As we ramp up for a successful 2019, one topic that’s top of mind for many B2B sales and marketing leaders I’ve spoken with is their go-to-market strategy. What it boils down to for many executives is whether their company is targeting the right market segments and how well they are prepared to execute their strategy.
Why does this matter? Having a strong go-to-market strategy is strongly correlated to revenue performance. In our last surveyof 500 sales and marketing professionals, companies who exceeded their revenue targets last year are 5.3x more likely to have an advanced go-to-market strategy where their total addressable market is well defined, sales and marketing teams are well aligned and the company leverages programs like account based marketing (ABM) that are targeted and highly orchestrated.
For CMOs, heads of strategy, and demand generation teams, confidence in the 2019 plan means having the right targeting plan for both accounts and the key buying personas within. It also means having the right marketing programs plan that involves campaigns across different channels and tactics to engage the right targets and move them along the funnel.
For CROs and heads of sales operations, this typically means a concrete plan around sales territories and named accounts, with a focus on ensuring 1. the opportunities in pursuit have the highest likelihood to convert to revenue and 2. there are quota carrying reps with capacity to serve those accounts and, conversely, they’re equitably distributed among those quota carrying reps.
Designing and implementing a successful go-to-market strategy is not trivial. Typically data silos, manual processes, and dirty data get in the way of success. Companies may have defined what their ideal customer profile (ICP) looks like and have a notion of their total addressable market (TAM) but the data may sit on spreadsheets with executives and the corporate strategy team, and isn’t well understood, let alone visible, to the front line revenue teams. Operations teams struggle to maintain a clean and accurate data set of accounts and people within the TAM, resulting in sub-optimal sales territories. Measuring performance against the company’s plan is also difficult. Individual campaign metrics, like email responses, show part of the picture but don’t show the whole story of revenue performance and market penetration against the ICP and target segments. So, many companies miss opportunities to drive revenue and growth.
InsideView took to heart this market input and built a go-to-market decision engine that we launched last year, called InsideView Apex.It’s helped many customers like Castlight Health, Host Analytics, Salesforce, and Splunk define the right target segments and prospect accounts to accelerate revenue and measure progress as they grow.
Here are 4 steps to help you sharpen your go-to-market focus for 2019, with guiding tips of how InsideView Apex can help:
1. Define (and continuously refresh) your ICP and TAM as they are the foundation to go-to-market success
These three letter acronyms are critically important to defining a successful B2B go-to-market plan. If your company hasn’t already defined its ideal customer profile (ICP) and its total addressable market (TAM), or if it’s been a few years since it was reviewed, this is where you should start. Leading companies regularly assess them, but less than half of companies (47% according to our survey) do it on a regular basis. This will continue to be the most emphasized point until more companies are re-evaluating their ICP and TAM on a regular basis.
InsideView Apex enables you to define your ideal customer profile (ICP) with an easy wizard, visualize new/adjacent segments or territories and perform “what if” analyses to sharpen your targeting. Apex maps your existing customer and prospect data against InsideView external market data to understand and size your total addressable market (TAM). It also lets you analyze your market penetration, see white space opportunities, and export new accounts and contacts to execute targeted sales and marketing campaigns.
2. Start to measure funnel performance across target market segments
Many companies measure full funnel performance today (i.e. lead to opportunities to closed-won revenue) which is good! But many aren’t ready to optimize performance for their target segments that comprise their TAM. Measuring performance across market segments is key to refining your ICP and TAM (#1 above). If a measurement like sales cycle time or lead to opportunity conversion rate is important for your business, wouldn’t it be great to be able to see and compare what that metric is across two different target segments, e.g. ICP vs non-ICP, or ICP segment A vs ICP segment B? It’s easy to conceptualize but this is difficult today for most companies to operationalize since their ICP profile and TAM data is often missing, or if not, it may still reside in siloed systems that are hard to assemble to get a full lead-to-revenue performance picture. A good first step to make progress here is to tag accounts and leads in CRM and marketing automation by segment so you can start to segment your performance reporting.
InsideView Apex helps track the quality of leads and opportunities against target markets, so sales leaders can determine whether they are targeting the right markets, or if they need to adjust their focus to higher performing segments to increase revenue. Instead of manually tracking in spreadsheets, Apex provides a single place for all revenue teams to get business insights and take action to move their business forward.
3. Align sales and marketing teams on plan, data, metrics and communicate with transparency for results
Sales and marketing teams are often misaligned due to a number of factors – based on our study, the top 3 causes are lack of accurate data on target accounts and prospects, communication, and teams being measured by different metrics. There are some quick and easy steps to cure this. First, align teams on shared metrics. It may be unfair to measure marketing performance on closed-won bookings since most of it is in sales’ hands, but it’s ideal to have marketing sign up for a pipeline target for sales accepted opportunities. We do this at InsideView and many leading companies in our survey do this as well.
Second, plan and execute marketing campaign plans in concert with sales. What does that really mean? Invite them to planning meetings. Coordinate the cadence of marketing and sales outreach (touches) – see example below. Share campaign results. At InsideView, we run an alignment meeting where we dig into campaign performance and incorporate sales feedback. It drives trust and collaboration.
InsideView Apex aligns revenue teams to target the best opportunities by removing the typical silos, so you can:
- Build account based marketing (ABM) lists that focus sales and marketing on your top priority accounts first.
- Tag targeted accounts and leads within your sales and marketing workflow to align your revenue teams around your strategy.
- Uncover additional look-a-like accounts that closely match the characteristics of your ICPs, leveraging InsideView’s AI-based predictive modeling.
- Provide instructions on recommended actions for each ABM, ICP, or market segment to drive desired outcomes.
Figure: InsideView Apex surfaces AI-based predictions of best target accounts
Lastly, ensure accurate data so there’s alignment on the right target accounts and people to engage with by enlisting a data management strategy detailed below.
4. Implement or improve your customer data management strategy
A critical requirement and dependency of defining your go-to-market strategy is data hygiene, and ensuring your customer and prospect data is clean and accurate will also drive better sales and marketing alignment per point #3 above. At InsideView, we often use a 5-point framework for managing data hygiene, which covers:
- Standardizing data formats to fix data entry errors and inconsistencies that lead to duplicate records
- Cleaning against a trusted data source to ensure that inaccuracies are fixed on a timely basis
- De-duping to eliminate extra records and align them by object type – e.g. leads, accounts
- Enriching missing information – e.g. your inbound web leads so you can prioritize and route them correctly to the right salesperson
- Validating employment and email addresses for an outbound campaign
InsideView data management solutions provide an easy way to maintain data hygiene, enrich incomplete records, and validate contact information to improve campaign effectiveness.
Sharpening your go-to-market focus in 2019 can help your company increase its growth rate and beat revenue targets. But the process for defining and executing your GTM strategy takes effort and needs to be a continued priority. If you’re looking for a good place to start, consider applying this four step plan and let me know how it goes. We’d love to help you. Here are some more resources to help you get started: