GTM Tactics You Need To Scale in Marketing, Sales, Product & Professional Services
Sep 12, 2023
Interested in reading more?
Sign up for our Enterprise Weekly Newsletter.
We'll send you our top, curated content straight to your inbox (along with top industry news, events, and fundings).
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Fresh off the launch of our Work-Bench Next NYC Network, we wanted to get into the nitty gritty GTM tactics these operators have used and proved-out on their journeys to scaling successful enterprise startups.
So we asked them, “what is the #1 tactic or piece of advice you have for an early-stage enterprise startup?”
This group of functional leaders spans Sales, Marketing, Product, Customer Success / Professional Services, Engineering, and more, from the world’s fastest growing and most iconic enterprise companies in NYC. And they’ve been through it all - from finding product-market fit and testing go-to-market motions, to building teams and closing multi-million dollar contacts.
Their top tactics below:
MARKETING: Power Up Your Brand Reach with Partnerships
At Mutiny, every event and webinar we do is in collaboration with one or more partners. This means, finding other non-competitive companies that already successfully market to your ICP and then partnering with them on co-marketing initiatives such as events, webinars, and content to tap into their audience (you're basically getting your brand in front of their audience for free!).
While it's definitely more upfront work to collaborate with partners, without them, you're on your own for distribution, which is challenging in the early days of startup life: "If you want to go fast, go alone... if you want to go far, go together."
Some I reach out to cold, while others I’m able to get a warm intro to, but most importantly, I always propose something simple and tangible - like a webinar or dinner. This is far better than a vague conversation about how great it would be to work together. In short, figure out what superpower you have that they want, and then leverage it. This can be as simple as the fact that small, scrappy startups usually work harder. You might have to volunteer to do all the legwork on a collaborative campaign, but once you prove yourself, partners will be lining up to work with you.
The biggest example of a successful partnership at Maturity is our virtual event "The Second Lever." We lined up nearly a dozen partners that all got behind our message and amplified the event, driving a total of over 5,000 registrants and 2,000 attendees.
MARKETING: Create Strong Alignment Between GTM Teams
In-person events can be highly effective in creating a unique experience where your prospects have the opportunity to meet your customers and team members, learn about your solution in a memorable way, and form meaningful connections. However, these tactics require significant effort and planning, a strong digital engagement campaign, solid alignment with go-to-market teams, and data-driven insights in order to unleash their full potential and determine what is/isn’t truly yielding results.
Here are the steps I’ve used:
Have a solid plan between Marketing, Business Development, and Sales on which accounts you want to target and how you’ll divide and conquer with both broader Marketing invites and high-touch, personalized invites.
Before setting the date, make sure you have strong customer advocates available to attend the event. Featuring your customers as the thought leaders of the event is a great way to help them shine in the community and allow them to share their expertise and lessons learned with others.
Getting an event registration is not the end of your job as a marketer - it's when the real work begins! We take a very personal approach to every event registrant, with the event host reaching out to them personally and building a relationship ahead of the dinner. We ask them to confirm their dietary restrictions, share a fun fact about themselves to be shared at the event, and offer them the opportunity to refer a peer who would also benefit from attending the event. We even send them a pre-event gift related to the restaurant or the theme of the event. We've seen this approach make a huge difference in attendance rates and it helps us connect with new contacts outside of our network
Make sure you have at least 5-6 weeks of lead time ahead of the event to give all your customer and prospect-facing teams enough time to really work their contacts.
Most companies invest heavily in Product Marketing and Demand Generation to gain more leads and enable Sales, but don’t understand the dependency on Marketing Operations to enable the Marketing team, particularly Demand Generation. The problem is without an Operations mindset, these leads can often fail to be as productive as intended, facing a series of issues including inaccurate routing to sales for follow-up, inadequate warming of early-stage leads to get them sales-ready, a focus on quantity as opposed to quality (passing as a MQL and SQL), and more. All of which can stall Demand Gen progress and affect Marketing efficiency.
In my mind, the ideal marketing team hiring progression is 1) a semi-experienced Marketing generalist who can work across demand gen, content, digital marketing, and product marketing, but also understand the operational function - this person will be a catch-all for Marketing in the earliest days of the company and generally will skew either Demand Gen or Product Marketing expertise, 2) a Product Marketer or Demand Gen Specialist who can add a more technical or sales-driven approach to the overall marketing function, 3) a Marketing Ops Specialist to better drive efficiency and more predictable results. This person will track performance by creating a log of historical campaigns, unraveling any marketing debt, fine-tuning the handoff to sales, and setting the team up for future efficiencies.
The role of Marketing Ops is to look at marketing campaigns through a more strategic lens, adding automation and operations expertise where possible to ensure campaigns are measurable, repeatable, and scalable. In short, Marketing Ops can serve as a guide and partner for Demand Gen, Product Marketing, and Sales counterparts.
Here are two examples of how/when Marketing Ops stepped in to better align our Marketing organization:
1. Align on the right set of Marketing metrics: IMQL criteria can easily become inflated and/or out of sync with business KPIs. Initially, our company was focused on MQL creation, and distracted from what was really important – how MQLs were converting to SQLs and pipeline. Marketing Ops helped identify that our MQL criteria was off, noticing the conversion rate to SQL was incredibly low and continually declining, and that we were wasting a lot of money on mis-targeted, top of funnel campaigns that were unlikely to produce any real business value despite boosting up the MQL number.
