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.

Check out the first post here. In today’s post, readers will be hearing from Greg Sands. Check out his post below.

Most companies have moments of crisis, even near-death experiences. This may come as a surprise to some, but Intacct was nearly one of them.

It was founded in 1999, recapitalized in 2007, and eventually was sold in August of 2017 as we've talked about in this previous post written by Kathy Lord.

I recently went back and looked at the archives of TechCrunch, and other than a simple financing announcement, Intacct appeared in TechCrunch exactly zero times. Instead of focusing on promotion and press, they focused on customer value; winning product awards. They focused on customer success, earning the highest customer satisfaction and net promoter score in the industry. It focused on building a great place to attract and retain a motivated workforce, earning Best Place to Work awards, Glass Door awards, and best CEO awards.

Intacct was built in Silicon Valley, it's a highly competitive environment, and it’s a story that had moments of challenge along the way. But that’s what makes the story a compelling one, and the success into Sage Intacct so much sweeter.

I participated in a panel with Kathy Lord at SaaStr and wanted to share a portion of the Q&A we did together below discussing this part of Sage Intacct’s story…

Greg: Kathy, how did you and the Sage Intacct team create and retain an inspired and success-oriented culture in the context of all of the froth and dynamism of Silicon Valley?

Kathy: Greg, that's a great question and I think one that should be the number one priority for any SaaS company.

It is never too early or too late to start defining and shaping your company culture. There's such a great TED Talk by Simon Sinek that talks about the golden circle and how you inspire people and how employees, customers, partners, really get behind what you're trying to do as an organization, and it's all about starting with why…Why are you here as a company? So that you can create an emotional connection with your employees, with your customers, with your partners.

Intacct had that early on. We weren't as articulate about it, what it was and how to share that with other folks, but as we worked through nailing that, it really came down to we're here to transform the way people think and work. And that applies to our employees. It applies to our customers certainly and the products we develop and deliver to help them drive their businesses forward. And it's the number one thing for our partners as well.

We'll start with the customers first: how can we help drive them to far greater levels of success than what the market has typically seen? If you think about what Intacct does in terms of cloud computing, accounting, financial management, ERP…the majority of those implementations, depending on what channels do you listen to, anywhere from 50 to 75 percent of those fail.

We ask how can we create a radically different experience for our customers and really transform the way they think and work relative to running the core financial system for their company?

That’s my advice to any company hoping to be successful: start with your company’s why as the foundation and your employees, customers and partners will align themselves to create a movement vs a just a company.