Yash Shah - Co-founder, Momentum. Ex Clientjoy (Acquired)

Yash Shah

Co-founder, Momentum. Ex Clientjoy (Acquired)

More about Yash Shah

Consistently trying to think in terms ofย systems, not goals;ย processes, not outcomes; andย philosophies, not tactics and how it can bring about change that lasts. Also, passionately curious.

It was an interesting evening spent with services founders discussing about transitioning from services to SaaS at GVFL Limited. Here are some notes on what we discussed:

๐Ÿ‘‰ ๐€๐›๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐๐จ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐›๐จ๐ญ๐ก ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฆ ๐ญ๐จ๐ ๐ž๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ
In my limited experience, doing both services business and a SaaS business together is extremely difficult. Both of them require more than your full time attention and come with very nuanced problems to be solved. Some founders are able to do it. Most companies that do this achieve a really large scale in one of those two and then start the second one. I wouldn't recommend.

๐Ÿ‘‰ ๐€๐›๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐š๐ซ๐ซ๐ข๐ฏ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐š๐ญ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐ข๐œ๐ข๐ง๐ 
As a service business, pricing is simpler. It is cost + margin. In SaaS however, it is difficult to arrive at a cost based pricing. Most folks recommend value based pricing but in early stages, it is unclear - the amount of value your SaaS will build for your customers. I'd recommend competitor benchmarking and then speaking to a lot of customers while running experiments. Pricing, much like user research, is an on-going exercise. It is never complete. Hubspot is $2B in ARR - changes pricing every 6 months.

๐Ÿ‘‰ ๐€๐›๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐›๐ฎ๐ข๐ฅ๐๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ซ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ
I wrote a post about building trust as a SaaS company a while back. Here's the link --> https://lnkd.in/dTVuX_9F

๐Ÿ‘‰ ๐€๐›๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐œ๐ก๐š๐ง๐ง๐ž๐ฅ๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ค
At Clientjoy (Acquired by Synup), we tried over 10 GTM experiments. 3 of them worked. The one that worked best was building resources that answered our prospect's most difficult questions (not ebooks, not blogs - but spreadsheets or cheat-sheets). We got about 17K subscribers for these resources. 5K of them became our customers over next 18 months.

๐Ÿ‘‰ ๐€๐›๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ง๐๐ข๐ง๐  ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ฌ๐ฆ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ญ๐ข๐œ๐ค๐ž๐ญ ๐ฉ๐š๐ฒ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ฌ
As a services company, we are comfortable with monthly ticket sizes of $4K to $15K. SaaS most likely is 500 times less than that. Building comfort with small ticket recurring payments takes some adjustment. Having customers who you've never spoken to also takes some adjustment.

๐Ÿ‘‰ ๐€๐›๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐œ๐ก๐š๐ง๐ ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฆ๐ข๐ง๐๐ฌ๐ž๐ญ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ญ๐ž๐š๐ฆ
Services business has Clients and these Clients have requirements. SaaS companies have customer cohorts and these cohorts have problems. The mindset required to deal with clients vs customer cohorts is very different. Building that thought process within yourself and the team becomes important. The team will have to go from understanding requirements and giving quotes to listening to problems and identifying insights.

There were a couple more things discussed as well. Do join in the next time if you are around. Thank you Jatin and eChai Ventures for having me in this conversation.
Here are a few things I noticed while joining Bhavesh from Brands.live, Amit from AllEvents and Mahendra from Matrubharti to talk about scaling startups and businesses.

๐Ÿ‘‰ ๐€๐›๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐Ÿ๐ฎ๐ง๐๐ซ๐š๐ข๐ฌ๐ข๐ง๐ :
Couple of questions had an interesting undertone. A 'no' from an investor was being taken as a validation on whether or not their startup could work.

I think that an investor could say no for great many reasons. Ultimately, a founder should try to look at their startup as a financial product in an asset class. It will be difficult to do so - but it has to be done while pitching.

This financial product needs to be put in front of atleast 100 investors before we take their responses as a validation. It is a full time activity for 1 founder for 4 months.

๐Ÿ‘‰ ๐€๐›๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ฆ๐š๐ซ๐ค๐ž๐ญ๐ฌ:
Some bits were being asked around 'how to get customers to change their habits/behaviour?'

An arguable opinion of mine about this is that we should not. Changing consumer/customer habits is extremely difficult and an expensive exercise. We must understand that we will have to learn to fall out of love for our idea and build what the market wants.

