Lindsay Cordell – Founding Partner At GTM Partners – The Rise of the Chief GTM Officer

Quote of the Show

Focus on efficient growth rather than artificial growth for long-term success.

Key Takeaways


  • GTM should be a collaborative effort involving all departments, not just marketing.
  • Efficient growth is more sustainable and desirable than artificial growth.
  • Companies should focus on their ideal customer profile and prioritize segments that are still able to spend.
  • Agile marketing and quick adaptation to market changes are crucial for success.
  • Revenue operations play a critical role in ensuring alignment and efficiency across all GTM teams.


In this episode of Revenue Today, host Jared Robin interviews Lindsay Cordell, the GTM Analyst and Founding Partner at Go-To-Market Partners. With a background in revenue operations, Lindsay has extensive experience in helping companies optimize their go-to-market strategies and improve their overall efficiency.

Jared and Lindsay discuss the importance of a collaborative approach to go-to-market (GTM) and debunk the myth that GTM should be solely owned by the marketing department. Lindsay emphasizes the need for alignment and equal involvement from all departments, including sales, marketing, product, customer success, and revenue operations. She also highlights the challenges faced by companies in the current economic climate and provides insights on how to recalibrate and focus on efficient growth.

[00:00:00] Jared Robin: Sales, marketing, RevOps, and customer success. It’s sink or swim out there, and yesterday’s strategies and tactics won’t help you today. This is Revenue Today, and I’m your host, Jared Robin. Join me as we interview top revenue leaders in our community to learn what steps we could take right now to help you scale more effectively.

[00:00:26] Revenue Today RevGenius and RevRoom. And we’re on a mission to build trusted spaces for curious revenue professionals who are collaborating on the future of B2B GTM.

[00:00:40] I’m really excited to welcome a good friend now, uh, to revenue today. This is Lindsay Cordell, the GTM analyst and founding partner at GoToMarketPartners. Welcome, Lindsay. 

[00:00:53] Lindsay Cordell: Thank you so much. I’m so excited to be here. 

[00:00:57] Jared Robin: And so excited to have you. I think it’s, I think it’s really cool how much, um, how close we’ve grown as organizations since the most recent partnership between GTM partners and RevGenius and RevRoom.

[00:01:09] Lindsay Cordell: I just love it. My background is in revenue operations. And so I’ve known about you all, of course, for forever. And I’m just so thrilled to be a part of this journey and that you guys are joining us along the side, what we’re doing with go to market partners. So super thrilled. 

[00:01:24] Jared Robin: And I’m so. Excited to be chatting with you today, um, for a multitude of reasons, this whole GTM idea has been around for, for so long.

[00:01:39] But, you know, if, if, if you look it up, uh, on Google and I did do this, you get so many different definitions for it. And I’m really excited to, to dive in as to, um, How have you, how you all view GTM and, you know, just, just so that we could have some insights so that our audience could really, really understand the proper way to go to market.

[00:02:06] So my favorite question and to get us started is I’d love for you to debunk a myth about GTM. There’s so many,

[00:02:22] Lindsay Cordell: Oh, are there, there’s so many. So, um, I think one of the things that has really touched me as of late in one of the reasons that we started go to market partners was, you know, so many CMOs out there feel like they need to carry the burden of go to market on their own. Or in conjunction with sales. And the reality is, is you are able to put a lot of inefficiencies into your system if you’re not including products, customer success, and revenue operations in a significant way while you’re planning your go to market.

[00:02:57] Um, and so the myth is that. You know, cut that, uh, marketing has to own go to market. And the truth is if everyone doesn’t have an equal stake in it, um, there’s a lot of opportunity for campaigns to fail programs to fail. Uh, and that means you’re going to spend money on things that don’t make money. And there, there’s a lot of risk in that.

[00:03:19] Oh, 

[00:03:19] Jared Robin: walk, walk me through like. What a typical go to market cycle is where marketing is leading. 

[00:03:26] Lindsay Cordell: So when marketing is leading, it tends to center a lot around the idea of a product launch. So product has built something or we’re going into a new market with a new approach. And so marketing will analyze like, what is that market interested in?

[00:03:40] Or what is this? Segment interested in, um, and they’ll put together the perfect words or they’ll use the perfect campaign to reach that audience. But so often what ends up happening, if there was misinformation or misunderstanding of the, why the product was built, that can cause some problems. If sales is not accepting of the information or they’re not using information.

[00:04:02] Then all of those incredible words or that incredible positioning or segmentation work that was done will fall flat. Uh, then sales will sell something to someone and customer success will get ahold of it. And they will also struggle to articulate that value. And it just creates this vicious cycle of inefficiency.

[00:04:20] If it’s just 100% spearheaded by a single department, which is why everyone has to work together. Otherwise you will absolutely waste money. 

[00:04:29] Jared Robin: Are you, are you seeing sales lead go to market too, in some cases? 

[00:04:33] Lindsay Cordell: So organizations that come to us and tell us like, I have a sales led motion. Oftentimes those groups will try and take ownership of the go to market process.

[00:04:43] Um, so they’ll be the ones talking directly with product. Oftentimes they’ve told product what to build. Um, they’re very clear on the roadmap. They’ve been pre selling the roadmap. So when it’s sales led, you do tend to get that approach. But again, it’s missing a, the crucial support of marketing, which can provide a lot of audience and can do a lot of greasing of the runway when talking to those customers.

[00:05:07] So. Sales doesn’t need to go it alone. A lot of times those relationships, the poor marketers will be told things like you’re here to make things pretty. So if you’re a marketer that’s hearing, let’s make things pretty. That’s what your job is. Um, typically that means that there’s a misalignment between your responsibility and what your capabilities are and what sales is kind of pushing.

