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Scaling a SaaS Business to 11,000 Customers: Booker.com CEO Josh McCarter (Part 6)

Posted on Saturday, Oct 8th 2016

Sramana Mitra: What are some of the inflection points in the business when things started clicking in gear? We’ve talked about one of the key issues which is really turning into this metrics-driven organization. What other inflection points have you experienced in building this business?

Josh McCarter: I think there are a few. The early stage was just pulling the company out of the original parent company because that gave us the opportunity to go out and create our own business, our own P&L, and the ability to raise capital by ourselves. Being able to go out and start generating our early sales was very important.

Sramana Mitra: I’m asking a very specific question. It’s about an inflection point about customer adoption. As you trace the graph of customer adoption, there are points at which the adoption curve accelerates. I’m asking specifically about those points. What did you do strategically to achieve those points?

Josh McCarter: I’m not going to give you a good answer for that one, because it’s just been an evolution of the business. There’s nothing that we did specifically that spurred customer adoption. It was a lot of the stuff that I already told you about. It was about building out a sales team, building out marketing functions, and continuing to evolve the business and the products. There wasn’t one thing that drove 5,000 new merchants.

We’ve been plugging away consistently at adding hundreds of merchants every month. We’ve done a lot of things to make sure that we’ve improved our retention of those merchants over time. We’ve added product functionalities and added partnerships that have enhanced our products.

Sramana Mitra: What else is interesting, strategically, in your business building story that we should cover?

Josh McCarter: It’s the narrowing of focus which helped us greatly. It is hard for any company that has a lot of different fronts that they can go after. If you follow the story, there was a time when we had enterprise and SMB. We had hospitality. We had international. We had great accounts in all of those areas, but trying to serve all of those successfully is extremely difficult and very costly.

I think one of the things that we benefited from in the last 12 to 18 months is the narrowing of focus, identifying who the customers are that we want to serve the best, and pouring most of our resources into doing that. That’s been good for the business. In tandem with that is figuring out the best way to acquire customers that we’re focused on. That’s where we landed on the reseller model that I described to you before. That, for me, has been the success story for Booker. We’re now just getting to market with a lot of these folks and think that in 2017, the story is going to be how those partnerships will be scaled.

Sramana Mitra: How many customers do you have today?

Josh McCarter: We have about 11,000 locations that are on Booker.

Sramana Mitra: Great. Thank you for your time.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Scaling a SaaS Business to 11,000 Customers: Booker.com CEO Josh McCarter
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