8 Things we’re expecting at SaaStr Annual 2018!

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If you’re a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) entrepreneur, are employed by a SaaS provider, or are just interested in the the SaaS field, you’re probably heading to SaaStr Annual 2018.

If you’re not… I’m very sorry to hear that…

But Kodiak Rating will be there! And, it’s about to be one hell of a party!

Source: SaaStr (Recap of SaaStr Annual 2017)

10,000+ SaaS Founders, VCs and Execs will come together in the name of growth and innovation!

Over the course of 3 days, on 5 different stages, presentations from the biggest names in SaaS will be gracing us with their presence. Topics covered are broken down into sales, marketing, customer success, product, engineering, finance and operations.

My joviality surrounding the event couldn’t be contained to the confines of my little brain, and neither could our teams. So, I’ve decided to share our enthusiasm!

This is: 8 Things we’re expecting at SaaStr Annual 2018!

There’s a saying in Swedish, ‘lika barn leker bäst,’ which simply means that similar children play well together.

This concept can be transferred into everyday life, in a multitude of ways. And, it doesn’t necessarily have to apply to children. Alike adults, too, play best together.

Simply, placing a lot of like-minded people together, in one room, creates an atmosphere and ecosystem where collaborative innovation is inevitable.

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My top expectation at SaaStr Annual 2018 is to meet and mingle with the some of the greatest minds in SaaS.

SaaStr provides a community for SaaS entrepreneurs, execs, VCs and enthusiasts where the ideology ‘Scale Together’ is always in focus. I find this catch phrase as a telling indication of the opportunities, provided, for gathering fundamental knowledge surrounding SaaS.

At Kodiak Rating, we hold weekly stand-ups where ever person in the team is informed of what’s going on in every other function. Every member of the team speaks. We think together and that’s the most important element: getting fresh eyes on problems and unifying our team behind one mission. 3/4 of the time they’re run of the mill meeting, but for every 3 stand-ups that are normal, there is one that is extraordinary.

Communication is the key to collaboration. Those who dare to speak up find great gain in unity.

I read a quote recently by David Ogilvy, and though its language was a bit outdated, the concept is timeless.

“If you always look to hire people who are smaller than you are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. If, on the other hand, you always hire people who are bigger than you are, we shall become a company of giants.” — David Ogilvy

This quote obviously applies to the hiring process, but it’s core ideology holds true when applied to this context. Meeting, speaking with, and sharing ideas with giants of the industry shouldn’t make one feel small, but rather inspired to run with the giants!


Maybe it’s a bit shallow that this made the list. But, supposedly San Francisco is a beautiful city!

I’ve never had the opportunity to travel there, and I’ll be damned if I don’t experience the hilly streets before, and after, SaaStr Annual 2018.

There will be a plethora of venture capital swirling around the venue at SaaStr Annual.

As a member of a startup and/or growth venture, one should always be ready to pitch a business plan. Staying prepared is key when it comes to pitching at events. Elevator pitches are a skill that any, and every, entrepreneur in attendance should be ready to pull out of their hat like a white rabbit.

Pitching is part of our culture at Kodiak Rating. It’s an element that we take very seriously in our growth as SaaS experts:

Everyone can pitch.

That’s a line of thinking our CEO has instilled in our management team from the very first day. And, we’re responsible to carry on that message throughout our team.


Because she knows… wowing a VC is a room full of innovative startups is a real challenge, and you only get one shot. So whether you’re CMO or a full-stack developer, it doesn’t matter…

Be ready to pitch.

Remember: Be Prepared, Be Authentic, Get Excited, Know your Metrics, Show Value, and Build Confidence.

This is one of the better resources for learning more about SaaS metrics

It’s no mistake that SaaStr Annual takes place at the beginning of February.

Marketing, Sales, Execs, and Customer Success professionals are geared up to meet their goals of Q1, and start off 2018 with a bang.

Setting the tone for the coming trends of SaaS is very much an expectation to be put on SaaStr Annual 2018.

