Ep. 233: Godard Abel is the Founder & CEO @ G2, the company helping millions of business make better product buying decisions every month. To date, Godard has raised over $100m in funding with G2 from the likes of Accel, IVP, High Alpha, Pritzker Group and Chicago Ventures just to name a few. As for Godard, he founded his first business, BigMachines, in 2000, a business he scaled to $50m in revenue and over 300 people up until it’s acquisition to Oracle 11 years later for $400m. Godard then became CEO @ Steelbrick where he took them from 5 to 200 employees and increased bookings by 37x in 7 quarters. Steelbrick was ultimately acquired by Salesforce where he spent a year and a half before starting G2.

In This Episode We Discuss:

* How did Godard make his way into the world of SaaS over 20 years ago? What was the a-ha moment for the founding of G2 for Godard?
* Having been a Founder through the bust of 2000, how did seeing that macro environment impact his operating mentality today? What did it teach him about capital efficiency and investing ahead of time? Taking the team from 70 to 20, what were his lessons on the right way to let someone go? Where do many people get it wrong today?
* Why does Godard advocate for working with people that you have worked with before? How can you find the zone of genius for the people that you work with? How does Godard set a culture of ambition and determination around goals but also prevent dejection if the goals are not hit? How often should rep quota be hit? Why is that the right ratio?
* Where does Godard believe that things really start to break down in the scaling of an organization? What can you do to get ahead of those moments and minimize their impact? How many direct reports does Godard believe is the optimal and then the maximum for a manager to have? How have his thoughts on this changed over time?


Episode 234: Duo Security Co-Founder and CEO Dug Song and PagerDuty CEO Jennifer Tejada discuss building, enabling, and leading great teams through 10K+ customers, $100M+ ARR, $1B+ valuation and beyond – all while earning 4.5+ Glassdoor company ratings and 98%+ CEO approvals from 500+ total employees!

SaaStr’s Founder’s Favorites Series features one of SaaStr Annual’s best of the best sessions that you might have missed.

This podcast is an excerpt of Dug and Jennifer’s session at SaaStr Annual 2019.

Missed the session? Here’s what Dug and Jennifer talk about:

*When is the right time to raise money?
*How can you better manage the board?
-Should you worry about competitors?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin
Godard Abel
Jennifer Tejada
Dug Song

Below, we’ve shared the full transcript of Harry’s interview with Godard Abel.

Harry Stebbings: Welcome back to the official SaaStr Podcast with me, Harry Stebbings, @HStebbings1996 with two Bs on Instagram. And it’ll be great to see you there. But getting right into our episode today, and I have to say, I’ve been a massive fan of this company for a long time. And so I’m thrilled we could make this episode happen. And so with that, I’m very excited to welcome Godard Abel.

Harry Stebbings: Now Godard is the founder and CEO at G2, the company helping millions of businesses make better product buying decisions every month. To date, Godard has raised over 100 million dollars in funding with G2 from the likes of Accel, IVP, High Alpha, Pritzker Group, and Chicago Ventures, just to name a few.

Harry Stebbings: As for Godard, he founded his first business, BigMachines, in 2000. A business he scaled to 50 million dollars in revenue and over 300 people up until its acquisition to Oracle 11 years later for 400 million dollars. Godard then became CEO at Steelbrick, where he took them from five to 200 employees, and increased bookings by 37 times in seven quarters. Steelbrick was ultimately acquired by Salesforce, where he spent a year and a half before starting G2.

Harry Stebbings: I do also have to say a huge thank you to Tim Kopp at Hyde Park Venture Partners for some fantastic question suggestions today. I really do so appreciate that, Tim.

Harry Stebbings: However, you’ve heard quite enough from me, so I’m very, very excited to hand over to Godard Abel, founder and CEO at G2.

Harry Stebbings: Godard, it’s absolutely fantastic to have you on the show. Having heard so many great things, both from Tim at Hyde Park and from Alex at IVP. So thank you so much for joining me today, Godard.

