This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Alex Hesterberg, SVP and Chief Customer Officer of Turbonomic, to discuss “Scaling Your Customer Success Organization Through Hyper Growth.” Turbonomic is a software company that delivers workload automation for hybrid cloud environments. The software understands the demands of application workloads and provides necessary resources in response, improving infrastructure supply efficiency.
Alex Hesterberg is Turbonomic’s first Chief Customer Officer. He drives the company’s customer-centric business approach to help customers accelerate and activate their hybrid cloud journey, and is responsible for establishing, scaling and executing a holistic strategy for all customer-facing initiatives, programs and activities. Alex is a 20-year tech industry veteran with a track record of delivering end-to-end measurable customer impact, and building customer-centric services and solutions at hyper-growth companies.
Alex first defines scaling through hyper growth as a transition from startup to “scale-up” mode, typically at the $100MM threshold. The company in question possesses a set of ride-or-die customers, has experienced a taste of its total addressable market, and now needs to tackle consistency in scaling. Management must address functional reorganization: individuals who were previously wearing seven different hats must specialize and wear one each.
Alex then dives into the four key “interlocks” of scaling:
1. Sellability. Empowering your field to sell through structured operational support (e.g. tools, demo labs)
2. Deliverability. Ensuring that the field delivery team can deliver success based on customer expectations
3. Consumability. Bringing consumers into the development of the product itself and receiving real-time feedback (e.g customer advisory boards, beta programs.
4. Supportability. Supporting customers in an ongoing way (e.g. recommending version updates)
In terms of where to begin, a company must first focus on defining its customer journey. The company should examine its initial customer base and analyze why certain customers onboarded properly and why others didn’t. Iterating this analysis allows the company to directionally align itself along four axes: onboarding, advisory, expansion, and renewal. Once aligned, the company can enforce the interlocks and determine how to divide internal responsibilities across the interlocks.
For most hyper-growth companies, Alex explains, sellability is key. It’s crucial to get your product off the ground and sell it to a greater audience. For companies with an unchanging product and market, the focus is instead on expansion and renewals. The most successful hyper growth companies actually combine the two—sellability and renewals.
Alex also notes that many startups tend to forget consumability. Most become too comfortable with catering to their initial customer base and neglect to integrate a customer feedback loop. Companies consequently miss out on market developments and face the risks of competitive displacement and scale-up failure.
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