August 17, 2023

B2B GTM Shepherds: From Pipeline Dreams to Revenue Reality

If marketing wants to have a strategic seat at the table, CMOs need to be in the business of marketing (opposed to marketing the business). Effective CMOs with sway create markets. They unite the C-Suite as one. They shepherd in the Go-To-Market (GTM) strategies that grow the business. 

In this episode, we explore the core elements that make a B2B GTM strategy truly effective with three renowned B2B marketers: Bryan Law of ZoomInfo, Amanda Malko of G2, and Sangram Vajre of GTM Partners. They share what it takes to build strong B2B GTM motions, the telltale signs of a faulty strategy, and why NRR (Net Revenue Retention) should probably be your new favorite metric.

Join us as we unravel these insights and more, ensuring you walk away with actionable takeaways to supercharge your B2B GTM strategies.

What You’ll Learn 

  • How B2B CMOs can build and improve strong GTM motions 
  • Signs your GTM is broken  
  • Why NRR should be your new metric

Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 358 on YouTube

Resources Mentioned 


  • [4:05] Bryan Law: Early marketing wins at Northwestern  
  • [4:49] GTM at Zoominfo   
  • [7:50] Insights from Bain: Increasing spend in a downturn  
  • [12:35] Amanda Malko: The regret minimization framework  
  • [14:27] GTM at G2   
  • [17:25] Evolving GTM decision making  
  • [19:25] Turning data into a product  
  • [21:37] Sangram Vajre: CMO at heart  
  • [26:43] The M.O.V.E. framework  
  • [29:28] Where the CMO should sit in GTM   
  • [34:19] Why you should join CMO Huddles  
  • [37:50] Signs your GTM is broken  
  • [39:42] False flags when assessing GTM  
  • [41:17] NRR = Net Revenue Retention
  • [45:02] Words of wisdom: Improve GTM 

Highlighted Quotes


“That critical nature of real time intent and being there at the very beginning is super important.” —@BryanBasdenLaw @ZoomInfo Share on X

“We define a go-to-market play as an integrated, repeatable, and ideally automated campaign across sales and marketing.” —@BryanBasdenLaw @ZoomInfo Share on X 


“We could build everything under the sun for buyers and sellers, but what we need to do is figure out how we can create leverage between those two groups.” —@amandamalko @G2dotcom Share on X

“A false sense of success is, ‘Well, marketing hit their pipeline numbers and sales hit theirs.’ But at the end of the day, did we officially close revenue together?” —@amandamalko @G2dotcom Share on X 


“Being intentional is way more important than being brilliant, especially when it comes to your job and go to market.” —@sangramvajre GTM Partners Share on X 

“You can double your revenue in 5 years without acquiring a single new customer if you understand how to play the Net Revenue Retention (NRR) game.” —@sangramvajre GTM Partners Share on X

Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Bryan Law, Amanda Malko, and Sangram Vajre


Drew Neisser: Hey, it’s Drew. I’m excited that you’re here to listen to another episode of Renegade Marketers Unite. And if this is your first time listening then welcome. This show is brought to you by CMO Huddles, the only marketing community dedicated to inspiring B2B greatness and that has a logo featuring penguins. Wait, what? Yeah, well, a group of these curious, adaptable, and problem solving birds is called the Huddle. And the B2B marketers at CMO Huddles are all that and more. Huddling together to heat up the coldest job in the C-Suite. And now that CMO Huddles has three membership tiers, we’re ready to inspire B2B greatness at all levels. To learn more, check out

Now before we get to the episode, here’s a shout out to the professionals at Share Your Genius. We started working with him over a year ago to make this show even better and have been blown away by their strategic and executional prowess. If you’re thinking about starting a podcast or want to turbocharge your current show, be sure to talk to Rachel Downey at and tell her Drew sent you. Okay, let’s get on with today’s episode.

Narrator: Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, possibly the best weekly podcast for CMOs and everyone else looking for innovative ways to transform their brand, drive demand, and just plain cut through. Proving that B2B does not mean boring to business. Here’s your host and Chief Marketing renegade Drew Neisser.

Drew Neisser: Hello, Renegade Marketers. Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, the top rated podcast for B2B CMOs and other marketing obsessed individuals. You’re about to listen to a recording of CMO Huddles Studio, our live show featuring the CMOs of CMO Huddles, a community that’s sharing, caring, and daring each other to greatness every day of the week.

This time we’ve got a conversation with Huddlers Bryan Law of ZoomInfo, Amanda Malko of G2, and Sangram Vajre of GTM Partners, on go to market—that’s GTM. So let’s dive in. I’m your host Drew Neisser live from my New York City studio. I have a new theory on CMO turnover and it starts with the mandate that they often get from the CEO who has identified what he calls or she calls “a marketing problem.” So these CMOs do a deep dive into their current marketing approach, looking at two key pillars, demand and brand, and then do their best to ramp up demand while also, in many cases, overhauling brand components like logo design and tagline look and feel the website. But what happens when the problem has been misidentified by the CEO? What if it’s a product market fit problem, or an operational problem or a pricing problem? What happens in these cases? Nothing good. Actually, in reality, most of the time when a business is not hitting its numbers and unceremoniously departs with their CMO their problem wasn’t even marketing. The problem was more systemic. And for the purposes of this show, we’re going to call that a “go to market problem.” And to help us provide the broader frameworks for CMOs to assess and address their current challenges we have three amazing guests. Welcome, Bryan Law, CMO of ZoomInfo. Hey, Bryan, how are you? Where are you?

Bryan Law: I’m in Seattle, just got back from a conference actually.

