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Episode 9

The Maxio Institute Report: Insights for SaaS Experts

Episode details

This week on the Expert Voices podcast, Randy Wootton, CEO of Maxio, speaks with Jon Cochrane, VP of Strategy at Maxio and Director of the Maxio Institute, to discuss the Maxio Institute Growth report and the future of the Maxio Institute. Randy and Jon delve into key insights from the report, including the resilience of B2B businesses and the impact of the pandemic on different industries. They discuss how data can drive growth and inform business strategies and the challenges faced by sales and marketing tech companies amid competitive pressures and shifting budgetary priorities. Listen as they explore the unique paths to growth among small SaaS businesses, emphasizing the importance of predictable invoicing and cash management.


Randy Wootton
Randy Wootton
CEO, Maxio
Jon Cochrane
Jon Cochrane
VP of Strategy and Director of Maxio Institute, Maxio

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Video transcript

Randy Wootton (00:05):

Well, hello, everybody. This is Randy Wootton, CEO of Maxio and your host of SaaS Expert Voices, the podcast that brings the SaaS experts to you to help us understand what's happening today and what the trends are for tomorrow. Today, I'm joined by Jon Cochrane, our VP of Strategy. I think of him as our SEAL Team Six at Maxio, he's the guy, he and his team take on the hardest, scariest, biggest projects we have and always bring them across the finish line. And Jon is the co-author of our Maxio Institute Growth Report which we're going to get into in just a second. And what we want to do today is talk about the Maxio Institute Report, it's got some really interesting insights for SaaS experts. Number two is to talk about those specific insights and then make sure you have access to the report. But in the second part of the conversation, we really want to talk about the initiative, the Maxio Institute initiative, and what it took to get this report out, what are some of the lessons learned and then we'll close with what's next for the institute. I think this is such an interesting play that everyone's trying to do, we want to help share knowledge in terms of what we've learned today. But Jon, welcome.

Jon Cochrane (01:11):

Randy, thanks for having me on. Honored to be here.

Randy Wootton (01:15):

Maybe before we jump into that, I didn't give much more background other than you're SEAL Team Six. But do you want to talk a little bit about your background because I think it's interesting and relevant to your expertise that you were able to bring to the dataset.

Jon Cochrane (01:26):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, thanks for that. My background, I started as an accountant, still a CPA today, and was working my way up through the ranks before I had an opportunity to come over to Maxio. So, what I was doing before I got here was really helping ... I was working at fast-growing tech companies in the finance department and trying to manage billing, collections, and reporting and then report up to the investors and executives: how's our business doing, are we doing good, are we doing bad and then, of course, always trying to figure out are we good, bad relative to our own metrics, to other people's metrics. So, a lot of what we're doing at Maxio is helping people with solutions to all the old problems I was having when I was actually sitting in the seat of the finance department. But now, at Maxio, I started in our product department and, like you were saying, now working in strategy department, taking on different things that happen all the time whenever you're part of a fast-growing business.

Randy Wootton (02:24):

Yeah, I think really bringing some discipline to the process. You help spearhead our payments module, for example, and then, really, this Maxio Institute Report idea started over a year ago. And I think one of the fundamental assumptions of Battery when they brought the two companies together was the data that Maxio has, the $15 billion of billing an  d invoicing data flowing across the platform, is gold. And the opportunity is how do we take that data and present it in ways, meaningful ways to the broader community to help them know what's going on. And so, with the Report that came out, Jon, this is the fourth iteration, what is the report, what are the key insights for this cycle and how is that ... Those insights involved over the past year?

Jon Cochrane (03:11):

Yeah, yeah, there's a lot to unpack there. I'll take a step back about what are we trying to do at the Institute. First and foremost, I'll go back to my time when I was sitting in the finance department. Many times, when we would get to, say, our quarterly annual reporting, what we would do is we would go seek out the best industry benchmark at the time. Now, rewind five, 10 years, KeyBank was one of the premier people who really started putting the first benchmarks out there. So, they would reach out to a number of different companies, say, "Hey, what's your ARR growth, what's your CAC, what's your gross margin?" stuff like that and they would compile it and send it out and it was gold. Everyone would go to that report and then you'd plot yourself against the data that had been compiled via a survey. Depending on how many people responded, maybe you had 50, maybe you had a couple hundred but that was the best that there was and that's really been the standard up until recently. If you're a publicly traded company, there's a plethora of information that you can just aggregate, benchmark, there are lots of analysts that that's what they do all day, every day. But when you look at the private markets, there's really nothing equivalent there.

