Most engagements begin with a board or CxO stating a broad perceived problem such as “marketing is poor”, “sales can’t close” or “they are spending too much.” Through a high level diagnostic, the problem statement is narrowed to an actionable plan.
Uncovering Root Cause Board/CxO Friction Avoids Unnecessary Turnover
A new investment was missing key growth targets according to the deal thesis. It was not clear if there was an execution issue, a market issue, or product problem. The discovery phase of the engagement yielded a vastly different understanding of how the business operated compared with investor’s deal thesis. By working with the CxO team, we coached the team to develop a model for operations that provided transparency to the company and gave the investment team confidence in the go forward plan despite short term bumps in the revenue plan. Trust was rebuilt and the possibility of unnecessary CxO turnover reduced.
Segmenting the Product Portfolio by Brand Type Avoids Acquisition Destruction
The platform company had embarked on a series of acquisitions with little post acquisition integration. There was intense disagreement on the management team around the proper way to integrate the acquisitions. Some members were applying the Cisco strategy of near complete integration while others believed in letting them exist on their own. Through an acquisition diagnostic, we uncovered that a one size fits all integration would likely fail. Some products had significant brand equity, domain strength, and operational issues with SaaS engineering that would make a classic integration fail. In addition, the proposed organization structure risked a loss of industry expertise across the diverse domains. The team ultimately developed a menu approach for integrations which preserved and ultimately multiplied the value of the acquired assets.
Due Diligence for PE Acquisition Sets the Value Right
Growth assumptions for valuations are very often optimistic. A PE firm was looking at acquiring a high growth, SaaS company with stellar NPS, retention and ARR growth. However, closer examination of web site traffic data from third party marketing tools did not support that thesis. Upon reverse engineering the traffic to cash funnel combined with some highly targeted questions on conversion rates, it was discovered that most of the growth was actually coming from a few accounts through expansion. The valuation was subsequently reduced and the deal completed.
Finding the Real Cause of Freemium Model Slow Down
An SMB/consumer SaaS company was experiencing a slow down in new user acquisition after shifting the paywall in their freemium model. The management team believed the issue was driven by a slow down in new user acquisition driven by ineffective marketing programs. Using the PLG diagnostic model, it was uncovered that the paywall change, while increasing short term revenue, had deeply impacted new user acquisition. While short term pay wall changes improved revenue, longer term freemium trends pointed towards a slowdown in revenue. The company ultimately chose to maintain the paywall location.
Product Marketing and Story Telling
Story telling is the foundation for all GTM activities. New market intelligence, customer feedback and product launches all provide course corrections to the story.
Simplified and Quick Positioning Gets the Early Stage Company on the Right Track
Product positioning can be a massive, multi week project. For smaller teams with more limited budgets, a smaller group of decision makers, and at an earlier stage in the product lifecycle, these types of projects are overkill.
An early stage company needed initial product positioning to shit from a feature/function description to a more comprehensive and understandable positioning. Using remote interviews with customers, internal team members, a v2.0 positioning framework was delivered in three weeks.
Implementing a Milestone Based Product Launch Process Reduces Meetings and Friction by 80%
A security software company was having difficulty launching products. Using a date centric approach, the engineering team was typically late in delivering the bits, jamming the marketing team with too little time to effectively position, train, and launch the product. In addition, newer products in the portfolio were SaaS with continuous delivery exasperating the problem.
Through discovery and workshops, we delivered a milestone based approach that reduced friction and meetings by almost 80%. The need for dedicated project manager was eliminated, and the marketing team had sufficient time to properly develop the stories and plans to make launches successful.
Most CROs excel in the art of selling through extensive pattern recognition of completed deals. Augmenting their art of selling with the science/logistics/metrics of selling is a powerful combination.
Adding Enterprise and Other Channels To Drive More Revenue
In two different engagements, the theme was the same. The organizations had started with either inbound or outbound and they want to add the opposite motion. Adding a new sales motion to a company can be extremely challenging due to compensation structure, systems, marketing motion, sales organization, and a general lack of patience. Working with sales and marketing leadership we designed the new process flows and the organization structure and compensation. Marketing created an outbound support team while sales added outbound BDRs focused with the right compensation structure to drive results.
BDR Program Nets $50M in Pipeline
BDR programs are many times started, stopped, and revised way too frequently. The constant churn stems from a lack of goals which ultimately cause mission drift and a lack of ROI for the investment. In one project, an infrastructure software company with 50 BDRs was about to dismantle the program due to a perceived lack of ROI. By reaffirming the teams original goals, putting in place metrics that tracked success, jettisoning extraneous tasks the team had been assigned, and aligning the CEO, CFO and CRO to the model, the team was left in place. Over the following year, the team was credited with generating about $30M in pipeline.
Open Source Commercialization Strategy
The open source infrastructure software company had multiple projects that required commercialization. To accelerate the process, an extensive commercialization checklist was implemented covering pricing, packaging, CRM systems design, nurturing, promotion, and website design. The commercialization process was accomplished in months with initial revenue occurring within six months.
Unfortunately, organizations sometimes get ahead of the revenue curve and have to cut back. Or, worse, organizations build an unscalable cost model rooted in poor organizational design.
Right Sizing Marketing Reduces Costs by 40%
The SaaS infrastructure company was spending over $3.0 on sales and marketing expenses for every dollar in ARR brought in. The substantial inefficiency was based in part on a marketing process that required too many people to get any amount of work completed. Between vague job scopes, too many management layers, and a lack of budget controls, spending was excessive. Recognizing that simply cutting across the board would not not solve the issue, the entire marketing org was rebuilt by aligning people to products and revenue goals, a small shared services team, and the shifting of budget to the teams responsible for revenue generation. Through this process, total marketing costs were reduced by about 40% while not reducing revenue output.
Budget Optimization and Tracking Shifts Spending by 50% to Revenue Programs
Marketing budget management is key to driving results. The marketing budget is the most complex budget in the go-to-market organization. CxOs need to understand spending by product, overhead vs. revenue spending, spending by region, and spending by tactic type. The finance accounting code view of marketing spend doesn’t match marketing’s requirements for purpose, program, product, and geography. In this project, we assisted a large SaaS tools company to first align the CMO and CFO on spending, second, implement a spend management process using Allocadia, and third use the reporting from Allocadia to dramatically refocus spending on revenue generation.