We all went into 2023 planning with contingencies.
We weren't sure exactly the way the markets were going to go, but immediately we saw layoffs and budgets tightening. The NY Times reported that nearly 200,000 tech employees have been let go in the last 12 months.
We’ve seen a lot of movement specifically in marketing departments. Teams are being asked to increase revenue with half the team and budget they had in 2022. Saying they are strapped is an understatement.
Even in the most confident boardrooms, leaders are taking inventory; of their teams, their tech stack and of course their spend.
In spite of these conditions, we’re feeling optimistic and we’re seeing our customers say the same.
Key Trends in 2023
I love to connect with people–leaders, IC’s, investors–anyone I can. The more people you talk to, the more you stand to learn. This is especially true now, while we are all feeling a collective pain.
No one feels the pullback as sharply as go-to-market teams. Marketing is seeing shrinking budgets and smaller teams. Sales is under immense pressure to hit numbers. Customer success is reselling everyday to new team points of contact and fighting churn.
I am hearing three very clear trends in many of the conversations I am having: cutbacks, climbing up market, and pipeline creation.
1. Tightening up
Headcount is limited. Team members are being asked to wear multiple hats. Everywhere, companies are looking to consolidate their tech stack: What is a must have? What is a luxury? What isn’t fully being utilized?
Be proactive. Revenue that stays on the books is as important as new logos. Offer product workshops to grow usership or complimentary ROI assessments. Help your champions be more effective in their day to day and to highlight their wins internally. Everyone wants to protect their tools, their budget and their jobs. Be that resource.
2. Climbing up market
Companies are investing more in the enterprise segment where the economy of scale and retention rates are stronger compared to SMB or commercial.
Big companies have bigger budgets but they are not unlimited. You will be vying against more brands for the limited attention and spend of your target accounts. You will have to become best friends with procurement. You need to focus more on what makes you a must have in today’s context. It’s also very important that sales teams have the right context they need to be deliberate with their outreach.
3. Optimizing pipeline
Many leaders are confident we will see a bounce back and so will their budgets. This is the time to make sure you are getting everything you can out of your pipeline. Do you truly understand the ROI on your channels? Are you focused on conversion? It may not be the flashiest marketing, but companies that focus on this work will be far better off when we see an influx in cash again.
The big question: how can teams make this happen... fast... and without adding budget or headcount?
You’ll be surprised to know, the answer is already in your funnel. You just need to recognize the key signals.
Drilling for Extra Pipeline: 4 Places in Your Funnel You Haven’t Tapped Yet
We've found, more often than not, there is a goldmine of potential revenue waiting to be unlocked within your current funnel. No extra headcount, no extra spend required. Just a quick refocusing of your attention.
Here are some critical signals you cannot afford to miss when you go after enterprise accounts:
1. Multiple people engaging in an account
There is not enough engagement from ONE person to create an MQL, but it is the combination of activities that allows you to infer that this account is in-market. Sales need to see this so they can corral the buying committee.
2. Product signups and active users
If you have a free trial/freemium and four or more contacts at a location of an enterprise account sign up for a trial, the sales team needs to be notified. There is a potential for an upsell.
3. Hiring activity
This signal has become very important in the current environment. When a company just hired or is hiring for a role relevant to your product, this indicates this company has budget and a pain point to be solved.
Accounts who bought a competitor are most likely to revisit this purchase given the economic conditions. Like I mentioned above, every tech stack is under the magnifying glass. Use that as an opportunity to pry customers away from your competitors.
The key to doing more with less, is getting the most out of what you have. Making sure you fully understand your funnel, getting only the best leads to sales, and having your full revenue team in lock step.
Teams today won’t have the time or patience to use volume as a means. The key to surviving the downturn will be efficiency. I expect to see companies focus more on feature creation directly for sales.
We feel your pain, but use this as an opportunity to make the most out of what your business can offer–and help your customers.