Unleashing the Power of a DevOps Lead in an AWS Saas Startup
What You Will Gain
Discover the comprehensive blueprint for the pivotal role of a DevOps Lead in AWS SaaS startups.
Understand the six key responsibilities that define the role, from AWS Console Management to Subject Matter Expertise.
Learn about the critical tasks associated with each responsibility, essential for operational excellence.
Gain insights into resource allocation optimization, knowledge gap identification, and operational efficiency enhancement.
Access the Excel template provided in the whitepaper, enabling you to directly implement the blueprint for hiring or training purposes.
Who Will Benefit
CTOs & Product Leaders: Align your product agility goals with business continuity and customer experience demands.
Hiring Managers: Streamline your hiring process by leveraging a standardized blueprint that goes beyond job listings.
Start-up Entrepreneurs: Scale your AWS SaaS startup confidently by ensuring seamless service delivery through skilled DevOps leadership.
Aspiring DevOps Leads: Prepare for the role by gaining an in-depth understanding of the key responsibilities and associated tasks.
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Step-by-Step Guide to Create Customer Persona for SaaS
What you’ll learn
How to develop solutions that resonate with customers
Methods for gaining insights that improve targeting and conversion rates in Marketing programs.
Evaluation techniques to assess how effectively you meet the needs of target personas, enhancing customer satisfaction and retention.
How to focus on the personas that align with your ideal customer profile, resulting in more targeted and effective marketing efforts.
Who will benefit?
Sales and business development managers
Customer success managers
Marketing leaders and their teams
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5 Easy Ways to Save on AWS Cloud Costs
What you’ll learn
How to pro-actively reduce waste in AWS cloud infrastructure
Methods for right-sizing your AWS resources
How AWS Reserved Instances and Savings Plans help optimise your costs
Which AWS Automation services are most effective for cost management
Effective Data Lifecyle Management techniques that positively impact cost reduction
Who will benefit?
Finance specialists in SaaS and ISV businesses
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In Part 1 of the article, I discussed WHY implementing value based pricing strategy isa must for AWS SaaS partners. I highlighted the benefits of implementing a value-based pricing vs. cost-based pricing. I also provided three compelling reasons why value-based pricing is essential for AWS software partners:
Firstly, by focusing on the value that your product provides, you can differentiate your product from competitors who are simply listing product features. Secondly, selling perceived value attracts more customers and thirdly, it allows you to increase your revenue by charging a fair price for your product based on its perceived value to the customer.
As someone who has worked with many startup founders to scale up their GTM operations, I can attest to the importance of defining a pricing strategy that keeps their long-term growth story in mind. In Part 2 of my blog, I will be discussing how to embed a value-based pricing strategy and target the AWS ecosystem more effectively.
Real-life example to make the case for value-based pricing
One would be surprised that building the value-based pricing strategy isn’t a high priority action item for SaaS startups that are scaling up. The ease of cost-based pricing lulls the Growth leader or product leader into false sense of security. For instance, I worked with a an AWS SaaS startup that decided to list their solution on the AWS Marketplace to reach more customers. However, they only had one pricing for their SaaS solution, which was not ideal for delivering targeted value to different personas. Although the company was open to providing flexible pricing if the customers asked, they did not have multiple packages with fixed pricing to offer upfront. Being a technically forward team they understood unit costs easily but didn’t understand the power of value-based targeting, which is a strength in commercially driven companies.
We recommended the partner to immediately develop specific personas that they would anyhow need for their marketing efforts. By completing this, they had a better understanding of the needs & unmet jobs of the different buyers they target. Using the personas developed they customer needs created three packages that offered varying levels of functionality and value. This allowed them to better compete in the crowded AWS ecosystem. They were able to attract a wider range of customers with different needs & able to reduce the sales cycle by replacing the pricing discussion phase with the faster 3 pricing packages.
1. Customer Personas
In the world of SaaS, understanding your customers is key to creating a successful product. One way to better understand your customers is by developing customer personas. It includes demographic data, customer goals and needs, current frustrations and pain points, channels that influence purchase decisions, and more.
