SaaStock Local – Chennai

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

I wasn't sure if I wanted to attend this conference. The first of its kind local conference of an established conference SaaStock. The accessibility and the line-up of speakers were tempting.

I bite the bullet two hours before the closure of the window to buy tickets. Paid 700 rupees for a 4-hour conference. I tagged it as self-improvement in my expense log.

I like to listen to stories and that was one of the primary reasons I decided to go to the conference. Also, my 6-month stint with Chargebee as a Pre-Sales guy has given me a decent idea about the SaaS world and its intricacies.

I enter the conference room and find myself a chair to get comfortable in. I avoid eye contact with folks because hey “awkward interactions”. I see a few colleagues from work and breathe a sigh of relief. I know someone.

The conference started with the session “Fireside chat with Siddharth Malik” Chief Revenue Officer of Freshworks. The session was moderated by Harshijit Sethi, Principal at Sequoia India.

A few quick points that resonated with me from the session:

–> The pipeline should not be measured by $ but measure it by the number of deals. The average size of the deals is the magic number. –> Happy salesman isn't available in the market. Focus on finding salesmen who align with the why of your company. –> Clearly define the personas for your buyers. Who is the user? Who is the influencer? Who is the decision maker? Based on the personas create the value engineering matrix. –> Observe – Learn – Adapt – Do Daily

The next session was a “Fireside chat with Ashwini Asokan” CEO & Founder of Mad Street Dan. The session was moderated by Arundhati Balachandran who heads Customer Success at Chargebee.

A few quick points that resonated with me from the session:

–> Product-Market Fit (PMF) – MF is more important than the P. You tend to learn more about the product through Sales and Go-to-Market strategy than iterating it in a closed room with product experts. –> Identify a product that solves a recurring problem that a customer faces every day with high frequency. –> Many times customers ask for that one feature that your product does not have. Do you build that out and go behind $$ or find out the lowest common denominator part of the product that everyone wants? –> In order to target enterprise market your product must be an enterprise product. –> How to go to the market where no category exists. Ashwini highly recommended reading this piece by Martin Casado. https://a16z.com/2017/06/09/go-to-market-pre-chasm-market-martin-casado/ –> Hiring T shaped people as compared to I. People who can be both product experts and marketers. Employees who can wear multiple hats. –> Mad Street Dan has 50% + women employees. If you need women to grow in their careers then show them women leaders. You are what you see.

A panel discussion was set up with product managers from Freshworks, KissFlow, and Facilio. Smrithi, Dinesh, and Rajavel respectively represented their organizations.

A few quick points that resonated with me from the session:

–> Kissflow has a wishlist for new features from customers. And if other customers want the same feature they can upvote the feature. They prioritize the features based on how many customers need the request. Customers get direct access to wishlist. –> Customer Support is also part of your product. –> Make customer realize the value of the product even after they have swiped the card.

There were multiple product showcases by founders and product managers. Some of them were Xobin (Talent Assessment), Zepel (project management tool for software developers), Upshotly (Employee performance management software), Wingman (real-time sales enablement tool) by Strings.ai. All the products were solving interesting problems and I loved the product demo of Wingman the most! Murali from Strings.ai used a zoom video recording (demo video maybe?) to showcase the product in action! It captured the attention of the audience.

The sessions finished on time! A monumental achievement considering how many variables are in play when doing such conferences. Though there was no break between the sessions it actually worked out to finish everything in one go.

There was a networking event right after all the sessions got over. And I thought about attending that for a few minutes. I gave it a shot but my anxiety kicked in and I left without “networking” over beers.

SaaStock local was good learning from the who's who in the Chennai's SaaS world. In the future maybe there can be a few interactive workshops where the audience can get involved. More like a discussion maybe? It happened today but definitely can be much more.

I heard SaaStock local is going to happen quarterly in Chennai. Also, there is one happening in Bengaluru on May 25. People from the SaaS world who want to expand their knowledge and listen from people who have made it or trying to make it should attend these conferences and build the community.