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Episode 31  |  34:26 min

The Go-To-Market Maturity Model Part I With Highspot's Stephen Hallowell

Episode 31  |  34:26 min  |  05.15.2020

The Go-To-Market Maturity Model Part I With Highspot's Stephen Hallowell

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This is a podcast episode titled, The Go-To-Market Maturity Model Part I With Highspot's Stephen Hallowell. The summary for this episode is: The playbook for success is one that’s hard to come by. In hypergrowth companies, you are often running around so much that it can be nearly impossible to stop and articulate the evolution you’re a part of, what's working, and what isn't. Unlike so many of us, our guest on today's episode has taken the time to write it all down. That guest is Stephen Hallowell, VP Strategic Services at Highspot. He’s seen what happens when companies like Mulesoft and Snowflake go from tens of millions in revenue to hundreds of millions, and luckily, Stephen has written the whole playbook down for the rest of us to follow. That playbook is what he calls the Go-To-Market Maturity model, and he published 4 pillars to that model in a series of LinkedIn articles. On today’s episode, we’re going to cover Pillar 1, Targeting, and Pillar 2, Messaging. Our next episode will the other two pillars. Stephen's GTM Maturity Model: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/introducing-gtm-maturity-model-stephen-hallowell/ Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the pod with your friends! You can connect with Sean on Twitter @Seany_Biz @HYPERGROWTH_pod
The playbook for success is one that’s hard to come by. In hypergrowth companies, you are often running around so much that it can be nearly impossible to stop and articulate the evolution you’re a part of, what's working, and what isn't. Unlike so many of us, our guest on today's episode has taken the time to write it all down. That guest is Stephen Hallowell, VP Strategic Services at Highspot. He’s seen what happens when companies like Mulesoft and Snowflake go from tens of millions in revenue to hundreds of millions, and luckily, Stephen has written the whole playbook down for the rest of us to follow. That playbook is what he calls the Go-To-Market Maturity model, and he published 4 pillars to that model in a series of LinkedIn articles. On today’s episode, we’re going to cover Pillar 1, Targeting, and Pillar 2, Messaging. Our next episode will the other two pillars. Stephen's GTM Maturity Model: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/introducing-gtm-maturity-model-stephen-hallowell/ Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the pod with your friends! You can connect with Sean on Twitter @Seany_Biz @HYPERGROWTH_pod

Sean Lane: Welcome to Operations. The show where we look under the hood of companies in hypergrowth. My name is Sean Lane. Before I came to work at Drift, I worked at the same company for five and a half years, which is an oddly rare and lengthy tenure in the hyper- growth tech world. One of the things that I thought was an asset as I spent more and more time at that company was this concept of institutional knowledge. I knew the history, the context, the success or failure of every past decision, systems, personnel, all of it. And it was valuable. But what I've come to learn in my time at drift is that there's an asset more valuable than institutional knowledge, and that's knowledge of repeated success. A track record been there, done that, seen the movie before, you get what I'm saying, but the playbook for that success is one that's hard to come by and hard won. And so often inside of hyper- growth companies, you are running around so much that it can be really hard to actually stop and articulate the evolution that you're a part of and contributing to, and why things are working or they're not. That's what our guest today realized when he looked back at his time inside of hyper- growth companies like Responsys, MuleSoft and Snowflake. Our guest today is Stephen Hallowell. Over the course of his career, Stephen has led sales enablement, sales productivity, and operations teams inside of some of the fastest growing companies. And he recently joined HighSpot to do it all again is their VP of strategic services. Stephen, unlike so many of us has taken the time to write down the patterns, the possibilities and the pitfalls he's seen when it comes to building and evolving a company's Go- to- market strategy. He's seen what happens when a company tries to go from tens of millions in revenue to hundreds of millions. And luckily for all of us, he's written the whole playbook down for the rest of us to follow. That playbook is what he calls The Go- To- Market Maturity Model. And he's published four pillars to that model in a series of LinkedIn articles. In our conversation with Stephen today, we're going to go deep on each one of those pillars. And also in a first for our show, because there's so much helpful information and content for us to review, we're actually going to split our conversation up into two parts. On today's episode, we're going to cover Pillar 1, Targeting and Pillar 2, Messaging. Then we're going to save our conversations about Pillar 3, The Sales Process, and Pillar 4, Accountability, for our next episode in two weeks within each pillar, Stephen outlines how to mature from the earliest stage company to best in class. So as we go through pillar, I want you to visualize a spectrum and try and place your company along that spectrum. Where are you in that evolution from early stage to best in class? But first, what can we learn about the Genesis of the model itself? What drove Stephen to develop this thing in the first place?

Stephen Hallowell: It's been interesting, I've been fortunate to be both directly a part of a few pretty interesting companies, but also just knowing a lot of people in the industry who are going through the same things. And the things that I've observed are that many companies struggle in the same places. And it'll come out as we talk more here across these four pillars, but they're areas that I see almost every high growth company really wrestles with these issues. And certainly as I was going through it, and as I was kind of learning and growing up through this process, I didn't have a ton of good places to turn in terms of resources and ways to think about it, and I think perhaps even more importantly, as a leadership team, many of these issues are very cross- functional and I've found that the leadership team tended not to have clear focus on what are the most important places that as a cross- functional leadership team we need to dig in and be able to then mature how we operate. And so, as you think about things like, what customers do we target? What's our message? What's our sales process? How do we drive accountability? None of these are things that one person or one team fully owns or can fully solve by themselves. And if you don't have the priorities aligned across different functional leaders, everybody can say," Yep, we need to get our ICP really sharpened up, for example. It's hard to make that happen. And so I basically built out what I wished I had had along the way from that experience.

Sean Lane: I really like the point you make about all of these pillars being cross- functional. And like you said, we'll get to each pillar and we're going to go through those in depth, but I'm curious because they are all so cross- functional and as I look at the overall structure that you've outlined here, I'm curious if you found a specific org structure or set up in terms of responsibilities inside of an organization that lend themselves best to this type of maturity model? Because so much of it is cross- functional you end up either with silos or a scenario where everybody owns it, so nobody owns it

Stephen Hallowell: Yeah, I think there's a wide variety of org structures that can work. I don't think it's dependent on one structure. What I think matters though, is that somebody is willing to take on a leadership role in driving this sort of conversation. And actually, I think this is a place that ops and enablement or product marketing leaders, especially ops and enablement are really in a unique spot to step into that leadership role when they want to. It's certainly the path that I took, but because you're not beholden to one slice of the business, you're not optimizing on just new opportunities generated or number of leads, you're supposed to be a little bit more strategic and able to kind of step back and look at the bigger picture, and you have access to the data around what's happening. I think it's a really interesting opportunity to kind of say," Hey, are we doing the right things? Where do we have opportunity to sharpen up?" What's going to be leading through influence is not going to be leading through ownership, but I think that can still be a very powerful place to lead from

Sean Lane: If you're in a cross- functional operations role or a cross functional role of any kind for that matter, you've likely felt this question about influence. How can ops drive change without necessarily being the direct owners of that thing? And I really like Stephen's view here about leading through influence, not through ownership. To me, it's all about the perspective and the attitude you bring to the project. If you feel like you don't own anything and you can't make an impact, you won't. But if you feel like your cross- functional view is unique and that perspective can bring about positive change, you're on your way to doing just that. So with that attitude in mind, I wanted to understand how Stephen landed on the four pillars that he did. There are so many components that you could say make up a company's go- to- market strategy. So before diving into the pillars themselves, how did he arrive at those four in the first place?

Stephen Hallowell: I think I focused on, again kind of the places where I saw people having the most frequent issues. Clearly there are plenty, as you said, there are plenty of other things you could pull into this and that sharp people have suggested to add to this. I tried to focus on the places that I feel like are both very high leverage and are not obvious. So the things that everybody knows you have to get right, and therefore, everybody kind of figures it out over time. I didn't put as much focus on that. Basically. I think about four different pillars. And so those pillars are Targeting, so that's really who are we going after in the sales cycle? At a basic level that's, who's your ICP, your ideal customer profile? At a more advanced level that's things like how many sales head talent do we put against different segments in the market? And I kind of think of that targeting bucket as the foundational piece, that you can waste so much resource if you don't get it right. You can suffer lots of inefficiency from lacking alignment. And so there's a lot of things it doesn't solve, but at the same time, getting that piece down properly it makes a huge difference. It's kind of like if you have a written a bicycle, you can try to get into great shape for riding that bike. But if you haven't inflated your tires, you're going to be doing a lot more work than you need to. Inflating your tires won't solve everything, but boy, it sure can make things a lot easier. The next two are Messaging and Sales Process. And I think about these as really combined is how do you make sure that when you're talking to a customer, you make those as impactful as possible? And that is sort of the heart of where real significant performance improvement can come for a sales organization. If you're not actively changing and improving how that sales conversation happens, it's hard to really impact performance and that there are two sides of that. One is the, what am I trying to accomplish? What am I trying to get done with this customer to meet their needs as they're going through their buying process? That's the sales process side. And then the messaging piece is okay, if this is what I need to get done, what do I actually say to do that? What's my talk track? How does that conversation go down? And then the last pillar is Accountability. If you don't have accountability, you'll have some people that are well- intended and motivated, that'll pick it up and run with it and do wonderfully. But it's hard, especially if you're in a situation where you're driving change across an organization. And in my experience as a company grows from tens of millions of revenue, to hundreds of millions of revenue, you almost inevitably have to significantly shift how you sell. And so even in an organization that you say," Hey, we're just growing and what's changing? Can't we just kind of keep doing the same thing and do more of it? That at least in the companies I've been a part of, that's actually not the case. That you need to significantly change how you operate, and if you don't have the accountability piece in place, you're not going to get full return and full engagement on that. However, if you're able to get accountability piece in place, it actually supports and enables the really critical coaching conversations that help everybody up- level their skills and start to really take on and live and breathe the new way of doing things and get the full benefit of all the work you put in on the messaging and sales process to help people do the right things with their customers in the best possible way.

Sean Lane: Okay. Now that you have the high level overview of the four pillars of Stephen's Go- To- Market Maturity Model, let's dig a little deeper into each one. Pillar, number 1, targeting the right customers. One of my favorite things about the way Stephen talks about this first pillar is that he uses this Naval battle metaphor. He talks about targeting as the way a sales organization can aim its guns, looking for the center of the center of the target. And you might have some hits and misses along the way. And just as he does in his LinkedIn post, Stephen took me through how you can start from the earliest iteration of targeting and advance your maturity from there.

Stephen Hallowell: Just to kind of set the scene for anybody who hasn't seen the, a printed version here. For each of the dimensions I talked about, for each of those pillars, try to map out how do you move from where most companies would start, and let's say an early stage, to what I'd seen best in class companies doing and trying to make kind of a set of very attainable, how do you climb that ladder? Versus just," Hey, here's a big vision, but it's hard to figure out how to get there." On the targeting piece. Listen, I mean, obviously most people start off being kind of reactive, you have to, to start to learn. You're taking who comes inbound and doing the best you can with it. No secret, I think for a lot of folks, they say," Well, eventually they get to a point of this. Okay, well, who should we be focused on? Who's our ideal customer profile. And when we are sending our SDRs outbound, or we're doing any kind of outbound prospecting or we're qualifying what's coming inbound, are we really being thoughtful about where we engage?" And that's one of those things that, again, I think everybody kind of knows they need to do that, but usually takes longer to get to, and I think the first couple of spins at it leave a lot to be desired. Often, at least in the places I've seen where it's just not that clear. Maybe one person thinks it's clear, when you talk to the people who are actually doing the work on the front lines, they think it's less clear, or maybe there's a little misalignment within the company that some people thinks it should be X, other people think it should be Y. So I think the hard work here is figuring out are we actually all on the same page on this? And are we really thinking about it the same way? And is it then defined in a way that's actionable for folks in the front line?

Sean Lane: Yeah. And it's funny to go through your kind of progression and I've been at Drift for a little over two years and I can kind of map exactly where we have been up against your spectrum as I'm reading through it, right? So we started very much like heavily inbound focused, our brand was the thing that drove really a lot of the inbound interest that came our way. And then over time we've had to both narrow the scope, right? Of what the right firmographic fit is. So we have a way of looking at what types of accounts do we think are the best fit for Drift. And then that was kind of phase one. And then with each subsequent couple of quarters, or even years as those times have gone by, we've been able to like one recalibrate and narrow that focus, but also introduce other components, right? So not just, what's a good fit in terms of the company? But also what are the different levels of behavior or intent that we're seeing? And maybe that changes what we distribute and give out to the teams, but there's just so many different kinds of components, but we've evolved over time in terms of our level of sophistication. It certainly didn't come all at once.

Stephen Hallowell: Absolutely. And one of the things I think is really interesting here, especially for tons of companies start off with a pretty big inbound activity, which is awesome. But there's a danger for companies that have a lot of inbound of confusing activity and value where you can see, at MuleSoft for example, for a long time, we were measuring number of leads or number of opportunities just as a big bucket. And in our market, if we were selling to a company with, let's say a couple hundred million of revenue, maybe that account would max out of being a couple hundred thousand dollar account for us over time, but the end of the market, a strategic account, a top 50 bank, that could be an eight- figure account pretty quickly. And we had a situation for a while or because we were just looking at the total amount of activity marketing was saying," Hey, we're killing it on lead volume, we're doing such a good job and sure, at the low end of the market, we had more than we can handle. But that strategic AEs are actually driving a lot of the ultimate value for the business were starving, they were not seeing a lot of activity. And so we were masking over performance in one place at a much less valuable part of the market was masking under- performance and a much more valuable part of the market.

Sean Lane: Do you Look at that on a specific timeline or cadence, right? Because for people who are trying to figure out what those segments should look like, or where in the market they should be, I can imagine there's this really tough balance between," Oh, I haven't let this have enough time to actually give me real results as to whether or not we're going to be successful here or not," or," Oh, crap. I waited way too long. And we have just wasted a ton of time on a part of the market that we're never going to be successful in."

Stephen Hallowell: I think first off, it's saying," Hey, let's at least define what buckets we want to look at." And for this, I think it's important actually, to focus on more sort of firmographic characteristics or technographiC characteristics, as opposed to who's in market at that particular moment, to be able to say," Hey, look, where do we think the value is in this market?" And obviously value aligned to what we can deliver. There's a part of the market that we just were not a good fit. And then clearly that comes into account. But be able to get a sense of where do we think our revenue should be coming from. And then being able to look at the data as you segment it out, being able to actually look at the data in those buckets. So maybe you have two or three to start with, Then over time it might be more, and then saying," Well, what needs to happen to be successful in that segment?" And so, looking at kind of the basic math of," Okay, for a strategic AE, we need X number of opportunities at X deal size and, Y close rate to yield a certain level of production." That might be a different formula than for your commercial AEs who are further downmarket, but wherever you are for the number of reps you have, are they healthy? I think maybe another place that I've seen people kind of get off track a little bit is I think it's so important to look at things on a per rep basis because that sales rep is your unit of production. If you have 10 sales reps in a segment and they're getting half of what they need to each be productive at the top of the funnel, something's not right. It doesn't matter how many total opportunities you say," Oh well, we grow this a hundred percent from last year, we're doing great." If you grew sales head count in that segment by 200%, maybe you're not doing great. So looking at those things on a per rep basis within the segment, will give you a pretty good indicator of how healthy you are.

Sean Lane: Two things I wrote down starred and underlined in my notebook from this part of our conversation. One, in primarily inbound businesses, there's a danger of confusing activity and value. Don't fall into that trap. Chances are you're going to get segmentation lines wrong at first and that's okay, but you need to verify that where you're spending your time and your team's time and attention is going to be worth it. The second thing I wrote down is you have to look at each individual rep or as Stephen puts it," each unit of production." I'm definitely guilty of using a zoomed out view. Keep it simple, because every single rep have what they need to be successful. But of course my ops brain struggles to keep it that simple. I wonder and worry that maybe we've given somebody the wrong territory, maybe our training isn't up to snuff. These are all the factors upstream that could be impacting that individual rep or that unit of production. How do I handle that?

Stephen Hallowell: So I find that there's always kind of an art between, I try to create, what do we expect the sort of success model would be for a rep in a given segment? And as I look at that, that's partly looking at the historical performance data and not just taking a straight average, but you look at the reps in that segment and you say," who do we think is doing the right things? How are they performing? Qualitatively do we feel like they are doing generally a good job?" Take out the people who say," Hey, so- and- so we know it was a bad hire, so- and- so we know has a really just odd patch." Okay, take that out. Those are things you could fix other ways, but for the people that you think are generally they're doing the right thing, then what would that indicate for what that sort of success formula would be like? And if you do that math and you say," geez, we've got a quota of one and a half million. And as I look at the success formula, they're only producing 800 K," something's broken. And I've been in those situations where we say,"You know what, like we have to improve this performance. We don't have the model down yet. This isn't that the sales reps are doing a crappy job, or at least if they are doing it systematically, which is really a management issue, not a sales rep issue. We need to get better at how we're driving demand. We need to get better at how we activate these accounts. We need to get better at our win rate or our deal size to get to where we want to be." If you see that type, disconnect.

Sean Lane: Stephen is one of those rare people who keeps equal amounts of empathy and understanding for both the operations and the sales teams. I want to read you a piece from his LinkedIn post, where when he's diving into Pillar 1 on targeting, he arrives at the topic that we've been talking about around account mapping and target accounts. He writes," Sales must buy into and use the account data. Too many ops teams miss this point. They claim that they are 80% right, and that the last 20% of accuracy is impossible to achieve. They say that the sales reps are whining and need to simply accept that there will be an accuracies. This may be fine for an ops team that doesn't need to actually make a living from the accounts, but often the concern from the field is well- placed. Most salespeople have been subjected to horrific data quality for their entire career. No wonder that a few bad data points makes them question the whole affair." Stephen goes on to write," The best strategy is for ops and the sales team to work collaboratively on cleaning the data. Ops provides the best data available and sales does the final scrub. It helps sales trust the process and provide ops with insights that data alone would never provide them. Most importantly, both teams learn to trust the process and each other." I'm going to take this blurb and paste it up on the wall somewhere in front of my team, in front of the sales teams, because it's just so insightful and so true. For Stephen, these building blocks that we've been talking about, get us to the next level of maturity in choosing our targets and ultimately arriving at your total addressable market.

Stephen Hallowell: One of the things that I find really helpful as you're moving down the maturity and targeting is, get into place that you've really mapped your full total addressable market, and that Salesforce represents that, and it's a source of truth. It's powerful because if you're actually going to be smart about how you allocate accounts and understand what your opportunities in different segments you need that data. If you haven't gone through that mapping exercise, you're just kind of flying blind and hoping, but that exercise can be pretty painful. It can be a lot of work. We all know that there's just not perfect data for accounts out there. And part of the background of that quote is you've got to make that a team effort between ops providing data from data sources you can buy and acquire and offer at scale with sales reps putting their sniff tests on that data and saying," Look, this is bullshit, this doesn't work. This company doesn't exist, whatever it is." So that you actually have something that everybody agrees." Yep. This data really reflects what our opportunity is, and we're all going to work from it."

Sean Lane: All right. Let's jump into the second pillar. Let's talk about messaging. There's a whole bunch that goes into your outline of what messaging is here. But just as a starting point, I'm curious, there's a lot about this in the post, but like, how do you think about really just as a starting point who owns the messaging? Right? What does that messaging live and who are the stakeholders in that?

Stephen Hallowell: And let me actually take a bigger step back and just give a little context for how I see messaging and sales process working together and where I see companies struggling. The big evolution that I see companies typically take is, early on again, you're often selling a lot of inbound activity, you're selling into a market, or you're really some of the innovators and early adopters in a market of people who have a bunch of pain, they know what they need, they've tried every other product in the market, they're really well- educated and they have been desperately searching for your product. And if you've got a good product, they find it. And when they get on the phone with you, the first thing they want to do is really interrogate pretty hard about that product to see if you're blowing smoke or they see if you can actually finally at last solve the problems they have. In most hot companies, they get to their first, somewhere in the many tens of millions of revenue just on that basis. And it's great. But there's a point where that's not enough. There's a point where, and I think the analogy here is, think about buying an iPhone when the iPhone first came out. And there were people that were camped out online on front of the apple store for days to try to get that first iPhone. And they could quote every speck of the device, they're rabid fans. And that was awesome for apple, for driving the first wave of people who bought iPhones. It took my mom and my dad a lot longer, many, many years longer to go buy an iPhone. I was like,"Ah, the data plan is too expensive. We don't really need this. It's too fancy, where's the buttons," all those things. I'm sure you guys have heard the same excuses. For them. They needed to know," Hey, Google maps is really going to help me navigate and get where I want to go."" I'll be able to FaceTime with my grandkids and that's something I want to do." There were very specific use cases that they looked at and they saw it and they said," This is going to drive value." There is a very, very different buying process. They didn't care at all about the number of megapixels of the camera. The shift in B2B sales is going into a part of the mass market where people, maybe they don't fully think they have a problem. Maybe they're kind of happy with whatever they have, maybe whatever they have maybe good enough, feels like it's good enough. And now actually the first big objective of the sales process becomes helping people realize that they actually have a big problem and a solvable problem. Sometimes they may think they have a big problem, but they don't think it's solvable. They think there's nothing you can do about it. Or sometimes they may not even realize they have a problem at all. And the pitfall that a lot of companies have is when they go in and kind of classic technology sale," let's go in, let's start talking about how awesome our product is, let's get an SE on the phone and do a demo as quickly as we can." And you're going very deep into product and features and functions very quickly, you completely gloss over the, what problem do I have and why do I actually need to prioritize this initiative? And the result is a ton of lost to no decision in low conversion rates and low win rates. So this is where I see that the messaging and the sales process really have to work together. That if you're going to evolve beyond that, everybody's got to agree that" Look, we actually have to make it a clear objective for our team that we no longer can get by to selling to people who know they have a problem. We need to help realize they have a problem and agree at some senior enough level that they can support a buying decision that, yes, this is something that matters to us and we can do, and we want to do something about it."" Vendor, we don't know if we believe you yet, that you can do all of it, but if you actually can do what you say you can do, that would be something that would be valuable for our business, and we would move forward." The messaging that supports that, the content that supports that feels much more like a lot of discovery, and it's a much more of a two way dialogue, you're talking a lot about business needs and issues than you are about product features and functions. Because as we talked about the iPhone, a better camera, wasn't going to be enough to make my mom buy an iPhone. She had to see that she had a problem. So a lot of the evolution I see is about helping people understand first off, are we making that explicit in the sales process? That's something we're going to do. Do we know how to get there? And do we have messaging that supports both the helping people identify that they have a problem as well as helping them believe that your solution is actually the best solution out there.

Sean Lane: It's really interesting as you're describing that motion from," Hey, this is this thing that we have", to," Hey, this is why you should have this thing." In the B2B context, as you're outlining that, I also kind of relate that to moving up market, right? So like that's something that we have done at Drift. And as we have gone more into mid- market and enterprise level selling, our challenges around the why and the value have become more and more pronounced inside of our selling process. And do you think about that the right way? Do you make that same translation?

Stephen Hallowell: Yeah, I think there's a couple of things going on there. One is, in a smaller company, if you have one innovator, one person who's like," Oh yeah, oh my God, I see this problem. We do we definitely need this thing?" They can probably make that happen pretty easily, or at least more easily than in a big company. In a big company they're going to be more people. The CFO that has to sign off on the deal, or the VP that's a little more detached or whatever it is. Probably they are going to be much less familiar with that particular problem, and therefore not as sort of much of an innovative thinker around it as your initial contact might be. And so, even if you have an initial contact that has tons of enthusiasm and wants to dive in on the features and everything else, they may not be able to tell the story to their colleague that has to approve the thing in a way that that person says," Yeah, we should spend money on this." And especially in this environment, by the way, right? Where companies are only doing things that are absolutely critical, helping the approvers believe that this thing is critical is job one. The other thing that I think is going on is just as you look at the number of companies out there, if you assume that 10, 15% of the market are going to be really early adopters and innovators, and you look at kind of the total of accounts. So I'm selling to the fortune 1000 and I take 10% of that. Okay, I got a hundred accounts are going to the innovators. I may feel like I cycled through those pretty quickly. Though certainly the lead volume from those people at those accounts is going to be lower. I look at the number of SMB accounts out there many, many times that. 10, 15% of that, I can still get some good lead volume on that for longer. And that's kind of what we were talking about earlier of activity and value aren't the same. You may still be seeing a lot of activity from innovative, or early adopter type companies at the lower end of the market, but you may run out of those much faster at the top end because there's fewer of them. And so it's going to pt the onus that much more on helping them believe they have a problem and then prioritizing solving whatever you're selling.

Sean Lane: Okay. So Stephen just schooled me on the fact that messaging doesn't start with the words or a pitch deck or a landing page. Before all of that, there are two things we have to be thinking about one, helping people realize they have a big problem, and two that it's a solvable problem. And further, especially in this economic environment, helping the approvers of your decision believe that this thing you're selling is absolutely critical. By the way, if you haven't read, Crossing The Chasm before, don't worry about it. You're all set. Stephen just gave you everything you'll need from the entire book. Okay. Back to Pillar 2, back to messaging. If I'm following Stephen's Maturity Model, and I believe that I am successfully moving my company from product oriented messaging to value and outcome oriented messaging, how do I know that I'm actually successful in doing that? How do I know if my messaging is resonating?

Stephen Hallowell: The big thing I look at and just in a really simple way is, my demand generation keeping up with my sales head count. Let's say I'm doubling my sales head count in a given segment in a year. Am I easily doubling the number of opportunities I generate? Or are the number of opportunities going up 50% and head counts going up a hundred percent? And usually when you start to see pressure on the number of opportunities per rep, and this goes back to this, looking at things on a per rep basis, that probably says," Okay, I'm starting to get a little thinner on the number of innovative and early adopter buyers, where I can just kind of do things the old way." And it's putting more pressure on developing more of an outbound focus motion, and really driving that demand as opposed to responding to that demand. If you are adding sales head count as fast as you want to for your business, and you're not seeing any pressure there that says you may be in a market where you've got more than enough, innovative customers keep doing what you're doing. You're fine. I mean, those people are great to sell to if you have enough of them. It's just that if you start to run low on a top funnel, then you have an issue.

Sean Lane: Incase you missed that, write this down. Is your demand generation up with your sales head count? Again, pretty straight forward. At the end of the day, all of the messaging lessons from Stephen come back to one clear North Star. Using that messaging to enable conversations. Not some one way monologue of me talking at you. True, two way dialogue. According to research by Gong, the ideal talk to listen ratio in B2B sales is 43 to 57. So I talk 43% of the time, my customer talks 57% of the time and I'd listen. That's where you're going to unearth the customer's big problems and prescribe your unique solution to those problems, which brings us to the sales process itself. And that sales and buying process is exactly where we'll pick things up next time with Stephen and part two of our conversation. So come back again, two weeks from today for pillars three and four of Stephen's Go- To- Market Maturity Model. If you found pillars one and two helpful, and you aren't subscribed to our show yet, no better time than right now to click subscribe and make sure you don't miss out when part two is released. I promise it's worth it. Thanks so much to Stephen for taking the time to break all of this down with us. I'm so excited for you all to hear the rest. While you're waiting for the next episode, I've got two activities to help you pass the time. One, leave us a six star review on Apple Podcasts, six star reviews only. And two, check out Stephen's LinkedIn articles about pillars one and two. I'm going to include the links in the show notes. All right, that's going to do it for me. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next time.( silence)

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