The Cavalry Finally Came: Breaking Through the $5-$6m ARR Wall (Video + Transcript)
Scaling from $0 to a few million is already tough enough as it is, but many companies face the seemingly impossible hurdle of breaking through that $5-$6 million ARR wall. Laura Bilazarian, CEO at Teamable, leads this session with Louis Jonckheere, Co-CEO at Showpad, and Fred Stevens Smith, CEO at Rainforest QA, to discuss how they scaled past that milestone and the mistakes and triumphs they experienced during their journey in getting there.
They get into detail about hiring the right people. For example, the problem with hiring SDRs in the Valley, why you should over-hire for customer success, and why bringing on an HR leader can be a game changer for your business.
If you’re trying to break through the wall, you’ll also want to know how to communicate with your board and bringing on board members that understand what it’s like being a founder.
One of the toughest times in a SaaS company is scaling from $1m-$10m. You finally have something, but never enough resources to get it done. Not enough VPs. No redundancies. Too many customer demands. Watch this talk and learn a thing or two about how to survive and thrive through it.
And if you haven’t heard: SaaStr Annual will be back in 2018, bigger and better than ever! Join 10,000 fellow founders, investors and execs for 3 days of unparalleled networking and epic learnings from SaaS legends like Jon Miller, David Steinberg, Jennifer Tejada, and Eoghan McCabe. If you don’t have tickets, lock in Early Bird pricing today and bring your team from just $999! (All ticket prices go up December 31st.) Get tickets here.
David Appel: Good afternoon. My name is David Appel. I’m Head of the Software and SaaS Vertical at Intacct.
We are the world’s largest, independent cloud ERP firm and very excited to be sponsors here at SaaStr. This is going be our fourth session of the day here in the tactical stage and helping to move SaaStr along.
I want to throw out there. If anybody hasn’t bought their SaaStr swag yet, they got the SaaStr socks. They’re out there if you want to get some.
We’ve got a great session today. This is all about the cavalry has come. What do you do when getting to the $5 to $6 million mark? What do you do afterwards?
We’ve got a fantastic panel of three people who are going through this or gone through this. We’ve talked a little bit before the session about what we’d like each of you to get out of this discussion.
There’s that old adage, “Yesterday’s solution becomes today’s problem.” I recognize some of you out in the crowd. What got you to this point isn’t necessarily what’s going to get you to the next point.
What we hope to each of you is to hear from some practical insights about what they’ve gone through that you can take away applying to your own business.
Please allow me to introduce Laura, Fred, and Louis for coming on up and starting the session.
Louis Jonckheere: Thanks.
Laura Bilazarian: Thanks, everyone. Cool.
This is an exciting panel partially because I want to be in his seat next year, he wants to be in his seat next year or the year after.
I’m the CEO and founder of a company called Teamable. We’re about one million in ARR, closing our Series A. We help companies like LYFT, Stripe, and Uber hire through their social network connections.
I’ll let you introduce your companies and some key metrics as well.
Louis: My name is Louis, the co founder, and co CEO of Showpad, originally a Belgian company, moved to the US four years ago. The company is trending close to 20 million ARR right now.
Showpad is a sales enablement platform. We basically make sure that salespeople have the right content at the right time. If you have to give a presentation or share something through email, Showpad will deliver that content to the sales rep.
Fred Stevens Smith: Hi. I’m Fred. I’m the CEO of Rainforest QA. We are replacing the QA team. We’re doing what AWS did for infrastructure, we’re doing for QA, so you never need to hire QA again. That’s our main objective.
We’re just north of six mil ARR. We raised our Series A at the start of 2016. We’re currently 62 people.
Laura: We made a pact that we’re going to tell you all the painful things and not just be like, “Rah rah. It’s so easy.” We’re going to be very open and honest with you. To that extent, can you talk about who you sell to, some of your key metrics now?
Fred: We sell to the engineering leader. Our ASP, Average Sales Price, is roughly 70k thereabouts, sales cycle time around 70 days, and we have outbound driven sales engine. Our leads don’t come from marketing. Our leads come from our SDR team.
Louis: Maybe you want to start with a bit of painful thing. As you scale, when you get to five, six million, hiring the right type of salespeople becomes really crucial.
Showpad is a pretty complex sale to do, that’s why we sell through marketing and also to sales. We made a lot of mistakes in the beginning by hiring not those type of salespeople.
If you look at the type of sales you have, if you put it on an axis, on the Y axis, it’s the complexity of offerings. Do you have a complex product? On the X axis is the complexity of the buying process.
