Land and Expand is a key growth strategy for any multi-product company. Less obvious is that the #1 driver of land-expand success is the go-to-market leadership team’s mindset.

“There are lots of things that have to be well aligned for land and expand to work,” says Tony Carroll, “but it all starts with a go-to-market leadership with a collaborative, growth mindset.”

Tony should know. He has been a senior executive in revenue and field operations roles at companies including Metricstream, Kony, and Oracle.

Tony says that land and expand only works when a go-to-market (GTM) team can manage smooth transitions through the customer lifecycle continuum – early awareness to solutioning to becoming a customer, adoption, implementation, advocacy, and expansion around new needs.

This requires solid processes, client-aligned teams, and the right measurement and incentives. But without the leadership piece in place first, it will be challenging for the GTM team to achieve success. 

I had a chance to talk to Tony recently and learned more about each element of enabling a seamless buyer journey.

1) Starting with Leadership Mindset 🧠 

The biggest differentiator when it comes to successful land and expand GTM strategy is the leadership’s commitment to enabling cross-team collaboration. 

Tony tells us that GTM leaders can do this by:

  • Taking an enterprise approach to understanding the industry and customer challenges. 
  • Modeling and leading from the front with GTM leadership collaboration. Fostering peer collaboration across teams; for example, sales and CS need to be tied at the hip. 
  • Developing a culture of collaboration from the C-suite by setting expectations, providing continuous leadership training, and providing the tools for collaboration.
  • Ensuring continuous enablement on the chosen sales process and sales methodology, and maintaining and supporting it  across teams.

Tony explains: “I’m looking for the leader to drive the continuous enablement component, reinforce it, and then drive collaboration at their level from a leadership perspective.” 

2) Developing Client-Aligned GTM Teams 🙌 

“Enterprise selling is a team sport,” Tony says, “and discovery is not just for sales.” 

Just below collaborative GTM leadership there needs to be a process that makes it possible to seamlessly move along the customer lifecycle continuum – from awareness to the customer’s and industry pain points to solution presentation to implementation. 

“We should always be discovering,” Tony says. “You have to involve other team members, like customer success, in discovery across the customer continuum, so they have a deep understanding of the customer’s needs. Having a seamless handoff from marketing to sales to customer success is the ideal journey that the customer wants to go through.”

Client-focused teams or pods include marketing, sales, and CS, which helps to promote collaboration across the customer lifecycle, fostering teamwork and unified goals. From the customer perspective, it’s a smooth transition from one step or team to the next. 

“Without a seamless experience,” Tony says. “There’s a lot of frustration on the part of the customer.”

3) Instituting Metrics and Comp 📏

Finally, beneath the collaborative GTM leadership and cross-GTM process, you need metrics and comp that keep your teams focused on customer-centricity vs. role-centricity.

“It’s tricky to get this part right,” Tony says. But he believes that every member of the GTM should be compensated for their role in the sales, retention and expansion success. 

While it will vary for every company, he suggests some version of the following mix for responsibility and compensation:

  • BDRs are typically paid to drive high-quality opportunities, but they should also be compensated when the deals close – maybe an 80% / 20% mix. 
  • Sales are compensated on annual contract value (ACV), but a percentage of their comp should probably focus on key renewals – maybe 15%. 
  • CS is responsible for driving adoption and stickiness, identifying potential expansion, and closing renewals. So at least 10% of their compensation should focus on new ACV.  

Every company has a different go-to-market strategy, but Tony’s story suggests that leaders in all companies need to get their GTM team focused on customer-centric collaboration.

As Tony says: “You need to do customer-centricity with passion from the bottom to the top and from the top to the bottom, or it’s just another program that falls by the wayside.”