Do you have enough focus to make a necessary business shift happen? For emerging-company marketers, too much of a good thing can be just as difficult to deal with as too little.

In good times, the focus is generally too broad: Marketers are asked to deliver on multiple growth strategies at once (e.g., new buyers, new markets, new offerings), resulting in wasted effort, depleted resources, lackluster results, and a limited ability to scale for future growth. In difficult times — often with a lot of finger pointing from marketing and sales — marketers frequently find themselves charged with “getting anything they can” to survive. This in turn leads to a diffusion of resources by spreading marketers too thin, limiting scale and slowing recovery, and potentially setting the company up for failure by expanding the focus so wide that the company loses customers’ trust.

Focusing all components of the revenue engine (customer success, marketing, product, and direct/indirect sales) on the primary growth strategy with shared goals is critical in good and difficult times.

Are Sales And Marketing Aligned?

The answer to the question “How do we focus our revenue engine on the same goals to drive success?” is right in front of our noses — we just need to understand the buyer.

If we understand how the buyer buys and how the customer engages, then we can align the revenue engine’s strategy and execution to the journey to optimize the experience and outcomes. This requires a firm grasp of buyer needs. Marketing should lead the charge by gathering executives and revenue engine leaders to build the go-to-market strategy; determining the segments, industries, and buyer personas to target; and discovering the buyers’ needs and the offerings that will meet them.

Armed with this knowledge, the teams should use the Forrester Sales and Marketing Integrated Workflow for Emerging Companies and the Emerging-Company Marketing Range of Responsibilities Model to define the work that needs to be done and keep teams focused and aligned.

In addition to focus and alignment, emerging-company marketers must have a clear understanding of how to become hyper-relevant to meet today’s buyer expectations and ensure the right technology is available and connected to support marketing and company goals. To help emerging-company marketing leaders and teams better understand the full scope of the priorities they need to focus on in 2021 and how to execute them, we put together a list of five planning assumptions to consider. If you’re a Forrester Emerging Growth Leader client, access the Emerging-Growth Marketing: Planning Assumptions 2021 research brief.