The year is quickly coming to a close and while most of us are probably knee-deep in end-of-year planning, January will be here before we know it. It’s time to start looking to the future and planning for 2023.
2022 was a year of unexpected shake-ups and as a result, buyer behavior has shifted massively once again. As we head into the new year, it’s time to refocus, rethink our marketing strategies, and reprioritize pipeline generation to start the year strong.
Now is the perfect time to get your mindset right–dive into the perspectives of some of the top marketing leaders in tech and keep these 5 things in mind for as we look to next year.
After shifting to fully remote work in 2020, the way we all engaged with our teams had to totally change overnight. We went from conference rooms and whiteboards to our couches and zoom, which allowed companies to source their talent from all over the world. Now, nearly three years later, things are drastically shifting again, as a more hybrid working style takes hold in tech.
It’s exciting to start getting to see each other in person again, but it also means figuring out even more ways to engage, when many teams are spread across time zones and even continents. While tech has certainly kept up with the demand for ways to connect virtually, sometimes there just isn’t a replacement for in-person collaboration.
Sara Varni, CMO of Attentive, put it this way: "There are certain things in marketing that are possible to do on Zoom, it’s just a terrible experience. I don’t know if you guys have written a keynote on Zoom, but it’s awful. There isn’t money raining down from the sky to do offsites everywhere, we’re primarily a remote organization at Attentive, but if we have something coming up that needs the level of collaboration and getting in front of a whiteboard and thinking through some creative challenges, we really try to figure out how we can get in person and tackle some of that live."
If you’re going to spend those dollars to get everyone in the same place, it’s more efficient than having 15 people on 20 Zoom meetings to do the same thing in two hours live.”
The need to be in-person carries over from your internal teams to external customers, too. In-person meetings have a whole different energy. It’s important to start planning now for how you want work to look for your team in 2023. Hear more from Sara Varni, Scott Holden, and Sarah Franklin in The Modern CMO’s Survival Guide.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Personalization has been the dominant strategy for marketing teams for some time now, and that’s not going away. Buyers are no longer surprised when you know who they are–they expect it. Your sales teams have to be able to meet that expectation and then surpass it.
Speaking with Ian Faison, Lauren Vaccarello, CMO of Salesloft, had this to say about personalization: "How personalized should we be? More than most do to be perfectly honest. The idea of I’m just going to copy and paste this template? Your audience, no matter how interested they are, is going to be a lot less likely to respond."
The sweet spot is personalizing about 20% of your email, and by having that 20% personalization you’re going to get a better result.”
Not only do your sellers need to prioritize personalization, but your tech also needs to be able to take that a step further and create hyper-personalized experiences for your buyers. Can your live-chat team greet buyers by name when they browse your website? Can they see what the buyer has been researching, or which ad they clicked on to get to you? Investing in software that allows you to know your buyers on a deeper level is imperative to keep up with buyer expectations.
Personalization is everything to the buyer now, and that’s not going anywhere next year. Hear more about how Lauren approaches personalization in The Pipeline Power Hour.
In times like these, typing everything you do as a marketer to revenue is important–ROI matters. But, successful marketing leaders know that it takes a little risk to make the biggest impact, and telling your brand’s story isn’t always going to be simple to measure. You have to strike the right balance in the coming year.
Nick Bennett, Director of Evangelism & Customer Marketing at Alyce, spoke with us about being open to experimentation, “80% of what I do is directly tied to revenue, obviously leadership would like to see that at 100%, but 80% of what I do is focused on things you can directly attribute to revenue. The other 20% I call brand, experimental, what can we do to get people to talk about us, excited, maybe social media engagement going, website traffic going."
I like to really focus the majority of my job specifically on that 20%, because I like to experiment with different pieces of content whether through the corporate side or my own personal content.”
B2B is a noisy space, and it takes some out-of-the-box thinking to be heard. Content is always going to be the hardest impact to measure, but when you say yes to the podcast, the eBook, the guest blog post, the LinkedIn webinar, you’re not only making impressions on eyes that may not that seen you before, you’re creating content that you can then repurpose.
Creating a well-stocked content machine means that you have plenty of engaging, high-value content to fall back on when you don’t have the budget for something new later in the year. Hear more about how Nick thinks about content creation at Alyce in The Pipeline Power Hour.
Look, 2023 certainly isn’t going to be the year it suddenly becomes easy to get your sales and marketing orgs agreeing on everything. But it should be the year your teams start working toward a lockstep approach to achieving your goals together, instead of operating in silos and then pointing fingers when one or the other misses at the end of the quarter.
Sales and marketing must be aligned on common goals and speak the same language to maintain healthy function between the two teams, and throughout your organization.
Consider setting your goals together, and marching toward them as one team instead of two ends of a spectrum.
Sarah McConnell, VP of Demand Gen, runs a weekly Pipeline Council to keep everyone at Qualified informed on each aspect of our pipeline goals to help keep everyone aligned. "Everyone aligning around one goal as a big swing is so great to me. We’ve done something similar at Qualified. Everyone has that one big pipeline goal, we still measure by channel and know what channels are doing in our attribution model. But keeping everyone aligned on that one big goal does help the teams work together."
It creates one big camaraderie of a team and you’re working together to reach one singular goal and I think that’s huge to help teams stay aligned.”
Take the time to really do this right in the new year, and watch how much more your teams are able to achieve when they’re working toward the same goals. Hear more about how Bombora and Qualified approach sales and marketing alignment here.
Perhaps the most important thing of all as we head into 2023, pipe gen is king. 3x pipeline coverage used to be the industry standard, but now things have shifted significantly over the last year.
5X is the new 3X.
Scott Holden, CMO of ThoughtSpot, keeps pipeline generation at the forefront of his team's focus, "Nothing ever takes over that #1 position. My CEO only calls me for two things: pipeline, and brand story. If he’s calling me about this quarter’s pipeline, I’m in trouble. Something’s already gone wrong–it’s not like you can fix your open pipeline problems for this quarter in the current quarter."
Pipeline generation is something you have to be to stay ahead of it. That’s the thing that always keeps me up at night, it’s a critical thing to think about.”
2022 has been a wild ride, and it takes a laser-focused team to adapt and keep driving growth in an economic downturn. Focusing on pipeline generation at all costs will be the key to surviving, and thriving, in the new year.
Watch even more words of wisdom from some of the industry’s best and brightest over on Qualified+.
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