SaaStock EMEA 2021: Our Top Highlights6 min read

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SaaStock EMEA Online was a great success this year, with:

  • Invaluable learnings and strategies shared by 60+ incredible experts in the SaaS field
  • Two days of jam-packed content sessions
  • One day of actionable and hands-on workshops

Here are some of our key highlights from the event…

Day 1: People, Runway & Retention

Accel Euroscape 2021: Global Dominance

Day 1 kicked off with Philippe Botteri (Partner), Varun Purandare (VP) and Candice du Fretay (Investor) at Accel unveiling the 2021 Accel Euroscape – the Top 100 Cloud SaaS companies across Europe and Israel. They presented their findings and answered the question “Are Europe and Israel on the path to global dominance?”

Some key takeaways from this report:

  1. 70% of the top 100 companies were founded in the UK, France, Germany or Israel
  2. Global cloud IPOs nearly doubled in 2021
  3. There were big M&As but a lot of cash missing in action
  4. Israel is emerging as a cloud unicorn factory

Head over to Accel’s website to read the full report.

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“Tug of War”: Increasing Retention and Reducing Churn

Keji Mustapha (VP at VC Global Platform Community, now Global Director, Brand & Community at Partech) asked the panelists: Diana Brusilova (Sales Executive, Verifone); Chris Scott (CTO, Zephr); Charlotte Bailey (COO, PanIntelligence), for their top tips on how to increase retention and reduce churn.

They discussed the customer journey and how understanding the journey is vital in increasing acquisition and maintaining retention.

One key thing to remember when thinking about the customer journey is to visualise it from the customer’s perspective. Figure out the pain points and map out how these can be changed and solved by you, your product and your business.

Investing in customer success and customer success teams is something all the panelists strongly advocated as they are becoming increasingly important in boosting retention.

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Proven Strategies to Accelerate Customer-Led Growth

Karen Peacock (CEO of Intercom) discussed the strategies on how you can accelerate customer-led growth. There were three main takeaways:

  1. Averages hide the insights. True insights, broken down by each segment, will help your business accelerate and grow. Gross Revenue Retention (GRR) and Net Revenue Retention (NRR) are both needed to be known for each segment for a healthy business.
  2. Know your customers. 2010 marked the beginning of the age of the customer and it has been in full force since then. Customer-centricity keeps businesses on their toes, forcing them to constantly improve their products and their customer engagement. Additionally, customers have developed high expectations, meaning that businesses have to constantly win customers back month-after-month, before a competitor does.
  3. Design your end-to-end customer experience with the customer in mind. Customers expect consumer grade experiences, and this can only be achieved if you and your company provide personal, in-context, scalable experiences. Customer experience is a priority, and when the customer wins, you win.
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Day 2: Revenue, Marketing & Product

8 DOs and DON’Ts for SaaS Startups

Five years ago at SaaStock Dublin, Christoph Janz (Managing Partner, Point Nine Capital) delivered a talk: 8 Do’s and Don’ts for SaaS startups – it quickly became an industry-renowned guide for building a SaaS company. Five years on, in conversation with Jordi Romero (Founder, Factorial HR), Christoph revisits these do’s and don’ts…

  1. Don’t give away your product too cheaply
  2. Don’t assume that because you’re growing >20% MoM in your first year, you can do that in your second
  3. Don’t reinvent the wheel
  4. Don’t mistake latent demand for Product-Market-Fit
  5. Don’t screw up your fundraising
  6. Do everything you can to win in the US
  7. Don’t end up in the SaaS graveyard of low LTV and high CAC
  8. Don’t blow your seed round on paid ads – invest in engineering & building a world-class product
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How to Combine the Power of Your Freemium Community with Direct Sales

In conversation with Philippe Botteri (Partner at Accel), Bernadette Nixon (CEO & Board Member, Algolia) discussed how to combine the power of Freemium Community with direct sales.

Bernadette started off by outlining key characteristics of Product-Led Growth (PLG) companies. Firstly, it is vital for PLG companies to have an incredible product that solves customers’ problems easily and without friction; the product should not merely show off all the lovely features that it offers, it should fix the problem.

Additionally, it is important to have a low price and low complexity. The product should be easy to use and run on a self-service model that doesn’t require any external services or third parties.

She also emphasised the importance of a self-service model and quoted from a Forrester report that 75% of B2B buyers would rather buy through an app or online marketplace than have a salesperson sell to them. This shows how vital is it to have that self-service experience and extend it into self-education and exploration.

Bernadette shared her 3 top things to have in mind when starting direct sales:

  1. Define what type of direct sales model you need
  2. Focus all the attention on the individual rep
  3. Sales enablement
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How to Make Marketing into a Machine

In this presentation, Dave Kellogg (Executive in Residence at Balderton Capital) talked about how to make marketing into a machine. In essence, a marketing machine is one where money goes in and sales-accepted opportunities come out.

Dave outlined the key aspects of a marketing machine, which are:

  1. It turns money into sales-accepted opportunities
  2. It does this at a predictable cost and timeframe
  3. It is hard-linked to sales
  4. We can vary the input – e.g. productively absorb new money
  5. Nobody really cares how it works on the inside – the nitty-gritty aspects
  6. It is part of a bigger opportunity-generation machine

Alongside opportunities, there are other by-products of the marketing machine. These are awareness (increase in brand awareness); positioning (strengthening the position of your product or company); and reputation (improving your company’s reputation).

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This year’s flagship SaaStock EMEA Online conference was a great success, thanks to our incredible SaaStock community, speakers and partners!

Next up we’ll be hosting our Blueprint for CEOs conference and SaaStock Remote 2022, before we go back in-person next year in October 2022. We can’t wait to see you in Dublin – stay tuned for more details on our website.

If you want to achieve success all year round, check out:

    1. The SaaStock Founder Membership, a private community of ambitious SaaS founders scaling to $10MM ARR. Get a support network of peers, connect with likeminded founders around the globe, and learn proven strategies from industry experts to help you scale up your SaaS. Apply now.
    2. Ventroduce, a new way to connect with active SaaS investors through SaaStock. You’ll increase your exposure to financing, gain insights into early stage VC, and receive intros to best-fit investors made by our team. Register for free.

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