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Webinar Recap: The Ultimate Planning Playbook

If you weren’t able to join us, we held a webinar recently and were joined by Sean Crafts, CEO & Partner, BLDG Labs, formerly Founder and Chief Growth Officer at Mavenlink, and Jim Robertson, Partner, BLDG Labs, formerly Finance Leader and Manager of Data Science and Strategy at Mavenlink. Sean and Jim walked through the 8 steps of planning in the context of how Mavenlink grew from $0 through $100M in ARR, solving challenges in their businesses and driving phenomenal growth. 

The concept for Outset and our 8 steps for Ultimate Planning, outlined in the Playbook, originated with Sean, Jim, and their teammates' collaboration in growing Mavenlink into the success it is today. 

For those less familiar with Mavenlink, it began as your typical fast-growing, Venture-backed start-up, “Last minute ways to hit our number, inefficient things like SPIFFs, discounts, calling in favors just trying to hit that number.” The team realized this growth was at the expense of other areas of the business, including a six-month lead time where account executives were sitting idle waiting on leads to develop while marketing was being invested in and ramping. 

Sean and Jim shared how they began to partner together to blend predictive models that the finance team had built, setting up alignment between finance, growth, investors, and the board. While at first, there was friction and resistance, as the model proved to be increasingly reliable– it became the foundation for the entire planning process.

The connection between all stakeholders was vital to making the model work. As Jim said, “We kept iterating on it until all of those stakeholders- sales, marketing, finance, leadership- felt those factors were accounted for.” This predictability and alignment of the data set across all teams, ensuring they were looking at the same relevant metrics was key to measuring the timing of inputs and when those inputs would be realized in business outputs or successes for the company. 

During the webinar, Sean and Jim shared that these models were fully accessible by the leadership teams and that they were continuously re-forecasting and aligning them based on these predictive models. The teams had bi-monthly meetings between sales, marketing, finance, and the CEO, as well as executive leadership team meetings and investor meetings to align, ensuring that all parties agreed with the plan. 

Building predictive models to see 4th quarter misses in the middle of the 3rd quarter and sharing those with the Board is so much more efficient and impactful to investment conversations than how to make up for a missed revenue target the following Q1. Sean shared a story of how their model helped Mavenlink do just that and even how they moved away from pay-per-click to a longer-term, more efficient lead source. 

As time has evolved, predictive models have moved from spreadsheets to applications, and the management of growth levers have changed as well. Rarely is there only one lever to update growth in an organization or funnel, but multiple touchpoints that can help to accelerate the velocity of a lead as well as increase its likelihood of conversion.  Predictive models can increase the efficiency of investments in people resources as well as program investments, realizing gaps to goals well in advance of the miss. 

Download your copy of The Ultimate Planning Playbook here. Learn how you can shift your planning from 90-day cycles like Sean and Jim previously had to the 18-month cycles they were able to work with as they moved to more predictable models.