking for ways to increase Go-to-Market efficiency and increase the value of metrics in decision-making, this conversation with Scott is amazingly informative for first-time founders and the most experienced GTM leaders.
10/25/202234 minutes, 43 seconds
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Metrics that Matter to a CRO - with Bill Binch, Operating Partner at Battery Ventures

Bill Binch has led revenue teams at highly successful B2B SaaS category creators, including Marketo and Pendo.Having real-life, applied experience and success at scaling high-growth companies, while also having broad insights into several Battery Ventures portfolio companies provides Bill with a unique perspective on how Chief Revenue Officers use metrics to inform their journey.Bill's journey over 29 years has informed how his use of metrics to lead a revenue team has evolved, alongside the advancement of revenue technology options. Though Sales has always been the ultimate function to be measured by metrics (quota achievement), today's CRO can have much better insight into the "signals" or "leading indicators" that directly impact quota achievement.Today's Sales leaders are reviewing and asking deep conversations about pipeline trends, which sources are delivering the most, and highest quality leads that result in Closed-Won revenue. But what metrics does Bill think are most important for each stage of a B2B SaaS company's growth:$𝟬 - $𝟭𝟬𝗠 𝗔𝗥𝗥:- Customer logo count which provides Sales team confidence and future customer confidence- Average Contract Value- Average Sales Cycle> $ 𝟭𝟬𝗠 𝗔𝗥𝗥- Net Revenue Retention (NRR) measures how much ARR a current customer delivers year over year. Example if $50K ARR this year and $60K ARR next year = 120% NRR- Predictive metrics that forecast future revenue performance including Pipeline Performance and Quota CapacityHow does Bill define the CRO's responsibility? Bill's perspective is the word "REVENUE" defines the CRO's responsiblity to including: 1) New Revenue; 2) Expansion Revenue; 3) Retention Revenue. Bill does not believe that the CRO should include the Marketing function.Bill firmly believes that Sales and Marketing should co-own the qualified pipeline goal, not just leads, Marketing Qualified Leads, or other Marketing centric objectives that do not directly impact the pipeline. The "intersection" of Marketing and Sales is PIPELINE. Far too often in board meetings, Bill sees Marketing and Sales present data, metrics, and reports that have little to no direct correlation and definitely no causation.What are the "pipeline metrics" Bill thinks are most important? Bill likes "Pipeline Coverage Ratio" which calculates how much qualified pipeline is required to achieve $X in revenue. Bill also introduced his pipeline "MOJO" dashboard which includes a dashboard that tracks daily pipeline trends including:1. Deals created2. Deals lost3. Deals expanded4. Deals decreased5. Deals pulled forward6. Deals pushed backBill shared that since the CRO should own all revenue inputs, including acquisition, retention and expansion they should also be responsible for the Customer Success function. However, once a company scales to greater than $50M - $100M the role of the Chief Customer Officer should report directly to the CEO and not the CRO.I also asked Bill if the CRO should own revenue efficiency metrics, such as CAC Payback Period or Customer Lifetime Value? Bill's perspective is that the CRO should be aware of how their performance metrics impact company level metrics that the CFO should own, including CAC Payback Period, Customer Lifetime Value and Rule o 40 (as examples).Lastly, I asked Bill what are the core metrics that the CRO should report to the board. They include: 1) ARR Growth - trend over 5 quarters; 2) ACV - 5 Qtr trend; 3) Average Sales Cycle - 5 Qtr trend; 4) New vs expansion split - 5 Qtr trend; 5) Average Revenue Per Account - 5 Qtr trends; 6) Logo adds - 5 Qtr trend; 7) Segmented based metrics as a company scalesBill's experience as the CRO that led growth at two incredibly successful and market creating SaaS companies and now as an Operating Partner at Battery Ventures makes this a must listen con
10/17/202231 minutes, 11 seconds
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Traversing the Traction Gap Framework - with Bruce Cleveland

It's hard to imagine being a key part of three industry-defining product categories, which is exactly what Bruce Cleveland has experienced in his Silicon Valley software career.  First, Bruce was an early executive leader at Oracle (first 100+ employees) as they re-defined relational databases, then on to Apple where he led the object-oriented engineering division, next he led the business development and alliances team at Siebel Systems before he took over products as they defined Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and then again at in defining Enterprise AI. Three of those experiences resulted in IPOs.  Bruce then became a VC, first at InterWest Partners where he invested in early-stage B2B SaaS startups such as Marketo (acquired by Adobe), and then he started Wildcat Venture Partners with two other people, again focused on early-stage startups such as Vlocity (acquired by Salesforce).  Based uponthe above experiences, Bruce wanted to create an easy-to-understand and prescriptive framework to help entrepreneurs move through each stage of a start-up's journey. The result was the Traction Gap Framework.  The different stages of the Traction Gap Framework include:  Minimum Viable Category (MVC): Does the market segment already exist or is there an opportunity to create and lead a new product category - creating your own category (e.g., Gainsight) presents more risk but the returns are much higher.  Initial Product Release (IPR): The first version of the product beyond prototypes and wireframes that serves as the feedback mechanism to refine and evolve the product to present to multiple new customers.  Minimum Viable Product (MVP): The product state that is required to acquire several new customers and provide tangible value while using early customers feedback to prioritize feature/function refinement and enhancement  Minimum Viable Repeatability (MVR): This is the point where external investors (VCs) are most interested in investing in an early-stage SaaS/Cloud company and become seriously interested as the initial referenceable customers are in place, and the ability to leverage the learnings from early customers can now be used to rinse and repeat the customer acquisition process  Minimum Viable Traction(MVT): This is after a company has “crossed the chasm” and is ready to materially scale a business to $20M - $50M while establishing market leadership.  I asked Bruce about the secrets to creating a new product category.  Bruce highlighted that not everyone wants to be the spokesperson leading the creation of a new category. He used the example of Marketo, where the founders decided that Jon Miller, a co-founder, would be positioned as "the father of marketing automation" while the other co-founder and CEO, Phil Fernandez chose to primarily focus on leading strategy and operations.  Bruce coined the term "Market Engineering" to help frame the content in his book. The basic concept is developing the positioning and messaging of the company to a few innovative and provocative concepts that everyone can easily understand and clearly differentiates the company from others. Steve Jobs at Apple is a great example of a category creator. Bruce shared the four pillars the Traction Gap Framework including: 1) Team; 2) Product; 3) Revenue; 4) Systems.  Each pillar takes a point of prominence at various stages when traversing the Traction Gap - though TEAM is the common foundation at each stage across the journey  If you are a student of Silicon Valley and the SaaS start-up world, starting or already on your own entrepreneurial journey, this discussion with Bruce Cleveland, who has been there and done that is a must listen. 
10/12/202233 minutes, 39 seconds
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The Role of FP&A vis a vis Revenue Operations - with Paul Barnhurst, The FP&A Guy

You may have heard the acronym FP&A many times, but always wondered what it stood for?  Financial Planning and Analysis is the function, typically present in more mature companies responsible that is responsible for financial planning, modeling and analysis.Paul has a summarized view of what FP&A professionals are responsible for which is: "FP&A  is responsible to maximize shareholder return by helping businesses to best deploy and allocate future dollars".Where does FP&A start and end, versus the Revenue Operations function?  Well, the answer was clear as mud. Paul shared that each company defines FP&A and RevOps differently,  Some companies have "operations" report to the CFO and some to the Chief Revenue Officer.  The primary answer was "planning and modeling" goes into FP&A, and the rest of operations depends on the culture and competency within a company.Forecasting was another topic that is sometimes responsible for forecasting and others FP&A simply validates the Sales provided forecast, but not to create and share the forecast.  Basically, can FP&A use historical financial data toreview and validate the forecast.I drilled down into how FP&A departments become involved with "SaaS Metrics" in the SaaS industry.  Paul likes to see CFOs as the primary owner of the data that drives SaaS Metrics to ensure that the input data and the enterprise value creating metrics are standardized. Basically, not having the Go-to-Market functions own the SaaS Metrics formula definition, but can collaborate with FP&A in the calculation of the metrics using the "Finance" approved definition and calculation formula.If you are involved in the financial planning, modeling and reporting process in your SaaS company, and already have or are evaluating introducing a FP&A function that will work closely with the GTM operations teams (Sales Ops, Marketing Ops, CS Ops and/or RevOps) this conversation is a great listen!
9/13/202227 minutes, 33 seconds
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Evolution of Customer Success by the Numbers - Kellie Capote, Chief Customer Officer Gainsight

How has Customer Success evolved over the past ten years? What better place to start than discussing the latest Customer Success Benchmarking Index with Kellie Capote, Chief Customer Officer at Gainsight.Kellie has invested the last five years developing her perspectives on Customer Success at Gainsight in a broad array of Customer Success leadership roles, including becoming the Chief Customer Officer in 2021.What were some of the top findings from the 2022 CS Benchmarking Index? Kellie first highlighted that 41% of companies recently invested in forming a Customer Success Operations function and is currently present in 61% of companies. This highlights the operational rigor and excellence being developed in Customer Success.63% of Customer Success organizations are tracking Net Revenue Retention (NRR), proving that CS is being viewed as a revenue growth engine, not just a churn reduction department. 45% of CS organizations have subscription renewal responsibilities and will continue to grow as CS departments mature.One interesting topic discussed was that only 20% of CS organizations have primary responsibilities for up-sells and cross-sells. Thus how does a CS organization assume responsibility for NRR? Kellie highlighted that even though CS may not own the opportunity management process, 49% of the time, they are responsible for identifying potential up-sell and cross-sell opportunities while also ensuring customer satisfaction and product engagement which will organically impact existing customer expansion ARR. Kellie also highlighted the Customer Success Qualified Lead (SQL) as a sign that CS is actively focused and engaged on existing customer revenue expansion.What tools are the leading CS organizations using to drive customer success? Customer Success plans are used by 63% of companies to facilitate the definition and attainment of customer-specific success. One area of opportunity is to use "customer value measurements," which are a key part of CS plans. The best companies use a "business value framework" during the sales process and then continue to inform how the CS organization engages with customers to continue measuring and reporting the customer value promised and delivered!Whether you are a customer success professional or a SaaS executive investing in Customer Success to drive customer satisfaction, customer value, and increase Net Revenue Retention Rates, this conversion with Kellie is highly informative and instructive.
8/9/202236 minutes, 35 seconds
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The SaaS Ecosystem in Canada - with Lauren Thibodeau, SaaSCan

How vibrant is the SaaS industry in Canada? Who better to ask that question and discuss how the SaaS industry is trending in Canada other than Lauren Thibodeau, founder and CEO SaaSCan. Saadian is the leading market research and benchmarking company for the SaaS industry across Canada.There are 38 Million people in Canada. Leading SaaS companies like Shopify, OpenText, and Constellation Software are all headquartered in Canada.There is also a growing ecosystem in Canada with 3,170 VC-backed SaaS companies in Canada, and that does not include boot-strapped or angel-funded companies. One of the common challenges for Canadian SaaS companies is expanding distribution beyond Canada to scale the company. The first need is to find avenues to expand its network outside Canada. Secondly, one of the more interesting challenges is that moving into the U.S. can crush a Canadian company that has not prepared its infrastructure for the 10x increase in addressable market that the U.S. represents.I asked Lauren what a U.S. based SaaS company needs to know if they want to enter the Canadian marketplace. Understanding the Canadian business culture is critical to success for U.S. companies selling in Canada. Listen first and talk second, and displaying a sense of humility are crucial aspects of the Canadian business environment.Having a North Star metric specific to your product and your customer's value is a great metric. Lauren suggested the following metrics to help measure and validate Product-Market Fit. The first is customer on-boarding and activating early customers; the second is understanding product usage metrics such as Daily Active Users (DAU)and Monthly Active Users (MAU).Lauren shared a new metric I had not heard before; the Sean Ellis test is a survey-based metric asking, "how disappointed would you be if this product went away ."If 40% or more of companies say they would be disappointed, that is a good proxy for Product-Market Fit.Unit economics, such as CAC Payback Period, Gross and Net Dollar Retention, and CLTV:CAC are good metrics to understand. However, they do not provide much insight or value until a company prepares to scale its investment in Sales and Marketing once a repeatable and scalable customer acquisition motion is established.Lauren recommends prioritizing focus on churn and retention on a dollar basis are a priority. The growth rate is always a key metric, especially if a company is entertaining external investment. Lauren also mentioned the "Burn Multiple" which measures how much cash is burned compared to Contracted ARR (CARR).Lauren Thibodeau is a great listen if you are interested in learning more about the Canadian SaaS ecosystem, or just learning more about SaaS metrics for early-stage companies.
7/26/202230 minutes, 40 seconds
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A Venture Capital Index Fund - with Marcelino Pantoja, founder and CEO Measurement

Venture Capital - a hallmark of the B2B SaaS start-up industry has evolved over the past twenty years - but how have the primary value and responsibilities evolved?Marcelino Pantoja has had a front-row seat in many positions, starting as an analyst at the investment office at Stanford University. Then Marcelino worked with Greg Sands to help stand-up Costanoa Ventures. These views provided insights over six years from over 500 start-ups founded by Stanford alumni.The most surprising component of our conversation was that Marcelino believes that attaining Product Market Fit is a VC firm's first and primary role. What is Product Market Fit - Marcelino defines it using Andy Rachleff's (Co-Founder Benchmark Ventures) definition, as when you build a product that people desperately want and organic word of mouth is the primary source of new customers.VCs need the skill and experience to help a company during the Customer Development Phase of the journey to find Product Market Fit. Finding Product Market Fit is the most challenging and risky phase of the entrepreneurial journey. I pushed Marcelino on why "VCs" primary role is to help founders find Product Market Fit. He responded that capital has become a commodity and that the best VCs deliver company-building experience and expertise to complement the founder's efforts. Other than that, VCs are like any other capital source and should be viewed as such - HOT TAKE!One fundamental change today versus 10-15 years ago is the amount of accessible information on company building from successful founders. Another fundamental change in the technology start-up ecosystem is the number of start-ups that have scaled to become large enterprises. A by-product of this success is the number of people with the experience to help today's founders build and scale their idea and business...experiential advice is much easier to leverage than conference room theory.Another fundamental difference to starting a B2B SaaS start-up today is the low cost of building and delivering the product. Thus "experience" from proven founders and operators who have been there, done that, and possess their own capital from previous successes are a great source of CAPITAL and KNOWLEDGE at the early stages of a founder's journey.Marcelino's experience and perspectives motivated him to create a Venture Capital Index Fund, which simply stated is applying the concepts of traditional asset management to allow institutional investors access to a portfolio of VC funds. A VC Index fund is especially applicable to "early stage funds" which are harder to access for a traditional Limited Partner (LP), such as a University endowment or family office.The value of a VC Index Fund to the entrepreneur? The primary benefit is to reduce the amount of time a founder needs to invest in fundraising by working with a fund comprised primarily of previous founders, who have the capital and operational experience that many traditional VCs cannot provide.If you are a student of, or founder in the B2B SaaS industry, Marcelino provides a unique perspective on gaining access to two of the primary assets every first-time founder requires - capital and a single source.
7/18/202229 minutes, 39 seconds
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B2B SaaS Cash Management and Metrics - with Brandon Metcalf, Founder and CEO Place Technology

Cash Management is not one of the top subjects B2B SaaS founders want to discuss, but critical to start-up survival and success.Brandon Metcalf learned the in's and out's of Cash Management as a multiple-time founder and CEO. As a result, he recently founded Place Technology to help early-stage CEOs and CFOs use automation and technology to better manage cash across every stage of growth and every function in a company."Cautious Capital" is a reality of any capital market that has experienced the momentum and euphoria of the B2B SaaS and Cloud industry over the last five years. Brandon learned the importance of Cash Management and Cash forecasting at Talent Rover, where they had independent P&Ls in eight countries. Cash is always a consideration for strategic decisions in any company. In 2022, growth at any cost is a relic of the past, and today the question is how to optimize every dollar investment to build a sustainable, growth company.An investor's relationship with a founder is built upon confidence and trust, as such, Brandon errors in telling his investors everything and even oversharing what is going on in the company - especially around cash usage, cash burn, and cash forecasts. Brandon prefers to raise capital in smaller tranches to ensure he and the investors feel comfortable with the previous capital invested and used to grow the business.Brandon uses an investment analysis firm to gain independent, externally validated company valuation outside the current investors. Then Brandon prefers to raise money at "lower valuations," which provides more comfort to investors and reduces the risks associated with down-round valuations.Cash Burn is a metric that every CEO, CFO, and investor understands. Cash Burn equals the money brought into a company versus the money spent to run the company. In venture-backed companies, the Cash Burn is almost always negative as a company invests in acquiring and growing customers at a rate much higher than possible in a self-funded, bootstrapped model.One of Brandon's favorite metrics is the "Burn Multiple" The Burn Multiple measures net cash burned divided by net new ARR. David Sacks, Craft Ventures first popularized this metric. A burn multiple less than 1x is amazing, greater than 3x is bad, and targeting 1x - 2x is good to great.I asked Brandon, what are the best metrics to track to manage cash management and cash efficiency. Beyond Burn Multiple, # months to cash flow break-even, operating cash burn to forecast/plan, cash to qualified lead - by source, variance analysis on customer payments (contract to actual), cash impact via discounting, cash impact via hiring.If you are a B2B SaaS founder, CEO, or CFO or considering launching a start-up in the future, understanding the importance and techniques to optimize cash management is a concept that Brandon provides excellent ideas and insights throughout our conversation.
7/12/202231 minutes, 51 seconds
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Intelligent Revenue - With Chris Cabrera, Founder and CEO Xactly

Incentive Compensation and Sales Performance Management - two key ingredients to scaling a successful B2B SaaS company.  Is Intelligent Revenue the next key ingredient to growth?Chris Cabrera, founder, and CEO of Xactly, built a very successful company by helping companies to automate and optimize those two disciplines. The result was an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 2015 and a $564M acquisition by Vista Equity in 2017...but Chris's and Xactly's story did not stop there and continues to evolve.Currently Xactly is evolving to provide an Intelligent Revenue Platform that enables companies to scale revenue predictably more effectively.Chris defines Intelligent Revenue as the combination of Revenue Planning, Incentive Compensation Management, Pipeline Management, and Revenue ForecastingRevenue Operations and Intelligence is an evolving category still yet to be defined. Why the world is waking up that "siloed" apps are not an efficient or effective way to optimize revenue performance. Moreover, to leverage real intelligence across the entire customer journey requires consistent data across every phase of the journey, and a fragmented revenue technology stack does not provide the core foundation required for Intelligent Revenue.Chris's experience suggests that designing an intelligent revenue plan and incentive compensation model will lead to more predictable and profitable revenue growth. Revenue Intelligence does not start with better forecasting; it begins with using the insights and signals from the past to design the right Go-To-Market structures and plans - ultimately leading to better and more intelligent forecasts.Ninety-seven percent of Xactly's customers opt-in to share their data in an anonymous and aggregated fashion to develop benchmarks enabling the entire Xactly customer community to leverage the shared intelligence to build better revenue plans and incentive compensation programs.Who most benefits from Intelligent Revenue? Revenue Operations, often the combination of Sales Ops, Marketing Ops, and Customer Success Ops, directly benefit by being able to develop better territory plans, design incentive compensation plans that drive the right behavior and now provide more intelligent insights into how current pipeline trends will result in more accurate revenue forecasts.An example that Chris shared was how Revenue Operations can use Intelligent Revenue to design a program to reduce the use of discounting in price negotiations. As an example, incentive compensation plans that pay different rates based upon the "discount" that a sales professional negotiates. One of the traditional barriers to paying this way is the challenge of paying different commission rates based upon discount rates which is a complex, multi-variate calculation challenge - but one that can significantly impact profitable revenue growth.If you are responsible for one of the most common challenges that every company leader faces - delivering profitable revenue growth and consistent revenue forecasts, this conversation with Chris is entertaining, enlightening, and makes for a great listen!
7/6/202229 minutes, 13 seconds
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B2B SaaS Pricing Benchmarks - with Bryan Belanger, XaaS Pricing

How should we price our new SaaS product?  How does our pricing model compare to our competitors?  Are there other pricing models that would increase revenue and margin for our SaaS product?These are all some of questions that can be answered by analyzing B2B SaaS industry pricing benchmarks.   This is the world that Bryan Belanger lives in everyday, so who better to ask.Bryan has been conducting pricing research for over 10 years at the Technology Business Research company.  One of the challenges Bryan identified, was there is no single spot for all size SaaS companies to view the different pricing model options currently being used in the industry.Pricing models in the SaaS industry have started to evolve dramatically over the last few years, and have been further impacted by the growing populating of Product-Led Growth and Usage-Based Pricing.  Pricing benchmarks need to cover several core areas of a pricing model including:- Subscription type- Product /Pricing Packaging- Price Levels- Discounting- Pricing Structure- Pricing Pages- Trial vs Freemium usage- Usage Metrics- Usage MeteringThe typical B2B SaaS company only invest 1-2 days per year in analyzing, enhancing and/or testing new pricing models.  Far too often, pricing is still more ad-hoc and not informed by statistically valid research and benchmarks.Subscription pricing - the secret sauce to the B2B SaaS industry is still the primary pricing model for over 80% of B2B SaaS companies. The structures of SaaS subscriptions is evolving, but subscription pricing is still the cornerstone of SaaS pricing models.Usage-Based Pricing is a trendy pricing model in the industry today, due to it's direct impact on Growth Rates and Net Dollar Retention. Based upon the latest XaaS Pricing research, it was identified that just under 50% of a top 125 high-growth PLG company cohort were using a more basic subscription model (seat based).  Usage is introduced as a "limiting function by pricing package tier" but not invoicing on usage specific variables. The pricing goal in this model was to convert accounts exceeding the "limit" into the next level pricing tier.If you are evaluating introducing or modifying your B2B SaaS pricing model, Bryan and XaaS Pricing are a great listen and follow.
6/29/202225 minutes, 22 seconds
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Transforming Data-Driven Decisions into Success - with Allan Willie, Founder and CEO Klipfolio

Does being data-driven result in better decision-making and performance results? That was a question we asked Allan Willie, co-founder and CEO of Klipfolio which is enabling thousands of companies to do just that through the dashboards they enable.What are the primary challenges with data-driven decision-making? It starts with the data quality going into the metrics used for decisions. Once the quality, integrity, and even amount of data can drive statistically significant insights, it's important not to go crazy and become the victim of "data overload".Next, we discussed who uses the source data from tools and processes to help analyze the data and then make decisions. At Klipfolio, that is the role of business operations. Other functional operational functions, such as Marketing Operations, manage the data that flows into/out of the marketing automation system and the logic utilized within the platform. Every functional operations team needs to become data quality stewards, but may not be the function that analyzes what the data is saying. Often, business operations or financial operations may be the penultimate operations function that uses the data to help form data-driven decisions and strategies.What metrics are most important for an early-stage SaaS company to capture? Product Market Fit is the first and ONLY goal early on. How to measure product market fit? One is to measure how often a user comes back to use your product; another is to have a proactive outreach strategy to speak directly with the customers. The second category is to introduce growth metrics such as CARR growth, Revenue Growth, and Gross/Net Dollar Retention. Then in the third category come the efficiency metrics that guide profitable growth, such as CAC Payback Period and Customer Lifetime Value to CAC Ratio.Curiosity is a central theme in fostering a data-driven culture. Almost every point solution has basic analytics and reporting capability, and when coupled with excel, most early-stage companies can become data-driven. This approach will limit visualization and the ability to scale but is a great start to a data-driven, metrics-informed decision-making journey.How to ensure the data and metrics being captured are being used to make decisions? Allan highlighted it is very common to introduce metrics that may not stick. Identify those that provide the most insights and have predictive capabilities, and think about getting rid of the less. To scale, having a strategic area of focus for a specific time period that the entire company rallies around is a great way to create a data-driven culture. As an example, maybe for a quarter or two the whole company focuses on a specific category, like Customer Acquisition and identify the top opportunities for improvement as highlighted by the associated metrics, and implement the enhancements (process and/or organizational) before moving to the next strategic area of data-driven, metrics-informed" opportunity.If you are in a business with less < $50M ARR, the discussion with Allan provides many thought-provoking ideas and insights into creating a data-driven culture that translates into accelerated company success.
6/15/202232 minutes, 8 seconds
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Marketing as a Sales Productivity Amplifier - with Mark Stouse, CEO Proof Analytics

Marketing as an AMPLIFIER to Sales productivity!!!The quote above was the primary focus of my discussion with Mark Stouse - the CEO of Proof Analytics.Mark self-identifies as a communicator turned marketer turned SaaS CEO. Over this journey, Mark has developed a strong perspective on how to prove ROI, especially for marketing investment.What are the metrics that matter to a Chief Marketing Officer? Mark says this is very straightforward: "Marketing's mission is to help Sales sell more product to more customers faster and more profitably than Sales could do by themselves". Simply stated, it is measured by more deals, bigger deals and faster deals - Deal Velocity! Calculating how marketing measures these should be the primary point of any metric that Marketing captures and reports.When pushed on the top three metrics, Mark responded that KPIs (data) by themselves are not enough. Data is the measurement of what happened in a particular time for a specific place - ALL in the past. Analytics, specifically regression analysis, enables a marketer to predict and forecast how future marketing investments will impact Sales productivity as measured by pipeline and revenue.The B2B SaaS industry is still young when measured against other industries such as manufacturing, retail, or consumer packaged goods. As such, the maturity of using sophisticated analytics to predict the future in the industry is still in its infancy - especially compared to larger, more data-intensive B2B online companies.An example of using data on a more granular level was Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and Pipeline Coverage Ratio. By understanding how specific cohorts perform in top of funnel conversion, the marketing ROI can be increased materially through enhanced targeting.Next, we pivoted to Mark's concept of Marketing exponentially impacting Sales productivity. Mark has an interesting take on the concept: Marketing should invest more time helping Sales improve conversion rates in the middle and bottom of the opportunity funnel versus primarily being focused on top of funnel market engagement. Mark used a military analogy where the Air Force provides air cover to the ground troops. Why does Mark believe the above? Marketing has conditioned business leaders to think that Marketing is primarily a brand awareness and engagement function versus a selling process amplifier. Mark highlighted TRUST as a key ingredient to enhancing conversion rates and accelerating deal velocity. What drives a buyer's confidence - trust is a crucial ingredient to building buyer trust. The more confidence a buyer has that a company and their product will impact their buying process, measured by win rate and sales cycle time.As a marketer, a pivotal question is what are we doing to increase the buyer's confidence and trust, resulting in helping Sales close more deals faster!If you are interested in hearing thought-provoking ideas on how Marketing can use data and analytics to enable Marketing to become an exponential multiplier to Sales productivity - this conversation with Mark is fascinating.
6/7/202235 minutes, 24 seconds
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The Importance of SaaS Benchmarks - with Sam Baker, Scale Venture Partners

