This article is based on a presentation given by Julien Sauvage at #GTM23. Catch up on this presentation, and others, with GTM OnDemand. For more exclusive content, visit your GTM Blueprint dashboard.
A quick question for you: What’s the biggest roadblock to a smooth Go-to-Market (GTM)?
Today, I'm going to share some practical strategies to break down those silos and unify every team involved in your company’s Go-to-Market efforts.
We’ll dive into how to unify your narrative so that you can choose better success metrics and use them to align your teams. That’s the nirvana of GTM – an extremely hard nut to crack, but one that you must constantly pursue.
Unifying your narrative
First, let’s talk narrative.
If you were to ask ten people at your company to share your corporate story, you’d likely get ten different answers. Even if one consistent answer emerges, the external messaging often remains fragmented. Even at my company, Clari, we sometimes tell one story on our website, another on sales calls, different messages in ads, and something completely unrelated in emails. It’s a mess!
The issue is that people don't have context – it's not that they don't know the story, it's that they don't know which level of the story they should be telling. So, let’s step back and look at the big picture. To guide us, we’ll use the messaging pyramid.
At the top is your category – the market landscape, competitive positioning, etc. At this stage, the buyer isn’t even aware of the problem yet, so the narrative focuses on top-of-funnel awareness. In other words, it should answer the question: why do I need a solution at all?
The next level covers the brand – what the company stands for, your vision, mission, and values. Put another way, who are you, and what do you do differently?
If you’re lucky enough to have multiple products, the next stage is the platform story that ties together your product suite – no matter the specific problem your product solves, try to link back to the overarching platform. This typically requires some technical expertise from a sales engineer or product marketing manager to convey effectively. Here, you need to answer the question, what does this mean for me?”
As you approach the bottom of the funnel, it’s time to start honing in on use cases. That means you need to answer the question, how do your capabilities come to life?
Finally, at the last level of the pyramid, you want to zoom in on product capabilities and features. In other words, how do you help customers achieve their goals?
The key is ensuring every internal audience understands which level they’re speaking to so messaging stays aligned throughout the pyramid. Lacking that context is what creates fragmented narratives.
How we do it at Clari
I’ll briefly share an example messaging pyramid from my current company, Clari. Imagine you likely already have some form of this framework in place at your organizations – if not, try creating one. It’s an easy way to instill discipline around narrative layers without having to generate entirely new messaging from scratch.
The problem I often see is a proliferation of disconnected documents. Marketing has the brand guidelines and messaging briefs, product has their technical collateral, and demand gen has campaign assets and buyer personas. You can’t unify or consolidate your messaging with assets scattered all over the place.
Our solution was a single 20-page narrative document centralizing every team’s messaging needs. I’ll admit it’s not the most thrilling read, but it gets the job done.
Hot tip: Establish a “fanciness” scoring system
Let’s sidebar for a second to highlight what I like to call a “fanciness scale.” On the left end, you have very unique, differentiated messaging – stuff that can be hard to wrap your head around at first read. On the right is simpler, more straightforward language. So, which is better? As usual in marketing, that depends.
If you’re in a mature market, you likely need to go left to stand out from the noise – differentiate or die, as they say. On the flip side, a niche or emerging space allows you to keep language grounded.
Of course, it’s also vital to consider your audience – technical buyers will likely want more precision than end users. IT personas will dismiss any marketing that comes across as too fluffy.
The other thing to consider is your messaging channels. For example, you can often be a little fancier in your sales deck because you have a real-life human to walk the buyer through it. On your website, however, it might be wise to keep it simple.
How to create consistency across channels
This brings me to how you create consistency across channels while delivering the right level of fanciness. Here’s how to do it in three steps:
- Step one: List all the channels you use. These might include your website, sales collateral, ads, thought leadership, events, etc.
- Step two: Determine where you should land on the fanciness scale for each channel based on factors like buyer persona, market maturity, geography, and campaign objectives – whatever makes sense for your business.
