Having a solid go-to-market (GTM) strategy in place for B2B organizations requires an understanding of product-market fit, target audience, competition and demand as well as distribution. In this episode, we sit down with GTM expert Cydney Peyton Walton (Marketing Communications Executive, Cognosante) to discuss some common mistakes that she’s seen, why data plays such an important role in GTM, what changes have occurred in the landscape, and what advice she would give to other B2B marketers in order to plan and implement a successful GTM strategy.
Topics discussed in this episode:
- Most common mistakes in developing a go-to-market strategy: [1:53]
- Under-utilizing/under-preparing BD teams
- Limited information on your actual end user
- Ignoring the Internet impact on customer experience and expectations
- Key elements for an effective go-to-market strategy: [12:18]
- Incorporate customer experience into the product-market fit analysis
- Align value proposition with messaging
- Supporting your customers’ Internet research with content
- Improve efficiency with a clear process
- Changes in the go-to-market strategy landscape and its implications: [21:41]
- Re-evaluate your event strategy
- Infuse a rich customer experience into virtual events
- Keeping a pulse on Zoom burnout
- The role of data in improving and creating a go-to-market strategy that helps to deliver optimal results. [36:57]
- Cydney’s advice: [48:03]
- Start defining the connection between your products/services and your company mission
- Stop believing that sales and marketing are at odds
- Most common mistakes in developing a go-to-market strategy: [1:53]
Christian Klepp, Cydney Peyton Walton
Christian Klepp 00:08
Hi, and welcome to the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. I’m your host, Christian Klepp, and one of the founders of EINBLICK Consulting. Our goal is to share inspirational stories, tips and insights from B2B marketers, digital entrepreneurs, and industry experts that will help you to think differently, succeed and scale your business.
All right, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission Podcast, where you get your weekly B2B marketing insights. I’m your host, Christian Klepp. And today, I am delighted to welcome a guest into the show, who is a seasoned B2B marketing professional with experience in developing and executing integrated marketing strategies that leverage communication, content, as well as lead generation best practices. So Cydney Peyton Walton, welcome to the show.
Cydney Peyton Walton 00:57
Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Christian Klepp 01:00
We’re really honored to have you on the show today, Cydney, and I’m really looking forward to this conversation. So let’s get the show on the road.
Cydney Peyton Walton 01:08
Likewise, this is a… talking shop is one of my favorite things to do, because I’m that big of a nerd.
Christian Klepp 01:16
Well, that makes two of us. Alright, you’ve built up a successful career and expertise around different facets, I would say, of the B2B marketing spectrum, but for the sake of today’s conversation, let’s zero in one particular area. Alright, so that’s a go-to-market strategy. So Cydney, you’ve been in this field for many years, I’m going to set I’m just going to assume that you’ve seen it all. So just for the sake of this discussion, just walk us through some of the most common mistakes that you’ve seen marketers make when it comes to go-to-market strategy, and how do you think these should be addressed?
Cydney Peyton Walton 01:53
Yeah, well, you’re right, I have, I feel like I’ve seen it all, that’s largely a function of kind of growing up in the business on being on and then eventually having the opportunity to lead small teams. I always say my teams are small, but mighty, and we get a lot done, people are always surprised to hear what all we do. But the benefit of that specific go-to-market is that you get a full understanding of how it all works together, all the moving parts, so that you understand when you’re building a go to market strategy, what are all the various levers, stakeholders, players. Who can I tap in terms of leveraging their expertise to help make my strategy stronger? So yeah, I have, quote, unquote, seen it all. But really, a lot of it functions in the service of go-to-market. So it’s not all for nothing.
In terms of common mistakes, I would say first and foremost, which may seem unusual is under-utilizing, or under preparing your BD teams. I think what we’ve seen specifically with COVID, is that in a lot of ways, the in person meeting has been all but eliminated. Whether or not that’s temporary remains to be seen, I’m sure it will return in some form or fashion, but, you know, possibly never to the degree that it was in the past. So I think as you look at go-to-market, and you’re thinking about sales enablement tools becoming more critical, we have to rely on our BD teams, we have to help them further into the customer journey. And we want you know, demos and how are we wrapping go-to-market and those sales enablement tools around customer experience, because they now are kind of a critical, much more critical touch point. So building sales enablement tools, like demos, making sure that you provide solution overview training to your BD team. So really involving them in the steps before go-to-market. Right. There are some companies who you know, sales finds out at the time of press release, that the tech team or the product team has developed this fantastic new thing. Obviously, being thoughtful in the way you develop collateral, figuring out ways to preserve your training. So as new BD people come on, they’re not in the dark about how, you know, maybe the existing BD team was prepared with regard to this particular product or service. So I really think people underestimate how critical the BD team is in the process. That’s something that I think comes up a lot.
Another is limited information on who your actual end user is. So when we talk about B2B specifically, who you know, as a business selling to another business, we don’t always think about who the real end user is, and losing sight of that persona. We get a lot of times fixated on who our “B”, our second “b” persona is, that we miss opportunities to really enhance the customer experience, you know, we miss opportunities to partner with that second b in the B2B to help them optimize and enhance their customer experience, which in turn means that they are more loyal to us, they are more invested in what we offer and how we are helping them. So really having an understanding of that tertiary end user persona is another place, I think we are just short, you know, can be short sighted, particularly when we’re moving, you know, really quickly.