Sam Baker, Principal at Scale Venture Partners, has been a venture capitalist for six years. Before that, he gained operational experience at Box in both an Inside Sales role and in a Strategy and Planning role.Scale's culture has a very quantitative-oriented DNA, including having its own benchmarking organization known as Scale Studio. Benchmarking delivers reality to every Scale portfolio company and aligns the founder and the investor on a metrics-oriented approach to decision making.The first topic we approached was what metrics are most important to a Series A and Series B investor? Sam's initial response was not to rattle off a list of metrics but to discuss the importance of "context" in today's investment environment. As an example, Sam shared that the "maturity" of the company is a primary driver of how best to use metrics.Scale has identified and uses four (4) Vital Signs of SaaS that include: 1) Growth; 2)Efficiency; 3) Churn, and; 4)Burn. A small description of the four vital signs below:Growth - How quickly is revenue growingEfficiency - Quantity of revenue compared to Sales and Marketing spendChurn - Do customers stick around and buy more, OR do they leaveBurn - What is the rate of cash consumption to grow a SaaS companyWhen asked about a benchmarking framework that Scale uses - he first highlighted it depends on who is consuming the benchmarks (which role) and what is the stage and maturity of the company. Scale's benchmarking framework is very extensible to enable an increased aperture on the metrics being utilized. For example, when a company dramatically increases investment in Sales and Marketing, Customer Acquisition Cost efficiency metrics become more important.Next, Sam recommended avoiding benchmarking and metrics overload, which requires a company to identify the most important and most informative metrics to how the company is currently trending and will be trending in the near term. Moreover, be prepared to add or change metrics that are most relevant to the growth stage.Scale has a couple of unique metrics, including Instantaneous Compound Annual Growth Rate (iCAGR). The benefit of iCAGR is it provides a real-time and is most sensitive to growth or shrinkage today, versus being biased by the average effect of quarterly or annually metrics. As an example, if growth is down in the most recent quarter, but the previous three quarters had higher than normal growth it can identify potential risk or new trend in company performance.Another metric that Scale uses is "Growth Persistence" which investors use to measure the rate of growth over time. For example, if a company grows 100% one year, and then 85% in year two and 72% in year three, it would reflect an 85% median growth persistence.How to avoid "metrics overload"? This is especially important in board meetings when the "metrics creep" can often happen. First, make sure everyone knows the company's "North Star" and how each metric directly impacts the North Star. Second, gain agreement up-front with the investors and board members on those metrics that are most important, that they are presented in a manner that is easy to understand and ensure the metrics tie back to the source systems being used.Sam provides a very insightful and instructive perspective on using metrics and benchmarks to inform a SaaS company's growth journey - especially from an investor's perspective, which is so critical in the 2022 investment environment.
5/23/202233 minutes, 57 seconds
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The 360° Customer Journey with Carson Conant, Founder and CEO Mediafly

Everyone talks about the "Customer Journey" but often operates in stage-by-stage silos of customer acquisition, retention, and expansion.What is the Customer Journey - first, it often depends on if you come from a "Buyer perspective" versus the "Seller perspective." Ultimately, the seller is trying to figure out how to turn the buyer's meandering journey into a more liner, faster buying journey...sounds like an adversarial relationship using this model.One interesting aspect of today's buying journey is how to optimize how Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success collaborate across the customer journey. The early phase can feel disjointed to the customer as they engage with a vendor using multiple "marketing-led" experiences that are not well understood by the Sales Development and/or Sales resource, who often do not know the knowledge and experience the prospect already has from self-directed research.Does having shared goals and metrics across Marketing, Sales and Customer Success impact the customer experience? Having an "Account Energy Score" may assist in aligning the functions across the customer journey. It can also inform the probability of a prospect becoming a customer. The Account Energy score factors in signals at each stage of the journey and weight specific actions such as content engagement or activities based upon the stage of the journey, such as Customer Acquisition vs Customer Retention vs Customer Expansion.Though there is never a "magic bullet" that can guarantee a prospect becoming a customer, being able to dynamically score each point of engagement depending on the latest understanding of how each signal correlates to customer journey progress is a material increase in insights versus today's standard models.In the "tough question category," is it the seller's responsibility to follow the buyer's journey OR to try and help guide and lead the prospect to make the best purchase decision? Carson's perspective is it is better to lead the buyer through the process by understanding the buyer's actual needs and being willing to stop the process IF their solution is not in the best for the buyer.Another key point is there is NO single customer journey or buying process, so it's critical to always be listening to the prospect and align plus help guide the buyer through the process.In today's "land, retain and expand" customer lifecycle process in the SaaS industry, having a 360 degree view that is informed by every signal that impacts the customer journey is a best practice. It is also a best practice that requires tight integration of your Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success team aligned to the customer journey.If you are interested in learning more about today's customer journey, and how to use their engagement as input to your forecast, and to better inform your internal resources on the best next action, this conversation with Carson is highly informative.
5/4/202228 minutes, 39 seconds
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The Revenue Operations and Sales Development Partnership - with Taft Love, Iceberg RevOps

Taft Love's journey to becoming a Revenue Operations leader started in law enforcement, with a pivot to starting his tech career by becoming a Sales Development Representative, on to direct sales, sales leadership and ultimately to Revenue Operations.This journey is exactly the cross-functional experience that builds a strong foundation to being a strategic revenue operations leader.  Interestingly, Taft's experience as a sales lead at early stage B2B SaaS company, PandaDoc by identifying and then having to solve operational challenges that impacted his productivity.When should a company consider a RevOps function?  Taft's perspective is that RevOps starts with ensuring the revenue technology platforms and processes are aligned and optimized to the need of the front line sales personnel.  Simply stated, start the RevOps journey with a RevTech resource and as you grow to $5M - $15M (Series B) start considering a RevOps team that has broader responsibility beyond managing revenue technology platforms.As we discussed the RevOps framework of data, platform, process and analytics Taft doubled down on the "rev tech stack" administration is the initial catalyst to creating a RevOps team.  When pressed on the traditional approach to bringing in a Salesforce administrator and then the marketing automation administrator - often positioned as a Sales Ops and Marketing Ops resource, Taft continued to support his belief that RevOps should not be the first ops resource brought into a company.Next we discussed the pro's and con's of starting the RevOps journey with an internal hire versus leveraging the expertise of a RevOps agency.  Taft's insights are that no one single RevOps resource can be good at every component of a RevOps function.  Examples include trying to have the same single resource be a platform administrator, data guru, business analyst and technical integration expert.Taft's recommendation is to bring in a RevOps leader, who is the RevOps architect and also work with an agency that can bring the right experience and expertise on an "as needed" basis.Next we discussed why Sales Development can benefit the most from a close partnership with Revenue Operations.  Sales Development productivity is directly impacted by having the right "target prospect" data, the ability to conduct high quality outreach at scale and ultimately being able to fuel the engine of company growth - pipeline development!Recent research has shown that only 49% of an SDR's time is spent on outbound prospecting because they spend the majority of their time on administrative and operational activities, such as data management, list development and contact enrichment, that are the primary domains of a Revenue Operations function.If you are considering an investment in your first Revenue Operations function or how to leverage your Revenue Operations team to increase revenue activity productivity, Taft is a great listen.
4/26/202232 minutes, 44 seconds
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Todd Gardner - The rise of Usage-Based Pricing in B2B SaaS

SaaS Capital - I have always loved that name and followed their B2B SaaS Research for many years.Todd Gardner was a founder at SaaS Capital, which helped lead the early days of "Debt Lending" for SaaS companies. Most recently, Todd is now the principal at SaaS Advisors assisting both SaaS companies and SaaS investors during the financing process.During Todd's career, he has reviewed thousands of SaaS income statements and balance sheets which positions Todd very well for the business and financial impact of Usage-Based Pricing (UBP) for B2B SaaS companies.The first topic we discussed was "What is Usage-Based Pricing"? The concept is pretty basic, aligning pricing to the value received by the customer. This concept has been used in other consumption-based industries, such as gas, water, and cellular phone bills.How does UBP impact the traditional use of subscriptions? Approximately 50% of SaaS companies using a Usage-Based pricing model also include an annual subscription as part of the pricing structure....a hybrid model. One interesting aspect when using a UBP + Subscription model is what is included in the subscription versus being purely usage-based charges?One of the challenges of a Usage-Based Pricing model is the increased challenge of revenue forecasting - which was one of the benefits of the traditional SaaS subscription model. Todd highlighted there is a trade-off in pricing between simplicity and value alignment. By having a hybrid Usage-Based Pricing model, there can still be the predictability of the subscription model while still having the opportunity to increase revenue as value increases for the customer.Is there a history of Usage-Based Pricing in a software subscription model? In the spirit of all things being circular, the original use of UBP was in time-sharing, which was a popular software application usage model in the 1980s. One of the challenges in that phase of subscription software was once usage increased to make the monthly cost-prohibitive or after a couple of unexpected large invoices from higher than normal/expected charges. Todd highlighted that with the introduction of the Customer Success organization, coupled with the use of product analytics, a SaaS vendor can stay in front of sustained "larger than expected" invoices and even use increased usage to re-structure the agreement to either "cap" overage usage and/or decrease the per-unit cost in consideration of a larger commitment.Todd recently conducted research that identified 6 product attributes or leverage points that suggest considering a Usage-Based Pricing model:1. Lower in the technology stack products (infrastructure, databases, tools, platforms, etc.)2. Application products that have a high Cost of Goods Sold basis 3. Use of the product is directly linked to business value (payments, eCommerce)4. Self-provisioning products (think Product-Led Growth)5. Growth and intensity of usage (high growth, heavy usage-based products)6. Value is driven by automation - such as integration/API based productsTodd has a unique perspective on the SaaS industry, informed by reviewing and lending to 1,000's of SaaS companies, and his recent research on Usage-Based Pricing across the SaaS industry is the basis for an information-packed conversation.
4/5/202234 minutes, 48 seconds
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Expanding the Sales Engagement Platform Vision - with Kyle Porter, Founder and CEO Salesloft

Kyle Porter, the founder and CEO of Salesloft, started the company over ten years ago. The goal was to have sellers "loved by the customers" they serve.An initial observation was that it was difficult to deliver a personalized customer engagement experience at scale, thus the catalyst for Saleloft and the Sales Engagement category.The future of Sales Engagement? All professionals who are responsible for driving revenue will be able to log into a single system, have a pre-defined queue of activities that is populated and prioritized automatically by the platform, automation to assist in executing those activities and measure the success of those activities...all while using the activity success to learn over time.The ultimate result, eliminate the subjective approach to prioritizing activities while increasing operational efficiency by automating a majority of those activities.Why has Sales Engagement traditionally been a tool for Sales Development, and will its use be expanded to other Go-To-Market roles? Originally it was easier to "codify" the SDR role because is was such a new role. Going forward, using machine learning and AI, Sales Engagement utilization will quickly evolve in the Account Management and Customer Success functions.One of the most significant challenges that Sales Engagement Platforms have addressed is the amount of time an outbound sales resource actually invests in outbound prospecting. Recent research says that Sales Development Representatives are currently only spending 49% of their time on outbound prospecting. Increased utilization + enhanced functionality in Sales Engagement Platforms will reduce the time invested in manual, internally facing tasks.Can a Sales Engagement Platform impact the middle of an opportunity funnel? Kyle's vision highlighted a "post-loss" cadence as one example of how a Sales Engagement Platform is used at the bottom of the funnel to inform future opportunity management. Another example was a post won communication cadence from the CEO to new clients.Customer Success is a critical, high-value function in the B2B SaaS industry - how can a Customer Success Manager use a Sales Engagement Platform? One example was using product analytics, such as an account engagement or usage, and using specific signals to launch an email to assist users in an automated sequence.How to measure the return on investment on Sales Development? Kyle's perspective is that moving the goal beyond scheduling a single meeting as the primary objective, such as scheduling 10 meetings in a large strategic account to gather information that can be used by the strategic account AE to schedule a meeting with an executive based upon the discovery information the SDR gathered across multiple meetings.One of the key benefits of a Sales Engagement Platform goes beyond a single user but to a team-based outreach program across two or more resources, such as the SDR + AE.We closed the conversation with Kyle on the key challenges and obstacles that Salesloft faced in becoming a leader in the Sales Engagement Platform category. The one that Kyle focused on was the need to develop his leadership skills. "Learn faster than the rate of my own experience" was a phrase Kyle used to become a continuous learner and not be limited by negative labels - such as "he's a $1M - $10M ARR CEO". Kyle uses 360-degree reviews as one strategy to learn from his company where he needs to grow. Other tactics Kyle uses to fuel his continuous learning are forums with other CEOs, having a CEO coach, and reading.If you are using a Sales Engagement platform or want to learn from someone who has scaled to $100M ARR+, Kyle Porter is a great follow and listen!
3/23/202236 minutes, 37 seconds
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The State of Sales Enablement - with Dave Lichtman, Founder and CEO Enablematch

The Great Resignation has been a trending topic for six months - how does a B2B SaaS company prepare for  the impact? Sales Enablement is one strategic function that will be a key component to combat attrition and ramp new sales hires to productivity...quicklyDave Lichtman has been a sales trainer, a sales professional at Salesforce and a sales leader at Sales Enablement platform vendor, SalesHood.We first discussed how Sales Enablement evolved during the pandemic.  First, most sales playbooks had to be thrown out the door, and companies had to re-train and enable a new "virtual sales process" and Sales Enablement was front and center to that new reality.Dave has seen compensation packages rise dramatically due to the increased need, and many Sales Enablement professionals are seeing total comp packages in the range of a Senior Director or VP Sales.When to first deploy a Sales Enablement function?  First, ensuring Product Market Fit and having an initial repeatable sales process need to be established.  Once that happens, it is good to invest in Sales Enablement to scale sales....revenue level is secondary to ensuring these two factors are solid.How has the delivery model changed for Sales Enablement?  The common foundation was ensuring you could train new sales hires virtually,  thus requiring a more robust technology, including a sales enablement platform.  Another key trend due to the current levels of sales personnel attrition is ingesting larger groups of new hires simultaneously, which requires a more compressed time to productivity.Sales Enablement today is aggressively using a hybrid of virtual, instructor led + digital self-directed learning. So what is the "profile" most in demand for Sales Enablement resources today?  Dave shared the top "attributes and experiences" including:  1) Direct sale experience is a plus but not a must...what is a must is being a student of sales. 2) Typically, the first hire is a "team of one" and having previous Sales Enablement experience in standing up the first Sales Enablement team is a critical, must have skill set.  Being a Sales Enablement employee is a larger organization is not applicable to standing up a Sales Enablement function. 3) Curiosity is probably the most important personal attribute, while being a "pleaser" who thrives on helping people WHILE also having the ability to gently push back on leadership when a requested direction may be sub optimal.  This can lead to taking on too many responsibilities ultimately leading to failure.Sales Enablement is a team sport, and as such being able to build strong relationships across functions is critical to sustained success.  Has Sales Enablement evolved beyond sales, and expanding to functions such as Sales Development, Customer Success and Account Management?  A minority of companies have started to expand Sales Enablement to include post sales resources, though the C-Suite has started to view Sales Enablement as a strategic function, and broadening the purview of Sales Enablement.Dave sees Sales Enablement primarily living under and reporting directly to the Chief Revenue Officer.  This will enhance alignment of Sales Enablement to the strategic priorities of the CRO - in Dave's team closer to the sun is an important key to Sales Enablement success.How to measure the ROI of Sales Enablement?  Measure both leading and lagging indicators.  Start with the purpose of each program and align to leading indicators such as close rate, competitive win rate, discount rates, ACV, etc,If you are a Sales Enablement professional, thinking about investing in Sales Enablement for the first time or simply looking on best practices to increase Sales Enablement impact on revenue,  the discussion with Dave Lichtman is highly instructive.
3/15/202233 minutes, 24 seconds
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Sales Engagement evolves to Revenue Execution - with Anna Baird, Chief Revenue Officer - Outreach

Anna Baird is the Chief Revenue Officer at Outreach, the leading Sales Engagement Platform.  Anna started her career as a partner at KPMG, and continued her career journey across multiple “C-Level” roles including CFO, COO, President and now CRO.The first portion of our conversation centered on the maturity of the Sales Engagement Platform category.  Anna shared that across all B2B Sales, that the category has only achieved a 2% market penetration, as measured by the number of B2B sales professionals.What started as a point solution for Sales Development, top of funnel prospecting tool, Sales Engagement has now evolved from the B2B Tech industry as an entry point to how do you impact the entire Go-To-Market team across the entire customer journey.Research shows that 51% of B2B SaaS companies have invested in a Sales Engagement platform.  Anna sees the expansion opportunity for Sales Engagement to be both across every Go-To-Market function and across multiple new industries beyond the technology industry.  By automating the workflow associated with every point of customer engagement across the customer journey, data capture into the core Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system of record. Expansion revenue is becoming a larger component of ARR growth in the B2B SaaS industry. As a result, the Customer Success function is becoming a more prominent user of Sales Engagement, to manage expansion and renewals at scale. Anna’s vision is that Outreach becomes the primary dashboard that any GTM professional enters and lives their day, including highlighting the highest priority activities and tasks for the day - using predictive, revenue intelligence within the platform.  IIn fact, the vision is much larger, because the pain that exists goes far beyond tactical activities, it’s how to view every customer engagement point is available in a single, integrated platform.  In fact, Outreach is expanding their category name to the “Sales Execution Platform” - going beyond engagement to execution across the entire customer lifecycle.Anna’s vision evolves Outreach into a “System of Execution” which is more about customer process execution versus a datastore of customer information.Next, we pivoted to how revenue leaders can leverage “metrics and revenue intelligence” to make better decisions. By aggregating all customer conversations into a single environment, it becomes easier to apply revenue intelligence to all of the signals from customer engagement points to prioritize which signals are of highest priority.Anna also shared her perspective on the importance and priority of Revenue Operations. Anna, calls the role “Revenue Excellence and Operations”. This role is responsible for both the strategy and then the execution of revenue processes. Having Revenue Operations being responsible for the operations and administration of processes + the platforms drive revenue performance.  In fact, the head of REO at Outreach is intimately involved in almost every strategic, revenue centric company level discussion.Anna provides a highly strategic and insightful perspective on how technology is critical to enhancing Revenue Execution across every B2B Go-To-Market organization.
3/8/202240 minutes, 14 seconds
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Customer Success and Quarterly Business Reviews - with Guy Nirpaz, Founder and CEO Totango

Customer Success has been growing in importance across the B2B SaaS landscape for over 10 years.Guy Nirpaz recognized this trend early on and founded Totango in 2010 to deliver a SaaS platform to empower Customer Success (CS) professionals to focus the company around the customer.Guy stated our conversation with his belief that Customer Success is a company strategy - not just a department.  If you want a customer to renew and expand their relationship, every interaction with the customer needs to deliver value and deliver upon the promise the relationship began upon.Business outcomes should be the #1 focus of the CS organization.  But how to ensure the executive/economic buyer(s) understand the value you are delivering?  First,  track all of the users in your account by role and engage as required to ensure all stakeholders are using your product and receiving value.How does Net Promoter Score (NPS) help to understand customer satisfaction?  NPS  is only one tactic to measure customer satisfaction.  But with only 10% - 20% of target participants completing the NPS survey, ensure you are using other tactics, such as user activity and other metrics that impact customer satisfaction.A key variable that leads to customer retention or churn, is to ensure you are tracking the satisfaction of executive buyers and also track customer executive movement from and to your customers which can directly lead to customer retention challenges.Next we discussed how Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs) should be used to manage customer satisfaction and increase customer retention.  First, establish a regular cadence. Second,  include executives for the appropriate portions of the QBR.  Thirdly, ensure an agenda is  approved by the customer prior to the QBR to ensure you cover topics critical to the customer. The pre-approved agenda is an example of having clear communications to increase the quality of every in-person interaction.Value delivery was discussed in context of QBRs to confirm the business value being delivered is part of the QBR.  The first requirement is to KNOW why the customer invested in your product.  This requires the vendor to capture the business value the customer had used to justify the investment.  This requires a well defined process that identifies, captures and then uses that business objective in every QBR.Value Engineering is one organizational approach to capture and highlight business outcomes. By having this function ( capability) in place, a company materially increases the ability to engage executive in the sales process, and the QBR process.  If an executive buyer was involved in confirming and owning the business outcomes of an investment, they are more vested in attending a QBR that includes the progress being made against the "outcomes" that justified the investment.QBRs are one approach to highlighting value. Executive Business Reviews (EBR) is another approach to engage economic buyers in a QBR.  One approach is to automate and share the "usage"  data prior to the QBR and focus the majority of the customer briefing on the value and outcomes.A common mistake in QBRs is not using the session to review each page in the QBR report/presentation. Provide the report in advance, and focus the QBR on discussing  business value and focus on how incremental value can be delivered.To increase the value of QBRs,  delivery should be viewed as a high value event that is measured by the value the customer receives as measured by retention and expansion.  One approach is to run a Customer Satisfaction survey to receive customer feedback on the value of the QBR.This conversation is a great listen for anyone involved in Customer Success and using QBRs.
3/1/202228 minutes, 46 seconds
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The Autonomous Revolution - with Bill Davidow

We apologize for the sound quality on this episode of the Metrics that Measure Up.Bill was not able to participate on our traditional digital channel medium and instead we relied upon the traditional "analog phone line". This traditional approach created a little "reverberation and noise".  Bill shares so many great insights developed over his 37 years of being a Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist and his multiple best selling books in this conversation, we decided to go ahead and publish the episode - including the harsh reality of analogy technology!Bill recently published his latest book - The Autonomous Revolution which provides a very unique insight into how technology is fundamentally changing many of the social and economic constructs of the U.S. and global economy.What is different now is that technology today is changing multiple structures our society has not seen changed since the industrial revolution.  One simple example of this is that companies like Amazon and Google generating >$1M of revenue per employee which had remained essentially flat throughout the 20th century.Another topic we touched upon is the contribution of social media's presence to the increasing polarization of society, and the impact of geo-political reality across the globe.The internet and social media has reduced the cost of "one to many" communications by a factor by a massive amount.  Traditionally, the free market economy controlled free speech, but today the cost of communicating to millions of people is basically zero and fundamentally changes how one individual can reach, influence and inspire people across the globe.If you enjoy taking a few minutes outside of your day to day reality, and reflect upon how technology has and will affect our society, our economy and our future reality - this conversation with Bill is a true thought provoking conversation.
2/23/202225 minutes, 3 seconds
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Data Wrangling in the Cloud - with Adam Wilson, CEO Trifacta

One of the great aspects of the Cloud software delivery model is the generation of insightful data generated by users and the purported ease of using the data to better inform  decision-making.At the same time, the amount of data being generated in the Cloud makes the job of normalizing, analyzing, and determining what data is truly informative and predictive versus just adding noise and complexity to the system.Adam Wilson, CEO at Trifacta was purchased by Alteryx after this podcast was recorded.  Adam shares his insights in building awareness and a company that takes on the growing challenges of managing and using data generated in the cloud.
2/15/202238 minutes, 40 seconds
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Usage Based Pricing & Sales Compensation Models - with Rachel Parrinello, The Alexander Group

