This article is based on Jarod’s brilliant interview on GTM-FM. At the time of recording, he was Vice President of Product Marketing at Highspot. However, he’s since taken on a new challenge as Vivun’s CMO.
Do misaligned goals and blame games disrupt your Go-to-Market? Teams often fracture when functions anchor into their own perspectives.
As a product marketing leader, I’ve lived this struggle. Here, I break down the root causes of bias and share how to overcome them.
Let’s dive in.
The biases in Go-to-Market
Like any other company, we win some deals and lose others. Various teams have entrenched perspectives on why that is, and, of course, in a cross-functional role like mine, I hear those opinions from all sides.
The product team believes sales oversold capabilities they now have to build. Meanwhile, the sales team believes the product team doesn’t understand buyer needs. Each side calls out the other.
That means there are two types of bias at play – bias about what the problem is and bias about who’s at fault.
But just where do these biases come from? There are a few sources, but the main one I see is the siloed nature of work these days. Often, functional teams don’t align their specific goals with the company’s overarching strategy and goals. If my team's objectives don’t sync with the business’s top priorities, that gets us into trouble.
Those biases take shape when functions believe their work and metrics matter most, rather than seeing them as supporting overall strategic needs. It’s hard to ensure marketing, sales, product, and customer success goals align across the board. Even defining who owns market strategy can get murky – you may find several teams think they own it, so no one really does.
This all stems from an inability to define the strategy from the top, and then cascade aligned functional goals across teams. It persists when teams don’t come together often enough to discuss their goals and see if there’s any overlap, misalignment, or gaps relative to the strategy.
Connecting more often to examine how our collective work maps to business priorities would help eliminate those biases. Still, first, someone has to set that vision and get teams united around strategic goals.
The impact of biases on your Go-to-Market strategy
Ultimately, biases make achieving your goals much harder and slower. There’s a lot of friction when people double down on entrenched perspectives and refuse to budge.
Unfortunately, you won’t change someone’s mind with one report or anecdote – it takes time and data. The challenge is to move past just gathering data and analyze the implications – what should teams do differently based on these learnings? Simply conducting research and sharing findings doesn’t break biases – people need to understand the call to action.
Product marketing is uniquely positioned to do this because we connect buyer needs, the market landscape, and our product’s current and future positioning. We have an obligation to gather those insights and analytics, and then realign teams who may be doing great work today around what must change for tomorrow’s growth. It’s not easy, but it is necessary if we want to achieve our goals.
How to eliminate biases from your Go-to-Market strategy
If you want to remove biases from your GTM strategy, you’re going to need to dive into your data – especially win/loss analysis.
If your CRM is set up right, it should be capturing invaluable insights from sales reps about why deals are being won or lost. However, rather than relying solely on the salesperson’s potentially biased perspective, you may also want to survey customers and prospects for their takes. Ask what was done well, where you fell short, and what could have been better.
If you gather those inputs across opportunities, you’ll start to spot some trends - are certain issues arising in specific segments or customer profiles? What information sources or trigger events led them to engage in the first place? Layering conversational intelligence onto tools provides a more complete picture.
A sales rep may cite pricing as the reason a deal was lost, but deeper analysis could reveal it was really about perceived value - we only demoed a fraction of the capabilities, so the buyer didn't grasp the full solution. Looking at the details, maybe sales engineers struggle to convey the product value proposition properly.
That's where product marketing can spot the need to simplify messaging or workflows to make our value more self-evident, avoiding price objections.
It’s like forensically analyzing each deal – what content did you send and when, what should or shouldn’t have been shared? That informs stakeholders across Go-to-Market functions. Product and marketing see how positioning and messaging hit or missed. Customer success learns about any onboarding gaps. Sales gets coaching on objections and conversations.
Eliminating biases requires synthesizing anecdotes, data, and tools to uncover the full narrative. Rather than guessing from opinions and assumptions, we uncover the facts of what happened and why. When you have the genuine article, teams gain empathy and alignment rather than bias and blame.
The point is, we need to triangulate insights from multiple sources to find the real patterns over time.
Start with the buyer – did you engage the right people? Talk about the right problems? Bring the right teams into the deal? That shapes the next steps you need to take while also informing product marketing's deeper analysis.
This is the exciting part – having the curiosity to dig deeper instead of jumping to conclusions like “we have a sales problem” or “we have a product problem.” Let’s go in with an open mind to see where the issues truly lie.
You may even learn that the problem stems from the buyer’s side. Perhaps the contacts that were engaged didn't have any real authority or influence over the decision-maker.
I often remind my team that sometimes the people we talk to have never purchased software before, let alone our specific solution. They may be new to their role and the buying process altogether, so you’ll need to tailor your approach.
Rather than jumping right into product features and competitor comparisons, they may need more education on buying considerations and buying journey best practices to set them up for success. Curiosity reveals the real issues; assumptions obscure them.
What if we approached these novice buyers with more of a consultant mindset? Guide them through the buying process. Help them build the business case and deployment plan rather than jumping into demos and paperwork.
Taking that advisory role goes a long way. The product team doesn't feel under pressure to build bespoke solutions for every fringe request. Marketing and sales can better support customers through onboarding and integration without engineering intervention. Earning that credibility allows product marketing to constructively critique when truly needed.
Product marketing’s 360-degree perspective helps break down functional silos and walls. We can be the bridge connecting sales, product, marketing, and customers - seeing the full picture, not just isolated biases.
When you’re coordinating a Go-to-Market, it’s tempting to spend the most time with sales since that seems high-impact. But level up – spend just as much time with customer success, product, demand gen, and customers themselves. That’s how you drive broader change rather than just helping individual sellers.
Strive to eliminate biases by bridging insights across teams. Be more than creators or editors – be strategic advisors guiding unified GTM execution. Let curiosity, not assumptions, uncover the real customer and market truths to build an effective, aligned strategy.