And then I think it goes without saying… it goes without saying just if you’ve been marketing, you know, over the last 10 years is ignoring the internet impact, right? What we know is that customers are using the internet to move much further into the buyer journey. So by the time they come to us now, by the time they’re reaching out to BD, they themselves have a ton of, you know, knowledge and expertise or understanding, I guess, I should say. And they really want you to compete largely on price, you know, they’re like, I’ve done all this work, I’d like to make a decision on… all the bells and whistles are roughly the same. So who can give me the best price. And, but I think understanding that there’s a, there’s a way to embrace that. So making sure that your go-to-market strategy really embraces all the various possibilities of the internet in terms of sharing your messaging and crafting your strategy and distribution process. But then also, I think, having to go beyond traditional differentiation, forces marketing teams, to focus on the real true value proposition of that product or service. And also the customer experience, which is, that’s a nod to B to C, right. And it kind of is one of those examples where the lines are starting to blur a bit. Because at the end of the day, business and corporate buyers are individual consumers. We have regular life. And so I think that it really forces marketing teams to innovate, and think about what can we pull from the B2C experience that is universally kind of liked, and now becoming expected? But also, how do we really laser focus and refine and optimize that customer experience? I mean, I just think teams could very easily find themselves kind of dead in the water. Without that focus.
Christian Klepp 07:46
Wow, you’re on fire! (both laugh)
Cydney Peyton Walton 07:50
To come out the gates strong!
Christian Klepp 07:51
Oh, yeah, you definitely did that. No doubt about it. I mean, you brought up so many points that are I mean, they are so appropriate for this conversation. And I had this conversation with a gentleman I interviewed on this podcast a few weeks ago. And I’m going to use this analogy here, because you brought up something that just made me think of that conversation. It’s almost as if you have to compare this to like, like classical music and an orchestra. Right. So you have individual musicians that are playing their respective instruments. But they rely on a conductor to lead them. And everybody, conductor included, relies on a musical score, right? So everybody has to understand their role and responsibility within that ecosystem and make sure that they know exactly when it’s their part, or when it’s their cue to use the musical term to make sure that everything harmonizes because we’ve all… I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know about you, but it’s been a while since I’ve actually attended an in person classical music concert. But you listen to when they’re rehearsing, and when they’re like, like trying to tune up their instruments, and it sounds a little bit awful, right? But the one they start getting into it, right, and then everything is just in sync.
Cydney Peyton Walton 09:15
Christian Klepp 09:18
Exactly. when the whole masterpiece just suddenly comes to life. Now, transplanting that analogy to what you’ve been talking about in the past couple of minutes. It’s so true, though, because, like you said, if companies are still choosing to like function in silos without getting their BD teams involved or asking people from the different business units that play a crucial role in this entire ecosystem for their contribution, while then when this product or the service or whatever it is that the company is offering to the target market and goes to market, there is a high probability that it may or may not work.
Cydney Peyton Walton 09:56
Yeah, absolutely. And we’ve seen different ways of accomplishing that. I’ll say, one of the organizations that I support, the philosophy is much more broad, right? We talk about a new product demo, we show it to everybody, like the full employee population. And, and I think that even that, it goes hand in hand with understanding how and when your employee population can function as a brand ambassador, and can extend your go-to-market message. And that’s critical, right? Because if I’m an employee, and I see that my company came out, I see it on LinkedIn, right, I have no insight or context, then I can’t be the best Ambassador that I can be. But if the product and marketing teams work together to bring kind of an internal briefing to the full population, and you get the full benefit of this is what the product does. This is who it helps. This is how we’re bringing it to market in terms of the unique value proposition or the strong value proposition and you get a chance to contextualize it for anyone. And then of course, you know, you can drill down into your B team, or people on your CTO team who maybe are coming in and working on innovations, or etc. But I really think it’s a missed opportunity to not work together. Unfortunate to work in an organization today that is so heavily, not reliant, but believes so strongly in collaboration and the power of collaboration, that that you rarely run across, you run across someone you ask to collaborate, and they say no, or they don’t make time that just doesn’t happen in this, in my current organization. And I will say that, that makes a world of difference when we’re trying to bring something to market to the people.
Christian Klepp 11:51
Oh, yeah, absolutely. I don’t imagine so. And obviously, it will be to everyone’s benefit.
Cydney Peyton Walton 11:57
Christian Klepp 11:58
Great. You talked about it a little bit earlier on, but talk to us about the key elements that you feel are required for an effective go-to-market strategy.