Randy Wootton (04:15):


Jon Cochrane (04:15):

So, to the point that you just made, one of the unique things at Maxio is we've got all this data flowing through our platform all the time, constantly. People are running all of their billing, invoicing data through our platform, about $15 billion a year. We went, "What if we could take that data and do something similar to these survey-based benchmarks but do it with real live customer data?" so we don't have to ... You're looking at true data, it's not somebody's interpretation of their own data or the best case but that's what we're trying to do is provide real industry benchmarks and insights for the private markets that, previously, you can never get your hands on and put that in a way that other people can understand, hey, how does my business stack up relative to other people that are like me?

Randy Wootton (05:00):

Yeah. And I think, just building on that, it's also timely. The other thing you find sometimes with surveys is people start taking the surveys at the end of December and say, "Hey, we're going to launch our new benchmark survey, we'll give you a copy of that if you fill out your information," it takes them three or four months to gather all that data and then publish it. And so, you're dealing with data that may be five, six months late or delayed from when it actually was meaningful which is help me understand what happened in fiscal year '23 as I go into fiscal year '24. So, I know we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to try to get the data out as quickly as possible and made significant improvements in the time to deliver over the last four quarters.

Jon Cochrane (05:41):

Yeah, that's one thing. To your point, yeah, we worked really hard to try to make sure that we can get the data out there quickly and, most importantly, accurately so that everybody has a solid data set to look at. But with our most recent report, we were able to do that by middle of January. So, our target is roughly two weeks.

Randy Wootton (05:58):

Yeah, and our-

Jon Cochrane (05:59):

Following the end of a quarter, we want to get it out there.

Randy Wootton (06:01):

And our first report was something like 67 days, wasn't it? It was a different dynamic on that front. And then I think to your other point, look, I've been in SaaS for 20 something years and KeyBank was the seminal report and there've been other surveys that have been published as well and people talking about the private markets, it's just super hard to get accurate data so having that billing and invoicing actual data makes a huge difference. And I would say, for us, it's not about replacing surveys, it's about augmenting and complimenting surveys.

Jon Cochrane (06:30):

That's right.

Randy Wootton (06:30):

Because the surveys is going to have a lot more qualitative input so I don't think this is the sine qua non but it's certainly a tool that you can use as a CEO, CFO or an investor to help understand where you're doing ... Where you are and period, new paragraph. I think the other thing the surveys are challenged with is the end. How many customers can they aggregate into specific segments so there's meaningful insights? And I think that is another thing that we were able to benefit from of having 2,300 customers is there is a meaningful end at different slices of the data.

Jon Cochrane (07:05):

Yeah, and that's one thing we're always looking at. To your point, yeah, we're looking at 23, 2,500 different customers. Depending on the type of analysis we're trying to do, that end will get smaller but we try to make sure that it's statistically significant. So, we're not going to give you a benchmark of, say, three companies, there's typically a healthy population within there.

Randy Wootton (07:28):

And when people, if they download the report, we'll include the link to the report in the show notes, you can also go to our website and look under Resources to get the report, there's a whole bunch of explanation with regards to the methodology so even the data nerds out there should feel comfortable in terms of the assumptions we're using in the way we've built the models. So, that's it. So, that's the Maxio Institute Report. What were some of the key insights from this version of it that are new and different from previous editions?

Jon Cochrane (07:56):

Yeah, I think ... Taking a step back, one of the things that's been really hard, this report looks at the last eight quarters. But if you would, say, go back even further, last 12 quarters, ever since 2021, there has been ... Really, this has been unprecedented time in the market and people have just been trying to figure out what is normal, what isn't normal, is this the new normal? And depending on if we're talking about now versus 12 months ago, those answers would've been different but everybody's been trying to catch up and respond quickly to the changes in the market.