To create customer personas, you can conduct research through surveys, interviews, or focus groups. These can help you gain insights into your customer’s pain points, preferences, and behaviors. You can also use data from your existing customer base through your customer success managers & account engineers to identify common characteristics and trends. Once you have a clear understanding of your customer personas, you can align your product development efforts to meet their specific needs and preferences.
2. Feature Analysis Research
Once you have identified your customer personas, you need to determine the value of your product features. Using a relative preference analysis method rather than a scoring method can help you calculate the value of each feature. This method forces respondents to make a choice between their most and least preferred features. To calculate the value of each feature, use the following formula:
(No. of times most preferred – No. of times least preferred) / No. of total respondents
This dataset can then be segmented by the customer personas you have derived and aligned against the qualifying questions in your survey research.
3. Willingness to Pay Research
Knowing the value of your product features is only half the battle. You also need to know how much your customers are willing to pay. Van Westendorp’s Price Sensitivity Meter is a simple but effective tool that has been used for the past four decades to determine willingness to pay. The tool asks four questions:
- At what price would you consider the product to be so expensive that you would not consider buying it? (Too expensive)
- At what price would you consider the product to be priced so low that you would feel the quality couldn’t be very good? (Too cheap)
- At what price would you consider the product starting to get expensive, so that it is not out of the question, but you would have to give some thought to buying it? (Expensive/High Side)
- At what price would you consider the product to be a bargain—a great buy for the money? (Cheap/Good Value)
The results of this research can help you set a price that is attractive to customers while also being profitable for your business.
4. Identify and Validate the Value Metrics
Customers are billed based on their use of a value metric. Examples of value metrics include widgets, API requests, the number of users, the dollar value transacted through the service, addon integrations required, and more. Choosing the right value metric is crucial to the success of your SaaS business.
The right value metric should be easy to comprehend, align with client requirements, and grow as the customer grows. It is essential to use a relative preference scaling method to research which value metric(s) work best for your customers. This method involves presenting respondents with a list of different value metrics and asking them to choose their preferred options. You can then calculate the relative preference of each option and identify the value metric(s) that resonate most with your customers.
To validate the value metrics, you can conduct A/B testing to determine which value metric(s) lead to better customer retention, revenue growth, and profitability. You can also gather feedback from your customers to ensure that the value metric(s) are accurately reflecting their usage of your product. By choosing the right value metric(s) and validating them through testing and customer feedback, you can create a pricing model that aligns with your customer’s needs and preferences.
Implementing a value-based pricing strategy can be challenging, but it’s essential for AWS SaaS partners looking to provide value to their customers while remaining competitive. By developing customer personas, conducting feature analysis research, determining willingness to pay, and identifying and validating value metrics, SaaS companies can set prices that align with the value they provide to their customers.
In conclusion, SaaS companies must keep in mind that pricing is a constantly evolving process. It’s essential to keep track of customer feedback, market trends, and competitor prices to ensure that prices remain competitive and fair while still providing value to customers. With these strategies in place, SaaS companies can establish a value-based pricing strategy that meets the needs of their customers while ensuring the profitability of their business.
At VeUP we have worked closely with many startup founders to scale up their GTM operations with our services defining their pricing strategy, keeping their long term growth story in mind.Our Services
Here at VeUP we recognise from experience with our partners (and our own business) that growth marketing your B2B business is challenging and complex. The Martech SaaS revolution has brought a myriad of potential solutions to our attention and its increasingly difficult to know which to pick for the best fit and outcome for your business.
3 challenges faced in the beginning
Founders and CEOs at early stage start-ups typically face 3 main challenges in deciding on the right mix of marketing technologies, resources, and processes to target and achieve growth.
1. Lack of clarity on what tools to invest in and when
Its very tempting to look at the wide range of marketing technology available and assume they will provide quick, off-the-shelf solutions to your problems.
When organisations deploy new marketing tools they fondly imagine that these will either yield remarkable forensic insight like a microscope, or expose wide vistas of discovery and opportunity like a telescope. The reality is that the glass optical instrument that new marketing tools most resemble is a mirror! They will expose the reality of your business quickly and starkly and therefore understanding your purpose and intent is critical – and this changes according to the stage of business development you are at.
