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Samir Smajic of GetAccept: “Build a great product which solves a real problem”

Build a great product which solves a real problem. I think it is easier if it is a problem you have experienced yourself. For us it was to solve the broken sales process which we have been experiencing. As part of my series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Create a Successful […]

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Build a great product which solves a real problem. I think it is easier if it is a problem you have experienced yourself. For us it was to solve the broken sales process which we have been experiencing.


As part of my series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Create a Successful App or SaaS”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Samir Smajic.

Samir is an entrepreneur, founder and CEO for the global SaaS company GetAccept, providing a sales engagement platform for sales to create a more personalized and engaging online sales experience, improving their hitrates.

Born and raised in the southern part of Sweden, Samir grew up with the idea of always wanting to drive change and feeling limited when he couldn’t do so at a high pace.

He started his career within tech, as the first Head of Product at a CRM company called Lime Technologies and led the transformation from developing an on premise CRM platform to launching the company’s first SaaS solution increasing the number of installments by 10x within less than three years.

Samir has passion and ambition for building world-class software products. Back in 2015 he saw a digital sales shift and change in buyer behavior and made a bold prediction that B2B sales would move online, which made him leave his permanent employment to start his first company. GetAccept was accepted into the Y-Combinator program, one of the world’s best business accelerators for startups, to develop its unique business idea further.

Together with his three co-founders, Samir went from idea to 1M dollars in ARR in less than two years. Today, GetAccept has a global presence in more than eight countries and customers in more than 40 countries. The company has raised more than 30M dollars in venture capital from Tier 1 investors such as Bessemer Venture Partners and DN Capital

Samir holds a degree in Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University.


Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

Thanks! I started my career within tech, as the first Head of Product at a CRM company called Lime Technologies (market leader in the Nordics). I led the on-premise to SaaS transformation which resulted in a 10x increase in new customer cases within 3 years.

I have a passion and ambition for world-class software products. Back in 2015 I saw a digital sales shift and change in buyer behavior, and I made a bold prediction that the whole B2B sales process would move online. I left my permanent employment to start my first venture GetAccept.

Together with 3 co-founders, we took it from an idea to 1 M dollars in ARR in less than 2 years, we got accepted to Y Combinator and today GetAccept has a global presence in more than 8 countries and customers in more than 40 countries. I have raised more than 30 M dollars in venture capital from Tier 1 investors such as Bessemer Venture Partners and DN Capital to be able to continue to scale this journey.

What was the “Aha Moment” that led you to think of the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?

Following B2B sales reps (and being a part of the sales process myself) for several years as a product manager at a CRM company gave me a lot of insights in B2B sales challenges and what made a difference in bad vs great sales reps. I saw that a lot of leads were lost, not to competitors but to bad processes. As B2B sales move online, it becomes increasingly difficult to navigate sales processes and to communicate effectively and engagingly, on a personal level. Buyers are bogged down by endless email threads, making it difficult for sales reps to build trust, engage buyers and understand the stakeholder structure. And often I saw that Valuable selling time was consumed by using multiple tools to find content, create proposals, amend contracts and collect signatures.

The whole process was broken and we wanted to solve this by building GetAccept — the all-in-one solution to sell online The one tool you need to be able to sell remotely and digitally, after you have a CRM.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

Nowadays many do say that we have been so lucky, and yes Í can agree. But at the same time, it feels that the harder we work, the harder we fight, the more luck we get. The early days were really tough and I remember that many people around me questioned if it was smart to leave a really good, and well paid job at the same moment as you have your second baby. And on top of that, move to a new country and one of the most expensive areas (Silicon Valley) with very low cash flow. “Luckily” we managed to deliver very well during Y Combinator and we used the Seed round to finance the growth and our living as we continued to expand the team. It was tough but we had a strong founding team with a team win attitude and that was the main reason for why “giving up” never was an option.