Usage-Based Pricing is trending across the B2B SaaS and Cloud industry.  This pricing model is not new and is also known as Consumption pricing as the cost of the service or product increases as the "consumption" of the product increases.Saas has traditionally become known for the use of subscription pricing, which often associates an annual subscription cost for each user of the product.  In this scenario, the cost would only increase as additional users were assigned a "seat" and were then able to use the product in an unlimited fashion for that one annual "subscription" price.One of the challenges that come with the use of Usage-Based pricing in the SaaS industry is how to compensate salespeople for both the acquisition of a new customer, but also for the actual usage and relating revenue over time.Rachel Parrinello leads the Sales Compensation practice at The Alexander Group and works with many leading B2B SaaS companies that use a Usage-Based pricing model.  Based upon her unique insights into and experience with multiple different compensation models and plans, we dove right into the evolution of sales compensation plans within Usage-Based pricing environments.Rachel uses an acronym called ILAER model which stands for Identify, Land, Adopt, Expand and Renew model.  In this environment, there are multiple variables to consider in the design of compensation plans such as how to compensate retention, renewals, and expansions - then in the context of a much smaller value to the initial contract value.Four basic types of pricing models in Usage-Based Pricing environments:1. No contact and no minimum contract - Pay as your Go2. Uncommitted contract - There is a contract but no minimum commitment to usage or revenue3. Committed contract - Prepaid pool of funds that will be used against usage over the agreement term, often a year.  The agreement includes the minimum usage, price per unit of usage, and the associated minimum revenue over the agreement4. Hybrid (committed + non-committed) contract:  A minimum usage is agreed to, however the projected usage is typically forecasted to be much larger than the contractual minimum and reduced unit pricing  is predetermined within the agreementWe then moved to the "sales compensation" plan for the above models.  Rachel started with the importance of identifying the "persuasion" event and ensuring the sales compensation plan is aligned and rewards for achieving the persuasion event.  The persuasion event may be the original customer acquisition event and paying for a part of the "projected revenue" be paid at the time of the persuasion event and additional compensation as the actual usage and associated revenue happens.The conversation quickly moved to the different roles involved in the acquisition and growth of the customer.  One traditional model is the hunter/farmer model where the hunter is responsible for acquiring the customer and the farmer is responsible for growing the customer after the initial acquisition.  A new role, called the "rancher" has evolved in the Usage-Based Pricing world, and they have the responsibility for both acquiring the customer and growing the customer.In the "rancher" model, one defining variable to determine if this is right for a company, it starts with the amount and level of information that needs to be transferred after the initial close.  If the knowledge and level of customer information are large, consider using the rancher model, at least for the first 12-24 months after the initial close.If you are a participant or leader responsible for sales compensation models in a Usage-Based environment,  Rachel is a must listen!
2/3/202237 minutes, 35 seconds
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Metrics that Matter in Strategic Acquisitions - with Lowell Ricklefs

B2B SaaS founders envision their entrepreneurial journey including a liquidity event such as an IPO, a financial acquisition, or a strategic acquisition from an industry leader.Lowell Ricklefs has deep operating experience leading tech companies and has experienced acquisitions on both the buyer and the seller side multiple times. During these processes, Lowell often wondered why banks were required to sell a SaaS company.Lowell identified an opportunity for enhanced sell-side assistance for SaaS companies in the $3M - $20M ARR range.The first topic we cover is the personal decision of deciding to sell your company and the signs that suggest maybe this is the time to consider selling. One sign is the journey has been very long and arduous and the founder is tired, does not have any new breakout ideas, and is ready to exit.  Another sign is when a market segment becomes very hot, the competition is fierce and larger companies have started to enter as competitors. One threshold that Lowell suggests is critical to optimizing company value is reaching at least $5M - $10M ARR will materially increase both the interest and value that your SaaS company will receive. A consideration that a founder needs to be fully explored is if they are truly ready to step away from being the day-to-day leader of the business.  Often, especially in strategic acquisitions, the founder who has been the CEO for years will most likely be asked to take a reduced role within a larger organization.  Some founders can find this very comfortable, but often it can become a struggle when the ultimate decisions will not be their own.Strategic acquirers typically will be looking for a company with at least $10M ARR.  At a macro level, Growth and Retention metrics are the most important metrics that a strategic acquirer will evaluate.  Net Revenue Retention, logo churn, revenue concentration, total addressable market, and EBITDA are important to strategic acquirers.  Another metric that strategic acquirers consider is the amount of capital raised or consumed, as strategic acquirers do appreciate and value the company's ability to grow efficiently.Our host, Ray asked Lowell the question for a $10M ARR company which is more important to an acquirer - Growth Rate or Net Dollar Retention?  Lowell said both are important, but one that can grow organically as measured by Net Dollar Retention is his choice for the most important company value impacting $10M  ARR and above.An early-stage company will not be valued based upon the level of profitability by a strategic buyer, but Lowell still recommends having a plan to become EBITDA positive, and growing that profitability is a critical metric.One consideration for strategic acquirers, especially Private Equity (PE) is if your company will become a "PLATFORM" for industry consolidation.   There are several PE firms that have a thesis of consolidating the industry, growing through acquisition, and eliminating duplicate SG&A costs leading to increased profitability.  In this scenario, having great organic and profitable growth is foundational to the company becoming the platform for consolidation and growth."PLATFORM" - what does this mean in strategic acquisition?  For Private Equity - it is the company that becomes the centerpiece of a consolidation strategy. $10M ARR is really the threshold to be considered as the platform for a strategic consolidation strategy.  Many PE companies also use the available market size as a criterion for using a consolidation strategy - but many also will focus primarily on Internal Rate of Return (IRR) as the primary criteria.If you see an acquisition for your SaaS company as a potential outcome, the conversation with Lowell is a great listen!
1/27/202244 minutes, 39 seconds
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Revenue Operations enables Revenue Intelligence - with Andy Byrne, CEO and Co-Founder Clari

Andy Byrne is the founder and CEO of Clari, an enterprise artificial intelligence B2B SaaS platform that enables companies to build more pipeline, accelerate revenue growth and increase revenue predictability.Andy has a long-term relationship with machine learning from his previous company  Clearwell Systems (acquired by Symantec), and that experience was the foundation of his vision for Clari.  Andy identified that machine learning had not previously been used to help sales teams close deals faster, assist managers to accelerate revenue velocity, and enable executives to gain enhanced visibility into revenue forecasts.The first topic we covered was the definition of Revenue Operations? Andy defined it as the people, the process, and the technology that drives a company's revenue engine and orchestrates sales, marketing, and post-sales activity.Do we need another piece of technology to automate the revenue process?  Andy highlighted that his customers are demanding a better way to align, integrate and orchestrate every step and point of engagement with the customer journey.  Andy highlighted that with the rise of the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), there is a real movement to re-engineer go-to-market processes and even organizational structures.When asked about the CRO having both marketing and sales, Andy highlighted that the CMO is traditionally responsible for pipeline, brand, and product marketing.  If you think about those three areas, the #1 priority is pipeline which creates an intimate connection between a CRO and CMO.  Moreover, since the CMO also owns brand,  it makes more sense for the CRO and CMO to be co-equal peers, and not worry about who reports to who.Clari actually integrated demand generation and Sales Development into one integrated organization.  Andy highlighted that took that integration one step further, but also creating a Value Engineering group into the same organization with the specific responsibility to measure and share the return on investment for their customers.Value engineering is a combination of art and science, to prove the mathematical results of using your technology or platform using empirical evidence versus ad-hoc, anectodal stories.  This approach to highlight the value received has led to the expansion of the Clari platform beyond sales, to both Marketing and Customer Success.  In fact,  the post-sales motion focused on up-sells and cross-sells directly increases Net Dollar Retention Rate is has been key to the increased acceleration of the Clari growth story.Revenue Intelligence is a "buzz phrase" that is being tossed around the B2B SaaS industry.  Revenue Intelligence is the ability to gain insights into communications and transactions with the target buyers and customers. A key term Andy highlighted was "signals" are coming from multiple sources - typically transactional systems like conversational intelligence, sales engagement, and even CRM platforms.  By aggregating all of these signals into one "system", the ability to surface key insight nuggets materially increases the visibility for executives to make better decisions and increase revenue forecast accuracy.If you are involved in a B2B company that is growing quickly, and needs to drive revenue across customer acquisition, retention, and expansion motions, listening to Andy's insights and experiences gained from hundreds of Clari customers, this is a great conversation that provides several "information nuggets" that can quickly be leveraged to accelerate predictable revenue growth.
1/18/202234 minutes, 43 seconds
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Benchmarking in B2B SaaS - Beyond the Numbers with Scott Sutton, VP RevOps ZoomInfo

Benchmarks go far beyond the “numbers” and “metrics”Benchmarking is a discipline that enables organizations to identify processes and best practices that companies inside and outside of your industry to become best in class in a specific discipline.Scott Sutton is the VP, Revenue Operations at ZoomInfo and shares his experiences in building the Revenue Operations function.Scott’s initial career experience was in the automotive industry and provided a solid foundation for his transition into B2B SaaS.  Operations have traditionally been a second order of priority in the B2B SaaS industry.  When Scott joined ZoomInfo, he highlighted that they were already a very “data-driven” company, but he was able to bring his deep and broad operational process skills developed at Daimler.Scott quickly learned that process analysis methods, like queue theory, were highly transferable to the customer acquisition processes at ZoomInfo.   The revenue process is at the core of everything that Revenue Operations has responsibility.  Using a project + process thinking framework, every challenge can be isolated, analyzed, and resolved across the company. Individual contributors, such as sales development or Customer Success Managers are key sources of process feedback and input.  By “walking the floor”, the RevOps team remains aligned to understand their experience in executing the processes they design and refine. Two years ago, ZoomInfo deployed product managers for each function within sales.  They are the primary resource responsible for shadowing resources in that function and identifying process improvement opportunities for the function and processes.The Performance Management Framework builds upon the concepts of the AOR framework.  Activity metrics are readily available to the front line every day.  ZoomInfo conducts weekly forecasting, customer experience, pipeline growth including daily pacing which directly feeds into the monthly operating review. How important are activity metrics to the framework?  Activity matters, even though individuals can be an exception to the activity supply chain, having activity goals are critical to forecasting the level of inputs required to deliver outcomes as measured by pipeline and revenue. “Activity Score” is a unique measurement that ZoomInfo uses. The algorithm weights every type of communication measured by engagement level, and then is cross-referenced by the target market. The input signals are continuously evolving, so the Activity Score is dynamic and will reset based upon a longer than normal lack of signals.  The activity score normalizes for each target market segment and automatically scales up or down based upon market segment.Benchmarking goes far beyond the numbers, but best-in-class companies can learn from other industries that have best practices in a process that you have targeted for improvement.  One example was how best-in-class companies improve internal system administration. With 20+ sales tech developers, he wanted to benchmark how world-class companies managed software development and administration, and how they could improve based upon classic software development benchmarks.ZoomInfo measures RevOps impacts company metrics, by focusing on metrics such as ACV per rep or how much investment is allocated to new versus expansion revenue. Another example is CLTV to CAC Ratio, as it helps inform how to balance the “land and expand” model by evaluating initial contract value versus Customer Lifetime Value after multiple years of up-sells and cross-sells.If you are responsible for Revenue Operations or have a responsibility on how to use data generated from multiple market-facing technologies, Scott’s experience and insights make for a highly informative discussion.
1/7/202240 minutes, 12 seconds
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The Rise of B2B SaaS Communities with Sam Jacobs, Founder and CEO of Pavilion

Sam Jacobs first created the foundation for Pavilion - formerly the Revenue Collective in 2016. The vision was to address these two trends: 1) the average tenure of executives at B2B start-ups was shrinking - about 17 months for revenue leaders; 2) The job of being a B2B executive continues to grow in complexity and difficulty. Sam was experiencing this phenomenon in his career and wanted to create a platform and community to share best practices and assist members in realizing the potential that lies within themselves!Before Covid - Pavilion primarily used the format of in-person events. During Covid, the pressures on sales professionals did not decrease, while the ability to speak with fellow professionals became more difficult. Pavilion saw an increase from 800 members to over 3,700 members in 2020. In 2021, the number of members has increased to over 6,500 members by November 2021.The vision for Pavilion has evolved since 2016. When first launched, the Revenue Collective was more of an "us versus them" orientation and the community was only for B2B Sales professionals. That vision has evolved to help professionals reach their full potential across multiple functions. Today, the community supports Sales, Revenue Operations, Customer Success, Finance, and most recently, a CEO community was launched. The Pavilion vision does not end in the B2B tech industry but will continue to evolve across multiple industries. Pavilion is a "paid" membership community. Thus the customer is the member, and that creates a different set of expectations of the community and thus, the focus of Pavilion is to serve the member - not other stakeholders. As an example, Pavilion personally calls every new member to welcome them to highlight their focus on the members. Though there are many other B2B communities, Pavilion's reason to exist is not concepts such as "elevate the profession of sales" - the community is to achieve the goal to enable members to unlock their potential and have the career success they desire.A core value of Pavilion is "Get by Giving." This goal is to create a community ethos that is more about helping other people, which pays itself back many times over. Another value of Pavilion is to "Listen Closely and Act Quickly". Listening closely means understanding what the member really needs and not glossing over their words - but digging into the underlying meaning and goal of the words spoken. Another core Pavilion value is "We choose to come from Kindness" - which is a message to the world. This ethos is highly personal to Sam and begins with acting with compassion, human empathy, kindness, and even affection for those in your community - while still building a great business.What metrics does a community capture to measure its health? Retention rates are a critical measurement, and best-in-class consumer companies are experiencing 2% member churn per month. But that is not the whole story, the corporate client (Pavilion for teams) is a key to Pavilion's growth, and they have a Net Promoter Score of 56 - which translates to 71% of corporate customers love what they are receiving. Pavilion University is a key component to drive member value and thus retention. This offering is receiving positive member feedback with an NPS of 91!A top goal of Pavilion for CEOs is to reduce the loneliness of being a CEO. The three areas of focus include:Tactical skill knowledge - like finance, sales, HR, technology, etc.Personal leadership development.FUN - because everyone needs more fun in their lives - especially in such high pressure and stressful jobs.Sam's heartfelt goal to build a human first community provides a thought-provoking and highly informative discussion.
12/20/202132 minutes, 41 seconds
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Sales Development meets Demand Generation and Enablement- with Kyle Coleman, VP Revenue Growth and Enablement at Clari

Are you involved, responsible for, or dependant on Sales Development and pipeline growth for a B2B SaaS or Cloud company?If you answer yes to any of the above, this is an excellent conversation to gain new insights and hear innovative approaches to maximize pipeline development.Kyle Coleman is the Vice President, Revenue Growth and Enablement at Clari. This role includes sales development, sales enablement, and demand generation at Clari. This integrated approach to pipeline development is unique in the B2B SaaS industry.Kyle highlighted that having enablement as part of the same function ensures the messaging and campaigns that demand generation invests in developing make it to the target audience across every channel.Integrating sales development and demand generation as part of the same organization with common goals and measurements is unique. When asked, Kyle believes this is more due to transition and logic, and one of those legacy thoughts is that "quantity" of leads versus "quality" of outcomes such as pipeline dollar growth and new ARR.Though Kyle mentioned that it is still important to measure more traditional metrics like website visitor conversion rates, leads, paid media performance, etc. - the ultimate measurements for Sales Development and Demand Generation are PIPELINE and REVENUE.Where does the combined function of Sales Development and Demand Generation report? Kyle reports directly to the Chief Revenue Officer, while also having a dotted line reporting relationship to the Chief Marketing Officer. Kyle highlighted that his function is the core functional "connective tissue" to align marketing and sales.The Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) does not have responsibility for all marketing. However, in Clari, since demand generation is part of their responsibility, it frees marketing up to increase their focus on brand, content marketing, product marketing, and corporate communications. Account Management and Customer Success reports into the CRO, which provides a well-integrated approach to the entire customer lifecycle, including acquisition, retention, and expansion.Kyle is also blazing the trail by having dedicated Sales Development Reps focused on existing customer expansion in partnership with Account Managers. This is a new approach within Clari, and the process continues to evolve. Today, the Account Management team focuses more on existing customer renewals. The existing customer Sales Development Rep is responsible for sourcing, educating, and qualifying up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. The existing customer sales development resource is called an Account Development Manager. The Account Development Manager is compensated against qualified opportunity pipeline and has a management by objectives focused on expanding business within key target, strategic accounts.Kyle continued to refer to quality as a major topic, so we asked "how do you define quality" for sales development at Clari? Clari does NOT incent on booking meetings, it is more focused on outcomes, specifically qualified pipeline. SDRs create a Stage "0" opportunity, and then the Account Executive determines if the opportunity is qualified, and that is the first incentive component for SDRs.  Clari does not use "BANT" but uses more nuanced criteria, including seniority, readiness, and next steps defined versus budget and timing. This approach is primarily due to the "Revenue Operations" Technology space still evolving and often not a budgeted line technology.If you are evaluating new and better ways to accelerate pipeline growth, Kyle is a great follow and listen!
12/14/202134 minutes, 41 seconds
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Crossing the Chasm with Geoffrey Moore, Author

Have you read Crossing the Chasm - the Go-to-Market bible for high tech leaders for over 30 years?Crossing the Chasm, written by Geoffrey Moore, was first published in 1991 introduced the Technology Lifecycle Adoption Framework.The basic concept of Crossing the Chasm is that there are five stages in the Technology Lifecycle Adoption curve, and each stage has a specific "buyer profile" at each stage of adoption:Stages of the Product Lifecycle Adoption Curve:Innovators - Get excited about the technology itselfEarly Adopters - Will bet early on the technology to gain competitive advantageTHE CHASM - The critical cross-over point from a niche market to a large addressable marketEarly Majority - Not genuine believers in technology - much more focused on a high priority problem Late Majority - Must be convinced the herd has already adopted and the ease of implementation and adoption outweighs the riskLaggards - The last phase of tech adoption - the goal is to neutralize, not convince them to changeBuyer type for each stage of the Technology Lifecycle Adoption Curve:Technology Enthusiasts - The first people to adopt any new technologyVisionaries - Have the insights to match up emerging tech to strategic opportunityPragmatists - Looking for incremental improvement versus innovation with higher riskConservatives - Believe more in tradition/status quo versus discontinuous innovationSkeptics - Believe new technology is synonymous with unintended consequencesBowling Alley - the strategy to increase the probability of success when crossing the Chasm to penetrate the early majority Knock over the first "use case" and then move to adjacenciesSame use case in a different industryDifferent use cases in the same industryThe first focal point of the bowling alley requiresWhole productWord of mouth community which requires 4-5 customers in the same industry as advocatesInside the Tornado - Result of increasing awareness of a technology segment + budget exists for this category. A great example - Conversational IntelligenceThe breadth of the vendors' ecosystem is critical to becoming the leader inside the Tornado.MainStreet - the stage where the majority of potential buyers knows they need to invest in this category The stage of Cloud and SaaS adoption todayConservatives have a lot of power in this stage - and ensuring customer success and business value received is critical to continued growth. How to manage a business at each stage of a company or products adoption curve?Zone Management - governs the management model at each stage of product adoption:Performance Zone - Main Street market with predictable growth measured by revenue growth, margins, and market shareProductivity Zone - process focused on improving the efficiency of every function to optimize profitability.Incubation Zone  - Represents the start-up mindset and is about establishing Product Market Fit and "Power" in the marketplace by winning real customers and beating the competition.Transformation Zone - Basically conducting open-heart surgery on your existing business because the world has changed and your product is viewed as yesterday's news.Geoffrey Moore and his book Crossing the Chasm are legends in the technology industry marketing landscape. The principles from Crossing the Chasm are as effective in the Cloud in 2021 and beyond as they were when the book and framework were first published!
11/26/202145 minutes, 34 seconds
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Conversational Intelligence delivers Revenue Reality - with Amit Bendov, CEO and Co-Founder, GONG

Conversational Intelligence (CI) is a technology that materially enhances the effectiveness of every B2B Sales professional.CI has quickly become a "must-have" component in the B2B sales tech stack and has become a feature in most Sales Engagement Platforms...WHAT is the future of Conversational Intelligence?Our host, Ray Rike, recently spoke with Amit Bendov, Founder and CEO of, to discuss the vision and future of Gong and the Revenue Reality.Amit's premise was "is there a better way to get market feedback" from every communication channel into the CRM without requiring manual data input.What was the initial catalyst for Gong and CI? Amit's previous company hit a wall and had revenue growth challenges for two consecutive quarters. After scouring every record he could in the CRM platform and speaking with the leaders across sales and marketing, he quickly realized there was no single version of the truth!Recently, Gong introduced the vision of "Revenue Reality" which is the mission to help companies understand the reality of their market and their market interactions. Unlocking the power of this insight is behind the next phase of Gong's evolution.Conversational Intelligence goes far beyond "recording conversations". The higher order of value is to gain additional insights into what the conversations are foreshadowing and then surfacing those insights without human intervention.Seventy percent of Gong customers have expanded the use beyond sales and into the post-sales organizations, including Customer Success and Product Management. These insights allow the product team to be "served up" the most relevant comments and insights from customer interactions with any other function. Leveraging conversational intelligence dramatically increases the product team's ability to benefit from direct feedback from the customer, without listening to a 30-60 minute conversation, and to identify common themes and trends across multiple customers and even buyers in the prospecting phase of the buyer's journey.One of the most intriguing parts of the Gong ecosystem is Gong Labs which surfaces insights from millions of interactions across thousands of companies. One example of a finding was that multi-threading the sales process across multiple individuals, including having a C-Level executive from your company in the process, DOUBLES the win rate. Additional information that Gong serves up that comes from their proprietary data is the number of questions that a salesperson asks during an introductory or discovery that predicts the highest probability to become a customer. Another interesting insight is that the more time spent on speaking while presenting a "PowerPoint" has an inverse correlation to win rates.One final insight is that during a discovery call, the close rate dramatically increases when NO slides were used, and the prospect engagement level rises. When using slides/presentations, the salesperson spends 25% more time speaking and asks 21% fewer questions!"Accept the Losses" is a comment Amit made in a recent LinkedIn post. The story behind this comment is that you can invest far too much time in understanding the primary reason you lose a deal and even identify false positives in the analysis. The primary goal behind this comment is to "simplify" the value proposition and reduce the number of variables that can lead to a loss. For example, Gong focuses on why their solution is BETTER, but it is not the low-cost solution - thus, knowing they will lose a few deals due to price is an acceptable revenue reality.Amit Bendov is a true leader in the B2B SaaS industry, and our conversation surfaces many great insights and ideas to accelerate revenue growth and gain revenue reality!
11/24/202134 minutes, 3 seconds
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Training the Modern B2B Sales Professional with Paul Fifield, Founder and CEO of Sales Impact Academy

B2B Cloud revenue is projected to grow from $300B+ in 2020 to over $800B by 2025. Some estimates highlight the industry will require 300,000 additional B2B Sales professionals to achieve this level of growth.If the above is even directionally correct, being able to train sales professionals is key to continued industry growth.Paul Fifield is the founder and CEO of the Sales Impact Academy. His vision to create the Sales Impact Academy is built upon his frustration in growing and leading revenue teams. Paul says that most B2B SaaS leaders are forced to "make it up" as they go because there is no great source of advice, education, and training for B2B Sales professionals.The first class Paul developed was a  basic "how to build a predictable and scalable revenue function". This was the catalyst for Paul to identify the lack of repeatable models would negatively affect the industry's continued growth.Sales Impact Academy is a "universal best practice" approach to sales training.  By identifying, packaging and training upon proven best practices, the industry will leverage the collective experience and knowledge of those who have gone before.Paul and the Sales Impact Academy approaches sales training with a fundamental belief that the basic process of selling, even in the Cloud, has not materially changed.Sales Management, Sales Leadership, Sales, Prospecting, Marketing, and Customer Success are the six primary curriculum categories across 15 core personas. Revenue Operations will be the next function to be added to the course curriculum.The courses are built primarily for people already "in the job" versus trying to prepare themselves to enter a new job/professional. The goal is to have an immediate impact on job performance Thus, the curriculum is primarily focused on helping people already in the job improve immediately. This requires an educational approach that is "easy for the individual" to take the class, which includes smaller, micro-learning segments that never exceed over 2 hours per week.Every class that Sales Impact Academy delivers is live with a subject matter expert versus self-directed videos. Being able to create a learning program at the scale requires reaching millions of people. This will require a significant improvement in existing digital learning approaches and supporting materials to empower leaders to embed the learning in their local organizations.When asked about "certification," Paul said this is a critical component of their vision to allow every company to be comfortable with the quality and impact of the Sales Impact Academy courses.When asked about ROI, Paul highlighted that the primary ingredient to ensuring a positive return on training is an integrated "feedback loop" embedded in every student's experience. One exciting aspect of the Sales Impact Academy is that there is no ONE WAY to achieve success. By having multiple subject matter experts deliver their approach from experiences leading to success, no ONE single approach will be trained. Each student will have an opportunity to choose the curriculum and approach that works best for them.Paul highlighted that he is now very focused on the "pedagogy" of their curriculum or their teaching approach. Learning design is key to delivering the optimal training program framework, coupled with subject matter experts to deliver the courses.If you are responsible for scaling your B2B SaaS Go-To-Market, revenue-producing teams and increasing productivity is key to achieving your goals next year and beyond, learning more from Paul and the Sales Impact Academy is a great place to learn a new, innovative approach that your employees will appreciate and your investors will love once they see the results! 
11/3/202128 minutes, 42 seconds
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MOVE: A Go-To-Market Strategy with Sangram Vajre, Founder Terminus and Flip My Funnel Podcast

Sangram Vajre, Founder and Chief Evangelist at Terminus and host of the Flip my Funnel Forecast, joined our host Ray Rike to discuss his MOVE Go-To-Market framework.Sangram ran marketing at Pardot, an early marketing automation vendor for salespeople, which Salesforce ultimately acquired and co-founded Terminus seven years ago. Terminus is a true pioneer in providing a platform for Account-Based Marketing programs, which in today's B2B SaaS world represents about 44% of total marketing investment in customer acquisition programs.The first thing Sangram shared was that marketing and sales need to SHARE the same "REVENUE" number. Marketing's ultimate value must be measured by "Sales". If the two executives do not share the same number, Go-To-Market challenges are soon to follow.What exactly is a "Chief Evangelist"? Guy Kawasaki, Apple's early Chief Evangelist, said, "evangelism in a tech company is the purest form of sales"! A chief evangelist is the representative of the market on behalf of the practitioners. Sangram has been doing this for over seven years in the world of Account-Based Marketing.Next, we move to Sangram's Go-To-Market framework, which also happens to be the name of his latest book - "MOVE". MOVE focuses on four primary questions every company must ask as they "move" through each growth phase. Those four questions are:1 - Who should we market to?2 - What do we need to do to operate more effectively3 - When can we scale our business4 - Where can we grow the most These four questions relate directly to the MOVE acronym:M - MarketO - OperationsV - VelocityE - ExpansionMcKinsey says the primary reason companies fail as they begin to scale above $10M is the lack of evolving the Go-To-Market strategy and tactics.The four primary "Go-To-Market" strategy questions do not change at each growth stage, but the answers and resultant approach must change to maneuver through each stage of the growth journey successfully.Another framework MOVE includes the 3P framework:P - Problem Market FitP - Product Market FitP - Platform Market FitEach stage of the 3Ps does not directly correlate with company size (revenue). Sangram shared that some companies can hit $10M and even $20M before they move from Problem-Market Fit to Product-Market Fit. Similar to the concepts in "Crossing the Chasm" by Geoffrey Moore, the issue is when a company attempts to move the one phase of the #ps to the next phase - a classic chasm crossing challenge.Sangram is a wealth of information. More importantly, he has invested most of his career in learning, understanding, and now sharing his experiences and insights in an easy-to-understand yet robust Go-To-Market framework called MOVE.This conversation is a great listen for every B2B tech founder, CEO, and Go-To-Market executive regardless of which stage of growth your company is in to help cross the chasm to the next phase of the growth journey.
10/26/202136 minutes, 55 seconds
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Pipeline Signals = Prospecting Intelligence - with Jamie Shanks, Founder and CEO Sales for Life

