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2023's Halftime Report

2023's Halftime Report

Over the last six months, I have worked with 20+ SaaS companies and 50+ individuals. 

I have worked alongside VCs, Chairman, CEO, CMO, CRO, marketers and account executives. 

It works out to spending around 500+ hours working on GTM challenges. 

Across a variety of GTM motions, products, geos and services. 

Here are my key learnings: 


Insight #1: Not one variable or team drives the growth of the pipeline. 

The GTM success is a nested alignment between teams. 

There is a lot of talk about Marketing Led Growth, Product Led Growth, and Customer Led Growth (can go on and on). All of this theory is good. But observing many different teams, you realise it's not just marketing or sales that defines the destiny of growth. One team plays one part; the influence, especially marketing, can sometimes be small, especially if not linked to the whole engine. 

I see the most successful GTM motions execute as "One Commercial Engine",

Working together provides greater leverage. 

But still, many rarely do. 

Further Reading: 
↳ Why Sales Led Growth Doesn't Work and What to Do About It

Insight #2: Nobody knows their customer experience. 

You can only scale your pipeline by first knowing the customer journey. 

The best CMOs or CROs have this mapped out. 

Most do not. 

Most leaders design a marketing strategy or a sales playbook without knowing the customer's experience/journey. A big mistake. Why? Because the customer journey is how you'll map your strategy and execute your tactics. Without it, you are flying blind. 

Are you 100% on your customer journey? 

If not, fix that next week. 

2H depends on it. 

Further Reading: 
↳ Buyer Centric Marketing Machines 

Insight #3: Most marketing (or GTM) plans are confusing 

For the first ten years of my career, I was terrible at making a "clear" strategy. 

It was too complicated and had too much included.

Way too optimistic. 

Like most. 

I see 4-5 marketing plans per month. 

The differences: 

Bad ones…

• Includes every new marketing tactic and 10+ channels
• Lots of "detail" but hard to understand 
• 50+ slides with no structure 
• Unclear on what you'll do 
• Can't see processes 
• No asks for help 

Good ones… 

• Helps you understand variance of success (bad/likely/best case scenarios) 
• Clear on what the team will do (goals/milestones/micro-milestones) 
• Precise asks for help and support in removing blockers
• Details category positioning and how to win  
• Concise, clear and well-structured
• Narrow focus 

Remember: clear, not clever. 

I, for years, tried to be clever. 

Try not to do that. 

Further Reading:
↳ Marketing Strategy for SaaS Companies, Simplified 

Insight #4: Sales & marketing alignment is alarmingly broken (in most cases) 

90% of sales and marketing teams say they are misaligned across strategy, process, content and culture.

(stat from Linkedin, 2023). 

With alignment being so important, why is alignment still so bad? 

It's because everyone is thinking about themselves. 

- CMO worries about the pipeline. 
- CRO worries about revenue. 
- CCO worries about upsell/cross-sell 
- CFO worries about saving money 

Everyone worries about losing their job because targets, results and pressure are intense. 

How to solve this challenge: 

The business (or CEO) needs to create an environment of psychological safety. 

Only then will it help to get people working together to scale the business. 

It would be best if you got people to reframe the approach. 

Alignment is critical if you want to grow. 

Further Reading:
↳ Why Marketing GTM Fails 

Insight #5: Outbound marketing & sales is more complex than ever. 

I see most weeks that results from outbound are tighter and diminishing. 

The macro plays a part, but it's still an issue. 

It goes back to the customer journey in B2B. 

Buyers don't want to be hassled constantly in Linkedin to a meeting and being "sold" or "qualified". 

Prospects are more savvy. 

How are people solving this issue: 
- Designing more integrated GTM motions with content (especially middle/ bottom funnel)
- Re-training SDRs to be relationship-driven (enablement that builds knowledge of the market, the ICP challenges, how to nurture correctly, and how to have intelligent conversations) 
- Less volume (at the same time, they have mapped more thoughtfully on what the "value exchange" for the prospect is going to be, so it's clear) 
- Different types of outreach (pincer movements, research campaigns, podcast campaigns, and content thought leadership studies) 

AI also affects parts of the role, so focusing on capabilities and enablement is essential. In 2-3 years, the SDR role will be more like a "community manager" focused on building awareness and engagement with an audience. 

Further Reading:
↳ Chat GPT for Cold Email Prospecting: Does it Work?

Insight #6: Most don't have a well-defined ICP, ideal audience profile and a remarketing plan 

The faster-growing SaaS companies have the clearest ICP and know their audience.  

One of the hardest things with GTM is being "crystal clear" on your ICP. 

The best CMOs fight hard to make the CRO understand it's critical. 

It informs everything you do—positioning, campaigns etc. 

Most CROs assume they know the ICP and audience. 

Please don't make assumptions. 

It would help to be clear on "exactly" the ICP, ideal audience and segments. 

Further Reading:
↳ What Is Narrative Alignment? Get Serious About Your Positioning Execution

Insight #7: People still make the fundamental difference 

This is the most obvious statement ever, right? 

Well, yes and no. 

People take lots of shortcuts when it comes to people. 


- Bad hiring process 
- Poor internal culture 
- Limited enablement 

Yes, a good product will significantly impact your scaling and growth. 

But forget all the strategies and tactics in the world. 

You need to focus on your number #1 asset: people to succeed. 

Each week, I see more and more the value of great people in a business. 

That's the proper foundation of "wanting to scale". 

- Invest in people. 
- Invest in culture. 
- Invest in training. 

It will help. 

Whenever you're ready, there are three ways I can help you:

(1) DUE DILIGENCE FOR INVESTORS & CEOs: A bespoke framework and capability model 'DEMAND KARMA' that delivers DD services to investors, VC firms and CEOs.

(2) ADVISORY: Retained advisory at funded scale-ups. A simple monthly fee. Helping CEOs build a scalable marketing machine. (Booked out until December)

(3) STRATEGY COACHING: Book time on my calendar to work through a standalone project or to get answers to your most pressing marketing strategy and execution questions.

If you're interested, let's jump on a call to see if you're a good fit.

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