PEI Awards 2023: Vista Equity Partners Voted 2023 Global Technology Private Equity Firm of the Year. More Here

Insights / Key Takeaways From Vista’s 2024 CEO Summit: Maintaining Your Competitive Advantage as a Software CEO

Key Takeaways From Vista’s 2024 CEO Summit: Maintaining Your Competitive Advantage as a Software CEO

Enterprise software CEOs share a responsibility and opportunity to continually enhance and improve their businesses, to deliver the best products and ultimately execute to delight the customers they serve.

We believe connecting CEOs and executives from across our companies and providing access to peers who have solved the same challenges are some of the greatest advantages we offer as an investor. That’s why we gather our CEOs regularly to build relationships, share best practices and discuss solutions to their pressing challenges. Our most recent gathering was during Vista’s annual CEO Summit.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the 60+ CEOs who attended the 2024 CEO Summit.

Manage the Performance of Your ELT

In today’s environment, we believe CEOs need Executive Leadership Teams (ELTs) that can drive results and align on priorities amid disruption. But unclear goals, mismatched skills and lack of focus can undermine ELT success.

How to Win: Software CEOs must empower their ELTs through clarity of purpose, objective assessments, data-driven insights and relentless prioritization. With aligned goals, accountable leadership and focused execution, ELTs can drive the agility, innovation and results needed to compete in today’s environment. This requires CEOs to actively set the direction and reinforce priorities while equipping leaders and tracking progress. The ELT is central to execution, so improving its effectiveness is crucial.

Drive Value and Maintain Relationships With Existing Customers

We believe recurring revenue is the heartbeat of the enterprise software organization. Yet, executive changeover at many customer organizations can be a real challenge. How can sales teams engage new executives and help them understand the value of the software they’re using? And more importantly, how can sellers help their customers communicate that value throughout their organization to drive contract renewals?

How to Win: Executive sponsorship and outreach are critical. During the quarterly business review process, complete customer health checks to understand the emotional sentiment of your customers as well as the data. CEOs should also consider aligning their go-to-market motion around customer value. Additionally, specialized teams focused on key motions with targeted incentives can drive great results. Rigorous data analytics is key to monitoring renewals and expanding within their existing customer base.

Create Cohesion in Today’s Teams

Employee engagement is critical for software companies to retain top talent, drive innovation, enhance productivity, reduce turnover and boost company reputation. However, factors like remote and hybrid work, generational attitude shifts and increased social anxiety can make engagement difficult. CEOs can play a crucial role in fostering engagement amid these headwinds.

How to Win: Software CEOs need to prioritize frequent and transparent communication, align employee purpose with company mission, recognize great work, equip teams with collaboration tools and promote work-life balance. This multi-pronged approach can strengthen engagement, enhance retention and productivity, and better position companies to compete. CEOs play an indispensable role in shaping company culture and demonstrating that employees are valued partners in driving organizational success.

Harness the Opportunities of Artificial Intelligence

We believe it is a great time to be in enterprise software given the exciting opportunities with artificial intelligence (AI). That said, CEOs should promote organizational adoption, set realistic revenue expectations, build internal skills, address ethics/biases, monitor regulations and keep customer outcomes as the top priority.

How to Win: CEOs need pragmatic roadmaps focused on high-impact AI product use cases, along with the flexibility to adapt to this rapidly evolving space. Focus AI efforts on enhancing products and customer value. Start small with high-impact AI initiatives that solve real problems. Empower teams through training and incentives like contests to spur AI creativity and adoption. As the CEO, you should take an active role in the adoption of AI – but above all, keep AI focused on delivering better customer outcomes.

For over two decades, Vista has helped enterprise software companies prioritize the value creation strategies that enable growth and success. To learn more, click here.

Sign Up for Insights