[By Mark Kosoglow, former VP for Sales and the first employee.]
Today Outreach has a valuation of $4.4 Billion.
March 2016. Outreach hit $3M in ARR. 3 competitors hot on our tail. Getting to $10M so we could raise a Series A was becoming nerve wracking as our runway was shrinking fast. What'd we do?
1. We picked a competitor to pick on - We targeted ToutApp, Inc. (Acquired by Marketo, Inc.). Their product was buggy, CEO had a reputation of hiring B-level talent, and they were blowing through $16M of Andreessen Horowitz funding. Most importantly, their customers didn't seem to love them.
→ We looked at Tout's blog posts, logos on their site, G2 reviews, had SDRs call other SDRs to see if they were on ToutApp. We created a map of where ToutApp was, and we moved into their neighborhood. We had 2 clear areas of differentiation (sequences and reliability of our SFDC sync), so we leaned hard into those, made them the most important buying criteria, and over the next 2 years we put them out of business. Marketo acquired them but continued to be on of Outreach's biggest customers (that's another fun story!).
2. We created a rally cry - #TMOD...Ten Million or Die. Every slack ended with #TMOD. Every email. We had shirts made up (2 actually). We put banners with #TMOD on them. It's still one of the most galvanizing and powerful things I've ever been a part of. The goal was clear.
→ We also operationalized #TMOD. We had a 6am meeting every Friday where every leader had to define and report how they were helping us get to $10M in ARR. Security reported on faster reviews. Legal would let a couple terms through to increase deal velocity. Marketing created deal acceleration events. Engineering committed to feature builds to win deals. There was no hiding!
3. We had a prize - So, Manny Medina calls me in March/April and says, "Hey! I wanna hit $10M by end of year. What can we do that will blow everyone's mind if we get there?" I'm like, "I have no clue. What are you thinking?" He says, "How about we take the whole company to Cabo?" My jaw drops. We had huge banners in each office that had a picture of Cabo and a progress bar that we updated every week or two.
→ We took 90 people to Cabo. Had one of the most magical moments of my life surrounded by folks that had worked so hard to 4X ARR from $2.5M to $10M in one year. It felt like a movie. We worked so hard to get there....but you know what? We worked even harder afterwards bc we loved each other. Manny's challenge was a seminal moment in the history of Outreach.
4. We targeted some must-have logos - we won Zuora, Zoominfo, CenturyLink, and several other super hot up and coming companies that fueled our growth with their growth. Those wins became our legitimacy. They showed us we could win big, hard deals.
→ We used investors, execs, former bosses, aggressive sequences, SPIFFs, events, conferences, speaking gigs, and every other creative idea we could come up with. Eventually, we called these accounts our "White Whales." Focus creates intentionality. Intentionality creates success.