If you have a very simple product with a very simple buying process, then you need order takers. If you’re selling Showpad, then that’s a bit more complex.
We made a lot of mistakes hiring the right type of salespeople. That’s something that I’d advise all of you who are trending towards four, five, six million to make a really good exercise on what are the type of reps you need, because hiring the wrong types of reps is pretty expensive, horribly expensive.
Laura: Fred, actually I want to hear you to tell your story through initial traction. Another thing that I think, you come to these conferences and you underestimate just long sometimes it can take to get to initial traction. Why don’t you tell the story of getting through YC and having to basically recreate the business?
Fred: That’s like a really polite way of saying, “We’re really slow to grow.”
Laura: It was three years for us so…
Fred: We spent two years or so just building out the core technology of Rainforest. We have a pretty deep amount of technology to build, and so we weren’t able to just ship something out very quickly and start testing it in the market. We had to do the R&D phase for a couple of years.
We did the R&D phase for a couple of years. I sold very poorly for about a year. I would say we hit initial traction three years after we started.
We made all the same mistakes that Louis made. We hired the wrong salespeople, we tried to sell in the wrong way, we set the wrong price point, all of that stuff. To get to the first mil took us three years or so.
Laura: Both for you, this is a while ago for you, but you’re at initial traction, you’re growing month over month, VCs that used to ignore you are calling you. You raised your Series A. What was the first wall that you hit? You think you’re the best ever, what was the first wall that you hit, or where you were like, “Oh”?
Louis: I think the moment if you get to one, two, three million, then in a lot of companies, it’s like one rep, maybe two reps hitting that number. I think hitting the wall happens when you realize you need to have like five, six, seven of those types of sales reps very successful.
Getting five or six reps of super productive closing 700, 800 million a year is really tough. We had a lot of issues with making sure we could scale our best sales reps and that’s tough, even until today.
Laura: Same for you, Fred?
Fred: For us, it was that we hadn’t hired out the core executive team. When you’re a founder and you start the company, you do everything. You’re in that phase right now. [laughs] I’m somewhere in that phase. Louis’s like way past that.
When you start, you sell, you do product, you do engineering, you do customer success, you do support, you do absolutely everything. I’m sure if you’re at that stage right now in the audience, you’re like, “Yeah, life is fucking hard.”
Fred: Once you hit Series A, you now have the capital to go and invest in a real leadership team. I think that the challenges there is, one, how do you make that transition from being a founder where you literally do everything, you perceive a problem and you go and fix it, to being an actual manager of people, which is you enable your team to fix it once you’ve seen the problem.
That’s a huge transition to go through. Honestly, for most of us who are first time entrepreneurs, you’re not like a professional manager. You don’t come from a deep background of managing humans. You have to learn all those skills on the job while also trying to deliver and manage hyper growth.
I think the other thing is that, and we talked about this before, it’s very, very easy to be distracted by the logos when you’re hiring executives. What’s the classic mistake that every single SaaS business does?
Goes and hires a bunch of Salesforce Regional Directors for their first sales leader. Huge colossal mistake.
Salesforce, super sexy. Benioff is the absolute boss, but selling Salesforce and running a sales team at Salesforce is so different from building a sales organization from the ground up with no brand, no collateral, and no real experience. I would say that, for us, the post Series A like big bump to get over was hiring the executives and getting them successful.
Laura: You mentioned something really interesting. We were chatting earlier that actually making the right hires drives your business model. We always talk about inbound versus outbound. Can you talk a little bit about how you did good with the VP of Sales and not so great with marketing and how that creates your business model in some way?
Fred: Yeah, for sure. Basically, yeah, we hired a VP of Sales and a VP of Marketing at basically the same time. We were around 500k of ARR. It was just after Jason had invested. We were starting to get serious. We hired our first sales leader, our first marketing leader.
For whatever reason, basically luck of the draw, the marketing leader was not very effective, so we ended up parting ways with him after a few months. Our sales leader, on the other hand, who’s sitting in the front row, was phenomenally successful, handsome, talented, intelligent, and well dressed.
Fred: He’s not well dressed.
I think what we found interesting when we were talking about it earlier was just that, frankly, our business model today as a company is very much sales driven. We have BDR driven leads. We have a very handheld sales process. There’s no self serve. There’s no sign up. You have to go through a sales human to become a Rainforest customer.
I think that would have been very, very different if the person who worked out as the first VP was the VP of Marketing and if the VP of Sales had not been as amazing as he is.