2. Inadequate funds for marketing technology investment
Whether you are bootstrapping or relying on scarce and hard-earned funding, there are many financial commitments and distractions to address before you get to consider how to build a viable marketing technology stack. What seems affordable at first may not scale the way you need, but at the same time its all too easy to over-provide and end up with ‘spareware’. On balance its better to under-spend and operate at the limits of some essential tools than go ‘deluxe’ and see technology investments underperform.
3. Securing the right marketing resources for the task in hand
The range of marketing specialisms seems to grow every day. Content, ABM, Growth, Social, Community, Advocacy…..the list goes on. At the same time, the combined power of automation, AI and analytics continues to have a massive influence on the capabilities and accessibility of marketing technology for the non-expert user. While we are far from being able to automate every aspect of marketing specialisms, it seems to us that there should be a growing focus on analytics and data interpretation skills and people. The right proposition made to a closely targeted and engaged audience will be effective regardless of what is finally spent with the creatives who put the visuals together, and these days anyone can assemble acceptable copy and visuals with affordable AI and ML tools.
The right combination of marketing technologies, processes and people will be based on your specific needs and goals, and in our experience these vary by the development stage of your business, with some not really being relevant at all to certain stages, or requiring significant upgrade or even carefully managed replacement as your business transforms between funding and growth stages.
So what should you be looking to use and when?
How to choose the right tool at the right time
At Early stage there is an acknowledged core set of technologies that you really can’t do without.
These comprise CRM, data sourcing, social ads and analytics. Good choices here are apollo.io for comprehensive data sourcing and HubSpot for simplicity and functional/task coverage end-to-end. For ads and analytics you won’t go wrong with LinkedIn and Google.
At this stage its important not to over-complicate things or over-spend. You don’t yet need Salesforce (and may never) and if you are operating in a digital savvy space (most probable for a SaaS model) then you don’t need the breadth of coverage that a data sourcing platform like a ZoomInfo offers. Having said that, if you are targeting segments that are not overly digitalised at this stage then you may need that breadth and depth to find your targets.
When you get to Seed Funding stage different considerations come into play.
Growing sales teams and increased sophistication in your offers could make this the right time to add Salesforce. HubSpot can still play its part as the Marketing workbench and the addition of sales enablement tools like SalesLoft can make a positive contribution to team capabilities and consistent customer engagement.
Salesforce is a functionally rich and infinitely customisable platform but therein lies a challenge as well. When exactly might you need it and what for? Although it can serve as an integration platform for just about all of the data sources that your marketing initiatives will rely on as well as the performance data they will eventually generate, it can soon get weighed under.
As an alternative it is worth evaluating the wide range of data discovery and analytics tools that have become available to support the concept of a data lake for marketing (and other functions) ETL tools like DreamData, Matillion, Denodo or Airbyte can coalesce data from your Google, Linkedin, Salesforce, Outreach and Hubspot activities as well as other operational systems into one source of truth, which can be complemented by the use of an intelligent visualisation tool like Google Looker.
Decisions taken at this stage should be geared to establishing a foundation that will allow change and customisation as your business evolves into later Series stages.
Post-Series A stage, the temptation to experiment is strong
The incessant need to pick the newest and loudest-shouting SaaS tool for marketing performance improvement, needs to be tempered by a strict assessment of your needs and the foundational thinking you had first used.
Nowhere is this truer than in your approach to customer data. You may have a great intent-based marketing platform but if its not well integrated to your data model you can’t reap the benefits downstream. Without ad analytics being recovered into your centralised customer data then attribution of results against ad spend gets to be a challenge. We urge you to make data and analytics the keystones of your marketing technology, process, and people investments. The other tooling may change around the center of gravity that a strong data-driven marketing model provides, but ultimately its care and feeding as the source of both opportunity and performance data will assure your success.
That foundational discipline that comes from the question ‘What are we really trying to achieve here?’, related to fundamental strategic goals and KPIs, allows marketing technology decisions to be made in context. The starting point should always be to extract more from what is already owned, integrate it around a single source of truth in a customer data model and use the boundaries of available budget and business growth goals to keep focused.
Validate your needs always by looking in the mirror
To finish with a return to the looking glass metaphor in my opening, you may want to look deeper or further into your business and that of your target markets, but the right starting point is to look in the mirror first and understand your goals and boundaries. You may find you already have much of what you need in what you already know and think, with the result that you can move faster and run better without over-stacking your marketing technology.
