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Marketing -12%. Sales -4%

almost 2 years ago 3 mins read
Adam Schoenfeld
Adam Schoenfeld

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Welcome back to my almost-weekly newsletter where I share data and examples to help you study B2B sales and marketing.*


I've been noticing this SaaS company downturn response.

It's rational, common, but concerning if you are an advocate for modern GTM.

Here's a datapoint from our tracker.

Sales recruiting only declined 4%, but Marketing recruiting declined 12% in B2B tech companies since May.

This is not a complete picture of company downturn responses, but it's a clue.

The reasons are rational:

* Pressure on short-term revenue protection.

* Human psychology drives leaders away from high upside + low predictability bets.

Andrea said it better than I could.

* Long-game investments like community, brand, PMM, marketing ops, and non measurable or “outside the funnel” hires, get put on ice.

**What are the consequences?

Is this an opportunity to zig while others zag?**

I asked my network last week and the answers get more nuanced and interesting.

Marketing teams feel the first order impact.

But many people highlighted second order effects on that I wasn't immediately considering.

Here are a few:

* Pressure + no support => Shitty sales tactics => Buyer experience 📉.

As Dave Gerhardt said: "If you're seeing more desperation, that's why."

* Competitor builds unfair advantages. E.g.

While defensive co pauses community & brand building, long-game competitor doubles down on community.

1-2-5 years later the they have a moat / attention advantage.

+ *Or you can be that competitor.*

* Sales reps are asked to be heros, then take the blame. As Elias Rubel commented, “6-12 months from now there will be sales layoffs described as ‘right sizing to meet demand’ when those folks can’t make magic happen fully unassisted by other departments.”

* Top talent moves away from short-term companies/leader. As Fes Askari said “The best talent will work for the companies that ‘get it’, then they will all ‘get it’ - it’s already happening.”

Of course any sane B2B CEO will care about quota coverage, AE hires, CSM coverage, etc.

Survival is a must.

But a few will survive AND play the long-game.

Earlier this month, I talked about Notion playing offense.

And we've seen lots of great examples in our datasets.

I think we'll see more.

And those are the role models that I'm most excited to study...

*As a GTM leader, founder, or operator, how are you finding a way to zig while other zag in this climate?*

I read all replies.