Connecting Data to People Across Any Go-to-Market Model: ABM and Inbound

November 29, 2018 Maile Johnson

At Ops-Stars 2018, conversations around changing GTM strategies were widespread. That’s why LeanData hosted a dedicated Ops-Stars workshop as well as a recent webinar, “Connecting Data to People Across Any Go-to-Market Model,” to empower operations professionals to put new GTM strategies into action.

During the webinar, LeanData’s Head of Training Kevin Au and Director of Product Marketing Satarupa Chatterjee took listeners through actionable go-to-market (GTM) routes designed to drive revenue faster.

Here, we’ll dive into the webinar’s insights and takeaways, from industry trends to the best inbound and account-based marketing (ABM) practices. We’ll take a look at:

  • Why it’s crucial for companies to diversify their GTM strategies
  • Exclusive Ops-Stars 2018 survey results on GTM data
  • The challenges of and best practices for GTM strategies including ABM and inbound Or, if you’d like to keep things short and sweet, scroll to the bottom to see the webinar’s key takeaways.

Why Go-to-Market Change is Mission Critical

Simply put, a flexible and constantly evolving GTM strategy is more important than ever because there are more options at our disposal than ever. For context, while GTM previously took 40 years to evolve from basic modern marketing into e-commerce, recent years have seen a skyrocketing array of GTM choices.

Keep in mind that this plethora of new GTM routes hasn’t replaced those of the past — they’ve simply provided marketers with more strategies to grapple with.

With so many choices at our disposal to go to market, it’s essential that you do two things when considering your options:

  1. Expand your GTM mix to include new routes.
  2. Continue optimizing that GTM mix to boost revenue.

The reality is that most companies simply aren’t successful in their GTM change initiatives: According to McKinsey & Company, 70 percent of complex, large-scale change programs fall flat. This results in an astonishing 84 percent of marketing programs that are second-rate, as discovered by Copernicus Marketing Consulting.

The question remains, why are marketing teams failing to perfect their GTM mix? We examined the answers to that question in a recent blog post, where we looked at a compelling comparison of two startups.

To summarize our analysis, the company that thrives with a dynamic sales and marketing GTM mix will be the one to see the most revenue growth.

Ops-Stars 2018 Survey Results

At Ops-Stars 2018, LeanData surveyed workshop attendees to find out exactly how they’re going to market.

According to the survey, the vast majority of respondents (88.9 percent) are using an inbound motion, followed by partner/channel, customer upsells, outbound and ABM.

Ninety-four percent of companies change their GTM motions at least once each year, while only 6 percent do so every five years.

Given that most companies are utilizing multiple parallel GTM strategies, it’s important to have a platform that’s flexible enough to accommodate all that change.

Making the Most of an Inbound Go-to-Market Strategy

As the survey results showed, most companies are using some form of inbound motion. However, an inbound GTM strategy isn’t without challenges.

Common challenges include:

  • Speed to lead: It’s not uncommon for companies to struggle to generate and follow-up with leads quickly enough. In some cases, minutes or even seconds can mean the difference between a closed deal and a lost lead. This is why outsourced sales teams can be vital to companies with international prospects.
  • Dealing with customer accounts: It’s important that sales reps aren’t distracted from pursuing new leads. Thus, it typically makes more sense for customer service managers to handle existing customers instead.
  • Activating the sales cycle: With an inbound strategy, you’ll receive a wide range of leads with varying levels of interest and awareness. This means that the sales cycle should be activated differently for different types of leads.
  • Sales headcount turnover: As sales reps come and go, companies find themselves repeatedly reshuffling their territories and segments. Because of this, companies’ processes should be designed to flexibly handle that turnover.
  • Too much or too little inbound volume: Companies that pursue a heavily inbound strategy are at the mercy of their inbound volume, whether they’re getting too many or too few leads. As a result, companies may hire additional reps during a high-volume period, only to soon find that they have too few leads for their new reps to follow-up with.