Drew Neisser: Is it a day of liquid sunshine as is so often the case in Seattle?

Bryan Law: That’s a pretty good way to describe it. Yes, it is.

Drew Neisser: All right. We did our homework before the show and fun fact, you were the student body president at Northwestern University.

Bryan Law: I was.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, that’s awesome. Was it your strong early campaigning skills? Was this an early marketing win?

Bryan Law: So certainly highlighted the importance of really understanding who your customer was, what they care about, and then trying to tailor your message accordingly. “One Kellogg” was our campaign pitch. So it was about bringing everyone together and driving collaboration.

Drew Neisser: There you go. Was it a tight race?

Bryan Law: It was in particular with another candidate. So I think one of the things that was a big follow up was, how do we incorporate all of their ideas into what we were doing and try and bring everyone together?

Drew Neisser: Yes, make the tent bigger as the political parties often say, all right. Okay, we’re gonna switch gears and let’s talk about how you think about go to market at ZoomInfo and how that’s come into your mindset and thinking about the overall challenge of ZoomInfo.

Bryan Law: Yeah, it actually was the subject of a lot of our conversation yesterday with CMOs. So something that’s been really big at ZoomInfo since it was founded in 2007—so I just joined in July—but is this idea of efficient growth. So we talk a lot about the rule of 40, or those who don’t know what that is, that’s essentially your growth rate plus your profit margin, you want those combined numbers to be greater than 40. We actually aim for sort of double that. But that’s been a long standing focus for us. And maybe it was a less than popular one up until very recently, our CEO was actually talking about how everyone was saying, “Cut your profit margin, increase growth.” But that very much now is the focus, how do you drive that efficient growth? The way that we think about that is a few different things. So first, be super thoughtful about who you’re going after. And obviously, we have an incredible amount of data, which allows us to be very, very targeted, but it’s a combination of who they are, what’s the company, the contacts, the photographic information. What they use, in our case, because we sell a technology platform, so that’s really important. Are they using a competitor or complementary tech? What are they doing intense, and then how do our marketing efforts perform. So that’s really key. And then making sure that we understand—actually a little bit similar to the Kellogg example, what our buyers care about. So I’m a huge believer, I love the Ehrenberg bass Institute, they wrote the book, how brands grow. And this idea of mental availability, and really understanding invited situations, what do the buyers care about? What are the thoughts, feelings and emotions they have? And then how do you align your messaging around that. That whole piece is really key, sales and marketing alignment is super important. I think we’ve been hearing a lot about that from our customers. So traditionally, marketers have needed to be efficient and sales has needed to be efficient. But I think increasingly boards and executives are looking at how together is your go to market efficient. And then I think related to that is how are we all driving scale in automation? And so that is a really key piece of not only what we’re doing but what we’re talking to our customers about. I’d say those are the probably the most top of mind things, when I think about our go to market motion, sort of thoughtful on who we’re going after to do well with sales and then drive scale.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, it’s a great summaryand of course, you’re sort of at the vortex because you have to do this as the CMO of ZoomInfo. But you’re also advising your customers on a similar things and presumably, you need your customers to have a good go to market strategy. Because if they don’t, they’re not going to be able to use your product as effectively. I shouldn’t be surprised that I’m suddenly really realizing it but the first thing you’ve talked about is how you guys as a company have been thinking about profit and growth as a combination. And this is the one good part of the recession is that businesses get back to being real businesses, as opposed to what I used to call the “funny money” approach where in the .com era, it was just eyeballs, right? I’ll just get eyeballs. And it was a stupid metric. It always was stupid. And so you’re back to some fundamental things of marketing and business growth, which is good. But I’m curious how things have evolved for you. Again, you started in July, we’re not quite a year yet. But have you been thinking about it differently lately in terms of, obviously there are outside factors going on right now that are affecting most businesses?

Bryan Law: Yeah. So a couple things. The session we were doing yesterday was with Bain, and they were presenting some research, I’m just gonna pass on what they were calling out. But one of the things that they noted is across industries, what they found was, it’s actually in downturns, that companies really separate themselves from their peers, it’s actually in downturns, that you really need to be thoughtful about what you’re going to be doing. Second thing that they highlighted—they mentioned this in other settings—but almost 90% of companies have day one lists. So when they actually select from the list of vendors, they come up with, 90% of the time they have a list to start with, and almost 90% of the time they select from that group and so that critical nature of real time intent, and being there at the very beginning is super important. And also that mental availability concept of being top of mind, they were validating comments that they made. In terms of what I’ve been doing since I started, I would say doubling down on each of those pieces, we have really focused on the sales and marketing alignment and we have a really strong relationship, which is nice to see and holding each other jointly accountable, not only for like, what are the metrics? Are we hitting the metrics? Making sure we have a consistent worldview and that our go to market is tied together. I’d say probably the newer thing that we are both doing internally and with our customers, is this idea of a go to market play, which we define as sort of like an integrated, repeatable, and ideally automated campaign across sales and marketing. We do a lot of those internally. And we are facilitating our customers doing those as well. And so it’s really thinking about what are your top sellers doing well, what’s the top marketing activity that you’re doing, and how do you make it repeatable? And then how do you actually make it really personalized by using lots of data about your customers to make it feel like it’s a one to one message rather than just sort of a scaled marketing campaign that you’re going after. And so that’s been, I would say, probably the biggest intentional shift and focus in probably the past six months.

Drew Neisser: I love the fact that Bain says this and they said it in 2008 and they said it in 2000. That means marketers, this is the opportunity to step up. But when you go deep on that topic, you can’t find that many case histories, like it’s always the same ones, Coke versus Pepsi and so forth. And there are almost no B2B examples, which isn’t to say that they’re not right, it just means that very few B2B businesses have the courage to actually increase spending in marketing during a downturn.

Bryan Law: Interestingly, so one of the other things that we were talking about yesterday, was looking at companies over time and how they actually are improving their commercial, so to the ideal sales and marketing productivity over time. And very few companies are actually able to do it. And it’s a sort of a single digit percentage they can actually do it consistently over time. And so they’re just very few examples of B2B B2C where you’re actually able to do that effectively. So I think it makes it tough to be able to justify and meaningfully spend more if you can’t figure out how to do it in an efficient way.

Drew Neisser: Well, the harder part is this, we had a group of CEOs and we were talking about, “So you’re going to increase your budget with the downturn”. They’re gonna say, “Well, how’s this going to work, because our sales cycles have increased from 12 months to 18 months. So it’s taking longer. There are fewer buyers in the marketplace, so the pool is smaller. So unless we increase our close rate, our revenue is going to go down, no matter how much you spend.” And this is a hard moment for marketers, because do you want to be going in there and say, “Hey, if we spent more, Bain says if we spend more…” I mean, I don’t know what the answer is to that.

Bryan Law: At least the way that we’ve been trying to be thoughtful, I think it’s again, highlighting that sort of sales and marketing partnership. We have increased focus we put into deal acceleration within the pipeline has been really important for us. So an example play that we run is something comes in and opportunities opened above a certain size within our sort of larger segments and we then go and we look and say, “Okay, for this account, who is our ideal customer profile?” We  look into our database and say, for us, sales and marketing leaders above a certain level, and then what are the relevant messages given what they’re interested in? And then how do we relay those across our different channels, ideally, and that sort of triggered automated way, which we’ve set up. And so I think doing more of those types of things allow you to drive that automation, allow you to facilitate some of the efficiency and receive some good results from doing things like that.

Drew Neisser: You guys really have the opportunity to be your own best case history, and in some ways to lead, because so many companies already used ZoomInfo already. And so there’s gotta be a micro group of folks that are actually stepping up using more. So you’ve got two things going for you. One is that you guys can show it, and lead by example. All of that makes sense. All right, we’re gonna come back to Bryan. But now we’re going to introduce Amanda Malko, who is the CMO of G2, and now an advisor for G2. So hello, Amanda, wonderful to see you.

Amanda Malko: Good to see you Drew.

Drew Neisser: How are you? And where are you?

Amanda Malko: Okay, well, I’m in Atlanta. So probably the furthest away from Bryan and Seattle as possible. And I am doing a combination of things. Now, I’m advising G2 I was brought into G2 two years ago to transform the marketing team, and the go to market function, including some key priorities we had. And we did that. And the team is now being run by a great leader that I brought in. So I kind of have the best of both worlds. And I think you alluded to, in our prep Drew some of the personal reasons I did this. For a couple years now I have subscribed to a framework—because of course, we’re marketers, we have to have frameworks for things—by Jeff Bezos. If you’ll give me a minute, I’ll explain. He has this framework and I don’t remember where I discovered it, but he talks about his decision making process and how he decided to build Amazon and walk away from what at the time was a very great job for him. He calls it the regret minimization framework, and it’s projecting yourself into the future. You’re on your deathbed. And you look back and you say, “What are the decisions that I would have regret not making?” And for me, I was traveling every month at G2 and I realized as I was doing my sort of regret minimization assessments last year, that I would regret not spending more time with my son and my dad who at the time had some health challenges. So I use that framework for everything. And it’s been really helpful. And I’m really delighted, and frankly, grateful that I can still be working on a number of exciting projects at G2, but then taking this time.

Drew Neisser: Amazing. And I love that regret mitigation is such a simple and powerful concept. So thank you for sharing that. I’m immediately writing down a couple of notes on a personal level. And I’m sure the folks listening are as well. So let’s go to how did you think about go to market at G2 on a very broad level?

Amanda Malko: Yeah, well, and it’s an interesting question for G2. So one thing for those who don’t know G2 is a software marketplace where you can see reviews and get data on software company. So Bryan was alluding to having a shortlist and a lot of times we see that people do come to G2 to build their shortlist and then evaluate their shortlist. So we have both buyers who are evaluating software on G2 and then what we call sellers who are software companies. and marketers who are trying to increase their presence as well as use the data on G2 to inform their go to market. So I’ve been working in marketplaces now for a little over five years and marketplace go to market dynamics are very complex, because you really are looking at the go to market for two sides of an ecosystem and how they play together. The most broad level, that’s core to the go to market for G2, it’s how do we win awareness and influence among buyers? So they choose G2 as their default when they’re evaluating software decision making and then how do we help marketers really lean into their presence on G2 in a way that is helpful for them in their go to market. Where we want to see our go to market strategy go is at the intersection of those two things. We could build everything under the sun for buyers and sellers but what we need to do is figure out how we can create leverage between those two groups. And that really informs, including the products we built.

Drew Neisser: I’m thinking back to, when you talked about the marketplace, my first client was Century 21 Real Estate, 100 years ago. And the founder of that company famously said in the real estate business, if you control the listings, you control the sales. And so I’m just thinking immediately in saying, let’s see if Art was right. If you have enough sellers, the buyers will find you. I suspect that was true at some point in the past of G2.

Amanda Malko: Yeah, it’s an interesting chicken or egg scenario, we have so much data to inform our go to market, which is fantastic. Like things like how many reviews a listing needs to have before a company really cares about their presence and pays attention, for example. And so we can actually make different campaign decisions budget differently based on how many reviews someone has on our site, and how likely they are to become a paying customer of G2. And you’re right that until you’ve got enough traction, really on the buyer side, it’s hard to get people to think that’s useful both on the buyer side and to pay attention on the seller side. A great parallel is like if you go on Google, and you’re looking up a product or a restaurant, and there’s one or two reviews, you’re sort of like, I don’t know if I care about that yet. So our first and most important job is making sure we’ve got enough useful information about software categories and products that it’s helpful to buyers. And if we can do that, then we can be more valuable to them, but also to the companies and the marketers who are trying to really increase their own credibility on the platform.

Drew Neisser: How has your thinking about go to market evolved over the last two years? Because it has to have, because it’s been a crazy period.

Amanda Malko: Yeah, it really has. I think the biggest thing, as I was reflecting on this question, that’s changed for us, is the way we make decisions. When I came into G2 it was a fast growing and fast moving company. So it’s really easy to get into either waterfall decision making or parallel decision making. So as an example, we’re building a product, it’s like product, you go build the thing, marketing, you make sure we really know the persona, sales, in our case, pricing, you guys figure out pricing and packaging and how it fits with our other products. Well, that is a recipe for go to market misalignment. And so we really moved in to almost the idea of creating a brief and really working through key go to market decisions together knowing that the way you price and package something impacts the product, the feature set, where it’s going to be in V1 impacts how you think about those things. And so I think that was the biggest change was literally the way we made decisions and when we made them.

Drew Neisser: This notion that these folks have to come together, obviously, it’s all pieces of a puzzle that have to work together. I wonder, did that make it harder to make decision, take longer to make decisions? Because now the more people that are involved, the harder it is to work things through. Or is it faster because you eliminate the wait the product people spent months on pricing, and then you get there and you say, wait, that’s wrong.

Amanda Malko: Well, so I got a little of that in the beginning where it’s like we’re having to meet, there’s a brief like it feels like process. But honestly, I think people had been burned enough times with decisions that maybe later had to be course corrected or changed that it didn’t take long for us to see the impact and that we were actually going to be moving more quickly. But also just making stronger products and building a better go to market plan. So we were more successful when we launched things. So it was sort of a short cycle before we got there, which I think shows we needed it.

Drew Neisser: And was there a product that came out of this process that’s out there that you could share?

Amanda Malko: We launched a new product called G2 market intelligence. And the G2 market intelligence product is actually taking this rich layer of data that G2 has and brings it to really product marketing teams. And anyone who’s doing sort of voice of the customer assessment to help inform your own go to market. We started with like, what data is most valuable? How much of that data could we actually productize? How quickly we aligned on a product roadmap, and then we actually put price to value against that and did some testing with customers not just on the product set, but we actually said to the product team, “Hey, could you actually bring some pricing assessment into your own discovery as you’re building this product alongside some of the beta customers.” And so that’s a great example where we didn’t waterfall that decision making, we actually aligned up front on the persona and depth of the product for the first version, and then iterated together with product, including on things like pricing.

Drew Neisser: So in theory, it went faster. In theory, it went better.

Amanda Malko: Yeah, I would say instead of like book saying, “Okay, we’ll come to you marketing, when the products done”, there was none of that, because we had been along for the ride the whole time. And so we launched the product when we were supposed to, I think the more important thing is that it was a successful launch. And we didn’t have a lot of scrambling at the last minute because we didn’t know what was coming.

Drew Neisser: This reminds me of a conversation that I had recently where the CMO said, “Marketers make markets.” And in fact, by being deeply embedded from the beginning, you are making markets because you can make sure that marketing is also whatever is baked into the product.

Amanda Malko: You know your persona better than anybody else and so you can bring those insights into those upfront discussions and hopefully help the product team as well.

Drew Neisser: And that’s a big assumption but it should be true.

Amanda Malko: It’s not always true though, and at times you have to prove your value to be part of that process first.

Drew Neisser: Yeah. The other thing that it just reminds me of any software company out there watching the show, if you have data that you can’t turn into a product, there’s probably something wrong. It’s just because you have so much data or at least turn it into something PRable. Very cool. Thank you, Amanda. Now, normally, on this show, we only feature the CMOs of CMO Huddles, however, today, we have an honorary Huddler, Sangram Vajre, who is the co founder and CEO of Go To Market Partners, and joined us on a bonus Huddle in the past all about go to market. So we just had to have you on the show again.

Sangram Vajre: Yeah, you know, one thing that I love about this, and I’m just hearing to Bryan and Amanda talk about this, and you walking through this, it took me a while to think like, “Oh, I’m not a CMO.” Because I think I am a CMO, I think like a CMO and I think the best CEOs actually are CMOs at heart and they get marketing. So I think I get to practice something but for a moment until you said it, I just think of myself as a CMO.

Drew Neisser: It’s funny, you know, you say the best CEOs are marketers. In reality, less than 20% of CEOs have any marketing experience in their backgrounds. Yeah, which is a phenomenal number to consider. And I always point to that stat first, when we talk about the miscommunication between CEO and CMO is the CEO just thinks they know marketing, but if they haven’t done it, they really don’t.

Sangram Vajre: But here’s the curveball on that one. My background is in computer science, like I did my bachelor’s and master’s in computer science. I didn’t go to any marketing school, I was at a company where I was supporting marketing department through technology. And I’m like, “Well, what they’re doing is seems really cool. I want to go do that.” And then I went from a program manager, like a pretty solid job, to a marketing analyst, because I really got intrigued by marketing. So I really took a complete detour went all the way down at the bottom of that, because I just got excited about this idea of marketing and came through the ranks. So in some ways, I feel like marketers are lifelong learners. And if you can learn the psychology of people and why people buy and whatnot, that’s really what I think makes better marketers.

Drew Neisser: Before we get too far into this. I did want to ask, so where are you today?

Sangram Vajre: I’m in Atlanta, where Amanda and I are both in Atlanta. But weirdly, we have never met in Atlanta.

Drew Neisser: That’s absolutely amazing. All right. So we’ve got Seattle, Atlanta, and New York all here live on the show. Very cool. One personal item, I noticed you have a note of being intentional on substack. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Sangram Vajre: Sometime ago, I wrote it down, that being intentional is way more important than being brilliant. And every marketer out there, including me, wants to be brilliant. And what I learned is that it does not matter how brilliant you are or I am what matters is are you intentional enough about doing good work? Are you able to bring people together? Can you stay the course for extended amount of time so that you don’t change? Like you change your clothes and the colors on your website or your messaging.That’s really what makes good companies great. And so I started to say, well, you know what, I’m going to be a first time CEO. So I’m going to just document, it’s really started as a therapy for myself, a document, what my journey is both at the professional level and also at a personal level. And I just scribble something down every Saturday and it goes out. And so I’m grateful that you and some of the others actually continue to read it, which is amazing.

Drew Neisser: I love that framework. It’s funny. In my book, I talk about a couple of CMOs who were arrived on the job, felt like they had nailed it, had the strategy in their mind, and went to share that and completely fell flat. And there were two reasons behind that. Even if they thought they were right, it didn’t matter. Because you know, marketing being the team sport, and you have to build credibility along the way. But the other thing I think is interesting is, I think one of the biggest temptations as a new marketer is to change everything, because you assume that’s the problem. And this gets to our conversation here, you and I talked about this, if you go in and look at your new job as a CMO, and you say, “everybody who worked here before was stupid.” And now I’m here, we’re going to start there, right? I’m the brilliant marketer. As opposed to, I’m the intentional marketer, I’m going to find out what was working, and I’m going to find out the essence and find some way to be consistent with what was done in the past, and then fix some stuff. That’s not the reality of most CMOs as they take on the new job.

Sangram Vajre: I’ll give you a real life example, we are doing some extension in our backyard, we were extending our kitchen, part of staying at home is everybody’s doing some type of project at their place, because they are looking at the same house all day long. So we’re doing some projects. And the way I judge a good contractor is when that person comes in and says, “Hey, you know what, this is really good. What you did, I really like this, here is where I would improve, or here’s what I would suggest on this one.” Worst is a contractor that comes in and said, “Oh, you got it all wrong. This is a completely shit show you need to change everything.” If that’s what a contractor says, I’m like we’re not hiring that contractor at all. I love that.

Drew Neisser: Yeah. Obviously, they didn’t get to know your customer one on one. We’ve talked about the M.O.V.E. framework that you described in the book. And you heard, it’s interesting, with Amanda and Bryan and in many ways you heard some of those pieces. Give us a quick overview of that. So we can set the stage to dive deeper onto this topic.

Sangram Vajre: Yeah, the M.O.V.E. framework is quite simple. It’s Market, Operations, Velocity and Expansion. All those four letters are literally the way, regardless of what size of the company you’re in, you’re always asking those question, who are we marketing to? And maybe you go from startup to a big size company, or you have multiple products and you should constantly ask those questions. And your answers are going to be different. Operations are like, are we doing this effectively? Brian mentioned about efficient growth as one of the key things that every organization is talking about. That is true. But in the early days, maybe you just have an ops team and a finance team who’s just doing something but over a period of time, you should mature to revenue ops as a way of efficiently running your business that will tell you more of the center of the truth. Velocity is, this is my favorite question we all ask, when can we scale? When can we scale this team? Velocity is all about ramps is like when can a marketer create enough demand? How quickly we can do that? When can a CS team can make sure that we’re satisfying enough customers? What is that threshold? When can an SDR start and start hitting quotas? That’s all velocity questions that we have in the book. And we have frameworks and frameworks for people who look at this. And then expansion. This actually came from some many interviews, but one interview was with Scott Dorsey who was the CEO of ExactTarget. And when I was running marketing at Barnard, we got by the ExactTarget and Salesforce, we interviewed several CEOs. And he said something that got to that point, initially, for me was experience. And I said, well, it should be experience, like the whole thing, right? And the marketer in me, experience. And I talked to the CEO, Scott and Scott is like, what kept me up every day was this question, where can we grow the most? Are we going to grow in this region? Are we going to go in this product? Are we going to go through this go to market strategy? So expansion is a key part of it. So very simple framework. And the greatest thing for me in the process was knowing that the questions remain the same, but the answers will be different based on the stage of your business.

Drew Neisser: I also think it’s so interesting that a CMO would want to make that experience because it comes back to the customer but as CEO would want to make it about growth there in is the tension of these two things. Anyway, I did want to mention that you got a shout out on the book from Sharon Britain Paris. So thanks for that. I have my copy right here. I did revisit it. I even went to your website, by the way site and downloaded the documents because I just wanted to sort of study that a little bit more. Okay, we have this framework of market, operations, velocity and expansion, I think in the book is pretty clear that the CEO needs to own GTM. So where does the CMO fit into this?

Sangram Vajre: We were doing these go to market roadshows in many different cities. We just finished one in SF and I would say this, almost 60% are CMOs sitting in the room and every CMO wants to own it they’re like, “Marketing is in my title, I should do that, right?” And you mentioned also like marketers job is to create market and I love it, man. I did ABM like I think I have something to do with creating and helping nurture that category. So I love that every part of my being wants to say that. But then as I became a learner and a student of go to market through all these interviews, I learned that our definition of go to market is maybe incorrect. A marketers definition lot of times will be like taking a product and launching it. But when you think about go to market from a CEO perspective, and the reason CEOs need to own it is because are we going to open a new office in Europe? Or are we going to focus on North America? That’s a go to market decision. Are we going to invest in marketing versus sales to drive our business? That’s a good market decision. HubSpot decision of working with agencies to grow the business versus hiring salespeople, that was a go to market decision. So when you expand the aperture of what go to market actually means the CEO clearly seems to be the one who should own it. Now, to your question on what is CMOs role? I think CMOs are the strategic thinkers, we think about what’s going on, we can think three months, six months, nine months from it. So our job is to be the galvanizers of these ideas. Our job is to bring them to bear our job is to ask the tough questions. And our job is to bring people together and help them make a conscious decision and be intentional about that decision. And there’s no other role, who can do it better than the role of a CMO.

Drew Neisser: Interesting. So if the CMO is being intentional, they’re galvanizing. And the bringing together the CEO essentially is still the decider. But what you’re saying, and this flows back to, if you own the agenda, and you take the notes, you really are in control, even though you got to make the CEO feel like they’re in control. So on the agenda, on the notes, you really are owning GTM, without fully stepping, overseeing.

Sangram Vajre: I’m so glad you brought that up, Drew, I think this is the part that I think CMOs need to really take to heart is, the best CMOs are the ones who actually know what’s going on in the business, they are actually going and spending time with their peers. I was surprised at something that I learned even at being at Terminus and Pardot, that I spent more time with my peers than with my team. That’s not a popular thing to say, but that’s really what actually helped me be a better CMO, I spent more time with my peers, because I looked at them as my direct team, as opposed to my own team, I hired the best people I could to do the job. So I don’t have to do that part of it. But I spend more time with the head of product, I spend more time with the CFO, I spend more time with the CEO. And the reason I was doing that, because I wanted to be in the business of marketing, not marketing the business. I don’t want to run an SEO campaign. I want to be the business of marketing, not marketing the business.

Drew Neisser: I love that perspective. And it comes back to, did you build a team that you could actually rely on, which of course is what a CEO has to do as well, they can’t do that. But the one thing I was thinking about when you’re saying all that is,  earlier Amanda mentioned, in theory, the CMO knows the customer better. And I remember years ago interviewing Beth Comstock, who at the time was still CMO of GE and doing some amazing things. And she said she was spending 25% of her time with customers, which was a big number. And I’m wondering, in this mix, if you’re spending a lot of time with your peers, how were you CMO? Or how do you think about that?

Sangram Vajre: Internally for internal meetings, I look at the calendar and say whoa, if all I’m doing is meeting my one on ones, and that’s all I do every week, then I’m just making an incremental progress. I cannot bring anything to the team, I’m not making them better. So I need to spend time with my peers because I want to help my team figured out, “Hey, that’s coming, the new product”, like Amanda said, “that’s coming up.” I bet Amanda spends a ton of time or spent enough time with her peers in order to be that smart about it and bring the team together and they will respect her more. But then the events like the road shows and getting out there and doing customer advisory boards and dinners with your customers. That’s the other part of it, and that’s what you do in order to make sure that you’re truly close. I don’t think hopping on a call every other day is the way to do it. There are many other ways you can actually get closer to your customers.

Drew Neisser: What I love about this conversation is even though the big topic is go to market, what we’re really been talking about is how to be a more effective CMO and make a huge difference, which is a perfect segue for me to talk about CMO Huddles, so we’ll be back Sangram.

So I want to talk about CMO Huddles. We launched in 2020 it’s an exclusive community of over 100 highly effective B2B CMOs, who share, care, and dare each other to greatness just about every week. One CMO described Huddles as a cross between an executive workshop and a therapy session and believe me, things are getting hard out there so the therapy part is growing and who doesn’t need a little reassurance that they’re not alone? Everything about CMO Huddles is designed to be a force multiplier, helping you to make faster, better, and more informed decisions. Since no CMO can outwork this crazy job, CMO Huddles is here to help you outsmart it. We have two Huddlers with us, Bryan and Amanda. Are you guys on the therapy side or the executive workshop side of Huddles? Just curious.

Amanda Malko: I was gonna say the executive workshop side, mainly because I think before I even had attended my first Huddle, I was introduced, I had become a Huddler, I think you asked me Drew, what are some of your challenges and you said, “Well, we have someone who can help you with that.” And so I have found that so valuable to be able to connect and learn from how other people are dealing with similar challenges, then it ultimately does become therapy in a way because even knowing someone out there is facing similar challenges is helpful. But I think being able to shortcut the learning by learning from your peers is really fantastic.

Drew Neisser: Awesome, thank you for that, Bryan?

Bryan Law: It’s certainly a little bit of both, but I definitely lean heavier on the sort of executive workshop side as well. Probably similar to Amanda and others, I’m in multiple different CMO groups, this is the one that I find to be the most valuable. The small group nature of the conversations, how you connect us with others, when we highlight we have certain issues, we’ve obviously had a lot of experience in marketing, but inevitably there new things that come up. And so being able to understand how others are approaching things. And then for sure, at least for me, and I’ve mentioned for others as well, the CEO or CFO says, “I appreciate you want to do this, but give me some confidence that this is the right decision.” And so being able to ask others and say, “Hey, you know, we’ve talked to a number of my peers, and this is how they’re approaching it,” I think really makes it easier to try and convince them sometimes when you’re ideally working with data wherever possible, but you don’t always have data to drive your decisions. And so having that validation is super helpful.

Drew Neisser: It’s funny that you should say that because it reminds me of a couple of times, and this was early on, where a couple of hustlers would just take something that they got from one of our recaps and just highlight it and put it on the desk of their CEO, “See everybody’s dealing with this problem right now.” Thank you for that. Sangram you’ve been a guest at Huddles, I don’t know, if you want to weigh in on the value of B2B communities. I know you know a lot about it.

Sangram Vajre: I think we all are meant to be in communities of some way, shape, or form. I think it gives us meaning it gives us purpose, it gives us understanding. And there are a lot of things that we can’t really go in the company and say, like, this is a shitshow I don’t know what to do. My boss is asking me to go and hire this kind of thing. What do I do? These questions, you can just post on LinkedIn and tell them. So you need a safe place where you can actually have this conversation and know that you’re not going to be judged and you’re going to be empathized with and actually get some invaluable concepts and ideas of working around those things. And I think that’s where CMO Huddles, and communities like this really play a big role.

Drew Neisser: I love it. All right. Well, I appreciate your input. And I know you know communities very well. So anyway, if you’re a B2B CMO can share, care, and dare with the best of them, do yourself a favor and check out Okay, so  we’re going to do a kind of a speed round. First question is, what’s one sign that you’re GTM strategy is broken? And we’ll start with Amanda.

Amanda Malko: I think internal friction around, especially why you’re losing deals, but also how to increase your growth and velocity, just that friction and uncertainty usually points to something else.

Drew Neisser: Right. We’re not winning the business. It was your fault. Okay, Bryan.

Bryan Law: So from an outcome perspective, I go back to rule 40. I do think that’s the best way to look. Where are you moving? Are you improving or getting worse? And then from more of an activity based approach, I think a way to do that is just looking at what you’re putting in market across sales and marketing and seeing, is there consistency? Is it laddering up to messaging pillars? Does it have a similar look and feel? Are you trying to tie into how people think and how memories work so that you can be effective and drive growth?

Drew Neisser: Sangram, what’s another sign that it’s broken?

Sangram Vajre: Well, we did a whole research study because of the book. And over 1000 people responded to it. And there are 15 clear go to market reasons why you know, it’s broken, it’s on GTM Partners, or you can just DM and I’ll share it, but there’s one that comes over and over at the top, pointing fingers. It’s marketing’s fault. It’s a sales fault. And whenever you hear that, it’s a clearly telltale sign that it is broken. And we encourage people to take a step back and say it’s a go to market problem. Let’s solve this together because no one team can solve it.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, to me that question and that ability to say it’s a go to market question, if more CMOs when they stepped in the job day one said, “There’s a decent chance this isn’t a marketing problem. It’s a go to market problem. Can we look at it from that lens?” That would change, I think, a lot of first 90 Day or first year plans and change them for the better and help organizations. So okay, are there any false flags in assessing go to market effectiveness?

Sangram Vajre: I think one of the false things I worry about and I see this all the time now as being an analyst firm and looking at data and we have tremendous amount of partnership with GTs. We’re looking at millions of records from them as well to see what’s going on is, people have an artificial sense of success that feels like they’re actually winning, but they’re not. They’re actually cutting right from the knees, because, for example, number of leads, and number of people attending, all of that could give us an artificial sense of growth and upcoming pipeline, and then all of a sudden that pipeline is days like that throughout and you don’t close deals. So there’s all these false positives that we all have. And I think that’s a big problem. Bryan, you mentioned about efficient growth, Amanda, you mentioned about how you changed, I feel like that is a big problem for 2020. For every CMO to find those, oh, they just sound good, but it’s actually not good. Or actually, it’s not true.

Bryan Law: Sort of volume of output and volume of activity. It’s really exciting. As a marketer, think of how I look at all the campaigns I’ve put out. Many times, that’s actually exactly the opposite of what you’re wanting to be doing. But it’s attractive to get excited about this.

Amanda Malko: To build off what Sangram was saying, it’s easy, I think, to also look at go to market success by department. Increasingly, we’re looking at and investors are wanting to see blended sales and marketing costs and really being efficient across. And so I think a false sense of success is like, well, marketing hit the pipeline numbers and sales hit their pipeline numbers. But at the end of the day, did we officially close revenue together, you have to kind of look at the bottom line of sales.

Drew Neisser: And this is the interesting conundrum that I think a lot of CMOs are facing right now, I love what you just said the only metric that in many ways is revenue at the end. But there’s a lagging time for that. So then we can sort of look at pipeline. Then how does the CMO say, “Hey, we’re doing better than we were,” other than pipeline, because pipeline, in some ways is a lagging indicator. I know that CMOs have the right and should be able to present a dashboard that is slightly different than the dashboard of the salespeople. I don’t know. But if they don’t, then they’re just being judged in teamwork, which is great. But eventually, you know, they’re making a decision and you get to stay or do you go.

Sangram Vajre: I would say to that, like, I think one thing that I learned and that I never really focused on for the last 10 years of my being at Pardot and Salesforce in Terminus is clearly what we talked about now, and I wish I would have known this before is just focus on the net revenue retention. Most CMOs don’t have that as part of their metric. And when company doesn’t do good, which is why I think we need to be focused on the business of marketing, not the marketing of the business, is because if you’re focused on the business of marketing, you would be very aware of what our NRL looks like, which will mean the health of the business, which would mean that we’re focused on the right things. And you can ask questions like, well, I don’t think we should focus on only acquisition, we should focus on this, most CMOs can’t have that conversation or don’t have the data or the means or the understanding of having those. That’s why the CMO becomes so low in most companies, because they’re not at the business level conversation.

