If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed as CEO, remember it’s even harder on the team.
I’m no expert here (at all) but a few ideas on what can help:
1. Share your cash runway and quantitatively why the company is OK, and going to be OK.
You might think your team intuitively understands you have enough cash reach, but they probably don’t. In fact, many folks that were pretty cavalier last week about things may be very worried about job security today. Explain to the team, with data, why the company can calmly get through the next 12-18 months, or longer. A bit more here.
2. Calmly re-forecast for the year based on a bottoms-up analysis (e.g., longer sales cycles).
Just “cutting the burn” or freezing hiring isn’t a real, re-forecasted plan. Maybe the sales projection will be cut 30%. So be it. Maybe marketing spend will also decline, with a pause on events. Whatever it is, build a thoughtful, bottoms-up model. A bit more here.
3. Make NPS a Top 3 metric if it isn’t yet. Driving up NPS is something everyone can rally around, and impact. Everyone will have good ideas on what to do to make customers happier, even in a challenging time.
We’ve talked about this a lot, but everyone in every single role can impact NPS. Make driving it up a core Q2 goal everyone can work on. More here.
4. You may need some relief in sales quotas, etc. for now. Deals are slowing down in the enterprise in many cases. Quotas need to remain attainable. There is no point in having quotas no one can hit. You may want to just stretch quotas out a bit for now, for example, rolling them over into Q1’21 and/or simply relax them for now in an amount equal to the reduction in your planned bookings from point 1 above.
5. I’m no expert in remote working, but be present. Maybe, be present more.
I’m guilty of this, and maybe you are too. We think we’re present. But you’ll probably see you could have done more. A daily stand-up, maybe. More group email and Slack. Be present on video on Zoom or Tandem. A weekly open AMA. Whatever it is, be more present than you were last week. And say thank you more. And remind people that are truly appreciated, that they are truly appreciated.
6. This might be a good time for Zoom lunch-and-learns from folks who have been there before. Folks in SaaS that were CEOs and execs in ’08-’09 have seen some of this before.
We will do a webinar ourselves on this next week. 2020 is not the same as 2009. But it might end up being pretty similar in SaaS. We’ll see. At least, those of us who were CEOs in 2009 sort of know what to do at an operating level.
7. Whether this era is short, medium or long, it’s our existing customers that will pull us through. Any extra time, cycles, features, points, etc. … focus them on customer happiness.
Talk this Monday and each Monday first about your customers, across the whole company.
Check-in more with your customers. Ask how they are doing. See what you can do to help them.
Pick up the Zoom and see them face-to-face.
It’s your customers that will pull you and your team through.