Just a couple of weeks ago, Craig Rosenberg, Distinguished VP, Analyst at TOPO (now Gartner) and John Common, CEO and Founder at Intelligent Demand got together to talk candidly about what CMOs, CROs and their growth teams need to do to improve go to market execution and accelerate growth in 2022.
In case you might have missed it, we recorded their Fireside Chat and have available their slide content to download.
Don’t have time to watch the recording? Here’s a quick recap:
Craig and John discussed 11 critical pieces of advice that revenue leaders should consider as they prepare to execute their 2022 marketing plan. Their advice comes directly from their work and research into what the most successful B2B revenue teams are doing to drive growth. 2021 was about survival. 2022 is the year of updating your go-to-market strategy to take advantage of the new normal to accelerate your growth. CMOs, CROs, CCOs, CEOs have to think of themselves as integrated revenue growth leaders prioritizing critical bets and ensuring tight alignment across C-suite, Sales, SDR, Marketing, Product, and Customer Success.
Meet the Fireside chat hosts
Craig Rosenberg is a Distinguished VP and Analyst at Gartner. Craig is also the co-founder of TOPO (acquired by Gartner), a B2B sales and marketing research, analysis and consulting firm.
John Common is CEO and founder of Intelligent Demand, an integrated revenue growth agency that partners with CMOs and CROs to improve and accelerate the effectiveness of their go-to-market strategies and integrated growth programs.
Mike Swainey is Vice President of Growth Consulting at Intelligent Demand. He facilitated the discussion and kept it (mostly) on track. Craig, John and Mike have worked closely with over 1,000 revenue teams over the past 20 years – across nearly every industry, use case, go-to-market challenge and budget reality – to help them unlock faster, more efficient growth.
Here’s what they discussed.
#1: Use your growth goals to drive the right go-to-market strategy
You’ve set your revenue growth goals but you need to go deeper. Break down your goals into three buckets: acquisition, retention, and expansion. Go deeper still by determining what size and type of accounts you need to target in each bucket to reach your goals. This connects your revenue goals to your go to market reality. And THAT is a game changer. This activity should be put in place at the beginning of the year so you know what percentage of business is needed from each category.
Without it, you risk missing your growth goals AND wasting time and money.
#2: Apply your GTM strategy to drive the right integrated demand approach
Analyze your growth goals—which you’ve likely broken down into acquisition, retention and expansion, and further broken down into account types—and ask yourself what is the right demand approach for achieving each of those goals? You have to use the right approach for the job: One-to-One Account Based, One-to-Few Account Based, One-to-Many Demand Gen, One-to-TAM Brand Awareness. One size does not fit all.
The same demand strategy can’t be used across the board because your biggest accounts deserve more investment and deeper levels of personalization. Give this to your growth teams so they can take these demand recipes approaches to implement successful strategies backed by data and in direct alignment with revenue goals.
#3: Use your integrated demand approach to improve cross-functional orchestration
Use steps 1 and 2 to determine if your cross-functional coordination game is where it needs to be. Do marketing, sales, and SDRs know what needs to be done in each demand strategy?
Cross-functional integration and alignment makes the difference between winning vs underperforming. It’s that important. Intelligent Demand has seen the difference that integrated strategies make in delivering real ROI when every team across the organization is in tight alignment.
Ask yourself: does our integrated growth team have the skill, experience and tools we need to execute the right demand approach? If not, address the gaps RIGHT NOW. Addressing and solving this early will help your growth team hit the goals your CEO cares about most—your revenue growth targets.
#4: Leverage the hyper-automation of revenue
Welcome to the dawn of a new age where hyper-automation drives revenue. MarTech is the #1 marketing expense but SalesTech has become the new MarTech with the workplace disruption of 2020. But, tech can’t replace the fundamentals of great people and the strategic alignment of sales and marketing goals is where it’s at.
Double down on cross-functional strategy and execution to build workflows that connect your organization into a communal data source. Otherwise, you will likely waste money, create a disconnected CX, and confuse customers and prospects when SalesTech and MarTech strategies aren’t fully aligned.
#5: Move quickly toward revenue operations
Shift your thinking to run your organization as an end-to-end revenue process with go-to-market functions. You want to find the right tech platforms that will support your goals and use them to collect data across the revenue process so it’s observable. When data is observable you can make strategic decisions about the business.
