Software Tools Used to Build a $100M Business

When talking to other business owners, I often like to find out what tools they rely on to grow and build their businesses. At QGenda, our company is made up of 5 main departments, which include: Engineers, Sales, Accounting, Software Development, and Human Resources. We are fortunate to be growing fast as the physician scheduling market leader, and use a wide array of software tools in order to maintain our high customer retention rate while staying ahead of the competition. Below is a description of each department and the tools we are using to build a $100M business.

Engineers – This is our largest team and will have 55+ people by July. They are responsible for new customer implementations, existing customer retention, product feature testing, and amazing customer service. (Zoho CRM,, Trello, RingCentral)

Sales – Our sales team is made up of BDRs, Account Executives, Marketing, and Management. The team is growing fast and will have 35+ people by July. (Zoho CRM,, Yesware, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, EchoSign)

Accounting – The accounting team is responsible for all QGenda finances including accounts payable, revenue recognition, and account receivable. (Zoho CRM, Intacct Accounting Software)

Software Development – The dev team currently has 6 people and has plans to double by end of summer. They are fully responsible for all new product development. (BitBucket Repository, Jira, Browser Stack, Hip Chat, Mercurial, Balsamiq Mock Ups, Visual Studio, SendGrid, Amazon Web Services)

Human Resources – In addition to hiring 40+ new employees, the HR department handles all internal matters related to a fast growing software company. (The Resumator, Skype for Interviews, Zenefits, Concur Travel Management)

Many entrepreneurs feel they have to buy the latest & greatest most expensive tools to be successful, but in reality, the best businesses form a solid foundation with an amazing culture, product, and customer base long before the need for many of these tools.

What software tools do you use everyday?

4 Easy and Inexpensive Ways to Improve Company Culture

As a fast growing healthcare startup, we are always looking for ways to expand our amazing culture and continue providing the best place to work. A company’s culture is not something that is completely controllable, but it is something that can easily be influenced a number of ways. Every startup, no matter the size, can easily afford the following inexpensive ways to influence the company culture:

  • Weekly Wins is an email sent out on Fridays (typically by the same person each week) with single line highlights of team member accomplishments such as: Bob crushed a huge implementation, or Susan hit her monthly sales quota in 3 days. A fun twist to also include a funny weekly flop at the end of the email such as: Mike ran straight into a door spilling coffee all over himself. The person behind the weekly wins email usually sends an email around on Thursday asking for team input for weekly wins.
  • Weekly catered pizza is a very inexpensive way to bring the entire team together while enjoying a free meal compliments of the company. Eating together as a team is one of the most social parts of human culture and fits well into any company culture.
  • Provide annual Costco memberships to all employees. The membership is a nominal $50 per year, but so many employees appreciate this small gesture.
  • Monthly car washes paid for by the company for all employees. We are lucky enough to have a car wash person onsite at our building, but there are plenty of car wash businesses that will travel to you. The car wash is around $20 per car and is something every employee really appreciates.

I am sure there are hundreds of simple inexpensive ways to help improve culture around the office, but the above methods have worked well for QGenda.

What are some of the ways you help influence company culture where you work?


Sales Metrics 6 Months Into Building a Sales Team Machine

Back in January after finishing up an amazing 2012, we decided to add fuel to the fire at QGenda by investing heavily into creating a repeatable sales process. In 2012 with only a few sales team members, we performed around 250 product demonstrations with a 41% close ratio yielding us 104 new customers without having a true sales process in place.

Since January we have grown the sales team at QGenda from a 2 people to currently having 14 rock-stars filling the roles of VP of Sales, Director of Sales, Account Executives, and Business Development Reps. We are excited about QGenda’s move into a new larger office in Atlanta’s Buckhead Tech Corridor where we plan on doubling the size of our sales team over the next year.

Here are some staggering growth metrics after just 6 months of sales efforts:

  • 399 demos performed
  • 28% closing ratio with 110 new customers
  • 1800+ prospect touches (emails/cold-calls) per week
  • 2.2% of prospect touches schedule a product demo

It’s an exciting time to be part of the QGenda sales team, and as we go through the rest of the year gathering more metrics about our sales team machine we will continue to tweak & refine the repeatable sales process.

What other sales metrics are important for a SaaS company to track throughout the year?

Twitter: @Benoit_Greg

Basic Guidelines for Hiring Innovative Talent

Hiring new innovative rock-star talent with a self-starter personality is something we constantly think about every day at QGenda in order to provide the best customer experience during high growth. Although now with 30+ employees I’m a bit removed from the hiring process, but it was not that long ago when I personally interviewed each and every candidate along the way.

