Sep 05, 2023 Fawn Hudgens

How Startups build a culture of sustainable growth and revenue

Creating a successful foundation via your B2B go-to-market strategy

Start-up culture sucks.

There, we said it. Not all the time, not everywhere, but generally speaking - it can and it does. 

And it’s not just because of egomaniac founders, the chaos of fast-paced growth and change with few processes in place, the prevalence of “bros”, in tech particularly (although they don’t help). No, it’s because in the rush to get to market and generate revenue, founding teams aren’t focusing on building a culture of growth

What do we mean by that? In the decade or more we’ve been helping start-ups, we consistently see Marketing, Customer Success, Product and Sales siloed, with revenue targets shouldered only by the latter. This often results in operational inefficiencies, including duplication of work, messaging that isn’t landing 100%, poor customer experience, stunted product innovation, sales target struggles and our least favourite but most common: four different views of the customer. 

We get it. As a founder and/or CEO of a start-up, there’s an overwhelming amount to be done and culture is often last on the list. But we’re not talking about team trust exercises or ping pong tables here. 

A culture of growth, at its basis, is about transparency and alignment. Alignment of tech, teams and revenue-based metrics. This is why we created ARISE, a powerful, done-for-you strategy which builds around one single framework, one single CRM and underpins the go-to-market (GTM) strategy with this mindset - to ultimately save time, reduce inefficiencies and remove bottlenecks for greater results. 

ARISE was originally designed to send early stage tech companies into market with a solid GTM strategy, including positioning, messaging frameworks and sales enablement, so that you had enough collateral to focus on building pipeline. However, in today’s world that isn’t enough - you need to combine this with a strong onboarding process or customer success playbook, which we have at hand. Ideally, once in market with pipeline generating you start to mature your marketing function; as that scales your sales engine will naturally expand to cope with the additional enquiries.


Alignment of tech

The most powerful weapon you can have in your company arsenal is a 360-degree view of your customer. When you’re operating off one or more CRMs, or god forbid, spreadsheets, data is lost, corrupted or simply not input. When it’s not shared or accessible across teams, you lose valuable intelligence that can be harnessed to engage new targets, enhance the experience of existing customers or build a new product feature that is desperately needed by the market. 45% of salespeople say that incomplete data is their biggest challenge - so getting it right from the start is crucial. 

We build our framework into HubSpot so teams can see all data, dashboards and metrics. This allows them to 1) understand how they are measuring the KPIs against business objectives 2) make accurate, data-driven decisions, including, from a sales perspective, the ability to more accurately forecast revenue 3) better understand and cater to audience, targets and customers. This point is key: 62% of people aren’t loyal to a brand if it doesn’t provide a personalised experience, up 17% since 2021. You can’t personalise if you don’t understand them. 

This approach is backed by McKinsey data; according to them, one of the things top-performing SaaS companies do differently is, “pull granular operating data from across the business into integrated dashboards that make it easy for leaders to see the relationship between specific, often siloed, sales and marketing activities and overall growth outcomes.”

Alignment of teams

We talk a lot about team alignment at BIAS, because we think it’s the biggest driver of revenue growth and opportunity for your business. We’ve seen it, we’ve made it happen, but the stats also agree with us: According to HubSpot, 52% of leaders say the byproduct of team misalignment is low revenue. In the US alone, marketing and sales teams waste approximately $1 trillion annually due to lack of coordination. When they do, they generate 208% more revenue from their marketing. 

With our approach, essential marketing, customer experience, product and sales enablement outputs that require cross-functional input are built in the CRM so that teams function collaboratively. This collaboration is also born from the transparency that a 360-degree view of the customer begets; departments start to see and understand the value other teams bring to the table. 

Another happy by-product of no silos, greater insight, transparency and collaboration is reduced employee frustration and increased engagement. Gallup found that, “Highly engaged business units achieve a 10% difference in customer ratings and an 18% difference in sales…resulting in a 23% difference in profitability”. Everybody wins. 

Alignment of revenue-based metrics

As your teams start to all pull in the same direction, it’s key to cement this with revenue-based metrics aligning teams to goals; and these should include improved customer experience, retention, expansion and conversion revenue objectives. Because Marketing is a revenue team, just like sales. And Customer Success (CS) is a revenue team, just like sales. Set clear objectives based on the company’s overarching goals and outline their role in achieving those. 

It’s critical that you start treating these departments as a part of your revenue teams from the get-go. According to the aforementioned McKinsey study, a focus on net retention sets high-performing SaaS businesses apart. They “are able to deliver 20% growth every year without adding a single new customer.” So the numbers speak for themselves.

Time and again we see companies coming to us to reorient the ship when their go-to-market strategy has foundered. They’re failing to hit targets because Sales and Marketing are struggling through a lack of cohesiveness and alignment and/or misuse of the tools available (90% of teams are misaligned across strategy, process, content and culture and both teams overwhelmingly think this negatively impacts the business and customer). Or they haven’t done the deep customer research required to build messaging that resonates and enablement collateral that converts. Often, in our experience it’s both. 

However, a culture of sustainable growth and revenue is achievable from the start-up stage, and can be built into the very bedrock via your GTM strategy. And you don’t need to sacrifice speed with the ARISE framework - we can still get you to market in 90 days. 

At BIAS we see ARISE as your complete foundation. By understanding the pain founders face from recruiting people to run this, to underestimating the value of a comprehensive playbook, to feeling rushed by your VC/investor(s) to “just get results”, we’ve got your back. 

Published by Fawn Hudgens September 5, 2023