[00:05:28] The go to market to do, and then, of course, again, on the customer side of the house, if they’re not a part of the conversation and sales doesn’t naturally include them, that becomes a challenge. And then revenue operations as well. They’re missing key data points that they could use to help explain where there are issues and go to market.

[00:05:45] Um, because they’re so hyper focused on the sales go to market program. 

[00:05:51] Jared Robin: Sales explaining to product what to build. I, I, I get where it comes from. I, I have this client that’s on the one yard line or, or they’re, they’re ready to buy. They just need these three features. 

[00:06:07] Lindsay Cordell: That’s exactly right. Yep. Or why doesn’t 

[00:06:11] Jared Robin: push back?

[00:06:11] Why doesn’t the product push back? 

[00:06:13] Lindsay Cordell: Well, in a sales led organization, it makes sense that product would somewhat be taking their marching orders from sales. Um, but it definitely puts. So what I always say is sales is my team of all my go to market teams. They suffer the most from recency bias. So they feel like the last meeting they had or the last deal they sold is an indication of market success or almost qualifies as market research.

[00:06:39] And so they bring that information back to the business, rightly so, because that’s their experience, but you need to have other teams bringing their weight, their expertise, their, Understanding of the market and the research they’re doing to kind of offset some of that recency bias because it feels so good to just keep selling the same thing over and over again, but that’s where you start to run into like category confusion.

[00:07:03] And you’re not really sure what your product does anymore because it was built feature by feature by feature. To answer the needs of specific customers in specific segments, not built custom made to achieve a specific result of appealing to a specific segment that has a lot of runway to make sure that the business is successful, not just in the here and now.

[00:07:24] But two years, 10 years down the road. 

[00:07:27] Jared Robin: Yeah. The million dollar question is, all right, we have sales, we have marketing, we have product, we have customer success, and we have rev ops. We have, we’re, we’re accurately staffed. We, we have great intentions to have everybody work together,

[00:07:47] but then there’s silos. Or the alignments off, how, how do you orchestrate this? Cause I, and I think orchestrate is probably a good word, right? It’s, it’s not easy. 

[00:08:02] Lindsay Cordell: Absolutely. That’s. And so one of the things that go to market partners has built called the go to market operating system. And the idea is that.

[00:08:09] It’s really the risk is in those handoffs between the teams and the risk is that a team will take ownership of a particular action and just kind of push it through the system. So one of my, one of the places that happens most to me is when people are defining their like total addressable market, their total relevant market when they’re running that information, oftentimes.

[00:08:31] Marketing will take the helm of the conversation of what the ideal customer profile or ICP is. Makes sense. Marketers understand things like segments. They know where the data comes from. I mean, they absolutely have a strong understanding of how this process works. What unfortunately happens is if, if marketing tries to run that alone, then sales doesn’t listen to it.

[00:08:51] And CS is not going to run their cohorts by it. And next thing, you know, you’ve got a great ideal customer profile, and if nobody else in the go to market team is following it other than marketing, it’s just not going to have the weight that it needs to carry to keep people organized. So for example, in that case.

[00:09:10] How do you make sure that everybody follows it? Well, you can incentivize sales. Maybe they get an extra point on contracts that fall within the ICP. Maybe customer success is going to offer more support to customers that fall within the ICP. There’s ways that you can make sure that within everybody’s specific ways of managing their teams or motivating their teams to do the right thing, that they’re all following the same plan.

[00:09:36] It’s not going to be. Cookie cutter between the teams, but you can put a couple of simple things in place to make sure that if you truly believe as a company that your ideal customer profile is a particular segment, that you really incentivize the entire organization to focus on that segment and not get distracted by the shiny butterflies that might fly in your day to day job.

[00:09:58] Jared Robin: Shiny butterflies. Or something super interesting, um, especially for a creative founder, for sure. But, um, how do we know it’s working? Like what KPIs should we be setting? 

[00:10:16] Lindsay Cordell: So there’s some obvious KPIs in there like NRR. Um, I also love looking at your expansion pipeline because what that does is it forces us out of the mode of, you know, marketing is only there.

[00:10:30] Um, and a customer capacity to ensure like brand awareness, like it really focuses on, we are going to drive more value from our customers and if our customers won’t pay us more to do something with them, then we’ve got risk in our business. So I love that 1. I also like grading your revenue and grading your pipeline.

[00:10:49] And what that means is again, kind of similar to that. Not all revenue is created equal. They’re going to be, there’s going to be revenue with companies on your books. That are more likely to expand and that’s your grade a revenue. And then there’s going to be some people that don’t even touch your ICP.

[00:11:05] They’re not interacting with CS on a regular basis. They’re just really not that motivated. They’re not using the tool or using the solution the way that you intended for them to do it. You can see it in the usage metrics. That’s a good indication that. That potential revenue that you have on your books is not necessarily as high quality as other revenue.

[00:11:24] And then you use that same paradigm on your pipeline. So once you start thinking about things like grading, the specifics inside of each of those metrics, you’re going to find more gaps in your go to market. The last thing that I would say, if I could measure, if I could ask anybody to measure, um, it’s the handoffs.

[00:11:43] So when you’re thinking about the customer journey, like customer journey work is already a daunting experience for everyone involved. Um, but non value add handoffs for your customer. Let’s say that they read a piece of content or they go to your website and then they drop off or they don’t get to do something, or they’re not.

[00:12:01] Um, addressed again in a personalized fashion, that’s a drop off. And I would count the number of drop offs that you are providing both in the presale. And then after they become your customer, and if you’re looking at like a ratio of say, every two good actions results in one dead action, if you will, that’s really.

[00:12:20] Really bad place to be. So I would really be watching those handoffs between your teams. That’s going to naturally help you understand, like, is it a product misfire, is it a marketing misfire? Is there something weird happening in sales? And you’ll be able to diagnose some of your go to market challenges as a team.

