HubSpot defines revenue marketing as the “process of using different channels and methods to build marketing campaigns that boost customer acquisition and sales.”
All too often, tech startup founders and their boards of directors think of marketing in one of two extremes:
- 100% responsible for closing deals -- running sales activation to get closed sales over the finish line this month (Just to clarify: That’s sales, not marketing.)
- Or just doing arts and crafts projects all day -- or what SaaStr’s Jason Lemkin refers to as “Hire the Right Type of VP Marketing — Or You’ll Just End Up With a Bunch of Blue Pens with Your Logo On Them.”
Revenue marketing is all about achieving a balance between the two extremes -- giving a tech startup’s marketing leader the latitude to grow companywide revenue impact beyond -- impacting not just the awareness, consideration, and decision stages of the buyer’s journey -- but helping improve sales enablement, customer success, and product marketing.
This blog post will teach you some important revenue marketing advice that most tech startup founders overlook. Just as important, you'll understand the major impact marketing-led revenue growth can have on your startup's growth trajectory -- and why it's so important to invest aggressively in this kind of strategy now that so many of your ideal clients prefer digital buyer's journeys.
How Tech Startup Marketing Leaders Can Become More Revenue-Driven
To become more revenue-driven and get into revenue marketing, marketing leaders at IT startups need to meet more frequently with four different kinds of internal and external stakeholders:
- Your sales team -- to figure out where deals get stuck (and how marketing can assist with sales enablement tools and resources). Note: If you have commission-only salespeople with channel partners, use this same playbook to discover what tools and resources your channel partners need most. Long before all things digital dominated sales processes, this is how I globally impacted computer consultancies and managed service providers -- initially for a channel trade publication whose parent company eventually got acquired by Penton and then Informa; then for Microsoft’s small business channel program, and then via my boutique marketing training and advisory firm.
- Your customer success team -- to understand where new customers get stuck. In a tech startup, you may not have a deep bench of CS talent to draw on, so all the more reason to lean on industry best practices such as those advocated by HubSpot. While HubSpot Academy has one of the most impressive revenue impacts of any SaaS content team on the planet (the gold standard for SaaS customer academies), even a tech startup can learn from how HubSpot Academy got its start way back in 2012. As a tech startup, your marketing leader should work with your customer success leader to jointly produce a great set of onboarding emails and video tutorials, knowledge base articles, and helpful customer-only webinars (both live and on-demand).
- Your product managers -- to learn why certain features are getting prioritized on the roadmap. Many tech startups' ideal buyer personas land on their websites and wonder a few key things: What does this product or service actually do? How can a company like mine benefit? And what does it cost? While these questions seem really basic, a considerable amount of tech startups altogether drop the ball in this department -- many times because the founders either (a) don’t yet really have answers to these questions or (b) are playing hide-and-seek smoke-and-mirrors games around trying to stay stealth, under the radar, or preserve a perceived moat. Either way, it’s almost certain that a startup’s marketing leader can dramatically accelerate pipeline creation and revenue growth if it can improve external product marketing content.
- Your best customers (and channel partners) -- to find out what your company is doing right and what it could do better vs. other market solutions. One of the most effective, low-budget ways for tech startups’ marketing leaders to get closer to customers and impact revenue: start a podcast where you regularly interview a different customer (or channel partner) on each episode.
Single Biggest Factor That Impacts Marketing-Led Revenue Growth
The most powerful way to impact marketing-led revenue growth comes from knowing your customers better than they know themselves.
Just as important, make sure that you actually do the research, so you capture the right terminology and understand the true consensus -- rather than relying exclusively on well-intentioned assumptions from an interal team member or two that have been in your industry "forever."
Customer insight -- especially buyer personas, buyer’s journey mapping, and the job-to-be-done -- is vital for helping marketing drive more revenue.
And once that insight is captured, analyzed, and prioritized, revenue marketers must develop content and distribution to capitalize on that superior customer insight.
But everything starts with getting to know your most important customers better than they know themselves.
The Game-Changing Interview-Based Podcast That Drives Greater Revenue Marketing Success Stories
Again, I’m very partial to using a marketing-hosted, interview-based podcast that quadruple dips on customer insight (that bumps up revenue marketing):
- Make your customers look like rockstars as they share their best practices
- Create invaluable light social proof, often anywhere from weeks to months ahead of being able to capture more formal case studies
- Create evergreen content that helps accelerate leads into sales opportunities
- Uncover insight about what product features your developers need to build next, what customer success resources move the needle, and what sales enablement gaps need to be filled
Bonus tip: These customer podcast interviews can also form a great pipeline of guest subject matter experts to power your events strategy -- webinar panel discussions, online summits, and offline panel discussions at your events and other industry events.
What’s your favorite way for startup founders and marketing leaders to use revenue marketing? Let me know in the comments section down below.
And if you're serious about leveling up on revenue marketing to grow your tech startup, be sure to enroll now in our free 7-day eCourse: Go-to-Market Strategy 101 for B2B SaaS Startups and Scaleups.