23 Things I Learnt at SaaStock 17

26th September 2017

Last week I was in Dublin for SaaStock 17, what a great city. After a few tourist trips and the SaaStock pub crawl I was in learning mode. The conference was cram-packed full of brilliant speakers from some of the worlds leading SaaS companies. From bootstrapped to funded, startups to billion dollar companies, everyone was there to discuss, share their experience and learn the latest topics in scalable subscription model businesses.

I took in so much information that I needed to some time out to digest it all. Now that’s done, here’s a list of some of the key things I learnt from the excellent speakers at SaaStock 2017.



Startups & Funding

  1. The objective of a SaaS startup is to create a repeatable, profitable and scalable machine
  2. There are 3 SaaS startup phases; Product market fit (PMF), achieving a repeatable scalable profitable growth model, scaling the business.
  3. If you’re a startup you should always use a ‘Cash Out’ graph. I.e. How long will it be until you run out of money?
  4. Leaders need extreme focus, everyone needs to know their job and to be completely aligned.
  5. Founders often don’t understand how valuation works. Your startup’s valuation can go down if milestones are not hit.
  6. At Series A you should have demonstrated PMF, customers need to be happy, engagement should be going up (or flat) over time and churn should be low.
  7. PMF to consistent reliable scalable bookings is one of the biggest challenges for a SaaS start up.
  8. Profitability can be measured in LFT > 3 X CAC with <18 months required to recover CAC.
  9. Startup phases run in a clear sequence. One of the biggest mistakes startups make is trying to force progress by jumping ahead before they’ve finished the next step in the startup sequence. I.e. hiring sales before founders know they can close sales themselves, scaling sales org before solving churn.


David Skok at SaaStock 17


  1. At early stages in a marketing team it’s important to hire generalists, use interns for scaling (though this may not work for every company) and when you’re growing start hiring specialists.
  2. Successes in demand generation don’t come from one single thing. It’s usually a combination of all your marketing efforts that brings results.
  3. The title of your content is often more impactful than the content itself. Whilst content is important, ‘title wins’ are what get you more attention.
  4. Using shock factor for exposure is often a useful tactic that get’s results. Bynder CEO’s logo tattoo achieved some of their biggest marketing exposure in 2016.
  5. Use Marketing Customer Acquisition Cost (MCAC) as a marketing success metric.




  1. Product designer is the most important hire you need to make for a growth team.
  2. Growth teams cause a great deal of friction within your company. If you implement a growth team, be sure you can handle the consequences (and I don’t mean the growth!).
  3. If you’re scaling your demand generation activities, you may wish to predict sales velocity of your leads in order to determine how to handle each one most appropriately. This is based on determining the cost of sales reps and offsetting this against the size and quality of the lead.
  4. Frictionless Signup can really help with ease of conversions on your site.
  5. Use Dynamic Social Proofing for your site visitors and leads. By following up with an email from someone in your organisation who has the same job title as the prospect you ensure the prospect relates to your team member. If the prospect is a marketer they receive social proof from a marketer, if they are an engineer, they receive social proof from an engineer.
  6. Use Clever Response Marketing. Automate your email responses with automated intro’s and follow ups. This can build the prospects impression of quality and efficiency of your team.
  7. When A/B testing you need high traffic levels and be sure to text high impact changes (I.e. not just the colour of a button).
  8. Sustained product growth comes from viral loops. Common growth loops are Paid Acquisition, Sales, SEO / Content, Marketplaces, Viral loops.
  9. What makes a good Growth hire? Somebody impact driven, analytical, curious, versatile and resilient.
By |2017-09-29T09:33:56+00:0026th September 2017|SaaS Events|0 Comments