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December 21, 2018

Our Top 10 Takeaways From SaaS North 2018

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SaaS North is one of Canada’s top tech conferences. We were thrilled to be part of the action, both as attendees and as a key sponsor of the event. While SaaS North is simply too big with too much going on for us to catch it all, each member of our team walked away with some important learnings from the event.

Here are our top 10 takeaways from Saas North 2018, as presented by our team members in attendance:

1. Company Culture is King

My biggest takeaway was what Michael Litt had to say about the culture of your company. As Michael puts it:

“...culture is far too important to be left to take care of itself. It’s the thing that separates you from your competitors. It’s the thing that motivates people to come and work for you—and work hard. Ultimately, when all the stars align, culture is what drives innovation and contributes most to your bottom line. Doesn’t it deserve a little analytical thinking?”

At SaaS North, he also stressed that it’s not about dreaming up a business culture and handing it down from on high. The culture of your company needs to have everyone’s handprints on it. He referred to it as “signing a long scroll;” if you agree with it, sign it, otherwise let’s amend it.

- Kelso Kennedy, CEO and Co-Founder

2. Cloud Technology is Booming

I had two great, eye-opening moments at SaaS North this year. One was during a presentation by Leo Lax, Founder and Executive Managing Director at L-SPARK, where he talked about the growth of cloud technology in 2019—it’s expected to double, becoming an 8.4-billion dollar industry, and a driving force in the Canadian economy.

Think about that—this industry isn’t just growing, it’s exploding. It’s a really exciting time to be a part of the tech scene, and it’s only going to get better from here!

- Spencer Ririe, CCO and Co-Founder

3. The Canadian SaaS Scene is Special

My biggest takeaway wasn’t a single moment, or a quote, or anything like that. It was the overall realization of how powerful and helpful the Canadian SaaS scene is. It's an amazing community, and we're all focused on helping each other grow and growing the Canadian presence worldwide. It’s a really awesome thing to be a part of!

- Kasey Bayne, Chief Marketing Officer

4. The Importance of Culture in Scaling Up

I absolutely loved what David Ossip, CEO of Ceridian, had to say about scaling up. He stressed the importance of making your brand promise the basis of your culture, and then letting that culture lead you. He said, “you can never scale anything with a bunch of mavericks,” and I believe him. If your whole team isn’t on the same page, it’ll all start to fall apart eventually.

I was also struck by Michael Litt’s thoughts on the importance of retaining company culture as a business scales up. Our team is rapidly growing at Redstamp, and his thoughts about using vision, mission, and values statements to define your culture really struck home!

- Danny Norton, Director of Service Delivery

5. Happy Customers Make Great Advocates

For me, the most memorable moment at SaaS North came during a presentation from Mark Organ, the CEO of Influentive. He talked about the importance of turning customers into advocates, and how one client managed to sell a whole year’s worth of software in just one day by pairing these advocates with prospective clients at an appreciation event.

It really drove home the importance of word-of-mouth marketing, and it just reminded me how important it is to focus on delighting the end user at all times. You’re not just solving their problems and making them happy, you’re creating the most important piece of your growth marketing strategy—influential testimonials.

- Hannah Milner, Senior Designer

6. Worry About the Quiet Customers

During a presentation by Sabrina Leblanc of SurveyMonkey, she talked about how much time and energy companies spend engaging with the vocal minority of customers. But it’s the quiet ones you really need to worry about—quiet customers are the ones who aren’t engaged with your business, and they’ll drift away if you don’t forge that connection. Check in with the customers you haven’t heard from, and create a one-to-one relationship that will build loyalty to your brand.

- Sydney Van Alstyne, Redstamp Marketing Manager

7. Service as a Software

I loved a point made by Anusha Srijeyanathan from Benevity about flipping the whole SaaS thing on its head and finding opportunities to offer service as a software. For example, Uber, Lyft, and various food-delivery apps all use their software to offer services to the consumer. What other services out there are ready to get their own apps? It really makes you excited to start brainstorming.

- Spencer Ririe, Redstamp’s CTO and Co-Founder

8. The Power of the Tribe

One of the many great points made by Mark Organ was about the power of insider groups, and the influence of Social Capital. He talked about building up your “tribe” by offering awards to clients, turning users into heroes, and growing a socially connected community around your brand. If you’re inspiring your audience to talk to one another about your products, you’re turning clients into advocates, and that’s doing it right.

- Sydney Van Alstyne, Redstamp Marketing Manager

9. Scaling Your Customer Revenue Stream

James Thomas, CMO at Solium made an interesting point about thinking of your revenue stream as compensation for customer success. That is, the happier you’re making your customers, the more revenue you’re going to bring in. It’s a different way of evaluating your revenue stream—that’s not just money coming in, it’s also an indication of how much your audience appreciates you. Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of that.

- Danny Norton, Director of Service Delivery

10. The Customer-Powered Enterprise

I loved what Mark Organ said about creating insider groups to generate more referrals and help grow your business. His quote about creating a “customer-powered enterprise” really resonated with me. We’re always putting our customers first at Redstamp, but thinking of our company as being powered by the customer is such a great way to frame it.

- Kasey Bayne, Chief Marketing Officer


And there you have them: our Top 10 takeaways from SaaS North 2018!



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