Sangram Vajre is the Co-Founder and CEO of GTM partners. Additionally, he is the Co-Founder of Terminus, ranked among Deloitte’s fastest-growing companies. Sangram the author of many novels, including ‘Move: The 4-question Go-to-Market Framework,’ which was named a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller. He also hosts Move: A Go-To-Market podcast, and leads the Peak Community group for CMO’s and emerging CMO’s.
Billy Bateman is the Co-Founder of ChatFunnels, a digital conversation analytics, and optimization solutions provider. He has a background in digital marketing, business operations, and entrepreneurship. Billy grew up in Idaho and graduated from Brigham Young University and has a Masters of Business Administration from Boise State University. He is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys fishing and hunting.
“…One of the biggest problems I am hearing is that pipeline for many companies is bigger than it ever has been, but our conversion to deals won is the smallest it has ever been. With that said…I have noticed that there are two mega shifts to understand. 1. The deeper metrics have changed and 2. There are multiple types GTM strategies to be considered.”
– Sangram Vajre
- Pivoting into profitability and efficiency
- Know your data, get it real time and make quick decisions
- How to prepare cost saving initiatives and what to consider
- Prioritize what matters most and distribute your resources appropriately
- Have deal flexibility in terms, price, bundles and timing
All right, everybody, it looks like we’re live. Sangram thanks for joining us.
Any time Billy. Excited to be with you. Let’s let’s get this going.
Yeah, yeah. Let’s get it going. So first, if you don’t know about about Sangram, you probably you know, living in a cave or you’ve got your head buried in the sand a little bit. He’s everywhere. He’s done a lot of things in his career. He ran marketing at party. He was a co-founder at Terminus. He’s a best selling author, podcast host, and he’s everywhere.
So you can’t escape the guy, but he’s got great knowledge to share with us and really excited. Anything, anything I left out on your list of accomplishments. I’m sure there is.
Well, there there’s definitely two. Two big ones. One like married for 17 years. And I’ve got two kids, 12 and eight. So I feel like that probably trumps everything else.
I agree that that’s awesome. Okay. So so we’re going to talk about how do you adjust your your go to market in today’s environment. I know we talked a lot about that in other sessions so far today. Dave Elkington and Mark Mohn and Rick Tollman of Salesforce talked about it. If you haven’t watched that, I encourage anybody go back, watch it.
It’s about an hour. They’ve got a lot of great insights that the three of them shared. But want to get Sangram’s insight on this. I know you’ve got you’ve got some opinions. We talked a little bit yesterday and getting ready for this. And so what do you what do you think people should be doing to adjust? Because what worked 12 months ago, even six months ago, probably is not working as well as it used to for you.
Know, as a matter of fact, right before this call, I was in a call with the CMO of over 100 million in Revenue Company, and by far, she said our pipeline was the best pipeline we had in quarter, like many quarters. And our conversion to win has been the least that has ever been. So this is a problem that every company of every size is facing, and it just becomes bigger the bigger that your organization is.
So everybody hang in there. I mean, it’s it’s a matter of a matter of time on that, for sure. But, you know, Billy, as you and I were chatting about it, what I have noticed that in the whole go to market space since I wrote the book Move, which is on go to market in 2019, that there are two big and mega, mega shifts that are happening in the space, and I think people need to really distill that down in order to see, well, what’s the undercurrent of everything that’s happening? Number one, the reality of it is that the metrics truly have changed, meaning if everybody for the last decade or two decades, you and I believe we probably have been focused on pipeline and revenue. Those are the most important metrics and clearly they are important like data, but they are still at a high level.
The deeper metrics for companies to be successful, especially SAS, if that’s your business, it is your are angry as a matter of fact Yamani Rangan, who is the CEO of HubSpot when I was interviewing her on that on in the community which is for marketers she said the number one metric that she looks at success for her entire organization.
Remember it’s a public company is that we’re all that’s it and our if and our R is over 100% it changes the equation for the for the organization and we’ll walk into an example of that. Yeah.
