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Seven general recommendations to accelerate your progress toward
Go-to-Market Fit

Every company's journey is unique, however, through our experience we have identified a number of common areas that successful businesses have managed really well in their journey toward sustainable unit economics – i.e. Go-to-Market fit. By “doing the work” in these areas, you are well-placed to speed up the journey toward GTMF. 

In the 2023 release of our GTMF toolkit, we’ve added extensions to the chapters on Positioning and Pricing, and created additional downloadable templates and materials. We have also split the recommendations into three parts: Part 1 deals with the big foundati
onal questions of Positioning and Pricing; Part 2 highlights what businesses structurally should focus on from a customer lifecycle point of view; and Part 3 raises issues regarding resourcing and the team.

Part I – Two P’s central to GTM success
1. Achieve clarity through focussed positioning
2. Pricing – where practice makes perfect 

Part II – Key differentiators in the Customer Lifecycle
3. Invest in a marketing engine serving your GTM strategy 
4. Treat client onboarding as a differentiator
5. Double-down on Customer Success to secure high customer retention  

Part III – Secure the right resources at the right time
6. Specialise revenue generating roles
7. Build and scale your team at the right time

Part I – Two P's central to GTM success 

Recommendation 1: Achieve clarity through focussed positioning 
3.1 Positioning

The power of positioning – how are you going to win in a competitive market?

Positioning is all about articulating the unique value your company can deliver to someone. Founders usually have a very clear idea about their company’s mission and the problem they are solving, however, articulating the unique value associated with solving that problem is a much trickier task. Done right, positioning also serves as the input to the storytelling and messaging that underlines all sales and marketing efforts as well as the internal communication determining how employees speak about their company.

Put simply, positioning helps differentiate a company from its competitors, target the right customers, and effectively communicate the company’s value proposition. Highly focussed, strategic positioning is critical to cutting through competitive noise and expanding your client base from early adopters into the mainstream. Software users and buyers are more impatient and overwhelmed with options than ever before. This is particularly true in the B2B software space, where companies have a myriad of solution providers vying for their business. While the actual numbers vary depending on company size, multiple sources report that the average mid-market business can have anywhere between 18 to 150 software tools in their tech stacks, with Statista citing 150 solutions per company in 2022. If that’s one company’s tech-stack, imagine how many businesses there are out there competing to get in the line-up. To illustrate this point, check out this illustration of the B2B MarTech landscape alone – in 2022, the MarTech space was closing in on 10,000 companies.


All companies in the competitive B2B software space are doing their utmost to creatively stand out and convince prospective customers why they are the best alternative vendor. If you are a small B2B start-up in a noisy market where large competitors can spend massive amounts of both money and resources on marketing and sales, what can you do as you compete for the attention of prospective customers? It goes without saying that it is very difficult to stand out in this market without making some very specific choices about what you do and what you don’t do, for whom and how – and that is what proper positioning helps you do.

“Positioning defines how your product is the best in the world at delivering something, some value, that a well defined set of customers cares a lot about.”


Positioning with April Dunford.png

As the quote suggests, positioning is all about being the best at something for someone.  We sat down with April for a discussion about positioning, her recommended methodology of how to define it, operationalise it and measure the success of it, with a particular focus on the scale up stage. You can watch the interview in its entirety here.  

Defining and operationalising your positioning

How do you go about developing your positioning? There are a number of ways to structure the process, which we have reviewed and amalgamated into a list of six key steps. For a more extensive discussion around these, we recommend you keep an eye out for our upcoming guide on positioning, or if you’re already convinced about the merits of great positioning and want to dig in deep already at this point, we’d recommend April’s book: “Obviously Awesome”

1. Define the working group and responsibilities
Marketing might run the project to define your positioning, but shouldn’t do so in isolation. Instead, approach and design the positioning development project as an interdepartmental exercise with strong support and direction from the founding / executive team. Different departments (such as Sales, Customer Success, Product, Support etc.) hold valuable insights about customers, making their involvement imperative to pinpoint a positioning that resonates with the audience. And, crucially, with a broad working group you ensure that the new positioning permeates the entire company, increasing the likelihood of a successful adoption among the team.

