1. SaaS METRIC OF THE WEEK: TTV - Time To Value: This week, I've had some mentoring discussions about Time to Value. Great to bring it back - TTV is similar to ROI (return on investment). Still, instead of realizing the financial success of an investment, it implies achieving the effectiveness of an investment or for a customer to realize value out of your product. There is also a corollary "trough of disillusionment" your customers may need to navigate.
2. EXPERIMENTS: In another very enjoyable mentoring session last week, we took a deep dive into experimentation - because every day, every path you take towards growth and revenue should be a hypothesis in startup land - Time to upskill your experiment skills by reading how to run a growth experiment (in 4 easy steps!). Testing versions of things is something to embed across your company and culture as you experiment toward growth - it's why failure is vital to not failing. When conducting experiments such as A/B tests, start with this refresher and then this Step-by-Step Guide. Go Practice has some great advice on how to make these experiments run faster too.
3. SALES: Looking to establish your first (non-PLG) SaaS Sales Comp plan? So first, check this excellent report on the State of Startup Compensation from the team at Carta. They look into questions such as what makes up for the largest share of compensation spend, what roles get paid the most, and whether startups are still hiring remote workers (yes, remote hires now represent 62% of all new contracts). And then, read this post from Jason Lemkin on how to construct a framework for your first SaaS sales compensation plans.
4. SDR BENCHMARKS: The new 2023 SDR Bridge Group SDR Survey is out - answering all the great benchmark metrics such as How much time does it take for an SDR to ramp up? And how many calls does it take to book one meeting? What about the SDR:AE ratio? BONUS: SDR compensation calculator (Excel).
5. ASYNC CULTURE: Crack open your tech dictionaries again for this one - it's something we do at my day job; I just wasn't aware there was a label for it. Management and leadership can get asynchronous with 100% remote and distributed teams across different time zones. So this is a great Async playbook for those who need to practice this. It's going on my wall, so I can work on a couple of these pillars (especially around documentation).
6. SALES CYCLE: Ouch - According to Tomasz Tunguz and his 2023 Go To Market Survey, the typical Startup saw a 24% increase in sales cycle in 2023 in the past year. It's worse if you sell to Enterprise - up 36%.
7. AI: We're (un)officially in the "Age of AI" - and anecdotally to me, it seems about right as it's everywhere conversationally, and I use it daily (except in this newsletter because writing is a unique tool). It looks revolutionary - but here is how we got there. BONUS: A post looking into the origin, drama, and people behind OpenAI, the parent of ChatGPT (and, of course, Elon is there).
8. CRYPTO: Coinbase was served a Wells notice (I just heard of this term this week) for trying to follow the US guidelines for digital assets. A tougher environment for all Web3 companies is inbound, and a significant regulatory battle is incoming.
9. CAPITAL: Jason Lemkin notes that it's now year 2 of the venture downturn, and "No" is becoming the default response. According to another post from Tomasz Tunguz this week, the most challenging round to raise in 2023 is Series B (where most of those NOs are).
10. CASE STUDY: Complimenting #2 above on experimenting. On the extreme end of A/B testing is booking.com, which often runs over 1,000 tests simultaneously! But here is the payoff: That flywheel enabled Booking.com to compound at healthy growth rates while maintaining ~30% EBITDA margins and scaling Google ad spend to approximately $4 billion per year!
POD OF THE WEEK: The extension of #5 above on how to go totally asynchronous with a distributed team with no internal meetings.