Crossbeam, the Ecosystem-Led Growth platform, today released a new report showing that a majority of sales leaders expect to miss their revenue targets for the year and are rethinking the traditional sales-led growth model. According to The Future of Revenue report, business leaders are struggling to attract new leads, close deals in their current pipeline, and overcome constrained budgets on the buyer side.
To understand the sentiment across different stakeholders in Go-to-Market (GTM) teams, Crossbeam partnered with Pavilion, a private membership organization for GTM leaders, CEOs and their teams, to survey more than 425 business leaders across sales, partnerships, marketing and customer success from August to September 2023. The majority (77%) of respondents work at B2B SaaS companies and 70% are director-level and above.
Of the leaders surveyed, 56% say they don’t expect to reach their revenue targets this year, while only 17% report that they expect to exceed annual revenue targets. Compounding the pressure on sales quotas, 54% say the sales cycle has gotten longer over the past two years and only 12% report that it has accelerated.
When asked about the reasons for the revenue shortfall, 46% of sales leaders said it was a lack of high-quality leads, and 43% pointed to a lack of alignment with the marketing team. As a result of these challenges, 89% of all respondents say their companies are looking to change their sales strategy and looking for alternatives to the traditional top-down sales approach.
Embracing Change, Bringing Trust Back to Sales
More than two-thirds (68%) of GTM leaders said that buyers have more control over the sales process, acknowledging that buyers are focusing more on insights and opinions from sources within their own trusted ecosystem.
As GTM leaders embrace change to increase revenue, they are leaning more on relationships and social selling within a broader ecosystem. This ecosystem consists primarily of customer referrals (42%), strategic partners (32%), internal stakeholders at their companies (28%), personal networks (22%) in addition to other connections.
There have been many SaaS growth strategies that have gained momentum over the past few years, including Product-Led Growth and Sales-Led Growth. When asked about the sales strategy they have been focusing more on over the past year, the top choice among 48% of sales leaders was an emerging growth strategy: Ecosystem-Led Growth (ELG) and co-selling with partners. Ecosystem-Led Growth is a go-to-market motion that focuses on partner ecosystems as the primary way to attract, convert, and grow customer relationships.
The shift extends beyond sales teams; marketing leaders are leaning into channels they have more control over. The two largest ways marketing strategies have changed over the past year are through collaboration with partners to generate and nurture leads through co-marketing, and email marketing, which continues to be a mainstream communication channel.
“Today’s challenging selling environment has created a market shift away from traditional go-to-market playbooks to alternative strategies,” said Bob Moore, chief executive officer and co-founder of Crossbeam. “But change doesn’t always require an overhaul of the current system — an existing resource can rewrite old playbooks. That’s the beauty of Ecosystem-Led Growth. There are substantial and relevant business opportunities for leaders in their own ecosystem that impact every stage of their revenue funnels.”
“Visibility into new connections and overlaps in a partner ecosystem surfaces the people and companies in their network that will accelerate and close higher-quality deals,” continued Moore. “The over 17,000 companies on the Crossbeam network are seeing high engagement and strong results, out-executing their competition at a blistering pace. The customer relationships generated via ELG have higher contract values, close faster, see higher win rates, and expand more meaningfully over time.”
In the report, sales leaders said after implementing ELG, 81% saw deals close faster than before and 89% said ELG deals are more likely to close.
“More than 10,000 members on Pavilion are reevaluating deteriorating and expensive outbound motions that are no longer working,” said Pavilion chief executive officer Sam Jacobs. “We’re seeing that they are increasingly interested in new sales strategies, and are investing into partnerships and ELG as a more efficient — and more human — way to go-to-market.”
To read more insights on the Future of Revenue, the full report is available on Crossbeam’s website for download here.
To learn more about Crossbeam and the next generation of go-to-market motions, visit www.crossbeam.com.