May 29, 2024

Process Bloat: How to Unclog Your GTM Function for Faster Growth

Your go-to-market (GTM) processes are overly complicated. 

This (unnecessary) complexity blocks and obstructs your GTM strategy and execution. And a clogged process will stall and hinder your ability to react efficiently and effectively to market opportunities and challenges.

But what exactly does it mean for a GTM engine to be jammed up by complexity? 

  • Dense layers of procedures, approvals, and planning that obstruct rather than facilitate market success. 
  • Complex systems that lead to slow decision-making, misallocated resources, and reduced market agility

Like solving any problem, recognizing the signs of this clogging is the first step toward a more streamlined process.

We'll start there and finish, explore the consequences of this complexity, and offer strategic insights on how to "unclog." 

The 5 signs your GTM engine is "clogged with complexity."

A GTM strategy is your roadmap.

When complexity creeps in, that roadmap becomes a liability — hindering your company's ability to execute effectively. 

But there is good news. 

Identifying the early warning signs of a convoluted GTM will help stamp out issues and get you back on track.

Here are 5 tell-tale signs your GTM engine might be clogged with complexity. Recognizing these signs is the first step toward simplifying and optimizing.

1. Decision-making delays

Does your organization rely on a labyrinth of approvals to get something signed off? Does a task weave and bob through your project management software at a snail's pace?

When decisions take too long, you miss crucial windows to launch products, adjust strategies, or respond to your competitors. This delay impacts market timing and can negatively impact team morale.

2. Resource misallocation

Does everyone on your team spend time on the things that matter most? Do they focus more on where they can make the most significant impact and less on the day-to-day minutia? 

Unlikely.

Complex processes lead to inefficient resource prioritization and allocation — often diverting resources away from high-impact areas, diluting the effectiveness of the GTM strategy, and improperly budgeted initiatives.

3. Lack of agility

Is your company able to pivot quickly? New customer data. Market feedback. Emerging trends.

Complex processes make it nearly impossible to be nimble.  

A lack of agility will put your company behind your competition. We no longer live in a world of slow decisions and dragging campaigns. It is better to lead than to play catch-up.

4. Communication breakdowns

Is your company being held back by barriers and silos within and between teams?

Whether you admit it or not, there are some inefficiencies — often caused by a lack of effective communication, the lifeblood of any successful GTM strategy (or organization as a whole, for that matter). 

When teams are not on the same page, we see inconsistent messaging, disjointed product launches, and fragmented customer experiences. Not good. Communication breakdowns also create duplicated efforts or allow critical tasks to fall through the cracks.

5. Innovation stifling

"Innovate or die." So said Peter Drucker in his 1985 book, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (note: there is some dispute on who initially said this).

Either way, innovation is the key to staying competitive and relevant — keeping customers happy. 

Teams bogged down by cumbersome processes lack the brainpower to think outside the box, experiment, and iterate. Another side effect: Culture. Complexity often leads to a lack of motivation and engagement.

Identifying signs of a convoluted GTM process is essential to taking the next step—solving those inefficiencies. But before we get to the solution, let's consider the negative consequences of overlooking these complexities.

Why a convoluted GTM workflow is bad (with data)

When your GTM processes become a maze of complexity, the repercussions can have a huge impact — a substantial negative impact — in many areas.

Let's touch on a few ways complexity in your GTM is harmful.

Lost market opportunities: Slow decision-making inherently means missed opportunities. A McKinsey Global Survey, as detailed in Decision making in the age of urgency, uncovered that companies that excel at decision-making ("winners") also see a significant financial gain.

"Specifically, the winners make good decisions fast, execute them quickly, and see higher growth rates and/or overall returns from their decisions. Moreover, respondents at these organizations are twice as likely as others to report superior returns from their most recent decisions."

Wasted resources: Inefficiency in resource allocation isn't just about wasted time; it's about wasted money. 

The 2023 Pulse of the Profession, conducted by The Project Management Institute (PMI), concluded that "communication, problem-solving, collaborative leadership, and strategic thinking are consistently ranked as most important in helping project professionals fulfill organizational objectives."

The data showed that of the organizations that did not prioritize power skills, 40% experienced scope creep and 25% lost budget due to project failure.

Reduced market agility: A lack of agility can be quantified in lost revenue.

In a recent BCG article, The Agile Upside to an Uncertain World, the authors state, "Agile transformations structurally change ways of working, with the goals of increased speed and customer-centricity. Almost invariably unlocks an average 15% to 25% cost reduction in operations.”

Your inability to pivot quickly in a rapidly evolving marketplace could mean the difference between leading a market and struggling to catch up.

Internal communication breakdowns: The cost of poor communication can be staggering. 

This Inc. article, Poor Communication Is Costing You Money, states, "Poor communication costs you more than 18% of the total salaries paid each year. If the average salary at your company is $66,976, the average loss due to poor communication per employee is $12,506."

Poor performance: Messy processes turn into slow-moving companies turn into poor financial performance (and more).

According to The State of Organizations 2023 by McKinsey & Co., "compared with peers in slow-moving companies, leaders in fast-moving organizations report 2.1 times higher operational resilience, 2.5 times higher financial performance, 3.0 times higher growth, and 4.8 times higher innovation" (original report).

In short, a lack of speed and agility negatively impacts operational resilience, growth, innovation, and financial performance.

The data are clear and compelling: complexity costs companies both financially and in lost potential.

Now, let's explore how to fix all of the above — remove the GTM Bloat — and operate more efficiently.

Strategies to streamline your GTM engine

It's time to get practical ... and actionable.

It's time to get lean ... and agile.

It's time to get efficient ... and effective.

Here are a few key strategies to streamline your GTM engine.

It's time to simplify all processes. Review and evaluate current GTM processes to identify unnecessary steps (and redundancies) that can be eliminated or streamlined. Consider implementing lean management principles to reduce waste and increase efficiency.

Encourage a culture of continuous improvement where team members regularly review and refine processes — gamify! Finally, leverage technology and automation (cough cough) to simplify tasks, reduce manual effort, and speed up execution.

It’s time to clarify roles and responsibilities.

Clearly define and communicate the roles and responsibilities of each team member involved in the GTM process to avoid — eliminate overlap, ensure accountability.

And this is not a "one-and-done" deal. Regularly review and adjust roles and responsibilities as your team (and organization) evolves and the market changes.

It’s time to embrace agility; don't hide (or run!) from it.

Adopt agile methodologies that allow the team to be more responsive to market changes and customer feedback.

Foster an environment that encourages and supports cross-functional collaboration and empowers teams to make decisions quickly. Think about implementing shorter planning and execution cycles, allowing for frequent reassessment and adjustment of strategies. Be flexible. Be ready to pivot.

Adjust. Adapt.

It’s time to establish transparent and open communication channels within the GTM team ... and across the entire organization to ensure alignment and timely information sharing. Host regular cross-functional meetings to discuss progress, share insights, and address challenges.

Use collaborative tools and platforms to keep everyone informed and engaged. Add a line item in your budget to train team members in practical communication skills.

Finally — and arguably most importantly — it’s time to focus on customer needs.

Regularly gather and analyze customer feedback to ensure the GTM strategy aligns with customer preferences and market demands. Involve customers (or use customer insights) in the GTM planning process.

Lean into a customer-centric approach where decisions are made considering the customer's needs and experiences. Use data-driven insights to continuously refine and adapt the GTM strategy, ensuring it remains relevant and effective in meeting customer needs.

By focusing on these areas, organizations can address the root causes of complexity in their GTM processes, leading to more streamlined, efficient, and effective market strategies.

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