What we've seen in our most recent report is, and this is similar to some of the findings that we had in the last report, but we focused on B2B businesses in this analysis and what we've shown over the last eight quarters is those businesses have proven resilient. B2B businesses, across the board, have continued growing, now those growth rates have varied tremendously over the past eight quarters. However, when we look at 2023 relative to 2022, it does appear, the one thing that appears to be settling in is we've returned to normal or more normalized growth rates. And then, when we take a step out broader, that seems to be matching what's happening in the broader economy as a whole. When you look at what the Federal Reserve is doing with interest rates and all the different macroeconomic trends that are going on right now, it appears like normalized growth is starting to come back and that's one of the biggest findings.

Randy Wootton (09:22):

So, to that point, what would be a normal growth rate then? So, we had that huge spike, we saw that in our Q2 2022 data, how are we seeing it flatline to the mean?

Jon Cochrane (09:37):

Yeah, the average growth rate in the most recent, really, throughout 2023 was about 15%. It was the average annualized growth rate that we observed for businesses. Some fluctuation depending on the size of your business but 15%.

Randy Wootton (09:52):

And I think for CEOs and CFOs, again, the thing that was great for us this cycle was we had this data to help inform our budgeting with our board and we could say, "Hey, we are dependent upon the broader SaaS market, how's the SaaS market grown? How is our growth relative to that?” Because success is about taking share, are we growing faster than the market, are we growing slower than the market? And so, having data like that, I think, really helps everyone be aligned at the starting point. And then you can say, "Well, we're going to grow faster than the market, here are the set of bets that have to play out and this is the assumptions that have to be true," so I think it really helps lay the table.


So, we had the overall growth rate across all segments around 15%, I think the other push that we got from ... We knew it, it was just super hard to do was by industry and that people were like, "Look, SaaS, some people call it a vertical but, really, I think of myself as a vertical play. I sell B2B software to manufacturing or retail or marketing or sales." What did we see there? Because I think there's some really interesting insights in terms of the different growth rates by industry segment.

Jon Cochrane (10:59):

Yeah, we could probably talk on that topic for more than the time that we have allotted here. But I think that that is one of the new things that we added in this report versus our prior three reports is we broke it down by industry and it really depends on which year you're looking at. But some of the notable trends that we saw by industry is the impact from the pandemic is it's not over yet. There are still certain industries that are still feeling, say, the highs from that or they've come off ... They're very much off the highs and now at the lows. I'll pull out one that was the best year-over-year improvement and that was the companies, the B2B businesses serving the restaurant, hospitality and leisure industry. And I know, when I was thinking about it felt like everybody was on vacation last year but it turns out everybody's still on vacation and spending all of that money that they weren't able to spend which was totally ... I wasn't expecting to see that when I looked at the data because maybe it's the phase of life I'm in. But when we actually looked at it and we said, "Well, when was the peak of COVID cases?" It was actually early 2022. So, when you look at it that way, you're going, "Oh, my goodness. Okay, revenge travel is still strong, still here to stay and people are itching to get out."

Randy Wootton (12:10):

Yeah. Well, you did have a new baby over the last year so your life is over, you're no longer the target market.

Jon Cochrane (12:17):

There's no great travel coming to my life anytime in the near future. Some people are able to do it but I don't know if I have the mental fortitude there.

Randy Wootton (12:25):

Yeah. Well, congratulations again on your second child. So, what about marketing and sales? I know, when we were sharing a coffee and talking about the results, the marketing and sales tech where I spent 20 years, very, very different growth rates than retail and luxury. What do you take away from that?

Jon Cochrane (12:42):

Yeah. Randy, I'll be interested in your take on this too because the one thing that we've seen in marketing and sales, and I think for all of our marketing and sales friends on the podcast or listening to this can appreciate, there are a lot of tools out there. When we look at our own spend at Maxio or not even Maxio, if I look at the last few companies I'd been at, a lot of our software, internal OpEx spend is on sales and marketing tools and it's becoming increasingly competitive out there and that's what we saw in Q4 is there was really a decline in the growth rates down to the single digits. They finished the year at 4% annualized growth across the board which is well below our benchmark that we were talking about a 15%. I think it's tough to be in that industry right now.