Cydney Peyton Walton 12:09
Christian Klepp 12:12
Where to begin? (laugh)
Cydney Peyton Walton 12:13
I know! Is that 3, is that 5, or 10. I mean it’s… so I think, most key today is customer experience. And it’s on the verge of becoming overused. And it makes me nervous, right, because the second we start overusing something, then what follows is dismissing it and then ignoring it. And it’s so important. But I think just looking at customer experience through the lens, of identifying your target market, and I hate to say target, that’s such an aggressive term, but identifying your ideal customer, and thinking about products that that person, or buyer or organization could really benefit from would make their lives, so we talk about product-market fit a lot. And I think that what you’re seeing now, and the companies that are doing it well are finding these beautiful and innovative ways to infuse the customer experience into their product-market fit analysis, right.
Another is just like taking the opportunity to align that value prop that messaging, the content, and I think we see a lot right now push and pull between… so I talked a little bit about how customers are using the internet further into the journey. And which means they’re not reaching out to be as soon as early as they were previously. And when I say previously, we’re talking 5, 10 years, not like pre-COVID. But I think Accenture did a study that discovered something like 57% of people or people are researching 57% of the customer journey before they reach out to anyone, which is, you know, we used to talk about steps one and two, and then they’re reaching out, right. So if buyers are self-serving over half of the buying process, there’s we talked about the push and pull and content specifically, right? How much do we give away for free? How much do we gate? Do we put out content that helps them get that internet research done? Or do we hold out and try to strong arm them into reaching out to BD sooner? And I think you have to make those decisions.
I think supporting their internet research is my personal approach. I won’t tell any other marketing leader what to do. But I think that you can only benefit from continuing to position yourself as a partner as a value add, we can’t stop that particular train right the internet is here. It’s full of things to learn. We can’t stop the research process. And quite frankly, we wouldn’t want to right? You buy… car research, the Apple Watch research, like we, as individual consumers have those same desires. Because it’s efficient. And so rather than holding out and pulling back against this emerging trend, I think we really have to lean into it, and use it as an opportunity to enhance the customer experience with content. Another, who is it? Who did this the other study, Gartner, something like 80% of businesses expect, now know that they are no longer competing on features, on value prop, on different… they’re competing on customer experience. The number of people who feel like they’re doing it well, is slightly lower, but 80% of companies know that that’s what they’re now competing on. I mean, we just can’t ignore that anymore. So I think that’s definitely one of the key elements. And it’s hard to wrap your head around, because it’s new, but you just kind of have to dive in and figure it out. Because we don’t, it’s not optional anymore. I mean, I think some of the ways that we do that are supercharging your digital strategy. Again, don’t underestimate or ignore the impact of the internet. And really just leaning into all the various digital options that you have, and creating a customer experience that is rooted in digital and extends out from there. And even your non digital or your more traditional online events, or I’m sorry, in person events or things like that, should continue to be bolstered by digital tactics in your project planning. So I think, to me, I probably talked the longest about that, because it is the most important and it’s the thing that even I, probably spend the most time trying to really wrap our arms around and get a good handle on because it is the kind of newest one.
Other than that, I think just efficiency, right? Making sure that you have a clear process for this is what a go to market strategy looks like inside of my organization. These are the departments that need to participate or be represented. Being transparent about what we’re trying to get done and when. And really using that transparency to drive accountability, whether that’s more questions you need from the product team in order to develop a spec sheet or whatever that is that your sales and customers need. And I think honestly, getting into a rhythm, like everybody understands the process and agrees to play by the rules is how you reduce time to market. There are clear cost and business benefits to just being efficient.
Christian Klepp 17:59
Yeah, that’s absolutely right. Those are some really great insights. And you brought up so many great points in the past couple of minutes. And just to hammer that point home, I think you you brought it up at least three times now about the going online, thinking about the digital ecosystem, thinking about the digital strategy, because I mean, it was already starting, it was already becoming digitized. If I can use that phrase, pre-COVID. But yeah, if we go back, like maybe five to ten years, and again, not every B2B industry, but there were many B2B industries where they were a little bit resistant to that, that buyers journey online. Well, and that’s suddenly bam! 2020. As you rightly rightfully pointed out, in-person events gone, trade shows gone, and any possibility to go on a business trip and fly to actually meet your client in person? Well, it’s been shelved for the moment, and it might come back next year, it might not. It might be a hybrid model, who knows? Right. But in the meantime, companies still need to function, you still need to generate business somehow. And what better way to do it efficiently to your point and at scale? Right. Because the thing about in person events or doing these things in person, is it’s a little bit harder to scale. Right? Unless you’ve got the resources whereby if you do it digitally, it just makes that process? Well, I wouldn’t say it’s easier, but it enables or it opens up the door to possibilities that were previously not there.
Cydney Peyton Walton 19:38
Right! I mean, I think just what do you do even pre COVID but with COVID in-person events and organizations that host these events are shifting their dates all around to try and make room for enough people being vaccinated or whatever that is like, what do you do when you have to be in two places at once now. And two of your in person events are now on the same week or back to back. And to your point about scale, there’s a considerable cost investment with shipping your whole floor setup, back and forth across the country or worse, needing your floor setup to be in two places at one time. Logistical challenges, sometimes to in-person events, you know, that do impact scale. And can you mitigate some of those, by enhancing or embracing a digital strategy? Or, can you support with a digital approach? We’re seeing a lot of formerly in-person event hosts move to a virtual or a hybrid model for their event. So it’s happening, but everybody’s doing what they can. And I think what the quote unquote new norm will be has yet to settle. But it’s fascinating to watch.