2. Find your niche

Once you have set the working group, define your target market. Start by identifying the specific segment or audience you want to target. Understand their needs, pain points, and desired outcomes. There are many different ways to slice your focus. We recommend you start by looking at it based on:

  • Customer size

  • Geography

  • Industry

  • Department/buyer/user

  • A partner ecosystem point of view

  • From within a specialised tech-stack. 

3. Review the competitive alternatives and conduct customer interviews

Once you have determined your niche, conduct a competitive analysis. If your company, solution or product didn’t exist, what would your customers or potential customers do then? What – or who – do you have to beat to win a deal? What do you have that they don’t have? Engage with your existing customers or target customers through interviews or surveys and seek to understand their challenges, motivations, and the value they derive from your product or service. These insights will help you articulate the specific benefits and outcomes that resonate with customers.

4. Develop an initial value proposition 

Armed with these insights, you can start defining a couple of key unique points of value. At this point many companies focus on what features they offer. While features describe the specific capabilities or functionalities of a product, value focuses on the outcomes and benefits customers derive from using it. By positioning based on value, B2B SaaS companies can create a stronger and more differentiated message that connects with customers and sets them apart in the market.

5. Craft your positioning statement

The positioning statement should be concise, and clearly articulate the unique value you provide, the target audience you serve, and the key benefits or outcomes you deliver. It should differentiate your offering and provide a foundation for all your marketing and messaging efforts.'

Below are a few examples of positioning statements:

"Salesforce is the world's leading CRM platform, providing businesses with a unified view of their customers, enabling personalised interactions, and driving growth."

"HubSpot is an all-in-one inbound marketing and sales platform that helps businesses attract, engage, and delight customers with valuable content, automation, and analytics."

"Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing and collaboration solution, empowering teams to connect, collaborate, and achieve more with high-quality video and audio communication."

6. Validate the statement and iterate 
Once you have crafted your statement, it’s time to test it with internal stakeholders, existing customers, and potential customers. Gather feedback and refine your positioning based on the insights gained. Continuously iterate and improve your positioning as you gather more data and feedback from the market.

Some final words on positioning – for now

Ultimately, your positioning should help you and your company focus throughout your growth journey. Effective focus creates true clarity and distinctiveness in your proposition. The best SaaS businesses, even broad horizontal collaboration tools, succeed through selecting a compelling set of focus areas that resonate with the competitive advantages of their business. Clearly the specific strategic focus will be highly company specific, but there are a few general recommendations discussed above we would like to call out to conclude this chapter:

  • As early as possible, be data-driven and strategic about your intended areas of focus. Interview customers, measure NPS, segment financial performance by customer groups, and match evidence with strategic hypotheses on what’s resonating.

  • Align closely with, but don’t rely solely on, marketing when developing the positioning. Then when rolling out your positioning, use brand messaging/content to create both clarity on positioning and distinctiveness.

  • Recognise the balance between being too narrow to demonstrate laser-focus, with ensuring that there’s a large enough addressable market to go after. 

  • Consider sequencing market entries – it might make sense to build a dataset/product to own one category first, which you can later leverage to speed up entry into an adjacent area with common clients/problems/datasets/etc. This point is strongly emphasised in Geoffrey A. Moore's Crossing the Chasm (seminal reading on strategic positioning).

Finally, be deliberate about what sorts of work you will and won’t do for clients. It can be tempting to be pulled into custom development work for marquee clients. but knowing how and when to say no to non-strategic work will improve team efficiency and help solidify your focus.

3.2 Pricing
Recommendation 2: Pricing: where practice makes perfect

Mastering the revenue equation

At the Product Market Fit stage you’ve proven that customers want to buy your product – but you might not know yet how much customers are willing to pay for it. Especially if it differs per customer segment.

Revenue can be defined as: Products sold x price. Mastering the pricing side of the revenue equation is crucial to achieve Go-to-Market Fit. In a scaling company, almost everyone‘s focused on building a great product or attracting customers to buy the product. In other words, the focus is on affecting the first variable in the revenue equation. The price at which that product is then sold is an underrated lever. If a company can raise average price per customer without affecting the number of customers, every key SaaS performance metric improves – growth rate, CAC payback period, net revenue retention, etc. Price is a critical building block of your unit economics, and therefore, the profitability of your company.