Randy Wootton (13:26):

Totally, it's why I jumped from marketing and sales tech to CFO tech. Because, in fact, to your point, there's this great guy out there called the Chief Marketer that does a report on terms of MarTech and he has this Cambrian explosion diagram that shows how many vendors are in that space and it's north of 10,000 now, probably $12,000. Excuse me, 12,000, 15,000 vendors. They are all competing for the same dollars and so I think ... And the other key part with sales tech, and I was at Seismic for a while selling sales tech, is usually the CRO is able to say, "I need this tech, it's going to help me increase sales so I'm going to approve it," and the CFO says, "Okay.” Right? So, there is probably more flexibility for a CRO to say, "No, I need my Salesforce, I want my Gong, I want my Clarity because that's going to make my team more efficient, I'm able to deliver the quota."


I think, marketing, you have more of this dynamic playing out now in terms of, look, if we're in a B2B SaaS recession, so if you're trying to sell as a marketer other B2B tech companies, what is truly the core set of technology you need versus nice to have. And one of the big challenge with marketing, you have all these different silos. You have different functions like SEM, SEO, you've got PR, et cetera, each one of them has a thousand technologies that could support it. And so, the CMO, all the CMOs I talk to struggle about thinking about how do you bring those different pieces together, which one are you going to invest in and you want to cover your bets so you invest in a whole bunch. When you had money from VCs to drive go to market, as that money started to dry up and people said extend your runway, CFOs go to the CMOs and say, "Yo, what is the core thing you need?" You need your email technology and you need to be plugged in B2B to LinkedIn, everything else, punt. Maybe marketing attribution. But I don't know if you have any thoughts of your own experience in terms of aspirin versus vitamin dynamic playing out for MarTech or other industries.

Jon Cochrane (15:22):

I think it's tough and I also think the pace of innovation is just rapid in that segment in particular. You think of the impact of AI and I think one of the things that we saw on our institute data is, when you take yourself out of the 15% growth rate, which companies are really the top percentile. And I think that the default gut that everybody's saying in the market right now is AI is at the top. But when we looked at it, a lot of the times, it's actually the companies who have a real focus on the vertical industry, they really have a niche play. But bringing it back to AI, you think of the industries that have been impacted the most and I think, sales and marketing tech, there's just a much ... There's a clear connection between how AI can, say, enhance those tools relative to, say, what they were before.


Randy, I'll use as an example, your new favorite ... Whenever we're having meetings in our company, your new favorite thing is the AI summary that Zoom sends out at the end of the meeting and you just say, "Whoop, here's a copy of all of our notes that we just had in the prior meeting and all the follow-up action items."

Randy Wootton (16:25):

Take those actions. No [inaudible 00:16:27].

Jon Cochrane (16:26):

Exactly. No note-taking required, AI does it for you.

Randy Wootton (16:31):

Yup, yup. Now we just need an AI system that captures those action items and then pings you, "Hey, how are we doing on this? How are we doing on this?"

Jon Cochrane (16:38):

Yeah, the reminder follow up. I'm sure that's on the roadmap.

Randy Wootton (16:40):

That'll be your worst nightmare.

Jon Cochrane (16:43):


Randy Wootton (16:44):

So, great. So, we talked broadly about growth rates, we talked about being able to layer in the industry specific and we'll continue to dig on that. One of the things that we had illuminated in our earlier reports was the difference in terms of size. So, companies that are a million bucks or higher and there seems to be this really interesting dynamic that continues to play out that companies that are under a million dollars, which is almost counterintuitive, are struggling. What's your thought there? You've been wrestling with it for a year, what is your latest insight?

Jon Cochrane (17:20):

Yeah. So, this is interesting. We were ... This is something that I talked about with TechCrunch the other day and one of the things, when we first did our number crunching here and we looked at this and we went, "What is going on in the zero to $1 million cohort? Maybe the way that we're doing our analysis is wrong," that was my first gut reaction. And then, when we took a step back, we went ... Double checked the formulas, double checked the way that we were segmenting the data and we thought, "No, there's something to be said and something unique going on in this under $1 million segment of the market." And so, what we did is we went further and didn't just look at, say, the size of the company and annualized billings, we actually looked at two ... One of the unique things that we can do at the Institute is we can look at their go-to-market, how they build their customers through the platform and we can really segment it into two areas, companies who have a go-to-market motion that's more consumption driven and companies who have, say, more sales-negotiated contracts we call subscription invoicing where you have a 12-month agreement, you know what the billing terms are going to be.


