5 Choice Quotes in From Impossible to Inevitable

Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin have a great book out titled From Impossible to Inevitable: How Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue. Now, it’s a mixture of the good stuff from the book Predictable Revenue and the site SaaStr, which are both must-reads for entrepreneurs.

Here are five choice quotes from the book:

  1. It’s always better to “show” rather than “tell” (stop talking and prove it).
  2. It takes three to six months to go from scratch to consistent pipeline generation — and longer for revenue. Stick it out!
  3. When you do something new, hire two. With one person, you can’t tell if what is working is due to the person or to the process.
  4. You’ll fail in SaaS if you don’t commit to spending 24 months to achieve initial traction.
  5. When you’re pursuing anything vitally important to you, you can figure it out when you embrace the challenge and growth rather than avoid it.

Haven’t read the book? Head over to Amazon.com and purchase From Impossible to Inevitable: How Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue.

What else? What are some more great quotes from the book?

Startup Review: Teamworks

Teamworks, a sports team management and operations SaaS application, was started 10+ years ago by Duke football player Zach Maurides (disclosure: I’m a recent investor). The original problem: how to manage all aspects of 85 scholarship players on a football team. Today, Teamworks has over 850 teams from all major sports including the majority of D1 football teams.

Here are a few notes on Teamworks:

  • Vertical SaaS is a big growth market, and team sports is no different
  • SaaS takes time to build, and Teamworks is an overnight success 10 years in the making
  • Growth opportunities exist in a variety of sports markets including college, pro, semi-pro, club, and others
  • Functionality like messaging and scheduling is the core with a number of supporting modules like academics, compliance, and equipment

Teamworks is the typical SaaS success story: a product that solves a real business problem, a great customer base built slowly over time, and plenty of room to expand. Look for continued growth from Teamworks.

What else? What are some more thoughts on Teamworks?

HESaaS: Hardware Enabled SaaS

Last week I heard a new term: HESaaS. HESaaS stands for Hardware Enabled Software as a Service and the idea is that there are new SaaS opportunities that come from the addition of specialized hardware. Put another way, the Internet of Things (IoT) is going to enable a variety of new HESaaS opportunities.

A local Atlanta Tech Village HeSaaS startup is Gimme Vending (disclosure: I’m an investor). Gimme makes a device that transmits vending machine data to the cloud for more efficient inventory management and product merchandising analytics. Without the hardware to send the data to the cloud, there’s no SaaS business.

Add HeSaaS to the list of reasons to be Bullish on SaaS Growth.

What else? What are some other hardware enabled SaaS opportunities?

Bullish on SaaS Growth

When talking with non-tech entrepreneurs, I always like to ask about their software stack as tech entrepreneurs typically have the same lineup: Salesforce, Pardot, SalesLoft, Terminus, Calendly, etc. For the non-tech entrepreneurs, I’m surprised how many don’t have modern, SaaS systems. This opportunity for more mainstream adoption, combined with the growth of SaaS companies I’m involved with, and the growth of public SaaS companies, makes me bullish on SaaS growth. We’re just getting started.

Here are a few reasons I’m bullish on SaaS growth:

SaaS as an industry has tremendous growth ahead. Look for many more years of opportunity.

What else? What are some more reasons to be bullish on SaaS growth?

Annual Recurring Revenue Greater than Cash Burned

One of the metrics I like when thinking about SaaS company efficiency is annual recurring revenue (ARR) being greater than or equal to cash burned all time. Successful SaaS startups suffer from the J-curve where things start out with steep losses while revenue begins to ramp up and eventually revenue grows much faster than losses (hopefully!).

Here are a few thoughts on ARR being greater that cash burned:

When considering a SaaS startup’s capital efficiency, look and see if the annual recurring revenue is greater than cash burned. If so, and there’s a good growth rate, it’s likely a sign of a potential successful outcome.

What else? What are some more thoughts on ARR being greater than cash burned for SaaS startups?

27 SaaS Products for the Marketing Department

After the post on 35 SaaS Marketing Products @ 1 Startup, a number of people asked me what products they used. While I don’t have the exact list of apps, here’s most of the free and paid apps the marketing department of the sub 100 person company uses:

  1. Salesforce.com – CRM
  2. Pardot – Marketing automation
  3. SalesLoft – Sales development (inbound response reps on the marketing team use SalesLoft to respond to leads)
  4. Google Analytics – Web analytics
  5. Google AdWords – Ad platform
  6. LinkedIn Ads – Ad platform
  7. Facebook Ads – Ad platform
  8. WorkGreat – Marketing analytics + reports
  9. Terminus – Account-based marketing
  10. Calendly – Calendar scheduling
  11. Moz – SEO analytics
  12. Buffer – Social media scheduling
  13. MeetEdgar – Social media content recycling
  14. Captora – Bulk landing page generation
  15. Optimizely – A/B testing
  16. Zapier – Cloud integration
  17. Unbounce – Landing pages
  18. WPEngine – WordPress hosting
  19. Zopim – Live chat
  20. ON24 – Webinar management
  21. GoToMeeting – Screen sharing
  22. Sigstr – Employee email signatures
  23. Intercom – Customer communication
  24. Vidyard – Video management
  25. LeadData – Campaign attribution
  26. Bizable – Marketing attribution
  27. Everstring – Predictive account discovery

Some later additions:

A small business marketing department using 27 products is on the high side, but not unreasonable. Look for the number of marketing department apps to grow over time as more useful point solutions come on the market.

What else? What are some more apps you’d add to this list for a marketing department?

35 SaaS Marketing Products @ 1 Startup

Yesterday I was talking to the head of marketing at a fast-growing, <100 person SaaS startup. We were talking about the modern marketing stack and he mentioned that they pay for 35 different SaaS products. Yes, 35 different marketing apps at one small business. Some of the app categories included marketing automation, social media management, A/B testing, SEO analytics, etc.

Here are a few questions that come to mind:

  • Is there an upper limit to how many marketing apps a small business will use?
  • When does app fatigue set in?
  • How many are apps require daily work vs ones that are set it and forget it?
  • How is reporting done across so many apps?

SaaS is unique in that once the business has $500,000 in recurring revenue, it’s hard to kill. Thus, there’s a huge cottage industry of SaaS marketing apps that provide value. It’ll be interesting to watch the industry over time and see how it plays out. My prediction: there’s no upper limit of marketing apps and we’ll keep seeing more and more.

What else? What are some more thoughts on the idea that there are 35 SaaS marketing products at one small business?