Mike Carpenter, CEO at XFactor shares a few go-to market tips while taking us through the story behind XFactor’s launch…
Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Mike, tell us about yourself and what inspired XFactor, how has the journey been since starting up.
My name is Mike Carpenter. I’m the co-founder and CEO of XFactor.io, a newly-launched company that provides technology and services for enterprises, startups and venture capitalists to modernize annual operations planning and eliminate unwarranted go-to-market risks. I’m also a Venture Advisor for Lightspeed Venture Partners and I most recently served as CrowdStrike’s President of Global Sales Operations.
Throughout my 25-year career, I’ve always searched for “X factors”– the little things that can move the dial and get maximum results for a company. My professional success was due in large part to the models and plans I built around these X factors, not necessarily any superpowers in my job functions. If these plans needed to go through approvals, however, they were rendered all but obsolete: by the time they were signed off on, as the numbers and circumstances surrounding my predictive models were stale and irrelevant. The frustration that this caused me, coupled with the results I had seen with my models, led me to seek out a better way to approach operations planning.
XFactor.io was born out of the necessity to fundamentally shift how companies approach go-to-market and annual operations planning. Our AI-powered go-to-market platform provides real-time data and business intelligence models, to drive better business decisions. In addition to our go-to-market platform, XFactor.io offers ongoing Managed Services to provide customer support when optimizing planning, sales, and revenue operations — as well as the XFactor Executive Council, which is a group of expert advisors from across the technology industry that provide proof-of-concept and product market fit analysis for startup founders, enterprises, and investors. The first Executive Council member advisors include executives from Gong, Proofpoint, Campbell Soup Company, and Wiz. We’re fortunate to have some great momentum since launching with a $10M seed round, led in part by Lightspeed Venture Partners, as well as securing some of Lightspeed’s portfolio companies as initial customers.
How are go-to-market trends changing in today’s B2B ecosystem and what need is this fueling for specific types of go-to-market platforms? Can you talk about the evolution of these tools and how do you feel these platforms will impact more in future?
Organizations are concerned with growth and ROI now more than ever, and the need to improve operations in these areas is becoming increasingly important. In market downturns, sales cycles often slow down, making go-to-market (GTM)/operations planning even more critical. Today’s B2B ecosystem is already becoming saturated in AI-powered tools, but this trend will only continue to ramp up as industry competition increases.
AI tools enable organizations to make better, informed decisions based on real-time data. For startups specifically, these tools eliminate GTM risks and ensure reliable growth year over year, as opposed to building out traditional plans that are obsolete upon completion.
For enterprises, these tools guarantee business continuity amid uncertain market conditions. We’re at a time in the world where manual complexities limit GTM leaders to micro-level data. As these tools continue to evolve, businesses will not only be more efficient, but also have the ability to de-risk business decisions, drive successful outcomes, and retain high-performing team members.
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Why is it crucial for teams/B2Bs to optimize their go-to-market and operations planning processes today. What are some of the biggest challenges you see businesses face here?
Almost every organization struggles to accelerate time to revenue. At the same time, increased competition and continuous innovation puts an emphasis on efficiency and agility in all aspects of business. Today, the B2B ecosystem is too competitive for organizations to miss out on critical data and intelligence. The biggest challenge organizations face when choosing not to invest in GTM and operations planning is poor decision-making. GTM and operational planning have historically been based on misaligned priorities, insufficient data, and subjective perspectives. Many organizations still rely on this outdated method of data aggregation, leading to misguided decisions when creating GTM/operations plans.
On the other hand, organizations that are taking advantage of modernized tools are able to deliver data-driven plans based on real-time data and intelligence. A company’s proof of concept and scalability all rely on a successful GTM/operations plan. If business leaders invest in these planning processes — with real-time data to back up their strategies — they’ll be able to quickly and confidently capitalize on their company’s potential. Confident team members tend to be better leaders overall, which positively impacts productivity, morale, job security, empathy, and more across the entire organization.
Back to XFactor, tell us more about your future plans for the platform.
A spreadsheet is not an operating plan. To successfully go-to-market, your operating plan must constantly evolve with what the data is telling you — about your internal resources, the market, revenue streams and more. XFactor.io is poised to revolutionize GTM and annual operations planning for enterprises, startups, and venture capitalists. Its AI platform provides real-time data and intelligent modeling to enable always-on operations planning, so organizations never miss a growth opportunity. We see XFactor.io as the solution and source of truth for all organizations trying to scale their businesses and optimize ROI, as well as for investors seeking an honest appraisal of a startup’s value. Predictable, data-backed growth will soon replace all outdated methods of planning, and XFactor.io will help organizations get there.
A few thoughts on the B2B tech / salestech-martech market and some predictions for these segments for 2023?
In 2023, sales and marketing teams must be able to prove the value their company and/or product provides its customers right out of the gate. Attracting customers and investors will require more than simply having a flashy product and big ideas. Companies will have to emphasize the necessity for their product and/or service(s) and how it can impact the bottom line for prospective customers and investors alike. Getting to this point will also require greater efficiencies within organizations. The companies that can quickly react and drive their decision-making based on data will be most efficient and successful.
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XFactor is a newly-launched company that provides technology and services for enterprises, startups and venture capitalists to modernize annual operations planning and eliminate unwarranted go-to-market risks.
Mike Carpenter is the founder & CEO of XFactor.io, and Venture Advisor at Lightspeed Venture Partners. Formerly, Mike was the former President of Global Sales and Field Operations at CrowdStrike, where he was instrumental in expanding the sales organization worldwide and generating business growth at incredible scale, leading to their IPO in 2019. . Prior to CrowdStrike, he served as president, Global Sales and Field Operations at Tanium and is part of the Board of Directors for Armis Security.
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