And when we look at the under 1 million segment in particular, there's a huge difference in growth rates between those two cohorts. And what that has led us to believe or at least what the data is telling us is, for companies where your annualized billings on our platform are under a million dollars, if you're a consumption oriented company, your growth rates are just way, way lower than everybody else to the tune of you're just about breaking, you might not be growing at all. It's 0% growth over the last eight quarters.

Randy Wootton (18:51):

And do you think this is because, with a usage-based model or a consumption-based model, often those contracts are monthly. And so, you have people that are checking in, checking out versus the sales led model where you lock someone in for a year, it's less volatile. And so, for the early stage companies that are moving like hamsters, they're running fast or getting people up and going, they're also have churn going on the other side and the churn impact on a consumption based model is, not more dramatic, but you feel it more sooner than in the sales-led motion.

Jon Cochrane (19:28):

Yeah. Yeah, it could be related to churn. The takeaway that we really have in this is, if you want to, say, reach escape velocity in 1 million, you need somebody who's going to pay the bills predictably and you think of ... There's been a lot of noise in the market about PLG and get your thing in the hands of consumers for free and then they're going to just use your product and you're going to go to the moon and our data says that's not true when you're under a million dollars. You might be one of the unique companies that can go viral and you get that adoption and you do go to the moon because there's some really valuable ways to do that from finding new users but, if you're not one of those companies, our data's showing you're struggling.

Randy Wootton (20:13):

Yeah, yeah.

Jon Cochrane (20:13):

And, if you want to make escape velocity, you need a different ... You need somebody who's going to pay the bills and you need predictable invoicing and [inaudible 00:20:21].

Randy Wootton (20:20):

And what's interesting is that was the core. People talk about SaaS being the business model, it's really not, SaaS is the distribution of the software model. The business model is paid upfront and you spend all this money to acquire customers but, ideally, you get paid within 30 to 60 days. So, it's a cash management issue versus the usage consumption based model, the tradeoff is, hey, you're probably charging fewer dollars tied to usage but you're not getting that commitment upfront, you're not getting the cash. So, it's almost a cash management issue, you need customers who are paying you upfront that you can rely on that you're going to build that cohort in addition to having the PLG motion spinning as well.

Jon Cochrane (21:08):

Right, yeah. No, it's ... Yeah, I think cash management is absolutely critical for these early stage businesses and that's a lot of ... One of the other things that we looked at here was what you need to do as an early ... Getting to the next successive stage of growth as a company just gets harder. One of the things that we looked at was how many companies are over a certain size and the thing that we looked at is we went to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and we just pulled up the number of employees. If you're a business that wants to have 10 or more employees, well, when you look at all the active businesses in the US right now, only 10% of businesses have more than 10 of employees. It just gets successively harder as you go to get to the next milestone. So, cash management-

Randy Wootton (21:54):

Yeah, we talk about that breakthrough at those different points. People talk about the valley of death and you have this valley of death after a million bucks and then you get to 10 million bucks and you start to move it into that next expansion growth stage. Can you get to 30 million, I think another real inflection point is at 50 million and then probably a hundred million. In each of those, some data point, and I can share it in the show notes, it's only 0.001% of all SaaS companies get to 50 million bucks, that means 98%, 99% of the companies don't. And so, I think having your go to market motion, your monetization strategy tuned for where you are in on that maturity curve of growth maturity is a corporate priority, it's got to be one of your core strategies. It's not just the product you're building and who you're selling it to, it's how you're monetizing them.

Jon Cochrane (22:48):

Yeah, no, all of that is critical.

Randy Wootton (22:53):

Great. Well, let's do this, Jon. I think we've done a great job talking about what the Maxio Institute is, some of the cool insights, obviously, the report, I don't know, it's 40 or 50 pages, there's a lot of great information in there. The other thing I was really impressed by what you and Hillary did was you included some of these other references to broader trends to try to contextualize our results within like what's going on with the interest rates and what's going on with these other components, the Bureau of Labor. So, you've made it easy for people to have the broader context around these results. So, let's back up, so in terms of putting this together.


