It’s Never Too Late to Go Upmarket

The other day put out a post on SaaStr about “How to Build a $100 Billion SaaS Company”. While Salesforce is the only $100b+ SaaS company today, there are ~15 more gunning for $100b in valuation, which means $100b isn’t “outlier” status anymore. It’s achievable.

Check it out here:

How to Build a $100 Billion SaaS Company

One thing I learned putting the post together is how much Salesforce is still accelerating in its bigger accounts.

While its most mature CRM business is only growing in the teens on its own, its $20m+ ACV customers are growing 70%!!

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It’s not just Salesforce.

Shopify announced it had crossed 1,000,000 customers (!!) last week.  And you probably think of Shopify as primarily an e-commerce store for snowboards and other small businesses.

But the fast growing segment at $35b+ Shopify? Its largest, “Shopify Plus” customers:

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Shopify’s biggest accounts have grown from almost 0% of their revenue 5 years ago to 27% today. And more importantly, that’s up from 24% just a year ago. So the Bigger Customers at Shopify, like Salesforce, are out accelerating the rest.

Fast forward 5 years or so, and the majority of Shopify’s revenue should be from enterprise customers.  But it will have taken 20 years from founding to get there:

One big difference between Salesforce and Shopify: both started SMB, but Salesforce quickly tilted to the enterprise. Shopify, by contrast, waited over a decade before taking bigger customers seriously as a distinct product line and segment.

We can see the same story at RingCentral, which also waited almost a decade to grow from SMBs into an enterprise play:

5 Interesting Learnings From RingCentral. As It Approaches $1b in ARR.

The lesson? Most of us end up going upmarket.

Sometimes, we’re in a rush to do it early. Sometimes we wait a decade like Shopify + Ringcentral + (maybe even Mailchimp, which seems to be just starting now after 20 years).

It’s never too late. If nothing else, get on a Zoom, better yet, get on a jet.  And go learn from your biggest customers. Listen to them. And decide if you want to follow them further upmarket.

And if you aren’t ready now, that’s OK.  At least learn what it would take to go more upmarket. You may be ready to go more upmarket next year. Or even in a decade.

Published on November 6, 2019

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