How Cross-Team Alignment Can Optimize Your 2019 Go-to-Market Strategy

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2019 is here, and with it comes a new opportunity to make your go-to-market (GTM) strategy work for you.

There’s now a near-endless array of GTM routes available, and a solid cross-team planning strategy supported by revenue operations (RevOps) can help companies ensure that the routes they’ve chosen work together to support revenue acceleration.

This was the topic of our recent webinar, “Scaling Revenue Operations and Planning for 2019 and Beyond.” There, LeanData CMO Karen Steele and special guest Steve Silver, Senior Research Director at SiriusDecisions, came together to explain:

  • Market trends for planning and building a comprehensive GTM strategy in 2019.
  • How RevOps can help you achieve your 2019 GTM plan.
  • How to use cross-team planning to align departments and drive GTM change.
  • An effective sales planning model that can support revenue acceleration.

In this recap, we’ll explore the webinar’s insights in-depth. Or, if you’d prefer to skip to the point, scroll to the bottom to see the webinar’s key takeaways.

Today’s Complex B2B Buyer Journey

Buyers simply aren’t what they used to be, and complex B2B buyer behavior means that an agile GTM strategy is critical to achieving GTM success.

Today, buyers have access to an unprecedented amount of information, from webinars to whitepapers to conversations with sales reps. As a result, there are countless points along the buying phase where buyers may be conducting in-depth research of their own. McKinsey provides an excellent diagram of this process, which they refer to as the customer decision journey:

There is now a myriad of touchpoints with prospects and customers, all of which have the potential to deliver results.

Unfortunately, sellers often lack the ability to track all buyer interactions and identify which are the most effective. So, the main hurdle that companies need to overcome is that of mapping their buyers’ progress in the purchase process.

It’s also important to note that all the changes taking place in the buying process also apply to the customer lifecycle. As buyers become customers, a smooth transition is essential to forming a long-term relationship.

The Need for Cross-Team GTM Planning

During the customer lifecycle, companies need to match the expectations that they’ve created during the buying process through an aligned cross-team planning process across product, marketing and sales.

Companies who accomplish this are few and far between: According to 2017 research from SiriusDecisions, only 14 percent of B2B organizations report having an aligned cross-team planning process.

Further, only 55 percent of sales plans are delivered before the start of the fiscal year, and 32 percent of sales organizations estimate that they lose at least one month of productivity while re-evaluating account and territory assignments.

Perhaps because of this overall lack of aligned cross-team planning processes, chief marketing officers (CMOs) seem to agree that establishing such a process is a top priority, with 17 percent focusing on marketing planning in particular.

Chief sales officers (CSOs) are also placing an emphasis on aspects of the sales planning process such as efficiency and expansion when working to reach revenue growth goals.

An Ever-Changing GTM Landscape

While only a small handful of GTM strategies were available 20 years ago, a staggering number is available today, thanks in no small part to the invention of customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation.

With so many choices at their disposal, companies must continuously adapt to the breakneck speed of GTM change in order to succeed. The bottom line is that the ability to proactively manage GTM change will be the key to B2B revenue growth going forward.

As an added challenge, there are a great many people who either directly or indirectly affect revenue. Because of this, multiple siloed revenue teams need to align in order to effectively manage GTM change. This is where a cross-team planning strategy led by RevOps is essential.

A RevOps team sits in the middle of previously siloed marketing, sales, customer success and partner channel ops teams to support cross-team alignment.

But how many companies are actually using RevOps specifically? LeanData and Sales Hacker’s recent report, “The State of Revenue Ops 2018,” revealed that 35 percent of companies are actually using or building a RevOps team, while 45 percent are doing neither.

To find out why 45 percent of companies are failing to implement RevOps, we asked survey respondents to name their biggest challenges.

The most commonly cited were leaders’:

  • Lack of knowledge on how to build a RevOps team (31 percent).
  • Inability to build the right RevOps team structure (21 percent).

How to Build an Aligned Cross-Team Planning Process

Even if companies aren’t ready to form a dedicated RevOps team, they can still successfully tackle GTM change and optimize revenue by focusing on three key areas of the planning process across all teams:

  1. Business alignment.
  2. Functional interlock.
  3. Execution readiness.

Sales teams and marketing teams can begin to address those areas by asking specific sets of questions:

Business Alignment Functional Interlock Execution Readiness
What are our shared goals?
Who are our buyers?
How do they buy?
Why do they buy?
What is the most efficient way to reach our target market?
What is the sales structure?
What campaigns should we run?
What roles and skills do we need?
How do we allocate accounts, territories and quotas?
How do we compensate sellers?
What is the respective contribution to demand?
What is the expected contribution to revenue?
What processes, metrics and tools do we need to execute the plan?

SiriusDecisions found that companies’ ability to intelligently answer those questions is often hindered by manual and time-consuming cross-team planning methods (like spreadsheets), as well as their failure to use more than two years of performance data.

To solve this problem, companies need to treat cross-team planning as a continuous process and implement a GTM/ops platform.

Such a platform can support a strong GTM strategy by providing lead-to-account matching, routing and marketing attribution while simultaneously aligning GTM teams on the same metrics.

Key GTM Planning Takeaways for 2019

As we head into 2019, companies need to remember these key takeaways when planning their GTM mix:

  1. Best-in-class Go-to-Market (GTM) strategies must be agile and take into account today’s complex customer journey and changing market conditions.
  2. A cross-team planning strategy driven by a RevOps team can drive GTM change and align goals and strategies across key revenue teams.
  3. Without powerful GTM planning and execution technology, it can be difficult to collect, analyze, and leverage data, ultimately impacting a company’s bottom line.

Although today’s plethora of GTM routes can present companies with challenges, it can also present an unprecedented opportunity to understand buyers, integrate teams and achieve revenue growth.

  • go-to-market
  • revenue operations