A few weeks back, we officially unveiled the SaaStr Co-Selling Space in downtown San Francisco during our 2018 Spring Soiree. There were made-to-order grilled cheeses, custom cocktails, and—of course—top-notch content from a few of today’s top leaders in SaaS.
Intercom CEO Eoghan McCabe sat down with Jason Lemkin to chat about the evolving roles of sales and marketing in tech, the importance of continuous reinvention, connecting with customers as you scale, and more. Watch the full video recording here and/or read our highlights from the session below:
A few notable highlights from Eoghan’s Spring Soiree session with Jason:
- Rethink traditional sales and marketing models: Eoghan talked about how he was at first hesitant to build more traditional-style sales and marketing teams, but later realized they could play unique roles at Intercom. The business first dipped its toes into the marketing waters by creating educational content for prospects—which created demand—and then brought in sales to facilitate product adoption.
- Know when to admit you’re wrong: According to Eoghan, people who take pride in their passion and have very strong opinions—but are able to rip those opinions apart and say “I was wrong” when necessary—are the ones who will go on to accomplish truly great things.
- Go very deep vertically or broad horizontally: Either a business can go deep into one specific use case, topic, team, or industry to solve all of its complex problems, or choose to be more general and solve less complex problems with a broader set of solutions. It’s very difficult to do both.
- Make your first senior, experienced executive hire as soon as possible: Eoghan says that a lot of CEOs put off hiring a more senior, experienced exec because they’re afraid it’s too early, or the company’s not ‘hot enough, or it’ll be too expensive, etc. But, he suggests, you can never make this hire too early. This person will be valuable because he or she will help you realize exactly what you need when you aren’t able to see it yourself.
- The importance of showing vulnerability as CEO: Encourage collaboration, open conversation, and even dissent within your team. Admit when you’re wrong and let your employees know that you don’t know everything. Embrace and learn from your failures as a team. All you need to do is find your authentic voice and the confidence to be vulnerable with people. If you can do this, says Eoghan, “everything else gets figured out.”
- Err on the side of transparency vs. secrecy: A lot of information dissemination depends on context, and when problems are dealt with by the right people, then not everyone needs to know about every single thing that goes wrong. Unnecessary secrets, on the other hand, should be avoided. Maybe everyone doesn’t need to know everything, but fostering a sense of trust within a company is crucial.