How 5 enterprise executives navigate a challenging economy

Posted July 19, 2023

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By Maggie Valentine

Senior Product Marketing Manager at Outreach

For the first time, senior enterprise executives joined the Outreach Roundtable to discuss the strategies and tactics they are using to lead their organizations to not only survive — but thrive — in a uniquely challenging economic environment. The first part of the two-part discussion was moderated by Tim Riesterer, Chief Strategy Officer of Corporate Visions, and featured Mika Yamamoto, Chief Customer Engagement and Marketing Officer at F5, Gabe Rogol, CEO of Demandbase, Elissa Fink, Board Member, CMO Advisor, and former CMO of Tableau, David Ruggiero, GTM President at Outreach, and Manny Medina, CEO of Outreach.

After facing a year filled with obstacles, slowdowns, and operational constraints, these leaders came together to share how they prioritize for the future, maintain cautious optimism, and identify opportunities even in difficult times. Here are the top 5 ways they are adapting their businesses for success:

  • Focus on what matters most  
  • Double down on quantitative and qualitative data
  • Embrace digital transformation and lead the way  
  • Implement an AI-driven strategy 
  • Consolidate solutions to a single source of truth 

Focus on what matters most 

In unpredictable markets, it’s even more critical to be ruthless in prioritizing business goals. This involves abandoning low-priority initiatives that aren't driving significant impact and potentially divesting certain areas of the business to focus on more promising ones. Setting Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) can help align the entire organization, maintain focus, and ensure accountability for what truly matters to the business.  It’s an especially great time to examine the efficacy of existing processes. What may have worked when things were going well may not be the right process for when things aren’t going well. Leaders should talk to customers firsthand to remember the “why” behind their mission, vision, and values. 

Double down on quantitative and qualitative data

Enterprise leaders are increasingly embracing data and transitioning from manual, siloed workflows to automation. Traditionally, marketing, sales, and customer success teams lacked access to sufficient and complete data. However, as go-to-market teams increasingly adopt a data-driven approach, the challenge becomes ensuring that everyone has a unified view of data across systems and teams. This shift requires effective change management and a willingness to embrace new technology and solutions to keep the business moving forward. It’s important when adopting new data-driven systems to set benchmarks to evaluate the impact of these changes.  Lastly, investing in a strong community of users and thought leaders can provide the organization not only with invaluable data about their products but also with credibility, particularly when skepticism surrounds tech solutions.

Embrace digital transformation and lead the way 

The B2B sales journey has become more complex than ever, involving 50-100 stakeholders and year-long sales cycles. To succeed in this landscape, leaders must embrace digital transformation. It's crucial for CEOs to understand that digital transformation is a gradual process and cannot happen overnight. Successful leaders remain optimistic about what success may look like in the future, even if it differs from their past experiences. Investing in people through better training and coaching is also essential. Sharing internal and customer success stories is one of the most important things leaders can do to help streamline company operations, expectations, and success. 

Implement an AI-driven strategy 

The recent advances in AI are on par with the inception of the internet. What we learned about the dot-com bubble was that new emerging companies had a strategy. The same thing applies to AI. If companies want to succeed, an AI-driven strategy is necessary. An AI strategy should include: 

  • Internal enablement of AI usage so that your team is more competent than your competitors. AI is interpreted differently by functions and generations, so it’s important to set company boundaries, like not putting private company information into ChatGPT.
  • A long-term AI strategy in your product roadmap. 
  • Data literacy and business acumen. Access to data is one thing, but data is just numbers unless it becomes knowledge and wisdom. You can’t just roll out a predictive AI model and have people know what to do with it. You need to know what to do with the model otherwise people won’t trust the data. 
  • Training and coaching. AI is a great equalizer for training and enablement. Listening to AI-recorded conversations with customers can help new reps get up to speed fast. AI isn’t going to replace sellers, it’s going to give them the time back to do what they do best — sell. AI can reduce the manual work teams don’t need to be doing so that sellers can do the work that only they know how to do. 

Consolidate solutions to a single source of truth 

Many organizations are reevaluating their tech stacks and looking for consolidation opportunities. The inability to coordinate between departments and disparate tech solutions is a huge sticking point companies are facing. Streamlining all data and contextual information from every department, interaction, and persona into one platform and one single source of truth takes an immense burden off teams. For example, consider pipeline calls that include marketing, product, sales, and customer success. When using one source of truth for pipeline, there’s one single point of accountability that everyone can rely on and contribute to. 

Watch parts 1 and 2 of our Outreach Roundtable 

Want to learn more? Watch part 1 and part 2 of our Outreach Roundtable series on demand now!


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