Laura: [laughs] How about you? Do you have any analogies?
Louis: Yeah, very similar, I think. We also did the same thing. We hired a VP of Sales, a VP of Marketing at the same time. VP of Sales was great. We had some issues with marketing.
Again, there’s nothing more expensive in a company to have sales people who don’t have enough leads. We figured at around four or five million ARR that inbound marketing wasn’t going to do the job. I mean, we sell in a market that needs education. We sell a platform where 90 percent of the people we speak with don’t even realize they need this.
We started to invest pretty heavily on outbound and that really started scaling our business. That’s something that I’ve learned. Start earlier with outbounds, especially if we have very, very early markets.
Laura: We talked a little bit about how you did the thing where you hired a lot of salespeople and you had to contract. What were the things you did to get your reps more productive?
Louis: I mean, build a team around them, because the worst thing salespeople can do is to not sell.
If you have a phenomenal sales guy, then give him an SDR. If he’s really good, even give him somebody additionally who can assist him with demos, sales engineering, somebody who can help build his pipeline. Build teams around the best people you have.
If you want to get to five, six, you have to do it with a few sales reps. If you want to get to 10, 15, 20, that needs to grow. We’ve built teams around our account executives.
We don’t speak about this account executive but team account executive, like Team Bartle or Team Jessica, because it’s a team effort. Reps need to sell.
Laura: Both of you have distributed teams and I’m sure for those of you raising your Series A with distributed teams, you often get asked the question, “Does that scale?” Can you talk about some of the challenges or benefits with the distributed teams?
Fred: I think there’s definitely…
Laura: Also, tell how your team’s distributed. [laughs]
Louis: 60 percent of our company’s in Europe, so in London and in Belgium. There’s definitely a cost benefit. There’s definitely a talent benefit. The Valley is extremely brutal in terms of finding the right talents.
For us, the biggest hurdle is not per se being in different offices but it’s the time zones. We have a nine hour time zone difference which is pretty brutal. You’ll find a way around it but it always delivers some unproductivity. It’s an ongoing struggle and process to improve that.
Laura: A lot of people are thinking, as they scale their SDR teams, about other locations [laughs] besides San Francisco. How is that working for you?
Louis: We decided to build our SDR team in Portland. There are many other places in the States where you can do that. They are much cheaper there. They’re super loyal. They’re super active. They’re very productive. They’re very motivated.
If you need to build an SDR team of 15, 20, 30 people, then having 40 percent less salary per SDR makes a difference. It’s a role you can easily outsource to another location. I wouldn’t do it with your account executives, but with SDRs, for sure.
Laura: How about you?
Fred: For us, we’re about 62 people, roughly half the company’s product focused. Nearly all of our engineering team is distributed.
We’re not like Louis, we don’t have two offices. Our distributed team is all over. We have two guys in Hong Kong, a girl in South Africa, a guy in Peru, we have all over.
The pros and cons are pretty obvious. The pros are that it’s way cheaper and that’s a huge deal. If you look at our net burn versus our headcount, we’re roughly around half of what you’d usually expect to see at our size and our revenue.
That’s because of the economic benefits of hiring someone where a great income is $35,000 a year. That’s just not something you get with tech talent in San Francisco.
I think the con is obviously communication. I think stuff like SDR, I think stuff like development is actually much more aligned with cross time zone, asynchronous communication.
You’d be crazy to have product managers, designers, and developers not all aligned. You know what I mean? For us, we have marketing, AEs, and we have product, all of that is in San Francisco, and the rest is distributed.
The one simple tip I have about this is that when investors ask you like, “How do you know this will scale?” the correct answer is, “You don’t.”
“I don’t know it will scale.” How we treat it is, as an experiment. I think there’s pros and cons to it and I would just encourage everyone to experiment with this a little bit because the war for talent in San Francisco and Silicon Valley is real.
If you’ve come from elsewhere to come to SaaStr, that’s awesome. Stay where you are…
Fred: …come here to raise…I’m not saying that selfishly.
Stay where you are. Come here to raise money. Come here to hire your VPs. Your tech talent, your sales talent, stay the fuck away from the Valley, trust me.
Fred: As we were talking about early, one’s huge downside to hiring here is that the people you attract, they’re more and more mercenary the more and more successful your company becomes. When you have that bad quarter, when you have to grind through some stuff, a lot of those people are going to leave.
I think the thing that we both definitely have experienced is that the remote team, the distributed team, the people who aren’t day to day in this crazy ecosystem where you get pinged every day with a $300,000 offer from Google, these people are much more loyal, they’re much more ride or die, they’re much more the people that you want on the startup journey.
