arrow-left back to all posts

Cloud Security Unicorn Lacework Builds Data-Driven ICP Resulting in 300% Revenue Growth and Shortened Sales Cycles

An Interview with Intricately customer Palen Schwab, Vice President of Revenue Operations at Lacework

Cloud security company Lacework has an impressive growth story. Having achieved unicorn status in early 2021 with a $525M round of funding, the company has approximately 700 employees and counting – 10x their size in 2019. Vice President of Revenue Operations Palen Schwab and his team have accelerated the company’s revenue growth by building a new model for identifying their Ideal Candidate Profile (ICP).

Since building and implementing this data-driven revenue model based on Intricately’s cloud spend data, Lacework has seen revenue grow over 300% year-over-year. Average deal sizes leveraging this new ICP model are nearly 3x those outside of the ICP – accompanied by a shorter sales cycle and larger lifetime value (LTV).

In the Q&A below, we explore Lacework’s approach; namely, how the model is changing the relationship between its sales and marketing departments, and how Palen’s team adjusts the model for greater success based on what the market is telling them.

Q: Can you give us a brief introduction on your background and what your team is focused on at Lacework? 

Palen Schwab: I'm the Vice President of Revenue Ops at Lacework. When I joined 18 months ago, we were about 70 employees. We're now over seven hundred employees. We’ve gone through explosive growth in the last 18 months, and we've learned a lot along the way. I've been in high tech cybersecurity my whole career. I started off on the marketing side of things and then moved into marketing ops, sales ops. and business operations. I now lead  revenue ops, aligning all revenue teams and ensuring the left hand understands what the right hand is doing, orchestrating everything to work in harmony. 

Our revenue operations function is focused on scaling, automating, and removing manual processes. We focus on maintaining data fidelity and our laser-focus on prioritization. 

Q: How is Lacework different than what's out there? What’s fueling the hyper-growth you’re experiencing? 

Palen Schwab: At Lacework, we have a really big, important problem to solve: protecting companies going through a digital transformation and trying to connect with their customers virtually. We've seen cyber attacks go up 600%  in the last year. 

Lacework is taking a platform approach and providing AI-based solutions to security challenges. Instead of manual rule writing, our AI tells the system what to look for and to go find it. Lacework also has a very scalable architecture which makes us an ideal solution  for fast-growing companies and for larger environments. We’re giving companies peace of mind and allowing them to spend their time on innovating on their solutions  rather than spending their time being concerned about risk. 

Q: How does your revenue team use data in your go-to-market strategy?  

Palen Schwab: We take a data-focused approach to our entire go-to-market, and we’re focused on scale We’ve built a strong account scoring model that does a great job identifying our ideal customer profile using a variety of firmographic data and cloud computing data from Intricately. We’ve used Intricately and other data sources to help us define the accounts that have the best fit for our product. For Lacework, there are some technology requirements for prospects to be a fit. We have protections for people running in containerized environments, so we're focused companies that are running containers. It’s all really logical when you think about it. Yes, we might be looking at a hundred different data points to find signals of that one attribute of containers. But we keep things really simple. 

Q: How does this strategy resonate with your sales team?  

Palen Schwab: We make the story of why we're going after that account very clear. I've built dozens of beautiful, fine-tuned models that were really complex, but salespeople can't understand them. If they can't rationalize why they're going after an account, they fail to adhere to the plan.  Why we've had so much success is our ability to not only identify the ICP, but communicate it clearly and explain the rationale behind why it's important that you focus here instead of somewhere else to empower our sales teams to use this to close more deals. 

Q: What results has Lacework seen since implementing this data-driven revenue model with Intricately?

Palen Schwab: Since we've adopted the data-driven model leveraging Intricately data, we've grown 300% year-over-year. Our average deal size from our ICP is nearly three times larger than those that we're winning organically outside of the ICP. These leads also have a shorter sales cycle and larger lifetime value.   

Q: What are some strategies or approaches that have made your revenue operations team the most successful?

Palen Schwab: Our data-driven approach to defining our ICP and account scoring is a differentiator. We've fundamentally changed the way that rev operations or sales operations is perceived. We've elevated our sales ops managers and marketing ops managers to be strategic partners. They have a true seat at the table.

Q: How did you iterate on and develop your Ideal Candidate Profile? What changed from when you first started? 

Palen Schwab: A couple of things have changed from my first model to what we're using now. I started off with an AI model where we were looking at every data point and it would churn out a store that would tell us to focus there. But unless you wrote the algorithm that the AI was following, no one could interpret it. So people lost faith in it and it kind of got abandoned. 

We learned to move to a more logical model, that's digestible and simple to align the team. 

We also moved from a forced distribution model to a natural distribution model, meaning that we're not just saying, “OK, the accounts of the highest 10 percent of the store are going to be A, and the top twenty percent are going to B.” We allow the attributes they hold to dictate how many accounts are in the ICP. That's really important because people don't like it when you draw arbitrary lines. 

If you're a tier one ICP account in our model, you have eight messages to choose from, based on their attributes, which fundamentally changes the conversation. It becomes more consultative. It may have started off with the data for ICP generation, and goes all the way down to how you hold relationships with customers and how you provide value to the company from front line sales to marketing messaging. 

Q: How do you create an ICP that’s flexible to product and market changes? 

Palen Schwab: Our ICP is the customer that has the best fit for our product. Our product is constantly evolving and changing and the market is changing with it. We reevaluate and refine the model as needed. We use our account scoring to align our most expensive resources where they have the best probability. At the same time, we’re scoring anything that's coming inbound. We’re listening to the voice of the customer. If you start blocking what the market is saying, you're never really going to grow and find out where the next opportunity is. It's really a great thing for the market to self-correct you. You find a new message, a new attribute that can make your model even stronger and you’re expanding your total addressable market in a way you didn't think of. 

At the end of the day, we're placing bets with the best probability of winning. It doesn't mean we're not going to win outside the ICP, if anything. That's great. Let's learn why and strengthen our model. But over time, we will win more by placing bets where the data is telling us. 

Q: What types of cloud companies would find a partnership with Lacework valuable? 

Palen Schwab: If you're a company that's moving up market, or you’re moving into the enterprise, or you’re going international – a way of combating the challenges that you're going to face is by investing in security early.  Especially in a platform that can service you not today, but also tomorrow – that can grow with your organization and uses AI. Successful growth is about agility. Lacework understands that because it’s a company-wide orientation.

To learn more about Lacework's cloud security solution, visit their website. 

Intricately knows who your best customers are. Do you?

Your go-to-market team can partner with Intricately to find your company's best opportunities for revenue growth. Our team can provide a customized report specifically for your company, including market share analysis for any company, market, or industry. Contact us for a free data sample today.

Learn more

arrow-left Previous Post Next Post carat-active