Like positioning, pricing is an enormous topic that can make or break a company’s Go-to-Market strategy – and deliver a high upside on invested effort if done right. In this chapter we will scratch the surface of this topic, but will in the future be publishing a comprehensive pricing guide with more resources to help you set your pricing strategy, identify if it’s time for you to change your pricing, how to conduct pricing research, and how to roll out and iterate your pricing. Join our mailing list to be the first to know when the Oxx pricing guide is released.

Picking your pricing model

There are a few main pricing models that B2B SaaS companies usually use: tiered pricing differentiated by product feature bundles, user-based pricing, usage-based pricing, and transaction-based pricing. These are summarised in the table below.


The default starting point for many companies is often a simple flat pricing model, usually split up by tiered access to a set of more powerful features. In the classic three-tier model, a company’s typical customer purchases the middle tier, while the least expensive tier has a slimmed down feature set to appeal to more price-sensitive customers, and the most expensive tier contains the enterprise features such as single sign-on or role-gated permissions that appeal to larger organisations.  

Setting a price by the number of users of a product – a user-based pricing model –  is another pricing strategy widely adopted among application SaaS products. It’s especially common among companies offering workflow or collaboration products where multiple users at the customer company work together to use a product.

For infrastructure SaaS companies, usage-based pricing models have become the established norm over the past decade. Over the past five years, this pricing model has increasingly been applied across a broader set of industries. We also see a broad overall trend that more and more SaaS companies are starting to experiment with a combination of licence- and usage-revenue. 

Transaction-based pricing is a common strategy among FinTech companies. It refers to solutions where the company charges a fee for each time the service is used, a so-called transaction fee. For example, a payment solution company generally applies a transaction cost for the purchases it processes. More recently, as embedded financial services (where a company adds on a financial product to an underlying SaaS product) have taken off, transaction based pricing has also spread outside the FinTech space. 

This high level overview only scratches the surface of SaaS pricing models, but it’s often a “good enough” starting point as a company builds toward and moves beyond Product-Market fit. The exception is companies whose core insight is that their industry is ready for a business model disruption but whose core product is less differentiated: here that core insight is connected to a pricing model.

As companies start thinking about Go-to-Market fit, however, it’s important to take a step back and carefully consider how the product generates value. A pricing model should be constructed in a way that as customers gain more value from a product, the price the customer pays scales. In many products, value scales with increased usage, but that’s not always the case. Map the flows of value your product generates among its users and carefully consider whether your SaaS product’s pricing increases if the flows increase. Think about possible appropriate pricing metrics that would capture those increases. And sense check yourself: solid pricing models should feel obvious.

The case of multiple products
Some SaaS companies will go beyond perfecting a single product as they grow towards building out a portfolio of products or splitting their product into distinct modules. If each product serves a different target customer and there’s no cross-sell potential, each product can be priced separately (though we ask you to carefully question whether there’s enough target customer focus and each product is contributing enough to the whole to be worth it). If the ideal customer purchases multiple products, then the pricing of each product must work together as a cohesive whole. Simplicity in the eyes of the customer becomes an important factor which can rule out complex pricing strategies for an individual product. Net revenue retention is the North Star for these strategies: the goal of the pricing model is to maximise cross-sell.

Setting the "right" price levels

When it comes to SaaS pricing, one size does not fit all – therefore the key is to iterate. There are four basic steps to adjusting pricing: pricing research, setting price levels, rolling out new pricing, and measuring the impact of the pricing. It’s important to balance efforts among these. One of the mistakes we see in pricing projects is that companies overbalance to the decision-making mode that makes them the most comfortable. Some will lean towards analysis paralysis and strive to find the exact right price level by searching through their customer data in minute detail or engaging in long projects with pricing consulting firms. Some will focus on quick execution without understanding the willingness-to-pay of their different customer segments and how customers conceive of value. We advocate for a healthy mix of both analysis and execution.


A common mistake we see is that companies don’t change their pricing at all. As a simple rule of thumb, companies should change something in their pricing structure every six months. If it’s been more than two years since a SaaS company changed their pricing, they’re overdue for a change.

