Post-Sale leaders at fast-growing technology companies run into a fairly predictable set of challenges as they continuously evolve the organizations, systems and processes they need to keep up with accelerating revenue growth. They contend with a difficult balancing act of delivering results to meet current period expectations while simultaneously executing against the strategic improvements they will need when the business is bigger.
Based on my work with dozens of clients and interactions with hundreds of post-sale leaders, I developed the Post-Sale SCALING™ Framework to help organizations navigate their way through this growth journey. The Post-Sale SCALING™ Framework is a model that identifies and analyzes 7 strategic inputs that determine a post-sale organization’s ability to support accelerated business growth. This framework is intended to be used by Enterprise software companies and other recurring revenue businesses to determine improvement priorities and to help them execute against those strategic initiatives.
When I work with my clients, I have a series of questions I review with them to help them diagnose their strengths, opportunities and readiness for scaling in each of these seven areas. Then we prioritize those inputs that are most critical for their business to scale.
Structure refers to how the people and teams are organized to work together. Post-Sale organizations can be organized by functions including Professional Services, Customer Success Management, Support, Education, Customer Operations and Partner Management. As the business needs evolve, organizations often also face decisions to potentially create specialization in areas that may orient around customer size (ie.SMB, Mid-Market, Enterprise), geography (ie. US, EMEA, APAC), vertical segments (ie. Retail, Health Care, Technology) or product line.
Customer Value refers to the experiences and outcomes that your clients expect from your organization. At different times in your company lifecycle, clients may want faster time to value, or prescriptive learning paths, or premium technical support services. Some clients may want additional self-service options, while others may want professional service offerings that provide higher touch experiences.
Alignment refers to the position that your post-sale organization plays on the broader company team. What are the customer facing and financial outcomes expected from the post-sale organizations? How do those targets change over time. Early on, post-sale teams may focus on getting clients live, expanding adoption or resolving support cases at all costs. Later as a company grows, there may be an increased focus on improving productivity metrics, increasing retention rates, or creating more predictable outcomes. Other companies may start to focus on ROI and profitability metrics.
Leadership refers to the capabilities, values and professional development of the executives and managers in your post-sale functions. It reflects the ongoing ability of these leaders to achieve the best results from the team members across your organization. Do you have the right leaders in place for now and into the future? Are you developing the management bench you will need to support growth? Will you need to recruit and hire from the outside? Are the right incentives in place? Do the leaders have the appropriate scope of responsibility to get the outcomes expected?
Internal Processes refers to the systems, processes and data that your team uses to support its activities and decisionmaking. There are probably already dozens of technology solutions that your teams use today. Are they improving your team productivity? Are those the same systems and tools you will need in the future? Do you have the right workflows and handoffs in place to deliver the desired customer experiences to your target customers? Do you have the data, reports and dashboards you need to inform the growing number of decisions your teams need to make?
Network refers to the community of partners, vendors and thought leaders that create leverage for your company and help erect competitive barriers around your solutions. Some companies may need to create a network of consulting delivery partners to support more complex implementations. Companies in new product categories often want to build relationships with thought leaders to help generate interest in the new solutions and to share best practices with early adopters.
Growth Drivers refer to the ways that your teams directly contribute to revenue growth and profitability. If you work in a consumption based business, getting your customers using your software quickly and broadly might be a goal. As your business grows, your post-sale teams may be directly accountable for driving renewal contracts, expanding existing relationships, or delivering professional services revenue and margins.
By looking more deeply into these 7 components, the Post-Sale SCALING™ Framework creates a mechanism for you to assess the various areas of your business against your desired future state, prioritize those areas that will have the greatest impact on your outcomes, and inform decisions so you can get your teams quickly on a path to execute successfully. You can apply this framework to help you prioritize your strategic improvement initiatives and allocate your resources appropriately.
Over the coming weeks and months, I will provide additional examples of how fast-growing organizations apply the Post-Sale SCALING™ Framework to support their organizational growth.