How to do a retrospective of your go-to-market efforts
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In my last post, I explained why 2023 will be a make or break year for SaaS companies and highlighted the importance of doing two things: finding efficiency in customer acquisition and finding growth from existing customers. The first step in figuring out how to do both of these things is to diagnose your current business through a retrospective (or “retro”) of your go-to-market efforts.
Why do a retro?
I’ve done dozens of retros over the past ten years and have found them beneficial for 3 reasons:
Diagnosing issues. Retros allow teams to reflect on their work and identify any issues that need to be addressed. This can help prevent small problems from becoming bigger ones.
Aligning goals and strategies. Retros help teams to align their goals and strategies with the overall goals of the business.
Improving communication. Retros improve communication within teams by providing a regular forum for discussing progress, sharing thoughts and ideas and working together to find solutions.
Running a successful retro
While retros have long been a part of the agile product development process, using them in a sales and marketing context is a fairly new development. Through trial and error I’ve found three key strategies to making go-to-market retros worthwhile and actionable:
Using a common framework. Doing so ensures everyone is speaking the same language and using the same definitions. This minimizes the ability of teams to hide behind vanity metrics or point fingers at each other and creates a foundation for alignment and a transparent discussion. I use the framework shown below for go-to-market retros, as it breaks your customer’s journey from ideal prospect to ideal customer into 6 distinct stages, each with a clear objective and a set of volume and conversion metrics.
Getting the whole team involved. Doing a retro isn’t just the job of management or rev ops. It’s everyone’s job to make sure the data, insights and learnings are accurately presented and getting everyone involved ensures that the voices of those on the front lines are heard as loudly as those in management. In the Customer Journey Framework, Marketing should own the Awareness stage, Marketing or Sales should own Education, Sales should own Selection, Customer Success should own Onboarding and Impact and Customer Success or Sales should own Expansion.
Addressing issues head on. Being clear about what isn’t working is the fastest way to start fixing it. This starts by having a culture of transparency and honesty inside your company and then being systematic about diagnosing, discussing and solving issues. The Customer Journey Framework accelerates this by quickly surfacing and diagnosing the weaker spots in volume and conversion, which directs the qualitative discussion towards the drivers and and how to start solving them.
Making them a regular thing. Product development teams typically run retros at the end of every sprint, typically bi-weekly or monthly, which makes each subsequent one easier to put together and sets expectations for regular accountability. While B2B go-to-market teams can also do retros monthly, a quarterly cadence is a good starting point, especially if you are small and don’t have enough data to separate the signal from the noise.