Last week I was lucky enough to be one of the over 12,000 attendees at this year’s SaaStr Annual conference in San Jose, California. It was an incredible week filled with a huge software-as-a-service community coming together to share their experience and tips across all levels of companies.
Besides the usual mix of sessions, parties and the inevitable Sponsor’s Hall, SaaStr had one feature that stood out from the rest, the chance to sign up for mentoring sessions on specific topics from community leaders. Have questions about scaling? Creating an inclusive sales comp plan? Want a lawyer to review your SaaS contracts? Through their SaaStr app, you were able to sign up for a Braindate with community leaders who wanted to share their expertise.
Jason Lemkin and the SaaStr team pulled together an incredible event, packed with speakers focuses on all aspects of SaaS business needs, with different tracks focused on founders, financing, scaling and more.
Some of my favorite sessions included:
- Building a $100M ARR Sales Team the Second Time Around with WP Engine – Matt Schatz
- The Things Nobody Tells You About An $8B Acquisition with Ryan Smith from Qualtrics with Jason Lemkin
- How to Design a Sales Comp Plan to Get You to $100M with Work-Bench, Movable Ink, MongoDB and Concert Finance
- A Step by Step Guide to Revenue Growth with Mark Roberge, Harvard Business School (his Q&A afterword was fantastic also)
- Powering 30%+ of the Web: Lessons Learned from Automattic and WordPress – Matt Mullenweg and Tony Conrad
- Avoid Trapdoor Decisions: 5 Lessons Learned from Scaling Stripe – Claire Hughes Johnson
- How To Scale an Open Culture. What We’ve Learned at Atlassian (Sometimes the Hard Way) – Jay Simons and Jason Lemkin
I learned a lot from all of these sessions and also took advantage of a couple of mentoring sessions available, in fact, I’ll continue to keep in touch with these generous people on an ongoing basis.
Some of the major takeaways I brought home with me:
- The importance of Sales Comp plans
- Simplicity is the key to success, this includes your sales comp plan, your client onboarding, and your pricing
- Know your value prop for recruiting as opposed to your value prop for your customer
- Shift to data-driven decision making
- The importance of every day/month team coaching
If I had one small critique, it’s that many of the same sessions had a number of the same high-level takeaways, not enough detail. We need some more detailed and prescriptive sessions.
SaaStr overall was a fantastic experience that gave me several action items that I can implement quickly and a path on things that I know need to be accomplished. This was an incredibly valuable experience and I’m looking forward to attending next year.