Knowing this, it makes sense that some of the best practices around inbound GTM routes involve addressing those challenges:

  • Segment and prioritize incoming leads to ensure that the right reps get the right leads at the right time. Ideally, this process should be automated.
  • Identify if other leads or contacts from the same company are already in the sales cycle to prevent sales reps from doing a significant amount of unnecessary work.
  • Give reps a fixed time to follow-up to create a sense of urgency and give reps the motivation they need to pick up the phone and reach out.
  • Filter leads from existing customer accounts and reroute them to the appropriate people to keep sales reps focused on selling rather than providing customer support.
  • Use scoring-based pools in a Round Robin model to help you serve leads more intelligently. In other words, distribute by equal interest, not by equal volume.

Advanced lead routing solutions can help companies streamline their inbound strategy: One enterprise found that LeanData’s advanced lead routing led to a faster sales cycle and increased scalability.

Mastering Modern Account-Based Marketing

B2B sales have become so complex that an increasing number of companies are looking to ABM for a solution. However, ABM comes with its own set of hurdles:

  • Dealing with customer accounts: With ABM, a more nurturing and relational selling motion is preferred, as opposed to one that’s more aggressive.
  • Distributing target accounts: It can be difficult to determine who gets which account and whether the distribution process is fair and equitable.
  • Sales development rep (SDR) and account executive (AE) handoff: Companies can struggle to decide whether they should do an SDR to AE handoff for all accounts and if not, which accounts they should do that for.
  • Tracking engagement levels: With an ABM approach, it’s important to track the engagement of entire accounts, not just leads.

As with an inbound GTM route, the best practices from an ABM strategy addresses those challenges:

  • Identifying the right target accounts may be time-consuming but can ultimately make or break a company’s bottom line.
  • Routing target accounts to field reps can ensure the right reps are engaged with the most strategic accounts.
  • Merging and auto-converting leads into the appropriate account is essential because it eliminates time-wasting duplicate leads. This also ensures that account context is central to your followup.
  • High-confidence matching and tagging will ensure that leads are matched with the right accounts and correctly tagged.

Companies can also benefit from:

  • Routing on updates based on a matched account score (MQL) helps companies to prioritize leads and accounts.
  • Account-based selling that complements a company’s ABM strategy can help secure more accounts, even if they’re not a target account.
  • Related lead matching and auto account creation make it possible for an ABM strategy to net new leads rather than simply nurturing existing ones.

Intelligent lead matching solutions like LeanData’s can go a long way toward building an effective ABM strategy: The world’s third-largest flash data storage company found that LeanData’s solution showed the most accurate attribution story by far.

Key Takeaways

There are several crucial lessons you can glean from this webinar:

  • Route leads based on account context, even if you’re not pursuing an ABM strategy.
  • Use related lead activity to inform routing.
  • Re-route based on time or activity, especially if you’re pursuing an inbound model.
  • Segment and orchestrate different buying signals and buying groups.
  • Auto-create tasks for better sales follow-up and tracking.

And, perhaps most importantly:

  • Flexibility is critical: Iterate on your strategy quickly and with confidence.

Finally, remember that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all GTM strategy: The right GTM strategy for you will be based on multiple integrated strategies.

Whether you’re one of the 88.9 percent of companies that uses an inbound strategy or an early adopter of the Demand Unit Waterfall, a thoughtful and highly flexible approach to diversifying your GTM strategies can mean the difference between growth and stagnation.

Learn more about how you can optimize your company’s GTM mix by accessing the full webinar recording here.

About the Author

Maile Johnson

Maile leads LeanData’s demand gen, marketing ops, and field marketing efforts. A Bay Area native, Maile grew up surfing waves in Half Moon Bay. She earned her MBA while living abroad in Australia and her bachelor's at UC Santa Barbara. Today, she applies her expertise to growing and expanding demand for LeanData.

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