The end goal is to build workflows across the organization that feeds into the same platform—allowing senior leadership to make better decisions with key information at their fingertips.
#6: Update and evolve your SDR/BDR function
With the shift to hybrid or remote working, it became harder to reach the right people. You no longer know who the buying teams are, which means you need proven processes to reach and engage key audiences and personas.
In 2022, don’t leave prospecting to just sales. Form a group focused on engaging targets and connecting with them to determine fit before passing on to sales. First impressions matter, so SDR interactions can be thought of as either a game-changer or a game loser. Hire the right people, have them own the right accounts, and use technology to automate mundane tasks freeing up people to focus on tasks that technology can’t replicate.
#7: Build your B2B brand into a growth driver
At the end of the day, all of your planning, strategy, technology, data, content and processes are there to create human moments that influence the hearts and minds of your prospects and customers. B2B buyers are driven by emotion and rational thought. And that comes, ultimately, from your brand. But most B2B companies misunderstand, under-invest and mis-invest in their brand awareness.
You have to change that in 2022. Build your B2B brand into a growth driver by moving from “Shallow Brand” to “Deep Brand”. Define your north star—your purpose and why your company exists. Use your go-to-market strategy to determine who your company is going to win with, and why you are their best option. Then define and activate your Deep Brand throughout your end-to-end revenue program (don’t leave it in a silo or on an island!). It serves as a force multiplier across your revenue team. Also, your competitors can copy nearly everything you do; but they can’t copy your Deep Brand.
#8: Start thinking, learning, and testing product-led-growth (PLG)
It’s a simple idea. In this world, differentiation is tough and customers are inundated with information, but what if a buyer could confirm a product’s value before they gave you money? This is often done in the form of a demo or free trial where a PQL enters the funnel at this stage and either engages with a sales rep or enters a self-serve sales transaction. However, there are more ways you can leverage PLG inside of your business.
You don’t need to be a software company to do this. In 2022, consider testing and learning how to bring your product or service experience “up funnel” so your prospects and customers feel more comfortable with what they’re buying by giving them access to your offering or allowing them to experience what working with you will actually be like.
#9: Understand CX insights and trends for 2022
According to Gartner, by 2025, 80% of interactions will be digital. And this puts even more emphasis on CX because we can track more of our customers’ experiences with us when they are digital. Understanding and improving what your customers are truly experiencing is critical for driving retention and growth. Customer experience is a big focus in 2022. In fact, over 65% of organizations surveyed ranked solutions that would enable better customer experiences as their top investment in 2022. With technology, it’s not only easier to manage but easier to optimize as well.
There is also a shift towards the total experience, which encompasses all of the customer experiences you deliver intertwined with partner experience and employee experience. When doing CX transformation don’t forget to enable your internal teams to succeed as every customer will come in contact with a member of your organization at some point in their journey. Again, alignment and integration is critical here.
#10: Take a hard look at your partner/channel program
We are seeing an increase in the number of companies who realize they need to start leveraging partner/indirect channels to accelerate growth. For 2022, assess where your company is today on the “Partner Maturity Curve” (see slide 17 in the presentation slides) and where you need to be to hit your growth goals. It starts by asking yourself and your other revenue executives: are we a good fit for a channel or partner strategy, and are we ready to invest here?
If the answer is yes, be honest about where you are in the maturity journey and focus on getting to the next step.. There is a lot of value to unlock with a well-executed indirect/channel/partner addition to your go-to-market strategy.
#11: Commit to your employees and culture
The Great Resignation had a bright side. It’s making companies better by forcing employers to think about what matters to each employee, and how you can make them want to be a part of your organization.
The Great Resignation also encouraged leaders to look inward; changing their leadership style. Effective leaders will do 5 things better in 2022: 1) cultivate gratitude, 2) connect to purpose, 3) create clarity, 4) change their culture, and 5) care for themselves too.
There you have it – 11 pieces of advice for accelerating growth and go-to-market success in 2022!
Here’s a toast to a great 2022! Be sure to stay tuned for more virtual events in the coming year, we’ll be kicking off with a CEO Panel Discussion in January with Terminus and Sendoso.