[00:12:36] That way, as opposed to looking at very team based metrics, like a number of leads or the number of email opens, things like that, while it’s really important for however you measure your independent go to market teams be successful, number of email opens. Isn’t going to help you understand the overall health of your go to market.

[00:12:56] It’s just going to help you understand how one little channel is performing amongst a sea of what is hopefully lots of, 

[00:13:04] Jared Robin: I mean, There’s so many stakeholders in go to market, like, but, but, you know, some companies pre series a need to run, go to market motions, right? They’re just going, how many people do I need to hire?

[00:13:17] How much burn do I need to, to get this right? 

[00:13:21] Lindsay Cordell: So this is one of this question has actually been coming up a lot lately, and it’s been really more in the sales channel. So for the most part, common sense has said for the past 10 years. If you have a company that the founder is able to start having a repetitive sale and things are looking good and they can do the same thing over and over again.

[00:13:42] And it’s the same ACV, same product set, yada, yada. Let’s hire a couple SDRs, a couple of sales peoples and let’s scale this thing. My feeling is that you should scale nothing until you test. And so what that means is that founders are going to end up wearing a lot of hats, and they just need to keep track of what they’re testing, why they’re testing that, and see if there’s success.

[00:14:05] And once you start to see repetitive success in portions of your go to market, not just in the sale, not just the ability to execute on a sale, But across go to market, you have a campaign that works and you get more hits than you received or more inbounds than you had received in any campaign you’ve done before.

[00:14:23] That’s an indication that you’re getting your inbound under control, and it might be worth looking at a demand gen resource. But until you’re like, really getting deep into the metrics on it, you’re just kind of trying stuff out and that’s okay too, but I wouldn’t try and scale off of that base because you’re going to end up.

[00:14:39] Potentially making the wrong hire and then having to retool over and over again, and never knowing was it the bad hire? Was it strategically the wrong decision? Was I just not ready? It can, you just end up in this like series of doubting yourself and not, not necessarily figuring out where the, where the issue came from to begin with.

[00:15:01] Jared Robin: It makes sense. So you go to market by, and it actually solves the problem of having so many cooks in the kitchen, right? 

[00:15:08] Lindsay Cordell: It does. And one of the things that can be a real challenge about it, right? Is that typically you founders, right? You have incredible ideas. You aren’t automatically a marketer or a salesperson or a customer success person.

[00:15:23] And at a certain point you need sanity. Um, I think when. I’m thinking about scaling at that point. What you want to find is people who will learn from you directly. Jack of all trades, people that will come in and can replicate you, whether it’s you talking to a customer or you talking to somebody in a presale motion or you setting up a website, whatever it ends up being like, you just need to look and help and have more of an apprenticeship motion with the people you bring on versus the idea of like, well, I’m going to bring on this expert the man gen person that has built.

[00:15:57] Thousands of campaigns in their lifetime and has generated all kinds of pipeline, billions of dollars of pipeline in their lifetime. Because part of being a founder is, you know more about your business than anybody ever could. And you’re going to have to go through the process of teaching and handing it off.

[00:16:13] And all the expertise in the world and other businesses aren’t going to compensate for the fact that you know more than anybody ever could about the brilliance that you brought to market. 

[00:16:24] Jared Robin: Yeah, but it’s hard to explain that to others. It is. And it’s also hard to find a generalist nowadays. Harder than ever.

[00:16:32] Lindsay Cordell: It is, and that’s where it really is. You want to look at when you’re hiring that it’s not somebody you can’t hire the resume. You have to hire a person with chemistry that you two can get along and really work together on something. I definitely would advocate hiring for chemistry early on not hiring for resume.

[00:16:52] You’ll get to the point where you hire for as a day, and it’s the right thing to do. It’s not in the initial stages of going through the scaling mode. It’s going to be, it will be hard for that expert to come in and talk to you and understand what’s happening, given the fact that they have had.

[00:17:10] Programmatic success, executing on individual things. So it’ll be that that handoff gets real tough, and that’s where you get that too many cooks in the kitchen kind of experience. 

[00:17:19] Jared Robin: What are some of the biggest challenges that you’re hearing in the space for from companies? 

[00:17:26] Lindsay Cordell: So right now. People specifically in tech are really affected by the slowdown in sales.

[00:17:33] And so a lot of what we talk about right now are the slowdown pipeline velocity, just the inability to convert. Um, I think there’s a lot of people right now that aren’t necessarily in a position to feel confident spending. And so as long as they don’t have confidence in their ability to spend and then have R O I.

[00:17:54] Come out of it. They’re shying away from that deal. The problem is, is that, especially in the tech industry, if we’re all doing that, it gets us in a position where everyone is going to sales cycles, but nobody is actually buying anything, which is very dangerous place to be. So that right now is 1 of our clients.

[00:18:10] Biggest concerns is figuring out what to do with all of this. Just kind of sitting pipeline, installing pipeline and how how to start getting people transacting again. They need to 

[00:18:20] Jared Robin: learn how to sell 

[00:18:23] Lindsay Cordell: well, there is 

[00:18:24] Jared Robin: order takers, um, have gone, right? It wasn’t, um, CloudFlare CEO. Didn’t he just rip his whole team recently about that?

[00:18:35] Lindsay Cordell: There’s definitely, there’s definitely a lot of that. So, um, as well as my background in revenue operations, I’ve also run sales enablement for many, many teams and the fundamentals of sales and how to run an effective discovery and how to explain your value. Is really challenging and there are a lot of teams out there that maybe haven’t addressed that in any specific way and they’ve had.

[00:18:59] And so what we call this is we actually call this the heroic sales problem and even, I mean, even Salesforce has had this problem. I was looking up stats and only 29% of the slack sales reps in 2021 were making quota like, and that’s slack. Talk about an order taking product right there. So there’s so much risk in this motion and a lot of people need a lot of help and knowing the right way to talk about the specific product and understand the needs of the buyer and then articulate value.

