The blog Healthy Competition put together their favorite Top 10 SaaStr Tips for Founders & CEOs from all our content. It’s a great list and I thought I’d put it up here and add to it a bit:
And a deeper dive on them here:
- The best CEOs respect & understand the competition cold. Even at the earliest days, the best founders know the competition cold, and can tell you where they are strong as well as weak. They don’t simply mock them as the old guard. After all, the Old Guard often has $1B+ in ARR. They’re doing something right. You can’t win if you don’t truly and clearly understand the white space you’re wedging into.
- Build relationships with competitor CEOs. I’m not sure I’d put this in my Top 10, but definitely in my Top 100. Don’t hide from the other CEOs in the space. You never know where it could go. Combine together, down the road? Avoid a big conflict? Who knows. No downside, potentially real upside. The best veteran CEOs go out and meet their top competitors all the time.
- If you’re not growing at least as fast as competitors, it’s a “you” problem. Don’t blame the market. Ok this is such an important post and learning that not enough pay attention to. If you aren’t growing faster than your bigger competiton, you are falling behind. Even if everyone is OK with the absolute growth rate. E.g, if you are at $10m ARR growing 50%, and the competition is at $50m growing 40% — you are growing more slowly, not more quickly, that they are. Because they are adding +$20m in bookings a year, and you are adding just $5. You gotta know where you stand here to challenge yourself. More here.
- Integrate with and open your API to your competitors. Make it easy for customers to buy both you and your competitor together. A niche point not again in my Top 10, but a good one. If you are clearly #1 in the space with 70%+ market share, then sure, block the competition if you want. But otherwise, let them integrate with you. Keep your API and data open, and 2-way. First, it makes things easier on prospects and customers, which is a win right there. And second, you may not be or stay direct competitors. Vendors and spaces evolve over time. More here.
- If you’re growing at a decent rate, competitors can’t really kill you. A bit of a pep talk on not obsessing on the competition too much. If your growth is 60%+ or more, you are doing something right. The competition may be able to maim you. But especially if your NRR is 100%+, that can’t really kill you with growth like that. More here.
- When pitching to VCs, spend extra time on “competition” & “why we win” slides. And no, these shouldn’t be feature comparisons. Again, to point 1. The best founders know the competition cold, so use it to shine. Go deep here with VCs, don’t hide from it. They will believe if you should them truly how you win in a competitive space. And are honest about where you don’t win, for now — and how you will in the future. A bit more here.
- You need a 10x feature that competitors don’t have in order to win consistently. You can’t just be the cheaper option. What’s your 10x feature? You gotta have at least 1 great one at a time to win competitive deals. Too many “good but not great” founders don’t really know their 10x feature. More here.
- FUD and competition bashing can work, but it can also blow up in your face if you’re not good at it. A good one. If you are going to bash the competition in sales, you better at least get good at it. Otherwise, focus more on counter-FUD. Lying in deals and making stuff up, and half-truths can work sometimes. But it also blows up on you if the competition is good at counter-FUD. More here and here.
- It’s ok to hire a couple sellers & VPs from competitors, but not much more. Why? Because it’s easy to assume they’re better than they are. We all make this mistake. We don’t scrutinize the rest of the package. Don’t hire someone from the competition unless you are 100% sure you’d still hire them if they hadn’t worked there.
- How to check on a competitor’s growth plan: Search on LinkedIn how many sales reps they have, then multiply by $500,000. That’s how much in booking they plan to add this year. More here.
These aren’t the exact Top 10 SaaStr tips I’d put together, we have a lot of SaaStr content 🙂 But they are pretty darn good ones. I liked this Top 10 list a lot.
Can you get to $145,000,000 in ARR, IPO, and be worth $1.1 Billion with a sales-driven motion …
And still just burn $14m getting there?
Yes, you can
Example: quiet SaaS learning software Docebo: pic.twitter.com/jtGwErBPu6
— Jason ✨Be Kind✨ Lemkin (@jasonlk) January 11, 2023
(Top 10 image from here)