1. SaaS METRIC OF THE WEEK: BOOKINGS. I have a love-hate with bookings, but in the SaaS world, accurate bookings data is critical for tracking sales performance, forecasting revenue, and calculating efficiency metrics. But getting accurate bookings data to support strategic decisions is a struggle - so the SaaS CFO has a great article and template for us all to use to better manage the struggle.
2. BOTTOMS UP: Stage 2 Capital has a Go To Market Analysis Model called the Bottoms Up Model (Bonus Worksheet here), starting with your current state to assess if Sales & Marketing efforts are well matched to the finance plan and unit economics of the products.
3. DIFFICULTY RATIO: Once for your tech dictionaries. Having all your security and compliance ducks in a row is MEGA hard, so the payoff (in terms of customer ACV) has to be worth it. Payoff > Difficulty. This is called the Difficulty Ratio, which is discussed more in a Substack post from David Sacks.
4. SALES COMMISSION: I had some dialogue about a post a couple of weeks back on commission that excited me to uncover this post on creating a sales commission plan, including determining OTE, Quotas, Accelerators, Ramp Time, and Draws.
5. TRIALS: They are a proven funnel method for a solid go-to-market strategy, and according to this article, starting users with premium trials (aka reverse trials) can boost conversion. Also, check this article on 9 ways to optimize your SaaS trial, and then take note of an older article from Tomasz Tunguz asking how long should trial periods be? TL;DR: Longer trials do not convert customers at greater rates. Two weeks or two months, same results.
6. CUSTOMER SUCCESS: Great SaaS-ism dropping from Jason Lemkin this week: Hire one customer success manager for every $2m in ARR. But it's a relative rule and varies with deal sizes, and you can forget the $2m/CSM rule at the earlier stages of growth. But start segmenting & investing early: Big deals ($50k+ ARR): Hire a CSM per 2 customers; mid deals ($5k+): Proactive outreach is possible with 400 customers. Just automate!
7. SEO: This article offers several SEO growth hacks for startups, including building niche tools for backlinks, using "ref" tags on outgoing links, leveraging HARO for expert quotes in media, making small donations to crowdfunding campaigns for backlinks, writing testimonials for services used to gain backlinks, and optimizing pages using Google Search Console data. Double down on this last one - here is how to think about your Google/SEO keywords, and here is a starter guide from them.
8. TRENDS 2024: Sapphire Ventures have released their State of the SaaS Capital Markets report, start
9. VENTURE: This is a great Cheat Sheet from Antler - a guide for very early-stage founders on how much they can realistically raise in their first round. Especially if nothing has yet been built.
10. CASE STUDY: Adding onto #7 above - how Airtable leverages SEO to attract about 3 Million organic searches/year. This is also Grammarly's wheelhouse, so here is a great case study on their SEO.
POD OF THE WEEK: The Pavillion CEO summit late last month had some great sessions, with one highlighting some key trends for 2024 (the sound pops out for a little bit - don't worry, it comes back). Some teasers for you: 1. the emergence of the $300,000 employee, 2. efficiency being crucial at different ARR levels, and 3. the importance of cautious hiring in the 'Lost Generation.' Tons more gold inside.