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Role of a Private Equity Operating Partner

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Paul Stansik

SaaS Metrics & Benchmarks

Private Equity (PE) firms are becoming a larger part of the exit optionality for B2B SaaS Founders and CEOs. Over the past few years, PE firms have gone down the market to evaluate companies in the $5M - $20M ARR range which was traditionally the domain of Venture Capital.

In today's episode, we cover several aspects of being an Operating Partner at a Private Equity firm with Paul Stansik, Partner at ParkerGale Capital including:

  • The role of an Operating Partner at a PE firm

  • The evolution of an Operating Partner over the past five years

  • How to work with a PE Operating Partner as a GTM executive

  • The most concerning “metrics trends” over the last 12 months

  • What CEOs should expect from their VP of Sales

Paul started with the four primary roles of an operating partner in PE including: 

1) Keeper of the standards and having a strong view and sense of what "good" looks like. Documenting the processes and associated measurements that lead to the strongest performance across customer acquisition, retention, and expansion.

2) Being a strategic diplomat - nothing gets done unless there is an agreement in place as an operating partner does not "OWN" the process so they need to get the management team to a place of agreeing that something needs to be done and then agree to the "WHAT" of needs to be done.

3) Help to keep score - many founders may not have yet implemented a robust measurement system across the GTM motions. Establishing those measurements provides more insight and predictability of how success is being measured and reported. This includes metrics definitions, instrumentation, and reporting cadence.

4) Creating an environment and/or culture of the company that includes being supportive, yet demanding to ensure the investment is on track to provide the targeted return on investment.

What are the current SaaS metrics trends that are most concerning? Paul highlighted that "quota attainment" in the 30% - 50% range is extremely concerning. What makes this level of quota achievement acceptable and what to do about it? If you are a CRO knowing that a low percentage of new reps will make quota and not doing something about it is a real problem. Paul posted an article on LinkedIn on "Why Sales Sucks" and this is the primary theme of the article.

If you are working with or will be starting to work with an Operating Partner in a Private Equity firm this conversation is chalked full of great insights and ideas.

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