Jamie Shanks helped to shape Social Selling through his company, Sales for Life.  After certifying 250,000+  sales professionals on the strategies and techniques that led to Digital Selling competencies across hundreds of companies, Jamie has identified some common trends in what led to the most successful pipeline development.In 2020, B2B Sales quickly transformed into Digital Selling. Social Selling has evolved to "selling" and become a part of the digital selling motion. Social Selling efficacy can be measured by pipeline growth, close rates, and sales cycle time for sales, self-directed pipeline. The skills and competencies to be an effective B2B Sales professional have become muddled over the last 10 years, as a new generation has invested more time into learning how to use the tools to become "digital sellers" and have not received the traditional sales training to prospect, discover and qualify high probability prospects who will become paying customers.Even with all of the data and signals being provided to modern B2B Sellers, often they do not understand when and how to "use the information" to increase their prospecting efficiency.  An example is the level of investment in "intent data", without providing sellers the ability to interpret and understand the context of what the information is telling the seller.  What pipeline signals should be added into the "account intelligence" to better understand "how" and "why" the target company will buy?  Human capital (people) migration is a  leading indicator as to where a company will allocate investment dollars. Being able to have insights into the members of a buying team, their relationships with competitors, and especially the members' previous relationships with people in your company are critical factors in increasing "prospect intelligence".Seller utilization of pipeline signals information, such as "intent data" is the key to the success of the business impact of digital signals.   Sellers who figure out how to use "pipeline signal information" is limited to a small percentage of the seller population.  The organizations that do the best job of educating, training, and facilitating the effective adoption of digital pipeline signals will be the winners in 2022 and beyond.Jamie Shanks is not only a pioneer in using digital techniques to increase B2B sales efficacy, he is a true visionary who identifies trends and opportunities to increase the return on investment of B2B Sales professionals before the crowd!
10/25/202125 minutes, 53 seconds
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Modern B2B Marketing Strategies, Measurements and Sales Alignment - with Matt Heinz, The Sales Pipeline Podcast

Matt Heinz is the founder and CEO of Heinz Marketing and the host of the Sales Pipeline Podcast.Matt's primary goal is to help modern marketers to implement predictable and scalable, revenue-centric marketing programs.Matt has seen the alignment between marketing and sales for top-of-the-funnel pipeline development significantly improve over the last few years.  In addition, he is seeing marketing leaders are more data-driven, especially regarding buyer intent has improved materially.  Lastly, he sees marketing being much more focused on the "account" versus the "lead" which reflects the increased use of buying committees.When we discussed the increased complexity of aligning marketing, sales, and customer success, Matt shared that alignment to the buyer journey, and across these three functions is not yet optimal.  Culture is a key part of the issue and goes far beyond sharing common objectives. "Hitting the number" needs to be a shared passion that makes each team member in marketing and sales share a common language and feel they each own the revenue goals.What percentage of Chief Marketing Officers believe they own the new ARR and pipeline dollar goals - less than 20% from Matt's experience. Though he sees more marketing leaders discuss the need to focus on revenue and pipeline, the actions and departmental measurements do not reflect this is yet their "North Star".Leading marketers are removing the use of "gated forms" to drive leads and have moved to the open web to identify potential customers in the market (3-4% of companies are in market at any given time) and engage at the point of interest.  Unfortunately, vanity metrics such as white paper downloads, web visitors, and even leads still dominate the dashboards and reports a CMO highlights at executive team meetings and marketing department meetings.Forms are often used to ensure companies can "track" activity. However, not gating content can accelerate and increase velocity in the middle of the funnel by removing friction at the top of the funnel.  Educating, mobilizing, and creating a sense of urgency are core tenets of modern B2B marketing.Matt highlighted, just because you cannot measure it, does not mean it is not important.  Modern marketing channels and techniques such as social media posts, podcasts, and YouTube video presence cannot always be attributed to a lead or deal closed, but are still critical channels for the modern B2B marketer.Matt is a journalist by education and fell into marketing.  Matt started his marketing agency by writing blogs, newsletters, and articles.  His goal to "tell stories" was a core component of his journalism training.  Podcasts were another channel to tell stories, and showcase authors, influencers, analysts, and marketing executives.  Matt has found that the "Sales Pipeline Podcast" provides both an opportunity to educate, while developing relationships with the podcast guests who often became customers.When asked where marketers should focus their understanding of the impact they are delivering, Matt said the CRM is an ideal place to measure impact versus in the Marketing Automation system.  What this really says is focus more on the "outcome metrics" in the sales system versus the input metrics in the marketing automation system.Matt also said moving towards focusing on the marketing cost per "output unit" like pipeline dollars created or new ARR closed is a good step towards more effective and efficient marketing programs.  Any modern B2B marketer or revenue leader will greatly benefit from listening to this conversation with Matt Heinz!
10/25/202131 minutes, 37 seconds
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Making B2B Sales Compensation and Culture Transparent - with Ryan Walsh, Founder and CEO RepVue

Compensation is one of the more personal aspects of evaluating any new job.  Trying to understand a company's culture and specifically, the organization within the company you are evaluating is almost impossible.Ryan Walsh, the founder, and CEO of RepVue may have figured out exactly how to provide transparency in both compensation and culture in the B2B SaaS and Cloud industry.Ryan possesses a very rare trait, a B2B SaaS sales leader who progressed his career from sales rep to Chief Revenue Officer over 16 years in the same company!  Next up, enable every B2B Sales rep the ability to gain the insights of an "insider" into the reality of the variable compensation and culture of a potential future employer.Amongst many data points Ryan shared, 67% of sales professionals (N = 3,000+) said if the role within the company was working for them, they would not want to change companies, still the reality is most companies do not meet the expectations of the modern B2B Sales professional.RepVue has over 20,000 participants resulting in 26,500+ ratings on B2B Sales organizations.  When asked what the most important attributes to a sales professional were, the number one answer was 1)  Product-Market Fit.  Compensation was a highly ranked variable behind Product-Market Fit, and very close to "culture". How do you define culture?  In most sales organizations culture is closely correlated to "winning" as measured by achieving quota.  Having uncapped earnings is another critical factor,  and base salary is much less important IF and WHEN existing employees are meeting and exceeding quota.  Knowing if these elements exist is a large part of the RepVue vision.Culture for salespeople is the ability to succeed, be recognized, and make money.  RepVue calculates a company score that is based upon two separate and distinct sets of data.  The first set is comprised of seven categories using a 1-5 score to determine sentiment.  Those seven categories are:-  Base Salary- Incentive structure- Culture and Leadership- Product Market Fit- Professional development and training- Inbound lead flow- Diversity and InclusionRepVue then overlays the weight that salespeople rank as most important in each category.  Simply stated, if a company is doing better in a category that salespeople rate highly, the best your score.  The inverse is also true, meaning that if you score low on a category that is less important, it will not necessarily help your overall score. Scoring low on a highly weighted attribute will hurt your company score. The second section that RepVue uses is based upon the compensation elements of each company's sales organization.  Examples include base salary, on-target earnings, average % quota achievement, deal size and most someone can earn in a specific role.In today's B2B SaaS industry, hiring has become a significant challenge and bottleneck to growth.  As this industry trend evolves, sales professionals have started to encourage companies to understand how their sales organizations stack up against competitors.  One of the interesting data points that RepVue provides is the average contract value, correlated to quota, compensation, and company score. The basis "message" is the ability to message your unique value and competitive advantage in the language that resonates with sales professionals.If you are a B2B Cloud sales professional, sales leader, human capital leader, or talent acquisition professional, Ryan Walsh and RepVue is a name, site, and company you will want to know.
10/19/202134 minutes, 51 seconds
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Scaling to $100M ARR - B2B Cloud Benchmarks with Mary D'Onofrio, Partner Bessemer Ventures

Imagine having access to the metrics and benchmarks over an entire decade for 200+ B2B Cloud and SaaS private companies as they scaled from $0 to $100M ARR.That is precisely the data Mary D'Onofrio, Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP) has access to as the Growth Stage investing partner since 2018.  Mary published her findings in the Scaling to $100M ARR report and joined us to share the insights from her research.Mary also maintains the BVP Emerging  Cloud 100 Index,  is the author of the "10 Laws of Cloud".   Mary was often approached by BVP portfolio companies and by other partners within BVP, asking for stage-appropriate benchmarks for metrics such as growth rate, retention rates, and gross margins, to name just a few. So,  Mary thought, why not analyze the data over the last decade across the entire BVP B2B Cloud portfolio.The first finding was that Committed Annual Recurring Revenue (CARR) growth is the main metric to determine the enterprise value of a private B2B Cloud/SaaS company at every stage of growth.  ARR growth captures variables that GAAP revenue alone does not capture.CARR growth is a multivariate metric, as it includes not only ARR growth from new customers but also ARR growth from existing customers. Simply stated,  CARR includes New Customer Acquisition ARR + Existing Customer Retention ARR + Existing Customer Expansion ARR.Net Dollar Retention, the amount of ARR from customers that is available to renew versus the same cohort of customers 12 months prior to the current accounting period. This metric was included as part of the "CARR Growth" benchmark.When looking at the decade long data,  Mary shared the following average enterprise value to revenue multiples (EV:REV)at each stage of growth under the "Know Your Worth" lesson #3< $10M ARR = 31X EV:REV multiple$10M - $50M ARR = 17X EV:REV multiple> $50M ARR = 13-14X EV:REV multipleThe B2B Cloud market and the associated enterprise valuations continue to increase, with the latest data in 2021 showing the following multiples: 2021* = 34x enterprise value to revenue multiple (up from 9x in 2016)*2021 Cloud 100 Benchmarks Report (Top 100 Private Cloud Companies)Across the BVP portfolio, the EV:REV multiple is closer to 20xGrowth Endurance is a metric that BVP has recently introduced. Growth Endurance is defined as the sustained growth year over year and is fairly consistent across all B2B Cloud companies.  Growth rate decay is typically 30% annually for private Cloud companies and 20% for public companies.  Public company's growth endurance is stronger primarily due to the leverage they gain, including pricing power, new products to drive revenue, and enhanced access to talent. Growth Endurace is a heuristic and not a deterministic metric. The second lesson Mary shared in the Scaling to $100M ARR report was "Win by wide Margins".  The effective point is to optimize gross margin to the average of 65% - 70% regardless of ARR. The middle 50% distribution increases in range to  60% - 80%.Next we pivoted to where Customer Success costs should be allocated - COGS or Operating Expenses.  The simple answer is that whatever the percentage of CS time is invested in revenue-centric activities should go to OPEX and the percentage of CS time on support goes to COGS.Another area of "Win by Wide Margins" includes CAC Payback Period.  CAC Payback Period is the measure of time it takes to repay the costs of acquiring a new customer after factoring in Gross is a great resource to learn more about Scaling to $100M ARR and download templates to see how your Cloud company measures up to the benchmarks.'
10/11/202127 minutes, 28 seconds
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The Power of Benchmarks - with Lauren Kelley, Founder and CEO OPEX Engine (Episode 2)

10/4/202128 minutes, 21 seconds
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The Power of Benchmarks - with Lauren Kelley, Founder and CEO OPEX Engine (Episode 1)

Benchmarks - a concept for only the most mature and advanced company or a foundational metrics component for any company seeking to make data-driven, metrics-informed decisions?Lauren Kelley is the founder and CEO of OPEX Engine,  a leader in capturing and publishing B2B Technology company benchmarks.  Lauren's background includes being the revenue leader for an early B2B platform leader, and prior to that as an economist for the US Department of Commerce.Immediately prior to recording this podcast, Bain and Company announced their acquisition of OPEX Engine, which goes a long way towards establishing the VALUE of B2B Cloud benchmarks.Lauren's vision has evolved over the 15-year history of OPEXEngine.  Initially, Lauren believed that the real value was in the "operating benchmarks" as they are so much harder to capture and see how your internal KPIs measure up.  Traditionally, operating executives would reach out to "known" contacts in the industry who had experience in similar companies.How are companies using benchmarks to inform their decision-making process?  The primary use of benchmarks tends to be on an annual basis, or as Lauren calls an informational "benchmark user" to help with the budget and planning process.  On the other end of the spectrum, the strategic "benchmark user" understands benchmarking is a management process and will use the benchmarks on a much more regular basis - similar to how they would use internal metrics and data to assist in the decision-making process.Strategic users of benchmarks will work closely with their business partners (operators) to dive into the next level to see why certain "top-level" metrics are out of line with industry benchmarks.  Benchmarking is not just to identify problems - it is to find efficiencies that may otherwise not be as easy to identify.  An example is that if your CAC Payback Period is significantly better than your cohort - it may suggest it's time to accelerate investment in customer acquisition.What are some of the key "operating benchmarks" that can be used, and how to be confident in the appropriateness of how the benchmarks align with your company's specific attributes? Lauren highlighted that first it takes time working with consistent metrics with consistent definitions across companies.  Having a third party who has a specialty in collecting, normalizing, and standardizing the data (benchmarks) collected and ensures a common definition, thus calculation of each metric is a critical component to the ultimate value of benchmarks.The CFO and finance organization is typically the primary "version of the truth" for internal metrics and thus the primary user of external benchmarks.  One of the values of using benchmarks is to counter "legacy knowledge" of certain metrics which has evolved.  An example here was the decrease in General and Administrative (G&A) expenses as a percentage of revenue over the last few years.One great best practice on using benchmarks was when a company CFO sends the annual budget to the board of directors.  Along with the budget, he would include the benchmarks for how similar companies benchmark on expense allocation between each department. This provides "context" for the budget and leads to much easier board approval on the budget, and leaves more time for more strategic discussions during the board meeting.Lauren is a true pioneer in benchmarking for the B2B Cloud industry and is a great listen for any finance or operating leader who is looking to enhance how they make better metrics informed, benchmark validated decisions.
10/4/202130 minutes, 35 seconds
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The B2B SaaS VP Sales Journey - with Brendon Cassidy, Founder and CEO CoSell

The B2B Cloud industry is projected to grow from $350B in 2021 to $800B+ in 2025.  This will mean a lot of new companies and the need for many more VP Sales to lead the revenue team.Brendon Cassidy has been part of early-stage B2B enterprise sales organizations as the VP Sales for companies including LinkedIn, EchoSign (acquired by Adobe), Talkdesk, and then as a founding advisor to Gong.  Now Brendon is the co-founder and co-CEO at upon Brendon's tenure and success at leading B2B SaaS companies, who better to discuss the journey and keys to success for an early-stage B2B SaaS VP Sales.First, we discussed any common themes or trends that Brendon has identified over his start-up journey experiences.  A very common theme, at up to 80% of companies Brendon has worked with is that companies have a hard time defining the "problem they are solving".  This is critical before you can start to build the messaging the sales team will use to explain who they are, what problem they address, and the benefits of solving the problem.Establishing Product Market Fit requires every company to understand and market validate the problem they are solving and why a company will invest time and money to solve it.Next, we move from what is required to acquire the first few customers to the next one-hundred and beyond.  Brendon recommends that the founder lead the first 5-15 deals as the "sales lead" and then hire 2 salespeople BEFORE they hire the VP Sales.  Hiring the right "FIRST" VP Sales is a common challenge that the majority of start-up CEO's face. In fact, Brendon believes that over 90% of companies do not hire the right VP Sales the first time.  Hiring a "hybrid" VP Sales who manages a small team, but also is responsible for direct sales with their own quota is a mistake that many first-time founders make. Why is the average tenure of a B2B Tech VP Sales only 14-18 months? One factor is the belief that hiring someone from an established, successful company like Salesforce is the best approach.  Unfortunately, 95% of the job of an early stage VP Sales is not an experience gains at an established, larger company.  Secondly, finding a VP Sales that actually has experience and success in growing a company from the very early days to some level of scale is quite rare.  Four potential early-stage B2B Cloud VP Sales profiles that a founder will need to interview:-Been there done that with success- Been there, done that but not successful- Been there done some of that- Big company experience, not done that Defining how much pipeline is required to close "x" deals is one of the first metrics that an early stage VP Sales should measure, understand and act upon.  Input metrics to this will include average contact value, sales cycle time and win rate are critical to determining the required pipeline.Other metrics, such as CAC Payback Period, CAC Ratio, Customer Lifetime Value, etc. are not valuable metrics for early-stage VP Sales, as there is not enough operating history to make these metrics valuable or insightful for decision making.If you are responsible for driving sales in an early stage B2B Cloud company,  are considering hiring your first VP Sales, or have a goal to become a first-time VP Sales in an early-stage start-up, this conversation with Brendon Cassidy is a great listen.
9/22/202136 minutes, 53 seconds
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Revenue Strategy - What, Why and How to Measure the Impact with Jeremey Donovan, SVP Revenue Strategy at SalesLoft

Jeremey Donovan is the epitome of the phrase "Always Be Learning".Jeremey started his career as a semiconductor engineer, transitioned to be an analyst covering the industry, then transitioned to product development, then to product management, product marketing, and finally to sales.  To say he is a continuous learner is an understatement!Most recently, Jeremey started his pursuit as a Masters of Data Science while serving in the role of Senior Vice President of Revenue Strategy at SaleLoft.What is Revenue Strategy?  First, it's about the people, programs, processes and technology in pursuit of meeting company goals.  As the SVP Sales has evolved to the Chief Revenue Officer, and integrated the responsibility for pre-sales, sales and post-sales, the need for an operations function and strategy that reflects the entire customer lifecycle has evolved.One strategy that impacted revenue growth was moving the inbound Sales Development organization into marketing.  By moving the team to Marketing, it created more incentive for marketing to generate leads and create a better feedback loop into marketing on what the market was saying.  Jeremey thinks that having a CMO and a CRO that are peers is a better model for larger organizations.Jeremey's perspective on Revenue Operations is different He sees value in having marketing operations, sales operations, and customer success operations report into the COO or CFO versus sales or marketing.What is the segmentation of Revenue Operations versus Revenue Strategy?  Jeremey's role is unique, and more of a general corporate strategy resource (think Chief of Staff). In fact, the Chief of Staff is a trending new role in the B2B SaaS industry, and one of the four roles that Jeremey serves for the SalesLoft CEO.Jeremey sees the operations team primarily working "IN" the business and Revenue Strategy works "ON" the business.   Revenue Strategy is responsible for coming up with strategic initiatives, Go-To-Market strategies, etc., and then initially collaborating with the Revenue Operations team to deploy the strategy and then over time Revenue Operations takes primary responsibility to measure, manage and refine the program as feedback requires.When asked about the top lagging and leading indicators (metrics) that he uses to measure the return on a particular revenue strategy,  his answer included an "Issue Tree" which is a process to deconstruct higher-level metrics into their component parts.  The example was "Net Dollar Retention" metrics break down into Gross Dollar Retention + Expansion, and then the next level breaks down into metrics such as Customer Success team productivity.We next discussed leading indicators and their correlation to the top-level, outcome metrics like Net Dollar Retention.   Jeremey highlights adoption, configuration, and customer sentiment (CSAT and NPS) as part of a composite health score that directly impacts Net Dollar Retention.  Analyzing the correlation, using logistic regression is used to predict retention, using the composite inputs of the sentiment score, per the above. They also use similar models to predict the probability of winning an opportunity. Using Bayesian logic, they analyze predict the likelihood of an opportunity closing using inputs such as activity, time, events, and historical trends that predicted opportunity closure.  In fact, this customer engagement score (opportunity score) is even available as part of the SalesLoft platform.Every metric may matter, but  they may not always matter at the same time or have the same predictive value.  Figure out which are "out of kilter" and which enable "decisions and prescriptive actions".Jeremey is a great listen for any B2B SaaS revenue and/or revenue operations professional!
9/16/202132 minutes, 34 seconds
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Marketing Metrics that Matter to C-Level Executives - with Dan McGaw

9/10/202135 minutes, 21 seconds
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Metrics that Matter to the Modern B2B Marketer - with Chris Walker, Founder and CEO Refine Labs

Chris Walker, Founder and CEO of Refine Labs, Host of Demand Gen Live, and a Top LinkedIn Influencer is a B2B Marketing contrarian - that is a primary reason I have been a fan of Chris's for a long time.Chris was a B2B marketing practitioner for 8 years, and his experience told him B2B marketing organizations were executing marketing programs the wrong way!  The market had changed, the buyers had changed and the buying process had changed...yet marketing programs were the same, using the same vanity metrics and fake measurements systems.Chris decided he had been provided a gift, and it allowed him to build a marketing agency that was built for demand generation in 2020 and aligned with his vision for the modern B2B marketer.  His foundational belief is that B2B buyers are looking to buy things in places that cannot be tracked by current marketing attribution. Those locations included LinkedIn, YouTube,  Instagram, Twitter, communities,  groups on social networks, podcasts, direct word of mouth, and referrals by peers.  These are the locations that people in 2021 and beyond are sharing ideas, looking for experiences, and starting the buying journey.Traditional media such as SEO, SEM,  display ads, and content syndication are great to show "vanity metrics" and "attribution" but are not delivering the ultimate outcomes - pipeline and revenue.  In fact, often the tracking stops at "attribution by channel" but do not track the ultimate ROI down to revenue, CAC Ratio and CAC Payback Period.Brand Awareness - this is not the major issue for many companies, but "RELEVANCE" to the target buyer is an issue for many - such as Salesforce is toomarketing.  Logo awareness does not directly impact the way a target buyer feels about a company's value to them as a potential buyer.Chris's goal is to be in the places where buyers "establish" consideration for a product category or content, and not wait until first-party intent at the bottom of the funnel when 70% of the buying process has already been completed. Content that is value-based, customer-focused, and made available as non-gated assets are key to help to shape the buying discussion at the start of the buyer journey versus reacting to the buyer demands.Chris's first key metric is to measure the close rate of inbound leads, that may not be attributed to a specific marketing program, versus the close rate of outbound generated leads.  Chris's perspective is that less than 10% of companies measure the close rate and sales cycle time of inbound leads versus outbound generated leads.Chris optimizes for "peak intent conversions" which reflects the serious intent of buyers who put up their hand to speak with a salesperson (1st party intent data) versus buying 3rd party intent signals from external websites, content syndication vendors, and review sites.Next,  I asked Chris what specific metrics that a modern B2B marketer should measure and manage.   His response: "Blended Marketing CAC and/or Blended Advertising CAC".  This metric measures the total marketing expenses divided by the total amount of revenue closed from inbound marketing leads or inbound leads from paid advertising.  Chris sees the cost per dollar of revenue closed from "outbound leads" vs the cost per dollar of revenue closed from "inbound leads"  being very different.  Chris sees an average of 50% lower CAC for inbound leads that close as compared to outbound generated leads that close (for the mid-market). When you factor in the higher close rate for inbound leads, the CAC Ratio can be 50% - 67% lower than traditional outbound lead generation programs.Revenue, Pipeline, and Customer Acquisition Cost are the TOP THREE metrics that every modern B2B marketer should use as their NORTH STAR!!!
9/8/202131 minutes, 36 seconds
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Strategic Finance in B2B SaaS - with Bijan Moallemi, Mosaic CEO

Holding key financial leadership roles at Qualcomm and Palantir Technologies by itself positions Bijan Moallemi, Founder and CEO of Mosaic Tech as a uniquely qualified finance leader.Factor in his innovative use of technology and automation to enable more efficient hyper-growth and his desire to make this level of automation available to anyone trying to implement a strategic finance function in the B2B Cloud industry, Bijan is a market visionary.His story starts with the challenges he found upon joining Palantir as a 100 person, yet $2B Enterprise Valuation company.  Even at that lofty valuation, even the most basic financial questions were difficult to answer with the existing infrastructure, and would often take days, by which time decisions that could have been informed with the data were already made. His first task was to implement the right infrastructure to move from reactive to proactive financial planning, management and ultimately become a forward looking, strategic finance organization.  At Palantir, Financial Operations including all FP&A, business operations, budgeting, forecasting and included all of the systems that drove all revenue including financial and CRM systems.  By owning the end to end system architecture, it allowed the team to have a scalable, and nimble financial operations function.  Most finance organizations face the challenge of requiring source data from multiple systems across the organization.  By having the primary underlying systems responsibility, coupled with the ability to define the standard data ontology across the customer lifecycle and organization.When pushed on how Bijan defines a "strategic finance function", he started by highlighting the key components of a strategic finance function "Get the Right Data to the Right People on a timely and digestible basis".  The role of the CFO has become more technical, and the toolkit required for a modern CFO have not kept up.  A primary cause is that access to the data and insights are not typically available at the speed or context required.52%  of B2B SaaS/Cloud metrics required for a strategic finance function are currently being captured and calculated manually in excel and Google Sheets.  Unfortunately, many metrics are still siloed within each function, such as Sales, Marketing and Customer Success.  Until his data is integrated, normalized and available in real-time, decisions will continue to be made on backward looking, historical information versus the relevant data from yesterday or even today.  Think about this, how can you plan for next month or next quarter with data that is only available 10-30 days AFTER the new accounting period has started???One of the key attributes for the modern finance leader is the ability to "tell the story" that the data is telling.  Bijan refers this to the "synthesis" of the data deserves a much greater share of mindshare and time.If you are responsible for generating or the recipient of SaaS/Cloud metrics to help make metrics informed decisions, Bijan and his unique insights how to deploy and leverage standardized, integrated and forward looking insights to make better metrics informed decisions while building a modern, strategic finance function are a great listen!
8/23/202129 minutes, 14 seconds
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Customer Success and its Business Impact - with Nick Mehta, CEO Gainsight

