Want to build an effective go-to-market strategy? Get out and talk to your stakeholders.
That may not be a novel concept, but it’s one that’s often forgotten. For Cory Fetter, product marketing and go-to-market leader at Front, it’s foundational to an effective go-to-market strategy. And when we’re talking stakeholders, it’s not just customers, it’s also product, sales and customer success teams.
In this interview, Cory shares how he approaches building strategies, how he thinks about and uses content to better enable the sales team, increase funnel velocity, and build a loyal customer base, and why he believes effective marketing starts with caring.
Tell us about your journey? How did you get into leading go-to-market strategies for SaaS companies?
When I started my career, I didn’t envision this. I originally was on the corporate communications side and I joined a global technology distributor in Phoenix called Avnet. I loved the value that was put into effective communication, especially around different cultures and geographies and the rigorous review processes they had. Thereafter, I joined Infusionsoft, which is now rebranded as Keep. I eventually led the PR team and focused a lot of my time on messaging and positioning around the product. I eventually transitioned into product marketing and more formally go-to-market strategy. Then I joined a company called Gainsight. Originally, I focused on growing their SMB segment of business and I leveraged a lot of what I learned at Infusionsoft [Keap] in that role. We eventually acquired a company and then I led the go-to-market strategy for that product line. Most recently, I’ve joined Front where I’m focused on building and leading the go to market across key industries and in different use cases.
You recently landed at Front, what were some of the first steps you took to set yourself (and the company) up for success?
I’m still very much in the process of this. I view my first 30 days as primarily to understand the landscape. I’ve been talking with a lot of people in sales within the product team, the success team, support team and marketing. I am focusing on key questions like, what is our primary target market today? Who do we believe to be the ideal customer profile and trying to learn more about our competitors, their strengths and how are they positioning their product? What types of content are they pushing out into the market? Are there gaps or resources the team needs to help accelerate the pipeline? What has worked within our target audience and what marketing channels are we leveraging? Answering those questions within the first 30 days will allow me to effectively craft the go-to-market strategies.
How do you determine what niches to focus on and then how do you dig in and learn about them?
When you talk to enough people or listen to enough sales conversations, you’re going to start finding a pattern. That’s usually where I start. I get directional guidance, but then I also look at the data and the usage behind our existing customer base. At Front, I’m fortunate we have some tools that make it easier for me to go in and explore among our customer base and what industries they fall in. Going through that process of narrowing it down with that anecdotal or directional insight from the conversations you’ve had upfront to more of the analytical data-driven approach, you can layer those on top of each other to get a really good understanding of where you should focus.
What role does content marketing play in your GTM strategies?
I can have sales enablement sessions with our sales team and make sure that they understand who our target audience is and what key messages should they hit on, but if the team and company doesn’t have any content to generate the interest, we’re not going to have anyone to talk to. If the sales team doesn’t have the content to help facilitate those conversations, you don’t have all of the tools in your toolbox to close that deal as effectively as you can. Content is at the core of all of my go-to-market campaigns that I focus on.
Are there one or two impactful connections along your journey that made a big impact?
I’ve had several mentors in my career that really did change the trajectory. Rhett Wilson. He is not even in the marketing industry but has provided so much guidance. He works for the White House Historical Association and his advice on how to interact with others in business helped me so much early in my career and still helps me to this day. Others that are in marketing, like Greg Head who was the CMO at Infusionsoft or Terry Hicks, who was the COO, modeled by example and the one-off conversations that you may not think of as being very formative ended up being very formative. Some of the greatest advice that I got from everyone collectively is be intentional with your career and ask yourself every year, every quarter or every month, are you getting what you need within your current role to achieve the goals that you’ve set out for yourself? If you’re not, that’s when you have to ask the questions around what can I re-architect or change within my current role? Or, is it time to go look for that next challenge?
What’s one piece of advice you would give to fellow marketers who may be struggling to scale or operationalize content in their organizations?
I’m going to pull from one of my favorite quotes by Theodore Roosevelt, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” Have the conversation around why you’re doing this and why should they care about your content goals and your go to market goals and help them see the value of pushing through a new process or scaling content in a certain way.
Coffee drinker, yes or no? Yes.
One marketing tool you’re geeking out over right now? Looker, a marketing analytics tool that enables self-serve analysis.
Favorite piece of technology? Front has totally changed the way that I look at email.
What’s one book you’d pass along to a fellow marketer? Never Eat Alone
One person you’d like to make a connection with? Jeff Bezos. Given what’s happening in the world and how Amazon is truly allowing us to continue to function, it would be so interesting.
What’s your favorite ice breaker when introducing yourself to someone (either online or off)? Sharing a stat about Arizona, that it is literally one of the sunniest places in the world. A lot of people outside of the state don’t know that and they always find that to be somewhat interesting.
How many hours of sleep do you get each night, on average? Six or seven.