Category: Go-to-market

How To Strengthen Your Personal Brand With Hamza Khan

This post is by Georgian Team from Georgian

If you’re not telling your story online, someone else is, and there’s a good chance they’re messing it up.

Hamza Khan

That’s a key lesson from Hamza Khan, a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and university educator who understands the strength of good storytelling – particularly when it comes to brands. 

Establishing a personal brand can help you personally and professionally as your audience sees you as a thought leader in your space. Your story — and the story of your business — should be done on your terms and done well. 

In fact, Khan uses Toronto-born rapper and singer-songwriter, Drake, as a prime example of storytelling. Why? – well, says Khan, Drake had a deep understanding of his brand and “locked his identity with the City of Toronto; a burgeoning brand and a burgeoning rapper, both reciprocally, helping each other.”

Below, we outline some of Hamza’s key insights about building your brand, elevating your company and accelerating its growth. 

Tell a symbiotic story

This symbiosis – or interdependence – is not exclusive to Drake. In fact, the story of your brand, as Khan points out, is already being told by your network, whether personal connections, peers, investors, employees, employers, or partners. 

The individuals who are interacting with your business, regardless of industry, are already acting symbiotically to create a story around who you are and what you represent. And these stories, as Khan highlights, are crucial.

In fact, according to a recent Harris Poll study, consumers are becoming increasingly (Read more...)

Building Customer Success Into Your Company’s DNA: Part Two

This post is by Peter Szary from Georgian

In our last blog, we discussed the first two stages of building Customer Success DNA in the early stages of your business. As a quick recap, the first stage can be a testing and learning phase as companies seek product-market fit, while the second stage builds on that work by finding solution-market fit —  a process of working closely with customers to ensure the product reflects how it’s actually used.

With these foundations, the guide below will focus on creating scalable growth with your customer journey.

Customer Journey Stage Three – Accelerating Time to Value

Stage 3 – Accelerating Time to Value

At this stage, you have a deeper understanding of your customers’ goals, problems, needs and desired outcomes. This is a key “crossing the chasm” moment that moves your customer success strategy from good to great and prioritizes activities that expand relationships and provide preventive customer health — or, the opposite of fire-fighting.

Why CRO and CCO leadership is critical

The CRO and Chief Customer Officer’s leadership is the bridge between buying and a successful customer journey. Alignment between these two accelerates time to value. 

I’ve seen great Chief Customer Officers build successful customer journeys in a number of ways. For example, Alberto Rodriques from Armis, a Georgian portfolio company, uses an early warning system (EWS) process that includes monitoring, customer health reporting and weekly executive engagement. This integrates the voice of the customer into the company’s leadership team and drives world-class net promoter scores while scaling to (Read more...)

Georgian’s Top 5 Articles for 2021

This post is by Jessica Galang from Georgian

Between continuously adapting to changing COVID-19 situations and hybrid work environments, 2021 was another challenging year where growing your company and your culture was a balancing act.

We rounded up the top articles that entrepreneurs found the most helpful.

1. G7: The Seven SaaS Metrics Georgian Uses to Evaluate Growth-stage Software Companies

After analyzing data from 100+ technology IPOs and private benchmarks — covering over 2,000 growth stage software companies —  we determined the “top” metrics that helped define our own companies’ success. In this blog, we explain the “G7 metrics” that evaluate the strength of a growing company, including examples and explanations of how to use them. 

2. How to Build Customer Success into Your Company’s DNA

Customer success is a long-term game that ensures your customers are benefitting from your product long after a sale. Georgian’s Peter Szary shares the patterns he’s observed in growing companies over his 25 years of experience; use this guide to ensure you’re on the right track for scaling your CS strategy.

3. Three Leadership Principles for 2021

Joe DiBartolomeo, head of go-to-market at Georgian, reflected on three core themes that came up in conversations with leaders that were trying to adapt their workplaces during COVID-19. In this piece, Joe talks about the importance of emotional intelligence, aligning your team towards a common goal and simplifying your process to scale. 

4. How an Experienced CRO Thinks about Building a Revenue Engine

An experienced CRO is important for scaling up, but what the role (Read more...)

The Secrets to Scaling Go-to-Market Strategies – From Two CoLab CEOs

This post is by Georgian Team from Georgian

One of the most common questions we hear from CEOs and their Revenue leaders is how to scale a repeatable revenue engine. At our recent CoLab Day event, three experienced startup leaders shared their insights to help other CoLab companies with their go-to-market challenges and identify new opportunities.

