It’s vital we know how to balance scale. To move up to the next level of success, we must continue learning, adapting, and anticipating.
Change is the only constant in life and in startups. A good scale brings balance.
We learn at every stage of our growth that what worked in the past may not be applicable to where we are today or where we want to go. High-growth businesses are not advised to get too comfortable with the way they do things. To propel ourselves to the next stage of success, we must continue learning, adapting, and anticipating.
As the CMO for a company experiencing rapid growth over the past few years, I learned some things about how to continue to bring your A-game, despite the fact that revenue, team size, and expectations are increasing. These are the top pieces of advice that I can give to anyone who wants to scale their business.
1. It’s important to remember that the number one priority for hiring good people is finding them.
Without great people, it’s hard to grow your business. To successfully scale, you should have the mindset that hiring is your top priority across the company.
We expect everyone on our team to talk about the open hiring pipeline in team meetings. We also expect them to reach out to their networks to share open positions and help us grow.
2. Avoid ‘Gerber Pocket Tools’
Startups that have less than $20 million in annual revenue (ARR), tend to operate in beast mode. Most people do a little bit of everything. When you hire, you want Gerber Pocket Tools – people who are able to jump in and do many different jobs.
As you move beyond the initial all-hands-on deck stage, you’ll need to start creating teams with specialists.
The entire revenue team should agree on an operating model as soon as possible. It’s not a good idea for sales and marketing to create their own operating models. This will cause problems in alignment and can lead to you getting into trouble as you seek to scale.
The most embarrassing moment in my career was when I brought my own operating model to a board meeting and stood next to the CRO who had his. We looked like rookies. We looked like foolish rookies.
An earning operating model is a backward-looking approach to calculating pipeline quotas. Together, they can track their sales formula (win rate, average selling price, cycle times, and net retention). This shared model will enable your teams to collaborate to identify areas where they are doing well and areas that need improvement.
3. Create an efficient outbound movement.
Once you’ve reached a certain level, you must be able to capture the demand efficiently and effectively. You need to create a highly-effective outbound motion in order to achieve this.
There were many business development representatives (BDRs) who worked hard but got inconsistent results. After spending a day with them, I realized that they were wasting a lot of their time on accounts that weren’t ready for them.
Time is their most precious resource. You should make sure your BDRs are laser-focused on customer profiles and behavior-based signals at this stage of growth. Also, ensure that they have a process and rigor around these priorities to maximize their time.
4. Scale things bigger than yourself.
You are currently as big as you can handle. Yet growth requires you to think and act as if you’re the next-largest company.
You can’t think and act like a $20 million business if you don’t have the same mindset as a $100 million company. Think and act as if you are a $100 million company. This attitude will help you make big, impactful plays that help you stand apart and break through the noise.
5. Scale in the fun factor.
Startups in their early stages can survive on a shared passion and a little caffeine. As you grow, it is important to build and maintain culture. The fun factor is something you need to focus on.
I don’t mean the foosball table or the delicious snacks in the breakroom.
What I’m referring to is how much people enjoy the work they do, their coworkers, and the mission for which they are working. Does every all-hands meeting ask employees: “How many of the last 10 working days were enjoyable?”
Our goal is for eight of the 10 working days to be enjoyable. If someone isn’t enjoying their job, I want to know so I can make changes. It’s important to make sure that people have fun as it helps prevent burnout and churn. This is also helpful in keeping your team healthy during times of growth.
It’s exciting, invigorating, and sometimes scary to be part of a high-growth company.
You must also learn and grow as a person to reach the next stage of your company’s development. It’s dangerous to think that we know everything.
Scale for balance. Keep your eyes open. Think big…and get ready for a wild ride.