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Out with relentless. In with sustainable.

Read Time: 4 Mins

The growth-at-all-costs mindset is over. 2024—and beyond—is all about making growth efficient and sustainable. In our recent coffee break, Making Growth Scalable with ABM, Iron Horse CEO Uzair Dada spoke with Demandbase CMO Kelly Hopping and CSO John Eitel about what this means for B2B organizations.

The key? Become laser focused on what’s really important. 

This means identifying your top revenue sources and putting the bulk of your effort into those accounts. If that sounds like ABM, it’s because it is. But don’t be confused by the moniker. Thinking of anything as just marketing (or just sales) is the fastest way to get nowhere this year. 

Here are four key takeaways from the conversation.


1. Live and breathe the One Growth Team mentality.

 The biggest underestimated piece of any change journey is change management. – John Eitel

Getting your own house (or team) in order is important, but now is the time to focus on cross-functional efficiency and true full-team alignment. How do you start? Having the right culture is important. John and Kelly shared these tips from their experience:

  • Expect it to take time. Demandbase started laying the groundwork for change in the summer of 2023, knowing they wouldn’t be able to start behaving in a truly aligned way until the beginning of this year. Trying to bring about change while also being under pressure to be efficient and deliver is difficult, to say the least. Nonetheless, it’s important to carve out time or dedicated team members to focus on this, or you’ll never get to that better tomorrow.
  • Align on the concept of one growth team before working on practices. Before you can identify how teams will work together efficiently, all teams need to fully buy into why they need to work together. This ensures that everyone comes to the table with open minds and ready to work toward mutual goals. It really helps to have executive leaders working in lockstep here!
  • Underpin everything with data. Demandbase looked at data to understand the average deal size, retention rate, and growth rate for their different segments. Looking at it this way it was easy to identify their sweet spot. This helped everyone—from marketing to product to customer success to sales—become laser focused on the same targets. And that’s a true one-team mentality.


2. Put the effort where it counts. 

You can’t be everything to everybody. – John Eitel 

So many companies get stuck trying to create messaging to resonate with every single audience and every single pain point. This is where having that laser focus can really help. Spending time creating personalized messaging for a narrow set of accounts and personas may seem misguided, but that is exactly how you win with those high-value accounts. 

A key shift for 2024 is including existing customers in that mix. As we saw in our investment insights survey, marketing organizations at high-growth companies are no longer leaving retention and expansion up to customer success. Instead, they’re leaning in to how marketing can truly surprise and delight existing customers. 

Demandbase is no exception. “Marketing must be full lifecycle,” Kelly said. A key point is that means developing KPIs around customer marketing as well. 


3. Don’t forget about the humans.

The easy button is killing us. – Uzair Dada

Can automation actually stand in the way of efficiency? If your automation isn’t helping you convert more leads into opportunities, then yes. The goal of efficiency isn’t just to do more with less, but to drive more revenue with less. In recent years, sales organizations have made use of automated outreach sequences to ensure that leads aren’t slipping through the cracks. But without really good data to indicate a buyer is ready for that outreach, these sequences often do more harm than good. 

Rather than embracing automation for the sake of automation, the big question to ask yourself this year is: “What are you doing to humanize your sales follow up and ensure it’s happening in an appropriate way?” 

That doesn’t mean turning your back on automation. It just means being more thoughtful and intentional about how you use the tools you have. As Uzair said, “The tools are making it very easy for us to shine. It’s on us as sales and marketing leaders to make that happen.”


4. Don’t be afraid to rethink everything.

[Marketing] success can’t be dictated by leads, because then we’d never have sales and marketing alignment. We’re all here to close revenue. – Kelly Hopping

Once Demandbase homed in on the ideal target audience, they had to take a hard look at whether their current structures and processes supported that targeting. This meant looking at messaging, the buyer’s journey, and even branding through the lens of that particular audience’s pain points. It also meant reviewing segmentation in their martech systems, reviewing the sales team’s structure and compensation, and, yes, rethinking measurement. 

In fact, given how much KPIs dictate marketing and sales activities, evolving marketing measurement and defining measures of growth team success may be one of the most important things you can do to support sustainable growth.


The Iron Horse insight.

Starting over on foundational aspects of your go to market strategy may sound scary, but identifying which opportunities to prioritize and making sure your internal structures are set up in a way to win them was never meant to be a one-and-done process. Think of this work as not only laying a foundation for a better approach to growth, but also building the muscle of adapting to change—so you can respond flexibly and agilely to whatever the market throws at us next.

As John said, “The moment to start is now if you haven’t already.” 

This article just scratched the surface of what Uzair, John and Kelly talked about. Catch the full conversation here.  

Ready to rethink your go to market strategy but not sure where to start? Iron Horse can help.


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