Yes, B2B marketing has changed. But how? And what can marketers do about it?
By now, it’s obvious that the economy has veered into uncertain waters. But even before that happened, B2B marketers were under increasing pressure to show tangible results that contribute to revenue goals. With customer acquisition costs soaring, channels becoming more competitive and budgets getting squeezed, the days of growth at all costs are over.
So what should we as marketers do differently? Now’s the time to start thinking about building a sustainable go-to-market engine that doesn’t just drive growth but does so efficiently. This means showing how marketing programs and spend move the needle on the objective that matters most: revenue. It means speaking the same language and tightly coordinating activities with sales teams up and down the revenue chain to hit shared goals. And it means evolving marketing into a profit driver rather than a cost center.
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This is a different approach from what many of us know as “traditional” marketing. Here are a few ways to start putting revenue-driven marketing into practice:
Prioritize your ideal customers – Success in traditional marketing has typically been measured by things like the number of event attendees, conference leads, email opens or other activity-based metrics. In this model, marketers pass their leads to sales and then go back to drumming up more leads through demand generation activities. The reality, though, is that not all leads are created equal and filling your pipeline with leads that aren’t good fits won’t help you grow revenue efficiently.
A revenue-driven approach to marketing starts with a well-defined ideal customer profile (ICP). These are the customers that marketing and sales both agree are most likely to generate long-term value for the business. Marketers then focus their efforts on reaching, engaging, and closing customers that are a close match to that ICP. At Clearbit, we call this activating your ICP. From your messaging to your ad campaigns and website, you want to create tailored, personalized experiences for your ICP prospects, especially if they are showing buying intent.
Together, these create a straighter line between marketing and revenue.
Speak the same language as your sales team (and your C-suite) – Traditional marketing can often feel like a black box full of acronyms that aren’t well understood by other teams. This leads to silos between marketing and sales that are, at best, working independently and, at worst, out of sync. Without a clear path from marketing activities to sales outcomes and revenue, it’s difficult for marketers to demonstrate their impact to the business.
Being a revenue-driven marketer means embracing the metrics that revenue leaders understand. I encourage my marketing teams to track and measure their activities against business-level metrics like customer acquisition cost (CAC), lifetime value (LTV), and annual and monthly recurring revenue (ARR and MRR). This makes it easier for them to get buy-in on their marketing spend and show success in terms that are meaningful to our CEO and CFO. Putting these metrics front and center also shows marketing’s commitment to, and accountability for, driving revenue. When marketing and sales are working towards the same revenue goals, stronger alignment is the result.
Make data the foundation of your GTM tech stack – Data is now ubiquitous, but it’s not always well utilized, either by omission or because marketing teams don’t have the tools to make that data actionable. Being able to tap into automatic, fresh, accurate, and consistent data across tools and functions is critical for marketers who want to contribute in measurable ways to revenue growth.
Revenue-driven marketers incorporate data into everything they do. They use firmographic and technographic data to define their ICP and then orient their strategy and operations around it, whether it’s targeting, messaging, positioning, content, scoring, routing, and other processes. They use intent signals to drive marketing efficiencies by prioritizing in-market buyers in their campaigns and content.
While things may feel less predictable right now, remember that some of the best businesses are built during downturns. It is still possible to grow in the current environment, and marketers who keep their eyes on the revenue prize have good reason to be optimistic.
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