Being the CEO of a B2B SaaS company that creates a new market category, grows the company to >$100M ARR, and then purchased for over $1B by a top tier Private Equity firm may be the ultimate goal of many entrepreneurs - but for Nick Mehta and Gainsight, it is just the beginning.Nick Mehta, joined Gainsight as CEO in 2013.  Back then, Gainsight had just changed its name, launched its first user conference, and initiated the strategy to build a new market category for B2B SaaS - Customer Success Platform and a community for the recently created profession of Customer Success Manager (CSM).The decision to create a new category + a community was necessary because the evolving role of CSM's were not only the Gainsight users but also the target buyers.  Building a category is associated but different from building a community.  Creating a community of future platform customers was a core requirement to increase the target addressable market of potential buyers.  Pulse was the Customer Success community, and it had to go beyond "customers".  It became a forum and community for customer success professionals to discuss topics of interest including compensations, roles/ responsibilities, and best practices for Customer Success professionals.Nick highlighted that building a new category is probably not the best approach if a category currently exists (think Snowflake and Zoom Video).  If the market category does not currently exist, think carefully about the steps, and resources required to build a new category and how a community can amplify the category.When I asked Nick about how Product-Led Growth (PLG) would impact Customer Success , Nick started with his belief that PLG will fundamentally change the B2B Cloud Go-To-Market motion.  The control and power will accelerate its shift to the customer, and as a result Sales and Customer Success alignment, even integration will be even critical.The Cloud infrastructure companies are the most advanced in the PLG + Customer Success model.  Their Customer Success (CS) team works very closely with the customer to ensure they are receiving maximum value and expanding their use of the product.  Nick highlighted two approaches to sales and customer success alignment: 1) relay race model where sales hands off the customer to CS to ensure they are successful; 2) Sales and Customer Success work collaboratively across the entire customer journey to ensure engagement, adoption, value, customer satisfaction, expansion and share the related goals and measurements.When asked the top metrics to measure Customer Success, Nick highlighted both leading and lagging indicators.  For Customer Success, Nick highlighted the top lagging indicators as renewals (GrossDollar Retention Rate) and expansion (Net Dollar Retention Rate).  In fact, recent research conducted by both Gainsight and by RevOps Squared independently, showed that NDR was the number one factor impacting Enterprise Value:Revenue multiples. The Gainsight framework for leading indicators is called DEAR: 1) Deployment; 2) Engagement; 3) Adoption; 4) ROI.  Next is the experience side including Net Promoter Score, Customer Satisfaction, and even support case trends.Lastly, we discussed the role of product analytics in the PLG model, in concert with how Customer Success will require deeper and broader insights into the customer's product utilization. Insights including which paths most customers follow, which paths end in user frustration and abandonment, and in the WOW category, how to build Customer Success directly into the product!Nick Mehta is a great listen for any founder, CEO, and/or operating executive who shares the belief is that customer value = customer success and the added vision of building a "Human First" company!
8/3/202141 minutes, 7 seconds
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Micro Private Equity - New Path to B2B SaaS Liquidity + Growth -Akeel Jabber, Horizen Capital

B2B SaaS founders continue to find new financing options to both grow their business and/or be rewarded for their sweat equity investment.Akeel Jabber's journey from petroleum engineer, to gym founder, to real estate investor and now "micro private equity" investor has one common thread - entrepreneurship focused on how to generate cash flowAkeel's first area of focus to generate returns +  cash flow was investing in the stock market.  He quickly identified that the large institutional investors on Wall Street had an unfair advantage as measured by technology, access, and sophistication.  As he searched for alternative avenues to build cash flow, he identified technology assets with recurring revenue streams as an attractive investment area - especially for the less than $5M ARR B2B SaaS companies that were not growing  50%+ per year.Akeel's first experience at $99 Social highlighted that with the right focus on go-to-market programs, processes, and operational excellence, smaller B2B SaaS companies could accelerate growth, and thus cash flow + enterprise value for founders and investors alike.  This experience led to the founding of Horizen Capital.  Horizen Capital is focused on investing in <$5M ARR B2B SaaS companies with 10% - 30% growth rates, and then applying their operational and go-to-market expertise to unlock 50%+ growth rates, resulting in increased returns for founder and investor alike.Akeel defines the early stage B2B SaaS market that they invest in three segments:Pre Seed Stage (pre-revenue)     - Raised friends and family investments    - prove they are the best team to tackle this problem/opportunitySeed Stage ($120K - $1M ARR)     -  Product built     - Market and user feedback received     - Money charged to and received from customersSeries A ($1M - $10M)Built good productEstablished Product Market Fit (PMF)Built out initial marketing channelsThe metrics that Akeel and Horizen Capital focuses primarily on when making micro private equity investments include:Historic Growth Rates (10% - 30%)Greater than 30% - 50% founders should evaluate VC investorsChurn< 5% month over month SMB market< 2% per monthCommercial/Mid-MarketCLTV$1,500 - $2,000 at leastSize of company is used to conduct cohort-based CLTV analysis5 Users (higher churn)> 5 Users have different CLTV (lower churn)Blended hides realityWhen asked how does a founder know if it's time to sell or just fund their company, Akeel suggested to ask these two questions:      #1: Am I still enjoying running my company?     #2: What am I trying to achieve by taking micro PE money?                       - Exit and go do something new                      - Accelerate my company growth rate Akeel shared the top sites and companies that a B2B SaaS founder looking for a potential exit/acquisition should know about:1. M&A Advisory Firms2. Empire Flippers3, MicroAcquire4. FlippaIf you are an entrepreneur, especially one in the B2B SaaS business looking for strategic investment and growth support, this Metrics that Measure Up episode with Akeel Jabber is a great is the SaaS District Podcast that Akeel hosts!
7/27/202131 minutes, 20 seconds
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Stakeholder Capitalism + ESG - Uncovering Hidden Enterprise Value with Renee Cullinan

Renee Cullinan, founder of "Stop Meeting Like This"  is pivoting her highly successful career as a high tech executive and then founder of a pioneering consulting company that focused on how to increased company productivity and employee satisfaction by eliminating the wasted time associated with internal meetings and email overload.In this episode of Metrics that Measure Up, we focus on both the metrics associated with increased employee productivity and then on the increasing importance of understanding and enhancing stakeholder satisfaction.White-collar employees, especially senior executives spend most of their time in meetings and composing and responding to emails.  Using a typical executive, they spend approximately 25 hours per week in meetings, which equates to 1,200 hours per year, and on average, 32% of that time is wasted.  Think how much more productive you can be with having an extra 400 hours (10 weeks) to invest in higher value, strategic activities?Unfortunately, not enough companies tackle this productivity opportunity, often because of the inherent challenge of the existing culture of a company.  Fixing this requires consistent, ongoing executive commitment which means having a long-term employee productivity orientation. Biopharma companies lead the way in being willing to take on this opportunity, due to their historical long-term orientation.In the "very interesting" category, Renee actually found the work from home environment during the pandemic, actually helped to increase the productivity of meetings and the Renee shares 5 questions to determine if your organization is positioned to capture this hidden productivity drain: Are you a manager or maker?How many hours are you in meetings per week?Which of the following statements is more true?       - I control my calendar or my calendar controls meGiven my role, the # of meetings I am in is?       - too many      - just right      - too fewWhat percentage of total meeting time is wasted?      - late starts     - late arrivals requiring repeating conversations     - technology snafusNext, we pivoted to Stakeholder capitalism and Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG).  My first question was if only 50% of companies are willing to invest in tackling internal employee productivity,  how willing are they to take on ESG.    Renee highlighted that internal productivity and employee satisfaction are too often a "HR" initiative and thus are often dead on arrival.In contrast, ESG is driven primarily by external constituents, by regulatory bodies like the SEC, and potential customers, especially in the Fortune 500 are now requiring ESG responses within vendor RFPs and many board of directors are linking executive compensation to ESG metrics and measurements.Socially responsible investing is also increasing measured by shareholder investment decisions, in fact, the percentage of US-based assets under management that use ESG criteria to make investments increased by 42% over the last two years.I asked Renee if small, high-growth B2B SaaS companies can justify investing in ESG initiatives.  The response, if you are selling to Enterprise-class companies, ESG leadership will be a competitive advantage in acquiring new customers AND socially conscious employees.Renee's example of the social impact of "free meals" at high tech companies and its impact on local businesses and the local community are not understood, or at least not prioritized.If ESG and stakeholder capitalism + increasing employee productivity are topics you are interested in promoting within your company,  Renee is a great listen!
7/20/202132 minutes, 43 seconds
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RevOps as the Revenue Architect - with Jeff Ignacio, The Revenue Architect Podcast

Revenue Operations is positioned to be the revenue architect across the customer journey.  That is a bold statement and the perspective of one of the leading revenue operations thought leaders, Jeff Ignacio.Revenue Operations hit an "inflection point" in 2021.  Jeff believes the rapid growth of B2B SaaS companies has highlighted the incongruency that customers are experiencing due to the "drops" in internal hand-offs between marketing, sales, and customer success.Jeff believes Revenue Operations should act like Product Management.  RevOps customers are the marketing, sales, and customer success resources who need the right data, at the right time, in the right context delivered by the right process.  This includes understanding the "customer experience" with their company at every stage of the customer journey.Product-Led Growth has led to a new requirement for Revenue Operations, and that is the ability to leverage and integrate the data from product analytics platforms into the revenue tech stack.  These new "data operations" skill-set is not typically available in existing RevOps organizations, and may even require a new operations group.Is a Chief Revenue Officer required to make revenue operations fully productive? Jeff said this is helpful in early-stage companies when the customer journey is less mature.   In larger organizations with more well-defined and mature organizational structures, the need for a CRO to make revenue operations effective is less important.Jeff defines revenue operations to include 4 pillars:Process Enablement Advisory SupportWhen asked about Revenue Operations being more "strategic" versus "tactical", Jeff's first recommendation was to allocate time slots upfront to strategic activity.  Secondly, Jeff said that "ruthless prioritization" in understanding what is critical path to achieving the measurable goals that have been established. This includes becoming comfortable with setting expectations with your stakeholders, including being able to push back when requests are not aligned with the mutually agreed-upon goals.Jeff also recommended that asking "what are you trying to accomplish" upfront when asked to execute an activity will be a good step in moving from reactive resource to strategic asset to the revenue leadership team.  Another idea was to start thinking more proactively about what the data you are creating suggests, and start to provide more strategic ideas and recommendations to address negative trends highlighted by the data and reports.When asked about the optimal "profile" for a revenue operation professional, Jeff highlighted a few key attributes, especially business acumen and the ability to clarify, thus understand the real goals of the executive stakeholder.  Jeff also suggested using a case study approach to interviews to understand how the candidate has applied their skills in similar situations.Will revenue operations be a must-have experience for the CRO of the future?  Jeff's answer was nuanced, highlighting skill sets including data analysis, process design competencies, and system design will be valuable, but having hand's on RevOps experience will be a plus but not a requirement.I then asked Jeff to pull out his crystal ball and predict how Revenue Operations will impact business performance - thus be measured.  His responses: 1) Customer Acquisition Costs; 2) Expansion time and profitability to enter new markets.Lastly, Jeff discussed the need for RevOps to move from working "in the business" to "on the business".  This will enable RevOps to become a strategic advisor, with a seat at the executive team table.
7/14/202132 minutes, 17 seconds
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Product-Led Growth and B2B Sales - Best of Both Worlds - with Tim Geisenheimer, CEO at Correlated

Product-Led Growth (PLG) and B2B Sales - how do they co-exist in the evolving world of Go-To-Market strategy in B2B SaaS?On this episode of the Metrics that Measure Up podcast we are joined by Tim Geisenheimer, Founder and CEO of Correlated.  Tim's first experience was leading a sales team in a PLG company where he experienced the change in how customers first experience a product.  PLG requires the sales team to truly understand "HOW" customers are using the product, and adjust their sales outreach accordingly.First, we discussed the real and perceived risks that sales face in a PLG company.  Tim said that sales is critical in PLG companies, though the skills and approaches change.Sales professionals must become product consultants who can help users gain the most value from the product.  This requires the sales professional to have much deeper visibility into how the user is using the product.Second, we pivoted to discuss how PLG may impact pipeline development and the Sales Development function.  One of the interesting changes is that the number of inbound leads increases dramatically in PLG companies, and SDRs will be required to learn the skills of inbound lead qualification instead of outbound led generation.This evolved into the creation of a Product Qualified Lead (PQL).  A PQL is the scoring of a potential paying customer based upon how they are using the free version of the product. Some of the common variables used to score a PQL include log-in frequency and are they using high-value features.  These two primary signals can be used to score a lead and help prioritize which users and accounts to reach out to first.Is "Value-Based Selling" still a key sales skill required to be successful?  Tim went back to the need for B2B sales professionals to have better product knowledge, as it relates to the business value delivered.I pushed Tim on 'if" Customer Success is better positioned to help free users become paying customers?  His response centered on the need for sales to become product consultants and that sales skills will be critical to optimizing free users converting into paying customers.Tim highlighted that a foundational element required for sales to be productive in PLG companies is having easy-to-access and understandable product analytics information available by the user, by account in the Customer Relationship Management platform.  I asked Tim if "existing" CRM vendors can provide the required functionality for this?  In response to this question, Tim highlighted that existing CRM tools are limited in providing this functionality, in part due to the relational database model that traditional CRM tools are based. The most common "metrics" that he sees Chief Revenue Officers being measured upon in PLG companies is "existing customer expansion" and "Net Dollar Retention Rate" which highlights one of the most attractive aspects of the "land and expand" model for PLG companies.  Average Time to Expansion is a new leading indicator that PLG companies are tracking, with best-in-class companies seeing < 60 days from the time a client first signs up to expanding their "paid" usage.The classic "Close Rate" metric will be different in PLG companies, and not as important as other expansion-centric metrics.  The other topic we discussed was if "sales comp plans" are changing in PLG companies.  One change is assigning sales reps longer to accounts to shepherd the "expansion" journey.  In fact, Snowflake has no CS  resources as sales own total responsibility for existing client expansion.If you won revenue responsibility in a PLG company, this is a great listen to understand the evolving world of sales in B2B SaaS and Cloud companies.
7/5/202128 minutes, 38 seconds
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Leaders of Growth in B2B SaaS - with Arthur Nobel, Knight Capital

Leaders of Growth - a phrase that could refer to many B2B SaaS companies and executives.Today, we speak with Arthur Nobel, principal at Knight Capital and author of Leaders of Growth.Leaders of Growth is the result of 47 interviews with B2B SaaS operating executives and investors.  Brand name B2B SaaS executives including Mark Roberge, Matt Chappell, Katie Christian, Nathan Latka, Wes Bush, Patrick Campbell plus 42 more B2B SaaS executives with hands-on experience in scaling companies beyond Product-Market Fit.Arthur first shared three different ways to define the journey and stages that B2B SaaS and Cloud companies go through. 3 views on company journey stage:  - Sequential (Series A, Series B, Series C, etc)  - Revenue approach ($1M, $5M, $10M, $20M, etc.)  - Company Maturity ModelWe then dove into whether investors actually modify their investment thesis and enterprise valuation models based upon the above 3 lenses?  Revenue growth, especially the velocity of growth remains a primary variable which VCs use to establish company value.The thing that stood out the most from the 47 interviews was the AUTHENTICITY of everyone interviewed.  Also, their openness and willingness to share their experiences and lessons learned...especially those learnings through failure as well as success.The second theme he identified was the top-down view that investors shared and the bottoms-up perspective that the majority of operators used.  When asked to explain what "top-down" and "bottoms-up" meant, Arthur shared that operators were much more focused on the more pragmatic "what" drove the business including topics like hiring, culture, tactical approaches whereas investors were much more focused on conceptual thinking, such as frameworks and methodologies.When asked common challenges that the growth leaders faced, Arthur shared six common categories:   - Departmental objectives at each stage of growth  -  Data challenge - including what metrics to measure and prioritize at each stage  - HR Challenge - such as hiring the right people at the right stage  - Documentation and enablement - critical as employee count increases  - Process challenge - well defined. documented and systemized after 20 - 30 employees  - Tooling - having the appropriate platforms and systems architecture at each stageI asked Arthur if he has developed a framework to help B2B SaaS companies scale within and across each stage of growth?  He highlighted this is a very complex task, as each company's journey is unique, but would try and share his initial thoughts:High-level framework:-Scaling is not a point but a continuum that dictates using a stage by stage maturity model:     - Ad-hoc     - Process introduction    - Repeatability     - Predictability    - ScalabilityIt is also very important to define the maturity model for each function and against the six common challenges that were highlighted above.We then discussed the concept of thinking, planning, and acting like you are already in the next stage of maturity versus continuing purely executing current state processes, activities and tactics. Some examples that Arthur shared on the traditional "VC" stage basis:Series A = Replicability    - Build a strong initial leadership team   - Lay a solid foundationSeries B = Predictablity   - Establish Senior team   - Become more structued and documentedSeries C = Scalability   - Be careful of silos   - Use shared metrics to align cross-functional teams Learning from those who have already been there is the key theme of this episode!
6/29/202130 minutes
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Make it, Don't Fake it! - Sabrina Horn, Founder Horn Group

Make it, Don't Fake It is a mantra that has long lived in the entrepreneur start-up culture in the B2B tech industry!Sabrina Horn is not only a pioneer in the B2B Tech public relations space, she is one of the most networked executives in the B2B tech industry.After only 4 years in the corporate world, Sabrina took the plunge to found The Horn Group, with a specific goal to help B2B tech companies exploit the impending business transformation created by the personal computer.  Her first "pitch" to bring on her first customer was to an early stage, enterprise software company with less than 50 employees - that company was PeopleSoft which became one of the world's largest B2B enterprise software companies.The rest of her 24 year+ run as the CEO of the Horn Group is one of the most successful and admired companies in B2B tech public relations.  To determine the return on investment for public relations, she has two recommendations: 1) Ask yourself what does success looks like one year from now; 2) look at outputs versus outcomes like increasing inbound leads, social engagement, market sentiment, etc. Secondly, she recommended having a range for success versus a single point and having the right tools to measure the impact of PR.Public relations goals also need to be dynamic and evolve with both the company and the market that the company exists and the market it targets to acquire new customers.  PR is part science and part art, and cannot be successful without continuing to evolve the strategy and the measurements of success.The "founders curse" was one of the first topics we discussed that was highlighted in Sabrina's book.  This happens to entrepreneurs, founders and CEOs who have an emotional bond to their company that is similar to a parent/child relationship.  This can lead to the effect of having blinders on and not listening to the market's feedback on your company and what they really need.  Having a founders agreement might be prudent, and even identify key inflection points in the company growth that may require the founder to take on a new role. Also, having mentors who are not part of the company and will provide objective, unbiased feedback is critical to maneuvering difficult moments and decision points.  Sarina even recommends founder performance reviews by the board and conduct an annual "self-assessment" to ask yourself where my company is headed, what is needed to achieve the next phase of growth and am I still having fun!As a founder, surrounding yourself with an executive team that is not like you, has different experiences, and even disagrees with you is a critical skill to develop.  Having a team that shares your passion and excitement for the company vision is a foundational element for every member of the leadership team to share.  This materially impacts building culture and building a strong brand.Establishing "founding company values" early on is foundational to the company culture.  As a company grows, the values may evolve by shifting in meaning and/or priority, but remain as a beacon throughout the company's evolution.  Being a CEO is a never-ending, learning journey.  Being in the CEO role is key, as learning on the job cannot be replaced by reading, theory or external advice alone...experience matters.  In fact, Sabrina highlighted that the experience from losses is typically the largest learning opportunity.  Being a CEO is a "lonely" place to be, and having a network of advisors and mentors who have shared the role of CEO is an incredibly valuable resource. The "isolation iceberg" is real, and Sabrina even mentioned how giving back was a great outlet to feel more connected.MAKE IT, DON'T FAKE IT!  is a great read for any founder, CEO, or aspiring entrepreneur considering embarking on the founder's journey!
6/22/202133 minutes, 44 seconds
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RevOps - as a canary in the coal mine - with Jordan Henderson, ringDNA

Jordan Henderson is a lawyer by education, who transitioned into a B2B tech career that has spanned sales operations, customer sales, sales management, and ultimately revenue operations.  This well-rounded career journey led Jordan to a career in Revenue Operations.RevOps can be the "canary in the coal mine" for a B2B SaaS company.  Revenue Operations are problem solvers.  Being able to monitor the day-to-day "Go-to-Market" operations provides a unique opportunity to be an early warning factor when things are not performing as planned.  Being a trusted "canary" requires building credibility through the consistent use of foresight and insights into the customer acquisition, retention, and expansion processes.  When asked about RevOps being a "tactical, reactive" function versus turning strategic, proactive insights into predictive foresight, the conversation took an interesting turn.To move from tactical to a strategic function, Jordan recommends proactively taking a larger role in "business operations". Go beyond providing reports and dashboards to the executive team, and instead analyze what the reports/dashboards you developed are telling you about the future of the business and Go-To-Market performance.A pre-requisite to becoming a strategic partner,  RevOps professionals need to first learn everything possible about the functions you are supporting, including marketing, sales, and customer success.  Then instead of just responding to administrative requests, come back with not only the requested deliverable but also recommendations on how to improve the information you just delivered.Jordan also highlighted why it is imperative to understand how the company level objectives, like ARR Growth, CAC Payback Period, and Net Dollar Retention are impacted by the "leading indicators" that RevOps has unique insight and access.  If you focus on the "outcomes" that your boss's boss cares about, you are much better positioned to be a strategic advisor to the CEO and CFO.The path to RevOps is well served by having experience in the operating roles you are supporting.  Jordan has sales, sales management, customer success, and business operations experience which has informed his orientation to the strategic impact that Revenue Operations can have on revenue growth and pipeline performance.  When I asked about being held to "objectives" that you do not ultimately "CONTROL", Jason highlighted that RevOps can have more impact on company and revenue performance than any single, quota-carrying rep.Next, we turned to how the customer journey can be impacted by RevOps.  Jason agreed that in theory, this is a good goal, but that Revenue Operations does not  "YET" truly understand the internal customer buying process, and is something that should be factored into how internal processes and inter-departmental hand-offs are managed.Finally, we discussed the sales technology tool landscape and the potential evolution of a revenue operations platform.  The first step Jordan takes towards the goal of a revenue operations platform is the consolidation of existing Martech and Salestech.  Vendors like Syncari, Clari, and Kluster are three early market leaders.   The RevOps Squared Revenue Operations framework, which is comprised of three layers: 1) Data; 2) Process + Platform; 3) Business Insights.If you are aspiring to be or already are a revenue operations professional, or a Chief Revenue Officer considering the creation of a  Revenue Operations function, Jordan is a great listen.
6/15/202131 minutes, 26 seconds
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Customer-In Revenue Operations - with Alison Elworthy, EVP Revenue Operations - HubSpot

Marketing Operations to Sales Operations to a VP, Customer Success.  This carer path serves as an amazing foundation for a Revenue Operations executive.This is exactly the career path that Alison Elworthy, EVP of Revenue Operations at HubSpot. Alison's experience as a customer success executive was an eye-opening experience for a career-long operations professional who had not previously invested time interacting with customers.Alison's experience working with HubSpot customers led HubSpot from being a "function-out" to a "customer-in" focus for Hubspot's recently formed revenue operations function.How to bring the customer needs into revenue operations?  Alison created a "Voice of the Customer" team that resides within Revenue Operations.  The primary goal of this group is to ensure that every member of the RevOps team shadows customer conversations to life. Monthly "customer first" meetings include all HubSpot executives to listen to the most recent, highest priority customer needs.Next, we discussed how to staff a "Voice of Customer" function, which centered on bringing in both internal CS resources and external personnel with outside perspectives.  One tool is the "customer roadblock" portal which enables customers to be part of the voice of the customer data collection process.   One topic that came through loud and clear from this process was that hand-offs between marketing, sales, and customer success were negatively impacting the customer experience.As we dove into the "hand-offs" issue, the concept of the "revenue flywheel" evolved.  First,  the revenue operations team identified that there were not common metrics across the internal functions and/or the customer journey.  After developing a holistic "revenue model", they were able to define metrics across three levels of operations including Vital Signs, Pulse Signs, and diagnostics. Vital signs are the top 5 KPIs that the CEO and Chief Customer Officer ( CCO) tracks.  The pulse signs are the top 10-15 metrics that directly impact the company-level metrics.  The diagnostics enable internal resources to double click into the source data that impacts both the pulse signs and vital signs.  By doing this, Alison highlighted this helped to increase the RevOps team investment on forming strategic insights (foresight) versus reactive activities and historical "hindsight".Next, we pivoted to the role that platforms and systems play in a "Customer-In" focus while enhancing internal alignment. Alison highlighted "systems as the foundation" for efficient Go-To-Market operations.  As the conversation evolved, the importance of "DATA" was highlighted as a co-equal, foundational priority for Revenue Operations.  In fact, Alison highlighted the same question to marketing and sales results in different answers due to the inconsistency of the data.If you are contemplating or just starting your "Revenue Operations" journey,  Alison's experiences, insights, and ideas are a great place to start!
6/9/202133 minutes, 31 seconds
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Product-Led Growth - Evolution or Revolution - with Wes Bush, ProductLed

