Driving Efficient Growth in 2023

Driving Efficient Growth in 2023

JK Sparks 7 min

From delivering pipeline to brand building, expectations for marketers are at an all-time high. At the same time, resources are more scarce than ever.

85% of marketers are worried about rising costs, and 63% say they’re under extreme pressure. Even with reduced market ad spends, it’s costing marketers more to drive marketing-qualified leads, and ultimately, engagement with their ideal customers. In fact, 53% say they are only moderately confident about hitting their goals.

In the wake of an uncertain economic reality, how should you build a more efficient go-to-market strategy in 2023?

We set out on a quest to uncover strategies and tactics from the best marketing leaders in a three city roadshow + virtual event called The Efficient Growth Tour.

Our first stop was Scottsdale, Arizona. We were joined by high-performing marketing executives who laid down the strategies to focus on this year including:

  • Colin White, Director of Demand Gen at Clearbit spoke on ideal customer profile and how it drives efficient growth through marketing funnel and strategy.
  • Anthony Kennada, Co-founder and CEO of AudiencePlus dove into evolving go-to-market motions for efficiency.
  • Jennifer Osgood, Senior Director of Marketing at Design Pickle, talked about efficient growth through inbound marketing.
  • Chris Kohler, CMO of Box, and Karen Steele, Chief Marketing Advisor at Sendoso both shared insight on cost-efficient organization growth.

Let’s dive in for a bit more detail on each of these with key takeaways from our speakers.


Focusing on the ICP to drive efficient growth

If you focus on your ideal customer profile, you end up with more LTV than leads. It’s the Preto Principle in effect—20% of the top ends up with 80% of the outcome. Clearbit’s data validates this, too: 18% of Clearbit’s leads end up in 86% of customer lifetime value.

Once you identify your ICP, align your sales and customer success team on your best-fit customer and the experience you want to give them across your go-to-market funnel. This improves the customer experience, driving more value to your product and resulting in a better conversion rate.

If you’re not driving the right type of customer and providing value,
you may have high growth in the short term, but lose money in the long

- Colin White

How do you operationalize the ICP in your organization? It comes down to these four things:

  1. Build the foundation. We all have some data on our customers, leads, or people in our CRM. Consider the data you need to identify your best-fit customer and segment your audiences.
  2. Personalize the journey. Give every customer a VIP experience across the funnel. Use first-party and third-party data to tailor conversion paths. If part of your ICP is only on one channel, deliver your messaging there. De-anonymize your traffic, measure engagement with your ICP, and ensure you aren’t cold-outbounding them.
  3. Determine fit and intent. Find out who is browsing your website, their relevant roles and contacts, and score them to ascertain whether they are a good fit. Once you define the customer fit, tailor your go-to-market systems accordingly—CRM, marketing automation platform, website, and more.
  4. Define your success criteria. Focus on a business outcome—LTV, growth, or optimizing customer acquisition costs. Your ICP to achieve each goal can look very different. In today’s market, the focus is on net revenue retention, so you should reassess your ICP.

If your users are engaged, the timing is right, and they’re the right
fit, you can personalize your outreach.

- Colin White


Evolving go-to-market motions for efficiency

The risk of not having a brand strategy is that your content could come across as inauthentic to your chosen market. Your go-to-market strategy defines your competitive advantage.

Here are five tactical steps you can take to build or modernize and scale your own media efforts and make the most impact in the tech world.

  1. Define a brand strategy that inspires your audience. Understand the human side of the purchasing decision. Think of Gen Z entering the workforce and making purchasing decisions. They want to do business and work with a company that shares their value set. Consider the audience in how you go to market, your brand messaging, and how you articulate the “why” behind your company. Simon Sinek’s concept of “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” helps serve as an important starting point for how you should frame your content.
  2. Invest in authentic content. Content does more than create a pipeline. It helps serve existing customers and drive product adoption. But don’t break the bank to do so. The authenticity of the content matters more than high-quality production. Invest in basic equipment, a one-time upfront cost, and set up your in-house studio so you can create unlimited content cost-efficiently.
  3. Leverage rented channels to capture attention. Social networks are ad platforms, looking to use your content and engagement data to monetize and sell ads. Short-form video production is key to being discovered in social feeds, getting people interested in your content, and amplifying your content to your ICP to drive more subscriptions.
  4. Build an owned relationship. Most marketers get website opt-ins via commercially-minded calls to action like getting potential customers on a call with the sales team. This is great, but it can’t stop there. The average website conversion rate for B2B SaaS companies is 1.1%. By comparison, for consumer media, it’s 10%. Consumer media lets you warm people up, educate them, and get them involved with your product. While 10x conversions may not mean instant purchase intent, getting people to subscribe to your thought leadership lets you widen the pie and nurture a larger set of prospects.
  5. Prove the value of outcomes. Engagement is the leading indicator of pipeline creation. This involves understanding what content resonates with the ICP, building a journey at the user and account level, and orchestrating a journey using relevant content. Use engagement data from product and content analysis to build customers for life, drive adoption for new products, or influence referrals.

Highly engaged prospects result in bigger deals, renewals, and
referrals—they are a healthy cohort of revenue.

