Kathy Lord, Senior Vice President of Sales and Customer Success, at Sage Intacct recently sat down with Greg Sands, Founding and Managing Director of Costanoa Ventures, and also a former board member of Intacct, to discuss Sage Intacct’s journey over the past decade. 

Kathy has been with Sage Intacct for over 11 years, and is participating in a four-part blog series with Greg discussing what it takes to build great SaaS companies, the early stages of Sage Intacct, what she would do differently, and knowing the exact signs that it’s time to scale your company.


I recently sat down with Greg Sands, Founding and Managing Director of Costanoa Ventures, and also a former board member of Intacct, to discuss Sage Intacct’s journey over the past decade. 

Over the next few weeks, I will be rolling out a four-part blog series with Greg discussing what it takes to build great SaaS companies, the early stages of Sage Intacct, what I would do differently, and how to know the exact signs that it’s time to scale your company.

Check out the first part of our conversation below…

Kathy Lord: Greg, thanks for being here with me today. Just to start, can you set the stage and share your thoughts on how the Intacct acquisition happened so successfully; and then, at an even higher level, advice you would give organizations that are hoping to have a IPO someday?

Greg Sands: It's wonderful to be here with you today, Kathy. You know, I once was fortunate to see 49er legend Steve Young get asked about his 6-touchdown victory in Superbowl XXIX in 1994 when he was Superbowl MVP. Steve said, "I can't even talk about it without going back to the beginning, back to starting my professional football career in the USFL." And that's the way I feel when people talk about exits in the venture capital business; including the $850 million sale of Intacct.

As an early stage investor, I like to talk about the inputs that allow companies to achieve great metrics and great outputs, because we know more revenue growth, higher EBITDA margins, lower turn, higher net retention, good LTV, capital efficient growth…those are all good things. The question is, how do you do it?

It starts out with leadership; with both founders and management teams. In the case of Intacct, it started out with critical building blocks like Kathy and Aaron Harris, and then adding Rob Reid as CEO and the rest of the management team.

It goes on to product value for customers and its differentiation from competitors, and building a product with exceptional customer value and uniqueness, that's true market fit. We look to people who are more focused on their customers than they are on competition, and people who are driving extreme value for customers, which was a core Intacct value throughout.

Growing sales and marketing really isn't cookie-cutter. There are a series of playbooks, but no one playbook is right for every company.

So building an efficient sales and marketing engine requires designing and testing and optimizing and tweaking constantly for your product: for your ideal customer profile; for the price-point of your product; for the sales channels that you're using.

And then you get to the question of, if you build a really good business, can you defend it? And that means building moats that come from proprietary data and proprietary data models. It means building platforms and ecosystems like Intacct has done with its open APIs and its channel partners.

And finally, it requires discipline execution. And that requires keeping all of the pieces of the business in alignment.

In the end, that's what leads to great metrics. When I think about Intacct and what we achieved together, those are the things that made the company exceptional.


My conversation with Greg continues in the second post of this blog series, and you’ll be hearing directly from Greg as well. Check back on April 30th to read the next part of our panel discussion!