Go-to-Market Motions: How ZoomInfo Responds to Every Lead Within 90 Seconds

July 30, 2020

In horse racing, it’s not uncommon to see a razor-thin margin between first and second place. Take the 2018 Kentucky Derby as an example: Good Magic lost to Justify by just two-and-a-half lengths.

That’s a half-second difference.

Realizing that there’s such a small gap between good and great can either be terrifying or empowering. At ZoomInfo, it’s what drives us—especially when it comes to our go-to-market strategy.

“Company X has an incredible product, but they just haven’t built a go-to-market motion around it.”

As the CEO and co-founder of ZoomInfo, this is something I hear in a lot of conversations with VCs and private equity firms.

Most companies don’t fail because of a lack of ideas, innovation or size of market—they fail because they didn’t build a predictable, repeatable and efficient motion around finding and keeping their next customer.

Because of what’s happening within ZoomInfo in the context of the current economic conditions, I’ve found myself discussing our growth trajectory at virtual conferences, investor meetings and with mainstream media outlets more than I ever have before.

Related read: How to Adjust Your Go-to-Market Strategy in a Crisis, According to Carol Meyers

Getting to this point as a SaaS company has involved training, dedication and innovation. And now we have an incredible go-to-market engine that:

  • Drives a sub-30 day sales cycle
  • Enables a 10x Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) to Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
  • Translates across a wide spectrum of markets
  • Enables a 500-quota carrying sales team

In this first part of our three-part series, we’re giving you an inside look at how we’re using data and CRM and systems to really drive incredible effectiveness.

“Most companies don’t fail because of a lack of ideas, innovation or size of market—they fail because they didn’t build a predictable, repeatable and efficient motion around finding and keeping their next customer.”

Why you need a go-to-market motion

The business world is constantly changing. No company looks the same on December 31st as they looked on January 1st. Businesses grow, shrink, get funding, invest in tech, ditch tech, hire new talent, lose old talent—the list goes on. The information that you have in your CRM could be good today, but there’s a decent chance it’s going to be bad tomorrow.

The foundational layer of how we go to market is built on using insights that drive who you should be marketing and selling to, when you should be marketing and selling to them, and what you should say.

Simply put: The right message, to the right company, to the right person, at the right time.

That’s what ZoomInfo provides.

What ZoomInfo enables is far more far more impactful. We breathe life into a sales floor, we boost morale, we reduce turnover, we drive the sales and marketing pipeline, and we help companies grow.

Hypergrowth B2B companies need to embrace the go-to-market motion. Or else they risk losing the race.

ZoomInfo’s go-to-market framework

GTM motions create momentum, not disruption, through data. Data creates truth and accountability whether you’re chasing (demand gen) waterfalls or filling (sales) funnels. Data is the end-all-be-all maestro behind the people, processes and technologies that are part of your GTM success.

I’m going to walk you through our go-to-market motion. I want to start by asking you to consider how your go-to-market motion is organized.

It probably looks something like this: You have a go-to-market technology stack in the middle that includes your CRM, sales automation software and marketing automation software. The top layer includes your people, strategy, total addressable market, enablement and content messaging.

But the foundational layer is all about data. We’re talking about the information on your target market, the companies, the people, the attributes that make up those companies, where they’re located, the organizational charts, what’s going on in those businesses—that’s the foundation of your go-to-market motion.

But the real secret sauce through all of this is how we optimize against each and every one of these areas. We track how many:

  • Leads are converting on any page of our website
  • Fields we use in specific web forms
  • Sales activity metrics
  • Trends in product usage that signal potential up-sell opportunities

We are tracking, measuring and optimizing literally everything we do. It’s a part of our culture. Why? Because that’s the half-second difference we were talking about at the beginning of this article.

It makes all the difference in the world. Let’s review.

Go-to-market motion #1: Speed to lead

Our marketing team generates over 10,000 hot inbound leads every month. And we have a dedicated group of 70 inbound SDRs that we feed those leads to—that’s their specialized function.

The infrastructure we put in place requires and enables our sales team to respond to each of those 10,000 leads in under 90 seconds.

Read that again.

Go to our website right now and fill out a form, and we guarantee someone will be on the phone with you in 90 seconds.

We’re serious.

As a result, of those 10,000 leads, we’re booking an average of 6,500 demos every single month.

It’s not easy to get to that point, though. You just can’t buy technology and say, “Okay, I’m going to respond to a lead in 90 seconds.”

