Areas of Commercial & GTM Excellence PE Funds Need

I was at a PE Conference and someone asked me what the GP should look for in hiring a GTM & Revenue Growth / Commercial expert to help create value for their Investment Team and for Portfolio Companies.

While on a train for a few hours, I jotted down just a list of focus areas and specific sub-topics that I worked on during the past few years (relating specifically to Growth Levers) which help drive Value Maximization and Revenue Growth for our portfolio companies (some PE funds who have talent in-house can do this). These are the more specific and detailed areas (not categories) that I jotted down with a pencil on a notepad:


Market Analysis for GTM Targeting

  • Market Sizing (Bottoms Up) Overlay to 3rd Party Market Studies
  • Market Positioning
  • Competitive Trends
  • Customer Segmentation and Targeting
  • Buyer Journey Mapping

Strategic Development

  • Strategic Positioning and Messaging Architecture
  • Global GTM Strategies
  • Mergers and Acquisitions Strategy
  • Market Expansion and Global Sales Strategies
  • Growth Levers & Drivers – Key Strategies
  • Pricing Strategies
  • Competitive Selling & Replacement

Sales & Marketing

  • Sales & Marketing Strategy
  • Demand & Lead Generation (and Pipeline Creation) Tactics
  • Enterprise Sales Motion & Best Practices
  • Channel / Partner Strategy
  • Expansion Sales & Account Management (AM)
  • Sales Team Execution & Performance
  • Retention & Renewals
  • Customer Retention Strategies
  • Customer Experience
  • Customer Success Management
  • Sales & Growth KPIs
  • Key Account Management
  • Sales Technology and CRM Tools
  • Sales Process Optimization
  • Sales Compensation and Incentives
  • Compensation relating to Consumption/Usage Based SaaS

Operations & Management

  • Talent Acquisition and Team Building
  • Recruiting a CEO, CRO, CMO, Head of CX/CS, etc.
  • Cross-functional Collaboration
  • Sales Training and Development
  • Culture and Leadership
  • Improving Operations & Efficiency
  • Data-Driven Business Management (Right Metrics vs. Many Metrics)
  • Business Development and Partnerships

Revenue Operations & GTM Risk Management

  • Revenue Forecasting
  • Revenue Operations
  • GTM Board Update Best Practices
  • GTM Team Enablement and Effectiveness
  • Modeling Capacity Planning
  • Financial Analysis and Budgeting
  • Business Risk Management

There are more but this is a higher level depiction of the knowledge successful PE funds have on their team.

With that said, it’s critical to ruthlessly prioritize and focus on the “80/20” – not all of these areas are critical and not for every company.  It’s important to pick the lowest hanging fruits and ones that have the highest ROI.

Finally, in PE due diligence and portfolio company support efforts, the Commercial / Revenue Growth / GTM work initiatives above require thoughtful research and rigorous analysis and then translate into insights and ultimately value creation.  These initiatives cannot just be subjective of based on my experience – they have to be customized thoughtfully and analyze to ensure they will create value for the portfolio company. PE funds then distill the above initiatives into frameworks to assemble impactful analyses and presentations for discussion, tailored for different stakeholders, (from Investment Committees to Board meetings with portfolio executives), ensuring all the points above and then the analysis are clearly actionable for any given portfolio company. In other words, PE funds should have full-time professionals who do this kind of work not to merely share high level advice or opinions but to provide Board-level, PE-grade and high-quality strategic decision-making for the portfolio companies aiming to achieve tangible and measurable results.