SaaStr Podcast 458 (and Video): Qualtrics CEO Zig Serafin on Building the Foundation for High Growth and Scale

It’s been great to have the CEOs of Qualtrics join us multiple times over the years, as it scaled from a late-stage startup to IPO to $8B+ acquisition.

Fast forward to today, and Qualtrics is now worth $20B and CEO Zig Serafin joined us to share his lessons in scaling with Julia Laroche, Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. This is how Zig focuses on building the right team, simplifies organizational design, and scales from the ground up.

So how do you build that kind of product or service, and how do you to build it to scale infinitely? Here are some of the principles that Zig keeps top of mind:

# 1 Memorable products aren’t static. They lead the world forward, constantly evolving to serve changing circumstances and bring customers along important journeys. Businesses that write the playbook for their product category bring people to something different and somewhere important.

#2 Category-defining products require new business models. Businesses often build something powerful but don’t create the proper value package, and it fails in the market. When you’re bringing an innovative product to fruition, it requires a business model that’s built for it specifically. Being the first to build the business model, not just the product, is what gives you the advantage in the market.

#3 B2B products must be built to scale on micro level. B2B products frequently are adopted company-wide because an individual discovered it, experienced success, and shared it with their team and beyond. Build your service with this personal experience in mind, and build to sell it to the individual, not just the company.

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#4 The architecture of your technology should complement your go-to-market model. Your technology must be able to support your sales and marketing approach. If you are going with a bottom up sales method, the product must work powerfully at the individual level, work better with multiple people, and provide a bigger benefit when implemented company-wide. Your go-to-market model and the capabilities of the product must work hand-in-hand.

#5 Strong company culture should be reflected in all things. From the founders to the building to the product itself, your company needs to have a substantial soul. Qualtrics prioritizes TACOS: transparency, all-in, customer success, operating as one team, and scrappiness. This philosophy makes its way to every part of Qualtrics’ business, and its customers’ businesses.

Even if you’re not building a product or creating a category from scratch, following these principles will bring you to the top of your market.

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Don’t take shortcuts.
  • Don’t follow the playbook, write it.
  • Be proactive, not reactive.
  • Build your technology with your business in mind.
  • Balance the digital and physical worlds for the best experiences
Published on June 13, 2021

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