What CROs Prioritize to Scale Product-Led Growth
Categories: Scaling Sales
Product-led growth (PLG) can propel emerging portfolio companies forward. The right PLG approach enables companies to scale success and significantly reduce time to realization. It's important to understand what successful CROs do to achieve these critical company outcomes. While every organization is different, there are often complex challenges that can arise as companies work to scale product-led growth. John Kaplan discussed PLG opportunities and challenges with Segment’s Former Chief Revenue Officer Joe Morrissey.
For background, Segment enables customer-focused growth with good data by giving their customers a single API to collect, clean, activate and orchestrate all of their customer data. In late 2020 Segment was acquired by industry leader Twilio for $3.2 billion, adding intelligence to Twilio’s digital engagement channels, which currently power one trillion interactions per year.
During their discussion, Morrissey highlights what CROs can prioritize to enable their sales organizations to scale revenue and growth. Your portfolio company partners may find value in how Segment’s leaders enabled the entire customer-facing organization to contribute to driving sales transformation.
A CRO's Immediate Focus and Priorities
A CRO’s first 90 days in their position and/or in a new organization, is a critical moment in time. Morrissey used that time to strategically define and align behind his Priority-1 initiative to equip his organization to scale revenue growth. He spent upwards of 50 hours holding interviews with stakeholders across the business, from the C-suite leaders to front-line salespeople and supporting cross-functional departments. These conversations helped Segment identify critical sales execution needs, challenges and opportunities, and prioritize how best to solve them.
Doing this due diligence enabled Segment's leaders to determine the most impactful sales challenges to solve in order to drive revenue success. Additionally, the research gave Morrissey clarity, as a sales leader, on how to launch a successful sales transformation initiative at Segment. Using the research, Morrissey focused on building consensus within Segment’s leadership team around how to launch a strategic initiative in the most impactful way.
From there, Segment's leaders prioritized clear opportunities to improve revenue retention and efficiency across the entire customer-facing organization, not just the sales team. If your portfolio companies are working to scale PLG success while reducing company-wide inefficiencies, ensure they do their due diligence in a similar fashion.
Advice for CROs
Morrissey shared his advice for CROs and portfolio companies working to scale PLG success. He shares, “The environment that we find ourselves in today, isn’t just about product-led growth. At some stage, every company is going to prove the value they’re delivering to customers. My advice for technical founders, don’t wait until it's too late to start building your go-to-market muscles. Invest in it as early as you possibly can because it will pay off immensely down the line.”
Segment’s leaders focused on supporting their go-to-market (GTM) approach with a value-based sales motion. They knew improving buyer alignment and operationalizing it in a way that’s consumable to customer-facing teams would be critical to increasing retention revenues and reducing company inefficiencies. Segment launched a transformation initiative to enable the entire customer-facing organization to improve alignment with their buyer, set clearer expectations and drive long-term customer usage.
As you know, the earlier your portfolio company partners can define what challenges to course-correct, the sooner they’ll be able to launch the plan to make it happen and accelerate results, like Segment did. If your portfolio company partners are prioritizing their organization’s biggest GTM challenges to solve, have them take this Rapid Sales Assessment. The customized report they’ll receive after taking the assessment is designed to quickly help leaders define their best opportunity to accelerate revenue numbers.
How CRO’s Can Ensure Board Buy-In
After defining the right initiative, Morrissey focused on making the transformation a top company priority. “Whatever you choose to do as a CRO to drive transformation, you’ve got to be 100% bought into that,” says Morrissey. “The entire organization has to know, very clearly, that this is the priority.”
Knowing the level of backing and support this transformation initiative would need to be a success, Morrissey started to garner buy-in from C-suite leaders and Segment’s Board. He knew he would need to capture board buy-in early on to get the commitment and resources needed to successfully drive company-wide transformation. Morrissey shares, “If you’re going to make a big bet on a transformation like this, why wouldn’t you want to ensure that every one of your board members is bought in and behind what you’re doing? As a C-level executive, you need to have confidence and credibility with the board. It just makes sense to get them bought into what your big bets are.”
To capture this support, Morrissey worked with Segment’s board and partnered with Force Management. In the video below, he takes a deep dive into the process he used and shares his advice for other CROs.
Getting early support from the board for a strategic transformation initiative helped Segment launch an initiative that drove measurable results and company-wide impacts. Bring your portfolio company partners and their CROs up to speed on the benefits of early board approval and support. Here is an article worth sharing.
Help CROs Make an Immediate Impact on Revenue Growth
Share Segment’s story with your portfolio company’s leaders to help them make an immediate impact on revenue and growth. The approach Segment used to drive a 150% increase in annual recurring revenue (ARR) over a two-year period and successfully scale the business, is replicable if your leaders take the right steps.