1. Pricing research

When you start reviewing your pricing, the first step is to undertake some pricing research. The aim of the research is to identify if and where the potential opportunities are to gain more revenue if you were to change your pricing. Sometimes, you will want to validate a relatively narrow hypothesis, and other times, it is necessary to analyse the full customer base to find broad patterns on which you can base your overall pricing strategy. 

When you conduct your research, there are two things to keep in mind: (1) there will most likely be a difference in customer willingness-to-pay (WTP) between each of your customer segments, so conduct your research on a per-segment basis. (2) The intensity of research should depend on the stage of the company. A simple rule of thumb would be that the earlier a company is in its growth journey, the more acceptable it is to rely on founder gut-feel. As the company is maturing, the more worthwhile it is for a data analyst or consultant to spend their time finding additional gains. 

We recommend two useful pricing research methods for companies that have found product-market fit and are starting to find their go-to-market fit:

1. Product usage analytics involves looking at key feature usage on a per customer basis as identifying patterns among customer segments that can lead a company to put certain features in certain tiers or to pull out some features as standalone add-ons.

2. Buyer research calls are structured qualitative interviews with the potential buyers of a product that help companies unlock positioning and pricing insights, best conducted by the strategic go-to-market leader in a company. For more information, please feel free to download the Oxx buyer research template.

2. Setting price levels

Next, it’s time to change the pricing levels. Unless you’re completely changing your pricing model, it’s helpful to think of pricing changes as selecting a few options from a smorgasbord of possible options. In other words, you’re changing your pricing tactics but not your entire pricing strategy.


Based on the pricing research, you should be able to make deductions about which options might have the greatest impact.

3. Roll out prices

When rolling out pricing changes, it’s helpful to do this in a few steps. A step-by-step approach allows for time to measure the impact on each group. The key is not to make too many steps. Too many steps can delay the ARR increase a pricing change can bring and can create so much project management overhead that it becomes unwieldy.

A key question that tends to come up is whether you should roll out pricing changes for all customers. This is debatable – a school of thought led by, among others, Jason Lemkin claims that the management overhead of raising prices for existing customers can outweigh the benefits, especially if you are a fast-growing small company (<$10m ARR). Instead, they believe that higher pricing should be implemented only for new customers, whereas the strategy for existing customers should be to grow via upsell. 

Proactively communicate changes, and make the communication one level more personal than you usually communicate with a customer: send personal emails to self-serve customers, call up customers who generally use digital support, etc. Be prepared to offer a discount against pushbacks, but make it temporary. Finally, at renewal time, adjust commercial terms and conditions for contracts to build in the possibility to do an annual price increase each year.

4. Measure impact

Measuring the impact of pricing changes is a mix of quantitative and qualitative evidence. The quantitative is found in ARR data – churn, upsell, renewals – and customer acquisition data - changes in click-through rates on the website, lead generation, and funnel drop-off rates. The qualitative data is found in NPS scores and feedback from customer-facing teams.

Why it's (almost) always about raising prices

There's a cliche that as soon as a new investor comes on board, they'll tell a SaaS company to raise prices across the board. As shown above, we don't advocate companies adopt such a blunt method. However, it is true that the majority of SaaS companies raise prices as they scale. 

Many SaaS startups make classic "upmarket" journeys, initially selling to small- and medium- sized customers before they tackle enterprise-level buyers. This is sometimes an accidental strategy when a company is pulled up-market. It's sometimes a conscious choice: it takes time to build out enterprise-grade features, acquire necessary compliance, and to have the resources to invest in year-long sales processes. 

Other SaaS companies either forget to raise prices as their product increases in value as more features are built out, or fear the churn that may result.

The top three things to remember about pricing

Regardless which pricing strategy you use, remember to incorporate these aspects:

Pick the right pricing metric
Pick a pricing model where price scales when customer value increases.

​Differentiate price based on customer segment
Not all customer segments have the same willingness to pay, nor the same willingness over time as your company’s offering becomes more valuable. Companies with GTMF adjust pricing per segment accordingly.