[00:19:32] There’s just a lot. Sales is just a hard job. It’s a really hard job. And when everybody’s scared, it’s even worse. 

[00:19:39] Jared Robin: Do you think the challenge is at least in, uh, bigger companies, people are enabled, uh, with product knowledge versus problem knowledge and understanding gaps and stuff. I mean, I was enabled 15 years ago, just Complete product.

[00:19:57] I know times they are a change in, but I don’t know how much they’re changing. 

[00:20:03] Lindsay Cordell: I love that is such a good observation. And I’d love to say that it’s ended with the salespeople right now, but it’s across the board. We talked to a lot of marketers and I asked them about what they do and what the company stands for and what the company’s point of view is and what solutions it provides.

[00:20:19] And I immediately start to get lists of features. So it’s not just sales that’s suffering from this, like, Feature vomit, it is across the go to market team. And it’s to the point where sometimes it takes us. We have a workshop called the POV workshop. Um, and these are sophisticated, incredible marketers that have built incredible programs, but they are still very focused on and differentiated features for sure.

[00:20:47] Like they really push into differentiation right now. So in the tech world, does the 

[00:20:51] Jared Robin: prospect need it? Uh, like which way do they need to differentiate it? 

[00:20:56] Lindsay Cordell: And that, and therein, therein lies the problem. Sometimes prospects will just outright ask, like, can you tell me why you’re better than X? Cause I’ve listened to both y’all’s pitches and they, they sound the same to me.

[00:21:08] So, but 

[00:21:09] Jared Robin: the And people are actually, um, setting moles in to their competitors to hear their pitch. And to understand where their product is going. So it’s never been more important, right? To, to actually know you’re the person. 

[00:21:26] Lindsay Cordell: Well, and know truly what you’re solving because the collection of features that you have.

[00:21:33] Is actually a solution, and so if you get over rotated on just talking about the bells and whistles, you’re going to miss the big picture. And that’s why people are buying because right now they’re not buying sets of features that they need to buy solutions to their very real go to market problems.

[00:21:50] They can’t generate pipeline. They can’t close deals. I mean, there’s a lot of very real go to market problems. And as long as we’re all spending all of our time talking about. Um, you know, which feature, which analytics or how often this goes into the cloud and, you know, how many integrations and why your API integration is more, is more better, faster, diverse than this other person’s API integration, as long as we spend our time talking about that, we’re going to continue to see.

[00:22:20] Stalled sales cycles, because they’re not there to talk to you about your API’s typically not every buyers that way. Sophisticated buyers with something very specific in mind with high product problem, market fit, they might come to you with that list. That is not going to be the norm though. People are asking for guidance from their sellers and from the marketers representing.

[00:22:42] The company’s capability set. And if all you’re doing is giving a list of what you do, you’re not providing the guidance, which is what they mean.

[00:22:52] Jared Robin: Times, you know, buyers are requiring more, uh, more, more knowledge, but less interaction with sales, right? Like you have to put it out there. Um, they need their questions answered. First, just being put through a process that repeatable process that you said earlier, that’s hard to pass it on. Um, what, like what’s, what’s the most interesting thing you’ve heard or you found about GTM?

[00:23:30] Lindsay Cordell: Ooh, that’s a good one. Okay. So one of the things that I’ve noticed lately, particularly, and we’ve been working with a lot of executives in the space. Um, and we actually at our road shows, we call it go to market therapy. And so we’re like, just put all your cards on the table. It’s a safe place. No one’s going to talk about you.

[00:23:49] And I’m not really talking about any of you just in general, but you know, it’s impossible to have every answer. And I feel like there’s this, there’s this need right now for immediate solution. So a lot of what I hear things like, you know, I’m a new executive, I’ve gotten 90 days. To make something happen.

[00:24:09] And the reality is, is go to markets are go to market systems are big structures that involve diverse groups of people that involve a lot of data collection and a lot of strategic planning. It’s not something you, it’s, it’s like turning a yacht so you can’t treat it like a speedboat and expect it to just.

[00:24:30] Be able to be shifted in a small amount of time. So what we need to be looking for is incremental improvement and stop, you know, like pulling the, pulling it as hard as you can to the right in hopes that you’re going to see the outcomes you’re looking for, because what actually ends up happening is you just confuse the people doing the work and then they are less productive, less motivated, more confused, and.

[00:24:57] More likely to jump ship because they feel that lack of direction is very, uh, it’s very unsettling and in unsettling times when we’re not exactly sure what next quarter is going to be like, and how the banks and the financial situation is going to continue to impact us, or if we’re going to be able to come out of this with a positive end to 2023, we just don’t know.

[00:25:18] So creating a ton of instability within your organization, because you’re trying to. You know, avoid, avoid the iceberg by pulling on the thing as hard as you can. It’s just not going to, it’s just not going to yield the results you’re looking for. You got to have some patience in this. One of 

[00:25:33] Jared Robin: the best analogies I heard was from Nick Mehta on this.

[00:25:36] He goes, um, running a company is like driving a car. You’re the driver’s seat. Your team is the passengers. Have you ever noticed that the driver never gets sick, but the passengers sometimes do? You have to let them know when the curves are coming and not just jerk it. 

[00:25:54] Lindsay Cordell: I love that. And the people in the way back that have no visibility into the windshield, like forget about it.

[00:26:02] They are definitely going to struggle. 

[00:26:04] Jared Robin: Let, let, let’s bring up like a very interesting point. It’s 2023 mid year. This year is not normal. Um, things are different than last year and certainly different than two years ago. Your go to market plan went to shit. How do you recalibrate right now with keeping without your passengers wanting to, to get out of the car, you know, because they’re, they’re so dismayed and, and, and to bring it to success.

[00:26:36] So

[00:26:40] this has gotta be a. The question that people are asking, right? 

[00:26:43] Lindsay Cordell: It is. And so the way that I would approach it is first of all, kind of figuring out where the hottest problems are within your organization. So like we have this concept of the 15 problems of go to market, and they’re pretty uniform. And a lot of it’s like lack of prioritization, discommunication between marketing sales and customer success, relying on heroic.

[00:27:04] Players can’t forecast all of those challenges. So I would ask your teams, like, what is your specific largest problem with go to market right now? Um, it might pinpoint you, but more than anything, there are still audiences out there that are buying. There are still buyers out there. I talk as many, as much as I talk to teams that are struggling, I talk to companies that are almost.

[00:27:27] Bashful when they say things like actually we 10 X or, um, actually, uh, we were only supposed to make 5 million last quarter and we accidentally made 20. So they’re AI, they don’t, they don’t, but what they do is really important. Um, But I say all that to say, there are still buyers, there’s still people making money.

[00:27:49] Your segmentation is more critical than anything right now. I would rather you all go back to your ICP tomorrow and build campaigns that are geared to that exact group of buyers that are still shopping and still able to pay you. And focus their deal with the fire that is happening around all of us by doing that for the next quarter and a half and then figure out from there.

[00:28:15] Okay. Are we going to go back to what was working before? Do we like what we’re doing? But there are people who can spend and there are people who cannot and continuing to bang down the door of people who can’t spend right now is just going to feel. So relentless for your teams and you’re not going to get to the goals that you’re looking for.

[00:28:34] So you might, you might have to do something crazy and go to after an audience segment you’ve never touched before, but if they can spend and they have a need and you have an answer to that need, then I would, that’s where I would spend your time looking, even if it means a complete restructure. 

[00:28:51] Jared Robin: And that’s what a lot of people are doing now.

[00:28:53] Um, It’s that time, but it’s, uh, it’s, it’s crazy and, you know, I’m curious what’s keeping your clients up at night right now, because that might be part of it. 

[00:29:06] Lindsay Cordell: It is it’s it’s the it’s the fact that all of the old playbooks and to your point, right? This year feels different than any last year. Um, however, I do think we’re in this time now where when we go from quarter to quarter, it’s almost like, you know, and like big public companies deal with this on a regular basis as they go to their quarterly shareholder meetings and they deal with the quarter by quarter by quarter behavior.

[00:29:32] Like, we are in a place where. We just all need to live quarter by quarter and we can’t look at Q1 of 2023 of 2022 to help us with 23. We can’t look at Q1 of 21 and certainly not of 20. So we’re, we’re looking at 4 years now of just like crazy roller coaster numbers, data process derailment. And so it’s really got to be.

[00:29:57] Like about the here and now, and who can pay us today and who will pay us tomorrow. Um, and I think having one of the things that one of our clients that’s doing really well, actually, and this was funny because it was keeping them up at night and now I’m so proud of them. Um, so they are in financials and right now, every time an interest rate changes their entire strategic financial plan shifts, and this is.

[00:30:23] Billion dollar institution. And so if they’re going to make a shift, there’s. You know, hundreds of employees that have to completely change the way that they had planned to go to market that they have to communicate to. And so what they’ve gotten good at at this point is agile marketing. And so they have set up their processes so that if an interest rate changes, that’s advantageous to 1 financial product or disadvantage advantageous to the 1 they had planned on pushing.

[00:30:49] It takes them 24 hours to completely regenerate their entire campaign structure, completely reset everything, every email, every piece of content, every custom page, every text, everything that they’re doing to communicate with their prospects and their customers is able to change in less than 24 hours.

[00:31:08] And so just being ready mentally from a process perspective for that change, completely resets the dynamic of your team. That way you can be reactive without feeling. Just overwhelmed by that change. So it’s proactive reactivity or agile marketing, or there’s lots of words out there to describe it, but that’s, that’s where they’ve gotten and they’re thrilled and they’re all thriving under this new uncertainty, if you will, as opposed to fearing it, 

[00:31:37] Jared Robin: you know, it’s funny about your, your slack example.

[00:31:41] Funny. So I came about in the recession

[00:31:47] and now in probably the toughest economic climate since the reps aren’t hitting. Why do you think that is? 

[00:31:58] Lindsay Cordell: Well, I will say, I mean, there’s complications inside of Salesforce. I mean, huge Salesforce fan, that company helped me build my career. So, but it’s a complicated sales environment and they’d be the first to admit it.

[00:32:10] So the sales overlays and the multiple products and the pricing structure. So there’s a lot happening inside of that environment. Um, what I like about slack, what I like about their journey is when they were in the recession before they had transformational ROI is what we called it, which essentially means all they had to do was prove that they could do something new and exciting, and they can make the company transform and become more technologically capable, which is what they did.

[00:32:37] Then they moved out of that phase, and then they became an efficiency play. So we are going to make your employees communicate faster. We have. A bunch of plugins that allow us to communicate interesting things from all these different systems at once. Um, full automation and all of the bots that they were able to incorporate into Slack.

[00:32:56] And now they’re at a necessity phase. So when you’re a necessity, what happens is there’s competition. Um, you become a cost and not necessarily something that people get excited about. People are I feel like they have to buy you, not that they want to buy you. It completely changes your relationship with your prospects, with your customers.

[00:33:17] If all of a sudden they’re forced to get you because you can’t live without you. And I think just living through that change and reorganizing your messaging and your pricing and your go to market strategies around those transitions is really important. And I would guess that they probably need to spend a little bit more time thinking about what it’s like.

[00:33:36] To market and to encourage and prospect inside of that necessity world. Um, but again, I mean, brilliant people at slack. I would never propose that I could answer all of their challenges by any stretch of the imagination, but. We watched them go through lots of phases over the past few years, and it’s, it’s been great, but it’s, you can definitely see your own challenges.

