Summary of Growth at All Costs Is Perilous

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Karen Rhorer – in a career that spanned management consulting and investment diligence as well as sales strategy at LinkedIn and DoubleDutch – learned one lesson the hard way. Early in her career, her start-up had to lay off 40% of sales staff after rapid growth proved unsustainable. Now Atrium’s customer success and sales strategy lead, Rhorer is seeing similar emphasis on aggressive growth in Silicon Valley start-ups that are risking expensive and painful mistakes. First Round Review’s article shares Rhorer’s expert recommendations to founders on scaling sales hiring, why sustainability matters and how to measure your company’s readiness for accelerated growth.

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First Round Review, a publication of First Round Capital, delivers expert knowledge to transform the way people build technology.



Pressure to meet aggressive sales goals can lead decision makers to neglect sustainability, and that can mean disaster down the road. For Karen Rohrer, aggressive hiring at a start-up early in her career led to massive layoffs just a few years later. Rohrer now sees similar pressures for rapid growth pushing companies to make the same mistake. Careful planning can help avoid a future of metrics that don’t add up. Analyze your organization through four lenses to determine whether, when and how far to increase sales headcount:

  • Make comprehensive unit economics calculations...

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