Yeah. So before we go any further, though, you know, we got mostly marketing and sales people. I’m sure a lot of them are familiar with what J.R.R. and our are, but do you mind just giving me a definition? So if anyone’s like what are they talking about?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Some most googling it. And I don’t know what you got out there. So let’s just talk about the three main metrics. Like most of them are probably split R, R, which is annual revenue. You just selling contracts at an annual rate and that’s pretty simple. G, r, r is your gross retention revenue, which means that how much of your customers are you retaining? And that has been one of the greatest challenges when you call, when you hear about the leaky bucket problem. But that’s what it is. You’re you’re getting a hundred customers and losing 70 of them. And that’s a problem for a lot of companies even today. And that’s that’s something you can start looking at as soon as you have a customer for a year or longer.
The key metric and now R is is really important one most companies didn’t really track this as much because now R is net revenue retention, which means with the existing customers you have, how much can you further expand in that company? So think about it like like, you know, you may have one product, let’s say it’s a chat product and from that you’re adding additional products to buy them, and therefore now the value of that one customer is lot more. That’s why the new R numbers are 100% or greater. If it is lower than 100%, that means you have had no expansion opportunity, which means that just buying what it is and renewing and that’s it. And that’s not a healthy metric. And I’ll give you a really interesting stat.
I was looking at Jason Lampkin. He wrote a few things on it and he’s like, Well, if you’re near R just mathematically, if you’re in R, R is 120%, you can literally keep going and keep keep growing as an organization even without adding a single new customer for next buy. Now think about that for a second. That’s not a conversation anybody is having, but if you’re having difficulty converting customers, you should even more look at an RR because think about it again.
If you’re new R is 1.8%, which means you’re selling more, do the existing customers who already trust you value you? You understand their business and you should be able to be more successful with them if you actually just focus on your existing customers and change that do from hundred percent to 20% or even better, for the next five years, you will still be growing without even adding a single new customer.
I think that should just make everybody just explode if they don’t know this concept.
Yeah, I mean, so when I did my MBA, like I heard this over and over again in different classes, it’s always cheaper to retain and to grow a customer than to go out and acquire a new one. So, I mean, it makes perfect sense and and just an example from here at at signal’s, you know, earlier this year, we we saw, you know, hey, things are starting to slow down, and we decided, okay, we’re going to really focus on our current accounts and how do we grow them and is there more services product we can offer to to expand their usage with us and retain them? And then last quarter, we hit our number and sales did did a good job, but they missed their number big. But my team was able to grow accounts by by really focusing it and we still hit hit our goal
So as so good right like almost sure of you as a leader and as an organization and on trying to be this coin operated revenue machine to like new sales machine to an actual revenue generating company.
Yeah. You know, I think if you can grow your accounts and figure out how to do that, like you’ve got a healthy business because that means your customers will love you if they’re not spending more money with you, they’re either indifferent or just kind of or they don’t even like you and they’re just stuck in a contract and they’re just like, Yep, you know, we’re in this thing for three more months, 18 more months, whatever it is, and then we’re getting out.
Yeah. So that’s, I mean, that’s one big mega shift that I think everybody has to wrap their brain around. And thank you for letting me expand on that. The other big shift that you and I talked about was this is and this is, again, very new. In the last two decades, most of the people who have been in marketing, we’re all used to inbound and content and marketing automation.
Some of us are probably also familiar with ABM in the last seven years and working on it, but that’s it. Like inbound outbound, like those were the two motions that most of us have been around. And I guess what? There is a PLG movement that is upon us. There is also community led growth and this is a great example of what you’re doing with building community that is ecosystem led growth that again, you cannot put in the existing frameworks and funnels because those funnels were made for acquisition and community and ecosystem are engagement conversations.
So it’s really hard to put all those things in the existing funnel. So now all of a sudden every marketer is either going to be asked now or in the next 12 months, Hey, what is our go to market motion? Be on inbound and outbound and you better have an answer for that question and that’s just saying, here’s why we shouldn’t do PLG or here’s why we absolutely should do PLG, and that is something people have to learn now on the job almost.
Yeah, yeah, I agree. You’ve got to be looking at more than one way to to to solve this problem. So let’s go through and I guess you you’ve done a lot of great content and like anyone, if you don’t follow Sangram on LinkedIn, go follow him connect. He posts great content. But one of the things you shared earlier, I think it was just a month or so ago, was the different types of go to market motions.