Christian Klepp 20:58
Yeah, absolutely. And, you kind of talked about it already, which is a nice little segway into the next question, but we’ve been talking about like, Okay, in-person events and trade shows versus using, I wouldn’t say the same methodology, but like trying to achieve the same goal in a digital format. But what other changes to the landscape have you seen? Um, especially with regards to go-to-market strategies as a result of this pandemic? And where do you… how do you think at some, how do you think these changes should influence the way that B2B marketers develop their go-to-market strategy?
Cydney Peyton Walton 21:41
Oh, good. Oh, COVID. Right. I’m gonna think about all the ways we could get back to normal. But you’re right in it’s sometimes even refreshing to think of what is different, right? We’re of smaller side, we’re running an internal employee engagement campaign right now. Asking people to reflect back on their year in quarantine. And tell us about two things, either the moment that you knew that things would never be the same? Or looking back, what lessons have you learned, right, what have you learned about what you what you need for family time? Or did you pick up a new hobby? Or is there a new recipe? Whatever I don’t, I can’t tell you how many people learned how to bake bread. And whether or not they will go back to them? I guess depends on their motivation. Some of them are just bored. Some of them are like, I feel like we’re gonna run out of bread soon. (laugh) But, but also, just being able to think about what you will never go back to. So I think to, I guess, to carry that that thread through, there’s a few things that come to mind, but reevaluating your event strategy is is an obvious one, I’m conducting an ROI assessment based on where we are today. And understanding that while the event itself may reemerge, will that event ever see 100,000 people again? Or, will it see 30,000 people or who has dropped out of your market as a result of COVID? Right? So I think, are performing ROI assessments in a couple ways: 1) reevaluating how valuable that particular in person event is, but also getting a handle on what’s the ROI on these virtual events that are popping up. It’s not necessarily one to one where, you have an in-person event that just fully shifts to an online platform, there’s no guarantee that all of the interest and attendees and eyeballs and attention comes with it. So being diligent about assessing what is the value of our participation in the virtual event landscape, right. And we had to have many of those conversations last year. And it wasn’t always one to one, it wasn’t always that like an in-person event that we felt confident in, translated to a virtual event that we also were, you know, actively decided to participate in.
I think get with your marketing teams, and really ideate on how to infuse, again, a rich customer experience into virtual events, if you’re going to host if yourself need to move to a webinar platform, or if you used to host a tech day where you did all your product demos, keeping a pulse on how to make sure that customer experience and the things that you’ve been maybe doing in your social media activity, are pulled into that… aren’t pulled into that experience as well.
Reassess the channels that you’re using, right? There’s another really good one to me. And I think of one of the things early on. When COVID happened, we were in the process of evaluate or executing on or ideating on a radio campaign immediately died, right? Because no commute means no radio. Unless you’re of the FDR type with the radio in the house and the fires. But yeah. So I think just a bummer, right? We had high hopes for that thing. And we were pretty far down the road in terms of planning. But that’s a great example. It doesn’t mean that radio is no longer valuable. It means given what I’m looking at in front of me right now, it may not be as high an ROI as it was last year, and I may need to look at it again next year, and just being willing to be flexible in that way.
And then going back to, I think as companies themselves who host virtual events, whether it be a webinar, or a demo campaign or something, keeping a pulse on zoom burnout. Like, maybe folks don’t want to come. How are webinars changing as a go to market channel in this age of zoom overwhelm? And how can we remain fresh? Is it that we don’t have as many? Is it that we make them shorter? Is it that we have them earlier? What do we change about webinar delivery? Do we cut it? And do we promote us cutting it? I think those are just really important things that as a result of COVID, we will… we continue to evaluate, throughout this time of quads…, whatever version of quarantine, you’re in at this point. But also, understanding that there will be a bit of a hangover period, right? Like, even if everything is back to normal tomorrow. My webinar strategy is not back to normal starting tomorrow. Um, I think those are, those are really important to me, those are the things I spend a lot of time kind of tweaking and adjusting and thinking about how I feel about X or Y, obviously reevaluate re-evaluating those same customer personas, like through the lens of your digital strategy, understanding in the hopes that you have given greater priority to your digital strategy. And this time, I will say, that’s one of the things that’s never going back ever. So just lean in.
Christian Klepp 27:48
Absolutely. And yeah, my head, yeah, there’ll be a hangover period minus the headache.
Cydney Peyton Walton 27:54
Right, minus the headache. I will say that
Christian Klepp 27:57
So no need for Advil there. But you brought up a lot of great points. And I have to say, and I think we all went through it last year, in one way or another, it was this whole, like, having to adjust to this new reality of like, just one is like not having to commute to work, or not having to go to in-person meetings, not going to events or seminars or summit’s. Cutting down even our travel time to go anywhere period. Right, or stepping out of the house without having to wear some kind of protection. Right? Um, so it was certainly quite a mindset shift. Now. You take that from your personal life, and then transfer that to the professional field. And then think about like, ok well so how are we going to do this now? And in the grander scheme of things, how do we, as an organization, ensure that there is a certain degree of continuity while trying to navigate this very clearly challenging time for everybody.
