Growth Modeling

Build and execute on your growth model to set your business up for success. Growth modeling is the integration of sales, marketing, and customer success plans to achieve your growth goals.


Building a company is difficult and the main reason for failure is poor planning.


Of Businesses Fail (first 2 years)


Of Businesses Fail (first 5 years)


Of Businesses Fail (first 10 years)


Of Businesses IPO or Exit


What is a growth model?

A growth model is a comprehensive plan to achieve growth objectives. It ties your sales, marketing, customer success, and partneship channels into an integrated plan aligned with your strategic goals.

Sales Capacity Plan

Ensuring you have enough sales team members, ramped at the right time, to achieve the bookings targets tied to your revenue plan.

Marketing Plan

The marketing plan of a growth model is designed to ensure you invest in the right channels to build enough pipeline to achieve your bookings targets.

Customer Success Plan

The major objectives of your customer success plan are to ensure you have enough capacity to manage the new customers aligned with your bookings plan and you have a plan to reduce churn and increase expansion opportunities.

Partnerships and Channels

Your partnerships and channel plans typically involve a small cross section of each of the major Go-to-market (GTM) functions. Sales, customer success, and marketing all play a role in the partnerships and channel portion of your growth model.
Setting targets for individual sellers that are tailored to their territory and performance expectations. It’s important to have achievable targets with realistic achievement expectations. You may want to set assertive goals to the field and for individuals, however, don’t plan on over performance in your model and ensure you have enough capacity to cover the bookings goals overall.
Account for the time it takes for a new seller to be fully trained, building pipeline, and closing deals on their own, is one of the most impactful portions of the model. Take a look at your sales cycle to understand how long it would take to build pipeline and close new deals. Assume sales cycle + time to train and add a buffer for a new seller in the field.
Design territories that align with how the customer wants to buy and sets up your reps for success. Consider different segmentation strategies as the basis for creating territories. You can start with firmographic (enterprise, midmarket, small business, etc.) geographic (time zone based or location based), industry, or product. Create territories that allow for each seller to be successful.
Capacity is simply the number of reps that you need to achieve the bookings targets. Two major considerations are attrition and ramp time. These two components can make dramatic impacts on the number of sellers you need to have hire and ramped in the model.
Take a look at your sales qualified lead (SQL) to closed won conversion rates by segment to understand exactly how much pipeline you need to hit your bookings goals. You will also want to use your sales cycle data to know when you need to have the pipeline created in time for the bookings quota you have in the field.
Marketing should have clear sales qualified lead (SQL) goals that create enough pipeline to achieve new business sales goals.
Each marketing channel will have different conversion rates, sales cycles, and efficiency rates. Creating the plan by segment such as events, paid advertising, content, sales development reps, etc. will ensure you allocate the right SQL target on the right channel.
Understanding your cost per SQL per channel will guide the budget that you allocate per channel for each marketing initiative. Take your total spend in that channel over the total number of SQLs to derive how much you should allocate to that channel for the new SQL targets.
Create a marketing calendar that ensures SQLs are produced in time for the bookings targets. As an example, if your sales cycle is a quarter, you will need to plan to have the SQLs created a quarter before your bookings goals, and align the timing of your marketing initiatives to make it happen.
First you will need to understand how many customers or how much revenue a customer success manager (CSM) can carry. Then map this to the total number of bookings and logos in the plan.
These components can have a massive impact on your overall growth model. Take a look at historical churn, contraction, and expansion rates by channel. Align these rates with your current book of business and attribute them to the channels in your bookings plan.
Referrals can be a major contributor to the sales qualified lead (SQL) and created pipeline plans. Whether you have a goal per CSM or incentives to drive actively sourcing referrals, this should be a component of your customer success plan as well as your created pipeline plan.

Assumptions and Considerations for your Growth Model

You won’t have historical data for everything in your model. The newer your company is the less data you will have. When you don’t have data to look back on, use industry benchmarks or reasonable assumptions to fill gaps in your model.

New Product Launch

You will have to have assumptions on new business and expansion business with your current customer base. You won’t have a lot of data here so you will have to make reasonable assumptions.

New Region or Market

If you are entering a new region or market you may not have solid funnel metric data to forecast perfectly. That’s okay, make the assumptions you can and update your model accordingly as you continue to execute against for your plan.

New Partnership Channels

Every partnership operates a little bit differently. A new partner may not have the same impact as another. Capture your assumptions, the reasons why, and adjust accordingly.

Efficiency Increases

You may be forecasting increases to the efficiency components of your model. If you have improved operational components of your business these may be reasonable assumptions that you should capture in your model.

Recruiting New Hires

With most growth models there is a component of rapidly hiring new people to the team. You will need to capture assumptions around your company’s ability to recruit and retain new talent.

Enablement and Ramp Time

How quickly can you get new hires productive and ready for the field? If you have new training and enablement programs you may be able to decrease these assumptions, but you will have to capture them in your model.

Planning Approaches and Aligning  your GTM Teams

Top Down Strategic Guidance
What is the overall strategy of the business? Are you trying to accelerate growth, improve efficiency, gain market share? What are the external factors that may influence how quickly and efficiently you grow?
Bottom Up Plan to Meet Top Down Guidance
The RevOps needs to rally sales, marketing, customer success, and partnership leaders to put together a comprehensive plan that meets the top down guidance.
Executive Review of Bottom Up Plan and Top Down Refinement
The senior leadership team will review the bottom up plan and use this plan with its insights to ensure the intial top down guidance is achievable or if adjustments need to be made.
Second Round of Bottom Up Planning
Assuming adjustments to original top down guidance, the functional teams with RevOps will create a second plan aligned with the new top down guidance.
Final Executive Approval of Plan
The senior leadership team will make a final call on a growth model that aligns with the top down goals and move the plan to a formal budget creation process.

Helpful Ideas When Segmenting Your Growth Model

Every single channel in your business will have very different funnel metrics and growth expectations. It’s important to segment your growth model in a way that’s meaningful for your business.


Segment by enterprise, midmarket, commercial, and consumer segments of your business. This segmentation tends to have the largest impact on funnel metrics.


Different regions may have different growth expectations or saturation levels for your business. Segmenting your model by region will allow you to plan for the right level of investment for each geographic region of your business.


As an example, the difference between selling motions of large financial institutions and technology companies can be dramatic. Understanding your growth needs by industry can make your growth model much more accurate.


If you are a multi-product company you will have very different growth needs for each product. The funnel metrics will very and often times the type of people you need in each department can be very different as well.

Growth Modeling Recap

Each company has specific ways of going to market, there is no single template. However, there are some core parts to every plan that can be used for B2B SaaS companies. Here’s a quick recap of everything we covered.

Reverse Engineer the Funnel

Start with the end in mind revenue targets -> bookings -> sales qualified leads (SQLs) -> marketing qualified leads (MQLs) -> brand awareness

Segment Your Model

Every segment of your model will operate slightly differently. Segment by meaningful categories such as firmographic, geographic, region, and product.

Balance Top Down and Bottom Up Planning Approaches

This should be a dance between senior leadership teams and functional leadership. Have RevOps coordinate and test assumptions and bring an objective view to the process.

Capture Assumptions as Needed

You won’t have perfect data for most components of the model. This is where you will have to capture assumptions and make reasonable judgements.