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R.I.P. Good Times

The Iron Horse Insight: It’s on a random page on the Sequoia website, and it links out to a DropBox, but trust us when we say it’s a really good read even though it’s buried. We’re highlighting this digital misstep because this presentation was given by Sequoia in 2008 right before the financial crisis, and before knowing how long and sharp the downturn would be. After chuckling at the tombstone opening, go to slides 44-49 and 52, where it highlights the new realities, increased challenges, and a checklist for survival. COVID-19 might be new, but the way to think through and persevere through Black Swan events is well established.

Read on Sequoia Arrow Right

Coronavirus: The Black Swan of 2020

The Iron Horse Insight: Why Sequoia doesn’t have a blog on its website, is beyond us. We don’t follow the logic of that decision because what it posted to Medium about black swan events was quite insightful. We particularly loved the observation about how “nobody ever regrets making fast and decisive adjustments to changing circumstances. In downturns, revenue and cash levels always fall faster than expenses.” This sentiment rings true as does the guidance it gave to the founders and CEOs of its portfolio companies about managing through a storm of uncertainty. Cash runway: Do you have as much cash runway as you think? Sales forecasts: Even if you don’t see immediate exposure, assume your clients will revise spending habits. Capital Spending: review if your spending plans still make sense. Marketing: Pull in the cost of customer acquisition.

Read on Sequoia Arrow Right

A New Study Should Be the Final Nail for Open-Plan Offices

The Iron Horse Insight: When you walk into an office you’ll undoubtedly see an open floor plan. The idea and hypothesis behind the open office design is simple: an open-plan office allows for more interaction and collaboration. However, a recent study shows that open-plan offices have led to a 73% decrease in face-to-face interactions and a 67% increase in email usage. Has there been an over-rotation toward open-plan offices? Sander would argue yes. Product, sales, and marketing should collaborate, but at the end of the day, people still need to focus and do heads down work. Our take: there is a reason we always wore noise-canceling earphones in open offices. Good office design is aesthetically pleasing and provides spaces for collaboration BUT also needs to provide space for intense concentration.

Read on THE CONVERSATION Arrow Right

Lessons from the CMO’s Inbox

The Iron Horse Insight: You and everyone else is trying to get in front of the CMO; however, it’s unlikely. In fact, Rohrs explains in his blog that “6,892 technology companies [are] trying to sell something to CMOs.” That’s a lot of competition. Instead of targeting a CMO directly, Rohrs suggests that BDRs should target front-line marketers. Their inboxes are less cluttered and they’re more likely to understand the value of your product, service, or solution because they are the end-users and they’re the ones feeling the pain in their daily jobs. We agree with (and really like) Rohr’s idea. In building on it, we urge you to take into consideration the size of the company that your BDRs are expected to target. For instance, it’s more likely to get a response from a CMO at a <$25m company than get a response from a CMO at a major enterprise so, if/when BDRs are targeting a SMB, we suggest they target C-level execs in addition to front-line personnel. If they’re targeting an enterprise, we suggest following Rohrs’ advice.

Read on MarTech Advisor Arrow Right

HBR: When Sales and Marketing Aren’t Aligned, Both Suffer

The Iron Horse Insight: Marketing and sales alignment is a concept familiar to all of us and is featured in marketing and sales articles daily. Unfortunately, in most of these articles, the “marketing and sales alignment” is spoken of in high “strategic” levels and it’s impossible to execute against the recommendations. What particularly catches our attention in this article is the level of depth it goes into regarding marketing and sales alignment in sales compensation and pricing decisions. For example, a “lack of alignment around product pricing and sales force compensation strategies…demotivates salespeople and inadvertently encourages them to sacrifice company profits to meet their own goals.”

Read on Harvard Business Review Arrow Right

Why We Published a Book as Part of Our Content Marketing and Branding Strategy

The Iron Horse Insight: Every B2B company publishes white papers, case studies, and the like, but relatively few put out an actual book. Publishing a book is daunting for any marketing team because it takes a substantial investment of time and energy – time and energy that can be applied to faster turn marketing goals and objectives. That said, publishing a book can bolster brand awareness, generate higher quality leads, and it creates credibility for the author(s) as a thought leader. In addition, this process and it’s end deliverable (a book) generates a wealth of content that can be repurposed to create derivative assets such as presentations, blog posts, briefs, and infographics.

Read on Evergage Arrow Right

A Survivor’s Guide to Risk Taking

The Iron Horse Insight: At Capstone we believe that, as marketers, if you keep running the same plays from your old tried and true playbook you’re going to be left behind. It’s imperative to try new tactics and evolve with technology to help our organizations stay competitive in the market. This article is in line with our thinking and discusses how to “treat risk as an asset – for both you and your team.” If risk is nurtured, new opportunities are taken more seriously. Being comfortable with change and risk is a tool is necessary for growth and expansion.

Read on AdAge Arrow Right

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Transformation Leaders

The Iron Horse Insight: “Digital transformation” is a B2B buzz phrase that refers to the ways in which technology is changing how companies operate and deliver value to their customers. In this article, Burnham highlights what separates good leaders from great and how evolving processes and a great technology stack are what makes good companies great. Here at Capstone Insights, we don’t subscribe to the idea that “process proceeds technology.” We believe that processes need to adapt to technology in the same way effective leaders need to adapt to changes in technology and customer expectations.

Read on CMO Arrow Right

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