Yeah. Do you mind giving everybody like hey here’s you know we’ve got PLG inbound outbound but let’s just go down the list for anyone that’s like, what else is out there? What options do I have?
Well, there’s a lot of it. I’m going to just pull it up as we’re speaking so I can give you the definitions of it. So and I and this is my yesterday’s post so you can people if they’re following you can just downloaded from yesterday so I listed down six go to market motions most people get it right and driving conversions.
So now to expand on that, ABM is almost the AB outbound is ABM. So ABM led very focused on strategic accounts and targeted accounts, product led. Now this is really interesting because product lead doesn’t necessarily only means, oh, we build a product and people are going to buy. A lot of people thinking like, that’s our proclaiming means and it’s a very limited view of product led growth.
I advise everybody to really take a moment and think deeper on it. Product led growth is actually much bigger than that. It means that you can add product led growth even in your expansion motion, by creating different models for existing customers to buy your other products at a different way as opposed to sales process involved in it. Yeah, so there’s PLG, I think is much bigger than what people are making it to be.
So there’s a lot of research that as go to market partners, we are an analyst firm, so we started to write about it and I’m discovering that most people have a very narrow mind around what PLG is and they think that, Oh, you build a product and people buy it. Now that’s that’s not how it works. You need to have it go to market motion to get your product led growth to become a growth engine.
The other one is channel, which is really the idea of distributed signals all over the place where you enabling resellers agency all of all of that things start becoming really interesting. A lot of companies actually believe you probably know as well have built great businesses on the backs of great channels.
Yeah. Ecosystem is the new one that I think most people are not thinking about enough. They, you know, everybody’s trying to be, oh, I’m the best, I’m the greatest at this product and here’s how we sell it. But in reality, the best companies have great ecosystem. You think about Bromborough is a great example of that. It’s a data provider and lot of avium companies use that as a pipe for driving business and they make money on.
Every single time somebody uses data, you think about Salesforce is again another great example where they have a whole AppExchange and a whole ecosystem is selling. Like I was at Dreamforce this year, majority of the people were part of the ecosystem using it. And then the last category led, which I think a lot of us feel a lot of CIOs feel the pressure to build a category.
Having been there myself, I will say, don’t do it, don’t do it. This is what we asked. Possible option. You know, don’t take the blue pill. It is not something you should go after unless unless you are ready to devote the next decade of your life to that singular point of view.
Yeah, I agree with you on creating the category. It’s it’s not easy. I worked at inside sales when they before they were on their tear and you know, we were trying to create a category with with Dave as the CEO and it is a lot of work. But I’ll tell you this, what fueled a lot of that growth that they ultimately had there was the AppExchange first for inside sales.
Like on our marketing team, we were we were sending people like I’m running Yelp page search campaigns that don’t go back to our website, don’t go to a landing page. They go to AppExchange to sign up and get the app and just install the free trial in Salesforce. And I don’t know what the percentage was anymore, but it was a large percentage of of our new leads and new business was just like AppExchange and whether it was running ads or people just finding us because it was popular and we were always in the top ten huge way ecosystem. If you can get it, find a good way in as a great way to grow your business.
And you know, I think that challenged most marketers, everybody listening right now, they were like, okay, it’s great. Okay, now I have to think about more than one go to market motion in broadband. If that wasn’t difficult already with the conversion issue now adding blog and community and category and product and channel and ecosystem, the reality is this based on our research as you know, as building, building companies, but now even more as an analyst firm, what we’re seeing is every single company needs to have more than one go to market motion in play.
Yeah. You can’t while your eggs in one basket anymore. So I mean you listed off a few different motions. What do you think are the best ones to to mix and match like that play nice with each other because some of them are very different, you know, and it’s like, okay, if I do this, you know, if I’ve got an inbound motion, I got to have a team that supports that, and then I might need a whole separate team for a channel motion or or an ecosystem motion. Like what do you think are the best ones to pair together if you’re already doing this like it would probably make sense to try this one.
Yeah, you know, I think a good pair that we have seen so far and I’ll give you examples because we were talking to Snowflake and Atlassian and, you know, people were doing, you know, Mega like all of them skyrocketed and PLG One skyrocketed on the ABM. And what we are seeing is most companies if you are a the like a logistics to city examples think about Kalgoorlie as an example why if you’re in a very pure player, pure play pig mode where your product is great and you have great a great market category out there, so that’s when it works.