I think that’s the real intangible benefit to this.
Laura: Now, you have a longer sales cycle, you have a six to nine month. How can you tell when a salesperson’s not going to work out?
Louis: You have to sit on the cost. If you want to assess the quality of the sales rep, follow the sales process. Sit on cost, start a very thorough process around forecasting, that’s something that we heavily improved in the last few years, then you’ll notice.
If people start to bullshit on where their deals are and if you hear different things in a sales conversation, then you know you have to fire that person as soon as possible. Keep an eye on them, very closely.
Fred: The only thing I’d add there is the classic Lemkin School of hiring AEs, AB test AEs. Never ever, ever hire a revenue generating role alone, ever. If they don’t work out, then you’re like, “Is the product crap? Is the AE crap? Is the training crap?” You’ll never know.
Whereas you hire two of them, it gives you much stronger signals. That’s the one thing that we have consistently done right and that’s always given us that leading indicator that the rep might not work out.
Laura: As you get to two, three million, you have these people that have been in the trenches with you, that have the same wounds you have, have been super loyal, believe in the mission. How do you know when one of them isn’t going to become a leader? It’s time to part ways, how do you deal with that?
Fred: It’s really hard. I think as a founder, as a CEO, your job is to constantly be making decisions based on your gut, and then trying to fact check those decisions with data, with more objective stuff. Often, you don’t see someone’s failing until maybe even several quarters in to that slope off.
All I would say is just that you have to recognize that every single VP, every single executive at your company has a certain range of capabilities.
If you just make that simple, you can just say, they are a 5 to 25 VP Sales, or they are a 5 to 25 VP Marketing. The safe way to do it is to ask and find out what their experience is, what range they have driven themselves in the past, and that gives you a rough benchmark for where they’re experienced.
The next time we all build companies is going to be a lot damn better than the way we built these companies. When I’m looking for a future VP Marketing in five years, that person is going to need to have experience going from 200 to 500 mil ARR. It’s a very different person than the one who builds the first marketing team from the ground up.
That’s how I think about it.
Louis: Totally. We had a discussion on the topic before the panel.
I think the value of a good board, we discussed the value that the board delivers through two founders, that’s challenging you on your executives. Our board did a terrific job saying to us, “Hire that fucking management team or fire that fucking management team. Start all over again. Rebuild that team,” because managing 25 reps versus 2 reps, that’s something totally different.
Managing a customer success team from 5 to 50, that’s a totally different world. Constantly challenge yourself on the people that are building the business.
I totally agree, you need to hire people who have done a very similar growth rate. We know what it is to get from 10 to 20, from 20 to 50, and that’s hard. Those people don’t come around that often.
Laura: Can you talk to me about board management as you make these mistakes so before you have a VC, a board, you missed it the quarter, you and your founders, and you go drink about it, and you don’t tell anyone, maybe your mom?
How do you manage it when you actually have a board that you’re reporting to?
Louis: I would say the biggest tip is, always discuss your board topics prior to the board meeting. Have your boards before the board actually starts, and be super transparent because you’ll be surprised that the board can act pretty positively on a bad quarter, because it happens. There’s no company presenting here at SaaStr who never missed their numbers. They get it.
The thing they want to know is, “What’s happening? What’s going wrong and how can we help to fix it?” Our board has been super supportive of anything we’ve done and I think most boards are.
Fred: Our board is amazing. Obviously, Jason is on our board. [laughs] Basically, what Louis said, I’ve made that mistake so many bloody times where you’re like, “Oh, let’s just not talk about that churn until the board meeting.” It’s a surprise and that’s when the real shit goes down.
Nobody wants that. With the board, something that’s not talked about very often is that the board is part of your team. The same bar, the same tests, the same expectations you have of your team, whether that’s culturally, personality wise, whatever it is, your board should have that as well. I think that if you don’t have that alignment, you can run into real issues.
For us, we have three values. Every single person that we hire has to embody those values, and we apply that same test to the board. That has enabled us to feel much more confident.
I would also say that for first time founders, it’s very, very, very important that you have former founders on your board because the stories that I’ve heard that really scared me and the experiences that I’ve been a part of that have been really detrimental have all been about board members who think that the business is a spreadsheet.
It’s very, very important that you have a board member who missed their own quarter in the past [laughs] because when you have that conversation, it becomes a lot easier.