[00:34:00] And that’s a lot of things that we talk about when you have a company that’s similar to somebody out there that has a very public journey. I definitely. advise you to kind of get that company in your mind and research them. You can even go back in time machine and look at what their website said in 2008 compared to 2013 compared to today.

[00:34:20] There’s so many different ways that you can observe how people have gone before you and learn from their mistakes and modernize it without having to reinvent the wheel. 

[00:34:32] Jared Robin: If you could give The listeners, one piece of advice that they could execute this month, you know, in the next couple of weeks, that that’s going to have a dramatically positive effect on their go to market.

[00:34:51] What would it be? 

[00:34:53] Lindsay Cordell: So the number one thing I would have everybody do is you need to look at, and we call it the seven go to market motions. You need to look. At your marketing programs and your sales programs and your customer programs that you have in place and really make a decision. Are you inbound?

[00:35:10] Are you outbound? Are you community? Are you ecosystem? And really start looking at if you can measure according to those. Horizontal programs, I think you’ll start to find that there are likely some drags in your system that in this day and age, you just don’t have time for and that’s okay. And I think you’ll find that there’s some big winners.

[00:35:32] But if you keep kind of looking at your programs and this homogenous bubble of. pipeline and revenue, it’s going to be really hard for you to unpack and figure out what to put the gas on. And if all we’re using is our recency bias of a lead or a sale to help us make that call, we’re going to continue to like feel that slog and feel like you’re doing things and doing things and doing things and never getting anywhere.

[00:35:57] So that would be my number one piece of advice. is look at each of your go to market motions and figure out which ones are performing the best for you. Index over index on those and pull back from the stuff that’s not winning right now. It’s not that you can’t revisit them later. So let’s say you’re starting to build an ecosystem and it’s just not hitting for you right now, then maybe ecosystem isn’t where you should be spending a significant amount of your resources.

[00:36:22] Go back to the thing that’s making you money and that’s moving your pipe today. And as we start to pull out of this recession, that’s when you can get back into the experimentation phase, and you can start spending on things that maybe don’t have that proven ROI because you’ll need it eventually. Um, but you just don’t want to push yourselves too thin right now.

[00:36:42] It’s a hard market to do that in. 

[00:36:46] Jared Robin: What, what excites you about the future though? Is there anything like, tell me about the future of GTM and then the future of the tech space. So what’s next, another department or another title? We thought the CRO was the cat’s meow. We were wrong. It’s really the chief chief revenue ish officer.

[00:37:12] Lindsay Cordell: So I do think so secretly I’ve, I hope. That eventually we get to a point where there is a chief go to market officer, which sounds crazy. If the last thing we need is another C level, right? But the reality is, is that somebody. 

[00:37:29] Jared Robin: Differ from a chief revenue officer because. 

[00:37:32] Lindsay Cordell: Yeah. So the chief revenue officer.

[00:37:36] Again, tends to take primary ownership of the sales motion. Occasionally like they’ll also bring in the marketing, but it tends to live off of that and rev ops. This is true. So yes and no, yes and no. So 

[00:37:54] Jared Robin: if you have all of those, what is the GTM? So the perf where I’m going is if the chief revenue officer is supposed to overlook four ish departments, CS ops.

[00:38:06] Revenue ops, sales, marketing, what extra department does the chief go to market officer encompass that’s missing? 

[00:38:17] Lindsay Cordell: So what we didn’t talk about in that conversation at all was product. And at the end of the day, they’re building the things we sell. And so an over disconnect. So let’s say now we’ve got our chief product officer and our chief revenue officer.

[00:38:33] And they’re butting heads, but the chief revenue officer has successfully coalesced all of the other teams and go to market. In which case, it’s just 2 people that have to define strategy and execute it effectively between them. I feel pretty good about that. Unfortunately, my experience has been that CRO role.

[00:38:51] Has continued, whether they take in customer success or they take in marketing, um, they still tend to focus primarily on the quarter by quarter sale, that aspect of go to market. And what we know from our research and from the work that we’ve done is that there’s a lot of planning. That goes into the quarter we’re in the quarter.

[00:39:14] We’re in those decisions were made three quarters ago. And so, as long as we can, if that CRO is so hyper focused on the here and now, and they aren’t thinking and deeply involved in what product is building and what marketing is thinking about from audience perspective, that’s when we’re going to start to see that inefficiency.

[00:39:32] So should the CRO be able to bring all of those teams together, including products and including revenue operations, I feel pretty good about them, but thus far, I’ve not seen that type of relationship manifest just yet. So, 

[00:39:50] Jared Robin: well, you know, I have, I have two questions that come out of this, like. Where’s the COO in all of this and if they used to do something like, like help with this.

[00:40:00] Lindsay Cordell: So what’s interesting about the COO role is that they really have been, um, there’s especially larger organizations. There’s so much complication and running of teams. So think about your full remote workforce, right? You’ve got HR, you’ve got finance, you’ve got the board management, which, or the investor management or the shareholder management if you’re public.

[00:40:23] So There’s so many tactical things go to market is essentially really about your product and your customers. So unless the COO can kind of offload some of that work of just making the business function, its entirety, I don’t know how they would also be able to have the intimate knowledge of just sit on the customer calls and hear how the customers feel about the product, look at the product roadmap and really think, Hey.

[00:40:52] We were thinking about going after a different audience segment. Is this product really going to move that audience segment forward? Or do we need to make adjustments? It’s a big ask in my opinion. And I also feel that way about the CEO. Like the CEO has been tasked over tasked with so much, so much.

[00:41:10] Expectations of expertise in so many different facets of the business. I just don’t think it’s possible. I mean, if we think about the customer journey, it’s extensive. And to keep track of all of that and keep everyone happy and keep the board apprised of every decision being made and manage a strategy and the schedule and the money.

[00:41:32] It just, it’s, it’s a, it’s a lot of ants. It makes me worry. 

