Only 0.04% of businesses ever reach the $100-million milestone.
What’s the secret?
What do the highest-performing, fastest-growing companies consistently do differently than everyone else?
We’re on the hunt to learn the strategies, resources, and magic necessary for a trajectory of sustained growth.
Are you on the high-growth track? Our podcast explores the secrets of sustainable rapid growth. Here’s what we’ve discovered so far.
Lesson 1: Navigating the buying committee
“Selling into enterprise accounts is the lifeblood of many whale-hunters … and it’s an new area of focus for many other companies. But 2019 is going to be a little different for these hunters. Things have changed.”
Dunlap works with a lot of companies that live and die on big accounts – whale hunters doing half-million, 1+ million deals that take months to close.
Jake, how has you seen the enterprise-sales process change over the last five years?
There’s just more people involved. I think when you’re talking about spending a half-million, $1 million+, people are continuing to get more cautious and, therefore, more people are involved. We’ve been on that path since the last financial meltdown in 2009. But I feel like more and more people are involved now.
So how can a salesperson get a full buying committee on board?
Your product solves different things for different people at the company, Jake notes. If you have marketing, operations, and IT in your typical sale, you’re someone completely different to each group.
And if you don’t drive the process independently with the three different buying groups, you’ll be at the mercy of some vanilla use case that’s going to be limited to however you came in.
The people who win, he says, know how to travel parallel paths – like multiple parts of the process at once – instead of trying to work through one or two people. You have to take control.
We’ve all been in that big, second meeting where they loop in all the people. And then you’ve got Johnny in IT, who just loves to talk about integrations. And you’re like, “Dude, shut up. We’re trying to talk about business case right now.”
The problem, Jake says, is that you start to lose control after the second meeting. At the end of that big meeting, you’re like, “Great. What are next steps?” And they’re like, “We’re going to circle up and get back to you.” But IT, and operations, and marketing – they never talk to each other.
So here’s what you say to regain control:
“Great. The goal of this meeting is we’re going to talk about where we might potentially fit. After this meeting, IT, we’re going to set up a second conversation to talk about integrations. Operations, we’re going to set up a separate conversation with you next week to talk about workflow. And then we’ll kind of come back as a larger group in a few weeks if we think this is worth moving forward. Does that work for everyone?
Lesson 2: Get messaging for your enterprise personas straight
When Matt moved to ForeScout, he grew the company from $40 million to $160 million, and it was recognized as one of the fastest-growing tech companies in the world.
Matt, how do you achieve high growth as an enterprise?
All of your messaging, Matt says, must be strategically aligned: from sales to marketing, emails to events – everything.
His company, ForeScout, was focused on a security market: So he was considering what a CISO cared about, versus mid-level engineers, managers, down to the analysts – and crafting unique messages that helped them reach their own goals within the organization or meet specific business challenges.
For example, in the CISO’s world, risk is a big factor. The things that keep them up at night are network intrusions, security risks, that kind of thing. But when you get to engineer management, you want to talk about things like how the network runs.
What real problems are you solving? How are you helping people do their job more effectively? There’s a real human to human aspect to all this, right?
On one side, the market team is really collaborating on aligning the messaging into the persona and vertical.
On the other side, sales has to use that strategic messaging, so everyone is sharing messaging and stories the same exact way across the board. You want to tell the story the right way to the right people.
If you think this sounds a lot like account-based marketing … you’d be right.
Lesson 3: Technology comes second
#GROWTHBOUND B2B host Katie Bullard put Justin’s green thumb to the test: “You’ve worked with a ton of companies, right? All sizes, all shapes, all industries.
“What is a core component of accelerating growth that every fast growing company focuses on?”
Businesses always jump headfirst into the technology layer, Gray says. Sure, technology is sexy. It’s easy to buy. It has that shiny-object appeal. But “a fool with a tool is still a fool.” That technology needs to be enabled with really strong strategy, planning, tactics – all wrapped up into a solid go-to-market strategy. THEN we can bring in technology to help us scale those processes. And, obviously, Justin adds, enabling that technology with data.
LeadMD’s Revenue Acceleration Framework helps marketing teams understand the dependencies between strategy, planning, and tactics.
Hey, Justin – How does all this change depending on the growth stage of the company?
Gray likes the example of three companies at different stages:
1.) a startup with five people
2.) a midsize company with maybe 100 people
3.) a large established enterprise with a bunch of upstart competitors
“The framework actually doesn’t change,” Gray says. “It’s just the amount of time and people and investment that we can spend in each one of the focus areas. That is highly variable. Obviously, time and money are the biggest variables within that process.
When you’re starting small, Justin says, and everyone is wearing multiple hats, you have to get the most out of every single resource. When you’re in that enterprise environment where you’ve got really fleshed out things, things move a little more slowly, and you’re more focus on things like change management, risk prevention processes … stuff you don’t typically have in a startup.
You’re still going to have to create a really solid marketing strategy that aligns to the corporate strategy. You still have to translate that into messaging, positioning, and content. You’re still going to set budgets around those channels, figure out a couple of different go-to-market strategies.x
I think it really is about avoiding neglect in any one of these areas, but applying the right amount of resources and time, depending on where you’re at as an organization.
If you’re growthbound – on a high-growth track, wherever level you’re at now – check out our podcast. Our host, and our guests, are on that same track, too.