Review pricing often
Savvy companies iterate and adjust their pricing- or pricing plans at regular intervals: localising prices, changing price levels, rolling out add-ons, adding and tweaking free trials, adjusting cut offs between price tiers, and so on.

If you through your research find that the fundamental pricing model of a company isn't working well - i.e. price doesn't scale as value increases - then it's worth it to take a step back and take the time to carefully reconsider the pricing model itself. 






3.3 Marketing

Part II – Key differentiators in the
Customer Lifecycle

Recommendation 3: Invest in a marketing engine serving your GTM strategy 

Differentiating between demand- and lead generation

Companies that have achieved a strong GTM fit have deliberately invested ahead of the curve in a scalable and predictable marketing engine. What does that look like? 

Many of you will have heard the terms demand generation and lead generation used interchangeably (perhaps even from your investors!). These are in fact two different strategies, and while they are connected and both aimed at driving business growth, it is important to distinguish between the two: 

Demand generation is a comprehensive marketing approach that aims to create awareness, generate interest, and stimulate demand for a product or service among a broad audience. 

Lead generation is a targeted marketing strategy that focuses on identifying and capturing potential customers who have expressed specific interest in a product or service. 

The focus of demand generation is not on getting hold of a person’s contact details to pass this to a sales team. Lead generation is the specific component of demand generation that focuses on converting that interest into tangible leads by capturing contact information. 

Starting your marketing engine

You will have experimented your way forward in the PMF phase, and have found early proofs of concept for lead generation. These typically include a combination of non-scaleable activities such as hacked community efforts or founder-led leads and short term channels, such as paid digital performance.

Increasing the velocity and predictability of leads is crucial for a well functioning GTM function in any organisation. In fact, one good sign for when the marketing function has found Go-to-Market Fit is when it can confidently predict how many high-quality leads (aligned to customer segment and target ACV) you'll attract and whether they'll convert. 

Oxx Playbook Illustration - Scaleable Demand V2-01.png

 It doesn’t matter which, or which combination of, approaches you have – regardless if your sales are product-led, inbound or outbound, driven by inside or field sales, predictability is still a main objective. Many companies use multiple marketing strategies and combine them in a unique mix that fits them and their goals. What is true is that modern B2B SaaS marketing departments are tasked with generating revenue – which also means tying their spend to revenue. As you enter the Go-To-Market Fit phase, you should challenge your marketing team to be data-driven and measure the full-funnel impact of their activities.  

Below are some key tips for when you build your more robust engine for the GTMF phase:

It is important to ensure alignment between sales-focused teams and the marketing focused teams. Unfortunately, the stereotypical relationship between sales and marketing is famously contentious, and this is often born out of unsynced priorities and lack of understanding for what the other party is trying to achieve. Companies that rely on demand- and lead generation strategies require that the departments bury the hatchet and work together – everyone is working toward the same goal. 

Based on the historical data, set a plan that focuses on the acquisition channels that have generated the highest quality leads and led to new business. A lumpy and unpredictable setup can really become a problem which hurts performance and team motivation in both teams. 


​One of the most common reasons for revenue underperformance is insufficient focus and remediation in the sales funnel. It’s good practice to get a deep understanding of the relevant funnels in your business – yes you can have several depending on strategy! – and be able to pre-emptively work out the numbers of calls, meetings, leads, visits, trials, users, etc. that will result in achieving revenue targets, month-on-month and quarter-on-quarter. 

A pro tip is aligning on the key metrics you want to measure and, if needed, to bring in external help to set up a dashboard that helps track these. We have seen cases where 10 year old companies can’t extract data on the “lead to customer”, so to save your future selves trouble, build this in as soon as possible.


With monitoring set up, feedback loops have shortened significantly. A modern GTM stack with appropriately interconnected platforms from traditional CRM software, through to product analytics tools, marketing insights platforms, and financial collaboration software, will be incredibly helpful and allow you or your team to identify where the problem lies. The marketing team is then equipped to solve or remediate issues at the top of the funnel, and if the leakage is identified in the sales part, the sales team can take appropriate actions to address them. 