On this episode of the Metrics that Measure Up podcast we are joined by Wes Bush, founder and CEO  of ProductLed.Wes's journey to founding ProductLed and becoming a leading voice on Product-Led Growth started when he was responsible for demand generation for B2B SaaS companies.  Specifically, when he led demand generation at Vidyard, they launched a new product that allowed them to evolve from "hosting videos" to providing a self-service tool that allowed end-users to quickly film, edit and share videos across email and social media channels.This launch quickly led to over 100,000 users and eclipsed the value to Marketing Qualified Leads almost overnight.This experience started Wes to think that there were not well-defined "playbooks" for companies to leverage as they started to evaluate and take the first steps into a Product-Led journey.Wes shared the PLG "Layer Cake" model, which highlights the foundational elements required for any PLG program: 1. Data Layer - getting a solid product analytics infrastructure in place 2.  Product Layer - gaining deep insights into the User Experience 3. Conversational Layer - when and how to interact with the userIn a sales-led motion,  traditionally only sales and marketing are deeply engrained in the process and the metrics that predict outcomes.  In a PLG motion, every function can benefit from having access to the product analytics to inform their decision making such as: - How users are finding out about and then to start using a product (Marketing)- When users are at a point of activation, that the probability of converting to a paid user or enterprise-wide license is most likely (sales)-  Where in the product on-boarding process do users start to attrite or stop using the product (products)- What features are used in the product that most correlate to customer retention (Customer Success)Tooling and platform infrastructure will need to evolve in Product Led companies.  Specifically Wes sees a day when a platform that natively includes both product analytics information + internal outreach resource process information resides natively. Integrating product utilization information into existing CRM tools is a good short-term band-aid, but not an optimal solution long-term.Freemium versus Free Trials each have appropriate use cases,  One of the primary variables for which model to use is how long does it take to reach that "aha moment", often referred to as the "Activation Point".  For products that inherently have longer journeys to achieve real user value, a freemium product may perform much better than a time-restricted free trial period.Product Qualified Leads (PQL's) the #1 metric for the PLG motion.  A critical component of the initial PQL is proven activation point(s) that predictably lead to higher conversation rates to paying customers.  Another variable to consider is the ability to supplement product utilization data with Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and Buyer Persona data to optimize both the conversion rates and validate the current understanding of the best target customer cohort(s).Time-to-Value is another key metric to capture, and factor into both the PQL criteria, but also into the product roadmap.  The "SOONER" a user can experience value, the higher returns on your PLG investment.We wrapped up this episode with Wes providing three things to consider if you are evaluating whether  PLG makes sense for your company:1.  Technology is deflationary - users want to pay less over time2.   Enterprise customer buying process is up 55% - find a way to decrease that for them3.  Product experience has become part of the buying experienceDon't "TELL" them - "SHOW" them - a key tag line in the Product-Led Growth economy!!!
6/1/202136 minutes, 49 seconds
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Product Analytics + Product Led Growth = A Partnership for Success - with Ken Fine, CEO Heap Analytics

Product Analytics + Product Led Growth are critical partners for success.Ken Fine, CEO of Heap Analytics recently joined me on the Metrics that Measure Up podcast to discuss the inextricable linkage between these two concepts.PLG currently exists in a continuum of maturity, with some companies managing the entire customer lifecycle using a product-led motion, while the majority still using a traditional sales led motionKen believes the dominant Go-To-Market model in the future will be an artful combination of  both a product-led and sales-led motion with a key focus on reducing friction across customer acquisition, expansion, and retention.Some products are better suited for PLG, and others that require more configuration, integration, and implementation assistance will be better served with a combination of product and human assistance.Ken highlighted that PLG is applicable across every stage of the customer lifecycle.PLG requires developing a hypothesis, testing the concept, then using data to determine the efficacy of the experiment, and then continuously iterating to optimize the performance metrics.Activation is the point in a journey where a user finds value from using a product in a PLG  motion.  Often, activation is referred to as the “aha moment” for a user.Identifying the “activation point” is a blend of art and science, with a strong focus on data that directly impacts company value impacting metrics such as new customers, revenue, share of wallet, etc.Ken’s experience includes being the CEO of a company that deploys Product Led Growth in combination with a Sales Led motion.  When asked about the “predictive” data they found to predict conversion to paid, Ken highlighted that when users progressed to using their query tool "x" number of times, conversion rates are higher.   In addition, when users leverage their integration feature, that provides a “step level function” in conversion rates.The number of times a PLG company reaches out to a free trial or freemium during free product utilization is an evolving process. Based upon a user reaching an “activation” point, they have a product specialist resource reach out, and are still developing a global heuristic using a “test and learn” approach to determine the number of outreaches that optimize the conversion rate.When asked about the best “resource” to reach out to free or freemium users, Ken highlighted that “it depends”.  In their model, a solution consultant with deep product knowledge is the initial resource to reach out to provide product-centric assistance but also are trained to identify sales opportunities.Product Qualified Led’s (PQL) is a new metric that highlights when a free trial or freemium user has reached an activation point and is in a position to convert to a new or expanding customer.  PQL’s are scored on different levels of qualification, similar to an MQL, though much more qualified based upon actual product usage and engagement. PQL’s go beyond hypothesis and use proven product usage analytics that are predictive of conversion.In summary, Ken shared that if you have traditionally had a sales-led model, that change management is a critical, yet often overlooked element of deploying a PLG model.  In short Ken shared -  “NAIL IT BEFORE YOU SCALE IT”!If you are considering or recently started your PLG journey, Ken and Heap Analytics are a great follow.
5/25/202136 minutes, 41 seconds
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Product Led Growth Metrics and Benchmarks - with Sam Richard, OpenView Partners

Sam Crowell Richard is responsible for growth across the OpenView Partners portfolio. OpenView Partners is a leader in advocating Product Led Growth strategies across their portfolio, which includes leading PLG companies including Calendly.Sam has invested in her career preparing for a growth role in a PLG focused venture capital firm, including learning the secrets of digital marketing in a digital agency, and then for 5+ years at an early stage, PLG company, Dispatch, ultimately acquired by Vista Equity, a leading Private Equity firm in the B2B SaaS and Cloud industry.Product Led Growth companies see 80% - 90% of their initial freemium/trial users acquired using digital marketing techniques such as SEO,  though conversion to paid customers only occur 50% - 60% of the time without the involvement of a human resource.  The type and complexity of the solution directly correlates' to the requirement for the engagement of a human resource to assist the user to become a paying customer.The approach and skillset of the resource initially reaching out to the PLG acquired user is different than in a traditional sales-led environment.  Additional insights, including how they are using the product, possibly areas they have not yet experienced, and allows the vendor's initial outreach to be with a much warmer, engaged led.Product usage, often derived from a Product Analytics platform is a critical foundational component for a PLG company.  One of the areas of focus is how product usage information is provided to the resources responsible for user outreach.  A new consideration for revenue operations is how to provide product usage information within the construct of CRM environments.  Though not a primary topic today, the need for a different CRM for PLG  companies may be a new market opportunity.Top Metrics for PLG companies:1. Organic Search:  What % of traffic and new users come from SEO2. User Journey Metrics:  3. Activation Rate: where people are finding value in your product4. CAC Payback Period:    - must  be much quicker for PLG companies, with < 12 months being great and some even       reaching < 6 months. Price point is a key factor in this benchmarkActivation rate is a nuanced metric, as it is different for every solution.1. Does action correlate to positive business outcome      a. 50% conversion rate to paid2.  Activation point activity or task completed by > 50% of trial users3. Activation point reached quickly     a.  1 week - 1 month40% - 60% of PLG free users represent "Zombie Users" which will never convert.  Activities by agents, robots, and poor fit users represent this category and should be identified as early as possible.We also discussed "Product Qualified Leads" or PQL's.  This is a key metric that is calculated based upon product utilization by free/trial users.  It's interesting that only 35% of PLG companies are using PQL's.  This is an increase over the past year, but still not being used by a majority of PLG companies.  PQL's provide a unique opportunity to decrease the friction and resulting lack of alignment that MQL's have introduced between sales and marketing.Natural Rate of Growth is a new "PLG" centric metric that OpenView Partners uses to understand the organic growth rate of PLG companies.Lastly, if you are an early-stage professional considering a career in B2B SaaS,  Sam shares her advice that you create your own rotational program to gain a well-rounded understanding of how B2B SaaS companies operate across all functions in the company.Sam provides a wealth of insights and advice for any B2B SaaS company considering or are in the early days of a PLG strategy.
5/19/202137 minutes, 11 seconds
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B2B SaaS Metrics Evolution and Usage - with Clayton Whitfield, Founder SaaSOptics

Clayton Whitfield founded SaaSOptics to provide B2B SaaS founders and operators a platform that made it easier to capture, calculate and make better metrics informed decisions.Clayton shared that the core metrics that form the foundation of B2B SaaS company value have not evolved significantly over the 12 years since he founded SaaSOptics, but the understanding and comfort with the metrics have evolved.  Clayton also highlighted that because there are no "standards" governing body in the industry, so there are multiple variations and interpretations of the exact input variables of the core metrics.The discussion evolved into a "hammer and nail" analogy, where if you only focus on one metric, say Customer Acquisition Cost Payback Period (CAC Payback Period), and do not understand the inter-dependencies of other key metrics, such as Rule of 40 or Customer Lifetime Value to CAC Ratio or even Gross and Net Dollar Retention can lead to incorrect decisions.Next, Clayton shared the importance of "Cohort" analysis, and why calculating metrics based upon groups of customers that share a common trait, such as industry or timeframe they became a customer.  As an example, if Financial Services is a well-represented industry segment across your customer base, it would be instructive to understand the Gross and Net Dollar RetentionRates of all customers in the Financial Services industry that became customers in 2016 vs 2017 vs 2018, etc. Lifecycle Renewal Curves allow you to see the churn rates after annual term renewals in year two vs year three versus year four.  This is an often-overlooked cohort-based metric that can directly inform Customer Success resource allocation and materially impact retention rates for underperforming cohorts.As an example, Clayton highlighted a cohort that became customers in 2017 that represented a time when the customer on-boarding process was less robust, and thus customers were churning at a higher rate than in later years after the new customer on-boarding process was enhanced.  As a result, the company allocated more Customer Success resources to that cohort to re-train and support that customer cohort to course correct the lower than average retention rates for that specific cohort.Next, we discussed the difference between leading versus lagging indicators in the metrics ecosystem.  Clayton highlighted why usage data, made available via a solid product analytics infrastructure can be a great leading indicator of customer churn risk.  Another example of a good leading indicator is Net Promoter Score (NPS), which has a strong correlation to Gross Dollar Retention.  A caveat is to measure NPS for both the buyer and the user which normally provides different NPS scores and inform you where to prioritize increased Customer Success and/or sales resources. The discussion evolved into the importance of having a well defined Key Performance Indicator framework that identifies the top tier leading indicators, by function that have a direct, causal relationship to the industry standard lagging indicators such as Rule of 40, CAC Ratio, Gross and Net Dollar Retention and Customer Lifetime Value to CAC.Finally, we discussed the stage appropriate use of metrics.  As an example, we discussed Customer Lifetime Value to CAC Ratio, which is a metric that requires the understanding of customer churn over time.  If a B2B SaaS company only has 12-24 months of operating industry, the churn rate is not established with any historical significance, which will result in an artificially high Customer Lifetime Value which can lead to investment decisions based upon false positives.Speaking with the founder of a B2B SaaS company, turned Chief Customer Officer who uses metrics daily to increase customer satisfaction, retention, and thus company value is a great listen!
5/12/202131 minutes, 52 seconds
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Usage-Based Pricing in B2B SaaS - Trendy Topic or Strategic Value Lever - with Adam Howatson, CEO LogiSense

Usage-Based Pricing is all the rage across multiple B2B SaaS news outlets. Subscription-based pricing has been the standard pricing model for over 20 years, which has provided B2B SaaS companies more predictable revenue growth over time versus the famous end of quarter "hockey stick" of perpetual licensing software companies.However, companies such as Twilio, Snowflake and DataDog have been using "Usage-Based" pricing to achieve Net Dollar Retention Rates of 130% - 150% and associated Enterprise:Revenue multiples of 20x - 25x.On this episode of Metrics that Measure Up, we speak with Adam Howatson, long-time subscription software executive, and currently CEO of LogiSense, a leading Usage-Based Billing platform company to better understand the trend and what is required to deploy a successful Usage-Based pricing strategy.The first topic we covered was the transition from a perpetual license model to subscription pricing, which was really a cost-plus model that included value for the hosting and intellectual property.  Adam believes we are in a similar pivot from subscription-based pricing to Usage-Based Pricing.One main component of the trend to Usage-Based Pricing is the customer requirement to have more transparency on what they are being charged for and to ensure those variables are directly linked to the value they are receiving. Adam believes the trend to Usage-Based Pricing will be long-lived, and the next material transformation for the B2B SaaS and Cloud industry.Usage-Based Pricing is a very strategic decision, as it impacts the entire monetization strategy of your business.  A key starting point is to ensure you put yourself in the shoes of your customer, and then confirm with your customer/buyers that the element you are using for Usage-Based pricing is validated as a key-value contributor to the buyers.Using a "hybrid model" may be the most prudent way to deploy a pricing model that uses a fixed subscription pricing to cover the vendor's cost, and then adds on a usage-based subscription billing element that becomes the primary profit driver for the B2B SaaS company.Another key element to model out prior to any Usage-Based Pricing strategy is to understand what the minimum baseline of pricing is required is to cover fixed costs of providing the service.  This evolved into the importance of having the right resources, especially data analysts and monetization experts who provide a balanced approach to the impact on both the vendor and the customer using multiple scenarios on the usage, that include the usage of variables such as seasonality, macro, and micro-economic trends and internal expense trends.Product analytics is another trending topic across the B2B SaaS due to the increasing use of Product Led Growth as a primary customer acquisition motion.  A solid product analytics foundation will be critical to understanding customer usage patterns and trends.  This analysis will provide insights for pricing and monetization resources to facilitate which usage variables are best positioned to serve as the foundation for a Usage-Based pricing strategy.The conversation kept coming back to the central theme of "ensure the Usage-Based Pricing variable used" is validated as directly aligned to the VALUE the customer receives.  Most importantly, ensure this value is tested with the actual customers and potential buyers, and not based upon INTERNAL assumptions within the vendor.If you are considering Usage-Based pricing,  it will be important to understand the increasing requirement for transparency, value for money, easy access to usage data and even stakeholder value will contribute to the emergence of the "USAGE ECONOMY".Adam is a true expert on all things Usage-Based Pricing and Billing, and is a great source of information for any company evaluating how to operate within a Usage Ec
5/5/202135 minutes, 7 seconds
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B2B SaaS Metrics with the Master - Dave Kellogg @kellblog

B2B SaaS Metrics are talked about in board meetings, investor diligence, executive team meetings, and recently across every corner of the internet from industry influencers and thought leaders.As the host of the Metrics that Measure Up, I was thrilled that I could speak with Dave Kellogg, one of my long-term follows, and a master of all things B2B SaaS metrics.Dave is a multiple-time, CEO and Chief Marketing Officer of B2B Software and SaaS companies, and a highly sought after advisor, board member and speake.During this episode, we discuss the top five metrics that Dave advises every B2B SaaS founder and CEO to calculate and they include:✔ Committed ARR (CARR)✔ Committed ARR Growth✔ Net Dollar Retention Rate (NDR)✔ Net Promoter Score (NPS)✔ Employee Net Promoter Score✔ BONUS METRIC - Customer Acquisition Cost Ratio (CAC Ratio)Next we  discussed why Net Dollar Retention (NDR) is a less fungible metric than "Churn". One example of "gaming" churn is to include all customers, including multi-year deals in annual churn calculation.   Survivor bias is one caution for NDR, where a company will look at a cohort of customers today and look at how much ARR they represented a year ago - which is not a best practice for NDR calculation.The next thing we discussed is which metric(s) have the highest impact on Enterprise  Value to Revenue multiples.  Traditionally Rule of 40, and company growth rate were the two highest impacting metrics to enterprise value.  I suggested to Dave that we are seeing NDR having a much higher impact on EV, and in real-time, Dave calculated the R^2 of NDR which was .35, and three times more causal impact on EV than growth!The other item we discussed was "selection bias" which happens when you look at the public B2B SaaS/Cloud company's metrics, and target their metrics as the benchmark.  It's important to remember that these are the BEST of the BEST, and many SaaS metrics will look much better at scale (> $250M) and in those companies that were able to go IPO.We also discussed how some metrics, even something as seemingly simple as "Win Rate" can be miscalculated.  Dave has seen several companies take the number of opportunities at the beginning of the accounting period, dividing that into the # of closed-won deals, without considering that many of the opportunities that are still open will close in subsequent accounting periods.Dave once wrote a blog entitled "Don't be a Slave to Metrics".  A couple of pithy, and easy-to-remember quotes included: "Metrics work for us, we do not work for the metrics" and " Metrics reflect strategy - they do not drive strategy".If you are just learning B2B SaaS metrics or are a seasoned SaaS metrics veteran, this episode is a must-listen for anyone responsible to led a SaaS company and/or calculate and present your top-level performance, company value-creating metrics.
4/26/202138 minutes, 38 seconds
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Podcasts + MarTech Metrics that Matter - with Ben Shapiro, Host of the MarTech Podcast

Benjamin Shapiro started his internet marketing career at eBay, one of the first, largest and most data-driven marketplaces in the world.  Ben's 7 years at eBay provided him the foundation of being a great digital marketer, including SEO and content marketing.Ben caught the Silicon Valley start-up bug, and spent the next 8 years in marketing leadership at B2C early-stage companies, and then he started the MarTech podcast in 2015.Ben's initial experience with podcasting was "an experiment that went wrong".  In this case, wrong meant it was more successful than he could have even dreamed, and quickly he had over 1 Million downloads and a business that usurped his consulting business.The MarTech podcast was launched to be part of a content marketing program to drive awareness for his consulting business.  When Ben first started the podcast, there was not much quality content on MarTech.  Within just a few months, the MarTech podcast hit 10,000 downloads and began to provide monetization opportunities, and quickly evolved to be the centerpiece of his career.Ben shared his perspective on the MarTech industry, and his definition is broader than just "software" that marketers use, but also includes all of the technology, including platforms including Google, Facebook, Snap, etc. in concert with traditional "MarTech SaaS" vendors.C-Level executives have become more focused on MarTech and how it can positively impact brand as well as traditional customer acquisition and expansion metrics.  They also are becoming much more focused on how their company can harness the power of the leading platforms in concert with their internal marketing technology platforms.Ben shared how MarTech has impacted his podcasting business growth.  When building a MarTech stack, he started with what his customers needed, how he could measure their engagement and conversion rate, and thus how he could optimize revenue generation for the podcast to leverage MarTech best practices.One example was being able to capture unique identifiers for each listener on his podcast, and then drive advertising revenue through re-targeting campaigns for his sponsors.  When I asked Ben about the metrics he uses to measure the health of his podcast, he first defined the differences between impressions, downloads, unique listeners (a listen is not a listener).  The problem with using downloads as a key measurement is that a download is often not a listener.  What really matters is to know when a download is really a listener and you can target the unique listener via re-targeting to develop a valuable outcome for sponsors.Being able to map an IP address to a unique mobile identifier is one key data capture that will make your podcast much more valuable to potential sponsors and customers. Ben shares the MarTech stack he uses to accomplish this, including Libsyn,  ART19, Podsites, and Choozle.Ben shared that once you hit 10,000 downloads per month (3K-4K listeners) is a good initial point to start seriously monetizing your podcast.  This number is fungible based upon the target audience.  In fact, Ben recommended that your "target audience" needs to be broad enough to monetize the podcast, versus it being primarily a component of your content marketing program.Ben also highlighted that he has found that having a podcast of 20-30 minutes in duration will lead to a much higher listener completion rate. By taking a 50-minute podcast, and dividing it into 2 episodes has multiple positive effects, including being able to place ads at the end of the podcast which is actually heard.If you are an aspiring podcaster or a marketer desiring to learn about building a great podcast as part of your brand awareness and content marketing strategy, this is a great listen.
4/20/202127 minutes, 25 seconds
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How Positioning impacts B2B Tech Revenue Growth - with Bob Wright, Firebrick

During 2020, over 96% of B2B SaaS companies updated their messaging and positioning to counteract the short and long-term impact of the pandemic.Fortunately, there are experts on how to position your messaging and value propositions, including Bob Wright,  Managing Partner at Firebrick consulting who has helped over 400 B2B tech companies develop and launch new positioning.The first topic we discussed was why an outside consultant is required when the Chief Marketing Officer is well-positioned to led a messaging initiative.  The answer was the expertise developed from conducting positioning with 400 different companies, an experience base that no single CMO can possess.Bob highlighted why any positioning effort must start with the understanding that a cross-functional approach is critical to developing any new messaging platform.  At the end of the day, messaging and positioning must be about the buyer, and that the messaging must be about the buyer, not about your product, and its feature/function.Any positioning initiative must include sales and pre-sales consulting, in concert with customer feedback. Customer feedback is critical to gaining validation on the value that the buyer is receiving from your solution.  Being a "got to have" versus a "nice to have"  is critical to success. One key example is the  "digital transformation" inflection point that has opened the door to new, innovative vendors.  One key to successful positioning is to ensure you align your value to the buyer's and reality, not to your assumptions.B2B SaaS companies have to run three different businesses today including new customer acquisition, existing customer expansion, and retention.  This dynamic requires a "spin" on each of these three revenue-generating motion's messaging.  Though the foundation of the story needs to remain consistent, that words will need to resonate with the stated purpose.Positioning must be directly linked to key performance metrics.  Short term, it should center on increased revenue growth, higher selling price, and increased win rates.  A second measurement is how external influencers, including industry analysts who start to use components of your updated positioning.Positioning needs to be centered on the "buyer", and not industry analysts.  Positioning must  shift when speaking to the user versus the executive buyer. A short version will resonate best with users/buyers and a longer story is best for analysts and investors.Operationalizing positioning needs to cover sales, marketing, services, support, and product.  Having enablement, which includes a certification process that includes sales, services, and customer success is critical.  Do not forget to communicate the updated positioning with customers and factor their feedback into enhancements.Once everyone in the company is sick of hearing the new positioning, that is a great indication that it has stuck!Lastly, we discussed a customer's return on positioning investment.  This customer deployed a new "business-ready data" message, and within twelve months they increased ASP from $30K average contract value (ACV) to $70K ACV, and even closed eighteen new seven-figure deals in the two years following the updated positioning.We closed with the keys to success which including ensuring creating new positioning is a cross-company process that the CEO owns, not drinking too much of your own kool-aid, and removing overused words like scalable, easy to use, flexible, agility, and collaborative - these words mean nothing anymore and worse are boring!If your messaging and company are not standing out from the crowd, this is a great listen to hear the insights and advice from 400+ positioning programs.
4/14/202130 minutes, 37 seconds
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Usage Based Pricing + Chief Monetization Officer - with Chris Mele, CEO Software Pricing Partners

Product Led Growth and Usage-Based Pricing are two of the hottest trends in the B2B SaaS and Cloud industry.  Annual subscription pricing has been a hallmark of the financial model for SaaS companies.  Lately, the move to Usage-Based pricing has attracted investor demand that is pushing Enterprise Value to Revenue multiples up to 15x-25x. Chris Mele, CEO of Software Pricing Partners discussed the caution around moving too quickly to Usage-Based pricing, and provides advice developed from consulting with hundreds of software and SaaS companies on their monetization strategy....yes monetization goes beyond just pricing!First, Chris highlights that "Consumption-Based Pricing" has been around for decades, and that there is not one model - there are many gradients of usage variables.  As an example, pricing based upon the number of locations or even the number of users are examples of consumption-based pricing, so it is critical to understand how the usage variable selected is directly aligned to customer value received.Next, we discussed in greater detail how critical it is to ensure that any usage-based pricing model is carefully evaluated and then validated by the customer as to the value they are receiving from the "pricing variable" that you select.  Customer Advisory Boards are one great source of pricing model feedback, specifically as it relates to the value they receive.  In fact, these sessions will often uncover value nuggets that you were not aware existed.Chris highlights that when considering a pricing model change, a foundational premise is to do "NO HARM" to your existing customer and revenue base.  Even as you test pricing models with existing customer's feedback, ensure they understand that their current pricing will be honored with a grandfather clause IF the new pricing model is deployed.A best practice is to implement new pricing first with either a new product and/or a new target market as not to do any damage to the existing customer base and their revenue.As Product Led Growth models continue to evolve, pricing models will be impacted.  Pricing is more than a one-time event, or even a single-dimensional subject, as packaging, product functionality, product roadmap, and go-to-market strategy are all impacted by pricing.  This is why Chris is recommending the need for a Chief Monetization Officer, who reports to the CEO.  It is their primary responsibility to ensure that all cross-functional impacts and requirements of a monetization strategy, including pricing, are considered and understood prior to any decisions or roll-out of a Usage-Based Pricing strategy.For some companies, the primary responsibility for pricing may reside within Marketing, but in the Product Led Growth economy, Chris recommends that monetization is best positioned within a Chief Product Officers domain if the company decides that a Chief Monetization Officer is not the best path at the present time.If you are considering a Usage-Based Pricing model, this episode is chalked full of insights and perspectives that can only be gained from the depth and breadth of pricing model experiences that someone like Chris Mele possesses.
4/7/202140 minutes, 50 seconds
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Measuring the Impact of Sales Enablement - with Elay Cohen, founder and CEO, SalesHood

