Growth, Discipline & Effective GTM with Jacco Van der Kooij, Founder, Winning by Design‍

10/10 GTM Episode 39
Transparent sales process - working together
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Welcome to Season 3 of 10/10 GTM: The Podcast for Revenue Leaders!

Our guest for Episode 39 is Jacco Van der Kooij, Founder of Winning by Design. He brings more than two decades of sales experience to the conversation. 

In this episode, Ross and Jacco discuss why understanding growth, establishing effective go-to-market (GTM) processes, and maintaining discipline in execution are all key to successfully scaling your organization. 

Listen to the episode here, and get the key takeaways from our conversation below.

Understanding growth

Jacco believes most revenue leaders misunderstand where growth comes from, making it hard for them to make informed decisions. “Up to $10M, growth primarily comes from acquiring new customers. Beyond this, growth comes mostly from retention. To visualize this, think about a bar chart showcasing companies growing from tens to hundreds of millions of dollars. As these charts get bigger, you'll notice that once you reach $100M, a tiny sliver of that growth comes from acquisition. Retention needs to be seen as the same as acquisition. It’s an element of growth.” 

Retention, with a higher win rate than acquisition, should be a key focus for revenue leaders. Retention win rates often exceed 90% and come with established pricing. Unlike new business, retention doesn't require discounting strategies and may even allow for price increases. The sales cycle for retention is well-known and more predictable. “Retention behaves the same way as acquisition,” says Jacco. “The customer needs to be convinced that the impact is still there, and if you don’t do that, they won’t renew.” 

The issue facing most organizations is that they stay in acquisition mode, continually focusing on bringing in new customers rather than nurturing existing ones. This approach can lead to a high churn rate, undermining the long-term stability and profitability of the business. 

Establishing effective GTM processes

Every organization knows that effective GTM processes are essential for achieving sustainable growth. But many organizations make the following mistakes when it comes to GTM processes: 

  1. No process in place: This is often seen in companies up to $10-20M in annual recurring revenue (ARR). Without a structured process, sales efforts can be chaotic and inefficient.
  2. Right process, poor execution: Even with the correct process, poor execution can derail sales efforts. Training every team member on GTM and making sure they understand and follow the process is essential for success.
  3. Wrong process, well executed: The wrong process, even if it’s well executed, will most likely lead to suboptimal results. It's important to continually assess and refine the GTM strategy to align with the company’s goals and market dynamics.

“There are large swaths of people performing placeholder jobs in sales. The true expertise of selling at every GTM motion, from PLG to deep enterprise, needs to be properly taught and educated,” says Jacco. “With the right training, experts will emerge and be able to dictate a premium price for the services they offer.”

Additionally, disciplined execution is a challenge for many companies. Here’s why: 

  • Reps are certified but are still doing it wrong: Many employees are certified, but few are executing properly. Certification alone is not enough; practical application and continuous improvement are key.
  • Remote work has impacted discipline and effort: Remote work has led to a lack of discipline and effort in some cases. Without the structure of an office environment, maintaining productivity and focus can be challenging.
  • Dysfunctional Middle Management: Middle management often struggles with coaching and may be distracted by side gigs. Effective coaching is crucial for developing sales teams and ensuring they adhere to the GTM process. And the brand of the individual often appears more important than the brand of the company or product. This shift can lead to a lack of cohesion and loyalty within the sales team.

To overcome these challenges, develop a clear sales process — and enforce it! Invest in ongoing training and education so your reps have the necessary skills and knowledge to adapt to different GTM motions. Regularly review and adjust your processes to ensure their effectiveness. Continuously validate your current GTM strategy and make necessary adjustments to keep your team aligned with the organization’s goals.

AI-proofing your team 

AI is automating manual processes, allowing teams to be more efficient and productive. Professionals can now accomplish more in less time. As companies integrate AI into their sales processes, prospects will receive information, such as custom pricing, in real time. This enables organizations to scale with fewer people, while retaining top sales talent.

Jacco emphasizes that one way to AI-proof your team is to teach them how to truly partner with customers. “The number one factor that makes a great sales experience is when the salesperson makes you feel that their recommendations are in your best interest, not theirs.” To achieve this, it's essential to understand your customer’s problem and ensure that the solution you're offering matches and resolves that problem.

“AI is flipping the symmetry of SaaS. The buyer has the earlier advantage and is already using AI systems to write proof of concepts, while the seller is trying to figure out how to use AI to proofread emails to the customer,” Jacco notes.

To turn the tables and use AI to your team’s advantage, leverage it to increase efficiency while maintaining a human connection with your buyers. By balancing the strengths of AI with the personalized touch of human interaction, sales teams can enhance their effectiveness and build stronger customer relationships.

About Jacco

Jacco is a seasoned sales professional with over two decades of experience. Before founding Winning by Design more than a decade ago, he worked as a keynote speaker and held mentorship roles at Storm Ventures and Reach Capital.

As the youngest of eight children, Jacco is known for his hard work and willingness to help others. He believes that being kind and assuming positive intent will help you see the world from a different perspective.