While building for Product-Market fit, teams operate quarter to quarter. In the Go-to-Market fit phase, it’s time to start planning. Forward thinking commercial teams (including both sales and marketing) will be operating several quarters ahead at all times, ensuring that there’s sufficient volume and conversion through all tiers of the funnel(s) today so that future financial targets are hit. With a solid marketing plan, activities will be set in advance to support the needed numbers to reach the revenue targets. 


It’s typical that marketing teams put their initial marketing budget on channels that can convert leads quickly, such as digital ads. This is understandable: investing in longer time-to-value channels such as community, content marketing or PR takes time to pay off and early-stage startups are short on time. But to build a durable brand, once the company has settled in its positioning, it’s important to start investing here. In terms of measurability, keep in mind that brand building activities present a challenge as the value of PR or “free” thought-leadership is difficult to measure.

3.4 Customer onboarding
Recommendation 4: Treat onboarding as a differentiator

Software purchasing is becoming increasingly consumerised, and end-users expectations are becoming higher and higher. The psychology of delayed gratification is increasingly challenging to communicate. Quality of onboarding has therefore become a more important cross-functional area of focus, with GTM, customer support/success and product/technical teams often involved. This can be especially challenging in an enterprise where your business needs buy-in from a wide group of users or teams.
Deep thought should be given to the relative merits of free trials, demos, and freemium options. What type of behaviour does each drive? Does that align with individual user value? What about cross-team value? The more quickly users/clients can get to their ‘aha moment' the more likely they are to become evangelists, spreading use of the software throughout their organisation and likely increasing the quality of that client.
Make it as easy as possible for the first users experiencing your platform to ‘get it’ – ideally Day 0 value. There’s many different ways of doing this, such as structured product workflows to provide an automated relevant onboarding journey (eg Canva's process) or human-centric customer success calls (eg Superhuman's process). Track customer's feature usage and be highly responsive to customer interactions, particularly in the early days.

Whilst the benefits of world-class onboarding are most often considered for SMB-focussed software tooling, enterprise software businesses shouldn’t shy away from ensuring the onboarding experience is as delightful (or at least as painless) as possible.

SMB software that might be on rolling month-on-month contracts will be able to see very quickly in their retention data whether customer fit and onboarding have been successful. It’s also straightforward to quickly A/B test the impact of onboarding on retention and consequently work out if the strategy makes economic sense. But enterprise focussed businesses with annual or longer contracts don’t have the benefit of this short-term feedback. Nonetheless the impact of poor onboarding can be even more damaging, as the consequences can appear more dramatically if a few large clients churn a year later.

Regardless of your target customer, we think delivering excellent onboarding is crucial to ensure a solid beginning to the client relationship. This paves the way for a higher quality interaction, and increases your prospects for strong retention and upsell.

Recommendation 5: Double-down on Customer Success to secure high customer retention 
3.5 Customer Success

The benefits of best-in-class retention are often underestimated. Without a doubt, the best action a company can take to rapidly accelerate towards GTMF is to support the customer success team and focus on retention. After all, the cost of acquiring new customers is broadly agreed to be around five times higher than the cost of retaining existing customers. So, if you want to boost your unit economics, don’t ignore the value of the companies in your portfolio. Below, you can see the results of maintaining strong net revenue retention (NRR) – in this example, even with no new business.

The chart shows the power of compounding – upsell and strong revenue retention can underwrite really solid levels of persistent growth. To contextualise some public company performance, UIPath is a great benchmark for expected enterprise sales performance at 123%, Hashicorp's 131% shows how strong a community-led open-source model can be, and Smartsheet 125% as hugely impressive for mid-market / SMB (all numbers current as of mid-2023).

The chart below is from a Bessemer Venture Partners survey of 174 companies, showing acquisition costs for renewal and upsell / cross-sell are a fraction of new account acquisition. The numbers speak for themselves, you need to be in the retention game. 

BVP example.png

Customer Success as a source of revenue

The rise of Customer Success as a revenue centre is transforming the way companies approach retention. There are two schools of thought regarding who should handle renewals and upsells in SaaS businesses with traditional outbound go-to-market (GTM) processes. The first school argues that a Customer Success (CS) representative, who works closely with customers to help them achieve their business objectives, is best suited for executing renewals and identifying upsell opportunities. The second school believes that a CS representative should focus on building a genuine, long-term relationship with the customer and act as a trusted advisor, without any agenda to sell. 