I hope to gain insight into the latest tricks of the trade within my own function: marketing. I hope that my colleagues in attendance will receive the same value and enlightenment within their domains. Hopefully, there will be focus upon emerging metrics, and new methodologies for growth and scaling.

SaaS is an exciting yet volatile business model, and lacking the core knowledge of how to succeed under transformational times can be detrimental. For this reason, trends will most certainly be one of my biggest expectations, of juicy info, to chow down on throughout the smörgåsbord of speakers.

Speaking of…

Back in 2014 Rand Fishkin, SEO wizkid (feels weird calling a grown man a kid, but you know what I mean), handed over the reigns as CEO of Moz to Sarah Bird.

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When Sarah Bird became CEO, Fishkin posted a video interview on Moz’s blog, chatting about handing over the title to Bird. When asked about her nerves/anxiety level regarding the transition she answered with a cool confidence that I can only hope to emanate in my work.

“There’s a lot of weird like cultural mythologies and baggage around CEOs and leadership. So it’s been interesting for me to be, “Okay, now I’m the CEO of a tech company, $30 million Tech Company.”

That’s awesome. I’m so happy about that. In the day-to-day, I don’t think twice about it. I don’t have any anxiety. But in sort of the bigger picture I’m like, “Wow, how did I become the boss man?” You know?” — Sarah Bird

Sarah Bird is set to talk on Tuesday February 6th. The talk is titled: Moz: 3 Highs, 3 Lows and 3 I-Don’t-Knows.

This talk is taking place on Tuesday as one of the very first sessions of SaaStr Annual 2018.

Featured will be 4 speakers:

Lee Davis — Sr. Director, Marketing — Bluewolf, and IBM Company

Evan Liang — Co-founder & CEO — LeanData

Lars Nilsson — VP, Global Inside Sales — Cloudera

Menaka Shroff — Global Head of Marketing, Devices & Mobility — Google Cloud

This talk will be interesting for multiple reasons. First, Lead Gen, Secondly, Lead Gen and Third, Lead Gen.

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Source: LeadFormix Inc.

All of these speakers are experts in the field, and members of teams that have been on incredibly fast scaling journeys. How does that kind of scaling happen? Lead Gen.

There are two main concerns most online marketers should have on their mind (especially in the B2B SaaS realm):

1. Brand Building

2. Lead Generation

Any chance there is to sharpen your knowledge of funnel optimization, take it.

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Source: Twitter

According to her bio on SaaStr’s agenda, “Karen focuses on growth, customer experience and helping Intercom scale. She was previously the SVP of Small Business at Intuit, where she led QuickBooks and all of Intuit’s products for small business and helped build one of the world’s largest SaaS businesses” (SaaStr 2017).

To top that off, she works with coding projects for fun on the side.

The topic of her chat will be scaling. In specifics: Growing and Scaling SaaS Business from $1M to $500M ARR.

If you don’t anticipate this to be an exciting and insightful presentation, you should plan on eating a late lunch that day of the event.

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Source: Twitter

Aatif Awan is planned to hold his talk on Wednesday, and the title of the presentation is listed as: Expanding Internationally: A Primer.

Considering the volatility and risk that goes into expansion, in any and every startup, this should make for an interesting talk.

If there’s anyone that knows what it means to be global, it’s LinkedIn’s VP of Growth & International. Kodiak Rating plans on taking the leap into international growth, so planning will be crucial in the next year. This talk could potentially offer new insights into crucial elements of expansion such as competitor analysis, landscaping, R&D, marketing strategies, sales tactics, land and expand and much more.


Maybe we’ll see you in San Francisco.

If you read this blog and thought, hey, I’d like to meet up with Kodiak Rating in San Fran, send the team an email at info@kodiakrating.com

Until next week.

This publication is brought to you by author Sam Jenks, but also on part by Kodiak Rating — A Supplier Relationship Management SaaS functioning out of Stockholm, Sweden. Kodiak Community intends to challenge traditional business practices with innovative thinking and creation.

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Supplier Relationship Management: Comment, Challenge, Create https://www.kodiakrating.com

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