And here’s the thing: Even with the best intentions, there are 100 places where speed to lead can blow up culturally. When we initially created the expectation the reaction was what you would expect.

“Well, what if I’m stuck in a meeting or on another call?”

“I just emailed some leads because they don’t always include a phone number.”

The response was simple: Trust the process. We explained to our reps why it was important and then we built systems that accounted for all of the issues our reps mentioned. For example: Busy with something more urgent? No problem, flag a break in our system and we’ll route it around you.

Make no mistake, lead response time is critical. There’s a 10X decrease in your chances to connect with a lead if you don’t call them in the first few minutes. When we get back to a lead in under 90 seconds, it exponentially increases the likelihood of us converting that lead, so we operationalize it and we optimize it.

So, we made a cultural commitment. I even personally test our sales team every month. I go on the website, make up a fake person and then I wait for the call.

What else are we doing to drive results from marketing channels?

Here’s the rub: We can only hold our sales team accountable if they have both the lead volume and understanding of how to follow up. The first requirement can be tackled from a number of different ways, but web form management is a key inflection point our leadership focuses on.

Case in point: There’s an ongoing debate, especially in B2B, about how to minimize the number of fields required for someone to fill out a form on a company website. Most of the conversations will weigh pros against the cons around web form management. Less fields may mean more conversions, but it also means less information to score off of and puts sales reps at a disadvantage about who the lead is and what they care about.

At ZoomInfo, we fortunately don’t compromise quality at the expense of volume. We’re using our FormComplete application to handle inbound leads. As leads convert, we’re appending key information we wouldn’t otherwise ask for on a form but nonetheless is essential to boost the sales team’s ability to book demos from marketing qualified leads.

Of course, we’re verifying contact information and basic data points, but we’re also able to append tailored data points like industry, size, growth rate and where they’re located.

Related read: The New SaaS Metric You Should Be Tracking

By understanding how a business operates, we’re able to lead score in a way that actually matches our ability to provide value and close business.

Go-to-market motion #2: Solving for the sale

When you ask sales leaders who their best sales rep is, it’s usually the person with the most closed deals. And while that might be true, when you’re in the environment that we’re in, Annual Contract Value (ACV) may not represent the best-of-the-best within a sales organization.

Again, we use data here and mirror the model on the lead distribution side of our process. How? Our account executives are ranked in order of who is most likely to turn particular leads into a closed-won opportunity.

The performance-based system looks at five key metrics:

  1. Trailing three-month ACV won
  2. Trailing three-month win rate
  3. Trailing three-month Average Sales Price (ASP)
  4. Trailing three-month opportunity creation
  5. Trailing three-month ACV per opportunity

Just like the inbound SDRs—who are held accountable for the 90 second response time, attendance rate and qualification rate—we have a transparent structure that provides every account executive visibility into how they’re ranked and how they’re rated, in a way that they believe to be fair.

They know where they stand every month and they know these metrics will directly affect their wallet, because their ranking directly affects the quality of leads that they get.

With this system in place, we can go a level deeper to make sure we’re capturing context. For instance, as a sales organization, we know how the account executives stack-rank against different groups; ramping vs. non-ramping, corporate vs. strategic. This normalizes high transparency so everybody knows where they stand. The impact of this culturally has been phenomenal for us.

Go-to-market motion #3: Automate and create

Let me touch on a couple of the different ways that we automate different processes.

As we’re setting those 6,500 demos a month, inevitably some people don’t show

Like everything, we’re always trying to optimize our show rate—the people who show up vs. the people who don’t. To no one’s surprise, the longer we wait to book demos, the less likely we are to get a show. The closer to the day that I set the demo, the more likely that it’s going to go off. Using this logic, we’ve managed to achieve a 75% completion rate on demos booked.

The next step is to consider what to do with the people who don’t show up. We built checks and balances that automatically place no-shows into a “win-back” campaign. Again, using a systematic process, we actually generate over $1 million of ACV every month against the people who didn’t originally show up to the meeting we scheduled them for.

It’s not special, it’s not novel, but it’s a process that runs effectively. We’re constantly optimizing it, and it generates real ACV for us that we wouldn’t otherwise see.

And this is just an example of us picking stuff up that other people let hit the floor.

Win, fail, adapt, repeat

Here’s the thing: The race doesn’t ever stop. There’s no clear finish line in our story.

As we continue to succeed, we’ll find new roadblocks, new improvements and new ways to adapt. Our technology, data, people and processes enable us to continuously evolve.

Keep reading about GTM