SaaS Founders, How to grow to 10 Mn ARR faster!

What not to do?

Lose focus & spread yourself thin!

Skip stages & put fire on fuel!

The proven route to scale from $1Mn to $10Mn efficiently!

  1. Double down on what is working. Period. If SMBs are your core, stay there, at least until $10m ARR. Do not chase customer segments where you have zero, or only a token, traction. It’s too late to make these segments work as you’ve already established your initial, organic customer traction and segmentation.
  2. Segment & analyze your customer and put proportionate effort into your customer segments that work. Break your customers into, say, small, medium and larger segments and calculate the revenue breakdown. If 50% of your revenue is smaller customers, 30% medium and 20% large, align your energy and efforts proportionately. Go with your solution to similar customers who have the same “Hair on Fire” problem you originally solved to hit the product-market fit.
  3. Optimize the effort of your resources on what matters most. Align your marketing budgets, product time, development resources, sales headcount in line with the proportion of business from successful customer segment and the identified sweet spot. Don’t go after super enterprise customers if that’s not your core. Same way, don’t go for a freemium model if that didn’t work before $1Mn ARR.
  4. Don’t get distracted. Adding anything new that did not work before is just going to distract everyone now. Continue to do Step 1.
  5. Invest in customer success: Go all-in on customer success. Get your net promoter score above 60. Done well, customer success will become the second-order revenue and convert your startup into a mini-brand that drives revenue acceleration. Make your existing customers happy, and they will both buy more from you and get you more customers.
  6. Hire a real management team. Every startup hits a wall around $4-$5 Mn ARR, and it’s needed to have your VPs join in by this time. In terms of the sequence, hire a VP Marketing definitely before or by the time you hit $1Mn, followed by VP Customer Success, VP Sales, VP Product, VP Engineering, VP Finance. As a rule of thumb, get a VP for an additional $1Mn in ARR is a safe strategy. Always be looking for great candidates; spend 20% of your time on hiring.
  7. Measure what works & what doesn’t. Build an operational cadence and rigour to run all initiatives and functions through data. You will get a lot of questions answered if you look at data first. Get others in the team to do the same.
  8. Align the team on strategy: Set ambitious goals but align the whole company behind that. It’s important to maintain a culture of transparency and support with your team while you get onto the scaleup journey.
  9. Build foundation pillars. Make sure you can transition to the self-serve solution, which is sales assisted and not gets onto the debate of self serve vs sales assist. Providing a great customer experience and support is a great way to differentiate in the crowded market.
  10. Continue to build: Now that you are scaling, don’t take the eye away from the product. Continue to ship new features and products to stay relevant and also be able to upsell to the growing installed base of customers.
  11. Create playbooks: Create winning playbooks that capture the essence of all the tribal knowledge floating around in the organization, whether it’s sales playbook, employee onboarding checklist, hiring process, customer case studies, competition battle cards or user training plans. Creating templates into scalable playbooks simplifies growth automation.

Summary

About Me

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Been part of an amazing growth journey in building & leading a multi-Million, multi-region $SaaS business. On course to relive that journey at Nektar.ai

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