‘Crossing the $100m Chasm’ with Joe Marcin

Posted by Adam Richardson - 25/04/2024

Recently, on our Scale with Strive Podcast, we spoke with Joe Marcin CRO at FirstUp.

During the podcast, we gained so many useful tips for anyone looking to scale their company and cross the $100m ARR ‘chasm’– including:

💡 How your Hiring Profile changes as you scale – and how get people brought into change.

💡 The importance of robust processes and to move away from tribal knowledge and the importance of cross-functional alignment.

💡 The importance of technology and how to evaluate, and in some cases, consolidate this to help you scale.

 We explore some of the key themes from the conversation below, but please listen to the full podcast to build on this base!

 Let’s Dive In!


Firstly, Joe advised it’s important to have a thoughtful approach for this growth:

“It’s definitely something that you need to plan for!  

There are a lot of organisations who can scale into the $90 / 95m range but struggle to cross that chasm and exceed $100m. And the reason why is that there truly is a chasm there – there is a major difference between $99.9m and $100.1m! 

It may not sound like a lot in terms of dollars, but there is a material difference in terms of how organisations operate south of $100m and north of $100m.”


To build out this plan, Joe recommended having a Blueprint for the People, Process and Technology aspects of growth. These three areas are what we delve into today!




“When you’re a smaller organisation, you tend prioritise the domain experience over anything else. You look for salespeople who have had experience selling to that persona or selling into that particular space….. 

That’s not to say that’s not important going forward, but the priority of that starts to shift and you start to look for people from a DNA perspective who have that world-class Enterprise selling experience first – and if they happen to have the domain experience, great!”


  • Ultimately, if you continue to rely on domain experience, as you grow it’ll be like finding a ‘needle in a haystack’ and you will spend too long in recruiting cycles instead of growing the company
  • Design your methodology to train new Sales Reps in the domain and this will allow you to bring in highly proficient sales reps, train them up and get them out running.



  • Some leaders in small companies are very hands on / micro-managing (even doing the job!). This works great when smaller but as your company scales, this model doesn’t continue to work.
  • Ensure you look for leaders who can be a coach. They are there to guide the seller not to do the work for them. 


Change Management:

  • This is complex and you need to be thoughtful about the type of change you want to drive. Some organisations look for radical change, others need more evolutionary incremental change
  • Start by understanding where the business (and its people) are today, where they need to be and help them build a roadmap to bridge that ga
  • Explain the why behind the change – ultimately people will see the current state as successful as it’s grown you to your current size. Explain why this change is required – and why its required now.
  • Make sure people understand the ‘WIIFM’ (What’s In It For Me) – when you have a plan in motion make sure each member understands why it helps them.
  • Mange the pace of the change – find the balance between maintaining urgency without overwhelming the team and losing them on the journey. 



All processes should be reviewed and updated (or created if not already in place) as you grow – some example process areas are:

  • Ensure there is a standard process as to how to qualify into and out of pipeline.
  • Product roadmap – whilst this still need inputs from customers, the process of passing this feedback to the Product team needs to change. There should be more validations around what the customer has said. Consider an assessment of how this change would impact marketing etc.  You can’t have the whiplash of changing the product on the feedback of one customer – leaving you other customers unhappy. 
  • Deal construct – when the business is smaller, it often has to accept T&Cs without challenging (even if they are not great for your business). Once you are larger, you can negotiate and push back more. With your experience you will now have developed fair and compliant T&Cs – as you grow, anything you concede on in terms of T&Cs you should monetize accordingly.
  • Processes for Customer Success, escalations, renewals etc. Some of these will already be in place but need reviewing, others will need creating from scratch. Customer Success and Customer Expansion will become more scientific. Understand the differences of Uplift, Upsell, Cross-sell and Upgrades. Understand the different ‘flavours’ of expansion revenue and identify the ‘white space’ where there are expansion opportunities.
  • Internal processes – career development, training, how to manage talent, etc. Ensure these are created and robust – and ready to support your scale.



Utilise your RevOps Team:

  • Most GTM companies will have a RevOps team as they get to this stage – ensure this team is leading on validating and optimising your tech stack.
  • As a business you need a ‘single source of truth’ (typically your CRM) – this is where you should have all the information to maintain your customer personas etc.
  • Use applications to get a good pulse of what problems customers are looking to solve. 


Consider AI Tools:

  • Consider the use of AI tool for actions such as helping assess phone calls between Sales Reps and customers.
  • You can then analyse the outputs of calls / emails to see what language is being used (tone and sentiment of the language) and AI tools will then deliver a score to say how healthy the deal is.
  • Technology can pick up what the human ear won’t necessarily always hear and remove subjectivity. 


General Tips & Lessons Learnt from Joe

“Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

  • There is a lot of work that needs to happen to get to the next milestone - don’t take on too many initiatives at one time
  • Prioritise accordingly.
  • Moving the mountain doesn’t have to happen in one step. 


The Importance of Cross functional aligntmen

  • Strong cross functional alignment is key – you can’t work in silos like you might have done previously.
  • Process change – how do things get onto the roadmap?
  • Create a blueprint for moving forward for things such as knowledge shares, cross alignment working, etc. 


Setbacks will happen!

  • It will never be a linear line of improvement like it might seem to those externally.
  • It is important to have a system and culture that allows you to fail fast.
  • Appreciate and use the key learnings and the magic that happens in the understanding of failures.
  • Plan for the fact not everything will go perfectly – and make room for that in your growth. 



Want to learn more? 

Watch the full episode on YouTube 🎥 – https://youtu.be/ZeZ7cqrNQJM?si=E2g6B5DEzV_XB_X6

Listen on Spotify 🎧 https://open.spotify.com/episode/4wNNO6xKye5tnZxH4COgf8?si=cqDPllnrSumun_4t1-CDgg&nd=1&dlsi=0a1dbf10946c4b0a

Listen on Apple Podcasts 🎧 - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/crossing-the-%24100m-arr-chasm-with-joe-marcin/id1710179366?i=1000650463593

Connect with Joe - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jmarcin/

Connect with Adam - https://www.linkedin.com/in/saasheadhunter/

Learn more about how Strive can support you in growing your GTM Function - https://scalewithstrive.com/solutions/

Search for current roles - https://www.scalewithstrive.com/careers/


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