“War is ninety percent information” — Napoleon Bonaparte.
We helped a well-known technology company develop a customer value proposition (CVP) and messaging canvas to support their go-to-market efforts into a lucrative market niche they had researched and invested material amounts of time and resources.
The company needed to ensure that sales and marketing teams focused intensely on the lucrative market niche for its success and not attempt to develop or pursue opportunities outside of this niche. Straight-forward, right?
Eight months later, they had achieved about 60% of their growth goals and questioned how well they were executing and if perhaps they had misjudged the market opportunity. Our client asked for help to diagnose, prioritize and mobilize improvements to get their new product growth goals back on track.
Here is a summary of three critical points we diagnosed:
- Product management had not tightly integrated the lucrative market niche’s critical attributes into their CRM account records. As a result, marketing efforts were less targeted than had been planned. The product team could not readily determine if the pursued accounts were actually in the target market niche.
- The win ratio (dollars-based) was just under 20%, versus the 40% they had expected. This product was being sold primarily to existing customers and large competitor accounts.
- The new product required pre-sales and engineering teams to develop and deploy the solution. These teams were complaining that they were pursuing opportunities that had a low-likelihood of purchasing the new product.
The go-to-market effort’s root cause was that Sales Enablement and Operations were not engaged appropriately to support the new product’s go-to-market execution.
If they had engaged sales enablement and operations appropriately, the gaps in the go-to-market effort would have minimized:
- The critical attributes of the target market would have been included in the CRM account records. This data would have helped marketing and sales teams target their efforts and provide visibility to their execution.
- A lower-than-expected win ratio can be an early warning sign of poor go-to-market execution. Product management had not collaborated with sales operations before the product launch to understand what metrics and KPIs were needed to gauge go-to-market performance.
- The pre-sales and engineering teams were essential stakeholders in the opportunity qualification process, which the sales operations team was responsible for communicating and refining along with the sales leaders. If product marketing would have involved sales operations, the pre-sales and engineering teams could have formally helped disqualify sales pursuits that were not in the target market.
It is not uncommon for product management and marketing teams to miss the opportunity to involve sales enablement and operations early in the new product go-to-market process.
Over the years, the role of sales enablement and sales operations have undoubtedly changed. But to think of sales operations as a data quality steward or sales reporting gurus for product management teams is a mistake. And sales enablement is about much more than training.
There is a significant value to be gained by putting sales enablement and operations at the center of helping manage new product go-to-market execution required for flawless performance.