2022 is proving to be another year of change. We’re entering a new era of work and a tough new economic climate. For go-to-market leaders, it’s back to the drawing board.
Go-to-market (GTM) simply refers to the strategy of launching and selling your product. In the old days, new account execs would get up to speed on GTM strategy at three-week bootcamps, then head right out into the field with a target list of clients. But in our new world of work, those days are over.
And as the market downturn starts to bite, startups can no longer hide behind viral user growth figures. Boards want to see revenue, resilience and runway.
Leaders are looking for new ways to get their teams to gel and deliver revenue, but no one’s sure what works anymore. It’s clear that this moment calls for a new playbook for building winning GTM teams. Here are a few ingredients in my recipe for GTM success next year.
Let new joiners self-guide their own onboarding
It’s time to bin the bootcamp and empower your new reps to self-guide their onboarding: visually, conversationally and on-demand at their own pace.
In my two decades in sales, nearly every role I’ve held has kicked off with an immersive bootcamp. Three weeks of packed agendas and information overload was the default approach to ingrain the company mantra firmly into our consciousness. It sort of worked, but it didn’t really cater to my learning style or that of other new joiners.
Covid didn’t just prove that this ritual isn’t necessary; it proved the value in letting new joiners process information according to their preferred learning style. At Pitch, we use our own tool together with Notion to organise onboarding information for new joiners, so they can digest it asynchronously in their first few days.
Set strategy iteratively and collaboratively
To get your teams ready to double down when things get tough next year, start setting strategy collaboratively now.
Top-down leadership used to be the default approach for software GTM teams. Leaders would set revenue and growth targets, the board would sign them off, and then account executives (AEs) and sales development representatives (SDRs) would execute with their productivity monitored down to the minute.
I believe in another way forward: creating buy-in and ownership by charting a course together.
When I was head of EMEA at scaleup CircleCI, I was tasked with building up a new region for an established American tech company. My US-based counterparts had their own way of doing things. But rather than just copy-pasting our US model, I focused on scaling a team that was purpose-built for EMEA’s intricate fabric of local business cultures. I sought sales reps that spoke the local language and understood local buying patterns, and complemented them with remote customer support hires in local timezones, and localised sales and marketing collateral. Together, we created a culture built on trust, empowerment and test-and-learn orientation.
This meant we could harness what had worked in the US, but adapt and evolve to meet the distinctive needs of the EMEA region. And it clicked — the region grew from 7% to 25% of company revenue.
Spend facetime with leads, partners and teammates wisely
The days of booking a conference booth “just to be seen” are over. Now that face-to-face time with partners is a choice, not a given, your teams should start thinking about how to spend it.
The shift to async, remote-first work has changed the dynamics of face-to-face interactions which now serve a new, higher purpose. And with belts about to tighten next year, even a quick coffee can make the difference between churn and retention.
Instead of trawling conference floors for leads, it’s time sales teams started reinvesting their time in deeper, more meaningful discussions. I’m encouraging my teams to seek out facetime proactively and to be intentional about making the most of it. Every meeting is a chance to build trust, generate value and get feedback we can act on.
Don’t just reference analytics, embrace them
To propel sales efforts next year, your team will need to balance rational analysis with instinctual judgment in ways that weren’t possible a few short years ago.
Most sales leaders will tell you that their teams’ strategies have been guided by analytics since long before it was fashionable. In practice this meant AEs retrofitting some convenient data to validate a preconceived hunch.
A lot has changed since those days, not least the quality of the insights available. It’s now possible to construct predictive, trigger-based systems for delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time in their user journey. Powerful new tools like Pocus have made signals more accessible and actionable, so start building your stack.
Save everyone a ton of time with the right tools
Make 2023 the year your sales reps conquer manual, repetitive admin work.
Data from a recent LinkedIn study suggest that the top-performing sales professionals were more than twice as likely to use sales tooling vs their underperforming counterparts. It’s time to automate everything from pipeline tracking (Pipedrive, HubSpot, Close) to contracting (HelloSign, DocuSign) and even call transcript analysis (Avoma, Gong).
Automation is the crucial step toward becoming an elite seller, with a process-oriented approach, a habit of continuously qualifying deals, and an understanding that time is your most precious asset.
Create team rituals everyone can share in (wherever they are)
Now that culture means more than hitting a gong and drinking together, sales teams can create new, meaningful rituals of celebration that reflect their unique shared values, mission and definition of success.
I’ve spent much of my career being "the guy in Europe" for American companies, and I’ve sometimes felt disconnected from colleagues. In those moments, values and principles really count. They’re a compass for decision-making and help keep distributed teams connected and aligned.
Now, as remote work becomes the norm, values can help us codify new, inclusive ways of building connection and camaraderie. And that responsibility isn’t just for leaders’ to own — it’s on all of us.