Developing a B2B Marketing & Demand Generation Strategy to Drive Sales

How to craft an effective B2B Marketing & Lead Generation Strategy

As you kickoff the new year, you need to have your integrated Strategy in place – your company must start with the overarching Corporate Strategy before you develop your Sales Strategy or B2B Marketing & Demand Generation Strategy.

As a CRO or VP of Sales, you can’t scale revenue effectively without a solid Marketing Strategy which is in place to fuel lead flow for your sales force (in B2B marketing, you need a very effective marketing strategy rooted in successful Demand Creation/Generation/Harnessing).

But B2B Marketing Strategy is both complex and complicated – I don’t envy any B2B CMOs or VPs of Marketing in SaaS because it is very hard. Managing high-growth marketing in B2B is a very non-linear management process – it’s all about managing manifold distinct and different disciplines in the marketing organization (from my personal experience, I’d posit that managing sales is way more logically linear than managing marketing). For instance – hiring and managing online paid marketing specialists is very different from managing product marketing teams or PR or content marketing specialists or even marketing analysts. As an example, when managing sales teams, I’ve been able to easily communicate a career track to SDRs who could work up and get promoted to an Account Executive.  But in marketing, it would not be typical to show a content marketer how they could get “promoted” to an AdWords or marketing analyst.  It’s not a promotion because it’s a different track where the skills don’t overlap or can applied in the new role linearly.

Here are the key components you should consider including in your Marketing Strategy & Plan as a B2B SaaS Company – this will be your annual operating plan for the marketing group:

  • Marketing Group’s Mission (i.e. in B2B it’s practically to support and deliver qualified leads to the sales team)
  • Marketing Team’s Core Values
  • Marketing Org Chart
  • People Plan – recruiting plan for the marketing team for different marketing disciplines
  • Clear target audience / MAP from the GTM (Go-to-Market Strategy)
    • M: Market / Industry
    • A: Account type – Ideal Company Profile
    • P: Persona – Ideal Target Buyer Profile
  • The Customer Problem
    • What is the problem of the Ideal Target Buyer (the “A” in MAP)
    • What are the customer’s needs
    • How do we solve that need
  • Marketing Process
  • Demand / Lead Generation Playbook – design a playbook for monthly plays
  • Account Based Marketing Plan (ABM) – applies if your company sells to larger enterprises and has large average deal sizes
  • Marketing Funnel & Taxonomy: Suspects, Visitors, Leads, MQLs or PQL, as well as SGLs and SQLs, etc.
  • Lead Generation Strategy & Campaign Plan with a detailed campaign schedule (revised quarterly)
  • Lead Nurturing Strategy & Plan
  • SLA / Sales & Marketing Alignment: Hand-Off Process
  • Themes – Quarterly and Annual
  • Measurable Objectives – annual and quarterly
    • Overall Marketing Objectives
    • Lead Generation
      • # of Leads
      • # of MQLs
      • Conversion targets, etc.
  • Marketing Dashboards
    • List the KPIs/Metrics to measure performance
  • Segments
  • Top Lead Sources
  • Clearly Defined Marketing Channels
  • Marketing & Sales Alignment – SLA
  • Assets / Offers (typically Content but an asset for marketing can be a Free App / Freemium tool)
  • Content Plan – Assets / Offers for lead campaigns
  • Customer Marketing
  • Product Marketing
  • Channel/Partner Marketing
  • Internal Marketing – all effective Marketing Groups plan and do this monthly, or at least quarterly
  • Brand Strategy – Differentiation, Key Messaging & Positioning, Brand Promise, Unique Value Proposition, Elevator Pitch
  • PR & Analyst Relations
  • Marketing Team Development & Training
  • Marketing Management Development & Training
  • Marketing Operations
  • Marketing Budget
  • Marketing Operating Model (Leads, Converstions, and ultimately how it drives sales – a lot of this will be used as input into the Sales Operating Model by the VP of Sales and the Sales Ops exec)
  • Marketing Systems – CRM, Marketing Automation (Hubspot, Marketo, SFDC’s Marketing Cloud fka Pardot, etc), Marketing BI/Analytics, etc.

What else? What are some other thoughts on designing an effective Marketing & Lead Generation Strategy to fuel the lead flow for your sales team?