Few products successfully penetrate the market and reach revenue expectations as companies are not organizing Marketing to generate revenue. Many companies have some of the necessary Marketing functions in place but very few have assembled all of the necessary Marketing elements for an optimized go-to-market strategy. The graphic to the left is part of a market penetration strategy and summarizes the Marketing structure that can be leveraged to create a managed, repeatable process to effectively manage the product life cycle and generate revenue.
Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
The transition of the offering from development to marketing is a critical step in the go to market strategy as it bridges the transfer from development to the SMEs. The SMEs should be engaged in the development process from day one as they have that balance of technical and business knowledge. SMEs have an in-depth understanding of the industry (business models, supply chains, industry make-up, etc.), the operational workflows (tactical steps, jargon, metrics, process, etc.) and the technology to make it all happen. SME’s are the resources the field leverages for strategic conversations at the c-level as well as operational discussions at the director level. SME’s are key spokespeople, keynote speakers, contacts for the press, analysts, influencers and drive content for social media. The SMEs are a critical component in the go to market strategy as they have a comprehensive understanding of markets, competitors, technology and customers and is essential in guiding development and implementations. And, of course, SMEs can help prospects build a business case to make investments in technology.
The Marketing Blueprint
The marketing blueprint contains the content that drives customer acquisition. The Product Marketing, Solution Marketing or Industry Marketing function is responsible to drive the formal transfer of knowledge from development to marketing but often times this is not understood or formalized in an organization (messaging, use cases, buyer intent, assets, etc.). The content from the blueprint should fuel lead generation, lead management and the sales process as opposed to leaving this to an ah-hoc one-off process. One way to think of the blueprint is to think of how a police sketch artist supports law enforcement in finding a suspect by providing a detailed sketch of the suspect. The more detailed the sketch, the easier it is to make a match. The same concept applies to the marketing blueprint and it should be contained in any marketing strategy PowerPoint deck. The more information about the market, business pain, company, decision maker, users, implementers, etc. that can be communicated to the rest of the organization, the more relevant, and compelling the messaging, content and sales tools.
In the go to market strategy, there should be a marketing blueprint that is the formal document by which information is passed from development to marketing and often includes:
- Documents the plan by working with GM’s, Product Management, SMEs and Sales and guides marketing resources to build and execute campaigns
- Builds the value proposition and messaging
- Communicate the key use cases
- Identify the compelling events that break the ice for the solution
- Describes the target audience in a target Account profile
- Documents the persona of the people in the purchase decision
- Outlines where and how value is perceived
- Describes who buys and why
- Develops the SWOT for the industry
- Provides the competitive landscape and positioning of vendors
- Outlines the market penetration strategy
- Summarizes the market trends, challenges and opportunities
- Herds the crowd to formalize packaging and pricing
Global Programs and Campaign Development
The goal of campaign development is to build an integrated lead generation plan that will build qualified leads and support the revenue goals defined in the go to market strategy. While this activity involves many tactical steps and flawless execution, it also requires a good deal of strategy, coordination across multiple groups and a very solid understanding of the sales process. Best practice is to elevate lead generation to a demand creation plan. Here the focus changes from generating a lead to building a pipeline of qualified opportunity that has a high propensity to complete the sales process in a closed won status.
At the heart of global programs are all the operational pieces that address the fundamentals for each campaign: target audience, message, offer, follow-up, metrics and learning. There should be some macro themes that are relevant to all geographies and products and building some global programs should provide economies of scale and enhance the brand with a consistent message. In addition, global programs should also provide all of the elements for the geographies to assemble custom programs that are relevant for their particular regional needs.
Field Marketing is a term that was popularized in the valley in the 90’s. The basic concept was for the function to be an integral driver of the go to market strategy by serving as an interface between corporate marketing and the sales organization, to communicate revenue and customer needs for specific geographies. Unfortunately, the function has been bastardized by some organizations as the term Field Marketing has been applied to event planning for the regional sales team. Field Marketing in a best of breed marketing organization, reverse engineers a marketing plan around the revenue requirements for a geography. This includes an analysis of the revenue (new business, existing business, maintenance and service) targets, average selling price, average sales cycle, distribution strategy and sales methodology and process. It also requires an analysis and understanding of the geography, in terms of the number of companies, industries, buyers, business practices and density). In short, Field Marketing communicates its needs upward so that global programs can be built to serve the globe and that all the elements and resources for building regional campaigns will be available for each geography to customize programs for their unique needs, while maintaining consistency to the brand.
Sales Development Representatives (SDRs)
In the demand management process, SDRs play a critical role in generating qualified opportunity that has a high propensity to close and that is directly correlated to an effective market penetration strategy. It is an absolute must that the SDR function be woven into the demand creation process and that requires the role has to be involved in the go-to-market process from the marketing blue print through the sales enablement phase. Why? When an SDR follows up on a prospect that has responded or expressed interest in a topic, technology, the company or solution, it is critical for the SDRs to provide value on each phone call. Let’s be clear, the SDR does not have to be able to go extremely deep on each call but they need to communicate that they are familiar and conversant at the stage of the buying process that the prospect is in. And, the SDR has to communicate that they have access to the next piece of information that the prospect needs and that they can bridge that prospect to that information or resource.
Developing a qualified opportunity that is in the sales forecast is a time consuming and expensive task that plays a huge role in any successful go to market strategy. It only makes sense to develop a pragmatic, systematic and comprehensive approach to bring each opportunity to closed won status. In an effort to do so, the sales enablement team is chartered with supporting the sales team at each step in the sales process. In this role, they ensure that all relevant resources are known and leveraged by the sales team. Also, the sales enablement team keeps metrics on what was and what was not used in each sales engagement and the corresponding success rates. Finally, the sales enablement team removes, modifies and adds new resources to assure the sales team does not run into the same road block repeatedly. Specifically, here are some of the tasks assigned to the sales enablement team:
- Work with the reps to move qualified opportunities to closed won by providing collateral, digital content, examples, influencer and analyst reviews and feedback at each stage of the sales process.
- Assist sales reps in developing and delivering collateral, digital and social content and communications to demonstrate the value of your offering value at each stage of the sales stage.
- Participate in discovery calls and the qualification of prospects with sales executives to understand the customer environment, how it compares to competitors and how your offering is unique and provides value.
- Draft and deliver targeted PowerPoint presentations with industry and competitive content for use in the sales cycle.
- Clearly articulate benefits, features and differentiators of your offering, with industry insight and subject matter expertise, to audiences ranging from CXOs to developers.
- Assist in responding to proposals and responses to RFI/RFP documents.
- Perform competitive analysis.
- Assist marketing with trade shows, case studies, creating demo scripts, demo videos, blog posts, messaging, social media, collateral, digital content, and white papers.
Organizing Marketing to Go-to-Market
In summary, generating revenue is the most challenging task any organization faces and it is highly dependent upon a successful market penetration strategy. There are many moving parts to the go to market strategy and most organizations do not understand, or do not fund, all the marketing functions required to be successful. If an organization has direct sales representatives then there is enough funding for this effort and it is simply not allocated properly—is it better to have a lot of sales people at 50% of their number or fewer at 80-120% of their quota? Simply stated, organizing marketing to support go-to-market strategy makes market penetration easier and revenue growth faster.