So, one of the reasons I joined the company was, being the system of record, having this data and having seen this played out before at other companies where, if you can move from being a workflow automation to an insight engine where you can take that data and can convert it into insights, you add an enormous amount of value for your customers and prospects and just your ability to compete in the marketplace. As you think about your journey with it, because this was your first time doing something like this, what were some of the big lessons learned? If you were to tell someone else who's sitting on a dataset of gold and they're like, "Gosh, I want to convert this into insights, I want to be driving thought leadership and being picked up by TechCrunch," what are some of the lessons?

Jon Cochrane (24:07):

It's a great question. First of all, it starts with your team, you need people who can help you out along the way. So, we've had a lot of people who have helped us compile the data. My co-author on this, Hillary, she has been immensely helpful. So, finding somebody who can help you brainstorm, figure out what's working, what's not working, that's absolutely key. The other thing is you need to think about your, really, how reliable are your systems, can you consistently go and pull data, have you architected your platform in a way where you can pull out the same metric over and over and over again and do that in a way that can, say, be aggregated, anonymized. That's one of the things that we are ... Like you were saying, Randy, this is a system of record for over $15 billion of invoicing, highly sensitive, confidential data that we take very seriously.


So, I think having a reliable data source and then having a methodology and a strategy for how you aggregate and analyze that is super important. And then I think the other thing is this was one of the first times that we had done this so, behind the scenes, we also talked to a lot of other people who had been there and done that. We talked to a number of different data scientists, one in particular from your past, Randy, Young-Bean, shout out if you're listening to the podcast here. But he's been absolutely instrumental in helping us think through these type of insights would be beneficial, this has worked whenever we were doing this in the past at Microsoft, this is how we thought about it. So, having somebody who had been there and done that who can be your advocate and also show you some of the ropes has been really helpful for us. So, if I had to recap it, I would be build a great team, make sure that you have really great data that you can access on a regular basis, that can be surprisingly hard, and then talk to somebody who had been there and done that and who has done this well in the past. I think you'll find that the community is quite generous with their thoughts and their insights and sharing that because all the people who love number crunching and data crunching this stuff is fun too to be able to share and analyze.

Randy Wootton (26:15):

Yeah, for data nerds, totally. So, we know what you are. But I think things I'd offer to that on the data piece is around how your data is structured and what your data architecture is. One of the things I remember was I tried to do this, we did this at Atlas and Young-Bean Song ran the Atlas Institute and this was many years ago and it was one of our best marketing vehicles ever. And we had, at that time, it was third party ad serving data that we could report on and help inform early, this is 1999, 2000, 2001 is really help inform the burgeoning online advertising world that was just starting to figure out how to do targeting. We did this again at Rocket Fuel where I was a public company CEO, one of the first gen AI companies, we had an enormous amount of data that we were cranking a billion bid transactions a day.


So, you have to have enough data, you have to have a corpus of data and then you got to have data scientists, people who have the capability and background. So, I went to my next company Percolate and I said, "We're going to do this again, we're going to have the Percolate Institute," and we went in and I was banging drums around it. And what we realized was, no, no, the data wasn't structured in a way, the content data wasn't structured in a way that we could make sense of it in a meaningful and regular way. And I was like, "No, we got to be able to do it," and they're like, "No, no, it's unstructured data." And so, I think the thing that really helped this time as we came to Maxio was we did a proof of concept. We did a proof of concept and we said, "If we want to go do this, what does it require? Is our data structured appropriately?" And before we put an enormous amount of effort against it, we had a come to Jesus moment around we think this can work or it can't work. And I think that's another, for me, one of these lessons learned and why are you in the strategy role makes a lot of sense is you're out there helping us with our Horizon three and Horizon two initiatives where we're just trying to figure out what's possible and have the appropriate level of investment aligned with getting us insights in terms of, yeah, that's something we can do. And there's a set of things we won't share on this podcast that you and I have worked on where we've been like, "Yeah, nope, that's not going to work." But this Maxio Institute, hiring someone like Young-Bean Song, having who helped consult, determine if the proof of concept was going to be viable before we really put energy behind it, I think, would be another lesson learned I would offer.

Jon Cochrane (28:37):

Yeah, no, absolutely. It's been a fun journey but, yeah, it has been a long one and there have been many steps along the way.

