Metrics and Analytics

My 2022 Mulligans

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December 14, 2022

3 mins read

Gabe on GTM Feature

My 2022 Mulligans

I’m not a golfer, but I do like the idea of mulligans. I mean, who doesn’t love a do-over? In fact, I celebrate the things I could have done better, because they’re opportunities to learn.

So while everyone — myself included — is eager to leap into the new year, with all the hope it represents, I took some time to reflect on this past year, as well, to consider what I would have done differently, if I could.

My top 3 mulligans (or do-overs, for the non-golfers in the crowd)


1. Don’t forget the basics when you’re growing fast

Over the last couple years, we’ve grown a lot at Demandbase. We acquired three companies, expanded our product portfolio, and more than doubled our number of employees. It’s pretty heady stuff with a huge upside, but it came with a lot of complexity and potential distraction.

What would I do differently? Or as I like to think of it, what’s the lesson learned?

I would have worked harder at sticking to the basics in our go-to-market (GTM) and not let us get distracted by all the change and newness. 

And by GTM basics, I mean…

  1. Focus on our bread and butter metrics — qualified meetings, pipeline, and conversion rates. Sales and marketing teams thrive on activity and these are the areas where they should be directing that energy. 
  2. Treat the sales and marketing relationship like a marriage that needs to continually renew its vows. (Guess there’s some personal learning in there, as well.)

    Alignment is not a one-and-done thing. We need to regularly reassess and agree on priorities, messaging, and key metrics. We need to do the same things we tell our customers every day. 
  3. Stay focused on profitability, even when tempted to spend more on growing faster. That’s a hard one for a CEO to swallow, but it’s always important. And even more so in times like we’re living in today.

2. When you can’t get together often, make the time count when you do 

We’re not moving back to an in-office environment any time soon. At least not like we used to know. You can probably relate.

Yet we crave being together, face-to-face, in a way virtual meetings can never replace.

Like many of you, we’ve turned remote working into a positive for both the company and our employees. It opened up new hiring pools for us and gave our team members the personal flexibility they wanted. But one outcome is that it’s more challenging, both logistically and cost-wise, to bring everyone together. 

My lesson learned? Keep making those times happen as often as we can, even if in smaller groups. And when we do, we need to be fully present — to make time for socializing, true team building, and having fun. I need to remind myself, it’s not a frivolous use of time and resources. It’s a wise and rewarding investment. 

3. Don’t take teenagers’ moods too personally

I can’t look back without taking some lessons from having two teenage children. I’d remind myself…frequently…not to take their moods too personally. 

They’re going through an evolution that can be slow and bumpy along the way. Like the epic story of Musashi, whose journey from rebellious youth to famed Samurai, was a long and arduous one. I’d gain perspective from that.

I’d also reflect on what experts tell us about our children deeply feeling the effects of the pandemic, economic and other global uncertainty, and that’s reason enough to cut them some slack. 

Finally, I would remind myself that they will come around. We were all teenagers once. And look at us now!

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Gabe Rogol

CEO, Demandbase

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