Companies often start with a generalist approach, where employees handle multiple responsibilities. However, as companies scale, it becomes challenging to find individuals who excel both in closing deals and supporting customers. This leads to the need for specialised teams with dedicated KPIs. Maintaining alignment and a 360-degree view of the customer becomes more difficult as teams specialise and scale, impacting the value delivered to customers and increasing the risk of churn. 

Despite the ongoing debate over responsibilities, Customer Success teams are gaining strategic importance, influence, and budget within organisations. According to ChurnZero's 2022 Customer Success Leadership Study, 78.5% of Customer Success teams report into the C-suite, indicating their revenue-driving role. In larger companies, one-third of CS leaders hold positions in the C-suite. Revenue metrics, such as Net Revenue Retention (NRR) and gross revenue retention (GRR), are now the top measurements of success for CS teams. In fact, net revenue retention is one of the metrics most commonly used to measure the health of a customer success organisation. 

Many customer success teams still lack the appropriate technology infrastructure to deliver insights, increase efficiencies, drive revenue, and enhance the customer experience. Only 46.3% of CS teams have a purpose-built Customer Success platform, despite six out of ten teams having a CS operations role. Luckily, there’s an increasing number of software solutions that address these challenges.

Some general tips to optimise retention:

  • Structure thinking around retention optimisation as early as possible – both growth and problems compound here. Depending on the customer type – self-serve, or managed by a Customer Success Manager (CSM)? – set up automated engagement programs or invite to CSM-led workshops to strengthen the relationship with the customer  

  • Work out the common characteristics and behaviours of your best customers, then nudge user behaviour towards the relevant interactions that correlate with stronger retention

  • Expand usage beyond the initial champion by, e.g. introducing new product features, that are valuable to this person’s colleagues. You can also set up educational programs as a joint effort between Customer Success and Marketing, where the CSMs share insights helping the customer unlock more value from your solution

  • Don’t forget to learn from churned customers to avoid repeating mistakes. In your analysis, you may find commonalities in the reasons why companies churn and at which stage of their lifecycle with you. If this can be tied to key signals in the product usage, you could potentially trigger campaigns addressing these concerns before  the customer ends their contract.    

  • Pricing, pricing, pricing. Driving a successful price increase across your base (i.e. where upsells outweigh churn and contraction) directly improves your net revenue retention. See the section on pricing for more details.



3.6 Specialising team roles

Part III – Secure the right resources at the right time

Recommendation 6: Specialise revenue-generating team roles

If you are looking to increase efficiency within the team, evidence from organisational research shows that employee performance improves as a result of an appropriate degree of role specialisation. It’s a fairly logical conclusion; if you are juggling multiple projects and responsibilities, the likelihood of pushing them all forward at a fast pace decreases. Often you will make progress, but slowly and with small steps. With fewer responsibilities, you would be able to execute with a higher focus and make progress at a much faster pace.   
To transpose this into our B2B SaaS arena, some people have even laid out a roadmap for the precise GTM hires that a SaaS business needs at each stage in their development in order to time the level specialisation needed depending on where in the journey the company is. We don’t think it’s practical to be quite so prescriptive and mechanical about it, but have seen repeatedly that reviewing resourcing in the following areas lead to superior performance. The first three examples below typically refer to the traditional outbound GTM/sales process. Examples four through six refer to some of the different approaches required to succeed with new user-focussed (rather than buyer-focussed) GTM approaches, through marketing, product or community led growth strategies.

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Commercial team lines are blurring as many businesses pursue hybrid top down and bottom up GTM approaches, and cross-functional teams become more common. Two examples include a customer segment pod approach (combining sales and customer success into teams per customer segment) or establishing a growth team (combining marketing, engineering and product).

Our advice is to segment your customers into reasonably homogenous core groups, and design tailored GTM processes and team structures around the different acquisition journeys of clients. As your business scales, it’s normal to see increasing specialisation across different stages of the acquisition funnel, as well as specialisation across ‘styles’ of commercial teams. When specialisation increases, this can create an increased range of natural career paths for higher internal mobility. This is a very valuable spill-over benefit that can have huge cultural positives.



