We’ve talked a long about going long with customers at SaaStr, the 10 year and even the 11 year customers!
Now at SaaStr itself, we are starting to see it. This February we’ll have the 5th ever SaaStr Annual. I had never produced an event before, and knew zero about event sponorships. I’d been to Dreamforce. That was about it.
What is interesting is how many members of the “4x Club” we have — great SaaS companies that have sponsored 4x+ years:
- Intercom. Eoghan McCabe was kind enough to sign off on sponsoring himself 4+ years ago. Intercom has since grown 50x-100x in revenues or so. It is terrific to have them back again, now as a Diamond sponsor.
- Sage Intacct. Intacct joined us early, well before their $1b acquisition by Sage. It’s been terrific to have them as a deeply engaged sponsor for years.
- G2 Crowd. I had forgotten G2 joined us 4+ years ago! They’ve now grown into the dominant player in their space, and a key led generation tool for so many marketers. It’s been terrific having them grow with us.
- Lighter Capital. Lighter started early in providing alternative debt financing to recurring revenue companies. They’ve since been on a tear. 4 years ago it was their best performing event. It’s terrific to still be on this journey with them.
- Looker Data. Looker also saw the power of getting buyers together in one place before I did it. The 2016 Annual was one of their top performing events, and it’s great to have them back 4x times, 5x with Europa.
- Algolia. OK, I invested very early in Algolia so a bit of a ringer. But they are tough on the team! 😉 It’s been terrific to see a B2D company get such ROI from SaaStr, including SaaStr Europa. So 5x all-in with Europa here, too.
- RainforestQA. Another B2D company where we delivered the highest performing event of the year. It helps to sell to B2B companies, of course. Rainforest also sponsored our 2015 Holiday Party, so a 5x ‘er!
- WalkMe. Many of you use WalkMe, so as a sponsor, it makes total sense. But super happy to have them as 4x-ers.
- Salesloft. Thank you team Salesloft. They also sponsored the CoSellingSpace, so they are in the 5x club as well. Check out our recent podcast with CEO Kyle Porter on the journey from $1m to $40m in ARR. They did it together with SaaStr, which is terrific.
I’ll update this list if I am missing any 4x-5x’ers. We also have 25 more 2x’ers and 3x’ers.
But it’s not all Daisies and Unicorns. What have we learned?
- You have to sell high to close high. We all know this, but it turns out, it’s true everywhere. A $50k sponsorship comes from discretionary budget, and can be closed anytime. But a Platinum or Diamond? There will be multiple stakeholders, and it has to be budgeted 6-9 months in advance.
- You have to (over) invest in customer success. We get a C- here. We’ve done a great job as partners, and have terrific operational help for sponsors (and a great full time resource here, Liz) — but we still don’t have a true CS function in-house. This means we have to rebuild sponsor relationships every year here.
- You have to get out of the office, bring cookies, even get on jets for bigger deals. Our COO Mallun Yen (who has closed $250m+ in revenue) kicked off a great initiative to … drumroll … go hang out with many of our top sponsors! They loved it. It works. You know you gotta do this. We do too. We only have 8 people, but we have to do more, too.
- It’s hard to charge more for more value. It’s an art. In 2019, a sponsor gets perhaps “4x” the value of 2016 because the event will be 4x larger. But it’s harder to change 4x more 😉
More learnings to come!
Thank you again to our 4x’ers. We look forward to have 100 more of them!!