Louis: Another tip, especially when you scale, is involve your executives in your board meetings. Let your VP Sales present, let your VP Customer Success present. It’s super helpful because they know their part of the business the best, and that’s a great tip that I can give everybody.
Laura: You mentioned you have 13 direct reports. You used to have 37. What are those roles? What are the roles that you’ve hired for that is this executive team…that’s been so magical? [laughs]
Fred: For me, moving away from the tactical stuff, the real challenge of breaking through this wall of ARR is basically your role as a founder completely changes. I think that you basically go from leading, being in the trenches, being in the office until 10:00 every day. It’s on you. If you take one day of vacation, the graph slows down. It’s on you.
The transition you have to make, because the company just has to be a certain size to deliver that next wave of growth, you have to make that transition from doer to manager.
For us and for me, the hardest thing has been realizing that the leadership team, the executive team, it’s not just an empty phrase. This is a team of humans.
Each of those leads one area of the business, and your job as the CEO, once you hire that team, is just to lead those people. That’s your leverage.
For us, that was a huge transition to go through to be able to delegate enough responsibility, to allow them to make the mistakes themselves, to allow them to fuck up the board presentation, or the company on site welcome, whatever it is.
Being able to let go and actually managing them really well, that’s the really, really challenging thing. In terms of the actual roles, it’s just the boring ones, VP Product, VP Eng, VP Sales, VP Marketing.
Louis: Same thing.
Laura: We talked before, we always hear VP of Sales, VP of Sales, but talk about how some of those other roles created leverage for you?
Louis: I would say, the moment you had five, six million, the VP Product becomes super important because what happens in all of the companies is that you build your product in a way to close deals. You want to show the traction, you want to have customers, you want to have that first big logo, and you start to build some stuff that maybe shouldn’t belong in your products.
The moment you’re at five, six million, you have to change that. You have to make some very tough decisions because you’re not able to be in a position where you can develop a feature for one big customer. The VP Product has a huge impact once you’re at five.
As you scale, that becomes even more important because you can hack yourself to a few million ARR. If you want to get to 15, 20, 50, your product and your product strategy needs to be solid. It needs to be great. A lot of companies struggle with that around five to six million.
Fred: I totally agree with that. The other big thing about the VP Product role is, at some point, around five mil, you start to have enough customers, and each of those customers is important enough to you, that you want that person to be on the road one or two weeks per month.
I used to do that, but it doesn’t become sustainable at some point. That’s the other thing that I’ve seen with our VP Product. He’s like just charging all around the world, meeting customers in a way that wouldn’t be efficient for me to do.
The one real superpower hire that I encourage all of you to think about around the stage is a VP of HR, VP of People, VP of Vibe, whatever new age terminology you want for it.
The HR function is one, much like QA, that’s massively under appreciated, very stereotyped, but can be a huge game changer for your company.
I started to realize this about six months ago when I saw that we have a whole cohort of people who’ve been with us two or more years who have had the same salary, same title, the same responsibility. The growth and the belief in the company can only keep those people together for so long.
For me, I started to realize like, “OK, we have to get fucking serious about career development, about how we onboard people, about how we make sure that people are having a good time, and we’re delivering them that career growth that the top 10 percent need.” That can’t just be ad hoc forever. That was just a hire that we made recently that’s just been complete game changer for us.
Louis: It’s maybe a little later in the growth, but around 8, 9, 10 million, hiring a CFO is also a game changer. If you’re very early, then you’re sometimes wondering how can a CFO be so important to you, but they really are. If you raise a Series B, if you start to scale super aggressively, you need a great CFO to run the business.
Gradually, you will see that that person will own more and more of the business. It’s not just about reporting and finance anymore. It’s about operations, it’s about compensation, it’s about all those things where, as a founder, you would like to have somebody who outsources that.
Laura: One thing you mentioned that I hadn’t thought of as a CFO is not letting salespeople decrease [laughs] their prices on sales. That has a real impact on ARR.
Fred: CFO is the ultimate bad cop.
Laura: That’s me right now. [laughs]
Louis: All hires are important, but if I think at why Showpad is successful or we raise money is, or are we growing so fast? Customer success, that’s something you have to invest in very, very early. That’s the only department where I would advise to over hire. Hire a phenomenal executive who knows it, who has done it, and then build a big team.
The fruit of that would be low churn for the years that follow, because the most expensive thing you can have when you’re scaling is a churn of 20, 30, 40 percent. That kills startups.
Laura: What was your most painful mistake and how did you recover, besides alcohol?