Godard Abel: Harry, excited to be on with you.

Harry Stebbings: I would though love to kick off today with a little bit about you, a seasoned veteran, so to speak. So I want to start with a couple of great decades in the business. How did you make your way, though, into the world of SaaS, and come to found G2 today?

Godard Abel: Well G2 in some ways, is the fourth or fifth startup I’ve helped to build, and I really got going now about 20 years ago. And actually right here in Palo Alto, California. I was in business school at Stanford in the late 90s, the midst of the dot com boom, and met a couple Stanford computer science students. And I always like to say too bad it wasn’t Larry and Sergey who were starting Uber at the time. But two other software engineers, building [inaudible 00:04:24] that was kind of a time and expense software system. And so that was my first. So I helped them build that, and we sold to a bigger startup, Niku, which went public. And they gave me a true thousand and then I decided it was time to start my own company.

Harry Stebbings: Now I always ruthlessly use this show for my own intellectual advancement, and I’ve never seen a bust, Godard, in terms of macro economic environments. Tell me, having been through multiple now, how has that affected and impacted your kind of operating mentality today, having seen it a couple of times now?

Godard Abel: Yeah, and I lived through two busts. The worst was right after we started BigMachines in 2000, we had a massive bust in 2001. First the dot com bubble blew up and then 9/11 happened. And I remember being out here in the Silicon Valley and you could actually literally get a hotel room in San Francisco for $29.00 a night because Priceline was just coming out, and everything was empty. So it was I think the most severe recession I certainly lived through, especially in tech.

Godard Abel: But I really think I did learn a lot, it was very humbling. Because I had raised a bunch of money for my first startup, BigMachines, in 2000, raised over 20 million dollars, hired up to about 70 people, and then by 2002, realized we were on our way to going bankrupt, and we met deep recession in 2002, weren’t able to sell any customers, and they all thought the internet had been a fad and good thing it was over. So it was really a near death experience. It was very painful, I had to lay off a lot of people, we went down from 70 to 20 people, and a lot of them were great people. But frankly, I’d overhired way ahead of the market, and the market wasn’t there.

Godard Abel: And so I think as an entrepreneur it just … for one, taught me, I think, to kind of stay frugal. It was very humbling, also. So I never take our success for granted, because frankly I think I was just as smart or dumb back then, but almost went bankrupt. And it just kind of stuck with me that A, you have to work hard every day, B, be careful on your costs, and three, really focus on the customer, because ultimately what did save us, we had about a dozen good early customers, we scaled the company down to where we could just live organically off our customer’s revenue. And that’s how we were able to then survive from 2002 til about 2007, when the cloud market finally took off.

Godard Abel: So I do, in hindsight, I really value those years, although at the time it was very anxiety and doubt filled, and a very painful time. But looking back, I think it’s really what made us really good entrepreneurs.

Harry Stebbings: I mean, absolutely. I love that frugal scaling. But I do want to discuss some of the details of repeat entrepreneurship, because it’s rare that I have someone with as many incredible experiences in terms of that back pocket as you. So I want to discuss, first you mentioned the BigMachines, and post sales Oracle, you did version 2.0 with Steelbrick. Can I ask, Godard, why did you do it twice, and what was not fixed the first time that you wanted to get right with the second?

Godard Abel: Yeah, and really to me it was more why not, because after Oracle bought BigMachines we saw massive opportunity with Salesforce ecosystem. And obviously Oracle and Salesforce are more competitors, and so we knew there was an opening. And actually at the same time I met an entrepreneur, Max Rodman, who’d actually already been building the product that was Steelbrick, and really I thought he built a better product, it was easier, faster to deploy on the Salesforce platform. But Max was struggling to build sales, to build a company around it. It was really just him writing all the code, and he did an incredible job, that bootstrap thing, but he didn’t really know how to take it to scale, and that’s where he and I decided to partner. And then it really worked extremely well.