At VeUp we have worked closely with many startup founders to scale up their growth & aws operations by leveraging our expertise in saas firms. Our services include working with these leaders to define and implement their aws partnership strategy, keeping their long term growth story in mind.Our Services
VeUP, a global consulting company that provides innovative digital solutions, has announced the acquisition of M3 Payments Technology Suite. The acquisition is part of VeUP’s strategy to become a leading player in the AWS ecosystem and provide comprehensive value to the partners through M3 Payments Suite. VeUP’s value proposition is to accelerate the SaaS partners, and the acquisition of M3 Payments Technology Suite aligns with that vision.
The M3 Payments Technology Suite provides a range of solutions that include a mobile wallet and social payments platform. The acquisition will allow VeUP to expand its solution offerings and enhance partners’ ability to provide secure and efficient digital financial services. By leveraging the M3 Payments Technology Suite, VeUP will be able to offer its customers even more comprehensive financial solutions, enabling the growth of its SaaS partners in the AWS ecosystem.
With this acquisition, VeUP is committed to providing innovative and secure digital financial solutions to its customers. The acquisition of M3 Payments Technology Suite will allow VeUP to continue expanding its footprint and providing value to its wider partners in the AWS ecosystem. By enabling the growth of SaaS partners, VeUP is well-positioned to continue to grow and provide value to its customers.
As a growing SaaS firm, it’s essential to have a comprehensive marketing strategy in place to build brand awareness, generate leads, and drive revenue through your marketing campaigns. Think of your SaaS marketing strategy as a tree. Just like a tree needs a strong foundation to grow, your marketing campaigns need a solid base to flourish. The five key elements of your marketing strategy – brand identity, customer persona, value messaging, content plan, and competitor analysis – are like the roots of your tree. They provide the necessary nutrients to help your tree grow tall and strong. Your marketing campaigns are like the branches of the tree, reaching out to new prospects and engaging with existing customers. And the fruits on the tree – the perceived value of your SaaS products and your unique positioning in the market – are the end result of a strong foundation and well-crafted campaigns.
So, take the time to develop your marketing strategy’s foundation, and you will be able to reap the sweet rewards of successful SaaS marketing campaigns. Here are the key elements to consider when developing your marketing strategy so you can implment effective marketing campaigns.
1. Define Your Customer Personas
Defining your customer persona is crucial to ensure that your marketing efforts resonate with your target audience. As a SaaS partner in the AWS ecosystem, by developing customer personas you can better understand their needs and preferences, and tailor your marketing messages accordingly.
A customer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. Customer personas should include sections such as firmographic data, customer frustrations and pain points, and influences.
- Firmographic data is demographic and psychographic information about your target audience, including their job title, company size, revenue, industry, geographic location, and more. Understanding firmographic data can help you understand what types of companies are most likely to benefit from your SaaS product and how to target them effectively.
- Customer frustrations and pain points are the problems that your target audience is trying to solve, which your SaaS product can help address. Understanding these frustrations and pain points can help you tailor your messaging and content to the specific challenges that your target audience is facing.
- Influences are the factors that influence your target audience’s decision-making process, including their trusted sources of information and preferred channels for communication. Understanding these influences can help you create content and messaging that resonates with your target audience.
By developing customer personas, you can create more targeted and effective marketing campaigns that are tailored to the specific needs and preferences of your target audience. You can use the information gathered in customer personas to create content that addresses specific pain points and communicates the unique value proposition of your SaaS product. This can help you attract more qualified leads and move them through the sales funnel more effectively.
2. Establish Your Brand Identity
Your brand identity is how you want your company to be perceived by your customers. Your brand identity should be consistent across all your marketing channels, from your website to your social media profiles. It encompasses your brand persona, brand voice, and branding elements.
- Your brand persona is the personality of your brand, which is derived from the characteristics of your target audience. It is the persona that represents your SaaS product in the minds of your customers. A well-defined brand persona will enable your marketing agency to create a marketing campaign that resonates with your target audience.