Imagine being asked by Marc Benioff, founder and CEO of Salesforce to ensure that every member of your sales organization can effectively deliver and communicate the latest presentation and messaging that he had just developed.  Then after traveling around the world to execute this directive, Marc informs you that the messaging and presentation has been updated, and you need to do it all over again!Our guest, Elay Cohen founder and CEO of SalesHood experienced that exact situation when he was Vice President of Sales Productivity at Salesforce. His experience as Salesforce was a catalyst to Elay founding a SaaS company focused on using technology to make sales enablement more scalable, automated, and on-going.One of the first topics we discussed was the metrics that should be used to measure the business impact of the Sales Enablement function.  Elay highlighted "time to ramp" and "time to productivity", defined as time to first deal and second deal closed, and time to hitting quota as the first metric to measure, followed by win rates, average contract value, and sales cycle length.The conversation highlighted the above sales productivity metrics are leading indicators that directly impact higher level, company metrics such as ARR growth, CAC Payback Period, and other critical, company value-creating metrics that the CEO and CFO track and present to investors and the board.Sales productivity,  defined as the percentage of sales professional meeting quota was also discussed.  Elay called this as distribution of sales attainment, and this metric is indeed important, but not as a leading indicator of sales performance.Benchmarking current sales productivity metrics is a requisite baseline activity to measure the impact of sales enablement.   Then the conversation progressed to whether sales enablement will evolve to revenue enablement or Go-To-Market enablement.  Elay highlighted that Sales Enablement is a good place to start the introduction of modern learning techniques, and then the results will encourage other departments to adopt the program.The growing importance of Net Dollar Retention was introduced as a company-level key performance indicator that foretells why Customer Success will become a great next candidate to apply the enablement techniques deployed in sales.We then discussed that enabling sales management is just as critical to individual contributor sales resource enablement.  Front line management requires a program that includes coaching, recruiting, interviewing, running forecast calls, and conducting territory reviews. Simply providing a playbook on "what to do" will not work and sales enablement needs to sit down and coach alongside the manager to ensure they benefit from feedback from coaching.If increasing customer acquisition and customer expansion performance and productivity is an opportunity you are interested in learning more about, this is a great episode for you.
3/30/202136 minutes, 23 seconds
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Lessons Learned from being a 6x SaaS VP Sales - with Scott Leese

Experience is the best teacher. In this episode of the Metrics that Measure Up with Scott Leese we take a deep dive into how experience has informed his career journey.Scott has over twenty years of experience as a six time SaaS VP of Sales, and most amazingly, his average tenure for each role was greater than 3 years in a role that typically experiences a 14-18 month tenure.  Scott shares some of his lessons learned and secrets to his sustained success.First, Scott highlighted how critical a Sales Operations leader is to become the foundation of success.  Secondly, Scott talked about his own journey to learning how to hire better candidates which has a material impact on a VP Sales ability to be successful in early stage SaaS companies.Next we talked about the important of "sales process" and why Scott says he would even design and implement a structured sales process even before he would hire the first sales resource.  Scott says one of the most common mistakes founders make is not to document the sales process that got them the first few deals, and provides insights into the initial scaling of the sales organization.Stage appropriate VP Sales is a common topic and discussion amongst investors, founders, CEO's and even VP's of Sales. Scott's recommendation is to ensure that you design your VP of Sales career journey to embrace and experience every stage of growth.  Scott loved the role of being an early stage of VP Sales at SaaS companies, but did find that bias was created that certain "VP Sales" profiles get labeled as only an early stage VP Sales.  This discussion led to why stock option programs that are historically based upon time - 4 years is the standard but should be aligned to size/growth accomplishments to reward achieving the goal versus a time horizon that is seldom achieved by the VP Sales in early stage SaaS companies.  The other option discussed was to agree on a one-time bonus based upon hitting a pre-defined revenue level, such as $25M or $50M.Scott has leveraged his 20+ years of VP Sales experience to launch his own his own VP Sales consultancy, writing two books including "Rep to Sales Manager",  a quickly growing, weekly Thursday Night Sales event, the Surf and Sales event and most recently his own private patreon.  Scott highlighted that he built his network and the foundational elements of his entrepreneur journey while he was a full time, VP Sales.Scott also shared how his side hustles, including real estate, his books proceeds and even hold the initial Surf and Sales event during his annual two weeks of PTO.  One caveat was ENSURE you are hitting your quota and goals before even considering taking this approach. During the episode we created the concept of "micro-entrepreneurship" which is an interesting step by step approach to moving from employee to entrepreneur.Lastly, Scott discussed that his initial catalyst to building his LinkedIn following was trying to save money on sales rep recruiting.  As a result, not only did Scott eliminate the majority of his recruiting costs, he quickly saw the secondary benefit of building his LinkedIn following.  He supplement his outreach with content that he thought sales professionals were in desperate need to see, read and learn from and not be charged for this type of educational content.If you love the world of B2B Sales,  and are considering creating your own company  some day, this is a great listen.
3/23/202133 minutes, 53 seconds
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Global SaaS Start-Up Community Growth - with Alex Theuma, SaaStock

In this episode of the Metrics that Measure Up podcast, we speak with Alex Theuma, the founder and CEO of SaaStock and the SaaS Revolution podcast.Alex started his career as an enterprise sales professional, and identified his passion for SaaS as he started to write a blog on all things SaaS, called SaaScribe.  SaaScribe quickly morphed into a community blog, and enabled Alex to build deep and broad connections across the SaaS ecosystem.Based upon the community of SaaS entrepreneurs that developed, Alex identified the opportunity to launch a European SaaS event.  Even though Alex was preparing to be a first time father in three months,  Alex  jumped head first into launching SaaStock and the first event in 2016 included 700 attendees from over 34 countries.Alex's initial vision behind SaaStock remains consistent to today - to help SaaS founders grow and find success in their SaaS based entrepreneurial venture.  The SaaStock Mission is to make a real difference to those participating  in the SaaS industry across the world.  Being global was not part of the initial vision, as SaaStock was started to focus on SaaS founders across Europe.   However, the first SaaStock event in Dublin attracted attendees from 34 different countries.  With that as the backdrop, SaaStock expanded quickly to be the first global events company for SaaS founders with events in multiple countries around the world.  As the event began to grow, Alex started to partner with communities, initially in Brazil to develop a global footprint.  In fact, SaaStock started their global expansion by partnering the Brazil SaaS Forum and now has expanded to SaaStock LATAM.  Then, Alex expanded into Asia-Pacific.  One material finding was that most SaaS companies in Asia-Pacific need to think globally early on to have a meaningful Target Addressable Market.  With the largest SaaS event competitor being headquartered in Silicon Valley, SaaStock initial decided to enter the US market with conferences in New York.  Then in 2019 they identified the opportunity to hold an event in downtown San Francisco.2020 brought the reality of needing to pivot from in-person events to virtual events, and was the catalyst for SaaStock Remote.  True to their global vision, SaaStock remote could not be conducted just in the 8AM - 5PM US time. So, they pulled the time forward to start at noon in Europe to 10PM in Europe, allowing for European and US SaaS entrepreneurs all to attend.  SaaStock Remote LATAM and SaaStock Remote APAC are being held as focused, dedicated virtual events for those specific geographies.Even though 2020  was a down economic period due to the impact of COVID, the SaaS economy continued to thrive.  Much like the larger, public SaaS companies, after an initial reaction to cut expenses in March, SaaS start-ups started to quickly emerge into hyper growth in 2H20.  Hopin is an example of a European SaaS company that experienced hyper growth, which grew to a $2B valuation within 18 months of launching!When I asked Alex which area of the world he saw the fasted growing for SaaS companies, he first answered that the SaaS world is becoming much flatter, and that San Francisco is not longer the only place to start a SaaS company.  Alex did highlight Latin America as a force to be considered for great SaaS unicorns over the next few years.If your goal is be a global SaaS company, this is a great listen!
3/16/202131 minutes, 44 seconds
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Revenue Intelligence + Advanced Sales Math - with Todd Abbott, InsightSquared CEO

In this episode, we discuss the revolutionary concepts of Revenue Intelligence and Advanced Sales Math with Todd Abbott, CEO at InsightSquared.Revenue Intelligence and Advanced Sales Math are critical competencies to successfully maneuver in todays B2B SaaS reality of compressed sales cycle and the changing customer buying journey.The good news - traditional metrics including lead conversion rates, close rates, pipeline coverage ratio, and sales rep productivity still are helpful to calculate basic sales math. Basic sales math is essentially what level of “X” inputs are required to achieve “Y” outcomes.  X being primarily marketing + sales investments and Y being new revenue.Advanced Sales Math takes this concept to another level, and will dramatically increase the performance of the #1 reason why B2B SaaS CRO’s and VP Sales lifespan is less than 18 months. The #1 reason the average CRO / VP Sales tenure is so short - the inherent challenges and low performance of FORECASTING!Research highlights that only 54% of opportunities forecasted to close actually close in the original “closing” accounting period. The average number of times an opportunity “pushes” or changes forecasted close data is 3+ time.A key, new variable in advanced sales math is the ability to factor in buyer engagement metrics, across each step of the buying process across every resource at both the buyer and the seller.  The challenge of traditional “event” based sales processes and forecasting were dependent upon the accuracy and timeliness of data  in CRM systemsThe proliferation of point solution in martech and salestech has led to even more complexity of filtering through the noise to find the right signals to increase forecast accuracy.  Having  integrated Go-To-Market teams coupled with an integrated and unified GTM data source is mandatory to enhance revenue intelligence leading to improved forecast performanceThe concepts covered in this episode of Metrics that Measure Up are thought provoking, and even possibly career preserving for any CEO, CFO and CRO in todays B2B SaaS ecosystem.
3/1/202138 minutes, 31 seconds
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Getting to WOW - Secrets of Pitching to VCs - with Bill Reichert, Garage Technology Ventures and Pegasus Tech Ventures

If you are contemplating VC funding, this episode of the Metrics that Measure Up podcast is like receiving a master's degree in pitching to VCs from Bill Reichert and his book "Getting to Wow"Key concepts covered include: Ensure your pitch follows the three C's- Clear- Compelling- CredibleCLEAR is removing the complexityDo not fall into the "experts curse" - only you have the depth of expertise on the topic- Ensure anyone can understand what you do in 1-2 sentences- Test your message with fresh brains before your pitch to VCsCOMPELLING - Investors are human - they invest with their "heart" - not just their "head"Ensure your pitch invokes emotional engagement- Go beyond the facts and use short stories ofhow customers are being positively impacted- Imagine if..."CREDIBLE - phrases like "disrupt the entire health care industry" or "we can capture 10% of the market and have $1B in revenue" - can negatively impact your credibility- real life customer stories and proof points go much fartherPITCH DECK - their is no template that fits every pitch but a common theme is - LESS slides is much better (15 or fewer)STORY TELLING - Do not use a single story arc or start with a personal story that led to your creation-use small stories to highlight key pointsEnsure you highlight the SPEED and EFFICIENCY of your Customer Acquisition to highlight your customer acquisition process is repeatable and scalable.  Key metrics go beyond just sales cycle length and customer acquisition cost, but also efficiency metrics like Customer Lifetime Value to CAC ratio and your gross margin.Getting to WOW is based upon observing and participating in thousands of entrepreneur pitches to VC's and has been distilled into a guide for any first time or even experienced founder evaluating VC funding.
2/23/202140 minutes, 2 seconds
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Selling your Company to Salesforce - with Mike Micucci, former Salesforce Commerce Cloud, CEO

Imagine the experiences gained and lessons learned from founding your own SaaS company, selling it to Saleforce and then becoming the CEO of a Salesforce  Business Unit.That was the journey Mike Micucci, who recently left Salesforce eleven years after selling his start-up to Salesforce in 2009 and ultimately rose through the ranks to be the CEO of the Commerce Cloud business.Mike shares the story behind founding GroupSwim, an early B2B collaboration platform that became the foundation for Salesforce Chatter.  Then Mike shares the story behind how community cloud and commerce cloud came together, with both a B2B and B2C - or even a B2B2C offering.  Over the last 10 years, Commerce Cloud has grown to be over a $1B business  and you can rest assured that Metrics were at the heart of most of Mike's strategic decisions.Mike's experiences started when I first met Mike in the initial "vortex" of B2B eCommerce in 1997 - 2001  where he was an integral part of the product management senior leadership teams at Netscape and Commerce One.  Then in 2005 he founded GroupSwim, and had firmly established Product Market Fit by the beginning of 2009 when he received two different offers to purchase GroupSwim.Following the GroupSwim acquisition, Mike decided to accept the opportunity to be part of the Corporate Social Network initiative within Salesforce - yes Chatter which launched in 2010.  From that experience, Mike pitched the concept of "Community Cloud" to Marc Benioff and Parker Harris. The vision was to build a solution to connect the different "communities" within Salesforce to other communities and companies.By 2020, Community Cloud had reached 650 million users.  Interesting that Community Cloud is measured by usage, growth and how much revenue they influence on the other core clouds. Mike shares the Salesforce relentless focus on customer input and feedback into the product lifecycle, especially through the use of Customer Advisory Boards (CAB's) which provides a primary to the product roadmap.  In fact, the concept of Commerce Cloud was originally stimulated by a customer who had built their own commerce capability into Community Cloud in 2014.Later in 2014 Salesforce launched Commerce Cloud at Dreamforce.  By 2016 Community Cloud and Commerce Cloud became one Salesforce Cloud business unit.  Mike share how Digital Commerce grew more in 2020 then in the past few years combined.  When COVID first hit, Mike saw his dashboards showing how volume on Commerce Cloud spiked starting in March. Finally, Mike shared he segments metrics into usage metrics and operational metrics.  Operational metrics on commerce starts with GMV (Gross Merchandise Value)  which hit over $50B GMV in 2020.  DAU/MAU  (Daily Average Users/Monthly Average Users) was a key metric used to evaluate the health of his business unit.  ACV (Annual  Contract Value), AOV (Average Order Value)  and churn was also tracked daily as key operational metrics.   Mike also shares why "branding" and "pricing" are the two hardest aspects of building a Cloud business.  In fact, he went into detail on the benefit of a blended pricing model that uses both a  subscription model plus usage based pricing levers.  One of the hardest parts of a variable usage based pricing model is how best to forecast variable revenue.Mike's story reflects the opportunity, reality and journey that so many corporate leaders in the Cloud have experienced over the last 20+ years.  If you are looking for inspiration coupled with detailed insights into how an entrepreneur's journey can evolve from the corporate world to being a founder and then on to the CEO of a $1B+ cloud business, this is a great listen!
2/23/202135 minutes, 54 seconds
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Breaking Barriers in B2B Sales - with Gidget Pugh, Socially Focused

Breaking into B2B Sales, especially Enterprise level B2B sales is still a challenge for many in todays Cloud and SaaS industry.  Even more difficult for those who do not have relevant experience,  ore connections and thus the access and opportunity that comes with many forms of inherent privilege.Gidget Pugh broke through those barriers, not in 2021 but beginning in 1998 with the power of self-confidence, drive and often the most important stimulus of all - a compelling reason to bet on yourself.In this episode of the Metrics that Measure Up, we speak with Gidget Pugh a 20+ year veteran in B2B sales who has recently transitioned into founding and launching her own social media agency focused on the community that she is so passionate about - small business - starting in the town that made Gidget who she is - Oakland, California.Gidget shares her journey from mortician - yes a mortician to her first role in B2B Sales at QRS.  QRS was the world's largest subscription platform for sharing UPC codes in their product catalogue across the retail industry supply chain in 1998. Then she leverage that experience to working at household technology brand names including Oracle and Facebook.One of the main topics we discussed was how Gidget maneuvered within an industry and companies where often she was the only female, African American in the sales organization if not in the entire company.  A recurring theme of "self-confidence" and "color blindness" were critical to her in every environment she entered.We then move on to her decision to leave the corporate world to launch her own social media agency, Socially Focused to help small and medium size businesses to harness the power of social media and on-line engagement building to counter the impact of COVID on their physical presence business and prepare them for the world of digital commerce that has been accelerated by the experiences and resultant digital transformations of every industry.This is an amazing story of drive, determination and self-confidence that provides everyone looking to move beyond the environment of their current state into the future of opportunity a great story of inspiration and reality all in one.
2/16/202122 minutes, 19 seconds
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Building your Network versus Networking - in Silicon Valley and Beyond with M.R. Rangaswami

M.R. Rangaswami is an enterprise software executive, angel investor, entrepreneur, corporate eco-strategy expert, community builder, and philanthropist.  Wow, is right as his accomplishments are admirable.  M.R., as he is known across the software and Cloud/SaaS industry, and around the globe founded the Sandhill Group and in 1997.   In fact, the Wall Street Journal placed MR on their front page to highlight his early commitment and success as a leading angel investor in the early days of the Enterprise software movement in Silicon Valley.  With over forty years in Silicon Valley,  M.R.  is probably the most networked person in the industry, through his experiences and connections from founding the Enterprise Software Conference, the Enterprise Retreat for the top SaaS CEOs, the Eco-Forum which is a membership only community of the top 100 executives responsible for driving sustainable green initiatives in Fortune 500 companies, and most recently, Indiaspora to transform the success of Indian American's into meaningful impact worldwide.In this episode, MR discusses the secrets to building his network in Silicon Valley and beyond.  He highlights the importance of understanding the difference in building your network versus networking.  A key attribute to building a strong, lasting network is to have no expectations beyond helping those in your professional network.  Don't sell, don's solicit business, just identify how you can help each person in your network and watch the dividends pay back over the long term.MR and I cover the evolution of the Enterprise software industy to the Enterprise Cloud/SaaS market, the impact that leading cloud and technology companies are having on energy efficiency and green initiatives.  If you are a fan of the Silicon Valley experience, and curious to understand how one of the industry's best and most well respected connectors has built his network and reputation, this is a must listen.
2/8/202128 minutes, 16 seconds
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B2B SaaS Metrics that Matter to Growth Stage VCs - with Doug Landis, Emergence Capital

If you are responsible for driving revenue growth at a SaaS company that is preparing to raise Series A or Series B funding, what are the key metrics investors will expect you to know cold?That is exactly what Doug Landis,  Growth Partner at Emergence Capital shares on this episode of the Metrics that Measure Up podcast.Doug's journey to becoming Growth Partner at Emergence Capital, the first Venture Capital firm created specifically to invest in SaaS companies, is one of pedigree. Starting at Google as a skills productivity manager, then on to corporate sales productivity at Salesforce, followed by the position of Chief Story teller at Box and now, Growth Partner at Emergence Capital.During this episode, we discuss a wide variety of topics including the top metrics that every Chief Revenue Officer and SVP Sales should now before having a meeting with a growth stage fund, when trying to raise a Series A or Series B round of financing.The conversation moves on to the importance of understanding your customer acquisition and retention metrics on a cohort by cohort basis.  Sales and Marketing integration versus alignment became a critical topic, and one that directly impacts the role of the CRO and the performance of the key customer acquisition performance metrics.Finally, we discuss the concept of pattern recognition, which is a key skill that VC's and experiences revenue leaders alike must develop to be successful.  An element of pattern recognition is that it is critical to understand industry benchmarks that are relevant and appropriate for your company, including stage, size, annual contract value and distribution model.This is a fast moving, high energy discussion that highlights why Doug is known as an excellent story teller!
2/2/202136 minutes, 7 seconds
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B2B SaaS Finance and Metrics - A European Perspective - with Joyce Mackenzie Liu, Pegafund

As businesses shift towards the Cloud, SaaS has become the de facto distribution method for modern day software solutions across the US and increasingly so in Europe. Joyce Mackenzie Liu, Founder of Pegafund which provides go-to market strategy and financial planning services to early stage, high growth B2B SaaS companies shares her perspective on the European ecosystem.In this episode, Joyce shares that the majority of investment volume in European SaaS companies occurs in the pre-seed, seed and Series A stages of funding in large part thanks to generous government support. European and country-specific governments remain the largest investor in technology and entrepreneurship, providing direct and indirect funding in the form of individual tax credits, startup grants, and VC equity and debt fund managers.The beauty and challenge of scaling an European SaaS company is the fragmentation of the continent and the distinct business cultures in each region.  Europe can be broken down into 8 smaller "target markets" : 1) UK and Ireland; 2) Scandinavia/Nordics; 3) Baltics; 4) Germany and DACH; 5) Benelux (Netherlands and Belgium); 6) Spain and Portugal; 7) Italy; and 8) Eastern Europe.  Each country within a sub-region has its own legal and tax framework as well as business customs. This market reality requires different go-to market motions for each region, making it more difficult to scale across Europe. This phenomenon encourages more creative and out-of-the-box thinking which Joyce believes leads to a relative higher likelihood of European SaaS companies having successful US expansion when go-to market fit has been achieved across Europe.The main KPI's for SaaS companies across Europe are very similar to the U.S.; the metrics also evolve in tandem at each stage of business maturity: < $2M ARR, $2-5M ARR, $5-10M ARR and > $10M ARR. In order to get to the right metrics, it requires a business, its leaders and Board members to invest early into data quality and SaaS reporting & metrics, ideally before raising an institutional Series A funding round.We also talked through some examples of private and public B2B software companies in Europe and the US, and how those with impressive growth metrics and unit economics command much higher valuations from investors and buyers alike.  In fact, at over $400 million in ARR, UiPath, a business founded in Romania, is one of the fastest growing global enterprise software companies today.The episode closes off with some tips and best practices for European SaaS companies launching and expanding into the U.S. market.
1/19/202145 minutes, 55 seconds
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The Wayback Machine + Internet Archive with Brewster Kahle - Founder and Chief Librarian

Have you ever thought it would be cool to see a website from 5 years ago, 10 years ago, even 20 years ago?That is exactly the vision that Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive and The Wayback Machine first started to develop in the late 1990's!In fact, Brewster was developing the Wayback Machine simultaneously to running Alexa Internet, one of the first internet browser plug-ins to track user web activity, which was ultimately sold to Amazon in 1999 for $250M in Amazon stock!Over the last 20 years, the Internet Archive has built the worlds largest archive of internet content - think the LIBRARY of the Internet.  The magnitude is incredible:- 516 Billion Web Pages- 70 Petabytes of Storage- 6 Million Movies and Videos- 600,000 Software Programs- 1.5 Million Audio Files- 1.5M Daily UsersBrewster was voted into the Internet Hall of Fame (yes, their is an Internet Hall of Fame), and is one of the most visionary, insightful and visionaries in the Internet ecosystem.Listen to this 30 minute session with Brewster and you will come away with a sense of excitement and possibilities that we have not yet realized in the internet economy!
1/19/202137 minutes, 28 seconds
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Strategic Acquisition or IPO? - with Tom Reilly - Former CEO, Cloudera and ArcSight

The most interesting dilemma for a CEO?  The decision that comes with having the option to go public or accept a strategic acquisition offer.Tom Reilly, former CEO at Cloudera has been a CEO with the experience of selling a company to IBM, another company to HP and then taking Cloudera public after raising $766.5M from strategic partner, Intel.Tom says a CEO should invest 20% - 30% of their time working with strategic partners - do not outsource to your partnership team.  In fact, this advice comes from the experience of Tom working closely with the CEO at Intel which led to their strategic investment in Cloudera.Strategic buyers use partnerships to evaluate the value and fit of a strategic acquisition.  It is critical to have well defined performance metrics for strategic partnerships, including close rates, annual contract value, gross and net dollar retention rate and CAC payback period to highlight the financial performance and efficiency of strategic partnerships.We then turned to discuss the decision to go public versus accepting a strategic acquisition offer.  Tom shares that IPOs  and being a public company do have their challenges - and that there are many great options including Private Equity, Growth Equity and now SPACS!Being public comes with heightened scrutiny on quarterly performance and transparency - which can be distracting.  Developing the capability and culture of being able to accurately forecast quarterly revenue, margins and provide longer term guidance needs to a be a focus and competency developed three to four quarters before an IPOHot take #1 - being capital constrained can led to learning how to operate more efficiently - it may not always be best to take a lot more capital than needed OR at least ensure the culture of efficiency is maintained even after taking a large sum of investmentHot take #2 - companies have to start early to instrument, capture, analyze and make metrics informed decisions earlier and faster - numbers do not lie!!!#IPO #SaaS #cloud 
1/12/202132 minutes, 51 seconds
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LinkedIn Co-founder Konstantin Guericke - The keys to building a long lasting B2B Network

B2B Communities caught fire in 2020 - especially B2B sales communities.  Revenue Collective, Sales Hacker, Modern Sales Pros, RevGenuis, and Bravado all dramatically increased their membership and levels of engagement following the onset of COVID.Who better to discuss the trend of B2B communities, than a founder of the world's largest B2B network, LinkedIn.  Konstantin shares the key differences between a B2B  community and a B2B networkKonstantin shares the four variables that are required to build a scalable, sustainable and engaging B2B network.  He also discusses the techniques that LinkedIn used to quickly reach 1M+ members, and how "Social Capital" was key to gaining initial momentum.Did you know that Inmails used to cost $10 each, or that the only way to join LinkedIn initially was through a referral?In a classic entrepreneurial pivot, we moved quickly from the back story of LinkedIn's early success to how walking meetings were a hallmark of the early days at LinkedIn, and have retained their allure to Konstantin as he mentors and advises new entrepreneurs.Lastly, we discuss Konstantin's founders' journey and he shares some advice based upon his own experiences at LinkedIn.
1/5/202140 minutes, 5 seconds
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An Entrepreneur's Inner Voice of Doubt - with Mike Smerklo, Next Coast Ventures and Mr. Monkey and Me author

