By Verne Harnish
With her company’s marketing services in high demand, Jennelle McGrath was eager to scale. Market Veep, which McGrath founded in 2014, helps growth-minded businesses implement HubSpot marketing and sales automation.
But when McGrath tried to use a popular operating system for scale-ups, it didn’t pick up traction with her team. So, about two years ago, McGrath tried again, turning to the Scaling Up platform with the guidance of Scaling Up Certified Coach Herb Cogliano.
It paid off: The 17-person company recently made the Inc. 5000 Regionals 2022 list of the fastest growing companies in the Northeast, with a 79% increase in revenue over two years. She projects revenue in the $3-5 million range by the end of 2022.
“Jennelle is constantly striving to learn more about mastering each of the Scaling Up tools and methods while being very open-minded and receptive to constructive feedback from me and her team,” says Cogliano.
Building a team
The “People” side of Market Veep was McGrath’s first priority. As she worked with Cogliano, she realized she needed the right people on the bus to scale but was missing some key players. To find them, she put the Topgrading system in place to recruit and assess candidates and introduced job scorecards to build clarity around the responsibilities for each position and what it took to succeed.
Putting these systems in place helped as the company made critical hires, such as a CFO and a full-time bookkeeper. Making the most of the fact the company was operating virtually, McGrath was able to look outside of the company’s immediate geographic area to deepen its talent pool to include more A players.
“It’s really interesting to watch when you have an A player coming out of the gate,” says McGrath. “Herb says an A player does the work of three people.”
To make sure the company’s compensation package and culture were as attractive to the best talent, Market Veep added benefits such as a 401(k) match, sabbaticals, a new bonus structure and unique benefits, such as a personal day the first Friday of every month set aside for employees’ wellbeing. “We’re really trying to make sure we have balance in life,” says McGrath.
Crafting a strategy for growth
To keep the team focused on the company’s growth goals, McGrath began implementing Quarterly Planning with Cogliano. “Previously, it felt overwhelming,” says McGrath. “With Scaling Up, it wasn’t like that. It was just ‘Pump the brakes and tackle the One Thing.”
The company also calculated its Labor Efficiency Ratio, a measure of productivity, to determine the rate at which it could afford to scale. Within three months of tracking this metric, the company hired four people. “Figuring out who we can actually afford to hire is just incredible,” says McGrath.
Staying in sync
To make sure the team was executing on its goals successfully, McGrath introduced Daily and Weekly Huddles. She also used Align software to build accountability around the projects each team member was handling. “It’s not wishy-washy—it’s in writing,” says McGrath. Using the software led to conversations about “stucks” that were gumming up the words, and questions like, “Is it done or not done? Do you need help?”
Telling a better cash flow story
With growth accelerating, more cash was flowing through the company. McGrath wanted greater visibility of the financial workings. Coaching the team’s bookkeeper, Cogliano helped the team produce a monthly cash-flow summary. Although Market Veep was profitable previously, the reports helped McGrath improve profitability even more.
Now that the company has grown, McGrath plans to continue to scale. In the Scaling Up platform, she notes, there’s a lot of “glue” that keeps everyone aligned, making her job as CEO easier. “There’s an actual framework and plan,” she says—and that has freed her to stay focused on the big picture.