Bryan Law: And I think you should have metrics throughout the funnel, but specifically relative to NRR, I think you also need to really have a strong understanding of what segments of your market are going to help drive you’re NRR more effectively so that when you’re trying to solve for it, it’s not just hey, let’s hope everything gets better. But really, what can we do to be thoughtful and present where we go?

Drew Neisser: So how do you calculate Net Revenue Retention? I’m just asking for the audience.

Sangram Vajre: I can just give a quick definition on that one and Amanda and Brian, y’all can jump in. So most people know ARR, which is acquisitions is like revenue growth, net new acquisition, that’s what ARR is. Then the second one that people started to focus on is GRR, which is gross retention. And that is about are you retaining existing customers? So that’s purely just retaining the existing customers, nothing more than that. NRR is expansion within the existing customer base. And now, if you think about can you sell more with existing customers. And here’s a crazy stat, if you have 120 NRR are as a company, why that is important? People are like, Well, that sounds crazy. Now you can have 120%, because you’re selling within the base more, you can actually grow, you can double your revenue in five years without acquiring a single new customer. That should blow people’s mind. Because we all think about acquisition as a growth level. But imagine just nerding out, you can double your revenue in five years without adding a single new customer if you understood how to play the NRR game. So it’s an actual efficient business metric.

Drew Neisser: Well, I’m particularly in a downturn where it is all about retaining and making sure that you’re using your product or service to the fullest amount. And hopefully, and I’m thinking about, Brian, with your long begun same with Amanda with these large customer bases. That certainly can be a big strategy. Okay. Well, it’s at this point that we asked the question, what would Ben Franklin say now I know that seemed random and I’ve explained why I revere this individual, but I’m just going to quote what he would say I think which is, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” In other words, having a solid go to market strategy in place can help set the company up for success, while failing to plan and prepare can lead to failure in the marketplace. Okay, thanks, Ben for that. All right, well, we are kind of running out of time. This went so fast and there was so much meat in here. Let’s get to some final words of wisdom for B2B CMOs looking to improve their go to market approach. Should I be calling this go to market strategy? I’m gonna let Sangram or is it just go to market? What do we call it?

Sangram Vajre: Now that we are quoting people on growth, another one and more contemporary in that sense. Like Brian Halligan, the ex CEO of HubSpot for the book I did interview on the back of the book, you’ll see a quote from him. I’d asked him, how do you define go to market and the public company CEO and he defined it in one word, one word is like go to market is like a product. It’s iterative. It has to change every day, every week, every month, it’s not an out strategy that you go out and offside. Now, that’s how you implement go to market that’s different. Go to market is iterative. Do I need to spend here or there? Do I need to go in a different market here? So it’s a very iterative process.

Drew Neisser: All right, well, so now Amanda, final words of wisdom for B2B CMOs looking to improve their go to market?

Amanda Malko: Well, I’m going to probably be repetitive here to Sangram say you are the shepherd of the go to market. So I think too often, we can sit back and say, Well, I’m not the decision maker. So I’m gonna maybe speak up every now and again, but I’m not the driver. I think CMOs are the shepherds. And if we’re not the shepherds, then there’s a lot of things that can befall us outside of our control. So I think it is our jobs to illuminate the challenges and the opportunities and to bring people together to discuss how do we want to tackle them. And I think that’s a really important role to play, especially right now.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, so I’m going to emphasize this, from a CMO planning standpoint, if we look at this as a career management strategy, when we say we’re going to help drive GTM by having the agenda and taking the notes. But you’re also doing at that moment in time as you are expanding the way people think about marketing and its role within the organization. So there’s an advantage there, and two you are making sure that you’re not just trying to solve a marketing problem when the problem could in fact, be a lot larger. Okay. Brian, final words of wisdom.

Bryan Law: Yeah, I mean, tied into to a segment Amanda was saying, you need to bring value to the leadership team. So that’s through external perspective, customers need to spend a lot of time their analysts so that you are enhancing the broader conversation. And I think a really important piece is, how are you creating that long term value for the company? And again, I believe a ton in mental availability, and how are you making sure that your brand is going to be salient with potential customers, and then the way that you make that work is driving that alignment with sales, I think it’s always been important. But it is more important now than ever, and should be a key focus for any CMO.

Drew Neisser: It’s all coming together here folks go to market is your way, in my mind, of really performing at the level that you want to in this job. It is that sort of understand that. And you are so much more than just the marketing guy who changes or person who affects the brand. Oh, they’re doing the fluffy stuff. If you’re driving go to market, you’re the real deal. Sangram final words.

Sangram Vajre: No matter how many things you do, be intentional, because that is what’s gonna keep you in the job. That’s one of making people can remember 100 things. So being intentional is way more important than being brilliant, especially when it comes to your job and go to market.

Drew Neisser: Awesome. All right, we are intentionally going to thank the three of you for being on this show your terrific sports. Thank you, audience for staying with us.

If you’re a B2B CMO, and you want to hear more conversations like this one, find out if you qualify to join our community of sharing, caring, and daring CMOs at

To hear more conversations like this one and submit your own questions while we’re live. Join us on the next CMO Huddles Studio. We stream to my LinkedIn profile, that’s Drew Neisser, every other week.

Show Credits

Renegade Marketers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser. Hey, that’s me! This show is produced by Melissa Caffrey, Laura Parkyn, and our B2B podcast partners Share Your Genius. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and the intro Voice Over is Linda Cornelius. To find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about B2B branding, CMO Huddles, or my CMO coaching service, check out I’m your host, Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those Renegade thinking caps on and strong!