How far in the SaaS game can a 10 or 20 people team go?

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JASON LEMKIN

If you are sales-driven, you’ll usually stall out at $1.5m-$2m in ARR or so if you don’t start growing the team to the next level, The First 50.

There’s just physics here to get to $10m in ARR:

  • After $1.5m or so at the very latest, you’ll need to start hiring dedicated customer success professionals. Assume 1 per $1m in ARR, you’ll need to scale a team of 5 at least to get to $10m in ARR.
  • You’ll need another sales rep at least per every $500k in new ARR. In the early days, the CEO may do it all, or a single hero rep. But even with a higher quota than $500k, you won’t hit a yielded quota that high. And reps take time to scale. So best case, to get to $10m ARR from $1.5m, you’ll need at least 15 reps to get there, and really more so you don’t stall out. And you’ll need a few managers to manage them.
  • You’ll need a full marketing team.
  • You’ll need a product development team, at least a couple folks, to keep up with your much more complex roadmap.
  • Even best case, it’s hard to imagine a dev team tinier than 8–10. And you’ll need a real QA team as you scale. You can’t hack QA forever.
  • As you scale, you’ll need a dedicated 24×7 devops/techops team. It’s hard to do this with < 3 folks.

Add it all up, and 10–20 folks can hack their way to $1m, $2m, maybe even $4m in ARR if the product is relatively simple, the leads are mostly in-bound, and sales is simple, too.

But at least by then, your growth will slow down without the human horsepower.

It takes a team of 50 to maintain most scaling SaaS apps, and it takes 100 to get you past $10m ARR and beyond. More here: What Your First 100 Hires Will Look Like

View original question on quora

Published on March 23, 2017
  • Jason,
    when you’re talking about a “relatively simple product”, does it also apply to low-touch, self service products, $10-200/mo (say Buffer, groovehq, slack..)?

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