Growth, Sales, and a New Era of B2B

August 12, 2019 • #

This talk from a16z’s Martin Casado covers how the market for B2B SaaS go-to-market is changing from sales-driven to a marketing-driven. We’ve been thinking a lot about this lately in the context of Fulcrum — how the “consumerization of IT” plays into how business users today are finding, evaluating, purchasing, and expanding their usage of software.

As he describes in the talk, consumer business tend toward a marketing-led GTM, and enterprise ones toward a sales-led GTM. A combined sales-plus-marketing approach to customer enablement and growth is super hard to execute on, and under the hood requires an excellent “adoptable” product at the center. You’ve got to enable the customer to try and implement your technical solution through a self-service and self-adoption model.

We’ve had this kind of land-and-expand phenomenon with Fulcrum since 2011 — wherein we attract early adopter types from within a company, get traction with smaller use cases, then watch as the company spreads the usage of Fulcrum horizontally to different teams and use cases. In the beginning we structured our GTM this way by necessity (a tiny team couldn’t do full stack marketing and enterprise sales), but have come to enjoy the fruits of this decision as we’ve scaled. I can sympathize with the challenges described here, though; building the right interplays and feedback loops between sales, marketing, and customer success is unnatural for a lot of people, and hard to execute on. The silver lining is that while you might have growing pains with process, at least you’ve got interest, usage, and revenue happening regardless. The magic is in the optimization of the cycle.