Almost all of our 10,000+ pieces of content and 1,000+ SaaStr sessions and 500+ podcasts are really just about how to do … better. A smidge better. A bit better. Since SaaS compounds, even doing just 5% better now can compound dramatically over time. Everything doesn’t have to be 10x better to move the needle, if it compounds.
But a lot of advice takes time to pan out. What are 5+ changes you can make today, or at least this week, to do better?
A few thoughts:
1. Visit all prospects and customers in person that have an ACV of >= $50k. The more of your prospects you visit in person, the more that will close. And the more existing customers you visit in person, the better the upsell and revenue retention. Want to increase your close rates, with the leads you already have? Get on a jet. Want to increase your revenue retention? In person. Visit all your customers > $50k every quarter. Just give them a roadmap update and check in. Even with no new leads, and no new customers, this alone will boost your revenue. And you can start Monday.
2. Have a weekly 1-on-1 with a VP/direct report that you don’t have one with right now. Weekly 1-on-1 meetings are critical. They are one of the simplest ways to get more out of the team you already have. Meet each week, in an unstructured way. This will help you surface simple ways you can help then do better. Most of us tend either not to do 1-on-1s, or only do them with some reports. Force yourself to do them with all your reports. And if there’s someone you don’t want to do a 1-on-1 with … that’s a sign she/he should report to someone else. So make that change this week, too. So they report to someone who can be a more effective boss than you.
3. Hire a new recruiter and meet with 30+ new candidates for your #1 open role. As you begin to scale, the gaps on your team can become overwhelming. Because there will be so many of them. Take a breath, and if you want to do better this week, focus on just one key hire. The #1 you need. And find a new recruiter. You need a fresh perspective. Tell her you want to meet 30 candidates in 60 days, if possible, and you are committed to making the hire ASAP. That will motivate both of you. And pay up. A recruiter fee is tiny compared to the value a top VP will bring.
4. Set a burn-rate budget for each and every month. This will focus your team and de-stress your life. Most of us come up with a rough budget for the year, but not a burn-rate budget for each month. This will force everyone on the team, starting Monday, to collaborate on hiring and other trade-offs. If you go over the budget, now everyone will know. In close to real-time. This will almost immediately improve the efficiency of your limited budgets, and improve teamwork. And you will make better decisions on where to deploy your limited resources. Which will not just manage your burn rate — but increase your revenues. Starting Monday.
5. Cut out toxic folks. Most of us keep / sit on a hire or two that has strong skills, that we feel we need, but that is dragging down the team. It turns out, you don’t need them. It turns out, the week you move them out of the company, the folks that are great and positive will somehow fill the gap, someway. And it turns out, you’ll do better just one week after moving the super experienced, but toxic folks out. Do it this week. Do it on Monday. And you will do better this month.
6. Specialize and Segment Your Sales and Customer Success Teams. If you aren’t doing this yet, it’s time. Split your sales teams into at least 2-3 teams focused on small, medium and large or smaller vs larger customers. Almost everyone has a “commercial” sales and commercial success team focused on smaller customers. Specialize here and your close rates and NRR will go up. You can roll this out this month. You probably already know who to put on which team.
7. Add a real Customer Marketing function, and spend at least 20% of your marketing dollars and time on existing customers. Almost all of us wait way too long to add Customer Marketing. But if 90% of the revenue from customers is after the first dollar in, and especially if you see NRR of 100% or more, then marketing should only start when the customer first e-signs. You’ll job is to increase the odds they stay happy, and buy more from you. More content, more webinars, more drip marketing, more help, more events, more steak dinners more your existing customers. Not just the potential ones. Ultimately you need to have a full-time here. But you can probably start with whatever resources you have now.
Scaling a SaaS company past, say, 100 customers, $1m ARR, or even earlier, is as much about making fewer mistakes than it is about going faster, bigger, strong. Take as many actions as you can to just do a bit better.
And above are 5 you can take this week.
Make it so.
(Note: an updated SaaStr Classic post)