Godard Abel: The nice thing about doing the 2.0, we had a team, so we brought over 100 people over from Oracle, all the best people we had who knew how to sell the product and knew how to market it, so within seven quarters we were able to have incredible success.

Harry Stebbings: I mean, teamwork makes the dream work, as my partner always says. I do want to talk to you on the element that you mentioned it being a challenging time with the BigMachines experience, going from 70 to 20. Can I ask, what did you learn about the right way to let people go in that really challenging time?

Godard Abel: I think that a key thing to me is just being authentic. And frankly, it’s kind of ignoring the HR legal advice. Some people are all about compliance and, “Say this, don’t say this,” but if you have to have that kind of a hard conversation to let someone go, I’m just very honest, and I’ll answer their questions. And in that case, obviously, there’s also A, that it’s not you, right, it’s me, because we over invested, the market isn’t there. But it was painful because we were releasing them into a very tough job market, because it was actually hard to get new jobs in the midst of that recession. So it felt bad.

Godard Abel: But I really, I think also it was just genuinely feel their pain, and I think they also appreciated that I really … it was mutual pain. But I think when they really … I think with an employee when you’re having a hard conversation, when they feel like you’re really feeling them, and you’re being authentic, and you’re connected emotionally, then it helps them, and it helps me get through it kind of together.

Harry Stebbings: Yeah, that kind of emotional moment I think is super helpful. Yeah, I did chat to our mutual friend, Tim Kopp, before the episode and he said that post Steelbrick obviously being acquired by Salesforce you had some incredible learnings and takeaways from your time at Salesforce. Can I ask, what were those learnings and takeaways and how do you think it maybe impacted your operating mentality today with G2?

Godard Abel: Yeah, and really from Marc Benioff, the founder and CEO of Salesforce I learned a ton. I obviously learned a lot about him as a partner, and going to Dreamforce, and he was this larger than life figure. But then it was fascinating while I was at Salesforce, I did have a chance to work more closely with him. And also just see how he ran a company of such global scale. So there are probably three things I really took away from it. One is just having true commitment to massive vision. And here in San Francisco, I see it every day, you drive through the city now you’ll see his amazing tower. But just that kind of power, that’s a bet he made a few years earlier investing, I imagine, billions of dollars to commit to that. And I think–and now he’s talking about building a 50 billion dollar company. So he always has a massive vision that he’s 100% committed to.

Godard Abel: And so that also brings me to the second thing that I really learned from him, he uses something called a V2MOM to align himself and the whole company to achieving those massive visions. And so an exercise Marc and the whole team at Salesforce goes through every year is to find their V2MOM, which means one, putting that vision into writing, so what are we going to accomplish this year? Secondly, defining the values and obviously at Salesforce it’s equality, it’s trust, and you have seven very clearly articulated values that he also updates every year. And then defining the methods, which is A, what are you going to do, what initiatives are you going to drive to achieve your vision? Being explicit about the obstacles, and finally, defining metrics and goals. So your ACV, your ARR, your customer retention, what are the key things you’re going to measure if you’re delivering your vision? And really by putting that all in writing, I think what Mark has said over 20 years now, 95% of the time when you write it town, you write it down, the V2MOM, you achieve it. And so having that explicit alignment to the vision is something we’re now implementing at G2 and really all our companies going forward.

Godard Abel: And I think the third amazing thing Marc did was imbed philanthropy in Salesforce with the 1-1-1 Model, and that’s something we’re now doing at G2, where we’re really investing in G2 Gives. We actually just hired a full-time director, and G2 Gives is our philanthropic initiative. We’ve also committed at least 1% of our funded equity, we’re going to give at least 1% of our employee’s time, and we’re also giving our product, in our case, our G2 Track product, to nonprofits. And I just saw at Salesforce how that really connected the employees to customers to the vision, and then when Salesforce had its massive success, it was literally able to donate hundreds of millions of dollars, and give back. And so building that in the model from day one, very explicitly, is something I’m really excited about now doing at G2 as well.

