SalesTechStar Interview with Ryan Neu, co-founder and CEO at Vendr

Ryan Neu, co-founder and CEO at Vendr discusses how modern day sellers can build frictionless buying experiences that boost customer outcomes:



Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Ryan, tell us more about Vendr and what inspired the platform?

I’m a salesperson by trade and by heart. Over the course of the decade, I kept coming back to a nagging question: Why is it so hard to sell a great product? Nearly five years ago, I founded Vendr, a platform that removes friction from the process of buying and selling software.

Today, Vendr is one of the world’s largest software purchasers, and we have the deepest SaaS dataset in the world. We use that data to drive fair results. By providing visibility into unbiased SaaS data, we’re creating a fair sales environment, where buyers are guaranteed a fair price and in return sellers are closing more deals with high-intent buyers.

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How has the platform evolved over the years?

Vendr has gone through immense growth and evolution since its founding in 2018. In early 2022, Vendr acquired Blissfully – a startup that builds SaaS management tooling – to complete the SaaS buying cycle.  In June 2022, Vendr announced $150 million in Series B funding, which has accelerated platform development, helping organizations cut costs, manage their second-highest expense (software) and reduce risk in light of the economic downturn. Following funding, the company launched Vendr 2.0, equipping customers with unprecedented visibility into which software their teams are buying and using — all in one central location.

More recently, Vendr launched Explore, a dynamic catalog of the entire software ecosystem built to help companies make faster, more informed SaaS purchasing decisions – backed by rich data from having processed billions of dollars in spend across tens of thousands of transactions and thousands of suppliers. The tool gives teams access to real-time market insights that help them analyze what other companies are buying, break down compliance details, and uncover pricing trends so negotiations are fair for buyers and sellers alike.

Can you take us through some of the top challenges today’s modern day SaaS sellers face when trying to pitch their product and a few top of mind solutions you have in mind to address this?

Many of today’s sales teams are seeing sales cycles that are 60 days or longer and have an average close rate of only 20%. In some instances, the process of buying software can be longer and more complicated than buying a home, which simply doesn’t make sense.

Additionally, it’s estimated that only 3% of buyers truly trust the salespeople they’re working with (for reference, this number is just a hair above lobbyists and politicians). In today’s economic climate, buyers are more wary than ever when it comes to making big purchases. When buyers approach a sales conversation, it all too often starts with distrust – surrounding a lack of understanding whether a product is the right fit, if they’re getting a fair price, etc. This is why providing comprehensive data is important.

Providing buyers with the data necessary to understand the software marketplace – and to do so as it relates to their industry – is enabling more fair and streamlined sales processes. In the end, a winning sales pitch comes down to trust and transparency.

What are the often-missed factors that drive purchase decisions in the B2B tech market (besides the usual factors) that sellers know about, that you feel is important for B2B sales teams to pay attention to?

In today’s macroeconomic climate there are plenty of factors that could contribute to purchase decisions in the B2B tech market. Lack of communication and misalignment between decision makers throughout the software procurement process can often lead to a halt in purchase; it can be challenging to determine which tools are mission critical vs. ‘nice-to-haves’ and to get key stakeholders on board accordingly. Timing can also be everything: overruns on procurement processes have significant direct and collateral costs. They can also put teams between a rock and a hard place, forcing uninformed decisions to be made simply because someone is up against a deadline.

As budgets are increasingly being put under a microscope, removing friction from the sales process becomes even more critical. Historically, buyers lack the data they need to understand if they’re getting the right tool at a fair price, and sellers waste cycles with uninformed buyers –– spending countless hours going back-and-forth on negotiation, contract red-lining, and the like.

These pain points can be major deterrents when it comes to making a final purchase decision.

Vendr is on mission to create a transparent and frictionless buying and selling experience, alleviating the friction that is all too often part of the sales process. The result is winning outcomes for both sides—fair pricing, faster purchase cycles, and fewer wasted resources.

How can B2B sales teams today create better buying influences for their products without sounding too salesy?   

At the end of the day, the winning sales formula is simple: trust, fairness, and speed. The future of sales is fast, fair, and powered by trust and data. Through access to unbiased data, Vendr is working to create a clear path for buyers and sellers.

Can you highlight more about the future of B2B SaaS Sales and salestech and how you feel this market is set to look like over the next few years?

The future of SaaS sales and sales tech should look like this: frictionless procurement processes and a level playing field for sales teams and buyers alike. Vendr is working to make that happen. With our recent launch of Explore, the future of SaaS sales is becoming more transparent, giving a new alternative to traditionally opaque SaaS pricing and process, and providing buyers with dynamic data upfront, vs. the dreaded “contact sales” button. By streamlining the sales process, buyers will be able to purchase with confidence –– know that they’re investing in the right SaaS solution for their team and ensure they’ve gotten a fair price, benchmarked against similar purchases. This is the future of SaaS sales.

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Vendr is changing how companies find, buy and manage SaaS. The first of its kind, Vendr’s SaaS buying platform offers both a product and people-powered service to enable the world’s fastest-growing companies to purchase software quickly and with guaranteed savings. Today, Vendr has facilitated billions in SaaS purchases across thousands of suppliers for Finance and Procurement teams at HubSpot, Brex, Canva, Toast, and more. Headquartered in Boston with a second location in Charleston, Vendr was founded in 2019 by Ryan Neu and co-founders Ariel Diaz and Aaron White, who joined the team through the acquisition of Blissfully in 2022.

Ryan Neu leads a 350+ person team building the buy button for SaaS. Before founding Vendr, Ryan was a B2B SaaS sales leader at both InVision and HubSpot. With long sales cycles and low close rates — Ryan never understood why it was so hard to sell a great product. Ryan has always been a software salesperson, stuck in the shoes of an accountant. After three years at KPMG, he decided to pursue his true passion: software sales. He received his M.S. in Accounting from Boston College and his B.S. in Accounting from College of Charleston.

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