• October 2, 2023
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Required Reading: Rethink Go-to-Market with a Growth Mindset

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In The Chief Growth Officer’s Handbook, Annuitas CEO Adam Needles and head of research Martin Schneider present a framework to help B2B organizations transform their approaches to go-to-market (GTM) via a converged growth lens, using the concept of a chief growth officer (CGO) as an organizing principle for focused, orchestrated, and customer-centered growth. CRM editor Leonard Klie interviewed the pair recently to delve into this further.

CRM: What is the role of a CGO?

Schneider: First we need to say what a CGO is not. It is not a sales leadership role or a retitled chief revenue officer (although revenue and growth are critical). It is not an upgraded chief marketing officer (although GTM and demand are critical). It is not a re-imagined chief customer officer (although the CGO has to own GTM, both pre- and post-sale).

Needles: The CGO is ideally in charge of GTM strategy, execution, organization, and technology. The primary objective should be to build a sustainable, perpetual growth engine and drive maximum lift to customer lifetime value.

There are three core factors that define the CGO’s role:

  • central ownership of the customer relationship and customer journey, end to end;
  • a span of control covering both pre- and post-sales; and
  • a unified objective around maximizing growth from new and existing customers.

What’s the difference between a growth strategy and a GTM strategy?

Schneider: In recent years, GTM has been split into two meanings: one for how you get a product or service ready for consumption and the other more aligned with growth and marketing. Growth and GTM are inextricably linked. As businesses need to think about customers for life, finding growth inside existing relationships while also engaging and growing new business is critical. It’s really two sides of the same coin.

Needles: Here’s the difference: GTM falls apart in execution, and that harms growth. Growth is the objective, but it needs to be strategic. GTM is how you get there, but it must be scalable, repeatable, and perpetual. If an organization thinks GTM is a strategy, without a clear idea of how they are going to operationalize it around the customer journey, that strategy is doomed to fail.

You advocate for a converged growth GTM organization. What does that look like?

Needles: Converged growth represents a new lens for designing a GTM organization, a complete rethinking of traditional B2B sales, marketing, and customer service with blended teams organized around stewardship of customer journey phases. The approach is to operationalize GTM around the customer life cycle so it directly optimizes growth.

Schneider: As for the why, a lot of macro-level developments today have forced growth leaders to rethink GTM. A converged growth organization prioritizes engagement across the full customer life cycle. And in today’s retention- and expansion-heavy mindset, a converged growth approach not only makes sense, it’s critical to thriving.

Significant research highlights that converged growth GTM organizations vastly outperform their peers. Gartner has said, “B2B organizations that unify commercial strategies and leverage multithreaded commercial engagements will outperform peers by 50 percent.” In our own benchmarking, Annuitas found that organizations that reach full converged growth maturity deliver lead-to-revenue results between four and 10 times the industry average.

What technologies should be included in the CGO’s arsenal?

Needles: Since the core of a converged growth approach is end-to-end stewardship of the customer journey, we must frame GTM technology so it enables this. An effective GTM technology stack must address three areas: customer telemetry, customer orchestration, and customer continuity.

Schneider: To get there, you have to get traditionally siloed systems working together. Of course CRM platforms and applications are critical, but it is really about getting all customer-facing systems and data repositories working together.

Needles: A cornerstone of a converged growth GTM technology stack is the customer data value-chain approach, with the idea that customer data exists in a federated state across multiple systems at once. A GTM technology stack must be integrated so it can both govern this mass of data and composite it into a singular but segmentable customer picture.

How should companies determine the success of their growth strategies?

Schneider: When we transform GTM through a converged growth lens, our framework for success shifts. We are no longer as concerned about short-term bookings and renewals as we are about the impact our interactions have on customer lifetime value. Our analytical goal becomes fine-tuning interactions at every stage of the customer journey to really optimize long-term, sustainable, and profitable customer value.

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