Our CEO Alex recently asked our community of SaaS, founders, operators, and investors about the biggest growth challenges they’re facing. 

The most common? Fundraising, navigating market conditions, and go-to-market strategies that reach the right prospects and tackle lengthening sales cycles. 

We put these challenges to SaaS experts Alison Murdock (Trusted CMO), Jake Dunlap (Skaled Consulting), and Okan Inaltay (GP Bullhound) to get their take and understand how they’re working with founders and leaders to overcome them. 

Watch the full session below or read on for key takeaways.

1. Creating scalable outbound

“Scalable does not equal automated,” Jake Dunlap, Founder at Skaled. 

One of the key challenges for SaaS is building a scalable outbound sales motion that drives efficient growth. Skaled Founder Jake Dunlap has helped thousands of SaaS businesses develop repeatable sales operations, with clients including Adobe, Chargebee, and Appify.  

He assured us that outbound isn’t dead – rather, B2B sales processes have stayed the same, while buying habits have changed dramatically. Too many SaaS businesses are still pressing send all on mass, templated emails and expecting to hit their numbers. It’s a tactic that attempts to build scalable processes but the problem is that it assumes  scalable means automated – and, according to Jake, this couldn’t be further from the truth. He said: 

“We’ve got to start to create more dynamic customer journeys because more and more people are going to demand it.” 

And he shared a couple of stats to show how this is already happening: 

  • 90% of the buyer journey is now done before you speak to a sales person (Forrester).
  • 44% of millennials say they’d prefer a salesperson-less buying experience (Gartner). 

To create effective outbound sales motions, Jake advises SaaS companies to create differentiated journeys. 

To achieve this as scale, use tools like Chat GPT to provide insights and value specific to personas and prospects. This allows your sales reps to add nuance and value to your comms, without adding hours more work researching for outbound messaging and discovery calls. 

2. Streamlining GTM processes

GP Bullhound Investment Banking Director Okan Inaltay spoke about SaaS GTM strategies in relation to the increasing demand for efficiencies and profitability in the funding sector. He said:

“When you look at a [profit and loss] of a SaaS business, 30-40% of the revenue is typically spent on sales and marketing. Any improvements you can make that will hit your bottom line is a key focus these days.”

He advocates going through every line item on your P&L and looking for opportunities where AI and other tools can increase efficiency 10-20%. You can start with sales and marketing but it also applies to other costs like HR and recruiting, research and development (R&D), and general and administrative expenses (GNA).

On efficiencies, Trusted CMO Founder Alison Murdock spoke about the importance of aligning marketing activity to pipeline. For leaders, this means going beyond pushing sales and marketing alignment to finding the activity anchors and KPIs that ultimately tie all company activity back to revenue.

3. Fundraising in the current climate

“The bar for a Series A has definitely increased from less than a million of ARR to say two or 3 million,” Okan Inaltay, Direct, Investment Banking, GP Bullhound. 

Okan echoed reports that the fundraising landscape in 2024 has so far been a mixed bag. In general, uncertainty, rising interest rates, inflation, and geopolitical tensions are making investors more cautious. 

He explained how the impact is being felt in the VC space:

“I saw a stat somewhere that said less than 1% of the companies who applied for VC funding recently ended up receiving it – less than 1%. The bar for a Series A, for example, has definitely increased from less than a million of ARR to say two or 3 million of ARR – and investors are demanding better terms.”

To combat this, Okan recommends looking at alternative funding options, like debt financing and revenue based financing, to gain traction and bridge that gap.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Okan said he receives calls and emails every day from investors looking to deploy capital into high quality SaaS companies. So better times are coming. Here’s Okan’s advice for founders looking to prepare: 

  • Be data driven: Know your SaaS metrics and unit economics, and how you track against competition. The market is rewarding companies that have growth and profitability at the same time at about 60% more premium in terms of valuation – making metrics like ARR per employee and the rule of 40 key.
  • Know your ICP: Identify and focus your efforts around a core ICP. Finding ways to deliver long term value will lead to higher average contract value (ACV) and net dollar retention (NDR).
  • Explore strategic partnerships: Start using strategic partnerships as a revenue channel early on rather than relying on direct sales.

4. Harnessing generative AI to power growth

Unsurprisingly, how to use generative AI to drive efficiencies and growth was a hot topic in this discussion. 

For Jake, the mistake people make is thinking that Chat GPT and others are new sales and marketing tools but they’re not. In his words, they’re “a foundational shift in how humans solve problems”. 

For GTM operations, AI can transform preparation and research processes. Jake advocates for using AI to provide insights, synthesise information, and package it up. 

For example, rather than asking ChatGPT to write you an email, ask it to give you industry insights or trends relevant to a specific persona. Then, get your sales team to QA and edit it to the point where it’s differentiated and adds real value to your audience.

To truly find where AI can transform your business – Jake recommends effectively “firing” yourself for a few days while you deep dive into its capabilities and use cases.

Explore these topics with our experts at SaaStock USA

Alison, Jake, and Okan are all taking to the stage at SaaStock USA this May 13-15  – alongside 60+ other speakers. They’ll be joined by 1500 SaaS decision makers rady to transform their businesses. It’s your chance to learns from the best minds in SaaS, network with your peers, and connect with investors to help overcome your SaaS growth challenges. 

Tickets are selling fast, so get in quick.