Scaling up: 5 tips for successful upmarket expansion

Scaling up: 5 tips for successful upmarket expansion

Every company wants to scale its business, but only some know precisely how to expand upmarket successfully. To do so requires mastery of your current market before taking that leap of faith into a completely different one, but once your product is ready to emerge in untapped markets, it can lead to the expansion you dreamed of. Recently, Thoropass attended SaaStr Annual 2023 and spoke on five tips for successful upmarket expansion with our CRO, Bryan Caplin, and Jenna Keegan, a Demand Generation expert.

For those unable to attend SaaStr Annual this year, we’re happy to share our presentation here. After viewing, we’ve recapped the discussion below.

First, when do you move upmarket?

When do you move upmarket? Often, this question’s answer relies on several key factors.

Factors to consider include:

  • Upmarket opportunity validation: Ensure you have success now before expanding.
  • Cross-functional alignment and consensus: You will need support from every department and function to go upmarket.
  • Product readiness: Your product must be prepared for new users and complicated environments. Discuss readiness with your product team.
  • Funding runway: Moving upmarket takes time, and you will need the funding to properly invest in the strategy to move upwards in the market (hiring new roles, investing in product development, etc.)
  • Go-to-market team skills assessment: You want a strong sales and marketing team to get you started for the new market you are expanding into.
  • Board support: Does your board support the expansion, offer advice for challenges you may face, and advocate for you when you meet those challenges? If so, it’s time to move upmarket.

Tip 1: Rebuilding your demand generation strategy

Planning is vital when rebuilding an entire strategy, as your strategy will look different. Going from small business customers to mid-market customers, lead opportunities will take longer to create and close.

To know how to engage these mid-market customers, you need to know them and talk to mid-market businesses to better understand what they value about your product. Figure out your messaging this way and then where to input that messaging through content. 

Tip 2: Focus on your sales team

Moving upmarket requires understanding a more complex buyer profile. Find those in your sales team who understand your sales process will change to be longer with this new buyer profile. This group will be your core sales team to move upmarket. 

Remember that once you align your core sales team, you must build your sales process for the new buyer profile. After you nail the sales process, you can then grow your core sales team.

Tip 3: Consider your upmarket competitive edge

Your competitor set will look different, and your product will evolve. The roadmap needs to support the market you are entering. Involve your product team to hear customers’ feedback early on to develop and better serve mid-market and enterprise customers.

The pricing strategy for your product, whether packaged as a bundle or not, will change. Test the market and evolve as you go. Thoropass is in a rapidly changing market and evaluates our pricing strategy monthly. Your business may differ, but the critical component is regularly testing the pricing strategy.

Another important consideration is compliance. You will be asked for a SOC 2 report if you do business with mid-market customers, and your report is an advantage when going up against other competitors. 

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Tip 4: Adapt your partnerships

Don’t overlook your partnership services. Establish a robust partnership ecosystem for your upmarket buyers, as potential customers tend to ask partners about companies they might do business with. If you have strategic alliances and partners with a targeted similar ICP, then potential buyers are more likely to do business with you. 

Technical partnerships are just as meaningful as commercial partnerships. Rethink your integrations ecosystem to cover your customer’s tools.

Tip 5: Re-evaluate your upmarket service needs

Anticipate a change in your upmarket services. You need to start thinking about specializing your customer success organization. As you move upmarket, more challenges pop up, and you will need specialists to help your customers succeed. 

Consider hiring strategic account managers to manage relationships with one particular account. These managers will be vital when continuing to grow one particular account. Another hire to consider is a dedicated customer marketing manager. This customer marketer will be able to establish customer programs, and those programs will help you learn from upmarket organizations.

Final word 

Remember why you started your brand as you move upmarket, and don’t abandon that reasoning or core. Your core will matter in every market you enter.

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