Randy Wootton (28:42):


Jon Cochrane (28:43):

I think one final thing I would advise people who wanted to do this would just be start small.

Randy Wootton (28:49):


Jon Cochrane (28:50):

Actually, it feels like it had been a long time ago, I had forgotten about our proof of concept here, Randy. But we did the proof of concept and then this is our fourth report and we built off each one and each report has a little bit more. And so, I think it's totally fine to start small. Start with one metric that you're trying to, say, benchmark and just start there and see what you can do with it.

Randy Wootton (29:10):

Awesome. That's a great segue to the next part of the conversation. So, what's next? We've done this four times, we've learned a bunch, we've layered in different views as we talked about this one, the big one for me was around the industry analysis, we have size, we have funding stage, we have location, we have go to market models. What are the questions you're hearing from people who are reviewing the report and saying, "Gosh, I wish you could do this," that you have on your list to consider for the next one?

Jon Cochrane (29:37):

Yeah, I think we're in a really fun and pivotal place where we're no longer at the point where we're just starting small and going, "What's our one benchmark?" We now can say, "We could go 10 different directions with this thing because we've got our methodology, got our data down now." I think there are probably two areas that we're going to explore more in depth as we go forward. One is deepening our industry analysis, that was a really ... We've only scratched the surface with the industry insights that we can provide so I would love to go deeper there in future analyses where say we provide a double click on, say, the restaurant, hospitality and leisure industry where we have a subsection for that group in particular. The other piece that we had actually done in prior reports that we excluded from this report, really, just for the purpose of getting it out quickly but we've got a lot of data on telling you explicitly what does it take to be the best and what does it take to be the best within a given industry in tech. And so, if we can couple, say, the quartile analyses with the industries, I think that's going to produce a lot of data that's very actionable for people within their cohort based on billing size, industry and the quartile. And so, I think that, in and of itself, could produce, say, triple the size of our report alone but those will be the two areas that we're looking to expand on throughout the rest of this year.

Randy Wootton (31:03):

Great. The other one which I've been excited about, the traction you've made and love to hear your thoughts for going forward is the partnership we have with Ray Rike and Benchmarkit and this idea of complimentary information. I know, when we did our webinar, for example, we had Ray Rike there and then there's a set of reports, surveys that Ray is producing with his company and we're dovetailing with it. How have you seen that play out and how do you think that ... We're just going to continue going forward there or connect with other surveys or how do you think about that?

Jon Cochrane (31:33):

Yeah, no, Ray has been a great partner to us and, to your point that you made at the beginning of the podcast, Randy, this report is data backed but it's really focused on growth, top line growth through the lens of billings on a platform. Ray has got a lot of really great insight when it comes to all the other metrics that you care about as a business. So, when you think about your efficiency metrics, your CAC to LTV ratios, I'm sure Ray would correct me and say, "CAC to LTV is so last year, Jon, there's so many other metrics that really matter this year." We do view this as complimentary, a better together story. And so, we just did a webinar with Ray recently where we were able to combine the data that we were seeing from the institute and correlate that to what he had with some of his work with Benchmarkit. So, I think everybody who's listening now can expect more to come there and some more partnerships. Also, I'd throw it out there for anybody who's listening, if you have the similar benchmarking or anything like that and you have ideas on how you could help partner with us, we'd be open for a conversation.

Randy Wootton (32:33):

Yeah, I think this is one of these agency effect things in terms of what we're trying to do is help the SaaS industry get better through better insights. And for CEOs like me who are freaked about what's unfolding day to day and how are we going to continue to grow in this world and deliver shareholder value, being able to share insights that create a collective understanding of reality is better for everyone. So, we'll continue to invest in it, I'm super excited for all the work you've done and grateful, Jon, to you and Hillary for the work that you do. I know how hard it is to get to where we've been today and excited about where we're going tomorrow.

Jon Cochrane (33:14):

Yeah, no, it's fun. Fun to pull together, I'm glad we can pull together useful insights for, not only you, Randy, but the broader industry.

Randy Wootton (33:22):

Well, with that, thanks, Jon, have a great day.

Jon Cochrane (33:25):

Yeah. Until next time.