17 Learnings from Go-To-Market Executives on Scaling a Team

Hello and welcome to The GTM Newsletter – read by over 50,000 revenue professionals weekly to scale their companies and careers. GTMnow is the media extension of GTMfund – sharing insight on go-to-market from working with hundreds of portfolio companies backed by over 350 of the best in the game executive operators who have been there, done that at the world’s fastest growing SaaS companies.

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Demandbase helps B2B companies hit their revenue goals using fewer resources by using the power of AI to identify and engage the accounts and buying groups most likely to purchase. Their account-based technology unites sales and marketing teams around insights that you can understand and facilitates quick actions across systems and channels to deliver big wins. It’s flexible, scalable ABM built for you.

Covered today:

  • Reflections on missteps made when scaling a team.
  • More on GTM for your eardrums.
  • More on GTM for your eyeballs.
  • Startups to watch.
  • Hottest GTM jobs of the week.
  • GTM industry events.

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The benefit of hindsight is undeniable. Reflecting on past experiences often makes it clear what one might avoid in the future. This value is amplified when gleaned from the lessons of those who have already navigated similar paths.

Scaling a team in a SaaS startup is fraught with potential pitfalls, and hindsight is an invaluable asset.

Learning from past experiences, particularly those who have navigated these challenges, can prevent costly mistakes. In the fast-paced startup world, speed is critical. The mantra “fail fast” underscores the importance of quick learning and adaptation.

This week, we’ve rounded up the reflections on missteps go-to-market executives have personally made in the process of scaling a team.

Let’s get into it.

17 Learnings from Go-To-Market Executives on Scaling a Team

The hindsight learnings from scaling a team 👇

Strategy and Vision Misalignment

  1. Overvaluing Industry Expertise Over Sales Acumen: Prioritizing industry knowledge over crucial sales skills.
  2. Misinterpreting Early Signs as Product-Market Fit: Mistaking initial customer acquisition for a true market fit.
  3. Assuming a Horizontal Solution Fits All: Attempting to cater to every market segment rather than focusing on specific, suitable ones.

Operational and Tactical Errors

  1. Failing to Document Founders’ Sales Conversations: Losing valuable insights by not recording these critical interactions.
  2. Delaying the Introduction of Sales Operations: Overlooking the importance of streamlining sales processes early on.
  3. Hiring More Account Executives Instead of Building More Pipeline: Focusing on expanding the team instead of enhancing the sales funnel.
  4. Designing Overly Complex Sales Playbooks: Implementing sales strategies that require overly specialized skills, limiting scalability.

Financial and Resource Management

  1. Underestimating the Cost and Time of Sales: Ignoring the significant investment and time needed to establish a successful sales operation.
  2. Scaling Prematurely Despite Poor Unit Economics: Expanding the business without ensuring each deal is financially viable.
  3. Rushing to Hire Marketing and Sales Teams Before Achieving Product-Market Fit: Expanding the team before the product has proven its market demand.

Leadership and Team Dynamics

  1. Lacking Clear Job Roles and Career Progression Paths: Not establishing clear job descriptions and growth opportunities, leading to team confusion and dissatisfaction.
  2. Not Sharing Learnings and Best Practices Formally Across the Team: Failing to institutionalize knowledge sharing, which is crucial for avoiding repetitive mistakes.

Human Resources Challenges

  1. Retaining Underperforming Employees Too Long: Allowing underperformance to continue without timely intervention.
  1. Hiring the Wrong Type of Salespeople Too Early: Bringing in sales professionals who may not fit the strategic needs of the early-stage operations.
  2. Hiring People Who Need Excessive Guidance and Resources: Employing individuals who are not self-sufficient, thereby draining more resources.
  3. Outsourcing Key Functions Too Soon: Delegating essential operations before they are well understood internally, which can lead to loss of control and insights.

Adaptation to New Norms

  1. Premature Shift to Remote Hiring: Moving to a remote team setup without ensuring that it supports fast learning and effective collaboration.

Thank you to all contributors, including Joe Goldberg, Nipul Chokshi, Scott Brown, Chuck Brotman, Daniel Gesser, Kyle Norton, Richard Harris, Scott Leese.

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👂 More for your eardrums:

Subscribe to The GTM Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Noah Marks is a transformative growth leader focused on building GTM engines and scaling organizations for sustainable growth. He has been in the strategy & operations world for the last decade (with Udemy, WalkMe, Okta and Salesforce), and has spent almost the entirely of his career in the B2B technology market (with the lone exception being a slight deviation into the world of M&A investment banking).

In this episode, you’ll learn about the emergence of the generalist specialist role, must-haves for a CEO dashboard, tactics for rapidly ramping in a new leadership role and more.

Listen wherever you get your podcasts by searching “The GTM Podcast.”

👀 More for your eyeballs:

Demandbase is hosting Intent Week coming up next week. Each day promises a new revelation, a fresh clue, and an opportunity to unlock the mysteries surrounding Intent.

Dan Shaw, a start up executive with 25 years in tech, published a piece on how he stays in the game after that long. Given that it’s Mental Health Month, these insights are particularly timely. Dan underscores the importance of self-care in the fast-paced startup environment, emphasizing that taking care of one’s mental and physical health is essential for sustained success.

🚀 “Startup” to watch: 

Atlanannounced their $105 million Series C funding round. While not a ‘startup’ anymore, GTMfund is proud to be an early investor in Atlan – a force in data and AI governance.

🔥 Hottest GTM jobs of the week:

  1. Director, Product Marketing at Atlan (Remote – US)
  2. Director of Sales at Amper (Remote – US)
  3. Account Executive at Cube (NYC)
  4. Strategy and Operations Leader at Tavus (NYC or San Francisco)
  5. Learning and Development Manager – Company Onboarding at Vanta (Remote – US)

See more top GTM jobs on the GTMfund Job Board.

🗓️ GTM industry events

Upcoming go-to-market events you won’t want to miss:

  • [May 15-16] The ELG Conference (Austin, TX): join other GTM leaders to connect and hear how the top SaaS companies are leveraging partner ecosystems in their GTM motions aka Ecosystem-Led Growth (ELG).
  • [June 4] Happy Customers Festival (Virtual): a free virtual event that demonstrates how to maximize HubSpot by integrating best-in-class apps. Dive deep into practical strategies that improve GTM activities across the entire customer lifecycle—marketing, sales, and customer success. Don’t miss this event if you’re looking to elevate your team’s performance with HubSpot.
  • [June 6] CRO Summit by Pavilion (Boston, MA): unlock new perspectives and tactics that can help you take a new approach to growth, understand your unit economics, and align with key stakeholders to elevate your business – and your career.

That’s it, that’s all. 

Absorbing the learnings from those who have ‘been there, done that’ is an incredible way to not only learn, but learn quickly.

A single reflective statement can be profoundly impactful, encapsulating years of experience in just a few words.

Catch you next week.

Barker ✌️

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Before helping found GTMfund, Scott spent 4 years at Outreach as Director of Strategic Engagement. He was in charge of aligning key relationships with VCs, BoDs, ecosystem partners and community members to drive revenue and strategic initiatives across Outreach. Scott initially ran revenue/partnerships for Sales Hacker (which was acquired by Outreach in 2018). Prior to Sales Hacker, he led and built outbound Business Development teams at Payfirma and MediaValet. Scott also advises for a number of high growth start-ups and is the host/author of The GTM Podcast and The GTM Newsletter. At GTMfund, Scott leads all fundraising efforts and runs the media arm of the firm. He’s also responsible for assessing investments, team management, LP/community relationships and GTM support for founders.

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