GTM Motions and Customers
Alignment is Important; Customers are More Important
In a famous Twilight Zone episode, the protagonist finds himself alone in a post-apocalyptic world. As an avid reader, his saving grace is that he has also found a preserved library. He neatly stacks all of the books in columns and aligns them to the months on the calendar in which he wishes to read them. A stack for January, one for February, and so on.
Then his glasses fall from his head and shatter. He is essentially blind. At this point, the nice neat stacks of books he created are worthless.
Nothing matters now because he cannot see. Without his glasses, he has nothing.
This story can serve as a good reminder to companies who spend the vast majority of their time aligning their GTM motions. While this is certainly important, something else matters more. And without that something else, you have nothing.
Understanding the Customer is Key
Motions are important. Alignment is important. Customers are the most important.
Your company may be perfectly aligned from top to bottom with your sales, marketing, and CS teams all each other’s BFF’s, but without customers, none of it matters. Customers are vital for business survival.
Therefore, it is essential to understand how and where the customer fits in and interacts with the GTM motions. There are generally three types of customers:
- Pro users
Given those customer types, there are three areas to consider:
- Levers of growth
- Service expectations
Businesses spend a lot of time thinking about how they sell. While sales motions are important, a business’ GTM is not mapped to how they sell; their GTM is mapped to how customers buy. Why? Because the buyer process dictates the GTM motion you should be using.
Here’s a good example: if you sell to individual users with low contract values who can start and stop whenever they want (freemium), your customer base is Pro users. This is going to almost always dictate the PLG GTM sales motion.
If you are in the 2-Stage to 1-Stage territory, you are selling to the SMB/mid market segments.
On the far right of the GTM graph is the Enterprise-type sale. The process of an Enterprise sale is long (6-18 months), often with many starts and stops along the way. For a sale to be completed, many people with many different budgets must sign off.
The takeaway is this: Look at and assess how your best (most profitable) customers are making decisions, then orchestrate your GTM motions accordingly.
Levers of Growth
GTM motions have different engines. Meaning, your growth strategy is different based on who you are selling to. For each type of customer, there will be three key drivers of growth to keep in mind.
The Pro-user (PLG motion) is based on:
If someone goes to G2 to look up how users rank, that’s reputation in action. Users are going to be die-hard fans who function as promoters (think HubSpot lovers with orange blood coursing through their veins). Finally, the product itself is a growth mechanism that spurs conversion.
With SMB, the levers of growth are:
- Thought leadership
Whenever a product or service is mentioned, you want your company to be at the forefront in the minds of potential customers. That is mind share.
Mind share occurs through thought leadership and the creation of a massive amount of content. It also results in invites to key events. That is how SMB businesses grow.
Shameless plug: A good example of an SMB is RevPartners. We offer RevOps as a service and make sure your company’s motions are aligned from top to bottom. More importantly though, we make sure your company is aligned to the needs, wants, and expectations of your customers.
The agents of growth for Enterprise are:
- Expertise-based relationships
With its exceedingly long sales cycles, Enterprise is perhaps the most difficult to start in. Here, there are individual people you’re forming relationships with and gaining their trust.
With decisions that involve millions of dollars, the customer needs to trust and know that your brand is good. Salesforce, for example, has used their community of admins and certifications as an agent (lever) of growth to help people upskill on their platform to become technical experts so they can, in turn, go to larger enterprise deals.
Our GTM motions also dictate our service expectations.
On the left side of the GTM graph, you buy a product (for a low fee), and the accompanying service is free. The customer’s expectation is that they can buy a product, implement it without help, and have access to community boards free of charge.
On the right side is the complete opposite situation where the expectation is that implementation is covered (because you’ve purchased a high touch service) and the product is free.
A Reminder Worth Repeating
Customer acquisition and the retention of existing customers are dependent upon understanding the wants, needs, and expectations of various types of customers.
Remember: just as a neatly stacked pile of books is useless if your reading glasses are missing, your perfectly aligned GTM motions are useless if the customer is missing.