Cydney Peyton Walton 28:59
Absolutely. I mean, I just think about how as we look at a return to in-person events, just that the considerations before that just didn’t exist, right. We have a beautiful tradeshow booth. And in years past, there has been a coffee barista inside of there, right? Or you go to the big booth on the floor, and there’s a smoothie bar inside of it. We’re not doing communal food anymore. Like there’s no open container. How do you do that? How do you ensure… just being considerate of safety? Yes, these are just not things we dealt with before making sure that we invite enough of our people to cover the floor, but not so many that we can’t properly social distance like it has forced us to just think of, quote unquote, work in all different ways. Alright. It’s fascinating. And I think it’s really pushed the limits of our creativity and our innovation. And those are the things that I hope don’t return right to the old way. I think there’s some things that really brought out the best in us.
Christian Klepp 30:18
Absolutely. And to be to quote the, I think it was one of the ad campaigns run by Apple A few years ago, “Think differently”, right?
Cydney Peyton Walton 30:25
Christian Klepp 30:26
Hey, it’s Christian Klepp. Here, we’ll get back to the episode in a second. But first, is your brand struggling to cut through the noise? Are you trying to find more effective ways to reach your target audience and boost sales? Are you trying to pivot your business? If so, book a call with EINBLICK Consulting, our experienced consultants will work with you to help your B2B business to succeed and scale. Go to www.einblick.co for more information.
You brought up a great point, I think a couple of minutes ago about like zoom fatigue and zoom burnout. And there was burnout in a different form in in-person events, right? I mean, like, we’ve all been to those summits or those seminars where people will just keep going on and on and on and on. And it wasn’t very engaging, or interactive, or it didn’t just, it didn’t really generate those returns that we had all hoped for. And if it’s one thing, at least for me, from my observations of the past year, having attended different webinars and virtual conferences, you did have some of these events where they went the extra mile to keep people engaged, because yes, staring at the screen for three or four hours is quite a bit of an ask. So what they did was they break people up into, like virtual breakout rooms, right. And so you’re assigned a different activity, you’re put together in a virtual room with, with strangers, and you conduct a brainstorming session on something, then you come back to the main room and you present to everybody else. And that way you keep people engaged. While at the same time, obviously, you still have to fulfill your objectives of the day, which is to network with, with the ideal, the ideal customer and so forth. But doing it in such a way that it’s, it’s creative, it’s engaging, and it helps to elicit that response that at the end of the day, you want, like you want them to walk away, say, wow, I actually really learned a lot from attending this event. Right?
Cydney Peyton Walton 32:20
Yeah, and also even, watching who moved… which event organizations moved on to a virtual platform, but you would still get some sort of conference packet in the mail. Or who still bring some tangible physical element into the experience was fantastic. And there are some organizations who managed to merge digital and physical.
We have a partner who, you know, close to the end of the year, we were in the process of establishing our partnership, right, and I’m the customer. So B2B, I’m the second b this time. And everyone in there, everyone sent had a little meme on their LinkedIn and said, happy holidays and wishing you the best, and like congrats on surviving 2020. And they actually stood up a little store, where I could go, there was a thank you, but there was an acknowledgement that the year had been challenging. And then it had like, five or six things you could buy. But I say buy because honestly, it did not cost me a thing that were all related to kind of 2020… in the spirit of wrapping up 2020 right, there was a book on affirmations, there was mask, water bottle, a handful of things, but they all related back to their brands, position, they all related back to kind of what they offer as a service. But it was this fantastic mix of digital, like it was the they recreated the online shopping experience as an opportunity to engage with their brand. But ultimately what I got was this beautiful package in the mail that had like, this little tiny thing in it. But um, again, we talked about customer experience, that’s what that is, right? They went above and beyond, they didn’t just post happy holidays meme on their LinkedIn or their Twitter, they created a customer experience that was memorable and they were able to leverage digital elements, they were able to still pull in those physical elements. I mean, normally you get a Harry and David basket from whomever and but we’re not remember we’re not selling food anymore. We’re not sitting in their office and we’re not wanting people to, to ask people for their home address. So they took all those things into consideration and still managed to recreate that feeling. And I think that’s, again, these things have forced us to be creative in ways that, last year, we would have just rubber stamp. What do we do for client gifts? Yeah, and left it at that. (laugh)
Christian Klepp 35:19
Oh, yes, I wouldn’t say it’s pushed us into that corner, it’s pushed us out the door, and to think about the different ways of continuing to engage. Our customers and potential prospects as such. Right.
