This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Zach Sims, Bowery Capital Venture Partner and CEO of Codecademy, to discuss "Selling Software In Education." Codecademy is a New York, NY based education software company focused on teaching the world how to code. The company is committed to building the best learning experience inside and out to ultimately create the online learning experience of the future. When you think about sales in specific industries, selling software in education is probably one of the more challenging industries. Buyer inertia is real, pricing is always very unique to the ICP, competition is fierce, and the fragmentation especially in the K-12 market is enormous. On the podcast this week, we covered selling software in education with Zach Sims. Zach knows a thing or two about the topic having grown a freemium product to 40MM users with hundreds of thousands of people using the product daily. He’s sold into K-12, Corporations, Governments, and other areas of education. We kicked off the podcast talking about Zach’s background and how he was able to get the idea for Codecademy. We also spent a bit of time talking through the launch of the product. From there, we dug in around how Codecademy sells their product today and how specifically they feel about software sales in education overall. Zach had a good comparison around this ICP (hint: it’s like a gym membership) and why it really is so challenging to build a big business in the space specifically because of the ICP. We then moved on to some of the assumptions the Codecademy team made that turned out to be right or wrong relative to their start. Third, we covered some of the models in market today such as free, freemium, inside or outside sales driven and what tends to work and what does not. We then played a bit of round robin and talked through the many sub categories of the industry and what Zach thinks about success or failure when thinking through selling software in education. We close with some philosophy about why the space has not seen a ton of success beyond the legacy LMS players (i.e. Skillsoft, Cornerstone OnDemand) and then some new entrants in the content space (2U, Lynda). Zach closes with some final tips and tricks around software sales in education. Overall it was an informative and educational podcast! Zach Sims is the CEO and Co-Founder of Codecademy, helping people advance their careers by teaching highly sought after technical skills. On top of that, Zach is also a Bowery Capital Venture Partner. Prior to Codecademy, Sims worked at .406 Ventures, GroupMe, AOL Ventures, and Drop.io in various roles, including consulting and business development. Zach graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Political Science.
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Amber Banks, Director of Sales Training and Enablement at Justworks, to discuss "Building Diverse Sales Teams." Justworks is an online platform that handles the payroll and payments procedure, benefits facilities, and compliance issues of its users. Recently, Justworks closed on a $40mm Series D funding round led by FirstMark Capital with participation from existing investors, Index Ventures, Thrive Capital, Bain Capital and Redpoint Ventures. On this podcast, Amber and I discuss how technology has changed the landscape for women in sales in recent years and the importance of awareness early on when building a diverse workforce. Amber discusses her journey to sales, the importance of building personal brand early in your career, and explains that companies should be sure to show a career path for women in order to attract great talent in the first place. She emphasizes the importance of having women in the interview loop, on your board, and in the C-suite to ensure that there is buy-in around diversity and inclusion from the top. We chat through best practices for retaining great talent once it’s in the door, ways to build out D&I initiatives internally and awareness around unconscious bias. Amber Banks is the Director of Sales Training and Enablement with Justworks and is passionate about building high impact sales organizations and helping salespeople reach their full potential. She has spent more than a decade scaling high growth technology companies in New York and San Francisco and many of the reps she has coached have gone on to build top tier sales and recruiting teams. She’s very active in diversity and inclusion initiatives within Justworks and the broader community, supporting organizations like SHE CAN and Defy Ventures.
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted David Appel, Head of the SaaS Vertical at Sage Intacct, to discuss "Building Your SaaS Dashboard." Sage Intacct is a provider of cloud financial management and accounting applications. Resulting from Sage’s acquisition of Intacct in mid-2017, the company serves thousands of businesses in growth and enterprise markets. With ~$100MM in ARR and growing 30%+ year-over-year, Sage Intacct is an emerging SaaS market leader with decades of experience helping businesses understand their goals and metrics. Here at the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast, we’ve hosted at least 10 episodes around the topic of SaaS metrics over the years. But understanding the various metrics is only half the battle. Today we discuss the other half: choosing the right ones for your business, understanding where should be on each, and organizing your tracking efforts in to an actionable SaaS dashboard. David begins by walking us through the major categories of KPIs you’ll think want to think about as a startup leader. We bring some context to these metrics by then walking through real-world growth companies and their numbers for each, from deep enterprise to high-volume examples. We then explain how to build your SaaS dashboard by picking measures commensurate with your stage and what you are trying to prove, be it product fit, scalability in the market, or financial soundness. Finally, David also shares some insight into the tools his clients use for SaaS dashboard exercise, Sage Intacct and otherwise. You can find a presentation that David was kind enough to share with us on this topic embedded below; it provides visuals fleshing out many of the talking points covered in our show today. We hope these resources combined will serve as a helpful guide on performance management planning for SaaS leaders at any stage. David Appel is Head of the SaaS Vertical at Sage Intacct, where he oversees Product, Marketing, Sales, and Implementation for the Company’s largest vertical. Prior to Sage Intacct, David served as the Head of Direct Sales at Bill.com, where he grew business by 85% and tripled the team over his 18-month tenure. Previously, he held various sales leadership roles at leading software companies including NetSuite, IBM and Oracle. Having spent over 10 years as a startup sales advisor, David has helped many founders think about their own SaaS dashboards directly.
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Jordan Rackie, Chief Revenue Officer, and Ellen Kindley, VP of Business Operations, of QASymphony to discuss “Go-To-Market Kick Off vs. Sales Kick Off.” QASymphony helps companies create better software by being the only provider of truly enterprise-level agile testing tools. On the podcast, we discuss why the team at QASymphony decided to do a Go-To-Market Kick Off this year as opposed to the more traditional Sales Kick Off that they’d done in years past. They dive into how the Go-To-Market Kick Off was structured from a timeline and activities standpoint and what teams were included in the day. We then discuss how the various leaders of the sales, marketing, and customer success teams presented 2018 goals. We end by walking through learnings from the day, things that others who are considering doing a Go-To-Market Kick Off should plan for, and their plans for next year’s event. Jordan Rackie is the Chief Revenue Officer at QASymphony, responsible for leading all new revenue acquisition (sales and marketing), generated from both new and existing customers. Jordan represents the new breed of technology go-to-market leaders. His leadership in the SaaS space, which includes a vast understanding of the latest sales and marketing enablement tools, provides a strong foundation that will help QASymphony scale and grow the business. Jordan was one of the original sales leaders at Pardot, helping the marketing automation company grow from a few thousand dollars recurring into an organization that eventually sold for near $100 million, and is now owned and operated by Salesforce.com. Following success at Pardot, Jordan directed sales process and growth at PeopleMatter, a venture-backed organization (Noro-Moseley, StarVest Partners, etc.). While at PeopleMatter, Jordan inserted sales strategies that directly contributed to a 700%+ increase in quarterly bookings. A native of Georgia, Jordan holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Ellen Kindley is a dynamic business operations leader at QASymphony specializing in sales process, data management & analytics, strategy and sales tech. Ellen seeks to enable growth by facilitating strategic planning, infrastructure and overall go to market excellence. Ellen is passionate about laying the foundation on which SaaS startups can scale and grow - always striving to be the driving force for productivity improvement. Starting at QASymphony in 2014, first as a consultant and then as a full time employee in 2015, Ellen has successfully set the stage for hyper growth. Every step is data driven as she sets initiatives and priorities, evaluates gaps and executes improvements. Ellen's goal everyday is to allow sales management and individual contributors to focus solely on revenue generating activities. Ellen holds a B.S. in Accounting and Legal Studies from the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC.