5 Themes from the TOPO Virtual Summit (with a Little Help from my Friends)

October 15, 2020
4 Minutes
Made Not Found Text
In SaaS businesses, operating results are earned every single day; and good businesses are made, not found. Writing here about building organizations, learning from the experience, and appreciating the ride.

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From time to time, we use this forum to share observations and trends from webinars or virtual conferences (here); and sometimes we invite guest-bloggers to offer insights from their own experiences (here and here). This post does both of those things at once. Our friend and peer, Mike Dzik, is a Growth Partner at Radian Capital (full disclosure: one of Lock 8’s investors), where he works with Radian’s portfolio companies on their respective go to market strategies spanning marketing, sales and customer success initiatives. Last week, Mike attended the TOPO Virtual Summit a three-day virtual conference for sales, sales development, and marketing practitioners; and he was generous to share with us his impressions of the event. He’s also agreed to allow us to share those observations here on Made not Found. So, with no further ado, I’ll turn it over to Mike, below:

I hope everyone is doing well and off to a fast start for Q4. I spent some time attending the TOPO Virtual Go To Market Summit this week and wanted to share 5 key themes surrounding 2021 (below).

  1. Painkillers over Vitamins: Buyers are looking for faster impact. 90% of enterprise buyers are focusing on tactical results and improvements within the first 90 days after purchase. While many sales have evaporated during COVID, the deals that are getting done are being done inside shorter sales cycles (Days to Close (DTC) is dropping) as contract values are expanding (Average Contract Values (ACV’s) are rising). Takeaway: Now more than ever, focus on the “painkillers” in your pitch, not the “vitamins”.
  2. Speed Wins: Speed and agility on your GTM motion are now the two biggest keys to success. Speed with regard to changes in marketing message, deck/demo, pricing and anything else that helps you out-maneuver bigger/more entrenched competitors is essential during times of stress and uncertainty. Takeaway: Don’t fall in love with your message; rather, try new approaches and refine them in the context of a rapidly changing market landscape.
  3. Double Down on Community: In times of crisis, people turn to trusted business contacts and ask them for recommendations on how to solve problems. Word of Mouth (WOM) is a huge catalyst to buying decisions right now. If you have a large user community, figure out how to cultivate it more than ever. If you don’t currently have an active community base, think about taking steps to start building it now. Takeaway: Activate your community — even more than usual — as a highly credible component of your market message.
  4. Get your “Revenue Operations” Program Straight: You need to unify your data, systems and process across your GTM motion for maximum clarity and understanding. This is a more complex effort than just having a Sales Ops function and it can be hard / expensive to implement. Takeaway: In spite of the high effort required, Revenue Operations yields greater visibility into the business for faster decision making, which is critical in the current business climate.
  5. Sales Enablement is Key: Sales Enablement is a relatively new term, but it is fast becoming key to growth. You need to adapt and change your GTM motion quickly in this turbulent period and having sales enablement dialed-in can help you with new plays, new case studies, new collateral and messaging. The AE to Sales Enablement ratio has gone from 30:1 in 2017 to 20:1 in 2020 showing how companies are investing more, not less, even in a downturn. Takeaway: investing in enabling the success of revenue generators is worthwhile, even when making such investments can be hard to justify.

Thanks, Mike, for these pearls. There are so many good virtual events out there; and it is impossible to free up the space to attend them all. We’re grateful to benefit from your participation in, and distillation of, the thought leadership coming out of the TOPO Virtual Summit.

-Todd

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