Culture Versus Currency – Which Is Essential for Scale-ups With $1 Billion Revenue Ambitions?

Building a high-growth company goes beyond hitting numbers quickly. Culture is the secret ingredient for enduring success. Coupa Software, on its way to $1 billion in revenue, understands this well. Their DNA is woven with core values of customer success, excellence, and agility. Learn from their experience to create a cohesive, empowering, and revenue-driven culture for sustainable growth.

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Hitting your numbers fast is essential for a high-growth company, but it’s imperative to remember that an organisation’s culture plays an equally vital role in ensuring enduring success. Gaining insights from a LinkedIn Live session featuring Helen Trim and James Sweeney of Coupa Software, a B2B SaaS company on its way to hitting $1billion in revenue, this article explores the importance of corporate culture in the fast-growth landscape and provides essential takeaways for scale-ups.

The Culture and Value Equation

Successful revenue marketing teams are built on the foundations of robust culture and core values. A perfect example of this is Coupa, a top-tier SaaS company that regards its culture as the organisation’s DNA. Far from trivial slogans or easily dismissed posters, Coupa’s core principles of customer success, excellence, and agility are deeply interwoven into their every operation, ranging from internal interactions to client engagements.

Helen Trim puts it succinctly, “Culture and values are a key starting point. It’s the thing that brings everybody together around what the company is all about and trying to achieve.”

The Culture of Empowerment and a Flipped Organisational Chart

To efficiently navigate rapid growth, organisations must foster an empowering, decentralised culture. Coupa champions an “upside-down org chart” that shifts away from rigid hierarchies and instead focuses on empowering and supporting teams. This approach cultivates agility and hastens decision-making by cutting down bureaucratic red tape.

Helen Trim underlines this, saying, “It’s about empowerment, and that’s absolutely fundamental, again, to high-growth organisations.”

The Symbiosis of Revenue Marketing and Sales

Trim further elaborates on their strategy, “We call ourselves a revenue marketing team because if we’re not here to set sales up to win, what are we doing?” Synchronising revenue marketing and sales is a necessity, and teams need to work in harmony for a company to excel. A segmented structure aligned with the target market can help create focus and a unified marketing approach. Awareness, acquisition, and advocacy remain the cornerstone of revenue marketing at Coupa.

The Marketing Impact Narrative

Getting executive buy-in and quashing misconceptions about marketing hinges on expressing the influence of marketing in a language that the stakeholders comprehend. Coupa uses data to illustrate how marketing shapes the sales narrative. A thorough analysis of a successful deal, highlighting the marketing efforts that led to it, can showcase the tangible value marketers add to an organisation.

As Helen Trim advises, “Talk their language and connect insights to business metrics that the finance leaders and the C-suite actually care about.”

While revenues hold undeniable significance for high-growth organisations, culture is an equally crucial component. Nurturing a resilient organisational culture, aligning revenue marketing with sales, empowering teams, and effectively demonstrating marketing’s impact are critical to navigating the cultural challenges of fast growth.

Helen Trim summarises it perfectly, “This is the power of AND — hit your numbers AND build a great culture.” Recognising the importance of both revenue and culture can lead to a more balanced and sustainable growth trajectory for scaling companies.

By learning from the experiences of Helen Trim and James Sweeney at Coupa, scale-ups can understand the value of culture and devise strategies that not only boost revenue but also foster a cohesive and empowering work atmosphere.