Mike Smerklo is by any measure a story of entrepreneurial success.   Mike founded a search fund which led to the early stage acquisition of ServiceSource, and he took it to over $300M in revenue,  took the company public, and was the CEO for over 13 years.Then Mike followed his passion to help fellow entrepreneurs and founded Next Coast Ventures in Austin, Texas long before Austin was being heralded as the next Silicon Valley for software.His secret, which threatened his success throughout his founder's journey is now out in the open,  in his book, Mr. Monkey and Me.  Mr. Monkey is a symbol for the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that every entrepreneur and founding CEO will face.During the podcast, Mike shares his "SHAPE" framework, to help fellow entreprenuers understand and mitigate that inner voice of doubt...the imposter syndrome.  SHAPE is an acronym for Self-Awareness, Help, Authenticity, Persistence, and Expectations.During our conversation, we also talk about the "strength" of showing vulnerability by asking for help, even when you think as the CEO you need to always portray strength by having the answer to any impossible expectation.Mike shares that you are not alone with those private thoughts of fear, uncertainty, and doubt that comes with the entrepreneurial and CEO journey, and provides some helpful advice and even a framework to make your "Mr. Monkey" for favorite frienemy.
12/29/202025 minutes, 9 seconds
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Selling the Cloud - Part 2 with Paul Melchiorre and Mark Petruzzi

In this episode, we continue the discussion with the authors of Selling the Cloud. Building upon the first half of our conversation where we discussed the need for grit and passion to be success full in Enterprise sales, we move into several new topics. The Power of No is a key skill to develop.  A great enterprise sales professional is qualifying prospects out every step of the process to reduce time investment on low probability to close opportunities.  Often the most important "no" is to walk away from blind RFP's that you have had no opportunity to influence or understand before receiving. The other skill is to understand "no means no" but also to ensure the prospect understands you are available to help if they need to re-evaluate their decision that did not include you.The importance of credibility and trust, often starts with the enterprise sales professional knowing when to walk away from an opportunity where you know your solution is not appropriate.  Buyers will respect your integrity, and your trust capital over the long term will grow.One fundamental step to being able to walk away from poor fit deals - investing more time in building a high quality, healthy pipeline.   If you build more pipeline than you think is required, you will not force-fit your solution into opportunities you should have walked away from in the first place.We discussed their hot take that  "opportunities close themselves".   If the enterprise sales professionals manage the process by ensuring the buyer has all of the information they need to make a decision, that closing is a natural step, and not the primary objective!?We also discuss why Customer Success is not just a department - it is the responsibility of everyone who touches the customer, especially sales.  In today's land and expand, recurring revenue model, having a Chief Revenue Officer who owns customer acquisition, expansion and retention is a key element to ensuring customer success is a culture...not just a function.Finally, we bring out the crystal ball by having Mark and Paul share their perspectives on how Artificial Intelligence (AI) will impact Selling the Cloud...if you are an Enterprise sales professional you will like what they have to say which is AI will serve to decrease the time spent on administration and increase the time available to invest in serving the prospect!!!
12/23/202033 minutes, 3 seconds
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Selling the Cloud - Part 1 with Paul Melchiorre and Mark Petruzzi

In this episode of the Metrics that Measure Up podcast we are joined by Paul Melchiorre and Mark Petruzzi - authors of Selling the Cloud.Paul has over 30 years of experience in enterprise sales leadership, at leading companies including  Anaplan, Ariba,  SAP, and now in Private Equity.  Mark brings over 30 years of experience in strategic consulting firms including Deloitte, N3, Accenture and operating roles at Oracle, and Ultimate Software.GRIT was the first topic we covered as a required attribute for every enterprise sales professional. Paul shared some of his best tips to identify grit during the interview process.  Mark added the importance of passion as a critical component of the "WHY" behind grit.We also discuss "process versus playbook", and why flexibility differentiates good versus great in the SaaS industry.   Paul shares why he believes that no one sales methodology is that much better than another and that the primary benefit is the standardization of language while also maintaining the flexibility to embrace the reality of each company.Playbooks that work at a large, established entity like Salesforce is most likely at a < $10M company without the same brand name recognition....flexibility is key.My favorite topic was discussing why  "Discovery" is the most important phase of the sales process.  Being able to ask meaningful questions, listen to the answers, and learning everything possible about why the buyer will really buy by putting yourself in their shoes...and it's not about your product's feature/function.Next, we discuss "3 Level Listening", which includes gathering data, identifying what is meaningful to the buyer, as an individual first before their company, and then applying it to your efforts. Mark shared how Charlie Green and his trusted advisor approach highlights the need to control your own ego, be present in listening, and focusing on truly understanding what the buyer is saying - active listening + thinking aloud.Paul then shares why "balance" of performance across the entire sales organization is so critical to building a high-performance organization.  Balance was defined as having at least 70%+ of sales reps hitting quota.Finally, Mark shares the lessons he learned from Hollywood and why storytelling is so important to being a top-performing enterprise sales professional - especially customer stories!
12/21/202032 minutes, 31 seconds
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Revenue Team Communities - with Jared Robin, RevGenius

B2B Sales communities are all the rage in 2020.  Sales Hacker, Modern Sales Pro, Bravado, Revenue Collective and now RevGenius are building B2B sales communities to provide experiences, connections, ideas, and research.Jared Robin, co-founder at RevGenius recently joined the podcast to share the story behind Rev Genius and his vision for the community."Necessity is the mother of invention" a catalyst for RevGenius as Jared contemplated the next step in his career journey due to the impact of COVID. Jared felt too many communities felt "exclusive" and were not truly open RevGenius started as a LinkedIn Group to share events for B2B sales professionalsJared's desire to include members across revenue teams, including marketing, sales development, RevOps, etc. was a goal to enhance "revenue team alignment" .  Jared shared his thought that the path to CRO is not only through sales, so it's critical to gain insights, experiences, and connections across every revenue team functionThree key metrics to measure the success of RevGenius- Member Acquisition- Member Engagement- Monetization - not a top priority.....yetJared strongly believes that professionals need to take responsibility for growth,  and not depend solely on the training and experiences you gain from their current employer. If you want to level-up or grow = community involvementTwo key thoughts for everyone to make the community vibrant- Always be Helping- Always be LearningIf you are interested in learning more about building on-line communities or to evaluate why you will join a revenue team community, this episode if chalked full of insights.
12/15/202025 minutes, 29 seconds
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Marketing and Sales Alignment - How it can impact Customer Acquisition Performance - with Howard Brown - ringDNA

In this episode of the Metrics that Measure Up podcast we are joined by Howard Brown,  Founder and CEO of ringDNA.How does being a clinical psychologist lead to founding a Sales Engagement Platform company?  Howard shares the common theme - helping individuals and companies overcome THEIR challengesKey topics discussed include that if B2B companies are too focused on internal processes leading versus the customer's motivation to buy.  Sales training represents a major opportunity to improve alignment to the buyer's journey, especially the prospect's personal needs.  Howard discusses why increasing business acumen is a significant area of opportunity.We also discuss that "coaching" is different from training and a large opportunity to increase sales productivity.  You should be asking yourself,  how much time are sales managers investing in 1:1 coaching versus administration, planning and managing versus coaching.Sales #1 job is to HELP buyers make a decision and it may not be your solution - play the long game. Too much focus on quarterly numbers versus customer needs can lead to short term gains at the expense of long term company valueHoward shares his insights are why Marketing, Sales and CS alignment STARTS with aligning to the buyer's journey AND starts at the top with the CEO!  Howard experience is that Go-To-Market models need to be re-designed, centralized, and informed by customer journey dataHoward summarizes our discussion with the quote " We are moving to an Experience Economy" and companies that align to the customer journey will be the long term winners!!!
12/8/202031 minutes, 56 seconds
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Founding Father of Marketing Automation - Anurag Khemka

Founding a B2B SaaS company is an exhilarating, yet high-risk experience. Creating a new market category at the same time even higher risk and often serves primarily to pave the path for second-generation market entrants who learn from the successes and failures of the first generation.Anurag Khemka, is a founding father of B2B Marketing Automation. Back in 1996, when the internet was first being commercialized, most B2B marketers were just starting to think about how to develop more personal, 1:1 relationships with potential customers.Anurag founded MarketFirst, the first generation of enterprise-class marketing automation technology.  Developing the software was the easy part, educating an entire market on how to design, build, and execute B2B marketing campaigns on the internet was the real challenge.Marketing Automation is now one of the most mature segments of the MarTech market (8K+ companies).  Marketing Operations is a mature, yet still evolving profession that was spawned out of the need to manage and maximize the return on Marketing Automation investments.Anurag is a founding father of both Marketing Automation and Marketing Operations, and for anyone who seeks to better understand how history predicts the future,  you should listen to this episode!
12/2/202034 minutes, 15 seconds
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The Founder's Journey - with DocuSign founding CEO - Court Lorenzini

In this episode of the Metrics that Measure Up podcast - Court Lorenzini, Founding CEO at DocuSign discusses his journey to co-Founding DocuSign and then his decision to leave after five years to found two more companies.During our conversation, Court shared his unique path to DocuSign, including his father's legacy as a founding father of Silicon Valley and his habit of recording his observations of how people managed difficult situations starting at the age of 13.Court  shares his belief that most CEO's are strongest or prefer one of the three stages that every start-up moves through including: 1) Napkin to Product-Market Fit; 2) Rapid Growth and; 3) Profitability.  Court loves, and used the term "Fills my Cup"  when discussing the joy he finds from starting companies and achieving Product-Market Fit.Court also shares his two key pieces of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs including: 1) Pressure test your idea rigorously to the point of trying to kill it early and often and; 2) Learn from predecessors who have attempted to blaze a similar path in your same market previously.Finally, Court shares his premise that founders created 70% of Terminal Value in the first five years of a companies life.  So, if your cup is filled by creating and establishing product-market fit, and you believe in statistical probability, it may serve founders better to repeat the company creation process multiple times to optimize the probability of great success.
11/18/202033 minutes, 29 seconds
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KPIs that SaaS CFOs track - with David Appel - Sage Intacct

In this episode of the Metrics that Measure Up podcast - David Appel, Head of the SaaS Vertical at Sage Intacct shares his insights and lessons learned from over 1,500+ SaaS financial solution implementations.During our conversation, David and Ray discuss several key attributes and approaches that SaaS CFOs take to ensure the data, metrics and KPIs they collect can tell the story of what the "financial data" is telling.Great finance leaders make sure financial information and KPIs get out to everyone as soon as possible to enable timely, data-driven, metrics information decision making.  Great CEOs and CFOs ensure the measures that each department have in place are directly linked to the corporate objectives, and not allow functional leaders to primarily highlight those metrics that show their function in the best light, but not for the benefit of the entire company.Dave ends this episode with a quote from Steve Jobs "Building great companies is not dependant on the hierarchies that run companies, but they are built upon the ideas that run companies".
11/6/202027 minutes, 46 seconds
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Lessons Learned from Co-Founding Marketo and Engagio - with Jon Miller

In this episode of the Metrics that Measure Up podcast, we talk with Jon Miller, co-founder of Marketo and Engagio,  and now Chief Product Officer at Demandbase is a MarTech visionary. Marketo was purchased in 2018 by Adobe for $4.75B, and Engagio was recently acquired by Demandbase.Jon shared the B2B Marketing metrics that matter and the lessons learned in his personal career journey as a founding father and leading MarTech visionary.Jon shared how 1st gen Marketing Automation was designed to automate a linear process with discrete hand-offs between marketing and sales. We also discussed how today’s buying process requires insights into demand and buying intent BEFORE a buyer visits your website.We also discussed how the evolving land and expand customer acquisition model requires a non-linear, collaborative process between Marketing, Sales, and CSThe most interesting conversation for your host was Jon's perspective on the top KPIs for today's B2B Marketersincluding: 1) Pipeline Growth; 2) New + Expansion ARR; 3) Return on Investment.  B2B Marketers still need leading indicator metrics that show how buyers are progressing across the buyer journey, such as stage by stage conversion, but measurements such as website visitors, leads, and content downloads are mostly vanity metrics.As a thought leader in Account-Based Marketing and Account-Based Sales, Jon highlighted this new Customer Acquisition and Expansion model requires new KPIs and benchmarksJon also discussed his decision to leave Marketo and why the time was right now to combine Engagio and DemandbaseJon's comment that he is driven to “build the next great marketing platform”,  coupled with his career journey exemplifies his vision, commitment, and passion for marketing technology#SaaS #b2bmarketing #KPIs
10/28/202031 minutes, 14 seconds
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Middle Market Opportunity - with Thomas Stewart - National Center for the Middle Market

In today's episode of the Metrics that Measure Up podcast, Thomas Stewart, Executive  Director for the National Center for the Middle Market shares some very interesting insights into the 200,000 companies that represent 1/3 of the American economy.Highlights included that 85% of Mid-market companies are private, 33% are family owned and 17% are in the manufacturing industry.  On average, middle-market companies grow an average of 6.5% per year, 3% faster than the average S&P 500 company.Middle Market companies that view Digital Transformation as strategic and are advanced in adoption grow at an average of 9.5%, almost 50% faster than their peers.Lastly, middle-market companies buy technology very differently than larger, Enterprise companies.  They typically will not pilot or test innovation, they will and then jump in headfirst.  Definitely not your early adopter persona.A great listen for anyone responsible for doing business in the middle market - or just wants to learn more about the middle market.
10/27/202032 minutes, 2 seconds
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B2B SaaS Sales Compensation in 2020 - with Sally Duby - The Bridge Group

In today's episode of the Metrics that Measure Up, Sally Duby, Chief Sales Officer at The Bridge Grop discussed the findings from their Sales Compensation research conducted in August, 2020 in partnership with the Silicon Valley Vice President Sales Group.Sally shares benchmarks and compensation trends across a wide variety of roles including Chief Revenue Officer, Field Sales - Account Executive, Inside Sales - Account Executive, Sales Development Representative, Sales Operations and Sales Enablement.The trends identified since the latest research The Bridge Group conducted in 2018 is quite surprising.  In this episode we find unexpected trends in Equity, On-Target-Earnings by Annual Contract Value (ACV) and how Quotas vary so greatly based upon ACV.
10/20/202039 minutes, 52 seconds
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B2B SaaS KPIs - with William Cordes - KPI Sense

In this episode of the Metrics that Measure Up podcast, William Cordes, Founder and CEO of KPI Sense share the insights and perspectives gained from providing CFO and finance advisory services to  SaaS companies.One interesting insight was when William shared that Days Sales Outstanding - the time from invoice to payment  is the financial metric that has been impacted the most at  B2B SaaS companies since COVID.Other key insights discussed include why detailed monthly financial reviews have increased in importance due to the impact of delayed cash receipts, decreased new ARR, and increased cash burn, how multiple scenario analysis + dynamic planning should be used for 2021 planning.We also discussed why the B2B SaaS industry needs more consistent KPI calculation and reporting for public and private SaaS companies - but not currently covered by SEC, FINRA, FASB or GAAP regulations.Lastly, William shares the core KPI foundation that is required for an early stage B2B SaaS company needs to have in place to successfully scale including:-a solid financial data infrastructure & data structure-standard rules to ingest transaction data for analysis-scalable process that works at $5M ARR and $50M ARR-quality data that is consistently maintained
10/16/202027 minutes, 44 seconds
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Net Dollar Retention Rate - with Kris Beible - Software Equity Group

In this episode of the Metrics that Measure Up, Kristopher Beible, Vice President at Software Equity Group discusses the importance of Net Dollar Retention on SaaS company enterprise value, both for public and private companies.Based upon insights gained from over 100 private B2B SaaS company acquisitions, Kris shares how Net Dollar Retention & Gross Dollar Retention have become the top KPI that acquirers ask about in the early stage of private SaaS company acquisition due diligenceOther topics discussed include how private SaaS company acquirers have increased the priority of Gross and Net Dollar Retention rates since the on-set of COVID. We also discuss why companies need to develop a cohort-based understanding of customer acquisition costs and customer retention rates PRIOR to starting a strategic financing initiative.  In fact, a cohort-based analysis should be applied to operational decisions 12-24 months prior to starting any investment process.
10/13/202026 minutes, 8 seconds
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Product Led Growth - with Kyle Poyar - OpenView Partners

In this episode of the Metrics that Measure Up, Kyle Poyar, Vice President of Growth at OpenView Partners discusses a Product Led Growth Go-To-Market motion for B2B SaaS companies.High growth B2B SaaS companies like Zoom, Twilio, DataDog, Box and DocuSign have used a product-led go-to-market motion to decrease initial customer acquisition costs, expand the total addressable market and reduce dependency that an Enterprise sales led motion can have on getting executive buyers to engage.Topics discussed include how Gross Dollar and Net Dollar Retention Rates are different from sales led motions, critical KPIs and metrics that seem more B2C oriented and how understanding the marginal Customer Acquisition Costs for Enterprise led versus product-led cohorts is critical to understanding the overall CAC ratio.New terms and concepts for B2B SaaS leaders, including Product Qualified Leads, Natural Rate of Growth and how Free to Paid conversion rates are correlated to # touches are covered in this fast-moving, information-rich episode.
10/6/202044 minutes, 53 seconds
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Ten Laws of SaaS and Cloud - with Byron Deeter - Bessemer Venture Partners

In this episode of Metrics that Measure Up, we are joined by Byron Deeter, Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, and one of the founding fathers of SaaS and Cloud Metrics.Byron first published the 10 Laws of being SaaSy in 2008.  Over the years, B2B SaaS metrics evolved, and Byron subsequently published the 10 Laws of Cloud in 2019, which include the 6 C's of Cloud Finance.Over the years, BVP has led investments in leading Cloud Companies including DocuSign, Twilio, SendGrid, Eloqua, Shopify and LinkedIn, BVP, and specifically Byron have a world of insights and experience to share with the new entrepreneur, first-time founder and even experiences SaaS or Cloud executive.Bessemer also publishes the Cloud 100, which highlights the Top 100 private Cloud Companies and the BVP 100 Index of publicly traded SaaS and Cloud CompaniesIn today's episode we discuss the insights that the CAC Payback period provides as you evaluate how to accelerate ARR growth, the impact of "marginal" spend on non-organic and paid media customer acquisition.   Why you may need to identify your SECRET KPI, some examples of some predictive KPIs identified by Twillio, Docusign, and Shopify.  Why conducting cohort-based Gross Dollar Retention and Net Dollar Retention Rates is critical to ensure you are not under-reporting churn.If you love SaaS and Cloud Metrics, or just want to take Byron's advice to be a scholar of the industry, this podcast is a must-listen.
9/28/202045 minutes, 7 seconds
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Conversation Flow Rate - with Chris Beall - ConnectandSell

In this episode of Metrics that Measure Up, Chris Beall, CEO of ConnectandSell shares a wide variety of Key Performance Indicators and Benchmarks gained from over 10 million dials and over 500,000 B2B sales conversations - just in 2020!Chris, a Physicist by education, and self-professed data junkie provide a deeply analytical perspective into how to turn dials into conversations, and conversations into sales meetings.Chris even invokes the expertise of Chris Voss, formerly the FBI's top hostage negotiator, who says we only have 7 seconds in our first conversation with a prospect to get them to trust us sufficiently to have a productive relationship. In this episode, you will learn both benchmarks and techniques to turn dials into customers, including:Benchmarks:- Dials to Conversation- Conversation to Meeting  (Cold calls and Follow-ups)- Meeting show rates- Conversations Per day (SDR and AE)Listen to this one closely, as the episode is data rich and keeps coming at you every minute.
9/22/202040 minutes, 27 seconds
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Recruitment Metrics - with John Younger - RecruiterShare

In this episode of Metrics that Measure Up, John Younger, Founder and Chief Collaborator at RecruiterShare shares his insights developed over his thirty-plus years of experience in all things talent acquisition.  Over his career, John has developed talent acquisition software for Bank of America, led recruiting for two divisions at BofA with over 16,000 employees, founded a recruiting company acquired by TriNet, founded an early leader in Recruitment Process Outsourcing that he sold in 2018, and now is the founder of RecruiterShare.In this wide-ranging conversation, we cover a wide variety of talent acquisition topics and metrics to measure hiring success.  Topics discussed include the three top talent acquisition metrics every SaaS company should track, including: 1) Days to Present the candidate hired; 2) Net Promoter Score for the recruiter and; 3) Business Impact the hired candidate delivers.Other items covered include the cost of a bad hire, the cost of a bad recruiter hire, and the Maslov's talent acquisition of value including the best fit candidate, the retention period of each new hire, and lastly the cost.  John discusses the cost of a "bad hire" versus the traditional metrics of "Cost Per Hire".
9/15/202042 minutes, 56 seconds
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Side Hustles & Personal Brand Building - with Amy Volas

In this episode of "Metrics that Measure Up, Amy Volas shares her insights and perspectives on the concepts of side hustles and personal brand building for B2B sales professionals.Amy has seen every side of this topic, as an Enterprise Sales professional, a sales leader, and the founder and CEO of Avenue Talent Partners, which specializes in the recruitment of B2B sales reps, managers, and executive leaders.Amy and Ray discuss multiple topics, and provide experience-based advice including: 1) why money is not and should not be the primary motivation for a career in B2B Sales; 2) the power of "NO" when helping a prospective customer evaluate your solution, and company as a partner; 3) why preparation, practice always precede performance; 4) personal brand or company brand, which is your primary responsibility - is it time for a gut check on your priorities and; 5) Be as an ambassador of your brand and your company's brand by performing in your role as Job 1!
9/8/202036 minutes, 57 seconds
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Modern B2B Selling - Are the motivations different today? - with Andy Paul, RingDNA

In this episode of "Metrics that Measure Up", Andy Paul, the host of The Sales Enablement Podcast and Ray discuss how and if the modern B2B Seller is different today than yesterday.Topics covered include the motivation of sellers to serve their customers and help them make an informed purchase decision, or providing buyers unique insights into a new way of approaching a business process.Why quota may be an outdated concept, and even why a famous British economist's research shows that when a measure becomes a target, it loses its value as a measure...think QUOTA!!!Andy also shares the differences between a "manager" and a "coach" and why companies should consider investing in professional coaches to help sales professionals to deliver maximum output.  Within this discussion, we discuss the proven benefit of a positive mindset, why a functional organization may be outdated, and the possibility of instructing around customer acquisition, retention and growth versus sales, marketing and customer success.This episode is for anyone thinking about how to re-engineer the sales professional and accelerate revenue performance.
8/18/202039 minutes, 7 seconds
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Sales Quota and Compensation - Not built for today's customer centric world - with Sahil Mansuri, Bravado

In this episode, Sahil Mansuri, the Founder and CEO of  Bravado, a network of over 70,000 sales professionals, discusses how yesterday's Quota and Compensation models are not relevant in today's, customer-centered world.Sahil shares his insights and perspectives on why sales compensation and quota setting needs to change.  These insights have been developed from his experiences as a top salesperson, VP of Sales, Founder/CEO, and early-stage investor. Topics covered include:Why is the average tenure of a salesperson < 12 months and a VP Sales < 8 months?Why do < 50% of sales professionals hit quota?What are the roles of Product, Marketing and Sales defined for optimal success?Has the level of specialization negatively impacted the customer experience?Are there just too many SaaS companies in each market segment?What role does the CEO play in ensuring the revenue plan is reasonable?
8/11/202041 minutes, 34 seconds
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Revenue Operations - What, Why and How to Measure Business Impact - Jason Reichl, Go Nimbly

In this episode of Metrics that Measure Up, our guest - Jason Reichl, CEO of Go Nimbly answers a wide variety of questions on the evolving function of Revenue Operations.Topics include why Revenue Operations should own their own quota number, how revenue operations will increase ARR Growth by 10% - 26%, and why Jason believes that Revenue Operations will be to customer experience and ARR growth what the Agile methodology was to software development and how lean manufacturing transformed the automotive industry.
8/3/202046 minutes, 26 seconds
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Customer Buying Journey - How Customers Buy and Why They Don't - with Martyn Lewis

Martyn Lewis, author of How Customers Buy and Why They Don't: Mapping and Managing the Buying Journey DNA shares his insights from interviewing thousands of buyers.Martyn shares how The Buying Journey trumps the Sales Process, and that Buyers do not typically buy logically or rationally.Other topics include why your value proposition is just not enough and assuming that you understand the buyer journey is so dangerous.
7/18/202012 minutes, 14 seconds
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Sales Development in SaaS - Question and Answer Session with David Dulany - Tenbound

Sales Development is a rapidly growing professional for early career professionals in the B2B SaaS industry.David Dulany, founder and CEO of Tenbound was an early industry thought leader for Sales Development in the SaaS Industry.In today's Metrics that Measure Up, David and Ray discuss findings from their recent research that highlights how the Sales Development function has changed since the initial impact of COVID-9
7/18/202013 minutes, 52 seconds
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The SaaS CFO - First Five KPIs - with Ben Murray

During the very first session of the Metrics than Measure Up podcast, Ben Murray - The SaaS CFO shares his insights and perspectives on the RevOps Squared KPI Framework and the Five First KPIs.Ben provides his feedback on how SaaS companies can take advantage of Key Performance Indicators like Rule of 40, CAC Ratio, Gross and Net Dollar Retention, Gross Margin, and Customer Lifetime Value to CAC to make smarter, more timely decisions.Come learn on when and how to use metrics that measure up to increase the Enterprise Value of your B2B SaaS company.
7/18/202037 minutes, 30 seconds