Harry Stebbings: Yeah. So you said there specifically about selling those deliverables, and how it so helps in terms of attaining them, writing them down. I’m a massive nerd when it comes to quota construction, per se, how do you think about building ambitious enough quotas for your teams to hit, but also not too ambitious that they get discouraged if they don’t hit them? How do you navigate that balance, Godard?

Godard Abel: Yeah, and I think my business partner, chief revenue officer Matt Gorniak, and he really … he joined me way back at BigMachines in 2004, when we were just digging our way out of that recession. But what Matt and I have … we have a philosophy where we want about … to hit our plan about two thirds of the time. Which means it’s pretty darn hard to hit it more often than not. And I think that’s a good way to really stretch and challenge yourself. And that’s kind of also our goal, that we get … ideally, in a good year we’ll get two thirds of our sales reps to club and hitting their goals, but not everyone’s going to hit them because they’re sufficiently hard and so if you’re still ramping, learning, or maybe you’re not good at your job yet, you’re not going to hit your goal. And it is that balance of enough challenge, but not so much challenge that it becomes demoralizing.

Harry Stebbings: Totally, I get you, and I like the two thirds as a ratio. You mentioned Matt there, I do want to ask, you got the band back together again for G2. And so I have to ask, how important is it to have a founding team that’s previously worked together? I have to give credit to Tim Kopp for that one. And when does that work, getting a team back together?

Godard Abel: You know, I think if you genuinely like and respect each other, I think it’s always going to work. And really I’d say at Steelbrick we got as far as I mentioned in seven quarters as we did in 12 years at BigMachines, and the difference … obviously there was a better product market fit, but also having a dialed in team. For example, with Matt and I, Matt really know sales, and revenue engine, and so frankly I don’t have to worry about that. I can focus on investors, product, team building, culture, and we have many team members where we know their strengths, they’re in their lane, they’re in their zone of genius. And we know each other’s respective zones of genius, and so we can just plug in and go. And so I think it’s just a tremendous advantage. And obviously in your first startup you won’t have that, but I think what I would say, even for my first startup, the people I started with are people I’d worked with before, we knew each other, we knew each other’s zones of genius. And then getting that alignment right away I think is a tremendous competitive advantage.

Harry Stebbings: Yeah. Yeah, no and I love that. I haven’t heard the zones of genius before, but I love that. You mentioned the scaling so much faster there with Steelbricks in those seven quarters, I do want to discuss the scaling of teams. When it comes to the team itself and you have over 350 with G2, according to the trusty LinkedIn. Can I ask then, Godard, where do the cracks start to appear in the team scaling process? And what can you do to get in front of it?

Godard Abel: Yeah, and I do think it gets hard … most people say kind of once you get beyond 40 or 50 people. Because in the early startup days, it’s nice, you’re truly a tribe and I really also enjoyed Reid Hoffman’s book on hyper growth, or he calls it blitzscaling. He talks about the beginning in a startup is very much a family, everyone’s in one room, and they may be your tribe. But up to probably 40 or 50 people, everyone just knows each other, it can be very informal. Every decision is just heard in the room, it’s very transparent. I think it starts to get hard once you go beyond that, especially once you go beyond, I think they say 150 people, where as humans, most humans just can know everyone anymore.

Godard Abel: And the other big change is you have to go to multiple tiers of management. Because initially you just need one good sales leader, you just need one Matt Gorniak, but now all the sudden, now the scale we’re hitting at G2, we have over 350 people, now as I mentioned we just hired Enrique, he’s our VP in Europe, but now Matt has to build a multi tiered global sales leadership structure. And that’s where I think a lot of founding people struggle, is you have to go from being a manager and being able to run one team to building a global, scalable, multi tiered leadership org. And it does really just change the game, and I do think Reid Hoffman in Blitzscaling does a great job articulating the difference between an executive and a manager. And I think that executive being able to build multiple global teams, manage more at the team level versus at the hands on action level, and that’s a big change and transition that I think many founding teams really struggle with.

Harry Stebbings: It is indeed a big change, and I have a lot of CEOs who have contrarian thoughts on the right amount of direct reports. From your experience, what’s the right amount of or optimal amount of direct reports that one single person can have?

Godard Abel: To me I would say it would be eight people. And I’ve also heard that’s the amount of people at a great dinner party. You don’t want to get more people around the table. And I think to have a good, cohesive leadership team, and have everyone be able to talk, I think once you go beyond eight it gets tough.

Harry Stebbings: Yeah, no, I do agree. You said there cohesive. One element that always concerns is fragmentation between teams themselves. How do you think about that, especially with the scaling of teams, creating this kind of inherent alignment between marketing and sales, product and customer success, and the multiple different functions within the org. Are there tips or methods to manage this cohesion and alignment between function?

Godard Abel: I mentioned earlier using the V2MOM, inspired by Salesforce, because within our V2MOM at the company level right now with G2 we have eight different methods. One of them, the first one is building our global revenue and then obviously Matt owns that. Our second method is driving awareness of G2 and the brand all around the world to every biotechnology, and Ryan Bonnici, our CMO, owns that. But at the same, the management’s goals and incentives are all based … obviously, the primary one being stock options, but even their bonus is actually all based on the achievement of the team build across all the initiatives.

Godard Abel: So for example, if Matt only hits revenue but we don’t hit our marketing goals, he doesn’t earn his full incentive. So I think tying the leadership incentives to the company, but then also having that explicit V2MOM alignment, and having the weekly call, but I would also say it’s a constant challenge, and there’s healthy tension, and in some ways we want the tension between product, and between sales. And one value we have at G2 is, “Discourse it,” and that means hey, we do want to do disagree. I love the Bezos quote, Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder, “disagree and commit.” And I think that’s something we try to work in our culture, where hey, yes, we could have healthy disagreements across functions, between product and sales, but ultimately, once we come to a decision we’ll have to commit to it even if we disagreed with it.

Godard Abel: But I think that’s a continual challenge for any leader, and certainly myself.

Harry Stebbings: Can I ask there, in terms of kind of that platform for disagreement, do you as a leader have to create a forum where disagreements and contrarian thoughts are heard in a kind of open and free discussion? How does one create that disagreement and acceptance of disagreement environment?

Godard Abel: I think a lot of it is building enough trust in the personal relationships that people know they’re going to be okay even if they disagree. And I think we do have an advantage having a team, a lot of us have worked together now across multiple companies, and we just trust each other where we know even we can have violent debate, and Matt and I often do, we can yell at each other, but we know we’re still okay in our relationship, and we know we’re going to figure it out together. And so I think having that foundation of trust.

Godard Abel: And then the other thing I really try to do is just model in authenticity, and even just kind of call BS when you see it. And so it’s kind of both the combination of having the love and the caring, that you really trust each other, but then also having the challenging mindset of hey, when I see something that’s not right I’m going to call you out on it, and vice versa. But I think it’s kind of a delicate balance. But like any passionate team, you need both, you need the caring and the trust, but you also need the challenging and calling each other out when needed.

Harry Stebbings: No, totally, and it almost reminds me of the relationship between kind of investor and board and the founder and the executive team. I do want to touch on that relationship, because as I said, chatted to Tim Kopp before, and he said about your ability to consistently get the best investors and advisors around the table at each stage. Can I ask then, Godard, how do you think about investor and advisor selection? What do you really hone in on and look for?

Godard Abel: Yeah, and I think it’s a couple things. Tim Kopp, by the way, is an amazing investor and I think as you know he was the CMO of ExactTarget and scaled them from 10 to hundreds of millions of revenue. And so I do love having him on the board, and frankly, I first reached out to him when he was still at ExactTarget, he was one of my first customers, I actually just cold called him or cold pinged him via LinkedIn, and I said, “Hey, Tim, I’ve got this idea, I want to blow up [inaudible 00:19:39] and use customer employees to get you credibility much more quickly.” And he loved the idea right away. And so one, I think that’s a key thing that the investor genuinely believes in your vision and wants to help you make it happen. And that was certainly the case with Tim.

