If you’re a B2B marketer you can’t help but notice that the world is a little different these days.
Lately, we’ve all been feeling the effects of an uncertain economy – in the broader market and maybe within our own organizations. But even when the economic picture was rosier (or at least more predictable), there was growing pressure to show how B2B marketing results contribute to revenue goals. Now, in the face of rising customer acquisition costs, increasingly competitive channels, and shrinking budgets, it’s clear that the era of growth at all costs is over.
So what’s next? In short, revenue-driven marketing. Rather than focusing entirely on growth, the objective for B2B marketers today should be to build a sustainable go-to-market engine that also prioritizes efficiency. Practically, that means being able to draw a direct line between marketing programs and spending to revenue. It also means deepening marketing’s partnership with sales teams, sharing the same goals and language, and working more closely on activities across the entire revenue chain. In fact, marketing can even be transformed from a cost center to a profit driver.
This might be a little different than the way you’ve previously framed your marketing team and budget. But it’s eminently achievable. Here’s how to get started:
Key 1: Focus On Your Ideal Customers
In a lead-centric marketing model, it’s normal to focus on activity-based metrics like event attendees, conference leads or email opens. The goal is to generate as many leads as possible for sales through a constant stream of demand generation activities. But not all leads are created equal. And filling your pipeline with leads that aren’t a good fit — or ready to buy — isn’t the most efficient way to grow revenue.
Creating a well-defined ideal customer profile is the first step in adopting a revenue-driven approach to marketing. Prospects that closely fit your ICP are those that sales and marketing both agree are mostly likely to become the kind of customers who will generate long-term value for your business. And they’re who marketers should spend the most effort to reach, engage and close. Messaging, ad campaign and website should all deliver personalized experiences for your ICP prospects, especially if they’ve shown any buying intent. Think of this as activating your ICP — and creating a tighter link between marketing and revenue.
Key 2: Adopt The Language That Your Sales Team And C-Suite Understands
One reason why it’s sometimes hard for marketers to communicate the value of what we do for the business is that we tend to speak our own language. To a non-marketer, all those acronyms and jargon can create barriers and position marketing as some kind of inscrutable black box.. At the same time, the lack of common language between marketing and sales can lead to real disconnects that stand in the way of driving revenue.
As a revenue-driven marketer, the best way to demonstrate value is to use the same metrics that revenue leaders already know. Business-level metrics like customer acquisition cost (CAC), lifetime value (LTV), and annual and monthly recurring revenue (ARR and MRR) are familiar and widely understood, and should form the cornerstones of how you track and measure your marketing activities. Not only will this make it easier to get approval for marketing programs and spend, but it will put those efforts into a context that resonates with your CEO and CFO. Most importantly, it will demonstrate that marketing is both committed to and accountable for driving revenue and creating the foundation for deeper alignment with sales. It will also lead to better outcomes.
Keyt 3: Build Your GTM Stack On A Strong Data Foundation
Every marketing organization has lots of data these days. Not all of them use it effectively. Sometimes that’s by choice but often it’s because teams don’t have the tools to make data actionable. For marketers to truly drive revenue growth, they need access to automatic, fresh, accurate, and consistent data across tools and functions. It’s the secret sauce that can make everything you do better.
Start with firmographic and technographic data to dial in your ICP. That, in turn, will provide the touchstone for your strategy and operations – everything from targeting, messaging, positioning, content, scoring, routing, to other processes. Then use intent signals to focus campaigns and content for high-priority in-market buyers; you’ll be more efficient with your spend and likely see better results.
In an uncertain time, it’s more important than ever for B2B marketers to focus on the prospects and customers that matter the most. With a revenue-driven marketing strategy, you can build an engine for long-term revenue growth.