What Does a Converged Growth B2B Go-to-Market Organizational Model Look Like?

ANNUITAS has in recent posts talked a lot about the role of the Chief Growth Officer (CGO) – and how/why this concept is growing in importance.  As part of this dialogue, we created an ‘open source’ position description to help those searching internally or externally for their next CGO.

Developing a Converged Growth B2B go-to-market organization goes beyond naming a CGO, though, and it’s worth taking a step back to look at how organizational design must also evolve when you take a Converged Growth approach to your go-to-market.

A Converged Growth organization is intended to optimize the design of go-to-market organizations through the lens of driving end-to-end stewardship of the customer journey – i.e., putting the customer at the center of the model and operationalizing marketing, sales and customer success interactions around this journey.

This requires us to start organizational design with the customer journey then rationalize roles and responsibilities from there.  This enables us to break down silos rather than reinforce them – fostering true cross-functional collaboration and orchestrating customer engagement, both internally and externally. Perhaps the most insidious of these silos is the common divide that exists between pre-and-post sales marketing, sales and customer success organization. Our goal is to break down this divide.

Stewardship of a single customer journey starts with building a single go-to-market organization.

Organizing Around the Customer Journey – End-to-End

The starting place, of course, is granularly mapping out customer journey; however, to operationalize engagement with this journey, we must first group journey stage interactions into six stages.

There are three stages of the “Pre-sale Arc”:  Engage, Nurture and Convert.  And there are three stages of the “Post-sale Arc”:  Succeed, Develop and Grow.

The diagram below breaks out this sequence, and then underneath we can start to align go-to-market actions – at a people, process, content, technology, and data level – with this end-to-end process in mind.

The greatest implication is that marketing, sales and customer success teams must think differently and refocus on shared programs and goals.  For example, before marketing was mainly ‘Lead focused’ and sales was ‘Opportunity focused,’ the focus and language needs to shift for both teams to a more holistic ‘funnel management’ approach and rethink how teams work around optimizing this funnel together, spanning both pre and post-sale arcs.

The core organizational design principle for Chief Growth Officers is how to drive continuous and orchestrated customer engagement, building substantive content and engagement channel strategies that reflect the entire customer lifecycle.  ANNUITAS uses an approach it refers to as Conversation Track Architecture to define customer threads through the go-to-market process and to orchestrate marketing, sales and customer success interactions.

Two examples of Conversation Track Architecture for B2B go-to-market organizations are below – the first from bio-tech and the second from enterprise software:

We recommend reviewing this post for more on how to define and build out Conversation Tracks and how to map people, process, content, technology and data across the customer journey.

As our strategy shifts, our approach to technology and systems needs to evolve, as well.  In a non-Converged Growth organization, we find significant data and system silos pre- and post-sale.  The idea of a continuous customer data value chain that is built up in demand marketing and sales stages and then enhanced after customer conversion and renewal is often a pipe dream.  Instead, there are competing views of the customer across marketing, sales and customer success.

Software contracts can make it difficult to bring an entire go-to-market organization under one data/system ‘roof,’ but analysis of the benefits might call for changes to existing software agreements to ensure the proper access and process flows are in place to support a Converged Growth model.

On that point, customer data needs to be more democratized in a Converged Growth organization. A shared, comprehensive and strategic view of customer data must be achieved. The goal is to create a customer data value chain that both takes input from all phases of the journey, but also provides insights and practical value to all stakeholders along the journey. Some work may need to be done to make sure the data model is not only inclusive, but also of high quality. In short, is your customer data truly useful? And, can everyone that needs insights along the entire customer journey get them when needed?

Bringing Holistic Control of Go-to-Market Under the Chief Growth Officer

How do we rationalize what is under the purview of the Chief Growth Officer vs. other senior leaders within an organization?

We believe three factors anchor the core of the CGO role:

  • Central ownership of the customer relationship and of the customer journey, end-to-end
  • Span of control covering BOTH pre-sales and post-sales
  • Unified organizational objective around maximizing growth – both from ‘net-new’ and from ‘existing’ customers

Not only is a Converged Growth team organized around the end-to-end customer journey, but this team is also the primary steward of this customer journey … and of the ‘outside-in’ view.  So, when rationalizing what is ‘in’ and what is ‘out’ of the purview of the Chief Growth Officer, the line becomes those actions that are ‘outside-in’ vs. ‘inside-out.’

Thus, the major functions under the Chief Growth Officer and their Converged Growth team include:

  • Go-to-Market strategy and programs
  • Demand/growth marketing
  • Sales
  • Customer success

The chart below outlines this concept.  In this view, product marketing and corporate/brand communications are seen as ‘inside-out’ activities; thus, they are outside of the Chief Growth Officer’s span of control and instead sit with Product and Communications, respectively.

Of course, the CGO still has ‘dotted line’ ownership/ influence over product marketing and portions of brand marketing and communication, in so much as the product strategy and messaging should be in line with growth targets and orchestrated around a customer journey construct.

As we have noted – and cover more below – in many scenarios one individual CGO will not be in place.  But the “office” of the CGO should be responsible for the overarching goals and strategy of these departments and functions. The above chart is highly simplified, and it is easy to imagine how layers could exist here – with titles like Vice President of Demand Marketing, etc., owning individual functions inside the office of the CGO if an organization is taking a more hybrid vs. pure-play approach to Converged Growth organization transformation.