Peter Szary, Georgian’s Head of Customer Success, moderated the session. He was joined by Aadil Kazmi, Co-Founder and CEO of Swyft and Bryn Jones, Co-Founder and CEO of PartnerStack. 

Peter structured the session around Georgian’s CRO Growth Framework, which you can find in the How An Experienced CRO Builds a Revenue Engine post.

Where Do You Play?

The first layer of the framework addresses go-to-market focus. Peter asked the panelists: what helped them decide where to play, how did they initially go about it, and where are they at today?

Many early-stage companies try to be everything to everyone and at first, Aadil said, it was tough for Swyft to zero in on what their go-to-market motion should be. In the end, there were three questions that helped them decide where they play.

  1. The first was around market opportunity and how that married to their product strategy. They asked themselves: 
    • Who could we service today? 
    • Who can we service six months from today? 
    • Who can we service 24 months from today?
  2. The second was asking what can the product do? When will it be able to do more things? And what is the market size in each of these segments? 
  3. (Read more...)

How to build customer success into your company’s DNA

This post is by Peter Szary from Georgian

When building a startup, closing as many sales as possible to grow the business is often a key focus. But interacting with customers doesn’t stop after the sale; ensuring customers are benefitting from your product, and working with them to create the best possible experience, is a long-term commitment. 

This is where customer success — the ongoing practice of helping your customers reach their goals using your product — comes in.

There’s a misconception that customer success professionals simply own customer retention and product expansion. Retention and expansion track how a company is achieving internal results. Customer success, according to industry expert Lincoln Murphy, measures whether your customers achieve their desired outcomes through interactions with your company. 

Customer success is a capability built into the DNA of the whole organization. It isn’t defined by what stage you’re at — rather, it’s how certain processes grow with you as a company.

As head of customer success, I’ve worked with hundreds of startups over my 25-year career, and have observed several organizational customer success patterns as companies progress from startup to scale-up. 

Georgian’s customer success team works with our portfolio companies to refine their investment processes. In this post, I’ll share two of the most common patterns observed in early-stage SaaS companies to highlight the customer success models we’ve seen work in our portfolio companies. We also hope to help others facing this challenge build repeatable and predictable world-class net dollar retention.

In a follow-up post, I’ll share the two stages (Read more...)

Riptide CEO Doug Marinaro explains why timing is everything while fundraising

This post is by Jessica Galang from Georgian

In 2014, Doug Marinaro was four years into leading San Francisco-based LiquidSpace, an on-demand marketplace for renting office space, as a co-founder. At the time, Doug and his co-founder & CEO, Mark Gilbreath, had a vision that the Airbnb model of renting spaces on demand would translate to offices. 

As the duo fundraised, he remembers one potential investor, in particular, leaning across the table and saying confidently, “This is never going to happen, no enterprise is going to go flexible, everyone’s going to have to come to the office to work all the time,” Doug recalls. 

As thousands of flexible coworking spaces have popped up over the last several years, and as COVID-19 has accelerated companies’ appetite to work from anywhere, it’s clearer now that there is a legitimate need for companies like LiquidSpace. LiquidSpace secured additional investment, but for Doug — who stepped away from the company in 2016 and now acts as an advisor — it was one of many instances in his 10-year career of building startups that timing is one of the most important things to consider. 

“It’s so hard to manage the timing of what you’re doing, and getting that alignment on that timing with your investors, your employees and your co-founders,” says Doug. “The dynamics of it keep changing.”

Today, Doug is the CEO and co-founder of Riptide, a multi-party conversational messaging platform for businesses that rely on independent providers to service their customers. He’s also part of CoLab, our pre-investment (Read more...)

Building a Successful SDR Team — Top Tips

This post is by Niamh Barry from Georgian

Sales development is essential to an efficient revenue organization. We spoke to sales leaders to understand the core components of a successfully functioning SDR team. Here are our top takeaways from those conversations. 

1. Sales and Marketing – Aligned to Achieve

The importance of aligning your sales and marketing teams cannot be overstated. The leaders of these two departments are constantly executing campaigns that need to tie together and when they’re working in lockstep the sales development team works most efficiently.

