As I head into my second week as the CMO at 4AM Demand, I took a moment to reflect on what that first week taught me. I wanted to share some of those reflections in this post, so here it is, my top 3 lessons learned:
Walking in as employee #8 is a new experience for me. An all-hands meeting doesn’t happen once a quarter on an auto-muted, pre-recorded webcast. It happens every Monday morning on a Google hangout. The energy, passion, and camaraderie the team has built was palpable when I joined my first team call on Monday morning. Not only is the group great at making sure everyone is aware of the most recent pop-culture news, but it transitions seamlessly from discussing Ashton Kutcher’s IQ (spoiler alert: it’s high!) into key client deliverables and progress on the product. Lessons learned from one client benefit the others, and everyone always keeps an ear toward applying key wins with clients to the development of the 4AM Platform. I have spent time at medium and large companies where marketing and product teams long for direct customer feedback. Imagine the power of our CTO listening to the team discuss client roadblocks or problems on a weekly basis and working that feedback directly into the roadmap? Or me taking those pain points directly into our messaging and go-to-market? It was energizing and the definition of agile.
Demand-gen is hard and often thankless. There are never enough leads and even when there are, if they don’t convert does it really matter? On the consulting side, 4AM helps clients strategize, plan and execute holistic demand-gen programs. Diving in on a few client brainstorm sessions really underscored the importance of an experienced team to help early stage companies think through the best ways to spend their very limited budgets. The team has decades of experience scaling start-ups and enterprises alike and uses that experience to build an end-to-end demand-gen plan with a focus on results.
But, back to the list. Every company we talk to faces similar challenges – they aren’t unique. The 4AM team has built a playbook for how to tackle them and in what order to ensure when the leads do come in, they have the best chance of converting (more on that in a different blog post). Where the rubber really meets the road though; we are building that experience into the 4AM Platform. The platform is the actual manifestation of this team saying “there has to be a better way,” and then creating one.
It doesn’t matter if your marketing budget is $10,000 or $10,000,000 – the principle is the same. When you create a go-to-market plan, you have to be ready to test it and you have to be ready to fail fast and move on. And in order for the failure to be a lesson or the success to be repeatable, you better be able to measure it.
Present to a client, your CEO, or board just once where you’re forced to say “that $20,000 program has not generated a single opportunity” and you will quickly learn the importance of a well-thought out and data-driven get well plan or be able to prove that with an average 90-day deal cycle, we’re still 30-days out from a potential payback. Especially since in the same conversation you’ll probably be explaining that you intend on spending another $20,000 on something else. And no, you can’t guarantee a different result. But then, over time and because of those measurements, you actually will be able to predict the result. And wow, the power in that the next time you present to the client / C-suite / board.
The 4AM Platform helps teams measure program performance and presents the information back simply. You can quickly and seamlessly toggle back and forth between budget spent and leads generated, learn how conversion from one stage of the funnel to another impacts your goals, and help teams answer the question – what’s the revenue impact if I gave you that $20k? Or, maybe more realistically for many of us, took $20k away?
Safe to say, week one went by in a blink. It was fun to dig in with clients, understand their business and help them grow. Now, it’s time to look at ourselves as the client. We’re at the starting line of our own journey and I have never been more excited to approach the first turn.
Stay tuned, 4AM is about to turn up the volume.
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By: Shandra Gemmiti