[00:41:35] Jared Robin: All right. So you have a product persona, you have an op, a revenue operations persona, or let’s call it operations persona. You have a sales persona, you have a marketing persona. You have a CS persona. Which one wins the majority of the time taking over chief GTM officer?

[00:41:55] Because I, I, I, I have my suspicions, but I guess this question depends on who you ask too. 

[00:42:04] Lindsay Cordell: So it does. So what I will say, and the most functional businesses Um, having that really strong revenue operations leader that knows as much about the art as running of running the business as understanding the underpinnings.

[00:42:23] And you and I have talked about the underpinning systems and what that Rev Ops future Rev Ops person they have, um. A disassociation that’s really healthy with all of the individualized metrics. So as much as they want sales to succeed, they aren’t necessarily attached fundamentally to that success through compensation or lots of other, lots of other avenues that we use to tie success.

[00:42:49] Um, they’re not typically tied to customer success and retention and renewal rates and things like that. So whomever it is, they have to be intimately aware of the customer’s experience And how the go to market journey works, but also not overly biased to any of the four departments. They have to be able to be that Switzerland and that neutral party.

[00:43:10] So revenue operations typically plays that role, at least from a data perspective today. I see that continuing to accelerate and to continue to be Switzerland, not just for the tactical management of data, but also for the artistic management of. Proving value to your prospects and future customers. 

[00:43:32] Jared Robin: That was going to be my guess.

[00:43:35] Lindsay Cordell: How did you know? 

[00:43:37] Jared Robin: Um, did they want it though? Is the question. That’s the follow up. 

[00:43:43] Lindsay Cordell: Uh, that, I think that’s an individual decision for sure. I’ve met many RevOps people that are really fantastic at kind of sitting in those marketing and sales frustrations. Restoration meetings. And I will say so. I said that I grew up in revenue operations and sales, but I’ve actually held leadership roles in products, customer success, as well as sales and sales enablement and revenue operations.

[00:44:10] So I’ve in marketing. So I’ve seen all sides of these challenges. And, you know, the truth is, is that people are rightly passionate about their jobs and they take offense when the other groups. Start to question their capabilities. And it’s just great to have somebody in the room that sees the big picture and can pull back a little bit from that investment.

[00:44:34] So we need our go to market teams to be personally invested, but we need somebody sitting over the top that can just neutrally look at the overall experience and keep the whole team moving forward as a group as well. And be 

[00:44:46] Jared Robin: objective. Sales doesn’t win that 

[00:44:53] Lindsay Cordell: marketing to, I mean, I’ve definitely sat in those meetings before, uh, we’re marketing and sales were just really going at each other, both mutually frustrated, both trying to communicate their needs.

[00:45:04] Exactly. Both, both just try to communicate why they believe that they’re on the right path and, and, You know, still really struggling. I mean, especially, I mean, I worked at Termina. So ABM was, was everything. And it was all about marketing and sales alignment. And it’s, it’s not an easy thing to do to bring those two teams together.

[00:45:21] Now we’re going to add product and customer success. And they’re like, nope, no worries. It’ll be an easy, easy job. 

[00:45:27] Jared Robin: I love where your head’s at with that. Now I’m curious, like what excites you for the future, um, in the whole space? 

[00:45:34] Lindsay Cordell: So again, probably the rev ops view is clear, but I do appreciate that we’re at a place where we care about efficient, successful businesses, right?

[00:45:45] So the growth at all costs, um, it did allow for a lot of incredible companies to come to market. I think much faster than they would have otherwise. But I’ve definitely. Sat in rooms where there was significant waste happening and I could see it and I knew it and I felt like there was nothing I could do about it.

[00:46:06] Um, and I do think we are looking at efficient growth and, you know, healthy businesses with the right amount of burn and the right amount of strategic management. So I feel like as hard as this lesson has been. To learn over the past 2 years, um, really past years when it’s really been hitting us hard, um, efficient growth is like out strips.

[00:46:30] The triple, triple, double, double just does. So while that might be possible in a triple, triple, double, double. I’d like to see it with efficient metrics and successful, healthy companies, not artificial growth that is unsustainable. And it puts a lot of good people’s lives at risk because they’re not, they’re not sustainable plans.

[00:46:51] Jared Robin: Well understood there, but, um, efficient growth is looked at from the company’s point of view. Not from the employee’s point of view. So often employees are left out and sometimes it needs to happen. Maybe often it does, but other times they’re working for not livable wages. You know, there’s a lot more to this to boil down.

[00:47:18] Um, Even in good markets, right? 

[00:47:22] Lindsay Cordell: Well, I think a lot of that, that issue happens though, because they hire, they overhire for a future plan that never manifests. And then the people who pay for that are the people who work at the company. So if we are following a methodology of efficient growth from the day that we start our business, then we won’t overhire and we won’t.

[00:47:47] Overpay to the point where we can’t sustain and we need a windfall in order for us to keep the people that we’ve brought on. So I do think so. Certainly this shift to efficient growth has been extremely traumatic for many employees. If we had started under the premise of, we’re not going to hire unless we can afford it, then maybe we wouldn’t be in the same position.

[00:48:11] We are right now from a job management perspective. 

[00:48:16] Jared Robin: But then the financiers, uh, wouldn’t be able to win or lose fast. 

[00:48:21] Lindsay Cordell: Well, and even, you know, when we talk to VCs out there, like they are, they’re looking at efficiency metrics more often these days, and they’re actually a little relieved because. At least the ones I’ve spoken with that it doesn’t feel as much like a gamble feels more predictable, so they know what’s going to happen.

[00:48:39] They can look and they’re rewarding, effective, well managed businesses. Um, but don’t get me started. I mean, there’s all kinds of problems. That’s a very altruistic way of looking at what’s going on in the marketplace. People, there 

[00:48:53] Jared Robin: were companies that use these, that, that were in fine. Economic, uh, stances themselves, but used these conditions to cut the fat, so to speak.