3.7 GTM team leads
Recommendation 7: Right-size the GTM team leads, at the right time

The profile of your marketing hire depends heavily on your GTM motion. In addition, particularly for your marketing, you're looking for a complementary fit with your executive team. You may have a product leader that indexes highly on commercial thinking of a CEO with a knack for positioning and building out the foundations for your GTM strategy. But If you sorely lack the strategic positioning and pricing skills that marketing leaders often bring, it's important to bring that individual in early.

If you're scaling a product-led or community-led motion, marketing drives revenue. Your marketing hire may be one of your earliest GTM leadership hires. In a sales-led GTM motion, hiring your marketing leader alongside your sales leader can lead to an excellent partnership. But this might not be affordable, and pragmatically speaking, very strong individual contributors can get you far.

Your marketing leader should index highly across the 2 to 3 sub-disciplines which are most relevant for your GTM approach:


  • Community building

  • Product marketing

  • Demand generation

  • Lead generation

  • Revenue operations

  • Growth

  • Brand

  • Content


In a sales-led GTM model, hire your sales leader after your first few Account Executives have landed sufficient accounts that hypotheses around GTM have emerged. In a PLG model, hire your sales leader first after a stream of customers starts pulling you up-market and your product is ready to serve them.


Match your new sales leader’s background to your sales motion:

  • Primarily outbound vs. inbound lead generation

  • A highly competitive sale vs. educative sale in emerging product category

  • General ACV range which generally correlates to product complexity, customer organisation complexity, or both


While rarely the first GTM leader a company hires (the marketers and salespeople usually need to land the customers first), we believe it's long overdue that the customer success leader's role has been gaining importance within B2B SaaS organisations in recent years.


An alternative is to hire a single CRO or CCO to manage the entire commercial operation. If you do this, look for an individual with previous experience leading most of these functions in a similar environment recently. As mentioned earlier: it’s generally preferred to hire individuals who have recently navigated this journey. Very seasoned, experienced C-level hires can experience a bit of a culture shock if dramatically changing company size/stage/trajectory and this can be a key driver of failed hires. In our experience, often companies who are seeking a ‘silver-bullet’ C-level hire would be better served hiring VP-level individuals first to take the initial steps in appropriately building and structuring the team, working practices, and culture.

Continuing on the topic of resourcing and team building, ”I’m looking for a great VP of X” quickly followed by ”any advice on what profile I should look for?” are two of the more common questions companies ask us. The simplest advice is to look for an individual who can bring you a playbook for success, but with the curiosity and drive to rewrite that playbook for your company’s unique GTMF journey.
It’s important to right-size these leaders. What do we mean by right-sizing? Finding a candidate that has the experience and career goals that match with your journey. Ideal candidates have just completed a scaling journey similar to the one you’re embarking upon, in the same role. Beyond these rare gems, look for individuals with high potential who have experienced a company achieving GTMF, even if they were, for example, the head of sales reporting into the VP of Sales. A key factor here is the recency of their experience – we generally see less impressive results from recruits who haven't operated in a company of similar size for over a decade, no matter the companies they have worked for. The B2B SaaS world moves, and changes, quickly, as do the processes at these companies. 

Below we go through a number of typical role profiles. While these are the classic titles you would be looking for, you may instead (or in addition if your budget allows it) seek out a VP Customer Success, VP Partnerships or a VP Growth depending on your GTM motion and company. Most importantly, it’s absolutely critical that all of your commercial leaders maintain excellent alignment.

Hiring abroad?

Geography can be a confounding variable when determining which roles to create or prioritise. Companies often struggle to determine the right level of early international commercial leaders. Is it better to hire a senior US-based CRO as #1 hire to build the team? Should a co-founder relocate and bring in local Head / VP level individuals? Do you start with mid-level employees in a satellite office and manage remotely? Can you scale a company internationally entirely from your HQ?  These are challenging questions to grapple with, and often idiosyncratic cultural factors, founding-team dynamics and senior capabilities play crucial roles in determining the best strategy. We typically see that a co-founder relocating or scaling from HQ typically works the best to establish a strong beachhead customer base, after which a company typically transitions to a local, senior leader.


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