Startup CEOs Share Their Secrets to SaaS Success
(Photo Credit: Jennifer Warawa)
The defining moment in modern history is arguably the computer. Computers set the stage for the Internet, a paradigm shift in communication. But it’s not just our ability to electronically create, access, and share information. The Internet has evolved into a three-way convergence of network connectivity, hardware, and software for autonomous ‘things’. We call this the Internet of Things or IoT. ‘Things’ (e.g. GPS trackers, 4G video cameras, temperature sensors) connected to the Internet can now talk to each other, and make intelligent decisions based on well-defined rules and available data (i.e. real-time, historical, and predictive).
SaaS (Software as a Service) is a part of this ‘thing’ revolution. From a business perspective, SaaS can enhance how you manage interactions with customers and potential customers by giving you the ability to automate the entire process of gathering, storing, and analyzing operational data captured from important events in your business.
Earlier this month, Salesforce for Startups and Atlanta Tech Village hosted The New Rules of SaaS. What transpired during this event was an engaging talk that covered the full story on SaaS, the term and its importance, and the unique thing tech, like SaaS, can do to win the hearts and minds of potential customers and investors.
Jennifer Warawa, EVP, Partners, Accountants and Alliances – Sage
Eric Spett, CEO & Co-Founder – Terminus
Scott Voigt, CEO & Co-Founder – FullStory
Tim Quinn, CEO & Co-Founder – ThingTech
In 2018, the value of SaaS is incalculable. With SaaS, businesses can access applications that connect via the Internet to a cloud-based server, and charge or be billed only for the services that you use. SaaS comes in a variety of flavors. Representing the panel were Atlanta-based SaaS companies from the enterprise resource planning (ERP), marketing, and the IoT spaces.
Common among them is Salesforce integration. But beyond go-to-market strategies, they also agreed on the importance of a) having a product that provides tangible value to your customers, b) not being afraid to pivot quickly when things do not work out as expected, and c) providing a strong level of customer service and support for your initial customer-base to help grow organically through referrals, reviews, and word-of-mouth.
During the panel, Tim Quinn lifted the hood on ThingTech to give the audience a peek at what makes his IoT startup run successfully. The following is an edited excerpt taken from this discussion:
Jennifer Warawa: How have you been able to grow and scale ThingTech, which is in a space (IoT) that is still relatively emerging and misunderstood?
Tim Quinn: We made the decision very early on that we would be in the business of providing tangible value for every single one of our customers. Whether you’re in sales, customer success, or development, every single member of our company has their eyes on one thing: providing something of value for our customers. Ultimately, we’re in the business of providing value for our customers, not a platform or service.
Our customers are unique in that they operate very expensive equipment. And how that equipment is utilized, maintained, and diagnosed is critical to operations. If one piece of equipment goes down, it’s a much larger, widespread business issue. That’s why we exist – to help apply predictive and prognostic machine learning that helps identify issues sooner and allows organizations to remediate those challenges quicker. And at the end of the day, that all translates to tangible ROI (return on investment).
JW: What are the things you see as critical to your startup and success?
TQ: Without question it begins with a strong team. We set out very early on to establish a core team of experienced professionals that are all working towards a common goal, and that synergy is critical to our mission.
JW: What sort of emerging trends in the technology space do you have your eye on?
TQ: This is likely not a 2018 initiative, but we have a close eye on the blockchain and its applicability to the types of customers we serve. Large equipment rental companies have been using the same business model for years, and we think there’s a better way. Imagine a world where rental costs are based upon things like usage, or how the equipment is treated. This is disruptive thinking that is quickly approaching in our space.
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