Godard Abel: And then I think the second thing is you have to have big chemistry. One thing I always think about is the investor I choose somebody I want to call? And that’s … there’s some bit of personal chemistry because when times are tough, and then you’ll [inaudible 00:20:02] people in and realize, yeah, I don’t really want to call them but when it’s actually fun to call them, whether it’s with good news or with bad news, but hey, I just want to talk to them. And so I think you have to have that chemistry.

Godard Abel: And third, I think having investors obviously have a track record, that have a network. And I’ve been very lucky now, my last investor was [Jules Maltz 00:20:19] from IVP, he was on the Forbes Midas list, so very accomplished, but also he’d led our series C at Steelbrick, but I really know him, we really get along, we want to work together. And obviously he has a great network, great firm behind him, as with Accel. Arun Mathew led our series B, same thing, where he and I genuinely get along, and then with Accel obviously they have an amazing track record, amazing network. And when you can kind get of both, you have that amazing personal relationship, you enjoy working with each other. And they bring amazing track record and network to your company, then you really get the best of both worlds.

Godard Abel: And it is easier, certainly, once you have a track record, but I do think any entrepreneur, you can focus on that chemistry and focus on getting investors that can truly help you. And I think one of the biggest things to help, people say what’s helped them, one of the biggest things to me is hey, help me find customers, or help me find revenue. At the end of the day, that … early days especially, that helps more than anything else, and that’s one thing Tim Kopp, Accel, IVP have all done, they bring their networks, they bring customers, they bring relationships, and that really helps us scale faster.

Harry Stebbings: Totally, and I think not enough founders actually really leverage their VCs for BD. But I do have to ask, for me now investing myself, how do you think about the ability for founders and investors to be friends? Often people say there’s a line of professionalism that needs to be drawn, and that maybe shouldn’t be the case. How do you feel about the friendship between founders and investors and board members?

Godard Abel: And I think you definitely can be friends, and I would say the same with my leadership team. I’ve talked about Matt Gorniak a couple times, but he and I also, through building companies, have become best friends. But I’m still his boss, and he still respects that. And probably similar to my board members, where they’re still my boss and I respect that, but I also think for me, it’s one of the things I love about business, it’s a common challenge, and I do think you forge deep, human bonds and friendships through it. And frankly, I think if you don’t then you’re really missing something because to me that’s kind of the point of it now, especially building … well why build another company? A lot of it is I think the amazing human relationships I can build through building a company.

Godard Abel: So I really … and I love building friendships through work, including those with my investors.

Harry Stebbings: So do I, so it’s very refreshing for me to hear that. Before we move into my favorite though, being the quick fire round, I do want to touch on the large levels of funding that we’ve seen lately kind of resulting in incredibly large marketing budgets of late. What’s going on with marketing budgets today from your perspective, Godard?

Godard Abel: And I think you’re right, and I think it’s just so hard to break through the noise. Because there are … everyone’s raising hundreds of millions of dollars now, and there’s just so much content marketing. And I’ve seen graphs, the amount of content on the internet is growing 10x every year, there’s 10x more startups, 10x more capital. And I think really the hard part now is not to start a business, not get a product launch, but to break through the noise. And obviously marketing is one answer.

Godard Abel: But I think just dollars doesn’t get it done, and that’s where we’re lucky also to have Ryan Bonnici as our CMO, he came from HubSpot, and really a lot of it we’re focusing on … and really what you’re doing here, Harry, is how do you create unique content? Because that insightful content, that is what breaks through that noise, and I’m sure for you as an investor that’s also I think how I’m sure you’re getting a lot of your differentiation, your deal flow is by doing amazing content like you’re doing with these podcasts.

Harry Stebbings: Well that’s very, very kind of you and for sure, absolutely it is, man. Very passionate about that going forward. But I do want to move into my favorite element, Godard, so it’s a quick fire round. So essentially I say a short statement, and then you give me your immediate thoughts in about 60 seconds or less. Are you ready to rock and roll?