Really get a product. LED growth works really well when you category is very well established and you’re a leader in that category and you have created that movement. But everybody’s talking about you and you don’t have to do piecemeal a million things. You go to sleep, you see 100 people sign up for it next morning because you’re category is real and you have to fill that category.
So that works really well together. Another one you think about Snowflake, great example where they were initially did not have a field remote at all. What they had was a very much avian play. As a matter of fact, they were very early customers of Terminus. So I remember meeting their executive team and the demand team and they literally created landing pages for every single target account that they were going after, every single one of them.
And they literally had three interns built to build those things like, Oh, what’s the benefit of interns? They don’t go to meetings, so hire interns because they get work done. So we hired interns to do get and just great landing pages for every one of these these companies. And then they would create videos and get those companies engaged, and 100% of those companies engaged either say yay or nay, but they will engage because it was a page created for them and it was selling that. And they were doing that because they were over $100,000 deals at that, and now they’re selling over half million or million deals that at that time, that’s why they started. So their motion was very targeted.
ABM motion led by an ecosystem that they were creating at the same time. So I think it’s never the one and two, but I think there is that one two punch that makes sense. But one without the other doesn’t work. You can’t have a product company and no category like that. You can’t have a great outbound thing with absolutely no ecosystem or channel.
You will fail like those. Those I think two things do go to go hand-in-hand.
Okay. All right. Let’s let’s shift gears a little bit and like, let’s talk about the metrics. So we talked early about a what do they mean? But has a marketer how can I be focused on growing that growth and that now our number like, I mean, you know, what do I need to do? Because like initially I think most marketers are like, okay, great, that causes problem. Let’s see us a problem when it’s not like everybody should be on the revenue team. Yeah.
Yeah. You know, one of the things that, that we have been teaching as part of our roadshows ability is this, you know, it’s almost a therapy moment for everybody to just dig in and recognize this every time we even the call that I was right before this the the CMO of this hundred million dollar company is saying that, well, you know, we’ve got a sales problem, and I’m telling her that I’m I don’t think it’s a sales problem. It’s this is a market condition right now. So dependent on sales is to like really minimize where the problem is, is a market problem. And we need to now as a go to market team, need to think about how we’re going to solve that problem. So very quickly, I think we’re very quick to dismiss and point fingers saying, oh, it’s a marketing problem, go create a new messaging.
Oh, just sales problems, go higher, better sales reps or to see us problem big because we are churning customers where the problem is that our products don’t support enterprise and that’s why they’re it’s a product. Yeah. So a lot of times people say this, so here’s a therapy moment that we have done in every workshop to say it out loud, and so people may, may try that at home as they are listening to this thing and saying it out loud and say to the team meeting, when are you going to meeting this specific set of sentences? It’s like the grid out there is simply as this like we don’t have a marketing problem, we don’t have a sales problem, we don’t have a problem.
What we have is a go to market problem. So let’s now focus on what is the go to market problem we have and that allows everybody on the team to take a moment instead of putting on their like Save me jacket they put in like, how do I help you jacket? And that’s what you want. So if everybody can take one thing from this conversation is to just have a broader conversation in that meeting, bring your sales marketing us product, not to say you suck, but rather to say we have a go to market problem.
What can we do to solve that? Maybe we need to add a new feature. Maybe we need to change the way we do compensation. Maybe we need to change our messaging. What the and it could be any one of those solutions. But just because sales are not closing right now because of market condition, it’s a bad time to point to sales.
I like it. I like it because it’s not just it’s not their fault. Like this is the market conditions. What everyone needs to get on on the boat and say, okay, what can we do to help move these deals across the finish line? Or What can we do to help grow customers and sometimes it’s messaging and sometimes it’s a product problem here like you talked about earlier that, oh, they’re churning out.
We don’t support enterprise. Okay. Like, what do we need to add if we’re actually going to go down this road to support enterprise or they’re churning out because they’re too small, it’s too late, they don’t know. We actually need like three or four people in a marketing team to make this product work, you know, otherwise it just doesn’t make sense for them.
