The Top 3 Challenges Facing Marketers Today


Aurelien Mottier
Reading Time: 4 minutes



The Top 3 Challenges Facing Marketers Today

Aurelien Mottier

CEO at Operatix

Yotam Gutman

Director of Marketing at SentinelOne

The coronavirus certainly makes the #1 spot on everyone’s list of challenges right now.

Given that, however, B2B technology marketers tend to share the same 3 non-viral challenges year-round.

Today we had a timely interview with Yotam Gutman, Director of Marketing at SentinelOne. We talked about the top 3 challenges that marketers are facing… as well as the challenge that everyone is facing now — coronavirus.

Based in Tel Aviv, Yotam has managed local and global marketing activities for SentinelOne, a cybersecurity company, for about six months now. He also manages a community of about 300 cybersecurity marketers who share ideas and have a lot of engagement in the industry.

In 2019, Yotam ran a survey with his community, and nearly 100 responders shared the top challenges facing marketers in the B2B technology space.

Those challenges, if anything, are even more formidable in 2020.

“Everything is much more acute,” Yotam said. “It’s going to be more difficult to justify the marketing budget. It’s going to be more difficult to break through the clutter — and then to do it globally.”

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The first challenge is to justify marketing’s role within the business side of the organization.

Yotam Gutman – Director of Marketing at SentinelOne

3 challenges for B2B marketers

“The first challenge for marketers and marketing departments, especially in B2B environments, is to justify marketing’s role within the business side of the organization,” Yotam said.

Second is to break through the noise. In the cybersecurity space, there are 1000s of companies and over 150 product categories. “Everyone’s broadcasting on the same channels, so it’s a big challenge to break through to the clients,” he observed.

The last challenge is how to scale globally. Israelis should be aiming at SMBs in the US market, instead of enterprise companies. “We come from very small companies — and we’re good at innovating but not that proficient in scaling,” Yotam said.

Once you’ve found your voice and you’re speaking to the right audience, how do you scale?

Justifying the marketing role

Yotam said that the key to proving to the main company stakeholder that marketing is important and has budget needs is leveraging KPIs.

“If as marketers we can communicate KPIs clearly with our peers and with our executives, then we can have business-oriented discussions,” he explained.

Be as precise as possible for next quarter’s goals and how many leads it will take to get there. “If you come to such discussions prepared with estimated KPIs, then at the end of each quarter or each year you can review these and identify return on investment,” he said.

Pertinent KPIs are qualified leads, SDR achievements, meetings scheduled, exposure, brand recognition, or other data points important to the company.

“Once people perceive you as part of the business process, they’ll be happy to spend because they can see the correlation between the investment and the results,” he said.

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You have to have local people literally speak in the local language. Not just in terms of lingo but mindset.

Yotam Gutman – Director of Marketing at SentinelOne

Communicating  on the right channel

Entering a new territory is a difficult achievement for any company not born and bred there, in part because of cultural differences in mindset.

Yotam pointed out that the region or geography itself is not at issue — it’s learning to understand business processes.

“The golden rule is that you have to have local people literally speak in the local language, not just in terms of lingo, but they understand the mindset,” he said. This cultural native speaker will understand procurement, the sales cycle, business hierarchies, decision makers, and so forth.

“Even small stuff that you don’t perceive to be very important could have a big significance,” Yotam said. He gave the example that a tier two or tier three bank in the U.S. is comparable in size to any local Israeli bank — so aim correctly.

If you’re looking to expand to any territory, you need to consider who that target audience is and the basic requirements of doing business there.

Learning to scale

Each location presents its own challenges, which require different strategies to break into at scale.

“95% of tech companies in Israel would aim at the U S market first,” Yotam said.

Investors push them that way… it’s the largest market… and the U.S. are early adopters of new tech.

“It usually doesn’t work if you just have one person on the ground,” Yotam added. “You need to hire fast and hire well.”

The diversity of the European market is one of the biggest challenges, given that southern Europe is different from western Europe, which is different from the Nordics.

“In the States, you need to speak English well enough, but in Europe, we have to speak in several languages,” Yotam said. Not to mention the regulations of different countries, as well as their cultural differences.

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95% of Tech Companies in Israel would aim at the US Market fist.

Yotam Gutman – Director of Marketing at SentinelOne

Our newest challenge: Coronavirus

“Obviously it’s a big change,” Yotam observed. “Specifically for marketers, I think we’re better adjusted than most, especially people here in Israel.”

They are mobile, accustomed to working with people all around the world, and familiar with working remotely.

The marketing community is doing everything it can to help marketers and customers both, whether that’s looking for jobs for people who were downsized or providing free trials to companies who didn’t have remote resources prior to the pandemic.

The cybersecurity space has seen massive cancellations and rescheduling of global conferences. “Within the community, people realize they need to offset that with digital activities and serving digital content,” he said.

The tech space must be more available and flexible than ever before. “People are still interested in products. There’s a need for technology that’s secure to facilitate remote work. We’re feeling this demand,” Yotam said.

Reality is that no one really knows for how long Coronavirus will be affecting businesses, so companies that can rapidly adapt will be the ones that will come out of the crisis stronger. 

Connect with Yotam to learn about his company or his community on LinkedIn.

Learn about how Operatix can help you build your pipeline — remotely — here.

To hear this interview and many more like it, subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or our website.

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About Operatix

Operatix is a Sales Acceleration company specialized in supporting B2B Software vendors to identify new revenue streams, increase qualified sales pipeline, and accelerate channel development across Europe and North America. Operatix has a wealth of experience in working with the biggest tech players worldwide as well as a multitude of emerging software vendors.

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