Louis: The most painful mistake was when we hired a management team. After three months, we saw it’s not working, and we had to let them go. We had to start all over again.
It took us six, seven months to find that team, and then after three months, you’re seeing, “No, not the right guys. You made a lot of mistakes.Let’s do it again,” and that’s painful. That asks a lot of energy.
Laura: How do I avoid that? [laughs] That sounds really painful.
Louis: To listen to more experienced people, to get the advice, and to do your homework a bit more. After that happened, our backdoor references policy became much more strict. We didn’t do that enough, and we made a huge mistake.
Laura: How did you know in three months? That sounds fast.
Louis: It sounds fast, but you see it. You expect an impact of an executive after two to three months. The team needs to perform better. The metrics should start to shift a little bit.
You need to start to believe that those people are able to get you to the next level, and if you don’t see that glimpse, then do it fast because otherwise, you’re into a lot of trouble.
Laura: How about you?
Fred: For me, the experience of being a founder is just going from one failure to another essentially. That sounds hyperbolic, but it’s what it feels like. The one that comes to mind most of all is, we started scaling our sales organization without the repeatability in place.
There’s a famous quote inside the company from one of our board members, where he kept repeating throughout the board meeting, “We doubled the size of the sales organization, but we’re adding the same amount of revenue per quarter.”
You come in with the presentations and there’s all the nice graphs, up into the right, and everything is great, [laughs] and then you have the board member being like, “So you’re fucking idiots.”
Fred: It’s remarkably easy to lose sight of that. That’s a pretty simple metric, sales humans to revenue added, but we never looked at that. We’re like, “Oh, we’re building the future, blah, blah, blah.” It’s like, “Run the fucking business.”
We have been ultra careful now to look at quota attainment, ramp time, for unsuccessful and successful reps, and just continually measure that to make sure that we’re moving in the right direction, because you can very easily end up with a completely bell curve distribution of rep attainment all on your payroll. That’s the absolute worst. You don’t want that.
Louis: You mentioned an important word, predictability. It’s hard. I know lots of founders in enterprise SaaS, and probably, five percent has a very predictable business, at least, until they get to 20, 25.
It’s super hard. Predictability depends on the maturity of the markets. If you’re not selling into mature market like being predictable at a million ARR, it’s almost impossible.
The predictability starts with the outbound, but still then, your sale cycles are vary…6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 18 months, it’s super hard to forecast in a fast growing business. Be aware of that.
Laura: How did you fix that?
Laura: You’re like, “We’re still working on it.”
Fred: Each crisis, each massive fuck up we’ve done has been like, “OK, this is how we learn from it.” For us, we got much tighter around managing the inputs. We got much tighter around rep forecasting.
At some point, you go from the reps close however much they close, and if they’re shitty for three months, you’re like, “All right, you’re not good, bye.”
At some point, you get into this world of like, each rep on weekly basis provides their own forecast with actual logos, with ARR against each logo, with the percentage likelihood of a closing within the quarter.
You fact check that retroactively against what they close in the quarter, and then you can see how accurate this rep is predicting their own success. You zoom out, and you see that number for the whole team. You start to build this predictability, and you can start to avoid those mistakes of doubling the team size while adding the same amount of revenue.
The big thing that I’ve learned is that management, and it’s very abstract, but it’s applicable, management requires equal parts qualitative and quantitative.
You can hear a lot of great noises coming out of your AEs, but really what matters is do they hit quota? I think you just need to make sure that you keep your one eye on each of those things with everybody that you manage.
Laura: Guys, I really appreciate you being so open and honest. Let’s end with something you’re proud of that you did. [laughs]
Fred: For us, what I’m most proud of is the collection of humans that we’ve built. It’s one of the few times where I’m not in the mode of like, “Why the hell aren’t we growing faster?”
It’s when the company comes together and I’m able to take a pause and be like, “Wow. We really came from me and my friend in a basement to all these people believe in the same thing that we believe in and are working, giving it their all to make this vision a success.” That still blows me away. That’s definitely the thing I’m most proud of.
Louis: Yeah. I would say that as well but a close second would be two metrics, our NPS score, which is 54 which is extremely high.
Secondly, our churn. Our net churn is 30 percent, meaning that our customer base grows 30 percent every year, which is pretty phenomenal because that means you have a solid product that delivers value. That’s the most important foundation of any SaaS business. That’s what I’m very proud of.
Laura: All right, guys. You’ll be sitting here next year, I’ll be there and one of you all will be here. Thank you all.
Louis: Thank you.