Atleast in B2B, more often than not, change management is a huge responsibility that no-one on the client side wants to take. As long as you are cheaper, better or faster at enabling them to save time, save money or make more money - that should do the trick.

๐Ÿ‘‰ ๐€๐›๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐œ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž๐ซ ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐œ๐œ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ:
Couple of interesting hacks were being shared around handling and dealing with negative reviews. These ranged from 'responding to negative reviews quickly' to 'offering the reviewer something for free'.

While these are great for consumer brands, they don't work for B2B. For B2B SaaS, the customer doesn't leave a review. They just churn. At Clientjoy (Acquired by Synup), Anupama and I had a strict schedule of speaking to 1 churned customer every week and we invested significantly in ways to identify churn related behaviours to detect early signals.

After $100K in MRR, a SaaS company is more of a retention game than an acquisition game.

๐Ÿ‘‰ ๐€๐›๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐œ๐จ-๐Ÿ๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ:
Everyone is looking for co-founders for their own business idea. People who have specific skills are also searching for problems to solve.

What I noticed interestingly is no one is saying that 'I am a great AI engineer - I am looking for a business person who has identified a problem, is trying to build a solution and join them as a co-founder.'

It seemed like people felt they should work only on their own ideas and in absence of that, look for ideas. In my opinion, and most other founders, ideas are dime a dozen. Look for people with complimentary skills and relentless persistence.

At Momentum Ventures, I am proud of the structure and working relationship Jay, Harsh Koushikram and I have created as co-founders.

Lastly, thank you Jatin and eChai Ventures for the opportunity and i-Hub Gujarat for the venue.

Looking forward to the next one!
Couple of things I noticed during a conversation about sales strategies for #startups organised by eChai Ventures in partnership with GVFL Limited.

1. Most questions were around negotiation and pricing.
It is natural to think that the most difficult part of sales is getting the customer to agree on a price point. This is because that's what we as entrepreneurs hear most objections on. It is also because that is fairly relatable and happens to all sales folks.

But it is important to remember that whatever happens in the room (or video calls) is only 5% of the sales process. 95% of sales happens outside of negotiation and pricing.

Negotiation is just one of the stages.

Building a predictable, repeatable and scalable sales engine is significantly harder than handling negotiation. I'd strongly recommend focusing on the sales engine a lot more, a lot early.

2. People do not focus enough on building trust.
Trust is one of those very few things - takes a life-time to build but a moment to lose. Most folks did not realise how valuable proofs, cases and testimonials can be if used the right way and how quick it can make the sales process.

One of the recommendations is - early on, see if you can ride on trust built by someone else. If your #agency does not have enough clients yet, work with an existing agency as a sub-contractor. If your #product does not have enough users/customers yet, launch on marketplaces like AppSumo.

3. In an effort to show our expertise, we end up ripping apart the customer.
No one. Absolutely no one wants to be told they are wrong/incompetent over and over. The customer already realises that they have a problem to be solved and that is why they are there to have a conversation with you.

Once you establish in first few minutes of the conversation that you can help them fix that problem, stop pointing out their mistakes. Consider using cases and portfolio to showcase your value. Consider existing ROI calculations to convince them on the pricing.

4. No one likes being sold to.
But all of us love an interesting conversation. Ultimately, sales is just interesting conversations. Asking open ended questions to understand them better and sharing your experiences to show them who and what you and your company are.

Doing this as a genuine individual (neither as a sales person nor a strategy) has helped us significantly at both Clientjoy (Acquired by Synup) and at Momentum Ventures.

Strongly recommend treating prospects like a person. Not like a bag of money or a record in your #CRM.

Lastly, focus on the process. Everything else will fall into place.

Thank you Jatin for considering me to join in on this discussion with Vikas from Magenta Insights and Shrijay from LegalWiz.in. It was meaningful. Looking forward to the next one.
Preferred eChai Partner Brands

The preferred eChai Partner Brands program offers businesses increased visibility within the eChai Network.

About preferred eChai Partner Brands program:

The preferred eChai Partner Brands program offers businesses increased visibility within the eChai Network.

  • Prominent Listing: Feature on the Preferred eChai Partner Brands page for a full year.
  • Engagement Opportunities: Participate in approximately five highly relevant in-person eChai Meetups annually, providing direct engagement with potential partners, customers, and investors.
  • Feature Spotlight: Feature on eChai.Ventures feed, highlighting the brand's story, achievements, and offerings to a founders community.

Connect with Jatin Chaudhary, Co-Founder of eChai Ventures, to learn more about how brands are leveraging this program. Reach out via WhatsApp or via email [email protected].