So, you know what’s also interesting, Billy, I don’t know if you notice that, but product lot of fence is not even in the room due to, you know, a lot of bands. People in the go to market with, oh, it’s marketing sales and yes, but as you rightly pointed out, product might very well be the cause or the reason or maybe a solution to the problem that you’re having right now.
They may be able to come up with like, you know what, okay, that’s the problem. If you’re not closing deal, but we can get more people on the trials. Maybe we can turn turn off some features, come up with a new slimmed down light version of our product, and get those people early on, give them three months of time to test it and then convert them into you.
Did that product could be the solution, but nobody’s even talking to them. They’re not even in the room a lot of times.
Yeah, unfortunately they aren’t. Like I’ve even made the mistake of like, hey, we talk about this, but you know, and I run product here, it signals. But my engineering team has a lot of great ideas is what I, what I found. And when we started bringing them in and we go through once a month and we look at everything that’s closed out of pipeline, whether it was won or lost, like, why did we win it?
Why did we lose it? And often our director engineering, he’ll be like, Hey, it seems like this is a problem. I think it’s actually a super easy fix within product. Like, I think we could roll this out this week, you know, give me a week and we can have that fixed and and that’s helped a lot. So if you’re not including your your product and your engineering team because even, you know, like, even just like the product guy who’s like, hey, you know, like this is what we need to do, bring that engineering leader in because they often they know how, how it’s really made, how that sausage is made.
And they can tell you, oh, easy things to do. Like I can get these done if I have my team even stay late tonight. So sometimes they’re that simple. Yeah. And, and bring them in and they, they’ll help you I think. I think anyone if you’re not doing it you’ll be surprised.
Yeah, you will be pleasantly surprised. Yeah. Yep.
Okay. So I wanted to talk a little bit. We all we’ve got, you know, we can go over, we can do whatever we want here, but let’s talk about some of the tactics that you’re seeing people are doing to help move deals down the funnel right now. Because one of the things that I’ve noticed from all of our sessions today is I’m hearing from leaders the top of the funnel has is as good as it’s ever been, maybe even better for some companies when it comes to sales up, getting them through all the way through and two closed.
One is harder than it’s been in recent memory. So what do you think people can be doing to to move them from you know, this is a qualified or net new up to this is closed one business.
Yeah I think it’s a great question and it’s something that everybody’s thinking and struggling with. And one of the things we are trying and testing and it seems to be working right now, not 100%, but we’re testing and doing is our sales leader here. He is literally creating a video of the walking through the proposal with a lot of times what we found was like, oh, they’re excited.
Oh, they’re ready to sign. And they got the budget and all that stuff and then there’s nothing. And like, you know, we all have comments like what happened? Did we not communicate like, where are we? So there are two things that he has done that has really been amazing. Number one, he would always have a follow up meeting set.
He would never leave a call without a meeting set on the calendar. And number two, it would be within agenda. Here’s where we will be and here’s what we would do and here’s what I’ll get. So he was very good about making sure that is there’s just conversation set up and number two in between is sending a video like two minute saying, hey, we just talk through this proposal.
Let me just walk you through what the proposal look like, because a lot of times now more than ever, people have to go and sell internally, even if they believe in their champions work. They have to go sell it to the CFO, sell it to the CEO or sell it to ten other people. So he’s like, Hey, I get it.
You know, you’re the champion for it. I’m going to help you sell. So he would do it. Two minute, very short video of walking through the proposal of what they get and what that includes and how it is a super value add and what we’re adding and giving them in addition to what they have asked. So they feel like they’re getting a good deal because everybody likes a good deal.
So you get to my video and what we see is people are now sharing that internally. We’ll see like five plays on that video. So we know that, okay, it’s at least at a minimum, it’s getting internally shared. So we know what’s going on behind the scenes, at least from a metric perspective. And so both of those things that are allowing the conversation to either get a necessary yes or necessary no, as opposed to a dark place like where you have no idea what’s going on.
So I think I would recommend people to try both of those things.
I like the I like the video proposal and like get in getting the meeting on calendar. Like that’s just old school sale. Like, yeah, like you don’t leave it call without next steps like yeah, but you’d be surprised how often like we, we leave a call and we’re in the aisle. I’ll talk to my sales team like, Hey, great. They’re like, Oh, great, call blah, blah, blah. And like, good, when’s the next call? Yeah. Oh.