Cydney Peyton Walton 35:33
Christian Klepp 35:34
Fantastic. I’d like to get your thoughts on this Cydney. So there’s a, there’s an article written by McKinsey, and I’m just gonna summarize it, like top three points. Alright. So sales leaders within organizations are reinventing global market in the next normal. And the way that a lot of them are doing it is by centralizing commercial operations and generating actionable insights from what they call hubs. Right. So they’re not necessarily physical hubs per se, right. So these insights enable these sales leaders to align sales reps to the right sales opportunities, which is always good. Getting the right team involved, which is important, and assembling the right people to innovate and design products and services, which will then in turn, help the teams to close the deals, right. So by using this approach, and again, this is according to McKinsey, organizations can improve conversion rates and lower the cost to serve by 5 to 10%.
So the question here, is, and you spoke about a little bit earlier, but um, explain the role that you think data has played and will continue to play in in continuously improving and creating a go-to-market strategy that helps to deliver optimal results. And number two is explained the importance of Continuous Improvement and Innovation?
Cydney Peyton Walton 36:57
Wow. McKinsey right, forcing us to really do the thinking. So first, I’ll say, I always love to hear and read and learn about when sales leaders are taking an active interest in tackling go-to-market, right? I think, so often, it falls to marketing as this kind of sole owner, and you end up inadvertently communicating to other teams, that they’re not part of the process. And that therefore, it’s not something that they need to be prioritized… need to prioritize in an ongoing fashion. So Bravo to them for tackling the sales perspective on go to market. I think that that works for some specific kinds of B2B formulas for lack of a better word or equations, right? It’s not gonna work for every B2B, probably software, SaaS all that prime candidates for that. Yeah. But I think on the whole for taking all B2B is one, there’s definitely some upside to that. I think embracing data in the way that marketing had to 5, 10 years ago, can only mean good things for sales and this whole centralizing sales have been going on forever, you stay with any company long enough, and you’ve gone through, like at least three, centralized, decentralized, centralized, decentralized…
Christian Klepp 38:36
Well, that part of it, at least isn’t anything new.
Cydney Peyton Walton 38:39
Exactly. And I think that if using data to make those decisions, really might cut down on the amount of back and forth. But I have been on the receiving end of that, right, which is you get on a sales call with a potential service, and they’re using Chorus or some other software to record the sales call. And understanding I think, for however comfortable that makes you I think there’s great value in taking a more data driven approach to learning what that sales and customer interaction is like, what is it lacking? What does it need more of? I think you can only make your sales team better, more effective, more efficient, and ultimately more successful if they have enough data driven insight into how to prepare.
I also think that those data outputs are present an opportunity for us as marketers to refine the customer experience right. Once we know… a couple things, come to mind, I’ll say that. as marketers, we have a better idea based on how those conversations go, how to refine the customer experience, right? We know what’s missing? What questions come up most often? And does that indicate that a particular feature is missing from the product or service? I think it reduces the risk of misinterpretation. So a lot of us know that the salesperson, we rely quite a bit on sales, to tell us where the customer is, right? What would really kind of get them excited? What they really are asking for? What they’re complaining about how… I can’t count how many times marketers have asked BD and sales: What keeps your customer up at night? And I think that, while that a question is age old, it is still appropriate. And I think an approach kind of like what McKinsey is describing can help answer that question using data. And I think that it reduces the opportunity for a BD or salesperson to miss repeat what the customer really wants. And there are multiple people invested in that answer, right, marketing product that those, that feedback could be what does b2 looks like. So I think that there’s a lot of benefits to the data driven approach. The role of data in go-to-market is just as critical as it was for content marketing, just as critical as it is, you know, with regard to persona building. I mean, we rely so heavily on SEO and everything that audience targeting is kind of this new, cool area of SEO. And that’s quantitative and qualitative data, right? I can reducing average, say, understanding, I’m trying to think of a great a good qualitative, quantitative example, average sales cycle for a product or service, right? And can we shorten that sales cycle by having more effective client meetings? And do we get to more effective because we’re better able to train our BD and sales people on what the talking points need to be? Or how to present the features? Or how to really lean into the value proposition? What can we do to optimize the way we train them? And how are we shortening the sales cycle as a result, you know, with clarity, and things that are otherwise seen as quality data. So I think understanding that is a really critical upside to data.
Also, I’m thinking, reducing go-to-market costs… the ability to zero in on our most effective distribution channels. And that’s not necessarily new, right? We do that with social media analytics all the time already. We do that with email campaign clicks and links. So being able to be more strategic about where we spend those go-to-market dollars with regard to distribution channel, and using data to understand where we’re getting the most bang for our buck. And some of these are, this is just common sense, right? Let me see, is there anything else?
Christian Klepp 43:28
Well, and it also takes the guesswork out of the whole equation, which is equally as crucial, like, for example, and then I’m sure you’ve done this many times before, but how many touchpoints are there actually in the journey? That not just marketing, but the BD team needs to be mindful of? And to your point, or from earlier about content. Like how many pieces of content does the ideal customer read? Or if I’m going to use that term consume and digest? Because talking about like them, and that’s totally true. I’ve read the report, I think it was, must have been Accenture, but that the target audience with the ideal customer does a lot of research in advance before they even reach out to the BD team for a demo. So how many pieces of content do they read before that happens?
