Product-led Growth: What CROs Prioritize to Drive Critical Outcomes

Product-led Growth: What CROs Prioritize to Drive Critical Outcomes

Categories: Sales Leadership  |  Product-Led Growth

Product-led growth (PLG) can propel emerging portfolio companies forward. Some of these companies scale that success and significantly reduce time-to-realization, while others face complex sales execution challenges that they aren’t able to overcome. What do successful CROs prioritize to enable their sales organization to achieve critical company outcomes? 

Segment’s tremendous growth and acquisition by Twilio for $3.2 billion, is a notable example of what it takes from company leaders to successfully scale their business to the next level.

While every organization is different, there are specific sales challenges that can arise as a result of successful product-led growth. John Kaplan discusses some of these challenges with Former Chief Revenue Officer of Segment, Joe Morrissey. During the conversation, Morrissey highlights what CROs can focus on to scale revenue and growth. Consider how you may be able to leverage a similar approach.

Due Diligence: Understand Sales Challenges and How They Impact the Business

Your first 90 days as a sales leader in a new position and/or new organization, is a critical moment in time. Morrissey notes that he used that time to strategically define and align on his big bet; the highest impact initiative he could launch to equip sales to scale revenue growth. 

Regardless of your tenure, you may find value in the research approach Morrissey used to understand sales challenges and outline their company-wide impacts. He shared his approach with us and how it helped Segment’s leaders align on organizational challenges that could be traced back to the sales team. 

Doing this due diligence enabled Morrissey to determine the most impactful sales challenges to course-correct. Additionally, this research provided clarity on how the entire company would react to change, which in turn helped Segment’s leaders define how to launch a strategic initiative in the most impactful way. 

From there, Morrissey worked with Segment's leaders to prioritize clear opportunities to improve revenue retention and efficiency across the entire customer-facing organization, not just the sales team. Consider how you may be able to execute your due diligence leading up to a strategic initiative, in a similar fashion. 

Invest Early in Value-selling Methodology

Noting the difficulties of scaling PLG success, Morrissey shares his advice for CROs facing similar challenges, “The environment that we find ourselves in today, isn’t just about product-led growth or marketing-led growth, at some stage, every company is going to need to invest in distribution and prove the value they’re delivering to customers. If you were to ask me what my advice is for technical founders, don’t wait until it's too late to start building your GTM 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. 

The earlier you can define what sales challenges to course-correct, the sooner you’ll be able to launch the plan to make it happen and accelerate results, like Segment did. If you’re prioritizing your organization’s biggest GTM challenges to solve, use five minutes to take this Rapid Sales Assessment. The customized report you’ll receive after taking the assessment is designed to quickly help you define your best opportunity to accelerate revenue numbers.

Enablement of your sales team is a critical requirement for success when you’re trying to grow. Once you pinpoint opportunities, move quickly. Morrissey worked early on with his board and partnered with Force Management to set clear and measurable outcomes for a sales transformation initiative. He shares, “We had a rigorous board who was clear on ensuring I had defined success metrics in mind and that we could tie this engagement back to improvements in retention, efficiency and sales productivity. I am very happy to say that we delivered on those.” 

Commit to Your Initiative and Gain Company-wide Buy In

After defining the right initiative, focus on making it a top company priority. Driving this company-wide commitment often starts with ownership from you as a leader, Morrissey says, “Whatever you choose to do as a CRO to drive transformation, you’ve got to be 100% bought into that. The entire organization has to know, very clearly, that this is the priority.” 

Knowing the level of backing and support a transformation initiative needs to be a success, work early on to garner buy-in from C-suite leaders and your board. Morrissey knew he would need to capture board buy-in to get the commitment and resources needed to successfully drive company-wide transformation. He 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.” Consider how you may be able to take similar steps to capture cross-functional and board commitment for your initiatives. Morrissey's approach offers great insight on how to get started.

Getting early support from the board for a strategic transformation initiative helped Morrissey and his leadership team launch an initiative that drove measurable results and company-wide impacts.

Make an Immediate Impact on Sales and Company Growth

As you work to make an immediate impact through your sales leadership role, you may find value in Segment’s story. See how their sales organization drove a 150% increase in annual recurring revenue (ARR) over a two-year period. As a CRO you know, ensuring ROI and ongoing sales impact from your transformation initiative, takes a rigorous effort, experience, and often a partner who can help you avoid common setbacks.

Understand what Morrissey implemented to help sales achieve critical outcomes and the engagement he leveraged to ensure measurable results.

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