5 Must-See Sessions at SaaStr 2016

by in Sales


The premier SaaS event of 2016 is nearly here! On February 9-11, more than 3,500 CEOs, executives, venture capitalists, and startup founders will converge at SaaStr Annual in San Francisco.

SaaStr is not just another sales conference. It’s unique for a few  reasons:

  1. The companies that attend are all venture-backed. They’re the real deal.
  2. The people who attend are decision makers. They’ve brought their wallets and have come to SaaStr ready to buy. Last year, executives from Amazon, Apple, HP, IBM, Cisco, and many others attended.
  3. Most exciting of all, attendees have access to tactical sales content from 100+ thought leaders.

Not sure how to prioritize your time at SaaStr 2016? Here is our list of the five sessions you can’t afford to miss.

1. Lew Cirne: “New Relic: Scaling Even Faster the Second Time”

Tuesday 2/9, 10:00am

Lew is a veteran of the industry. After realizing that his first company, Wily Technology, didn’t have enough predictability (regarding customers, revenue streams, etc.) to endure as a public company, he sold it for $375M to CA Technologies. Equipped with learnings from Wily, Lew founded his second company as a more predictable 100% subscription business. This company, New Relic (an anagram of his name), went public last year and already has a market cap of almost $2B.

Attend this session and learn the tricks of the trade concerning creating a sustainable and predictable business model. Learn why the average New Relic customer spends 38% more than the average customer spent a year ago.

2. Aaron Ross: “Building an Outbound Sales Process that Scales”

Wednesday 2/10, 10:00am

Aaron is the best-selling author of Predictable Revenue (affectionately called the “Sales Bible of Silicon Valley”), a book that tells the story of how he led Salesforce from $5-100M in revenue and developed an outbound sales process that didn’t rely on cold calling.

Aaron is an expert in understanding the growth playbooks of some of the hottest companies today—companies like Salesforce, Oracle, Zenefits, and EchoSign. What’s remarkable is that his takeaways are relevant for everyone, whether or not you are bringing in $100K or $1B in annual revenue.

3. April Underwood: “Building—And Monetizing—A Partner Ecosystem”

Wednesday 2/10, 4:00pm

April will arrive at SaaStr with her fresh new role as the VP of Product at Slack. She’s no stranger to leading technology companies to success. Before Slack, April spent almost five years at Twitter as Director of Product.

April has already left her mark at Slack, having launched its App Directory. Under April’s guidance, Slack found a way to successfully monetize its partner ecosystem through an $80M developer fund. The fund has gone a long way in incentivizing developers to build Slack App Directory apps and make Slack integrations part of their core product.  Attend this session and learn how you can leverage your key partners to help grow your business.

4. Phil Fernandez: “Marketo: Winning, IPO’ing, and Going Upmarket”

Thursday 2/11, 9:30am

Phil comes to SaaStr with more than 30 years experience in leading successful technology companies. He’s a seasoned speaker and is the author of the book Revenue Disruption, a go-to source for any company looking to transform its sales and marketing strategy to accelerate growth.

Phil came to prominence after founding Marketo in 2006. Over the past two decades, Marketo has become a leading force in the digital marketing industry. Like many of the Valley’s unicorns, however, Marketo’s growth has declined in recent years. Many investors are eagerly awaiting its next quarterly report. Coincidently, Marketo is slated to report their earnings on the first day of SaaStr. Attend this session to hear a very timely update about Marketo’s growth—from the horse’s mouth. Learn how Phil thinks about “paddling upstream” and positioning Marketo to endure for years to come.

5. Parker Conrad: “Last Time We Met We Had 100 Reps. Now We Have 1,000”

Thursday 2/11, 3:30pm

The story of Zenefits is almost like a fairy tale. The company launched in May 2013 and by the start of 2014 had reached $1M in run-rate revenue. Its hero is Parker, the company’s CEO.

For Parker, the path to greatness hasn’t been easy. He’s had his fair share of challenges, having dropped out of Harvard and battled with testicular cancer. Zenefits has also faced obstacles. It was banned in Utah after insurance brokers lobbied the Department of Insurance. Despite these roadblocks, however, Zenefits has remained one of the fastest growing SaaS companies. Attend this session and learn why Parker credits Zenefits’ consistent growth to its “hub and spoke” business model.


We know that time is your most valuable asset. As with any sales opportunity, you’ll need to come to SaaStr equipped with a strategy. With over 100 speakers, you’ll need to plan ahead, choose the days and/or sessions that are most relevant to you and your business, and make sure you don’t miss out. The star-studded SaaStr lineup is sure to impress. SaaStr has high hopes for the conference and has set a lofty goal—by uniting the global SaaS community; it wants to be the largest non-vendor confab.

Can’t get enough Node content? Subscribe to our blog and get regular updates!




About The Author

Rebecca Hinds
Rebecca Hinds - View more articles

Rebecca Hinds graduated from Stanford University in 2014 with a M.S. in Management Science and Engineering. In 2013, Rebecca co-founded Stratio, a semi-conductor company developing infrared sensors. The company was selected by the Kairos Society as one of the 50 most innovative student-run businesses in the world.