Please meet VentureSCALE Entrepreneur in Residence, Brian Hall. Brian is the President of Carema Consulting.
VentureSCALE: Give us a brief overview of your background working with tech companies:
Brian: I have more than 20 years of core leadership team experience building and leading customer-facing teams at both early and growth stage B2B SaaS software companies, where I’ve helped drive 2x-5x growth and been part of three exits. My B2B SaaS operational expertise covers Customer Success, Marketing, Product Management, Market Research, Business Strategy, and Talent Acquisition. Specialty in building and leading Customer Success organizations that consistently deliver against customers’ desired outcomes and that partner with Sales teams to execute ‘land and expand’ strategies...paving the way for early stage SaaS companies to successfully transition to growth stage.
VentureSCALE: What's your biggest accomplishment as it pertains to scaling an organization?
Brian: I created, built and constantly morphed Microsystems' Customer Success team and workflows, which helped to fuel the company's 4x growth in ARR. Being highly attuned to our customers, the CSMs knew the proper time to proactively reach out, to push, and to hold back. As a result, our customers eagerly engaged with us, stayed our customers for a long time (98+% revenue renewal rate), and provided references and referrals that buoyed our Sales team's new customer acquisition efforts.
VentureSCALE: In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge today facing an early stage company in regards to growing revenue, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
Brian: Within nearly every early stage company that successfully transitioned to growth stage, there is a Customer Success organization that possesses the skills, workflows, metrics and incentives to pursue and achieve new revenue growth from the existing customer base. For every early stage SaaS company, Customer Success can be and must be a productive revenue partner with Sales. Avoid building a reactive, support-focused team of Customer Success Managers.
VentureSCALE: Best sales, SaaS, Tech and/or business related books, authors, articles, podcasts or newsletters?
Brian: SaaStr newsletter (https://www.saastr.com/). Ben Horowitz: The Hard Thing About Hard Things. Guy Raz: How I Built This (podcast). Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon: The Challenger Sale. Daniel Pink: To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others (Key insight: The majority of the population is wired to be productive at selling.). Jim Camp: Start with No: The Negotiating Tools That the Pros Don’t Want You to Know (Check out the 32 negotiating techniques in the appendix).
VentureSCALE: Do you see any interesting future trends as it pertains to growing an early stage tech company?
Brian: The highest performing Customer Success teams within early stage tech companies will be reexamining - and often reinventing - themselves every $1MM - $3MM increase in ARR.
VentureSCALE: Why should an early stage company make talent analytics a core internal capability?
Brian: Five primary reasons: (1.) Your people are your most important asset; (2.) Every new hire is precious; (3.) There's currently a war for talent; (4.) The most serious problem for poor candidate selection is failing to recognize and hire the right person; (5.) Great talent analytics solutions exist that can increase your likelihood that you'll identify and bring onboard the right candidate.