My First 90 Days as Director of Growth

Inside my progress, behind the scenes and a full month of recaps

Hi everyone!

For this month’s TheProductLed edition, I am excited to share 🥳 

  1. My 90 days as Director of Growth is complete ✅ 🫣 

  2. The PLG Recap MVPs from last month 🥇 

Quick plug - I am excited to share with you all about an upcoming Fireside 🔥 Chat with Natalie Marcotullio on the intersection of Product-Led Marketing, Free Trials, and Freemium strategies!

Hosted by ProductLed - You won’t want to miss it! 🚀 

Details: Wednesday, November 8
9:00 AM PDT: Nov 8, 2023
➡️ Sign Up here

In case you missed it, here is my story of my first 60 days as Director of Growth:

Let’s get into it!!

I am coming up on 120 days as Director of Growth at Labelbox and wow, time flies! So much to share.

In my previous newsletter, I spoke about how "actions speak louder than words." Well, the past 30 days have been about taking that framework a step further—outcomes speak louder than actions. And that has been my guiding principle from 60 to 120 days.

In my first 60 days it was about:

  1. Understanding the pulse of Labelbox

  2. Observing and understanding processes

  3. Decoding how the business moves and grows

  4. Finding quick ways to activate growth across any motion

My key focus areas from 60 to 120 days have been on:

  1. Developing a comprehensive growth model

  2. Identify the most important area to drive growth

  3. Expand the Product-led Sales (PLS) motion

  4. Continue to drive quick wins and tactics

Building a Comprehensive Growth Model

The first major undertaking has been the development of a comprehensive growth model, a critical tool that not only helps us understand the necessary steps to meet our revenue goals but also serves as a wake-up call to the organization about our true understanding of the metrics that drive our business.

Labelbox has usage-based pricing (UBP), which makes predicting revenue harder than subscription-based revenue models. Predicting and building out a model to drive self-serve MRR is going to require a rigor understanding of activation rates, conversion rates, and most importantly - expansion MRR rates (NDR).

My key focus here has been mapping out the inputs of the business to hold various stakeholders accountable across growth: acquisition, retention, and conversion.

I am starting this in Google Sheets.

Focusing on Activation as a Growth Lever

After doing some research and digging into the data, I located that the biggest area of opportunity to drive revenue and retention is Activation. No surprise. This is every SaaS company’s PLG weakness. It’s usually last to think about and first to drive the most impact on revenue.

As Andrew Capland puts it:

“Most SaaS products lose 30-40% of new accounts after the first 7 minutes.

Because we have a usage-based pricing model, I can see that there is a drop off in accumulating usage in the first 30 days of a new team sign-up. Since usage is an output, my goal is to discover what are the key input core actions that are deterministic of activating and ultimately, retaining over a long period of time.

Understanding what drives activation is critical to our growth model. By analyzing the behavior of our core users and paid teams over their lifespan, and specifically their actions within the first 30 days, we aim to pinpoint the key drivers that will focus our growth efforts.

Expanding Product-Led Sales Motion

My third major focus has been on expanding our Product-Led Sales (PLS) motion.

A recent realization for us was that due to the nature of our pricing plan, not all organizations are looking for or can afford enterprise-level solutions; some are simply looking to test the waters with our free trial. In response to this, we have implemented a growth strategy we provide white-glove support to these teams, ensuring they have everything they need to expand and be successful within our ecosystem.

Therefore, we are building out 3 PLS playbooks:

  1. Annual enterprise deals moving to self-serve (backwards, down market PLS)

  2. MQLs to Paid Conversion (leads that come in for Enterprise but are better fit for self serve)

  3. Self Serve Paid to PQA to Enterprise Conversion

We have an awesome PLG SDR focused on product led sales where his focus is to hand hold any customers across these motions in order for them to be successful.

Currently, our PQA scoring model is too lenient. I am currently working on a new scoring model V2 that uses information from our new onboarding survey such as role type, company size, and use case.

Implementing Quick Wins and Tactical Approaches

Every month, I look for quick wins - keeping my foot on the pedal. Shipping is key. Learning fast is the most important asset in growth.

The growth team has shipped 3 quick wins or tactics that have helped us move the needle forward:

  1. Onboarding survey - where we ask a series of questions to our users to understand more about their needs. This information will be critically useful for building personalized activation experiences, lifecycle emails, and feeding our PQA scoring model.

  2. Intercom - launching intercom on our marketing site and in the product. We created custom flows that enable our orgs to either contact sales (handraise) or speak to a product specialist (PLS). This will give us qualitative information on what our customers need.

  3. SEO improvements once per week - since SEO is a key growth engine for us, we have built a process for making small to medium SEO updates to one page per week to keep driving organic growth. We prioritize the pages based on relevancy and potential acquisition impact.

As I reflect on my journey so far, I recognize my areas of opportunity and growth for myself:

  1. Communicating with Executives: As my initiatives span across multiple business areas, it is imperative that I effectively communicate, document, and celebrate our wins with the leadership team: Revenue, Product, Marketing, and Engineering. Growth is in my head, but it has to be in everyone’s.

  2. Balancing Leadership and Individual Contribution: My role requires me to wear multiple hats—leader and individual contributor—across various domains such as growth marketing, foundation, growth product, operations, data, and engineering. While I have strengths in some areas more than others, my commitment to driving tactics and initiatives forward consistently can create more context-switching than I want. It’s my responsibility to manage this and request the support and resources needed to be successful. Only 90 days in and I feel excited and confident that this balance will improve over time.

The Path Forward

The past 90 days have been nothing short of extraordinary—a testament to our collective effort and the dynamic environment here at Labelbox.

I leave you with these words, again:

  • Saying words speak louder than saying no words. ✅ 

  • Actions speak louder than words. ✅ 

  • Outcomes speak louder than actions. 

  • Impact speaks louder than outcomes.

The next 120 days are about amplifying the impact of Growth! 🚀 

(For specific details on my process or if you have any questions, please DM me on LinkedIn. Happy to share!)

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