So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

I really think that the bigger you become the bigger problems you face. During the first years it was a lot of “doing everything” from product, to sales, to onboarding and support. The quick growth was hard to manage, as it is hard to find good employees, and miss-hires do cost a lot of time and money.

But through a very picky hiring process we have now built up a very strong team, from the ground up and I am super proud of the management team, where all team members do compliment each other. The early days success was based on a lot of experience and grit, today it is based on data and experienced team members who have seen the movie before and understand how to play this forward.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

In Sweden we do learn English from a very young age, but sometimes you just fall short. As a part of our success in the early days we did quite a lot of sales calls and one of my opening phrases was always “As you can hear, I am not a Native American”, thinking that my dialect revealed that American English wasn’t my mother tongue. But one day, one of the persons on the other side, questioned me, saying that Native American are the same as the North American Indigenous people (Indians). I was quite embarrassed that I have been saying that for 200+ sales calls but happy that he told me.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

We have always been trying to think “Crazy different” and as we got started this is a very good strategy. How can you stand out if you have no cash but a lot of creativity? As we attended our first event in San Francisco we understood that we couldn’t beat the other competitors when it came to marketing budget. But we knew that our creativity would beat anyone. So we dressed up in crazy suits, we served coffee in the very long entry line with GetAccept branded coffee mugs and we had a FBI negotiator in our booth which you could try to beat in negotiation. The result, we always had more people in our booth and we got tons of new leads.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

The thing that all of us real entrepreneurs miss out on is CELEBRATION. You have so high demands, when you reach goals there is always a new goal and you never take time to stop, look back on success and celebrate for a short while. A good tip is to align with setting goals, you also set celebration activity connected to reaching a goal. This gives a lot of energy to you as a founder, but also to everyone around you.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I would have to thank my co-founders. You seldom do that since you always strive for more but I will have to say that without them it would have been hard to get to where we are today.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Approximately how many users or subscribers does your app or software currently have? Can you share with our readers three of the main steps you’ve taken to build such a large community?

Today we have more than 30,000 users and 3,000 customers in more than 50 countries around the world.

Build a great product which solves a real problem. I think it is easier if it is a problem you have experienced yourself. For us it was to solve the broken sales process which we have been experiencing.

Surround yourself with creative, energetic people who have the same ambitions in the early days, and then find employees who have seen the movie before as you start growing.

Never delegate the vision to anyone else but you, as a founder, when you do, you lose the reins and that will result in chaos.

What is your monetization model? How do you monetize your community of users? Have you considered other monetization options? Why did you not use those?

Commonly within the SaaS industry we work with a subscription-based business model in which our customers pay a recurring monthly price for access to our product. We offer different packages depending on size of business, number of users and business needs. We also offer different add-ons like integrations to Enterprise CRMs, access to APIs to build customized solutions on top of the GetAccept platform. In addition, we offer different kinds of service packages to our customers.

Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful app or a SaaS? Please share a story or an example for each.

Build a great product which solves a real problem. I think it is easier if it is a problem you have experienced yourself. For us it was to solve the broken sales process which we have been experiencing.

Surround yourself with creative, energetic people who have the same ambitions in the early days, and then find employees who have seen the movie before as you start growing.

Listen to your users and make sure to get feedback regularly. Implement a solution for this early, NPS could be one good thing.

Create ambassadors, an ambassador will spread the word about you and your product and if every user becomes an ambassador, the rest will solve by itself.

Never delegate the vision to anyone else but you, as a founder, when you do, you lose the reins and that will result in chaos.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Tricky question. I was at an event where the founder of Charity water gave a presentation and I got very emotional. You often think that saving the world has to be that hard, but water is actually one of the most important parts of life and still more than 700 million people live without clean water. So, I would continue to support the mission to bring clean water to the world.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Samir Smajic

https://www.linkedin.com/in/samirsmajic/

And if you want to follow GetAccept we are very much present in the below channels:

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/getaccept/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/getaccept

Twitter: https://twitter.com/getaccept

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/getaccept/

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