Cydney Peyton Walton 44:19
Right. And what’s the balance on types, right? We talk a lot about long form content versus or what’s the day it’s such a delicate dance between content that resonates with the customer versus content that serves your SEO needs? And so yeah, all of that, how much of it and in what forms. Do they want 10 pieces of short content? Do they want one long white paper? Do they want to watch a one hour YouTube tutorial on something?
Christian Klepp 44:52
Probably not, but like…
Cydney Peyton Walton 44:53
Probably not. Right? And I’ve absolutely seen that. LinkedIn kind of revamped their ad platform at the end of 2020. And I watched so many people upload these very detailed click by click tutorials. And yeah, 40 minutes, 60 minute as we approach, the 54 minute mark in our little chat. I understand that sometimes you just have to chunk it out and figuring out what is the best thing. So I think that’s critical data can help sales in so many ways. And sometimes our marketing data can help sales as well there. Again, there’s no silos, I often am going to the program delivery team. For some of their data to inform my needs…. they call it a sales cycle for a reason. It’s it’s cyclical, it’s circular.
Christian Klepp 45:49
Indeed. Fantastic. We come to one of the favorite, my favorite part of the interview, and it’s talking about things that you know, what you… we call them, conventional wisdom, commonly held beliefs. But in this particular case, I’d like you to talk about one commonly held belief that you strongly disagree with and why. And also in terms of like a piece of advice that you would give other B2B marketers out there in terms of what one thing they should start and one thing they should stop doing when it comes to go-to-market strategy. Over to you.
Cydney Peyton Walton 46:28
Oh, this is immediately now my favorite part too. Good questions. Things that commonly held beliefs that I disagree with, wow.
Christian Klepp 46:41
Cydney Peyton Walton 46:41
I’m sure my husband would say that I have many. (laugh) But specific to marketing, I think. I don’t agree that you need a fully baked plan to get started. I think as marketers, planning, a lot of what we do revolves around intricate planning, right? There’s a lot of channels available to us. There’s a lot of content pieces available to us. And we have to, we’re constantly searching for the perfect marriage of all of those things. And we rely rightfully on planning to do that. But I think, how can we claim to be Agile, if we require 100% of the information to get started, it just kind of runs counter to who I think a lot of companies believe they are or want to be? And quite frankly, who a lot of our customers expect us to be right? I think, yeah, you need some good bones. But innovation and creativity are sometimes born in the gaps. And so I would say don’t be afraid to have some gaps when you’re getting started. And trust in your project leader or your marketing leader to understand when those gaps are true risks, versus when there are opportunities to fill a vacuum with some new, bright, bold idea. Gaps are not inherently bad.
As far as starting and stopping, wow, it’s probably a little, a little bit of both. Start defining… challenge yourself, I think, start defining that connection between your product or your service and your company mission. And I think what I would love to see people do, particularly in small and mid size B2B companies that are either just starting out or getting ready to turn a big corner is don’t abandon your mission in pursuit of growth, and expansion. I think it makes for stronger value propositions it makes for better customer stories on the backend when your product and your service are mission aligned. So I would say I really want people to keep doing that. And in doing that, stop believing that sales and marketing are at odds.
Christian Klepp 48:56
Yeah, I think that’s great advice.
Cydney Peyton Walton 48:58
That’s just not true. Yeah. So while there are some process things that on the surface might look like we’re putting them in, you know, competition, I think in making sure that the products and the services that we are trying to sell are mission aligned. Marketing stands right in the middle of that, right, like we are the kind of the mirror, we are holding sales and product development teams, to the task of saying, hey, how is this mission aligned? Let’s talk about that. So that we can tell that story so that we can bolster the success of your product or service. I know the people who are hungry for the stuff that marketing puts out. And sometimes we fuss about like it was already on LinkedIn, why didn’t they just share it? Or we wrote this white paper already last year and they come asking for it. And I think sometimes we just have to let that go and meet them where they are. And if you find a person… I’ve worked with a woman who could not be bothered to spend an hour on LinkedIn every day kind of in the same way we read the morning paper, she could not devote that kind of dedicated time to her LinkedIn. But if I would just give her the link to a few pieces of content that I knew aligned with her Client Profile, she was happy to post it. Now, I don’t want to be necessarily become a concierge for every salesperson. But if I know that a particular salesperson is eager to support our efforts, and to amplify our efforts, and I know what it takes to put them in a position to do it, there’s no reason for me to say like oh sales and marketing don’t like each other, ‘m not gonna do it, it doesn’t, it doesn’t help the overall goal. And so I think meeting them where they are, is the best thing we can do to start breaking down some of those perceived conditions.
Christian Klepp 50:56
Yeah, perceived barriers or perceived notions and so forth. But that was such great advice. And I, and I’ll go a step further there and say that sometimes, you need to treat these relationships, like actual relationships or like, like a marriage, because there’s a lot of compromise, right. Like, there’s a lot of things where, okay, well, we know that this person has, I wouldn’t even call it a pet peeve. But, it’s really important to understand the different dynamics within teams, and see how you can work together with people and make sure that it all moves forward somehow. Right.
