SaaStock USA 2023 - Highlights from Austin, Texas

Roy Solomon
SaaStock USA 2023 - Highlights from Austin, Texas
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What an event!

Just getting back and settled and I’ve realized how much a conference can really take a lot out of you. But also, how incredibly fun and energizing they can be.

Here’s a quick recap and would recommend this event for those considering for next year.

We had a great opportunity to meet B2B SaaS leaders and icons like Godard Abel, CEO of G2 and Sam Jacobs of Pavilion.

Walking the floor and expo - there was a good mix of attendees, VCs, AEs+SDRs all exhibiting, and VPs of Marketing and Sales.

The session speakers - a nice mix of CROs and operators and a few Thought leaders or Marketing visionaries.

The Highlight for me, was clear.

Getting to moderate the session on Product Led Growth, Sales Playbooks, and Channel Strategy on Thursday and being on stage with Will and Stevie, the CROs of ClickUp and Vanta, respectively.

Here were my notes or scribbles from the talk track: 

Sales Excellence comes in part from sales team messaging, alignment, and support. When the whole company culture supports and builds up Sales - the team does well and feels energized.

Here are a few ways this was covered:

President’s Club - both ClickUp and Vanta had just come back from club trips to Mexico!

Compensation and Double Comp - the world’s of PLG and Sales can sometimes feel like they are butting heads but really it should all be one wonderful Flywheel and sellers should embrace, and use PLG as a tool in their toolkit. To facilitate this line of thinking, both CROs talked about ways they got the thumbs up for Double Compensation or for crediting a Self Service sign up to the Account Owner - even when the Seller did not run a long sales cycle or meaningfully engage with the buyer. The slant should be: let buyers buy the way they like and help Sellers be a a value add or a strategic layer for change management or broader deployments.

Channel can be your localization and trust sidekick - both CROs shared that in order to tap into LatAm or complex markets there is value focusing on trusted, local, partners and then determining if they are a an extension of your sales team, implementation team, or run their own proprietary end to end offering. The part that stuck with me - local consultants and partners have been trusted for years and may understand the broader ecosystem better than an Account Executive - so any ways you can drive alignment here will actually help your Sales team feel more confident and offer better final solutions, to prospects.

Will’s take here:

“I shared the acronym VOO (shoutout to my personal finance friends in the crowd):
vocabulary - critical to align on common vocabulary that leads to alignment and instead of local/functional optimization. Build around the customer's experience (ie instead of a sales process, have a customer engagement process)
ownership - build simplicity into your machine through the lens of a. strategy, then b. org chart that supports that strategy, then c. people who fill the roles in that org chart that you support, resource, and empower
3. out of the ordinary ways to "
PG" (pipeline generate) - more sellers need to think like marketers. More marketing, growth, or product practitioners need to sit with sales to see their flow & what signals they look for. We had a nice sidebar on generative AI too!”

He also really hit home on the importance on remembering the power and reason Sales teams stand out. He talked about the top four SaaS companies all having elite sales teams.

Just for example, here’s a list of 10 SaaS companies who have crossed $1B in ARR. You’ll see that some follow a Bottom’s up selling approach., but SFDC, ServiceNow, and Workday, and Okta, all have large, world class selling teams.

Salesforce: Salesforce is a leading cloud-based CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform.

Adobe Inc.: Adobe offers various SaaS solutions, including Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe Experience Cloud, and Adobe Document Cloud.

ServiceNow: ServiceNow provides cloud-based solutions for IT service management, IT operations management, and IT business management.

Workday: Workday specializes in enterprise cloud applications for human resources and financial management.

Atlassian: Atlassian offers a suite of collaboration and productivity tools, including Jira, Confluence, and Trello.

Zoom Video Communications: Zoom provides cloud-based video conferencing, online meetings, and webinar solutions.

DocuSign: DocuSign offers an electronic signature platform and digital transaction management services.

Twilio: Twilio provides cloud-based communication APIs and services, enabling developers to embed messaging, voice, and video capabilities into their applications.

Shopify: Shopify is an e-commerce platform that enables businesses to create online stores and sell products.

Okta: Okta specializes in identity and access management solutions, providing secure access to applications and data.

Stevie’s take here

”Bottom line — there is no silver bullet, plug and play answer. Every biz is unique, and will probably only truly win at 2/3 of those motions. Reduce friction for your sellers and stay aligned around what’s best for the customer to win.

And its a heck of a lot easier to go PLG > Enterprise than it is to go the other direction!”

She also covered a bit of her view of how AI can be very powerful for Sales teams and that there’s a big gap in how RevOps, Enablement, Sales, and IT all are working together and felt there’s room for a team to really squeeze more value and automations from existing tech and add in the right AI elements or tools on top.

If you did not get to attend this year, hope you can make it next year!

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