Here are some hiring tips we use at QGenda:

  • Attract candidates by asking fellow employees to recommend people they know, attend college career fairs, and post job listings on linkedin.
  • After casting a wide net and gathering hundreds of resumes, filter them down by looking for certain key indicators about their technology prowess. For example, are they using a modern tech savvy email interface like GMail or are they still sporting a comcast or bellsouth email address.
  • Once the candidate passes the key indicator filter, a quick 10 to 15 minute phone interview can tell you a lot about a person. We like to break the ice with one of the most important questions during a phone interview by asking “Tell us something/anything about yourself that is NOT on your resume.”
  • If the candidate passes the phone interview, the next step is to bring them in for an in-person interview where they will take a tour of the office, meet as many existing employees as possible for a corporate culture fit, take a written test with subjective & logic portions, and lastly work with 3 others to solve logic problems on a white-board.

The process above ultimately helps us hire candidates that are motivated to do whatever it takes to succeed, make unequivocal eye contact, and speak logically with conviction. Hiring new employees is one of the most exciting parts about growing a business and is far from a science, but using some basic guidelines can help streamline the process.

What are some other key indicators or guidelines you use when hiring new employees?


Twitter: @Benoit_Greg

Negotiating Office Space in Atlanta’s Buckhead Tech Corridor

We recently signed a 10,000 sq ft lease with a pre-negotiated expansion option of 6,000 additional feet and look forward to relocating the QGenda headquarters to the 11th floor of Tower Place 100 in the Buckhead Tech Corridor. At QGenda, due to our rapid growth, we have consistently outgrown office space over the years, and today we have 30+ employees spread across multiple floors for a total of around 4500 sq feet.

Here are some key factors to consider when looking for an office space:

  • Parking space allotment is always a ratio in the form of X # of spaces per 1,000 sq feet. You want to make sure you always get a minimum of 4 per 1,000. During our search there was a penthouse office space we really liked, but the ratio was 2.6 per 1,000 so we had to eliminate it from consideration.
  • Negotiate free rent inside the term of your lease. Most landlords will try to give you free rent outside the term of your lease by saying it’s a 5 year term with 10 months free rent making it a total of 70 months. It is much more preferred to be a 5 year deal with 10 months free inside the term of 60 months.
  • Pre-negotiate adjacent expansion options before signing the lease to prevent the landlord from taking advantage of your growing needs by knowing the best space in the entire city for your business to expand into is the adjacent space right next door.
  • Tenant Improvement (TI) allowance should be an average of $4 per sq ft per term year. You should have the option to use part of the TI towards moving/cabling.
  • Avoid signing a personal guarantee.
  • It doesn’t hurt to ask for free parking. However, if the building is well occupied it is highly unlikely you will receive a deal on parking fees, but they typically will make up for it in free rent or some other way.
  • Expect an annual rent escalation of 3% each year, but have it begin in month 25.

Finding the perfect office space for any business is fun, time consuming, tedious, and definitely requires the help of a professional commercial office broker. If you have 10 or less employees, then on-demand office space at the Atlanta Tech Village would likely be the best solution.

What other key points have you negotiated in your own office space lease(s)?

Twitter: @Benoit_Greg

Maintaining Customer Retention During High Growth

When a fast growing company finds the best way to create a repeatable sales process for their product, it’s important for the customer success team to find the right balance between keeping existing customers 100% satisfied while also following through on new client implementations.

In our case at QGenda, we provide automated on-call physician scheduling software with unique complex business rules for each customer and below are some of the customer retention methods that work well for us:

  •  We are always ready to help an existing customer and everyone in the company (management, sales, engineers, and developers) make existing customers the highest priority.
  • Hire personable engineers (we look for industrial engineers with a strong academic record) from top schools like Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Purdue, and many other excellent Universities.
  • Each customer has a minimum of one dedicated engineer and one backup engineer who remain with that customer from implementation to go-live through their first year renewal as the main point of contact. Customers prefer this type of personal continuity and enjoy working with the same dedicated engineers each time they call with questions.
  • Quarterly customer check-ins by sales and engineering (have them switch off and rotate quarters) because sometimes the customer feels more comfortable telling a sales person their issues.
  • We are big believers in the saying “…teach a person to fish and they will eat for a lifetime”, but sometimes customers (despite having the ability themselves) would rather us do the fishing for them. So essentially that means we always go the extra distance to wow the customer by not only providing them great software (the “fishing rod”), but also offer to do their part and run the software for them at no additional cost (aka we fish for them).

These are just some of the many ways we strive to exceed customer expectations and be the best place to be a customer.

What are some additional thoughts and ideas on customer retention?

Twitter: @Benoit_Greg