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Foolproof exit strategies for stressed B2B Sales and Marketing Directors (or how to live the life you probably deserve)


Times are tough right? Buyer confidence is low, the order book is suffering from a surfeit of white space and your pipeline seems to have more leaks than a BP drilling platform. The CEO’s on your back and you can see the doubts in the eyes of your teams. “Do you REALLY know what you’re doing?” they seem to be asking.

It’s a stressful time to be a senior sales or marketing exec in the technology industry. And is it your fault? Like hell it is. In these market conditions what chance have you got? Maybe now’s the time to pursue a different course – you could give it all up and write that book you’ve always felt was inside you, or head off to India to get in touch with your spiritual side. One small problem – you can’t just quit. What would that look like to the 467 LinkedIn contacts you met somewhere once?

Don’t panic, after extensive research we have identified ten top Go-to-Market techniques, guaranteed to send your business the way of the dodo, video stores, and press integrity. Follow these techniques and we can pretty much guarantee that you’ll get to live the life you really deserve. So here are The Channel Partnership’s twelve Go-to-Market steps to business oblivion:

1. When formulating your go-to-market strategy try to not to let any information on market trends and customer requirements seep into the process. Ensure that decisions are made on the basis of personal prejudice, gut-feel and speculation. If people object tell them that you want to be market leaders, not market-led.

2. Try to ensure that as few people as possible, particularly the marketing department, ever talk to real life customers. (You shouldn’t get much push back from the marketing guys on this one as they tend to avoid customer contact like the plague). You’ll need to make an exception for salespeople but no-one listens to them anyway. As long as everyone involved in developing propositions and go-to-market plans is kept well away from customers then you greatly reduce the risk of success.

3. Produce your plans in isolation and publish without consultation. You can tell people it’s because you need to be highly focused and agile to cope with today’s turbulent environment. Excluding your major stakeholders from the process should  ensure a complete lack of buy-in. This will result in everyone going off and doing their own thing, ensuring that the whole thing is a complete failure which you can blame on someone else.

4. Although it’s important to spend lots of time writing lengthy plans which no-one reads, make sure that they’re short on specifics, just in case some over-zealous type is tempted to start doing stuff. List lots of vague things that you plan to do, such as developing an ‘interactive social media strategy’, but whatever you do don’t publish an execution plan with objectives, milestones, and deliverables, as you may inadvertently introduce a sense of momentum and focus.

5. Encourage your teams to focus on the real competition, i.e. each other. Keep them well apart and make sure they only communicate by e-mail, never face-to-face. Keep the reporting lines completely separate up to you, then you can sow the seeds of conflict. Tell marketing that sales ask what they do all day apart from colouring in pretty brochures. Mention to sales that marketing don’t believe they could close a hot lead if it came pounding on the door shouting, “where do I sign?”

6. Chase after every big prospect, however tenuous. Commit vast amounts of management, sales, marketing and technical resource to pursuing glory deals. If anyone politely questions this approach, tell them that their negativity is poisoning the atmosphere and that if they can’t think like a winner there’s no place for them on the team.

7. Whenever you lose a big deal, blame it on the stupidity of the customer or the underhand tactics of your competitors. Your sales guys all do this anyway, so it will help you win their respect and trust. Make sure nobody investigates why you really lost the deal or what you could have done differently to address the customer’s requirements. Tell people  that to dwell on defeat is just the mindset of a loser.

8. Try to avoid any sense of alignment across your different sales channels. Never do any joint planning with your channel partners and keep communication to a minimum. Make sure the rules of engagement between the channels are opaque and encourage the direct sales guys to pinch deals from the channel if they get the chance. When the partner complains give them some waffle about the strategic importance of the customer.

9. Ensure that your promotional messages focus exclusively on the technology you’re pushing. Cram your promotional material with technical jargon that no budget-holding business manager will understand or care about. Make sure that no smart-alec starts highlighting business benefits, customer value or return on investment. If they do, put on your best Peter Key voice and point out that “customers just want it told straight, without all the marketing fluff”.  

10. To buy yourself a bit of time while your plan takes effect, you could announce that you’re going to implement some ‘thought leadership’ initiatives or alternatively get in some consultants to do a strategic review, preferably one of the top strategy boutiques at top-dollar rates.  Send the consultants out into the organisation to ask questions and collect data, but make sure they don’t tell anybody what they’re using it for. As well as enabling you to burn cash at a truly astonishing rate, this process will have a devastating effect on morale and stamp-out any lingering commitment amongst your workforce.

Well that’s it - our infallible 10 step guide to Go-to-Market Failure; offered to you at no charge, with our compliments. Implement the steps above and by this time next year the anxieties you have about your high-powered, well-paid executive job will be a thing of the past.