Interview With Ashley Kramer, Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at GitLab

Ashley Kramer is the Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at GitLab. She is responsible for GitLab’s product marketing, brand awareness, communications, analyst relations, community, competitive positioning, marketing ops, and revenue pipeline generation including all digital and sales development efforts. Ashley also leads the strategy for product-led growth and code contribution to the GitLab open core platform. Besides her current role at GitLab, some of Ashley’s other professional contributions are as an Angel investor and Startup Advisor.

The team at Salesroom had a chance to sit down with Ashley at the SaaStock 2022 Conference in Dublin, to discuss today’s economic climate and how sales and marketing teams need to evolve in order to succeed. 

Here is a highlight of our conversation:

  1. What tools should be in every CMO’s toolbox?

Ashley said that the number one thing that she has always looked at is First Order Sales Accepted Opportunities. For other organizations, it can go by different names but essentially it means that everything an organization is doing in the awareness and consideration phase of the buyer's journey, is turning into a conversion or something that sales can leverage to help them decide whether or not they are speaking with a potentially great customer. Making sure net-new pipeline is being generated is their top priority.

  1. What makes a successful GTM team?

When asked what makes a successful go-to-market team, Ashley believes a company with a culture of collaboration and transparency and having channels of open communication is very important. 

At GitLab, they have an open Slack channel so the sales and marketing teams can communicate and collaborate on projects. This helps the entire GTM team understand what’s going on so everyone can be successful. She mentioned that having that open transparency goes a lot further than a 1:1 conversation or a quick email to an individual or team.

  1. How do you generate urgency with buyers?

Ashley mentioned an effective way to generate urgency is to highlight how your prospect might be ok today, but things can change rather quickly. Take today’s climate for example. What happens if layoffs happen or you can’t spend as much? “Futureproof yourself now.” An example she used to help communicate this to the prospect is to bring up previous customers that made this decision 2 years ago and the ROI they’re seeing today. “Everybody wants to know what everybody else is doing.” She went into detail about how executives and buyers regularly talk with others in their same role, regardless of where they work, just to understand what they’re seeing and the things they should be preparing for.

  1. What should sales and marketing leaders be thinking about right now?

Leaders should be instilling confidence in the team and let them know that what they are going through is ok. They need to let their employees know that they are a part of the mission. Building a team culture that keeps people engaged and involved in the company’s mission will essentially help with retention. While the company may now have to be more analytical in its approach, it’s what the company and its customers need in order to thrive.

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