So for a while now we’ve been running polls on LinkedIn. They aren’t scientific, but they do poll out 25,000+ LinkedIn followers, who consist mainly of SaaS executives. So there’s something to them. And at least — they can trigger some thinking.
A few of my favorites:
#1. Most of you give about a 12.5% discount on average for multi-year deals. But 19% of you give no discounts at all. The value of discounts in multi-year deals is nuanced overall, and by stage. Especially when cash matters, and when it doesn’t.
#2. Only 42% of you find free pilots generally convert to Paid. Consistent with my experience that Free pilots only work for a subset of buyers, and where the vendor is really, really good at managing them. Otherwise, there is no engagement. I’m actually surprised even this many folks say free pilots work for them.
#3. But 74% of you find your Paid Pilots convert to Paid Customers at the end of the pilot. So paid pilots are so, so much better for most of us. 😉
#4. 41% of you have sales do some customer onboarding, not just CS or other specialists. A niche topic, but one I’ve been learning a lot about lately and working on. Should sales just disappear once the contract is signed?
#5. 38% of you thought it was getting harder to close deals as the year has gone on — but 62% of you didn’t. Notwithstanding the drama in the public markets, most SaaS companies and startups are growing faster than ever.
#6. On average, you got a 33%+ boost in revenue when you hired your first VP of Sales. A classic SaaStr post, turned into a poll! So yes, it always works. Hire a great VP of Sales, and revenue goes up. Go find her!
#7. About two-thirds of you have a 90%+ logo retention rate. This sounds a bit high to me, and some founders may think their logo retention is higher than it really is. But nevertheless the poll is interesting. It’s a challenge to get your logo retention rate up to 90% or higher.
#8. 59% of you have raised prices this year. I think most of us have found our pricing is more elastic than we thought. The related question then becomes do you raise prices on existing customers — or just new customers? In the scaling phase, I vote for leaving existing customers be.
#9. Almost no one has found hiring to be any easier in 2022. So if the Great Resignation is over, it’s not clear it’s really helping SaaS companies.
#10. Only 23% of you are reducing budgets due to market turmoil. And just as many are increasing budgets. Sometimes, you do have to cut. But you can’t cut your way to growth.
#11. Your VPs of Sales get about 44% of their comp from variable comp. I like a “traditional” 50/50/25 plan, but in any event, was curious what others were doing in practice.
#13. 66% of you use NRR as the #1 KPI for your Customer Success teams. This survey admittedly couldn’t encompass a lot of nuances in CS goals, but was interesting to see nevertheless.
#14. 74% of you are doing weekly 1-on-1’s with all your direct reports. Good for you! This is so important. Especially when it seems like you don’t have time to do them.
#15. Only 46% of you think your sales team is as expert in your product as your customers are. Sigh. Fix this, and watch sales go up.
#16. 61% of you have Customer Support reporting to Customer Success. There’s no perfect answer here, but often Customer Success is what support defaults to reporting into. But is this really CS’s role?
#17. 60% of you hired a real VP of Product by $4m ARR. That sounds about right. But don’t wait much longer.
#18. 70% of you wished you’d hired your VP of Sales and Marketing earlier. But I was surprised so few picked VP of Eng.
#19. Only 14% of you have no SDRs. And most have a 1 SDR per 2 AEs ratio. Outbound always works. You just have to do it right.
#20. 41% of you saw your win rates go more down than up as you scaled. I wish we’d had more respondents, but it still makes the point. Win rates often come down if you scale into new segments and markets. Because they have more competition. And that’s often a good thing.
We’ll do another summary of these soon!
And a few bonus surveys if of interest:
#21. Only 44% of you segment your NRR by segment. You gotta do this if you have customers of different sizes. Otherwise, you won’t see the different trends. And you won’t be able to set different goals per segment.
#22. 64% of you are hiring at least twice as many sales reps as last year. This isn’t an epic insight, but I did the poll because I find so many SaaS founders underestimate how many reps you have to hire. If you want to double, you have to at least double your sales team. At least.
#23. Only 25% of you get back to customers within 5 minutes. Do this, and magic happens. Do you want to wait when you click on support on other folks’ apps? Of course not.
#24. Only 35% say your sales execs can fully demo the product themselves. Another Sigh. I know sometimes, this isn’t possible. But you have to least try. Who wants to buy from a sales rep that doesn’t know the product well enough to use it?
#25. Most of you get a significant number of customers from your partners. I put this poll together just because many founders rely 100% on a direct strategy, and often you have to to get things going. But most of you are getting from 10%-30%+ of your revenues from partners. So lean in early on partners, platform, and biz dev. And staff it up with at least one full-time, dedicated resource as soon as you can!
#26. Most of you give a new VP a quarter or more to start making strong hires. I disagree here 100.0000%. 🙂 The best VPs always bring in a few great folks with them. But still, interesting to see how many of you give VPs so much time to find great folks to join them. My advice remains not to give them this much time.
#27. 85% of you attend the top industry events, and 39% get a booth. Not everyone is great at “manning a booth”, and when you are tiny, it can seem expensive. But almost 40% of you do it. In any event, most of you show up in any event. Events are an unusual thing, but the top ones have one thing in common: your buyers and customers go to them.
#28. Most of you see about 20% turnover in your sales teams. Strive for a zero voluntary attrition sales team, i.e. that everyone great stays. But also, the bottom 10% also generally doesn’t deliver. 20% annual turnover is a good model. That means if you think you need to double your sales team this year, you really have to do more, and grow it 20% more than that. Many founders miss that in their models.
#29. Most of you think sales reps you interview need to know your product at least well enough to ask good questions. I was heartened to see this, because I know many disagree. But if a sales rep isn’t curious enough to learn enough about your product to ask and answer some decent questions before an interview … then I never see them really perform.
#30. Most of you are back to visiting customers in-person. This is good to see. Zoom is great. Zoom is efficient. Zoom works well for first meetings. But you keep more customers if you visit them in-person. And they buy more from you. This is true now as before all this.
#31. Most of you get 25% or more of your customers from word-of-mouth. This is great. It’s free, it’s high value. So ask yourself — what are you doing to incent this? To reward it? To improve it and enhance it? Likely not enough. And sometimes, not much at all.
#32. Most of you see your top sales reps closing 3x or more than the average rep. We’ve talked about it for years on SaaStr, and you’re seeing the same. A great rep doesn’t sell just a bit more. They sell 2x, 3x, even 9x in many cases more than a “standard” rep. Cherish them. Never let them go.
#33. Only 40% of you review the calls and emails of all your reps. Do this more. So many reps just say and write … the wrong things. You gotta at least jump in and help. Even the experienced ones.
#34. Most of you don’t actually get QBRs done with your larger customers. QBRs aren’t always magic, but you have to try. You have to try to have a formal meeting with every top customer at least once a quarter. It always helps, if you get and make the meeting happen. This survey is consistent with a lot of interviews I’ve had with CSMs recently, who say they do QBRs, but in practice only get a few customers to shop up. Do better.
#35. Most of you hired your VP of Sales before your VP of Marketing. That’s fine, but I find it’s even better if you have a great VP of Demand Gen already in place before your VP of Sales starts. It’s part of having at least a basic engine in place before you hire a true VP of Sales. More on that here.
#36. You get on average 25%-30% of your revenue from outside North America. This survey didn’t have the most respondents, but it made the point. Most of us in SaaS get about 25%-30% of our revenue from outside the U.S. and North America. Don’t fear it. Instead, lean into it.