If I were to summarize the feedback from HCM Tech Vendors that didn’t show up in the comments from last week’s post (basically private email and Twitter Direct Messages), it would go something like,
“Sure, we understand that there is an opportunity to PUSH on sales and marketing and differentiate while Taleo and Successfactors stare at their navels, count their money, and redefine themselves under new ownership…. but, where should we focus? What would you recommend we prioritize in order to have the biggest impact?”
There is a short answer and a long answer to this….
First the short answer – “That’s exactly the kind of input that clients pay me for.”
For the long answer, try this on for size….
It’s April 2. You have less than 9 months to calendar year-end. You have less than 6 months of wind up to HR Tech (like it or not, no matter how you view the usefulness of this show – it’s just that, useful).
ENTERPRISE vendors: If you can’t see your way to better than 100% of FORECASTED REAL SALES OPPORTUNITIES needed in order to hit your calendar year number, then you are way behind. (I wish you could see the look on my face while I type that – because that alone would scare some bullshit out of your pipeline, and we both know it’s in there)
MID-MARKET and SMB vendors: If your 15 to 30 day lead to deal churn isn’t currently within 90% of the volume you need to hit your year-end number, then you should start getting nervous. If your process isn’t baring enough results monthly to add up to your year now, you are running out of time to build one that sustains you.
My point is that the things I will tell you to focus on from a branding, marketing, and sales-effectiveness perspective – to quickly move into a market leadership position – They are the same things I would tell you to focus on in order to close out this year at or ahead of where you thought you should be.
It starts with a deep understanding of the HCM Tech Buyers/Decision Makers, and aligning your solutions there. Then, building a plan that integrates all of your marketing and sales efforts toward blowing away your revenue, or ACV/TCV, goal.
It is an integrated plan across all media, incorporating all strategy and sales tactics that matter …. and it has measurable results that drive REVENUE… and when you do it right, it drives PR, Brand, Leads, Deals, and plain old buzz in the market…
Yes, I implied integrated sales and marketing twice. Marketing and Sales are far less separate (read: not separate any more) than they were a few years ago. The successful vendors, the ones you want to beat, understand this. With the advent of new media and resulting new strategies and tactics – it is imperative that you have a view to revenue, or how anything you implement supports it… even including things so seemingly arcane as brand initiatives… because that’s what successful marketing and sales looks like going forward. If it doesn’t move the needle, we don’t do it.
Market Leaders all seem to have one thing in common…. They have more customers than you.
So, lets start there. Build a plan that beats them where it counts. Show that by year-end you have more customers in your segment, or are outpacing them in customer growth. I think that would make you the market leader. At least that’s how I measure it.