Sterling Snow AMA: Scaling Divvy to a $2.5B Acquisition

Sterling Snow, the former CRO at Divvy and SVP of Revenue at Bill.com, shared his insights from scaling Divvy to a remarkable $2.5B acquisition in just four years. A quick look at his biggest points:

Growth Hacks

  • Rapid Testing:  The only way to know what works is to rapidly test. When Divvy hadn’t yet nailed down its Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), Sterling would write 25+ ads a day and double down on what was most effective.
  • Proprietary Lead Flow:  Half of Divvy’s ad platforms didn’t have direct channels initially. For example, Sterling reached out to newsletters to write sponsored content before that became the norm.
  • Prioritizing Revenue Operations:  Sales leaders often overlook the significance of a robust infrastructure because it’s hard to measure quantitatively; however, a well-executed revenue operations stack significantly boosts team productivity.

Hiring the Right Culture Fit

  • Culture Alignment isn’t Universal:  Divvy’s culture was crazy obsessed with winning - as a result it wasn’t great for those who wanted more work-life balance. That being said, it gave younger leaders outsized rewards for great performance.
  • Favorite Interview Question: Ask a candidate to map out a 30, 60, and 90 day plan for a project and then have them condense the 90 day plan to 30. A good answer will  effectively articulate tradeoffs relative to resources.

The CRO Role

  • Appoint one Early:  Divvy did this about 1 year in. If you build functions separately, you’ll spend a ton of time finger pointing. The quicker you can align all revenue facing teams (sales, marketing, customer support) under a CRO, the better.
  • Structuring Incentives: Hold every function accountable for one stage later in the sales funnel than they have direct control over. For example, Marketing should not only be responsible for demand generation, but also on closed-won business. Implementation should also be measured on retention - what happens after the first 60 days when a customer is onboarded. This makes sure all functions work together.
  • 3 crucial quota metrics: This system gives you both the safety of being consistent with your board but also motivates the team to push themselves further. Have monthly quotas vs quarterly so you give yourself a chance to compound 12 times a year vs 4.
  • Budget plan - Shared exclusively with the board and C-suite, aiming for 90% achievement certainty
  • Quota - Disseminated to the entire revenue team, set 15-20% above the budget
  • Stretch - hitting this demands a grand celebration, set 20% higher than quota 
  • Weekly Scorecard: Every manager should have a brief weekly check in with all their direct reports focused on just the key metrics that matter for their performance. 


What AI tools do you wish existed?

“I wish there was more innovation on how we get and visualize data and suggest where we should look. So, [for revenue teams], I can show you what’s performing according to or under plan and how to fix it. At any given time there’s 50 of these things and leadership can only pay attention to five. I’ve also wished for the bundle - one system that integrates all the revenue tools I need.”

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