The 20 most popular SaaS Roundup reads of 2018

Every week we scour the web to pick our top three SaaS reads and share them in our SaaS Roundup newsletter. As we approach the end of 2018, I thought it would be a good time to take stock of the articles that resonated most with our audience. Here’s a rundown of the top 20 for your reading pleasure.

This list was compiled by looking at the articles with the most engagement across all of our SaaS Roundup newsletters in 2018, taking list growth into account.

Special mentions go to the team at OpenView Labs for appearing multiple times, along with Steli Efti of! 👏 Finally, a huge thanks to YOU for being a part of SaaS Roundup this year. We’ll be back with more great reads in the new year.

And finally finally, if at this point for whatever reason you’re still not subscribed, you can fix that by going here and adding yourself to the list. See you in January!

Top five

1. How Zapier Reached $35M ARR With This SaaS SEO Strategy

Ryan Berg

“Creating 25k landing pages is one of those things that sounds crazy without some hack or workaround. But Zapier’s “hacks” look a lot more like persistent effort combined with smart systems thinking and a solid understanding of SEO.”

What I had to say:

This is an excellent case study which highlights some of the challenges that a company like Zapier faces — how do you approach demand generation when you’re effectively a “middleware” tool, that’s invisible to the end user most of the time?

2. First 90 Days Plan for Customer Success Management

Nilesh Surana on Hacker Noon

“Analyze data early and often. Most customer churn happens in the first 90 days. You need to know why so you can plug the leaky bucket. It will also help point out flaws in your product, sales, pricing plan and / or customer success strategy.”

What I had to say:

It’s nice to see a concrete, practical plan for implementing a customer success management practice – right from day one. This includes high level advice like “spend the first 30 days on customer personas, customer data and segments” down to the nitty gritty components of a successful strategy.

3. How we went from 10 to 200 paying customers in less than 6 months

Maxime Berthelot, PixelMe

“NPS will help you gather feedback and face reality. It can be a bit hard sometimes, but remember — you’re making a product for your customers, not for you!”

What I had to say:

Maxime and his Co-Founder Tom Benattar have been sharing their experience of bootstrapping PixelMe from the very beginning. This update is packed full of metrics, discoveries and some surprises that will no-doubt be useful to anyone at the very early stages of building a SaaS business.

4. 9 Ways to Make Your SaaS Customers Hate You, Ranked

Amy Hoy, Stacking The Bricks

“Poorly thought-out price increases are actually much worse than accidental overcharging because it’s a willful act and violates the trust in the relationship. Raising your price isn’t bad. Doing it badly is bad.”

What I had to say:

This is a great piece! Amy goes far deeper than your average list post. It’s also clear that her considerable experience mopping up issues in SaaS support have given her a highly-trained sense of customer hate. I don’t want to spoil the ranking here, but make sure you read into the reasoning too.

5. How to build a growth team – lessons from Uber, Hubspot, and others (50 slides)

Andrew Chen, Andreessen Horowitz

“Unfortunately, this is how products are often shipped and released. You have someone with a vision, who builds some features and does a launch. They might get an initial spike of traction, but when growth flattens, it’s not clear where to take things. They talk to some customers, ask what they want, and try again. They add a few more features, re-launch, and so the cycle goes on.”

What I had to say:

The term “growth” in SaaS has become somewhat tangled with the concept of growth hacking and the numerous various that it brings. But a growth team, as Andrew explains, is not simply a team of growth hackers.

The best of the rest

  1. What to do when your customers ask for a discount (and why you shouldn’t give them one) — Steli Efti,
  2. You’re all calculating churn rates wrong — CatchJS
  3. 25 Companies Show You Their Best SaaS Pricing Models As Examples — Upscope
  4. The Unspoken Impact of Pricing Changes — Kyle Poyar, OpenView Labs
  5. How to Effectively Test Your Pricing — Steven Forth, OpenView Labs
  6. Is It Time to Rethink Freemium? — Matt Tharp, Blissfully (publishedby Appcues)
  7. C.A.R.E. – a simple customer onboarding framework — Ruairí Galavan, Intercom
  8. Xero’s Growth Strategy — How they acquired 350k SaaS users in the last 12 months — Duncan Jones, Marketing & Growth Hacking
  9. Zendesk Onboarding Email Breakdown — Steph Knapp
  10. Pricing Lessons from Working with 30+ Seed and Series A B2B Startups — First Round Review interviewing Tyler Gaffney
  11. How to Correctly Calculate your SaaS Gross Margin — Ben Murray,
  12. Is your churn problem actually an onboarding problem? — Claudiu Murariu, InnerTrends
  13. 6 key lessons on how B2B SaaS startups can succeed in hyper-competitive markets — Steli Efti,
  14. Anatomy of a Price Increase: A Nutshell Oral History — Ben Goldstein, Nutshell
  15. How the subscription business model is changing — and why SaaS companies should change with it — Allan Wille, Klipfolio

Ed Shelley

Former Director of Content


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