- Step three: Identify clear owners accountable for defining and approving messaging in every channel, and you can do this with a RACI (responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed) framework. This is a simple but often overlooked step. Do you know who’s responsible for signing off on homepage content versus product pages? If not, it’s time to find out.
A quick recap
Let me recap the key takeaways so far to keep these tactics actionable:
- Map out messaging layers in a pyramid framework so everyone understands the positioning.
- Centralize your narrative in one document instead of having fragmented files everywhere.
- Establish a fanciness scale for messaging and calibrate it by factors like audience and channel.
- Create consistency by assigning clear owners across all channels.
That concludes the section on unifying your narrative. Let’s move the conversation toward metrics before we touch on teams and values.
Unifying your metrics
I always say metrics are both the beauty and curse of marketing. We touch everything that matters to the business – not just funnel metrics like SQLs but awareness, campaign performance, win rates, revenue, and post-sales metrics (like product engagement and retention). It’s great that our impact is so broad, but it can be complex for people outside marketing to unravel.
Ultimately, there’s only one metric that matters: revenue. If we don’t tie back to revenue impact, what’s the point? With that in mind, I think it’s time to reimagine marketing attribution.
The traditional linear model credits the last touchpoint before a sale. But that fails to account for all the upfunnel influence across channels. I’m sure you can relate to seeing a spike in sales opportunities after an event you hosted, or a big content drop, but getting no attribution because another team ultimately closed the deal.
You’ve likely heard of the “dark funnel” – the idea that the buyer journey is nonlinear with many touch points happening out of view. Social media, personal research, and past interactions all shape decisions before buyers engage with us. So, just measuring the last click before a sale misses all that hidden context.
One simple tactic to mitigate this problem is self-reported attribution (SRA) – asking “How did you hear about us?”. It helps surface channels that influence the buying journey.
At Clari, our SRA showed a 12% increase in sales accepted opportunities (SAO) influenced by social media. I shared that stat with our CFO to get more budget to amplify our social results. Classic loss aversion.
The point is that any metric connecting marketing to pipeline and revenue is powerful ammunition. Too often, teams jump into new programs without tying activity back to business impact. If you can’t measure a direct or indirect revenue impact, don’t do it. Start by identifying your dark funnel to shift attribution models, then double down on what drives results.
A quick recap
Let’s recap the key points on unifying your metrics:
- Marketing touches every critical business metric but must connect efforts back to pipeline and revenue.
- We need to rethink our attribution models as the traditional linear approach fails to capture our full impact.
- If you can’t measure something’s impact, don’t do it!
Unifying your teams behind a vision and values
For me, vision and values are the ultimate tools to unify teams – even more than narrative and metrics. Everything and everyone needs a vision… Yes, even the tiniest campaign! If you don’t define the why behind your activities, teams won’t buy into them, and your efforts will ultimately fall flat.
I think forgetting the vision stems from the language we use – “content marketing,” “brand marketing,” “growth marketing.” Those names highlight the what and how over the why. Content marketing isn’t a content factory – it’s about shaping audience beliefs and behavior. Brand marketing isn’t making campaigns – it’s building emotional connections with your company. See the difference?
In short, defining your vision means moving from tactical activities to transformational outcomes centered on the audience. This is how you compel teams to unite behind ideas.
Even more important than vision are your values. Values form the shared bond that makes work meaningful. When I onboard or form a new team, I always have a values exercise for people to democratically shape that identity. My current team landed on “impactful, bold, and caring” as pillars.
But defining team values starts with knowing your personal values. If you’re not clear on your own values, there’s no way you can help teams establish theirs. My values center on being calm, empathizing with different perspectives, and keeping things fun. I identified those through various life experiences (including delivering a baby in a car!), and keeping them in mind helps me be the best leader I can be.
So, your call to action (as a marketer, I had to end with a CTA!) is to take a minute and define what values make you a great person and leader. That self-knowledge ultimately helps unify teams, metrics, and narratives, bringing them together to form something powerful.