Suaad Sait, founded ReachForce in 2005 in Austin, Texas.
Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
ReachForce delivers sales pipeline and website visitor profiling software (SaaS) for B2B Marketers to identify and target the right companies combined with role-based data solutions to discover the right buyers. ReachForce's solutions enable B2B companies to laser target their lead generation initiatives at the right person in the right company, every time. ReachForce customers have experienced increased results by 20 to 30 times for every dollar spent on marketing and sales initiatives - maximizing the value of CRM and marketing automation investments.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
I was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Centerpoint Ventures and a consultant with Austin Ventures – helping look at new business ideas and plans while I contemplated the "left hand side" of the CRM market opportunity (what is now ReachForce).
Where did you get the startup money?
G51 Capital, an early stage VC firm in Austin, TX
Who are your main competitors? How do you compete against them?
Jigsaw and Spoke which are both stagnant title based lists. ReachForce delivers role-based contact lists specific to each customer's business.
How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?
It has been different in a lot of ways – I think the thing that stands out the most - I spend more time on the people aspect of the business than I anticipated (net- net a software business is about the people).
Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Well hind-sight is always 20/20, right? Looking back now, next time I'll be sure to hire more folks on my management team sooner, rather than later. Having the right people in place really can and does fuel growth.
What have you done that has been very effective in helping to grow the business?
Focus on winning and retaining customers as a team – we are a revenue driven engine. Even our engineers don't get to celebrate until revenue is generated from products they build (vs. celebrating when the product is GA'd).
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Start-ups require a HIGH level of passion and commitment – if you are losing sleep over an idea and willing to bet 1 year worth of your personal paycheck on it, you are ready to start the journey. If you take money from VCs, completely understand their "portfolio theory", very few (less than 5%) have an opportunity, BUT if you are one, you have the ability to go to the moon. With or without the external funding, it's really all about the team. It's what separates the winners from the rest!
Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences and advice with us, Suaad. Want to learn more about Suadd and ReachForce? Check out his blog at www.theb2blead.com.