After a year and change stuck behind Zoom cameras, SaaStr Annual 2021 is coming back. The conference will be taking place at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds on September 27-29, and organizers are calling it the largest tech event since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“We’ll be the first major tech event back in the SF Bay Area, and we’re doing it right,” conference coordinators said.
This year’s SaaStr conference will host the biggest tech leaders and industry experts and will center on the themes “Masterminds of SaaS,” “Legends of SaaS,” and “Money and Mentors.” Known as the Super Bowl of SaaS, this three-day event is the perfect opportunity for finance leaders to learn about which tools the most successful founders are leveraging to scale their businesses and come out on top.
A word on the current COVID-19 protocols: As we have learned over the past year and a half, everything is subject to change. As of now, SaaStr will be:
- Taking place outside, festival-style over 40 acres
- Requiring vaccinations for everyone (no exceptions, per conference organizers)
- Capped currently at 5,000 attendees
All attendees must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test, in addition to their proof of vaccination.
Conference Best Practices
What’s the same as previous conferences? Tons of great presentations to choose from and not enough time to go to all the sessions. SaaStr is packed with knowledgeable speakers and extensive opportunities for mentorship, in addition to fun extras (Thinking of adopting a dog?).
These are some strategies to make the most of your time at SaaStr Annual:
- Make a personalized schedule - A solid agenda can assure you attend the most meaningful sessions for your work and guide you to places where you are likely to make connections with industry folks in similar roles. On the SaaStr Annual website you can star sessions of interest, making it easy to preview and select key talks.
- Prepare for long days - The SaaStr sessions run all day in addition to happy hours in the evening that you won’t want to miss, like Teampay’s Beers & Balance Sheets event. Make sure you get enough sleep and leave time for substantial breakfasts in the mornings to keep your energy going throughout the day. You’ll also want to wear comfortable clothes and shoes since you’ll be spending the day walking across the large fairgrounds.
- Network, network, network - SaaStr brings together some of the brightest minds in the SaaS industry. There are sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday dedicated to one-on-ones and small group meetings. Also, don’t be afraid to turn to the person sitting next to you and introduce yourself. Sometimes those few minutes before a session starts can surprise you, and you could form a relationship with a contact in a similar field or with similar goals and interests.
- Stay in the moment - You may be tempted to check your Slack messages or dive into email, but you can avoid this by sticking your phone or computer in your bag. Taking notes in a notebook rather than on a device could be crucial to getting the most out of the session. It could also be worth setting up an-out of-office message to let colleagues and clients know you’ll be delayed in responding to their messages. You traveled all the way to this conference, don’t treat it like every other workday.
Sessions to check out
Want a preview of some interesting sessions? Below, we highlighted sessions featuring speakers from finance software companies for you and your team to check out.
Monday, September 27th
Presentation: The How and Why of Category Creation and Leadership with BlackLine's CMO
Time: 7:00 AM - 7:50 AM PDT
Speaker: Andres Botero, CMO at BlackLine
Note: This session is taking place virtually.
Andres Botero is a 20-year enterprise software veteran heading up marketing at BlackLine, a company that specializes in cloud-based solutions for accounting. Before his role at BlackLine, he served in leadership positions at CallidusCloud and Aria Systems. This session will tackle category creation, leadership, and building a strong sales pipeline from the perspective of a top leader at an influential fintech company.
Presentation: Getting to $1M MRR with Ruthless Prioritization with Xactly’s CEO Chris Cabrera
Time: 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM PDT
Speaker: Chris Cabrera, CEO of Xactly
Note: This session is taking place virtually.
Xactly is a sales performance management software company that offers insight into sales planning, revenue analytics, and more. CEO Chris Cabrera has led Xactly since 2005 and, according to Forbes, brings expertise in sales performance management, employee engagement, SaaS delivery models, and more to this session.
What can finance-minded folks take away from this? Xactly is a booming company that specializes in revenue operations management with two new products that launched its growth into Europe in 2021. Learn how you can position your company similarly.
Presentation: Mastermind Masterclass: Ten Things to Avoid Being Blindsided By In Your Pursuit Of Customer Success with Gainsight's CEO
Time: 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM PDT
Speaker: Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight
Nick Mehta heads Gainsight, a customer success software that aims to grow a business’ net dollar retention, and has been with the organization since 2013. Net dollar retention is a performance metric unique to SaaS businesses that factors in client turnover, or churn, into its revenue calculation. It is a key indicator for a subscription-based business to reflect monthly revenue accurately.
The session will dive into ways SaaS businesses can modernize their customer service operations, including making customer service more technical, integrating sales and customer service more closely, and moving away from just focusing on churn, with the underlying theme of improving NDR.
Tuesday, September 28th
Presentation: Kickoff to SaaStr Annual 2021 with SaaStr's CEO Jason Lemkin, CEO and Co-Founder @ SaaStr
Time: 9:00 AM - 9:30 AM PDT
Speaker: Jason Lemkin
VC veteran and SaaStr mastermind Jason Lemkin will deliver opening remarks for the conference.
Wednesday, September 29th
Presentation: Secrets of the Enterprise Buyers with Plaid's Global Finance Lead and Laika's Co-founder
Time: 12:45 PM - 1:05 PM PDT
Speakers: Eva Pittas, Co-Founder at Laika; Daniel Kahn, Global Open Finance Lead at Plaid
Laika, a software designed to help companies manage compliance, and Plaid, a secure tool that helps companies connect with their customer’s bank accounts, are experts in what it takes to get a business to buy into your business. Leaders from these two companies will share a look inside the procurement processes and what you should know about the changes in information security.
Chat with us
Teampay will be attending SaaStr, too. Looking to unwind and connect with other finance gurus? Register here to join us at Beers & Balance Sheets, our outdoor happy hour at Devil’s Canyon Brewing on September 27 at 6:00pm PT.