Working on a train is one of my happy places, and I did a lot of that recently.
I just got back from two weeks on the road meeting clients, prospects, partners, and even a competitor.
In total, those weeks amounted to 25 meetings and one big presentation to an audience of 750 marketers, and I learned a TON. Here’s an inadequate summary.
The tide continues to go out.
Everyone is having to fight more for everything: winning new clients, retaining current ones, attracting top talent, keeping and engaging current talent, generating awareness in the market, etc. It’s all harder.
The regime of the last 10 years is over. BUT, unlike a year ago at this time, I don’t think anyone is in denial about this being reality.
So how are companies adjusting? How and where are they finding success? This is what I heard from those I met with:
1. They’re getting bold.
There seem to be two types of companies out there right now: those making marginal adjustments and those who are rewriting their playbooks.
Marginal improvements on the things that we’ve been doing the last few years isn’t going to cut it. It’s time to make some bold moves in marketing, sales, comms, talent, leadership — it spans across them all.
2. Collaboration is key.
Our best clients, the ones who are winning their markets right now, collaborate heavily. They’ve made this a part of their DNA.
Market awareness and reach (distribution) are the top priorities for many, which means everyone needs to be a marketer: salespeople, execs, recruiters, everyone.
Maintaining silos is going to come at a big cost in the near future.
3. Innovation wins, as it always does.
In recent years, many companies grew by throwing bodies at problems — more salespeople, more client success managers etc.
That doesn’t work in this environment. Now, growth has to be product-driven to the core.
This is especially the case in tech: The ideal experience for any software product is 100% self-serve and that includes B2B SaaS — even at the enterprise level.
4. Every company is a tech company.
There’s no company for which talent isn’t its #1 priority.
The difference between today and pre-2020 is that every single company is a tech company: consumer goods, financial services, infrastructure, professional services, etc. They all have a need for specialized tech talent just like the pure-breed tech companies.
This means that you better bring your A-game when it comes to attraction, employer branding, engagement, retention, and all things hiring and people.
In summary, it’s a very exciting and dynamic environment out there. This is the kind of period in which the laggards are separated from the leaders.