[00:49:07] Um, wow, it seems like a cop out now. 

[00:49:12] Lindsay Cordell: I mean, it’s definitely, it’s definitely, they took advantage of a moment to restructure for sure. And, you know, I don’t know that, I don’t know what I would have done in their position, knowing that things needed to change and that it seemed like an okay moment to start affecting that change.

[00:49:32] But building effective businesses from the ground up, if you needed to do a restructure, you would probably have been able to do it without just dramatic 10% cuts of random workers throughout your organization. So, there’s ways to get more efficient that don’t require you to just automatically pull back.

[00:49:54] Um. And I hope that, I hope that people are doing that, but you know what, the, the employees, we had a moment there, which I fully appreciated where we really got to kind of take a little bit more control in the relationship. And that somewhat feels like it’s been corrected back the other way and the company.

[00:50:11] It’s back to holding a lot of the cards these days. And the employee is there at their pleasure and they’re, they’re not there if for whatever reason, the economics don’t shake out in their favor. And that’s, that’s a tough time. It’s a tough place to be in as an employee, for sure.

[00:50:29] Jared Robin: You know, what’s, what, what’s the meaning of life with, uh, like, right. This gets to the bottom of everything. 

[00:50:41] Lindsay Cordell: It does. And it’s, you know, it’s such a tough time in general. And it’s so frustrating for us to watch these companies that got very excited and did a ton of hiring and there’s just so much volatility, but at the same time, like we said, the data that we would have.

[00:51:00] Like the Q1 of 2020 versus 21 versus 22 versus 23, just a volatile world that we’re living in. And so everyone’s just trying to cope with this volatility to the best of their ability, but protect yourself, protect your career. Um, you know, read the writing on the wall. I mean, that’s all you can do. And that’s what the companies are doing.

[00:51:21] As well. So just really stay on top of what’s happening inside of these organizations. And it’s, it’s not uncommon for companies in good standing to decide to move on a different direction. And that can impact a lot of people, but just stay, take care of yourself and all of this and know that unfortunately, as much as I love technology, we are not known for our stable environments and it’s just not a very stable place to work in.

[00:51:48] Just be ready for anything, but that’s why we love it, right? We also don’t have to wait three years for a, for a change request to come through a waterfall, a waterfall development shop either. So there’s, there’s pluses and minuses for sure. 

[00:52:03] Jared Robin: This has been an incredible conversation. Um, I love hearing your, your, your views on the future of GTM and it makes so much sense to involve product.

[00:52:15] Um, instead of siloing them off and so much more, I, I, I, I think like you have biz ops, you have rev ops, there’s, there’s so much more that could be intertwined probably in an org that goes past this too. We’ll have to save that for next time. How can folks get in touch with you? 

[00:52:36] Lindsay Cordell: So you can reach out to me directly, Lindsay at GTM partners.

[00:52:39] If you just want to check out our website, GTM partners. com. And at a minimum, if you. Are apprehensive, but excited about what I’ve talked about. Um, we have a substack GTM Mondays. Um, so we release content every Monday and it is all from the analyst work and the research work that we’ve been doing with our clients and with the massive communities that we get to partner with.

[00:53:03] Like. Women in Revenue and PMC and lots of other, um, incredible organizations like The Rev Room. So, so, so much good stuff will come out of that. So if you are just interested and just kind of want to see what’s going on, I definitely suggest you check out GTM Mondays. Lindsay, 

[00:53:19] Jared Robin: this has been awesome. I can’t wait.

[00:53:21] Um, Am I, am I going to see you in Boston? 

[00:53:25] Lindsay Cordell: You are. Yes. I will 

[00:53:26] Jared Robin: be there. So I can’t wait until then. Um, which is exciting. I can’t wait to see what you all continue to roll out and how you all continue to have a positive impact on, on going to market. Thank you so much for coming today. 

[00:53:43] Lindsay Cordell: Oh, it’s my pleasure.

[00:53:43] Thank you so much for the opportunity to, to talk to you. to tell a little bit about this story. And I know we’re so excited about it. I know it feels daunting, that idea of a unified GTM, but it will create so much stability for so many people. I really hope that 10 years from now, we can all be high fiving and saying, we did it.

[00:54:01] Sales and marketing are no longer fighting.

[00:54:07] Jared Robin: There’ll be a playbook for them, no longer fighting, but humans fight.

[00:54:15] That’s true. That’s a deeper conversation. Back to the meaning 

[00:54:19] Lindsay Cordell: of life, 

[00:54:19] Jared Robin: shall we? Back to the meaning of life. What is it? You know, and, and, and truthfully going back to that, that simple question, simple sounding question, very in depth question. Um. Really helps level you a 

[00:54:36] Lindsay Cordell: bit. I agree. Let’s center. Let’s center ourselves on the critical aspects of life.

[00:54:41] Sometimes we can get a little too cerebral about the thing about our own day to day. 

[00:54:48] Jared Robin: Well, thank you all for listening. This has been another episode of revenue today until next week.

[00:54:58] Thank you friends for joining me. That was another great episode of revenue today. If you’re looking to listen to more episodes or for the show notes, go to RevGenius. com. For all my friends in the RevGenius community, it was awesome to spend this time with you. Please DM me any feedback or ideas for future podcasts in our Slack channel or on LinkedIn.

[00:55:17] If you’re not in RevGenius, Join us. It’s RevGenius. com. It’s free and it’s fast to join. And really for all levels of revenue professionals. For senior leaders, we just launched a private community just for you called RevRoom. We know it gets lonely out there and we’ve built a tight knit group of senior leaders collaborating on the future B2B go to market.

[00:55:38] Looking forward to seeing you all there.

Become a RevGenius member today.