What happens when you mix B2B marketing with a six-pack? The answer: A new go-to-market execution model that can help your business transform from product-centric to audience-centric.
On Thursday morning at the SiriusDecisions 2017 Summit, Marisa Kopec, VP, Innovation and Product Management, and Ross Graber, Senior Research Director, Marketing Operations Strategies, introduced the SiriusDecisions’ Go-to-Market Execution Model.
In many ways, this is the model that marketers have been waiting for. It’s the blueprint to operationalize how marketing, sales and product need to align to become audience-centric and grow the business — faster. You’ll see how the six-pack figures into this shortly.
We don’t need reminding that nearly every B2B organization faces the challenge of moving from a product-centric focus to an audience-centric focus. Organizations are structured based on product, and success metrics focus on revenue, market share and profitability. Changing this requires deprogramming your sales and product people (and maybe marketing too) and getting buy-in to shift to a new paradigm, according to Marisa,
Let’s see how we can get there.
Marisa began by introducing three signs your business is not audience-centric.
- You’re focused on yourself (your products/services) and not your buyer.
- You don’t know how your brand/solution compares to the competition as you’re vying for the buyer’s attention.
- Your messaging and marketing tactics don’t resonate with the needs and desires of your buyers.
All three indicate that you’re not making a connection with your buyers — a necessary connection to win their attention and their business. Ross shared that companies eventually reach an inflection point where they can grow without audience-centricity.
Now Marketers Have a Blueprint
The new Go-to-Market Execution Model is the result of two years of research and customer input. Its purpose is to help marketers operationalize audience-centricity. The key to success is having marketing, sales and product adopt the model. The model is built on eight activity-based stages:
Marisa pointed out that the last four are the go-to-market engine. For the most part, these run fine; however, we’re putting the wrong fuel into them. If we put in product-centric fuel, we’ll get product-centric output. When we put in audience-centric fuel, real change happens.
Crack Open the Transformative Six-Pack
Since this is a complex model, Marisa and Ross emphasized that we don’t have to do everything at once. The model is designed to be modular, and we can start with a single component. To make it even easier, SiriusDecisions has identified six hotspots where we can focus to get the biggest impact. That’s our six-pack.
Can #1: Audience Framework
It all begins with knowing our audience. Although we’re in the B2B marketing world, buying is still a human cognitive decision process.
We assume we know our buyers, but we often don’t go deep enough into personas. In this stage, our presenters emphasized that we need to get marketing, sales and product in a room together and agree on the audience segments, where to target and which audiences to leave out. This should be done using a combination of qualitative and quantitative insights.
One promising new technique that’s emerging is audience sizing. This looks at the number of buying centers rather than the number of accounts.
Can #2: Buyer Needs
To put it bluntly, Ross said most companies suck at understanding the buyer needs. He went on to explain that we need to look at leads on three levels:
- Functional (department, etc.)
Can #3: Go-to-Market Model
Marisa warned that product people start getting nervous when you talk about audiences rather than products. By creating an offering map based on the audience framework, the product people can begin to see where their products fit in, and they start to relax and buy in to the new process.
An offering map begins with audience needs and maps products to those needs—rather than vice versa. It will often uncover how products can be bundled to create new solutions that meet a need.
Can #4: Messaging
The messaging shifts completely when it’s based on audience insights. It can’t be all about our products and how they solve a problem. Blah, blah, blah… We have to include emotions to make a true connection with our audience. To do this, the templates and processes the messaging is built on must be audience-centric, with a clear understanding of the audience and personas.
Can #5: Campaign Hierarchy
Now it’s time to turn what we know into an action plan aligned to our audience. The offerings must follow from the audience. SiriusDecisions research shows that this results in higher response rates, greater engagement, and faster selling velocity.
The key is to structure campaigns around who we’re selling to.
Can #6: Measurement
It always comes down to measurement. In an audience poll, 70% of the respondents said they are still measuring success by product revenue. It’s time to go beyond this and measure results based on buying centers, buying groups and personas. Ross explained that we have to look for growth signals to show that we are reaching our targets and making progress. We also need to pay special attention to sales enablement to ensure that the model is being adopted by sales. Here are questions we need to answer:
- Who are we reaching?
- What portion of the buyer’s journey are we reaching?
- Are we applying budget to our audience-centric campaigns? Are our tactics being deployed?
If we can’t measure the progress in terms of the audience — down to the persona level — the business will not continue to fund our audience-centric model.
Take It One Step at a Time
This is just a quick peek at the new model. Marisa emphasized that this is not a rip-and-replace process. Bring components in one by one and change your processes over time. Then focus on optimizing them. Open one can to get started.
The tools already exist. Every stage is built around existing SiriusDecisions models and frameworks. What this new model does it integrate them in a way that’s never been done before. It’s the glue that holds all the existing pieces together, and that’s what makes it so exciting.
So, crack open a cold one and get started.