By Siobhan Gallagher, SaaS sales leader with over 20 years experience – passionate about tech, all things InfoSec and growth-hacking. Title image by Dan Taylor

Monday 18th September saw the return of SaaStock to Dublin.  After a successful launch last year, it was back, bigger and better with an international attendance that had doubled in size.   Over the course of 3 days, we were treated to an incredible line-up of global SaaS talent, both as speakers and  attendees.   Not to be outdone, our homegrown Irish SaaS successes were there in force, including Intercom and Teamwork to name a few.

Day 1 kicked off with a series of Bootcamps dotted around the city’s tech hubs and accelerators.  These focussed on a range of topics at the core of SaaS success; Sales, Growth, Pricing and Customer Success to name a few.  I managed to squeeze in 3 of the sessions and got a load of new learnings from them.  A sentiment echoed by everyone I spoke to.  Stelli Efti of stood-out for his unique presentation style, passion and sheer energy.  Feedback on the CEO Bootcamp, from a seasoned CEO, was that it was worth the ticket by itself.

Days 2 and 3 ran with 3 tracks each, with a Scale, Growth and Traction Stages and a specific CTO track on the Wednesday evening.   Tuesday kicked off with advice on Killer SaaS Sales Calls.  In a nutshell – keep it short, sweet and to the point.  We got plenty of tips on how to qualify prospects out as quickly as qualifying them in.

There were plenty of take-homes around pricing, how to hire teams, grow revenue and expand your business globally.  Recurring themes emerged around founders doing the sales themselves, as much as possible before hiring someone specifically for the role.  This gives invaluable insights into who and what you need to hire and how to pitch your service or solution.  Another point, repeated again and again, was to pick up the phone and speak to customers directly.  It was agreed that actually taking time out to visit your customers, in their offices, if possible, was even more valuable.

On pricing, Patrick Campbell of Price Intelligently advised to keep experimenting, especially on SaaS contract renewals.  Whilst it might be tempting to keep prices level at the point of renewal, in order to keep the customer, he reminded us that the majority of SaaS will have added features and improved over the course of the contract.  Therefore, you could be losing valuable revenue by not negotiating a higher price.

Another theme mentioned by a number of speakers was on deciding to sell to Enterprises rather than SMBs.  Yes, the rewards and revenue may be big, we were warned, but the sales process is usually long and tortuous, with multiple decision-makers involved.  This tied into the area of customisation requests.   One respected SaaS company calculated that adding a new feature can be a $1million decision when you cost out the time and resources involved in developing new features.  The advice was to carry out market research before you start.  A small investment in consumer testing beforehand, could save time, money and even your business.

In addition, to the official launch party on Monday night, there were numerous sponsored drinks, pub crawls and get-togethers including the SaaS Network Ireland party.  This all helped build a real sense of a global SaaS community.   With the departure of The Summit some might have wondered if Dublin could still attract international tech conference attendees, but SaaStock has easily helped fill that gap with delegates rushing to book early bird tickets for next year.   Sign me up!

The 7 Pillars of Growth Hacking reviewed by Siobhan Gallagher

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