Godard Abel: Yes, let’s go.

Harry Stebbings: This is a very hard start. The best board member you’ve worked with and why.

Godard Abel: That is a hard one, because I’ve had many great ones. So I would go with Jules Maltz, just him being my most recent one. But I think now that he’s backed me in two companies in a row, leading our series C, I really appreciate that and I really enjoy working with him.

Harry Stebbings: When is the right time to pour fuel on the company fire, so to speak, Godard?

Godard Abel: It is when you find that product market fit, but really I think the way you see it is your sales reps just start to crush their numbers. And I remember that at Steelbrick, where we had seven quarters in a row and once all your sales reps are hitting it’s kind of obvious, hey, pour more fuel on the fire, do more marketing, raise more money.

Harry Stebbings: Can I ask, what do you do when shit hits the fan, Godard? What’s your coping mechanism?

Godard Abel: Well one, I think, feel the pain, feel the emotion, and then act super quickly. Because the good news is that sense of panic, the anger, it creates energy and you can act right away. So I think feel it, and then go.

Harry Stebbings: Do you agree with the hire fast, fire fast mentality?

Godard Abel: No. And the way I always think about that is like who wants to join a company with that mentality? So I like to hire diligently, and frankly, if we have to manage someone out on performance, we also will do that diligently more slowly, because I think that’s what everyone deserves. And so I really don’t like that philosophy.

Harry Stebbings: No, I love that, and I completely agree with you on that thinking. Tell me, what would you most like to change in the world of SaaS today? You’ve seen many generations in the SaaS world, so to speak. What would you most like to change today?

Godard Abel: Well, I think it’s SaaS shelf wear. And I have seen a lot of that, frankly even at Salesforce, right, where you kind of oversell licenses and products the customer doesn’t need. And now I look at companies like Slack that … where you pay on demand, and I think that’s actually a trend also G2 will drive with Track, because we help you actually manage your spend, so I think paying based on actual usage will be the future.

Harry Stebbings: Can I ask, that does not discourage users from using your product? I’m fascinated by pricing mechanisms, and I’m always concerned by volume based pricing because of the discouragement that users might feel from using the product, so to speak. Is that ever a concern?

Godard Abel: I think that’s a fair point, and I do think you can overcome it where people can pre-commit. If they like the cellphone plan, the mobile phone plan, right, where they can pre-commit to a level of usage so they know it’s a fixed cost. But I still think it’s a better concept ultimately, also for the vendor, because then if the customer doesn’t use your product you don’t get paid, right, and what better alignment is there than that?

Harry Stebbings: Absolutely. And then final one, what do you know now that you wish you’d known at the beginning? Now you can choose the start point. It can be the start of BigMachines, it can be the start of G2, it could be the start of Steelbrick. But what do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started dot, dot, dot …

Godard Abel: And I will go back to BigMachines, because it was my first enterprise software company, but just the importance of sales and that sales and closing the next deal, especially early days in any B to B SaaS business is the most important thing. And I just wish I’d focused more on sales and not finance strategy, and all the other stuff.

Harry Stebbings: Godard, as I’ve said, I’ve been a fan of G2 actually for a long time. I’ve heard many great things from Tim and from Ryan, so huge thank you for joining me today. And I really, really enjoyed this, Godard.

Godard Abel: Thank you, Harry, enjoyed it as well and look forward to seeing you in London in June.

Harry Stebbings: I mean, what a guest Godard was to have on the show there. And if you’d like to see more from Godard, you can find him on Twitter, @GodardAbel, likewise it’d be fantastic to welcome you behind the scenes here at SaaStr. You can do that on Instagram @HStebbings1996 with two Bs, really would love to see you there.

Harry Stebbings: And I want to say I do so appreciate your support, really, it means so much you tuning in, and I cannot wait to bring you a special episode next week.


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This