To get in sync, it helps to focus both teams on the same target. More often than not, this will be on growing revenue. Start with a revenue target and work backwards to create more granular goals – i.e. how much pipeline do you need to cover that? How many SDR first meetings? How many MQLs to deliver those BDR meetings? And so on.

Once you have your goals laid out, the next item to agree on is the lead scoring methodology. Where this becomes especially important is the hand-off of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) from marketing to the SDR team. Your SDRs’ success is based on how crisp your MQL definition is and how your organization mobilizes around it.

Leads are typically scored in two ways:

  1. Fit: How well the lead matches your ideal customer profile 
  2. Engagement: The level of interaction with your content

Those two scores combined determine which leads pass to the sales development team as leads. 

The cost of prematurely calling a lead is usually (Read more...)

ClickUp’s Product-Led Growth Playbook

This post is by Conor Ross from Georgian

Georgian recently held an event on go-to-market models as part of our CoLab Connect Series. At this event, Tommy Wang, Head of Global Revenue at ClickUp, opened up the playbook for their product-led growth (PLG) model.

ClickUp is a productivity platform that replaces all other workplace tools and enables all teams across an organization to work together in one place. Tommy heads up ClickUp’s sales engine that focuses on product-led growth. From the first release in 2017, Tommy and his team have grown the business to over 300,000 teams and more than 3 million users around the world; this rapid expansion is due to a largely organic, product-led growth.

1. Show your product’s true value to convert to paid 

The goal of a product-led model is to get more people using the product and then paying for that use once they have experienced the product’s value. This relies on a self-serve model where users can get a taste of the product without paying.

The go-to-market team at ClickUp focuses on two key metrics to achieve this:

  1. Onboarding activation: Using trials to encourage users to sign-up for the product
  2. Monetization activation: Encouraging people to pay more for their use of the product

If those are your objectives, then why hide features that would make your customers willing to pay behind the paywall? ClickUp doesn’t lock features up-front to determine the shift to a paid account, and allows users to stay free forever within certain usage limits. Usage-based limits are in place (Read more...)

A Progressive, Team-led Approach to Digital Marketing

This post is by Conor Ross from Georgian

Georgian recently held an event on go-to-market models as part of our CoLab Connect Series. Our first speaker, Ruth Zive of Ada, laid out a blueprint for a basic digital marketing organization. Here’s what we learned from her presentation on building intrinsically interoperable teams to take a product to market successfully.

An integrated team-led approach is key to a highly effective marketing strategy. You can think of four different units, with each team being deeply interlinked. The four teams cover:

  1. Product Marketing
  2. Brand
  3. Demand Generation
  4. Business Development

Product Marketing

The first remit of product marketing is to conduct market analysis that is then used in campaign coordination and management. Product marketing is on the front-lines of the business. This team understands the product portion in the wider competitive landscape. This gives other team members the intelligence to know how to position the product and pick out the key features and functions within the space. Because of this knowledge, this is the team that interfaces with industry analysts and thought leaders.

Customer interaction is key for this team. By connecting with customers, the product marketing team can understand what the customer needs and pain points, and then translate these into market and product opportunities.

All the intelligence collected by the product marketing team is then shared with the product team and developers to influence the product roadmap.

The second remit of the product marketing team is to take the product to market. This is where tight integration with the brand team (Read more...)

Lessons Learned from Alida’s Rebrand

This post is by Nicole Kealey from Georgian

On September 23, 2020, we announced that Vision Critical was rebranded as Alida. As a company, this move wasn’t something we undertook lightly as rebranding is a multi-layered process with many important considerations. There can definitely be some discomfort involved!

Despite the inherent challenges, the time was right for the company to make the change. Let’s take a closer look at how we arrived at that decision, the steps we took to make it happen, and the lessons we learned along the way. 


How do you know if it’s time to rebrand? 

We started our journey by considering the top reasons why a company should rebrand or change its name, such as repositioning and changing markets, new leadership and an outdated image. Once we spent some time considering these factors, the decision was clear: We met eight of the nine criteria.

From a rebranding perspective, we needed to reposition the company and signal a comprehensive change to the market—shifting from a focus on only market research insights to customer experience management (CXM). Our business strategy and ambitions had evolved and our brand values were out of step with what we had become. On top of this, at the beginning of 2020, we’d brought in a new leadership team that would help the business pivot our strategy towards CXM, but we hadn’t yet considered refreshing our image. These are just some of the elements that pointed to the need for a complete rebrand.

When it came to changing the company name, (Read more...)