- Anthony Kennada


Efficient growth through inbound marketing

At Design Pickle, Jennifer Osgood found that they were generating a lot of leads, but less than 10% of them were converting into an opportunity to convert, specifically through demo requests. To find a solution, they looked closely into:

  • The sales process. What happened after a qualified lead was sent to sales?
  • The onsite experience. What happened after leads were pushed to the site via marketing emails?

They found that optimizing for efficiency comes down to three core metrics.

  1. Time to lead. When it comes to inbound, time to lead is critical. The longer the lead ages, the lower the opportunity to get them to experience a demo. For instance, if your average time to lead is 24 hours, that’s inefficient.
  2. Lead activity. This is a measure of how many touchpoints occur between qualification and the rep passing the lead back to marketing. Use emails, phone calls, and other outreach to deliver on qualified lead volume efficiently.
  3. Time to demo. How long does it take between qualification to the point that the demo gets scheduled? If your time to demo is long and inefficient, you’ll lose leads between the point of capture to the point that they are actually scheduled.

Another critical observation was that when sales teams are flooded with leads, they have the luxury of skimming the cream off. It’s easy to fall into the belief that you don’t need to work a seemingly less-important lead because you’ll get a hundred more that are probably more valuable.

Figuring out what email sequence a lead should be enrolled in is another manual decision. This is especially complex when there’s ambiguity around the lead’s title and role, and hesitance on the part of the sales rep to research these minor (but important) details.

Waiting for a sales rep to make these multiple manual decisions is
not time efficient and can hurt your rate of opportunity generated by
marketing-qualified leads.

- Jennifer Osgood

Working towards automating your sales motion can solve for this. Automation picks the right email sequence with the right persona and the right ICP and enrolls them in a sequence without them ever having to be seen by a sales rep. You can then keep iterating to improve the conversion rate further, exploring opportunities to improve the ratio of opportunities within the funnel.

Remember to isolate the channel, ICP, and persona at the stage of campaign selection for maximum efficiency. For instance, Design Pickle selected agency owners who represent about a third of its business, targeted those in its ICP, and did this only via LinkedIn ads. In doing so, they were successful in cutting the average time to demo for this segment by 14 days on all of its MQLs.


Cost-efficient organization growth

Go-to-market motions are constantly changing. In today’s market scenario, software budgets are tight. People don’t have an urgency to spend as much as in the past. As marketers, we have to create that urgency.

If your product isn’t absolutely critical to an organization’s
operations, they’ll likely question whether they need it. Tweaking
your go-to-market messaging to show the value is essential.

- Chris Kohler

Here are three cost-efficient tactics to help you grow your organization in the current market:

  1. Make the product the center of your marketing strategy. As a marketer, when you consider product adoption, pricing strategies, and how to convert a free customer to a paying customer, the product has to have a seat at the table. It’s an essential part of go-to-market planning. Push for the adoption of core capabilities in the product, because that’s where the customers are. Product leadership needs to think not just about the products they build to move on, but what the customer experience is in the product itself, which is a significant way to unlock product-led growth.
  2. Invest in partner marketing. Great partners are great multipliers to your business. Build a robust partner ecosystem and then put efforts towards co-marketing and co-selling as a member of that ecosystem. Partner events are a big opportunity that marketers are investing in heavily to go where customers and prospects are versus expecting them to come to you.
  3. Show the economies of scale. Running a business with less money, fewer people, and higher expectations boils down to how corporate objectives cascade. It starts with revenue. For ARR you need to consider what it will take to create the pipeline to deliver on that goal. You must consider how much you can afford to invest in an SMB versus an enterprise. Similarly, you need to ensure that partners are not just influenced-revenue but actual closed revenue. When you sit on an executive team, you have to look at the corporate objectives, show the economies of scale and make a business case for the resources you’ll need to achieve them. If you cut out 25% of your spending and it impacts 2 or 3% of the business, you’re not yet as efficient as you need to be.

Business success relies on the economics of how you deliver on and achieve your corporate goals.

- Karen Steele


Key takeaways for efficient growth in 2023 and beyond

  • Focus on your ideal customer profile (ICP). Find your best-fit customer, personalize the journey, tailor your go-to-market systems and define success criteria.
  • Optimize for efficiency in inbound. Focus on the three core metrics time to lead, lead activity, and time to demo as a measure of efficiency.
  • Evolve your go-to-market strategy. Define a brand strategy, invest in authentic content, capture attention on the feeds, and then prove the value of outcomes.
  • Build a cost-efficient organization. Invest in product and partner market and show the economies of scale and make a business case for the resources you need to achieve corporate objectives.

This was only our first stop. We still have San Francisco, New York, and our virtual experience coming. If you’d like to register you can go here to save your seat.


JK Sparks | About the Author

Head of Marketing, AudiencePlus

JK is allergic to the words “guru, ninja, and hack” when used to describe anything marketing related. Instead of chasing the latest “growth hack,” he’s focused on building sustainable and predictable levers that fuel long term success. By implementing this approach over the last decade, JK has helped organizations in both bootstrapped and well-funded environments scale from <$100K to more than $100M in revenue. You can follow him here.

JK Sparks 7 min

Driving Efficient Growth in 2023

In the wake of an uncertain economic reality, how should you build a more efficient go-to-market strategy in 2023?

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