A startup’s transition from product development to growth

At a recent meeting, David Barrett, one of the founders of Expensify, drew this diagram when explaining his company’s structure. He has overlaid the core teams of a company with a conversion funnel. It’s brilliantly simple.

Screen Shot 2012-09-20 at 7.08.30 AM.png

As every SaaS startup transitions from development to growth, the company must supplement the engineering and product capability with sales, marketing and account management. This diagram is the simplest way to show how they work together harmoniously at a strategic level.

Marketing builds a prospect pipeline. Product and engineering qualify and activate the prospects into leads for the sales team to close as paying customers. And account management retains customers with great service.

From this diagram, the measures of tactical success are plain to see. How quickly is marketing growing the prospect funnel? How well is product converting prospects to qualified leads? At what rate and at what contract value can sales close customers? How effectively can account management retain customers?

It goes without saying that each group relays feedback to the other. The account management team relays top complaints from customers to product. Marketing provides the positioning to the sales team. And sales teams transition customers to account managers.

Of course, mechanizing these processes are the bigger challenge. But this diagram provides a great map to achieve the goal.

Published 2012-09-20 in


I'm a partner at Redpoint. I invest in Series A and B SaaS companies. I write daily, data-driven blog posts about key questions facing startups. I co-authored the book, Winning with Data. Join more than 18,000 others receiving these blog posts by email.

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