Scaling a 5MM ARR business to 100MM

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Tyler Wonderlic
Tyler Wonderlic Member Posts: 1 Navigator
edited December 2021 in Strategy & Planning
Hi everyone!

I have experience managing 1MM-15MM CS functions but haven't yet experienced the feel of a fully mature CS unit. For those of you that have, what do you find to be the most impactful areas of evolution as you scale past 15MM to 100MM? 

Thanks!
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  • Doug Valente
    Doug Valente Member Posts: 2 Navigator
    edited December 2021
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    Hi Tyler,

    These are a couple of things I would focus on. In no particular order:

    1. As you move from startup to scale, you will want to operationalize manual processes. In the start-up phase, there are almost always a lot of manual processes, one-offs, and "micro-pivots" as you close new customers. As you scale, you will want to start memorializing processes, procedures, and best practices, which will help guide as you add automation.
    • Resist the urge to make things complicated. Always.
    • Automation sounds great, and it is a game-changer as you scale. Getting to automation requires that you have the basics in place.
    • Recognize that there is a cost to the team in rolling out tools. My predecessor purchased a Customer Management tool at my last company and then tried to make the tool conform to our internal processes. We were successful once we flipped the mindset and adopted their best practices (9 months into a 12-month contract). 
  • Hire carefully. Hiring is one of (if not) the most important aspects of my job. CS is a strange beast... everyone does it a little differently, and what works for one company may not work in another. Evaluating solely on prior experience is challenging. Hiring for attitude is underrated, and I do my best to write job descriptions that attract the team I aspire to build.
    • I partner with the talent team and initially look at every resume that comes in. I meet with them regularly to discuss my thought process about who I have moved forward with (and why I didn't speak to others).
    • Spend more time than you may think necessary to make sure you have onboarded team members properly.
    1. Focus on building trust and setting clear expectations.
    2. Make onboarding reproducible and provide bi-directional feedback at regular intervals throughout the process.
  • Start to build resilience into your organization (especially if the team is (mostly) remote). 
    • Reduce "single-threadedness" in both people and processes. 
    • Cross-train roles so that you don't have any single point of failure.
    • It's ok to do stuff manually, as long as it's not creating a silo.
    • Remember time zones (especially if you are distributed).
    • Make sure the entire leadership team understands (and is aligned with) the goals of the CS team. You will likely need their help to achieve them.
      • Agree on the metrics CS will focus on (churn, MAU, NRR/NDR, TTV, etc.) and publish your metrics regularly and broadly with trend data (+/-) over time) and a narrative about the details.
      • Outline wins and risks in actionable detail.
      • Make sure you ask for help when you need it.

    Happy to chat further if you have questions.

  • Jeffrey Kushmerek
    Jeffrey Kushmerek Member Posts: 98 Expert
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    edited December 2021
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    Great points Doug!

    Not much to add here, but its usually a few jumps to get to 100m. I usually see big pivots at the 20M and then 50M mark. The team makeup changes. The people that you can attract at 5M might not like all the "process " and new ways of doing things. New leaders and execs come in, and it will be important to make relationships with them. You will most likely start specializing in roles, versus having more generalists that hustle and do it all.