2. Determine capacity issues: Our demand generation had seemingly plateaued for several months, and it was an Marketing Ops investigation that determined we had hit a capacity issue whereby it wasn't possible to create a more marketing-sourced pipeline. The reason was our one inbound SDR was overloaded and they couldn't feasibly work the quantity of higher quality leads with effort, quickness, and personalization necessary to convert them at the same rate as she previously had. We were essentially wasting hard-earned leads because we had a follow-up bottleneck.
Our methodology for booking a Sales meeting is grounded in thorough research and customization at all levels – industry, organization, and buyer profile. There are a variety of strategies and tactics we utilize to engage a prospect, including but not limited to:
Do Personalized Research:
Your Own Content: Determine if prospects have visited your site or downloaded/read any of your content.
Public & Social Media: Utilize prospects’ Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, interviews, conference talk recordings, etc. at both the Lead and Account level to help dig up more personal information about them.
News & Reports: Utilize news articles and public data reports from reliable sources like Forrester, Garnter, Deloitte, and Crunchbase.
10K Reports & Quarterly Investor Calls or Presentations (for public companies only): Look for specific pain points, needs, priorities, and strategic initiatives outlined in these documents that you can align with.
Leverage Personalized Content: Generally, no one cares about you or what you are selling. Relevance is driven by staying specific to the company and individuals targeted, not about what you are selling. Customize outreach about the company or prospect, their pain points, and how you solve their pain points. Where possible, validate product usage by leveraging current client case studies that are aligned by industry, size, and geography. And follow ups should include content that is valuable to the prospect, no one wants to “just be checked in.”
It’s important to relentlessly pursue customer feedback early and often. In the early days, be cautious about primarily leaning on feedback from close friends as you’re likely to receive watered-down comments. Instead seek out a genuine emotional reaction from your target user base, and have the courage to internalize the biggest pain points with the product. This feedback is gold.
In those first days of building, I often remind folks that friction generates light. What I mean is, on Day 1, don’t devote an inordinate amount of effort to removing friction from the experience. It’s valuable to get an early sense of how far your adopters are willing to scale roadblocks to use the product. Sometimes when we automatically sign people up as users we mask the real feedback that the product is not yet providing enough value. Seeing people hack ways to adopt the product is great feedback that you’re onto something special. At this point, it makes sense to smoothen the experience.
One of the key aspects contributing to our team's success is careful identification of any prerequisite efforts that may be required prior to starting the implementation of the platform.
To fully realize the value of the solution there is often a need for pre-deployment prep work. This may include data normalization, infrastructural changes, or changes to existing processes. However, the prep phase can be very resource-intensive, time-consuming, and may involve extensive efforts on the part of the customer. When these prerequisites are not clearly and effectively identified by us during the presales cycles, it often leads to unpleasant surprises for the customer and complications during the implementation, ultimately manifesting itself as an expectation for us as the vendor to assume full responsibility for this preparatory work at no additional cost. This, in turn, affects our staffing needs, billable rates, attach rates, and profit margins.
However, shifting the timeframe to identify and scope these tasks left (i.e. to the pre-sales phase) helps effectively mitigate these challenges. This approach allows us to appropriately scope and budget for the prep work upfront, providing a transparent implementation cost estimate to the customer, and giving them a choice for how to fund and staff this work, as well as enabling us to recoup any the investment we would need to make should we be asked to do the work on the customer's behalf. As a result, this ensures a smooth transition to the implementation phase, accelerates time to value, increases project ROI for our customers, and allows us to maintain a higher margin on services work. In short, this approach is a win-win for us and our customers.
PROFESSIONAL SERVICES: Create Teams Built To Scale
Professional Services offers a lot of ground for creativity when it comes to the team structure, role definitions, operations, etc.
When operating in a startup environment your pace of growth is usually fast, meaning many of the problems that you solved for today, you'll have to solve for again in the future at a larger scale. In that nature, your team's structure and roles should be defined in a way that best serves the needs of your customers. Depending on the stage you're in and how your product evolves, different structures and role definitions will serve you better. As an example, here's how things evolved in our case:
Before: We always had two teams/roles - Engagement Managers (EM) and Field Engineers (FDE). Initially everyone did everything within their role. They managed implementations and ongoing customers, rotated for on-call, did customer facing work, as well as work on heads down projects. We could see that this would soon not scale.
We split the FDE team into an Implementation/Delivery team and Product Specialists (a role that was not assigned to specific customers and could focus more on heads down work). This change had a tremendous difference on the team wellbeing and predictability of the work.
We brought EM/FDE's together under the one structure for implementation and one for ongoing work, noticing that having one team of EM's and one with FDE's did not allow for close collaboration.
Future: We may decide to adjust the structure again to solve for new challenges and patterns - change is constant and teams need to feel comfortable going through it. It's important that you build a good level of trust in the team, and they understand that change is part of growth and that it brings opportunities.