The Official Saastr Podcast brings in the top visionaries from the world of SaaS who reveal some of their best tips, tactics and strategies for growth.

While listening, I made a few notes on each episode. Here are my key takeaways.

SaaStr Episode #1

SaaStr Podcast ReviewTiago Paiva, CEO @ Talkdesk

Tiago is the CEO and Co-Founder of Talkdesk, a browser-based call center software. Tiago tells the story of sales and marketing in the early days they used to gain traction, without investing any money.

My Key Takeaways:

Partnerships (and OEMs) are a great way to sell your product. Much less expensive than building out an enterprise sales team. Talkdesk partnered with Salesforce and Zendesk early on, and this helped them reach $3m in sales without spending any month on marketing.

How can you leverage partners to help sell your product? Who already has access to your ideal customers? Who’s product can you enhance with the use of your product?

Spend extra time equipping the sales team of these partners on how to get the most out of your product. Help them sell these benefits to their customers.


SaaStr Episode #2

SaaStr Podcast Review Andy Lark, CMO @ Xero

Xero is considered the world’s fastest growing SaaS company. How did they do this?

My Key Takeaways:

Work balance doesn’t exist. The best businesses allow you to integrate work into your life.

Seek experiences, don’t search for jobs.  Be entrepreneurial even within big companies.

Consider creating new divisions of your sales team in new countries. Recruit an entrepreneur to run the show, basically creating a new startup to sell your product in that country.

SaaStr Episode #3

SaaStr Podcast ReviewMark Geene, CEO @ Cloud Elements

Cloud Elements is a cloud API integration service that uses uniform APIs to connect your application with entire categories of services. Mark talks about growing a company from 50 people to 500, and the challenges along the way.

My Key Takeaways:

When you grow a company quickly, a few bad hires can completely change the company culture. Shared core values is critical in this process. Everyone must be on the same page of these legitimate (internally held) core values.

For example, the key core value at Cloud Elements was “iterate to success.” They would test new hire to ensure this was internal to their operating system as a person.

Lean Methodology: Some VC’s don’t like lead startup methodology. They feel you won’t grow fast enough in those early stages when you do find something that resonates with the market. But Mark explains how you can still use cash once you find something that works.

SaaStr Episode #4

SaaStr Podcast ReviewShardul Shah, Partner @ Index Ventures

Shardul talks about what he really looks for in early stage SaaS products when investing (from a VC perspective).

One of the main things he looks for is a genuine obsession to minute details – which he feels is critical to creating a beautiful product that is easy to use.

My Key Takeaways:

Reduce the “time distance to value” to make it easy for your customer to feel your USP. Give them a mechanism to quickly compare your product against the competition. Make them FEEL it, quickly.

SaaStr Episode #5

Mamoon Hamid, Partner @ Social Capital

Mamoon had one of the best presentations as Saastr 2015: Why Sh*t Gets Funded in SaaS. You can watch it here:

My Key Takeaways:
SaaS in general, is a useful product that is designed to get bought (from a customer perspective). The frame: If you build it well, they will buy.

But many SaaS companies do not have a well thought out sales process. For hyper growth,  you need to sell or at least help adoption in enterprise companies.

SaaStr Episode #6

SaaStr Podcast ReviewRussell Fujioka, US President at Xero

Russ talks about working at the world’s fastest growing SaaS company (Xero), and what changes he’s seen in the SaaS industry over his 25 years.

My Key Takeaways:

SaaS is not a winner-take-all game. No matter how much competition there is, there are so many businesses in the USA, there are so many green fields available for everyone right now.

SaaStr Episode #7

SaaStr Podcast ReviewDoug Pepper, Partner @ Shasta Ventures

Doug is a seasoned SaaS investor, early in Marketo, Optimizely, and more.

My Key Takeaways:

The key to a successful SaaS company:

  1. Identify a clear problem
  2. Create a simple and easy to use product that solves that problem easily

Summary: Solve a problem that is well defined.


SaaStr Episode #8

SaaStr Podcast ReviewKeith Rabois @ OpenDoor

Keith talks about his strategy on building great teams. Keith suggests hiring a COO depending on what the CEO/founder skills are.  For instance, if the founder is a marketing guy, the COO should be more product focused. It’s hard to be both VP of Product and also CEO.

My Key Takeaways:

When interviewing for a new position you are not familiar with, Keith recommends two things:

1). Meet and Interview a lot of top people qualified for that position. This will allow you to start recognizing patterns of top people at the position.

2). Get good at reference checking. Select first an area you are knowledgeable so you can start to recognize legitimately helpful references.

SaaStr Episode #9

SaaStr Podcast ReviewJosh Stein, Partner @ DFJ

Josh talks about the fundamental differences between a good and a great CEO in SaaS. Is it possible to learn to become a great CEO? He says yes.

My Key Takeaways:

The “people stuff” is the most important things as a CEO.  Accounting and finance is easy. Dealing with people is critical.Key stages of growth (Re-assess do I want to be the CEO for this next stage? The job completely changes at these stages. Must basically go to school at same time as working duties):
  • 40-50 employees
  • 200 employees
  • 1000 employees

SaaStr Episode #10

Mathilde Collin, CEO and Co-Founder @ FrontMathilde Collin, CEO and Co-Founder @ Front

Mathilde has founded an innovative young SaaS startups in the email collaboration space.  She talks about her experience as a young founder and CEO in the large enterprise space.

My Key Takeaways:

When hiring, think: “could this person be a co-founder?” That is the level of magnitude she treats these early decisions.

Her content marketing breakdown:
1/3: specific content about her industry
1/3: Specific learnings as a company they have encountered through growth
1/3: Use cases for their product

 

Are you digging the podcast as much as I am? What are some of your key takeaways?