- Brand voice refers to the tone and style in which your brand communicates with your customers. This includes the language used in your marketing messages, the tone of your social media posts, and the overall style of your brand’s communications. A clear brand voice will help your marketing agency to craft a consistent message across all marketing channels.
- Branding elements include your logo, color palette, typography, and other visual design elements. These elements create a visual representation of your brand identity and help to differentiate your SaaS product from the competition. By defining your branding elements, you will provide your marketing agency with the tools they need to create a consistent visual identity across all marketing channels.
By defining your brand identity, you will provide your marketing agency with a foundation to build your marketing campaigns. A clear and consistent brand identity will help to establish your SaaS product in the minds of your target audience.
3. Develop Your Value Messaging
Value messaging refers to the set of messages that communicate the value of your SaaS product to your target audience. It includes your value proposition, service features, functional benefits, emotional benefits, and other messaging that communicates the value of your product.
- Your value proposition is the promise that you make to your customers about the value that they will receive from your SaaS product. It should be clear, concise, and targeted to your specific audience. Your value proposition should communicate what makes your product unique and how it will solve your customers’ pain points.
- Service features refer to the specific functionalities of your SaaS product. They should be highlighted in your marketing messaging as they are the key reasons why your target audience will choose your product over the competition.
- Functional benefits refer to the tangible outcomes that your SaaS product provides to your customers. This includes things like increased productivity, cost savings, and improved efficiency. Communicating these benefits in your marketing messaging helps to reinforce the value proposition of your SaaS product.
- Emotional benefits refer to the intangible outcomes that your SaaS product provides to your customers. This includes things like peace of mind, increased confidence, and improved quality of life. Communicating these benefits in your marketing messaging create an emotional connection and increase the perceived value of your SaaS product.
Therefore, a clear and compelling value messaging will communicate the value and differentiate your product from the competition.
4. Build your Competitive Intelligence
Studying your competitors is essential to developing a marketing strategy that works. Studying your competitors’ branding, content, service strategy, value messaging, and overall market positioning can provide valuable insights into your own marketing strategy.
Analyzing your competitors’ service strategy can also help you to identify gaps in the market that you can fill with your own unique offering. By understanding the services that your competitors provide, you can identify areas of opportunity where you can differentiate yourself and create a unique value proposition.
Furthermore, studying your competitors’ value messaging can provide insight into what resonates with your target audience. By analyzing the messaging that your competitors use to communicate their value proposition, you can identify the key pain points that your target audience is experiencing. You can then create messaging that speaks directly to those pain points and positions your SaaS product as the solution that your target audience is looking for.
Overall, competitor analysis is an essential step in developing a successful marketing strategy for your SaaS product. By understanding your competitors, you identify areas of differentiation and showcase that uniqueness in your messaging. This will help you to position your SaaS product as the solution that your target audience is looking for.
5. Develop a Content Plan
Creating a well-planned content strategy is essential for showcasing the perceived value of your SaaS products, unique positioning against competitors, and brand identity. A content plan is a roadmap that outlines what types of content you will create, when you will create them, and how you will promote them.
Your content plan should align with your brand identity, value proposition, and unique positioning in the market. The content you create should be tailored to the different stages of your sales funnel and should provide value to your target audience.
For example, you could create webinars that showcase the unique features and functionality of your SaaS product, providing in-depth knowledge for potential customers who are in the consideration stage of the sales funnel. You could create blog articles that address pain points and provide solutions for customers who are in the awareness stage. Whitepapers and case studies could be used to provide social proof and showcase the value that your SaaS product can provide to customers who are in the decision stage of the sales funnel.
Your content plan should also take into account the different channels that your target audience is active on. For example, LinkedIn could be a great platform for sharing thought leadership content and connecting with potential customers. YouTube could be used to showcase product demos and tutorials, while Twitter could be used to share bite-sized pieces of content and engage with your audience.
Overall, with a content plan in place, you can create and promote content that is tailored to the different stages of your sales funnel, moving prospects closer to paying customers.
Why these 5 elements are needed by marketing agencies
Marketing agencies need these five elements because they provide a roadmap for creating effective marketing campaigns. By providing these elements you empower marketing agencies to create messaging and content that aligns with your unique value proposition, appeals to your target audience, and helps you stand out from competitors.
