Virtual Coffee with SEG: 2020 Review

“Virtual Coffee with SEG” are conversations with industry experts, providing real-time insights into the current market and self-help advice to SaaS CEOs and operators.

We are pleased to have published six Virtual Coffee discussions throughout 2020. Thank you to all of our guests for taking the time to share such terrific content and insights for the software community! Enjoy a recap of our discussions below.

SaaS Sales & Marketing Best Practices in the Current Market

Coffee with Andrea Pitts, SVP of Global Sales, Arena Solutions

Sales departments play a vital role in the operation and success of SaaS businesses. There are several effective strategies operators can employ to optimize sales departments, and are often overlooked. In this “Virtual Coffee,” Software Equity Group’s Managing Partner, Allen Cinzori, had coffee with Andrea Pitts, Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Arena Solutions. In this incredibly valuable discussion, Andrea Pitts shares some insight into key sales best practices every SaaS operator should know. Arena Solutions is a provider of a cloud-based product life cycle management application and product-centric quality management solution for electronic high tech and medical device companies. Continue Reading.

Questions Discussed:
  • Since JMI’s investment in Arena Solutions, what has been the impact on sales & marketing? What are the top one or two areas they have really helped you and your team?
  • There is often a lack of information from sales departments as it relates to capturing and tracking sales data. As you know, knowing and understanding your company’s data and sales metrics is critical. What have you done to overcome this hurdle?
  • In the past, we’ve discussed a concept of ‘selling in the weeds’ where we often see sales reps focusing on selling products and features. How do you think about sales now and how have you evolved from this concept of ‘selling in the weeds’? 
  • In this COVID world, how have traditional sales been impacted and what will become the new norm going forward?

Vista’s View of the SaaS Marketplace

Coffee with Alan Cline, Senior Managing Director of Vista Equity Partners

What is the current state of the SaaS marketplace from the perspective of a leading SaaS investor? Software Equity Group’s Managing Partner, Allen Cinzori, had an opportunity to have a “Virtual Coffee” with Alan Cline, Senior Managing Director of Vista Equity Partners, to discuss this very topic. Vista Equity Partners is a U.S.-based investment firm with more than $57 billion in cumulative capital commitments. The company focuses on enterprise software market across private equity, permanent capital, credit, and public equity investments. Continue Reading.

Questions Discussed:
  • SEG recently published an article highlighting how SaaS businesses would truly be tested for the first time during the pandemic…we called it “Surviving the SaaS pressure cooker.” How have Vista’s portfolio of SaaS businesses, and perhaps Endeavor Fund companies, held up over the past few months? How is the durability of B2B SaaS models holding up? And, lastly, how do you believe this period impacts the demand for SaaS assets in the future?
  • How do you define an attractive vertical or product category today? What are the hallmarks? What are the top three things you are looking for?
  • I recently read an article on Vista’s website that stated: “Women make up 43% of Vista’s workforce, compared to only 18% for the private equity industry on average. Further, about 30% of Vista’s employees are people of color, and two out of Vista’s six funds are co-headed by women.” What has Vista been doing to drive these higher levels of diversity?
  • What is one piece of advice you’d like to give to SaaS operators right now?

Considerations for Returning to the Office

Coffee with Shamim Sahba and Ashkon Sabet, Co-Founders of OfficeSpace Software

How does a software company prepare to return to the office? Software Equity Group’s (SEG) managing partner, Allen Cinzori, had an opportunity to have coffee with Shamim Sahba and Ashkon Sabet, Co-Founders of OfficeSpace, to discuss this very topic. OfficeSpace is a leading SaaS-based platform for managing the workplace that gives forward-thinking companies the tools they need to engage employees, manage moves, maximize space, and keep real-estate costs low. Continue Reading.

Questions Discussed:
  • There are many offices that have a bullpen-type environment. Should employers segment their workplaces to be partly virtual and partly in office? Creating a shift-based strategy, where certain employees come in on different days? Can reconfiguration of the layout of a business resolve the social distancing issue?
  • Any guesses on what we are going to see 3-5 years from now that’s a direct result of COVID-19?
  • If I’m a CEO of a SaaS company today, what are one or two key things that I should know about planning to head back into the workplace?

A SaaS Operator’s Roadmap to Better Retention and Revenue Growth

Coffee with Tim McCormick, CEO of SaaSOptics

You can’t manage what you can’t measure. What’s more, many SaaS operators view financial and accounting data as a burden when it should be viewed as a roadmap. Software Equity Group’s (SEG) Managing Partner, Allen Cinzori, had the opportunity to have coffee with Tim McCormick, CEO of SaaSOptics, to discuss this very topic. SaaSOptics is a B2B subscription management platform that tracks subscriptions and revenue and integrates with key systems to improve management of financial operations. Continue Reading.

Questions Discussed:
  • What are some of your favorite customer success stories?
  • Why is it so important in the current market to be using a product like SaaSOptics even more so than before?
  • Segmenting retention and churn by sales rep can be an incredibly insightful , can you elaborate on why the value in learning this information can help a business?
  • What are the one or two pieces of advice you’d like to give to your fellow SaaS peers operating companies today?

Private Equity in the Current SaaS Market

Coffee with Fred Sturgis, Managing Director of Resurgens Technology Partners

Private capital markets have been operating with historically high efficiency and strength for the past few years. While the total impact of this epidemic is not clear, SEG has spoken with several private equity firms to get their thoughts on the matter. If you would like to know how 50 private equity firms are responding, we talked with them and detailed our insights in one of our most recent blogs: What’s Happening in Today’s Private Capital Market? Software Equity Group’s (SEG) Managing Partner, Allen Cinzori, had an opportunity to have coffee with Fred Sturgis, Managing Director of Resurgens Technology Partners, to discuss this very topic. Resurgens Technology Partners is a private equity firm focused on partnering with software and technology-enabled businesses. Continue Reading.

Questions Discussed:
  • What’s changed in the private equity community now vs. where we were late March? 
  • What would you tell a SaaS executive or owner that was thinking about running a process pre-Covid-19? What advice would you give that person now? 
  • One of the challenges is not being able to sit down across the table from a prospective seller. We’ve tried to address that by having more virtual meetings with our clients and and prospective buyers. What else have you seen in that regard?  
  • One of the challenges is not being able to sit down across the table from a prospective seller. We’ve tried to address that by having more virtual meetings with our clients and and prospective buyers. What else have you seen in that regard?  
  • What about 2020 projections, what are your expectations? 
  • What do you expect as far as a recovery? 

Customer Support in the Current Market

Coffee with Robert Johnson, CEO & Founder of TeamSupport

Retention is at the top of our list when evaluating SaaS and software businesses. Software Equity Group’s (SEG) managing partner, Allen Cinzori, had an opportunity to have coffee with Robert Johnson, CEO of TeamSupport, to discuss this very topic. Robert’s company is a provider of customer support and success software to many B2B SaaS companies. This is a timely discussion as customer support is even more important due to the current market. Continue Reading.

Questions Discussed:
  • Retention is critically important in today’s market. What are you seeing right now? What best practices are you seeing among your customers that could be a value to SaaS operators?
  • Net retention is a function of lost customers, contracting customers, and expanding customers. While all are important, which one do you feel is most important today?
  • Pre COVID-19, every SaaS company had customers that were at risk of churning. Is there an opportunity for SaaS operators to win back these customers as they may delay any near-term changes to avoid additional disruption?
  • Looking ahead, can we expect COVID-19 to be a catalyst for change within customer support departments and a heightened focus on retention levels?
  • If there was one piece of advice you could offer to one of your peers that is operating a SaaS company today, what would it be?