As attendees entered the show floor for day three of the B2B Sales & Marketing Exchange (#B2BSMX), it was clear they were hungry to fit in as many B2B insights as possible before the show wrapped.
With another full menu of keynotes, track sessions and lunch and learns, attendees saw a heavy focus on the importance of adapting to modern challenges. Day three featured several deep dives into the specifics of changing GTM strategies, with actionable tips and advice to help organizations keep up.
Re-Configuring GTM Motions To Reflect The Changing B2B Landscape
Natalie Cunningham, CMO of Terminus, opened up the third day of #B2BSMX with a statement marketers know all too well but drag their feet to act on: The changes in the foundation of B2B marketing. In her keynote session, “The Changing Market: What Does It Mean For Your Marketing Team?”, Cunningham explained the most influential factors resulting in GTM changes include:
- Struggling to reach in-market buyers and decision makers due to the “work from anywhere” culture and the “rapid and unpredictable pace” that prospects change jobs;
- The impending recession and rising prices across the board, in terms of event costs, travel expenses and advertising rates; and
- The upcoming depreciation of third-party cookies that’s been threatening traditional advertising for years.
“We're now in an environment that is primed for marketing, sales and customer experience (CX) to have a real business conversation about revenue generation, efficiency and predictability,” she explained. “We've all been through major changes, so it’s time to put a padlock on our seats at the revenue table before we’re relegated back to the kiddie table with vanity metrics and making things pretty. One of the reasons this is becoming more critical is the sunset of the ‘growth at all costs’ mindset.”
As the growth-at-all-costs mentality becomes a relic of marketing’s past, Lisa Sharapata, CMO of BoostUp.ai, explained that the focus now is toward efficient growth in her (appropriately titled) session, “Move Over Growth At All Costs... Enter The Era Of Growth Efficiency.” She shared her seven tips for growth efficiency, which include:
- Hiring the best people and keeping them happy;
- Enabling the entire company to execute the GTM strategy;
- Reporting should shift annual recurring revenue to net revenue retention;
- Ensuring messaging encourages prospects to make purchases for the right reasons;
- Focusing on building relationships and trust;
- Prioritizing new channels, such as dark social; and
- Optimizing tech stacks.
Back in the keynote room, Cunningham elaborated on a handful of those points, explaining that GTM strategies are now interconnected with revenue changes. She explained that this means:
- Marketing teams can no longer hit their numbers with brute force; and
- Sales can’t just put more boots on the ground and hire more reps without focusing on rep efficiency.
Instead, the teams must work together and ensure that the overall customer experience is focused on lifetime value. In terms of the person best suited to keep internal teams aligned, Cunningham (with an admitted bias) suggested having the CMO own the entire GTM motion. However, she explained that any team member can be suited for the job if they hit the following requirements:
- A deep understanding of the market condition, with their finger on the pulse of industry shifts and trends;
- Orchestrating pre-sales experiences and breaking down silos;
- Truly understanding the CX an organization is trying to convey and orchestrating it in a way that drives adoption and retention; and
- Understanding how the CX drives a client’s roadmap, and vice versa.
“We’re talking about a tectonic shift in the way we drive revenue and be a truly aligned GTM team,” she explained. “It’s no longer even an advantage; it’s quite literally the cost of injury. We are at a tipping point in B2B GTM today, and there are three things CEOs need from their GTM leaders today: Revenue impact, efficiency and predictability.”
Strengthening Internal Alignment To Fuel Campaign Success
Expanding on the importance of internal alignment to fuel organization-wide success was MNTN’s CMO Ali Haeri with his afternoon keynote, “Sympathy Or Scrutiny? How To Build A Better Pipeline Between Sales & Marketing.” Throughout his presentation, he highlighted the foundational relationship between marketing and sales and discussed the importance of an amicable, yet critical, relationship between the two.
“I’ve had experiences where I didn’t have the best relationship with my sales counterparts, but I also had some great relationships with them,” explained Haeri. “When these two teams work together, things are great and life is easier — it’s very symbiotic.”
Haeri kicked off his session with the importance of fundamentals. He turned to an extended baseball metaphor and explained he’s worked with marketing leaders still wet behind their ears but were focused on hitting a home run instead of getting base hits — i.e., trying to land a front-page story on the Wall Street Journal right out of the gate. However, he explained that it’s important to start small, as “people get really far with base hits.”
As “fundamentals always win,” Haeri advised marketers to get the tried-and-true channels — landing pages, advertisements, lead conversions, etc. — in place first before heading to the big leagues of content, such as “trying to land on the front page of The Wall Street Journal.” With content in mind, Haeri emphasized the importance of creativity. Specifically, he encouraged marketers to ideate and test campaigns before adopting a technology provider that will help automate or reduce the manual effort put into a project.
“My philosophy as a marketing leader is that ingenuity beats technology,” said Haeri. “The toys are cool and serve a purpose, but the ingenuity is really what matters. The biggest and brightest ideas that we have aren't technically sophisticated. So, to the sales leaders, give your marketing team some space to try new things and press them on what they’re doing beyond the fundamentals. A lot of B2B marketing is homogeneous, so marketers need to create content that stands out.”
Finally, Haeri wrapped up with the importance of being prolific with content. Being that organizations put out so much content, he recommended marketers streamline it by:
- Questioning what the brand’s trying to accomplish to shape the content’s direction;
- Performing data analysis to determine the right quantity of content and the formats that generate the most engagement; and
- Creating purpose-driven assets and infusing research into them to educate prospects and buyers.
Stephanie Pye, Lead Product Marketing Manager at Momentive, homed in on specific types of research and content testing to help marketers strengthen their content. In her session, “Feedback Is Fuel: Using Insights To Supercharge Your Marketing Strategy,” Pye explained there are a few types of research marketers can leverage to “develop the packaging and messaging that’s going to stand out in a cluttered marketplace.
“New idea screening is great a way to narrow ideas down when you’re at the whiteboarding stage, so you can do a couple quick tests to see which ones resonate with audiences the most,” she explained. “As you narrow that down to a concept, a creative asset study will help you say, ‘OK, this idea is the winner — let’s pursue it.’ You also want to make sure you’re interacting with your prospects and customers to get their thoughts and feedback on current content initiatives. Finally, you need to understand customer sentiment to understand what leads to purchase behavior.”
Pye continued that all those tests should be used to continually improve content and campaigns to ensure organizations see the most success. In such a crowded, competitive arena, companies must challenge their traditional notions of marketing and sales and adapt their strategies to thrive amidst the evolution.