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Michael Londgren, CMO, RFPIO
Michael Londgren, CMO, RFPIO

During challenging economic times, marketing leaders can’t afford to continue with business as usual. What worked yesterday might not work today. 

With your extensive experience in guiding strategy and scaling technology businesses, could you share some insights on how the growing recession fears can potentially affect the growth and overall business profitability of SaaS companies in India? 

Given concerns regarding an economic slowdown, organizations across the globe are taking a hard look at existing and planned spend. This includes aggressively looking for opportunities to cancel SaaS applications with limited adoption, consolidate similar solutions wherever possible, and reduce spend on remaining solutions by cutting back on the number of seats and/or modules licensed. Furthermore, organizations are taking a very hard look at any potential new solutions and requiring strong business cases in order to move forward. These changes are translating into significant headwinds, resulting in slower growth rates and increased pressure on profitability for many SaaS providers. 

“During challenging economic times, marketing leaders can’t afford to continue with business as usual.” 

Michael Londgren, CMO, RFPIO 

In unpredictable times, such as during a global recession, why is it important for B2B marketing leaders to stay nimble, manage expectations, and avoid oversights? Can you provide some examples or strategies to achieve this? 

During challenging economic times, marketing leaders can’t afford to continue with business as usual. What worked yesterday might not work today. For example, yesterday, sellers might have been able to win deals by showing how their solution was better than a competitor’s. Today, however, sellers may need to be able to show not only that their solution is better than a competitor’s, but that it’s also a compelling investment relative to a long list of other investments the customer could make.  

You mentioned the significance of having the right GTM (Go-To-Market) strategy to disrupt a market that’s overserved or underserved. Can you elaborate on how marketing innovation and GTM strategies contribute to achieving this disruption? Do you have any notable examples from your experience? 

There are numerous high impact ways in which marketing can help an organization significantly improve its overall GTM strategy and results. Examples include working with executive management to align on the most promising focus areas to hit bookings targets (e.g., priority geos, segments, personas, use cases, offerings, and routes to market), helping implement an OKR (objectives and key results) system to ensure cross-org alignment and execution, working with the field organization to align on a common narrative for engaging with prospects in the most effective way, and introducing value-based selling and delivering cfo-credible business cases to prospects to increase odds of winning deals are a few examples. 

Allocating sales and marketing resources and budgets effectively is crucial for producing higher returns. Could you share some insights or best practices on how B2B marketing leaders can ensure they are allocating their resources and budgets in the right way? 

Effectively allocating marketing spend is critical. Approaches I’ve seen work well include ensuring internal alignment with sales and product teams on priority focus areas, bringing in experienced top talent for key functions and initiatives (including contractors on a fractional basis), eliminating positions that are no longer necessary, focusing on a handful of true needle movers for the business (e.g., pipeline creation, sales enablement, rebranding, select thought leadership), and then rigorously measuring results and driving continuous improvement.  

In the context of the current economic climate and the recession fears, how can Indian SaaS companies get ahead of the recession curve? Are there specific strategies or approaches that you believe would be beneficial for them? 

The most important thing to focus on is delivering value to customers. Make sure you understand their challenges, deliver solutions that help, enable fast adoption, and can measure tangible impact. Happy customers buy more, and also serve as reference customers to future prospects.  

Taking on the CMO position with RFPIO, a growing Indian SaaS company, is an interesting move. Could you tell us what attracted you to this role and why you chose to join RFPIO? What excites you the most about this position and the company’s future? 

I love RFPIO. I held off on numerous other CMO opportunities and opted to move forward with RFPIO for several reasons. First, I was inspired by the founders – Ganesh ShankarSankar Lagudu, and AJ Sunder, as well as the RFPIO team as a whole which had done an amazing job building a category leading B2B SaaS company that was also profitable. Second, the company’s category – response management – is one I’m passionate about. Every day, companies need to respond to numerous business critical information requests like RFPs, RFIs, security questionnaires and more. These requests for information are rapidly growing in volume and complexity, which creates a great market opportunity. Third, RFPIO already had an incredible roster of customers including companies like Adobe, BlackRock, Google, Microsoft, Optum, SAP, T.Rowe Price and others, and is helping these organizations regularly put their best foot forward and win more business while mitigating risks. Fourth, I was really attracted to the company’s culture and key values such as “see something, say something” which encourages candor at all levels. And finally, I felt there was an opportunity for marketing to help the company “put the rails in place” to scale faster – including aligning strategically, helping shape our category, and doing an even better job showcasing our innovation and the value we can deliver to customers. 

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