GTM

GTM

GTM

GTM

3 GTM insights from the (former) CMO of Slack

3 GTM insights from the (former) CMO of Slack

3 GTM insights from the (former) CMO of Slack

3 GTM insights from the (former) CMO of Slack

Good day PROs!


Bill Macaitis was one of the first 50 employees at Slack. Although he spent a few years at Salesforce, most of his career was in building consumer-focused businesses. So why did Slack bring him in as CMO? Read on to get 3 valuable insights.

Bill started his Marketing career in the late 1990s "dot com" era, building consumer oriented websites. He rode this wave for over a decade, culminating in his role as SVP of "Online Marketing" for FOX properties such as American Idol and MySpace (remember MySpace?).

He then pivoted to B2B, joining Salesforce in 2008 when they were <$1B in revenue (today, $35B), then ZenDesk in 2012 and finally Slack in 2014.

Throughout this ~20 year run, Bill led Marketing with a "first principles" mindset, which is a fancy way of saying; understand the core of what needs done and think creatively on how to get it done.

  1. What’s Old Is New

Acquiring (and retaining) customers in the lower middle market is harder than ever. Why is that?

At the risk of oversimplifying:

  • too much supply, therefore

  • too much noise, and

  • decreasing visibility on what's working

It's hard to get people's attention and its even harder to get them to pick us!

Interestingly, Bill had the exact same issue nearly 30 years ago when he was trying to reach consumers to "buy" (engage with) websites.

So how did he determine if what he was doing for Marketing was working?

He used "old school" consumer metrics like:

  • aided recall (picklist of names)

  • unaided recall (no names, just "what name comes to mind when …"")

  • sentiment (trending up or down)

  • share of voice (are people talking about us as much as the topic?)

The founders of Slack all have consumer backgrounds (gaming), which says a lot about why Bill was hired as CMO.

But remember, Bill joined Slack early, so he had to be scrappy. He implemented this measurement strategy, cost effectively, with regular surveys and interviews.

Relevance for the Lower Middle Market

In a world where …

  • there are literally HUNDREDS of choices in a any particular category

  • Buyers will only evaluate 3-5 alternatives

  • the category leader is often 100x larger than us

How do we get on our the "Day One" list of our targeted Buyer?

(Un)aided recall, sentiment, share of voice. Start measuring now. The trend is more important than the absolute and is the "canary in the coal mine" of our growth foundation.

  1. Customer Centricity

In B2C, the connection with the customer is more direct, lacking the layers that complicate B2B interactions.

But in B2B, we are often our own worst enemy. We often put our buyers through the ringer:

  • Lots of promises (the same as everyone else, by the way)

  • Filling out lengthy forms in order to get information of any depth

  • Aggressive sales tactics

  • Inadequate, post-sales support

For Bill, this was evidenced by the average NPS score for B2B software companies being NEGATIVE. That means more people as detractors of your brand vs promoters. Ouch!

Let's be honest. We all talk about being focused on the customer, but, as Bill points out, adopting a customer-focused lens is more than just improving service.

Impactful change occurs when we evolve the metrics for success, such as net promoter scores, product-qualified leads and daily active users, to foster a more engaging and positive experience for the customer.

Relevance for the Lower Middle Market

To be authentically customer centric, we need to know our customer. REALLY know them. Comprehensively. Not bits and pieces locked in silos across Product, Marketing, Sales and CS.

To this point, we believe in a "secret weapon" that can be a massive force multiplier for lower middle market companies. It's called the Investigative Journalist.

  1. The Unified Commercial Engine

Initiating steps towards unifying various functional teams within a company begins with a focus on customer-centric metrics.

The metrics over which we typically obsess; new bookings, ARR, Revenue Retention; are all compound outcome metrics.

To drive these outcomes, teams need to mange to input metrics that reflect the customer's experience and journey, which has the added benefit of aligning teams around shared goals rather than siloed objectives.

To help make this "Unified Commercial Engine" a reality, Bill also advocates for reevaluating leadership roles and associated skill sets to reflect a more integrated go-to-market approach.

Relevance for the Lower Middle Market

To be honest, for companies in the lower middle market, this unified commercial executive is really difficult. Most with the experience necessary (across Marketing, Sales, CS, Exec, etc.) are in high demand by larger companies with big budgets.

But if we start with the input metrics framework, where we evaluate and monitor the inputs to the GTM System, then we are well on our way to the elusive "alignment" we seek.

We really encourage you to check out the podcast episode with Bill. He is high energy and we cover a lot of ground.

Blow Away the Board

Get weekly insights, monthly deep dives, free guides, templates and other resources to help on your way to being a Go-to-Market PRO!

Blow Away the Board

Get weekly insights, monthly deep dives, free guides, templates and other resources to help on your way to being a Go-to-Market PRO!

Blow Away the Board

Get weekly insights, monthly deep dives, free guides, templates and other resources to help on your way to being a Go-to-Market PRO!

Blow Away the Board

Get weekly insights, monthly deep dives, free guides, templates and other resources to help on your way to being a Go-to-Market PRO!

Practical Go-to-Market coaching specifically for B2B software and service companies between $5MM-$50MM in revenue.

Practical Go-to-Market coaching specifically for B2B software and service companies between $5MM-$50MM in revenue.

Practical Go-to-Market coaching specifically for B2B software and service companies between $5MM-$50MM in revenue.

Practical Go-to-Market coaching specifically for B2B software and service companies between $5MM-$50MM in revenue.