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Seizing the Opportunity of a Bad Quarter

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Thanks to Camela Thompson, Vice President of Marketing at CaliberMind, and a member of our RevOps Co-op Creator’s Guild, there’s a new way to view bad quarters. While some may perceive a tanked quarter as time to run for the lifeboats, Camela shows us how to recognize the opportunity and flip the down period into a purpose to drive business actions forward in a positive light.

We all know the signs of a bad quarter.

No one bothers to dress up for the weekly video call. Everyone assumes the one person in business casual just ended an interview call.

But that general air of doom and gloom doesn’t have to be the only bi-product of a bad quarter. There’s actually a much better way to look at less-than-desirable results. 

Learn how RevOps Co-op Creator’s Guild member, Camela Thompson, VP of Marketing at CaliberMind, shifts the perspective.

Misery loves company

There are times when it helps to know you’re not alone.

Camela stresses not to hang your hat on this point, but just know that other companies—even some of the big ones that seem to have everything figured out—are also having quarters that, frankly, suck.

“Pavilion reported that 68% of start-ups are saying they’re not going to reach their quarter goals,” she says. “It’s likely to be reflective of the rest of the market.”

A quick glance at your LinkedIn feed will show the fallout from this in the form of reorgs and layoffs at all kinds of companies. And while all of this doom and gloom is enough to make any mere mortal a little squirmy, you should be working towards being one of the companies that bucks downward trends.

Discomfort leads to change

When things are rolling along with targets being hit and bonuses being paid out, no one thinks to rock the boat. When a bad quarter hits, everyone starts exploring possible changes.

And this IS a good thing.

“Humans are funny in that they like doing what’s comfortable and sticking with the status quo,” Camela says. “As soon as you start to not hit goals, that’s when the inspection on the process and training really starts.”

So, after you console yourself about things in the dumps, moving forward with some progressive action to fix the dip is crucial so it doesn’t become an all out downward slide.

Investors begin looking for answers to a myriad of questions: When was the decline identified? What is being done to respond? What’s in place already and what’s on the roadmap?

“They [tend to] measure that against the other companies in their portfolio,” she says. “What they’ve seen work in the past and whether or not it’s likely to have a positive impact.”

It’s important to refrain from a knee-jerk reaction. This is not the time for rash decisions.

“This is an evaluation period,” Camela says. “We’ll see what it looks like next quarter is the position a lot of them take.”

What’s being considered for cuts or changes?

Looking specifically at B2B organizations because Camela says different things are playing out in the B2C world, departments that are seen as cost centers are getting the fine-tooth comb run through them, and some tangles are to be expected in areas such as discretionary budget, software, headcount—you name it!

“Typically, one of the first groups we see impacted is marketing,” she says. “Cover your swears now marketers! Also, IT and the people who are considered the low performers in sales.”

Operations may take a hit to the budget as well, and this can include the software budget.

Avoid the Blame Game

“One thing the board is not looking for is finger pointing,” Camela says. “But they are looking for honesty. Don’t try to hide poor performance. They’ll sniff it out.”

The board wants to see the executive team coming up with creative answers to the problems everyone is seeing in the market, not sales blaming marketing (or visa versa) for another bad quarter. Instead of complaints about the hand-off process and the department (or people) at fault, look at the sticking points in the process and ensure consistent alignment in definitions and actions.

“This is an opportunity to enable the sales team and maybe put some training tracks in place,” she says.

The role for RevOps (and spoiler alert, it’s good!)

It’s not fun for anyone when organization targets aren’t met. But, Camela says RevOps should be seen as a valuable resource for data needed for solid decision making because they have the full-organizational context.

As an example, from Camela’s marketing perspective, she sees a lot of organizations making assumptions about the buyer persona. When considering which companies are the ideal customer, there may be more memory at play than data.

“The companies that jump to mind are the ones they most recently interacted with, or the biggest sales they had, not necessarily what more often works,” she says.

When buyer behavior is seen in the data, different and more accurate decisions can be made.

“Introducing a lower price point may be the right way to go in targeting the average buyer and increasing that total addressable market,” she says.

Existing customers may even deliver opportunities for upsells, expansions, or additional features. She adds that messaging can be revised to appeal to higher-level roles in target organizations because buying power moves up in the organization as belts are tightened.

“It’s much easier and more cost-effective to expand within an organization than it is to acquire a new one,” says Camela.

She also recommends looking at how the demand generation funnel has been implemented to identify any inefficiencies in the handoffs. Going to places like the RevOps community and asking peers for benchmarks can be a great support tool.

And, in terms of best practices, she suggests taking a closer look at how incentives drive behavior. Tie incentives to the behavior you want to create (more meetings, more pipeline, etc.) and look to eliminate incentives that are creating inefficiencies instead of success.

Looking for more great content? Check out our blog and join the community.

About the Author

Camela Thompson is the VP of Marketing at CaliberMind, the leading B2B platform for revenue insights you can trust. Based in Seattle, Camela has spent 15+ years in Revenue Operations in the tech industry in successful startups such as Qumulo, Extrahop, and CDK Global (formerly Cobalt) before proving herself as a customer-first growth marketer. She is deeply familiar with the pain points that Ops teams face and is passionate about helping Ops professionals accelerate their careers.

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