How to Break $80 Million Revenue, $70 Million Raised, 65k Customers with SmartSheet CEO Mark Mader

Mader Headshot

In Episode #627, Nathan interviews Mark Mader. He’s the CEO of Smartsheet. He’s passionate about delivering superior, customer experiences. Mark strives to find innovative ways for customers to collaborate more intelligently using the Smartsheet platform and its partner ecosystem. Prior to Smartsheet, Mark served as SVP of Global Services for Onyx Software, leading the consulting and consumer operation team in America, Europe and Asia. In 2015, he was recognized as Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of Technology for the Pacific NorthWest.

 

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Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Play Bigger
  • What CEO do you follow? – Stat Mandella
  • Favorite online tool? — Tripit
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— No
  • If you could let your 20-year old self know one thing, what would it be? – “You tell me what the major trends are in the next 3 decades, in tech, and I would make you a lot of money”

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:40 – Nathan introduces Mark to the show
  • 02:21 – Smartsheet is a software SaaS company
  • 02:27 – The people who subscribe to Smartsheet are teams and enterprise teams
  • 02:47 – Smartsheet is similar to Trello’s space but in the enterprise class
    • 02:57 – Smartsheet has everything from time tracking to other things that are more diverse in nature
  • 03:23 – Smartsheet serves 65K distinct brands on a paid basis
  • 03:30 – Each brand pays an average of $1K annually
    • 03:36 – The range is $200 to $1.6M annually
  • 04:08 – Average MRR is $5.4M
  • 04:20 – Smartsheet has been growing really well for the past 4 years
    • 04:43 – “As you grow bigger, the gross rate is more challenging”
  • 04:47 – Smartsheet isn’t only focused on getting new customers, but on helping their customers grow as well
  • 05:23 – 2016 revenue
  • 05:37 – 2017 target ARR
  • 06:10 – First year revenue was zero
  • 06:37 – Smartsheet’s promise didn’t change, but how they brought the product to the market changed dramatically
    • 06:55 – 60% of Smartsheet’s revenue came from customers who learned about Smartsheet organically
  • 07:18 – Smartsheet’s first million ARR was in 2010
  • 08:02 – Smartsheet has raised a total of $70M
  • 08:16 – Mark feels that they have a really good platform
  • 08:21 – Team size
  • 08:55 – Have the balance sheet in your model if you want to invest more this year
  • 09:06 – Smartsheet is still trying to focus on efficiency in their growth model
  • 09:34 – Smartsheet’s current status is that they have the decision to slow their growth or drive profit overnight
  • 09:57 – “Control your own destiny”
  • 10:06 – Smartsheet is currently not cash flow positive, but still a healthy business
  • 10:20 – Smartsheet is based in Seattle, Washington and will have an office in Boston
  • 10:48 – Smartsheet has a diverse funnel
    • 11:02 – Smartsheet spends millions of dollars in paid advertising a year
  • 11:34 – One of Smartsheet’s keys to growth is to go where the action is
    • 11:39 – “Dominate in the world of collaborative, work management and partner effectively with the tools people use and love”
    • 11:50 – “Partner with the places where heat exists”
    • 12:08 – It’s about having an ecosystem mindset
  • 12:30 – Gross customer churn
  • 13:17 – Smartsheet has a broad population service
  • 13:31 – “The key to sustain long-term growth is not just keeping up, but expanding”
  • 13:59 – Smartsheet can still grow by 30% in 2017, without new customers
  • 14:17 – Smartsheet charges the people who create new work in their application
  • 15:00 – Smartsheet’s safe LTV
    • 15:25 – Smartsheet looks at their specific sources and campaigns
  • 16:06 – Smartsheet’s cohort analysis
  • 17:22 – Smartsheet’s last round of raising was in 2014
  • 19:16 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Focus not only on acquiring new customers, but helping your current customers to grow their company.
  2. The key to sustaining long-term growth is not just keeping up, but expanding.
  3. Dominate in the world of collaborative, work management and partner effectively with the tools people use and love.

Resources Mentioned:

  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • Organifi – The juice was Nathan’s life saver during his trip in Southeast Asia
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books
  • Freshbooks – Nathan doesn’t waste time so he uses Freshbooks to send out invoices and collect his money. Get your free month NOW
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives