Modernize Your GTM Playbook With These 3 Rules

With a daunting array of tools, an endless list of growth strategies, and constantly evolving communication channels, there’s compelling evidence that modern work is facing a crisis of disconnection. And that makes a cohesive, connected go-to-market (GTM) strategy more valuable than ever. 

At this year’s INBOUND conference, I attended ZoomInfo’s session “GTM for All: Unlocking Playbooks for Every Company,” which provided valuable insights into how companies can connect these disparate threads to modernize and optimize their GTM strategies. 

I came away with three key ideas about how to create effective GTM playbooks — and an appreciation for how this approach can be the growth fuel for revenue teams of any size.

The presentation was led by Ben Salzman and Millie Beetham of ZoomInfo Labs, the company’s innovation hub dedicated to researching and developing go-to-market strategies and offering strategic professional services to customers.

Inbound Motion Research

To make these ideas concrete for the group, Salzman and Beetham analyzed the quality of inbound GTM motions employed by a group of HubSpot INBOUND attendees. Their goal was to assess how effectively these companies follow up on inbound leads and to determine if their strategies are optimized for success. 

To achieve this, the ZoomInfo Labs team visited more than 1,000 websites and filled out the various lead-capture forms with real contact data for a C-level officer at ZoomInfo. Their assessment spanned from the first contact with a website all the way through follow-up and setting a meeting. 

They analyzed multiple data points, using human researchers and AI, broken into three phases that reflect the journey of a lead. Those measures included: 

Ads to Site: Quality of ad copy, speed of website, user experience on forms

Site to Lead: Type of CTA on form, number of form fields

Lead to Response: Speed of response, persistence, number of channels

Some of their key findings:

  • Response Rates: Shockingly, 68% of companies did not respond at all to the form submission, highlighting a significant missed opportunity.
  • Response Time: Among companies that responded, a whopping 87% didn’t respond for at least 30 minutes — well outside the optimal time for following up on a lead. A third of responses came at least a full day later. 
  • Site Speed: Companies with the fastest-loading websites were correlated with better follow-up, delivering 2.5 times as many total responses per company.
  • Channel Use: 80% of companies responded on only one communication channel and neglected to use multiple channels, particularly phone calls.
  • Form Fields: Many companies had too many form fields, which led to slower response times and reduced effectiveness. In fact, the fastest-responding companies had 40% fewer fields on their forms. 
  • Follow-up: Nearly 60% of companies stopped following up after just 24 hours, despite research showing it can take on average eight touchpoints just to get an initial meeting with a prospect.

The ZI Labs team then analyzed the data to develop a combined score called the Inbound Index. Their conclusion: Many of the event attendees were missing prospects trying to buy from them.

While this sounds like bad news, not all is lost. These research findings point to the big opportunity companies have to improve key inbound critical factors like site speed and form design, and create specific inbound plays so they never miss another prospect trying to buy from them.

3 Ways to Create a Repeatable GTM Playbook

  • Benchmarking: You can’t improve until you know where you stand. 
  • Importance of Timing: Proper timing is crucial in go-to-market strategies, even more important than targeting and content (in that order). 
  • Centralized GTM Function: A centralized function serves as a valuable clearinghouse for data, enabling the development of industrialized, repeatable sales plays.

1. Benchmark Your Current State: the Modern GTM Index (MGI)

Where do you currently stand? To answer this, benchmark your data and engagement channels compared to the market — just like what Salzman and Beetham’s team did when analyzing the HubSpot attendees’ inbound motions.

ZoomInfo offers one way to perform this type of assessment: the Modern Go-to-Market Index, which enables companies to assess their entire current GTM strategy through the lens of data, engagement, and orchestration to identify improvements. The MGI provides insights into your company’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities, serving as a roadmap for enhancing your GTM strategy

Once you have a clear picture of your current state, you can create a plan to modernize your playbooks effectively.

2. Prioritize Timing and Signals

The three essential factors in successful GTM strategies are timing, targeting, and content. Timing takes precedence. If it’s good, you win more deals. If it’s not, you miss opportunities. 

It’s also important to identify which signals matter most to your business. While this might sound challenging given the abundance of available signals, it’s essential to focus on the ones that are relevant to your specific goals.

By knowing your meaningful signals, you can personalize your marketing playbook to dynamically engage with target audiences. To achieve this, you must build an automated motion that allows you to scale your efforts and ensure you never miss out on valuable signals. 

It’s equally important to identify poor signals to avoid wasting resources on irrelevant noise. When it is time to deploy your content, consider using the latest AI content creation tools to help cut down on development time and efficiently fuel your timely, targeted outreach.

3. Centralize Your GTM Function

ZoomInfo’s researchers emphasized the importance of having a GTM plays expert within a centralized team to support the organization. This approach helps streamline operations for a consistent and coordinated GTM strategy.

When structuring a centralized team, consider aligning specialized teams to your revenue cycle and associated plays that drive those respective outcomes. Additionally, having a dedicated data ops team is essential for managing data pipelines and providing access to valuable insights. 

Aligning these teams with sales and marketing leadership helps maintain cohesion and faster feedback loops to drive continuous improvements.

Bonus Takeaway: Open-Source Plays You Can Take Advantage of Today

To help spread the adoption of modern GTM strategies, ZoomInfo has also produced an  open-source play library — a repository of over 60 industrialized, repeatable motions. These resources are freely available and customizable, backed by data foundations and signal analysis, offering practical guidance for enhanced GTM strategies. 

These valuable insights serve as a foundation for modernizing and optimizing your GTM strategy, unlocking new opportunities for growth and success. But most important of all, GTM strategies are the key to success for any size company. 

Have you started creating your modern GTM playbook? Get started today, and you could find your company at the top of the next Inbound Index.