Yeah. Or you know, I’m going to send an email like, no, no.
No, to get a time. And nobody is like, you’re just so little, but it’s such an important, impactful thing. And you’re right, it’s an old school, 1 to 1, but super valuable.
Super valuable. And in the video proposals I used to do when we were first starting, whenever I’d send a proposal out, I would use a loom. And just like, one minute, here’s what it is, walking you through everything. And I thought it was great. It let people just even if even if it was just to the person and I was already talking to the signer.
Yeah, they had that. They’ve got a million things on their plate. It’s easy to go back and watch a 1 to 2 minute video. Right. Oh, and then you mentioned one other tactic you guys have you guys have been helping people use, which is ROI studies. Yeah. I think more than ever you’re going to see the CFO getting involved in almost any deal over the next 12 to 18 months, and they’re going to want to know what’s the return on this?
Yeah, absolutely. So with the analyst firm that we launched in Partners, we’re doing like 50 or so of our studies now for companies to do really share what is our of the and that’s the one question that’s behind everybody’s mind right now, like why? Why should I buy this? It’s not that you don’t like people or you don’t like it.
A lot of it is true. But if you don’t know and if you can’t very easily and quickly given out life story, it’s gone. And if it’s not a total validation, then you can say all day long with the best org with industry leader, it’s like noise. So for a lot of our customers and also sales loft open prize all of these companies we are creating our ROI study and launching that and it’s literally one of the best things they’re using from a sales outreach perspective.
So are you guys going to customers interviewing like interviewing them, getting the data, putting it together, you know, because like there’s a lot of ways to do these ROI starts and in how to like with goods to help our, our, you know, whoever is here and watching. Like if you want to go do an ROIC study down and dirty and get something it to arm your sales team with, what do you think they should be doing?
Our great, great question. So the way we do it is we literally have partnership, the glue that allows us to look at behind the scenes data reviews and look at the actual data of what companies, which companies are winning, losing. So we have a little bit extra analysis of it. So we look at that, we look at one our data, looking at what is the intent look like.
We have a ton of different data elements that allows us to have a vague, quantifiable, third party validated risk analysis of saying, well, here’s what your time to value is based on just hundreds of reviews already available, right? But a stamp of a third party. But then if somebody wants to just do this by themselves, absolutely used to look at, you can ask your customers quantifiable things that they can then you can use and then have stories around it, but one of the most important thing that you would that I see missed out of the use cases, what is the use case for which that ROI made sense? So they’re on very clearly defined use cases like mid-market use, case enterprise use case, financial services use case. So when you’re talking to a direct customer who is in that industry or in that size, it will speak directly to them.
A lot of times our stories are very generic and like, I don’t even know it matters to me. So so you need to get a little bit more direct and focused on it.
I like it. Yeah. And then I think a lot of times like we’ve all seen the ROI calculator that they’ll send you in a fancy spreadsheet or it’s on the website. I personally am not a fan of sending those out because it just seems like you can manipulate it to be whatever you want, you know? Yeah, but I like the study where you’re actually talking to customers and say, hey, for X use case because you may hopefully your products got more than one use case, right?
And if you want to let people know like, okay, it’s more expensive than I thought or it’s more deeper than I thought, or it’s more insightful than I thought. And I think that’s what you want for that next conversation to happen.
I like it. I like it. Okay. Sangram, anything. Anything that I should have asked you if you’re like, Hey, if this guy was smart, he would ask me this question before we break.
I know, man. I think you did great, as a matter of fact, as a guest, because this was such a fun conversation. If anybody wants to follow me and send me a note on LinkedIn, I will send you a copy of the The Move book. Send also bought 2000 copies of the book and so I’m just wanting to give that away.
So shout out to send also for buying the book and anybody who’s listening, if this is worth and you want to take go to market the next it would be a free gift from me and and so inclusivity.
Awesome awesome. Thanks I’ve read the book. It’s great. So go ahead, get the book. Take him up on this offer, guys. So, okay, thank you, Sangram. And then stick around. I know we’ve got one. Pete’s going to wrap up our live session for Demand Gen and thanks for joining us for the Demand Gen Summit.
All right. Thanks, buddy. Thanks, everyone.