ZI Labs: Building the Future of Go-to-Market Ops

During the past 15 years, the B2B software ecosystem has exploded.

Billions of dollars have been invested in software promising to transform how sales and marketing teams reach new audiences. Sales and marketing tech stacks have swollen, with dozens of conflicting tools promising greater efficiency, accelerated growth, and higher revenue. 

The message was clear: those who embraced these new tools would gain a crucial competitive advantage over those that did not.

Except that’s not what happened.

Instead, far too many companies made significant investments in B2B software tools, only to abandon them shortly afterward. Many failed to integrate these tools with their existing workflows or invest in ongoing training. Others spent months setting up new tools and managing new vendors, rather than creating data-driven motions that unlock market-making plays.

The result? Missed opportunities, wasted spend, and animosity between sales leaders and their teams.

Overcoming Tool Bloat

Rather than making their efforts more effective, this abundance of software leaves many sales professionals struggling under the weight of tools they never wanted, or were never shown how to use properly. 

Sales teams are wasting precious time managing an ever-increasing number of software tools, cleaning poor-quality data, and struggling to coordinate disparate plays across sales and marketing.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Today, the smartest organizations are focusing on maximizing impact across every stage of their sales pipeline. They’re investing in proven teams with a unique blend of analytical logic and customer insights to give salespeople the time and support they need to hit their number.

We call this Go-to-Market operations, or simply, GTM Ops.

Helping Salespeople Sell

Sales professionals excel at forging meaningful connections with prospective customers. They understand the problems prospects face and how to help them achieve their goals. 

Despite these personal strengths, salespeople spend countless hours every week performing tasks that are better suited to automation. Contacts must be verified, leads sorted, and emails composed, all of which distract salespeople from their primary task. 

GTM Ops enables organizations to build sophisticated, cross-functional, high-impact plays that harness the second-order impacts of the raw data at sales teams’ disposal. By embracing GTM Ops, sales and marketing leaders can create highly personalized go-to-market motions based on ideal customer profiles. Sales teams can incorporate a diverse range of data signals, such as technographic and intent data, to build an efficient, predictable pipeline. Content teams can produce relevant, actionable content that speaks directly to prospective customers’ pain points and enables sales teams to show prospects how other people have overcome similar challenges.

Introducing Go-to-Market Operations 

The core promise of GTM Ops is integration, specialization, and modernization. GTM Ops spans sales, marketing, and executive job functions to coordinate, orchestrate, and execute comprehensive outbound sales strategies. With a well-tuned GTM Ops team, companies can build custom sales plays that use business data as a platform for improved targeting, more accurate customer personas, and better content segmentation. 

To realize this potential, sales-driven organizations must invest in key hires that can bridge the gap between sales and marketing teams on one hand, and prospects on the other.

GTM Ops hires bring a unique combination of analytical rigor and deep customer understanding to sales organizations. These individuals are innately curious, and are as comfortable working with complex datasets as they are managing the expectations of demanding sales leaders. They understand structured data and how to use it. They know how to craft detailed personas across the organization, and possess a deep understanding of customer messaging.

Realizing Sales Potential

This specialization can make hiring GTM Ops roles challenging — especially in today’s intensely competitive talent acquisition landscape

However, for organizations that can attract these professionals, the potential returns are immense.

When companies commit to the specialized approach of GTM Ops, sales teams will be able to unlock new plays and strategies that leverage all the data at their disposal.  Prospects will better understand the benefits of a company’s products. Sales leaders will become more credible with executive leadership. And ultimately, companies will achieve their growth goals and better serve their customers. 

GTM Ops acts as a clearinghouse for all outbound data, campaigns, and content, providing executives and leaders with an overview of all sales and marketing data. Marketing teams can target highly segmented audiences with greater precision and unprecedented customization, offering more relevant messaging.

Building the Future of GTM Ops with ZI Labs

Not so long ago, a lack of actionable data was among the biggest challenges facing sales-driven organizations. Today, an overabundance of data has become a far more urgent problem. 

Researchers estimate that poor-quality data is responsible for average annual business losses of $15M. And even companies with dedicated data scientists are not immune: Gartner suggests that data scientists spend as much as 80% of their time cleaning poor-quality datasets. 

If experienced data scientists are spending so much time sanitizing their data, expecting sales development representatives (SDRs) to do the same while also meeting sales targets simply isn’t sustainable. GTM Ops can bridge that gap, turning the potential energy of business data into a kinetic force of highly tuned, deeply customized sales motions. We’ve been on this journey ourselves at ZoomInfo — and now, we’ve established ZoomInfo Labs to help other companies reach their goals.

Sales has always been about people. By fostering a dedicated GTM Ops function, today’s leaders can ensure that the next great wave of investment in B2B sales will finally make their greatest assets — their salespeople — more effective and better equipped.