When Seattle-based cloud computing startup Skytap decided to transition its go-to-market strategy — going from a transactional model that dispersed resources across a lot of smaller customers to a model that strategically targeted bigger enterprise accounts — the company expected growing pains. Teams would need to be restructured. Employees would have to be trained on new processes and strategies. Messaging would need to be revamped.
For most startups, that kind of organizational disruption is risky, particularly if it poses a threat to short-term growth. For Skytap, the stakes were especially high. Since 2013, the company had grown revenue by more than 100% year-over-year and, in 2014, it was listed among the fastest-growing tech businesses on Deloitte Technology’s Fast 500 list.
“It’s not like something was broken and our only choice was to fix it,”
says Skytap Director of Marketing Kerry Ok. “The business was doing extraordinarily well, but our leadership saw this transition as an enormous opportunity to strengthen our position in the market and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our sales and marketing. On the flip side, the risk was that if our team didn’t embrace the change or the market didn’t respond to it, then our growth might slow significantly.”
Thankfully, that didn’t happen.
Ok says a big reason for the success during and after the transition was the company’s partnership with OpenView Labs, the strategic consulting arm of OpenView Venture Partners, which led Skytap’s Series C in 2010. “Without OpenView’s team, I think the transition would have been a lot slower and a lot more painful,” Ok says. “Their ability to guide us through every step of the process — from buyer persona research to the restructuring of our team and processes — was invaluable.”