Process-based Rationalization vs. Functional Rationalization of Go-to-Market Functions

The major shift required for designing a Converged Growth organization and re-organizing to optimize go-to-market is to move from functional organizational design to process-based design.

What do we mean?  A functional org chart that shows a hierarchy of entry-level to mid-level to senior level management – a nested reporting chart – fails to address the ‘role’ that key individuals play in key stages of the customer journey.  As a result, we are likely to find significant gaps in stewardship.  Said differently, without process rationalization, we are designing a flawed org – one where individuals know their reporting and span of control but where they do not understand the role they play in optimizing go-to-market.

Below are two example break-outs of process-rationalized Converged Growth organizational design – one looking at Pre-sale Growth and the second looking at Post-sale Growth.

The Pre-sale Converged Growth Org illustrates the ‘layers’ discussed earlier of people, process, content, technology and data as a Y-axis, and then teams and their span of control are mapped across Engage, Nurture, Convert as an X-axis.  This conveys a sense of cross-functional teams working together against the goal of customer acquisition and where there is no ambiguity of the objectives of each team.  It also shows how Product Marketing plays a critical role – especially in generating mid to lower-funnel product/solution content.  This view of a Pre-sale Converged Growth Org differs significantly with how organizations often think about a ‘marketing organization’ vs. a ‘sales organization.’

The Post-sale Converged Growth Org similarly illustrates a cross-functional team working with the primary objective of customer retention and growth.  Whereas for pre-sale we talked about Engage, Nurture, Convert, here we have a similar model – Succeed, Develop, Grow – that supports the team’s objective and rationalizes roles.  This also is a significantly different view of how organizations often think about post-sale customer relationships.  For as much as pre-sale marketing and sales teams could be better aligned inside most companies, it is the post-sale environment where siloing is even more insidious.  In the model below, we have quite the opposite approach, and it illustrates a highly integrated and orchestrated effort to drive continuous customer success.

Bridging Pre- and Post-sale Growth

How do we roll up this customer-journey-centered and process-rationalized organization?

As we have noted previously, adding a Chief Growth Officer is not simply ‘giving the Chief Revenue (or Marketing) Officer more responsibilities.’  The core of the role is to be a steward of end-to-end customer journey and to optimize growth based on optimized customer engagement.

The most important element is granting ownership to the Chief Growth Officer over a combined pre-and-post sale growth strategy.  All too often CMOs and CROs have not had the vision or bandwidth/charter to build a truly holistic growth plan.  A CGO must take ownership of the entire customer lifecycle and identify strategic plans for growth at all phases, with sales, marketing, customer success, etc. contributing their part and being held accountable.

How do we operationalize management of this end-to-end purview?

One approach is to segment ownership of pre- and post-sale.  Essentially having a lieutenant that fully owns the integrated Pre-sale Growth Org and another that fully owns the integrated Post-sale Growth Org.

To drive ‘one view’ and to bring together process, systems and data, there would then be a Growth Operations leader who would own underlying Growth Operations team members and systems – which you can also see threaded into the process-rationalized pre- and post-sale org charts earlier.

Hybrid Converged Growth Orgs and the “Office of the Chief Growth Officer”

Not every organization is going to fully adopt this concept of a holistic Chief Growth Officer and of the Converged Growth B2B go-to-market organization as outlined herein.  The key is not the specific roles and/or functional reporting; rather, the key is the orchestration – the process rationalization.

This is where hybrid approaches often will exist.  For some organizations, the best approach may be to adopt an Office of the Chief Growth Officer overlay.  The CMO and CRO may both remain in place and focused on the metrics that make those departments critical to the overall growth. For example, a CMO may still focus on lead funnel and conversion numbers that contribute to growth, and a CRO will of course be focused on new revenue – but the Office of the Chief Growth Officer overlay is the ‘strategic glue’ that takes these parts and connects them to a more holistic growth strategy and plan.  There may even be a named CGO in this model – who is tasked with monitoring and steering the activities of marketing, sales and customer success to better work together around growth objectives, even if these assets are not directly ‘owned’ by the Chief Growth Officer.

Regardless of whether an organization 100% moves to a Converged Growth go-to-market organization ‘and’ puts in place a Chief Growth Officer or adopts a hybrid strategy, what is important is to put the customer journey at the center of go-to-market strategy and programs and to fully orchestrate the actions of marketing, sales and customer success teams around this journey.  That is the core of the opportunity – and the greatest disconnect – facing the go-to-market function.

More Resources

This post is part of an ongoing series.  For more resources on Converged Growth organizations, go-to-market transformation and the role of the Chief Growth Officer, check out these other pieces:

More Great Content
demand process
A Framework for Sustainable Growth: ANNUITAS Demand Process™

In April 2012 our CEO, Adam Needles, published a blog post that introduced the concept of Demand Pro...

Read More

Chief Growth Officer's Handbook

Now is the moment to re-think your go-to-market strategy—to improve customer engagement and to max...

Read More

managing change
How to Successfully Manage Go-To-Market Change in Your Organization

Your organization (and the people within it) needs to change in order to drive predictable and susta...

Read More