Cydney Peyton Walton 51:34
Absolutely. And I think that, um, I think that colleague and I, as colleagues became closer, right, there’s a mutually shared goal, there’s a mutually shared vulnerability sometimes. And her being able to say, I just cannot make the time for that. I promise. It’s not you, it’s me, right. Just like in a relationship, I think it’s 50/50. And sometimes it’s 70/30. But I also know that I can go to her and asked specifically about something that’s maybe going on in her client portfolio when I need a proof point, or whatever. So there’s a lot of give and take, there’s so many areas for sales and marketing, to work together, that I just don’t think it serves us to continue to believe this myth that we’re at odds. I’m I can’t think of the author right now. There’s a book called Unleash Possible. And she talks extensively about the relationship between the two and building a positive working relationship almost in an inspirational way. Right. I read, like, let me read tackles sales and marketing relations again. So yeah, I think that’s a game changer.
Christian Klepp 52:46
Exactly. Well, it’s about again, it’s about compromise. It’s about finding that common ground. Right.
Cydney Peyton Walton 52:51
Exactly. And recognizing that it’s largely in place already, like I can tell salespeople, we’re the on ramp, right? We’re just the freeway, we’re not trying to take your job. Our process largely stops, where yours starts, we’re just trying to get you a warmer candidate, you know, we work we serve at the foot in support of sales, it’s our job to make your life easier. And if we’re not doing that, then like, let’s talk about where the two are not in communication.
Christian Klepp 53:22
Yes, exactly. Exactly. Cydney, this has been such a great conversation, I think you’ve added so much value, we’ve always imparting your experience and insights, please do us the honor of telling the listeners a little bit about yourself.
Cydney Peyton Walton 53:39
Well, this has been fantastic. So a little about myself, if you haven’t realized by now, as I come to marketing, from the communications world, lots of talking I did. I had the great fortune of a high school experience that was designed largely around writing. And I always say writing is my superpower. It’s what brought me to marketing. Many years ago, I started as a copywriter, spend some time as a proposal writer, all the things. And so I am forever grateful to a couple of high school teachers who will go unnamed because they mean nothing to your listeners. Other than that, I, like you said at the beginning, I’ve spent 15 or so years in this space. I really love working with companies that are kind of on the precipice of big, big transformational growth. I think they have a beautiful blend of scrappy and visionary and I love to kind of come in and try to build just enough process to harness the beauty of kind of what they’re about to do. And I think that those… I’m drawn to those kinds of organizations. One of the things I love is volunteering my time at nonprofit to kind of fit a similar profile, and maybe don’t understand how to leverage what they think of is very kind of corporate marketing. And they don’t really understand how that very same principles apply to fundraising. And really helping them see transformational growth in their fundraising and development. By applying just kind of what I’ve gathered over the years and in my professional life, it’s really rewarding to be able to do that.
Christian Klepp 55:28
Fantastic, you gave yourself away a little bit there that, when I heard you say that, that you… What was the description used… precipice big transformational growth, like, yeah, she was definitely a copywriter at some point. (laugh)
Cydney Peyton Walton 55:45
I know, my husband is like, I’ll never win an argument.
Christian Klepp 55:51
Because you’ll just wordsmith everything.
Cydney Peyton Walton 55:53
I say, don’t let me write a letter, don’t give me the time to sit down and write it because then we’re not having a fair fight at that point. But I’ve gotten a lot better over the years, at letting other people do their part too. I have, I’m fortunate, I have worked with some amazing writers on my teams. And so they laugh at me that I can spot, you know, two spaces after a period with the naked eye. But other than that, I’m fortunate that I get to leave quite a bit of the copywriting to some other experts in the field. So I’m fortunate to have worked with over my time in marketing. Other than that, you know, I’m pretty straightforward. I’m a jack of all trades, which is quickly a dying breed in marketing, right? We talked a little about how as the landscape becomes so specialized, I want to segmented because that sounds negative, but so specialized.
Christian Klepp 56:45
Cydney Peyton Walton 56:46
Right. And I am definitely a generalist, and I get so much satisfaction from that. So…
Christian Klepp 56:52
Yeah. Fantastic. What’s the best way for people out there to like, get in touch with you?
Cydney Peyton Walton 57:00
LinkedIn is probably the best. I love to connect with both like-minded peers and those who have questions who are maybe starting out on a journey that maybe looks like mine. I am Cydney Peyton Walton, on LinkedIn, not hard to find. I don’t have any trick names. But yeah, I would encourage anyone who wants to just kind of be in community to reach out.
Christian Klepp 57:23
Fantastic, fantastic. Once again, Cydney. This has been such an insightful, informative session. Thank you so much for coming on and sharing and take care, be safe, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Cydney Peyton Walton 57:34
You as well. Good luck to you. Thank you so much.
Christian Klepp 57:36
Thank you. Bye for now.
Cydney Peyton Walton 57:38
Christian Klepp 57:39
Thank you for joining us on this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. To learn more about what we do here at EINBLICK, please visit our website at www.einblick.co and be sure to subscribe to the show on iTunes or your favorite podcast player.