This understanding also allows marketing agencies to develop strong and well-aligned creatives, ad copy, and design for your campaigns. For example, a clear understanding of your brand persona can help inform the tone and style of your marketing materials, while a deep understanding of your customer personas can inform the messaging and design that will resonate with your target audience.
Moreover, a marketing agency can use these elements to identify new opportunities to promote your brand, such as through niche social media channels or targeted advertising campaigns. This ensures that your marketing efforts are strategic and effective, delivering the best possible return on investment.
In conclusion, providing a marketing agency with a well-developed brand identity, customer personas, value messaging, competitor analysis, and content plan will ensure your campaigns drive revenue growth for your SaaS firm.
VeUP’s GTM advisory service is uniquely positioned to help saas partners in the AWS ecosystem define the five critical elements needed to run effective marketing campaigns. By leveraging our expertise in GTM strategy and execution, we help our clients develop a deep understanding of their core brand identity, customer personas, value messaging, competitive landscape, and content plan. Armed with these five elements, saas partners can confidently partner with marketing agencies to create compelling and effective marketing campaigns that differentiate their brand in the marketplace and drive growth.Our Services
As an AWS SaaS firm scaling up your business, you know that having the right team in place is crucial for success. Earlier, we talked about leveraging 4 AWS Partner Programs aimed at startups to help you scale your AWS Operations. In this blog, we look to explore another key aspect you should focus on as the founder.
After your CEO role is filled, setting up your founding team is critical to the future of your company. Common knowledge will definitely agree on the 6 roles you will need but we at VeUP want to ensure you are hiring the leaders when the time is right.
2 reasons why timing of the leadership hire matters:
- VeUP, as a reseller and consulting firm, have worked with many AWS ISVs and observed that successful firms always had the right number of leaders working on the scale up. One key qualitative information we heard from one partner is that “too many cooks spoil the broth”, i.e. too many leaders before achieving the right scale leads to less outcomes per power center and increase in squabbles.
- VC firms, including VeUP, do value the timing very highly as leadership roles tend to be expensive on the bottomline and having the right leaders at the right time means talent costs will be optimized during your growth phase. Cash burn rate is a key metric any VC firm will ask, and an unoptimized talent hiring will seriously impact the metric and in turn VCs’ perception of your firm.
Shopify is a great example of a SaaS startup that hired leaders at the right time during its growth journey. In 2010, they hired a CTO to handle their technical operations and this happened around the time they held their Series A funding raise. In the next stage, around the time they did the Series B fund raise, they brought in a CMO to focus on their marketing efforts & CPO to lead the development of new products and features. These hires allowed Shopify to scale effectively and improve their product offerings. By 2014, Shopify had grown substantially and went public with a successful IPO.
Here are the essential roles to consider for your startup, and the chronological order by when you should bring them on board.
When looking for Product-Market Fit for SaaS startup
Let’s look at the roles, you must have when you are either bootstrapping or just testing your MVP or selling early versions of your SaaS solutions.
- 1. Technology leader, like CTO
Having a CTO who is aligned with your tech stack and infrastructure is crucial for any SaaS firm. Most common VC firms will concur on this given fact. These leaders, even if they aren’t founders, will be responsible for setting the technical vision and strategy, ensuring that the product is meeting customer needs, and managing the development team.
- 2. Product leader, like CPO or Senior Product Manager
Your product is the heart of your business, and having a Chief Product Officer or Senior Product Manager is essential for driving the product roadmap and customer obsession. This person will be responsible for ensuring that your product is meeting customer needs, identifying opportunities for new features and functionality, and managing the product development team. A major mistake founders make here is getting a CMO. At the early stage your growth leader is the general commercial leader role that can lay groundwork and business processes around sales & marketing. You don’t need specialized marketing leadership at this stage when you are still trying to figure out the product-market fit.
- 3. Growth Leader, like VP of Growth or CRO
At an early stage, having a Growth Leader is critical for driving customer acquisition and retention. This person will be responsible for laying the groundwork and business processes around sales and marketing, and working closely with the product team to ensure that the product is meeting customer needs. While having a tech-aligned CEO and CTO is a given, it’s equally important to have a Chief Product Officer or Senior Product Manager to drive the product roadmap and customer obsession. However, one of the most common mistakes that startups make is not having a Growth Leader to drive customer acquisition and retention
When it comes to scaling up your startup, your founding team can make or break your growth story. By having these three essential roles in place, you can build a strong foundation for your business and set yourself up for success.
