January 24, 2023

Elevate: Key Takeaways


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As mentioned in our previous blog, day 2 of the Sendoso Elevate customer and partner event was packed with presentations, panels, and workshops from marketing experts and industry thought leaders. As they offered their expertise and perspectives on how to optimize B2B marketing, customer acquisition, and customer retention, a few key themes emerged.

It’s time to reinvent your go-to-market strategy

In his session, “The New Role of Marketing in a Constantly Changing Go-To-Market World,” Sangram Vajre, co-founder and CEO of GTM Partners, claimed that the current go-to-market (GTM) strategy most companies follow is broken. The people involved are no longer just sales and marketing, and the metrics have moved beyond sales and pipeline. The result is a crisis he refers to as “go-to-market confusion.” Marketing teams can have a tremendous role in addressing this crisis, but only if they’re willing to fundamentally change their GTM strategies and gain the full support of the other teams in their organizations.

As the market shifts from the paradigm of growth at all costs to one of efficient growth, marketing organizations need to rethink how they fuel growth. Marketing teams can change the trajectory of the business by evolving the framework through which they view the customer journey from awareness to advocacy. The traditional drip funnel is no longer applicable because organizations need to move to a double funnel model that is sales and marketing forward. Sangram also discussed how Sendoso can contribute significantly to a company’s GTM strategy with direct marketing automation that features personalized gifts and on-demand customized experiences. These personal touches and face-to-face interactions create significantly more customer engagement than traditional direct mail pieces.


Create a smarter GTM playbook

John Miller, CMO of Demandbase, also spoke extensively about the need for companies to rethink their GTM strategies in his session, “Nothing Works Anymore: Smarter GTM in a Downturn.” He discussed how marketing teams are working harder than ever, but with less success. There is so much technology available to make marketing better and easier, but none of it seems to be working. Increasing customer indifference to the high volume of marketing messages thrust at them means the once-successful approaches to lead and pipeline generation no longer deliver. When it comes to a company’s GTM strategy, it’s time to create a new playbook for smarter GTM.

A key element of this strategy is how to orchestrate sales and marketing so they work together harmoniously throughout the entire customer journey. Unlike in the past, when marketing’s involvement with a customer ended with a sale, marketing now needs to be consistently involved. John compared the old approach to marketing handing off a baton to sales once the contract was signed. Now marketing and sales need to act like a soccer team, passing the ball back and forth, designing plays that address how they’ll continuously work together. He also emphasized that GTM strategies need to address the major post-pandemic changes in the workplace and how they affect the ways companies connect with customers. With most customers either working remotely or in a hybrid environment, sales and marketing teams need to be more intentional and thoughtful about how they connect with customers and prospects when it comes to their GTM strategy.

It’s all about efficiency

It’s no news to anyone that B2B marketing is facing some serious headwinds in 2023. Organizations are reducing budgets and headcounts, but keeping the same growth expectations. With that in mind, several day 2 presenters emphasized the need for increased efficiency in a company’s marketing and sales efforts. As many pointed out, there is less emphasis now on growth at any cost and more on efficient growth. Rather than focusing on acquiring new customers, companies need to focus on ARR, NRR, and how they can grow business through their existing customer base.

Amy Holtzman, a three-time CMO, pointed out that some companies can sustain growth through customer expansion rather than new customer acquisition. As John Miller said in his presentation, to support this growth, sales and marketing can increase efficiency by practicing “account intelligence.” With account intelligence, companies can identify their most worthy accounts, and apply their resources accordingly. Across the board, marketing organizations are taking a hard look at what works and what doesn’t. They’re doubling down on what does and trimming the fat—both in terms of marketing strategies and partnerships—from what doesn’t. Companies need to make sure their marketing investments align with their core business metrics as well as with shifting priorities.

In his presentation, “Why You Should Treat Outbound Like Paid Advertising,” Jake Dunlap, CEO of Skaled Consulting, pointed to a specific area of inefficiency: outbound marketing. He offered some valuable insights into how B2B marketers are—or mostly aren’t—marketing efficiently by properly optimizing their outbound marketing efforts to achieve the maximum ROI. Although a high volume of customer touchpoints worked in the past, marketers now need to focus more on the quality rather than the quantity of touchpoints. Jake also pointed out that with all the data available on how outbound marketing efforts are performing, teams need to analyze and optimize campaigns much more frequently than they’re currently doing. For outbound marketing to be efficient and maximize ROI, he said organizations need consistent analysis, consistent content, and a consistent strategy.

Community is key

Throughout the course of the day, nearly every presenter touched on the fact that in today’s market, community and personal connection are more important than ever. Several people mentioned that after more than two years of doing business over Zoom, people are craving community and connection. However, as John Miller mentioned in his presentation, customers are also more numb than ever before. After living on screens for so long, people are harder to reach and more easily distracted.

In a panel titled “Relationships for the Win,” female sales and marketing leaders who belong to the Women in Revenue community underscored the need for more personal and meaningful interaction. As Lori Richardson, CEO and President of Score More Sales, said, when you have a community, you gain power in numbers. There is power in like-mindedness, which can increase connection and engagement. She also emphasized how Sendoso helps foster engagement through the power of giving.

When leveraged for growth, community and personal connection prove valuable to a company’s marketing and sales efforts. Customers in the discovery phase are often reluctant to directly engage with a company’s sales team. To gain information and feedback about a company’s products and services, they turn instead to their professional communities. A reference or endorsement from someone not affiliated with a company often provides more value and moves a prospect through the pipeline more quickly than any marketing effort. Similarly, when a company has an active and engaged customer community, those community members can become the company’s most enthusiastic advocates.

Community and connection are also key to fostering customer loyalty, which is more important as companies seek to grow through customer retention and expansion rather than through acquisition. As Sendoso President and COO Michelle Palleschi said, marketing needs to shift its approach to how it engages with customers. Instead of handing customers off to sales once the contract is signed, marketing needs to remain engaged to help ensure those customers are getting what they need. To foster connection and loyalty, this engagement needs to be about more than simply increasing sales. Or as Deanna Ransom, President and Executive Director of Women in Revenue, said, “Show me you care about me beyond the check.”

Elevate-2023-Las Vegas-Women-in-Revenue-Panel

More wisdom and insight was shared throughout the day than we can recap here. For additional information on our presenters and their perspectives, go to Elevate 2023 to watch on-demand.

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