When B2B software companies reach the expansion stage – the point at which the business has achieved product market fit and go-to-market repeatability — they typically begin to hone in on one key objective: growth. That includes growth of the company’s team and corporate structure, and it most certainly includes the continued growth of its customer base.
That’s precisely the circumstance cloud monitoring and analytics company Datadog found itself in as the company entered 2014. The business had already experienced dramatic growth in 2013, and in February announced $15 million in Series B financing that would help Datadog aggressively scale its sales and marketing organization, and explore new untapped distribution channels.
Access to capital was just one piece of the growth equation. The other, as Datadog’s management team began to discover, was having the capacity and expertise in-house to actually deploy it intelligently and efficiently.
“We found that scaling quickly creates numerous time-management and resource issues. We had an idea of the marketing channels we wanted to explore, but we also needed to focus significant internal energy on hiring and onboarding new team members, and maintaining customer acquisition momentum. We didn’t have enough fully ramped team members to actually test all of the marketing channels relevant to our target audience, and the concern was that if we tried to do too much, it would actually slow us down.” – Amit Agarwal, Chief Product Officer
Another concern: Datadog’s target persona, DevOps. Like most developers, this persona is notoriously difficult to crack with paid advertising because of its constituents’ disdain for being sold to and their frequent use of adblocking technology. Naturally, this raised questions about whether investing time and resources into paid marketing channels actually made sense for the business.