After you see traction for your SaaS startup
Now as the CEO or founder, after you got traction in market, keep an eye on these 2 milestones:
- Crossing $1 Million in revenue
- Received seed funding that put cash in hand of atleast $500K
On completing any of these milestones, you should look to add these roles:
- 4. Sales Leader, like Sales Head or VP of Sales
As you begin to scale up your business and generate revenue, it’s important to have a Sales Head or VP of Sales who understands sales in your vertical and knows your tech stack and infrastructure. This person will be responsible for driving sales and revenue growth, building relationships with customers and partners, and managing the sales team.
- 5. Customer Success Leader, like CSM
A Customer Success Manager is critical for engaging with buyers and users, collecting feedback, and driving cross-sell and upsell revenue. This person will be responsible for ensuring that your customers are successful with your product, identifying opportunities for expansion, and driving revenue growth.
- 6. Marketing Leader, like CMO or Marketing Head
Once you’ve achieved some traction in the market and are approaching your first milestone of $1 million in revenue, it’s time to add a marketing leader to the team. This person will be responsible for scaling up your PR and thought leadership, as well as managing standard marketing campaigns.
By assembling a strong team with complementary skills and expertise, and leveraging the power of AWS, you can increase the chances of achieving your goals and growing your SaaS business. It’s important to note that the specific titles and responsibilities of these roles may vary depending on the size and stage of your company, as well as the industry and market you operate in. However, by carefully considering the roles you need to fill and bringing in the right people at the right time, you can build a strong team and set your business up for success.
In conclusion, having a strong founding leadership team is crucial for the success of any startup, and having the right roles in place can make all the difference. By having a tech-aligned CEO and CTO, a Chief Product Officer or Senior Product Manager, and a Growth Leader, you can build a solid foundation for your business and ensure that you are focused on driving customer acquisition and retention from the outset. As your startup grows and scales, adding a Sales Head/VP of Sales, a Customer Success Manager, and a CMO/Marketing Head becomes important to help you take things to the next level. By having these roles in place and setting up the right business processes, you can position yourself for success and be ready for Series A.
At VeUP we have worked closely with many startup founders to scale up their growth & AWS operations by leveraging our expertise in saas firms. Our services include working with these leaders to define and implement their AWS partnership strategy, keeping their long term growth story in mind.Our Services
Product owners, CTOs, & DevOps are responsible for ensuring product performance and resilience in the AWS cloud. This in turn can only be guaranteed when you are able to improve your products across the 3 pillars of security, reliability, and operational excellence. To enable this as a best practice, AWS wants you to conduct Foundational Technical Review (FTR) regularly and they mandate this as part of an Independent Software Vendor’s Partner Path in APN. Therefore doing FTR is akin to your car undergoing regular service checks to make sure the vehicle’s performance and resilience is good.
At VeUP, we have seen partners who aren’t running FTR for their product as a practice. Many aren’t aware of FTR and many though aware of FTR, never start it or complete it. Many others who are aware of the gaps do some remedial actions but it lacks a process-driven approach. In this article I will explain 10 reasons as to why product leaders & DevOps fail the AWS FTR process.
3 Strategic reasons of FTR failure at Leadership level
CTOs & product leaders are mostly responsible for the 3 strategic reasons as to why firms fail FTR. These reasons are:
- Cost Factor: Many partners start the FTR process but then not complete it after receiving the first report. They do not remediate and fix what they saw as gaps. The product leaders sees the costs aligned with doing the remediation and lose interest in completing the FTR.
- Time Factor: Many partners fail the FTR as they during the FTR believe the process will take too long or too much effort. If they got multi-account configuration and if they want cross-account access it can take time. Having dedicated account for Cloudtrail audit logs etc. takes time. Therefore they see no value in FTR because of the time they perceive they lose by implementing remediation.
- Talent Factor: Many partners got strong developers but lack AWS expertise. They have no AWS architects who understand essential AWS services such as CloudTrail. They were observed managing infrastructure in an ad hoc manner. Quite a few of them were seen applying on-premise knowledge onto cloud but that isn’t compatible with the way AWS works. All of these aspects causes gaps in expertise that leads to human-errors being caught as gaps in FTR.
4 Tactical Reasons of FTR failure at DevOps level
Along with understanding the strategic reasons, it is important product leaders & DevOps engineers are aware of the tactical reasons of FTR not being completed:
- Poor security practices: Some vendors may not have the necessary security controls in place to protect sensitive data and resources in the AWS environment. This can lead to data breaches, public S3 bucket access, and other security incidents. AWS looks to see if you are MFA-enabled, rotating credentials, have Network ACLs, security groups and additional AWS security services etc. and if you fail any of these, you will not meet the requirements of the FTR.
- Insufficient documentation and testing: Vendors may not have adequate documentation or testing procedures in place to ensure that their software is fully functional and compatible with the AWS environment. This can lead to bugs, errors, and other issues that may not be identified until after deployment. One of the ways AWS checks for this is by ensuring vendors do at least one Resiliency test that meets RTO and RPO requirements.
- Inadequate support: Vendors may not have the resources or expertise to provide adequate support for their software in the AWS environment, which can make it difficult for customers to troubleshoot and resolve issues. That is why AWS business support plan is highly recommended but if you don’t have the budget to pay for this support then you need to have a detailed action plan for managing incidents.
- Reactive Monitoring: Many AWS partners were observed to only monitor workloads and AWS services using CloudWatch and other tools when an issue is noticed. These partners didn’t automate, has ineffective usage of tags, don’t capture logs from diverse sources such as CloudTrail, applications, VPC, Database etc. It is important that DevOps monitor the key metrics around performance, security & cost, in a process-driven manner to meet AWS expectations of FTR.
3 atypical reasons behind FTR failure
Now, it’s rare for companies to fail an AWS FTR for truly “weird” reasons, as the review is focused on ensuring that companies are following best practices for security, networking, monitoring, scaling, and disaster recovery aligned with WAFR. However, some less common or unique reasons a company might fail an AWS FTR include:
- Not properly segregating development, staging, and production environments, which can lead to errors and security breaches.
- Not ensuring that all resources are properly tagged and organized, which can make it difficult to manage and optimize costs
- Financial processes around cost optimization is weak i.e. data duplication is seen, AWS Compute Optimizer isn’t used, lacklustre data lifecycle policies etc.
So in short, these 10 reasons must be understood clearly by AWS product leaders & DevOps teams. Like I said before, regularly doing FTR is like servicing your car, so your workloads and architecture are efficient, secure & well-optimized.
VeUP has advised AWS partners on how to quickly & effectively complete ftr & well-architected review (war), & implement remediation measures against the gaps identified during these reviews. Our advisory consulting services includes ftr/war service, trusted advisor, bc/dr advisory etc. & do contact us if you would like to learn more.Our Services
London: Monday 13th February 2023: VeUP, a new global technology consultancy launches today, providing bespoke services to Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) working in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) ecosystem.
VeUP will offer a suite of core services to its clients. These include consultancy around how to get the best from AWS Marketplace, enabling customers to scale quickly. The team will also provide frictionless billing management that scales in line with demand, as well as cost optimisation and governance services. The company will also provide foundational tech reviews, training, solution tailoring and workshops to enable customers to get the most out of AWS.
VeUP, which is planning to hire 40 fulltime staff this year, has opened offices in the UK and the US and has hired AWS veteran James Campanini as its CEO. Campanini previously served as Head of Channels and Alliances, UK&I at AWS, and will oversee the company’s expansion.
Clients will benefit from VeUP’s IT expertise, including data scientists and solution architects who can help improve processes and enable a seamless customer journey.
In addition to investing in and expanding its core tech services, VeUP has launched with partners a dedicated growth fund, Quadri Partners, which will be used to invest and assist high growth companies in reaching their vision and full potential. The initial funding is being provided by the company’s backers, who include several experienced international investors.
VeUP is a global technology consultancy which provides bespoke services to Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) working in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) ecosystem. Led by a senior team of AWS experts, with offices in the UK and the US, the company provides tailored AWS consultancy to ambitious businesses looking for growth.Our Services