This episode answers the question "How do I prioritize my marketing initiatives"? First, do a gut check. What's the status of your current marketing function? Then, ask how your marketing team can get closer to revenue by reducing funnel friction and focusing on projects right above the decision phase.
Welcome to the second episode of B2B SaaS marketing snacks presented by Kalungi. Today's snack is all about marketing prioritization. A question we hear often from CEOs and founders is around, "How do I get started? Marketing is such a huge discipline. It's a huge umbrella. There are so many things that fall under it. I know there's a ton of things I could go do, but how do I make decisions about following the priorities and initiatives that are actually going to have the biggest impact early on when I first get started?" So Stijn, I'll pose it to you... How do you usually go about marketing prioritization? If you're just stepping into a company sight unseen, where do you go first?
I think marketing prioritization sometimes gets over complicated. Going back to something we've talked about before, when you look at the funnel, when you look at the marketing journey that your prospects go through or your customers, figuring out where the friction is is an easy way to not only prioritize things that are probably important, but also make sure you have quick wins that you can see some quick returns.
Marketing doesn't have a long leash. Right? If you're the marketing team leader or in a marketing leadership position or you have a function to grow, for example, demand generation, you don't get a lot of time. So things that take eight, nine, ten months are often doomed to either fail or to never get finished. So I would say start with things that are right in front of you.
If you do a little bit of mystery shopping of the company you work with, you'll find things that are not going smooth. You find content that is not clear. You'll find things that take too long. You'll find links that are broken. That's where I would start. Then after that, you go to the next thing. Now that your funnel is running smooth, you go talk with customers. Ask them if they get value from the product. If they don't, you ask them why. What were they expecting and what are they not getting? Super easy, but also strategic. Right?
Those conversations can lead you to understand so much more about what your product is doing today and what you may think it's doing or what your customers need.
So I'd say, Mike, just keep things relatively simple and straightforward and start there. Then the plan will almost unfold itself in front of you. It's so powerful to, for example, just do customer testimonial interviews early on when you start building your marketing plan.
You can get so much out of that – content ideas. What do customers really care about? What did they not really understand? Where did they struggle using your product? When did they get excited about your product and told others about it? All those things are your first content priorities. What feedback do they have for you, or whether it's on the value or the price or the way you give them customer service. Great opportunities to improve your marketing communication or the product value proposition or how you position your products.
So I think keeping things relatively simple versus doing market research and all kinds of strategy sessions. Just go talk with a couple of customers. If you don't have access to that, get with your sales team, your customer success team and ask them. That's where I would start.
Yeah, really nice. For the sake of making this a little bit more tangible for the sensors out there, if anybody's familiar with Myers-Briggs, to get some guardrails on it... I think before you can do anything, you have to benchmark where you are right now. There's a few key categories that you can just compile this on a single page. Right?
Is the infrastructure in place? Do you have a means of tracking the sales funnel? Do you have your go-to market priorities straight? Is the product marketing in good shape? How about content? How about brand? How about Demand Gen, SEO and Paid, Outbound? There's all these kind of key categories that you can look at, even just a yes/no checklist. Do we have a means of tracking the sales funnel from top to bottom? If not, then we should probably get that sorted out. It's really important to understand that piece.
Do we have a marketing dashboard? Are we tracking the right KPIs on that dashboard? Are we being measured against revenue or are we being measured against 'vanity metrics' – how many PDF downloads or whatever the case may be? Do we have an SEO strategy in place? It doesn't need to be robust, but something that's guiding the content marketing decisions that we're making. Do we have a subject matter expert on the team who's helping drive the content? From our go-to-market perspective, do we have our ICP defined? Is that mapped out anywhere? Is there alignment between the sales and marketing team on who that customer is and what they look like? Do we have the personas defined? Do we have a TAM / SAM / SOM analysis complete? Are the growth priorities agreed upon?
Do we have referenceable customers, ones that are willing to give us positive testimonials, as Stijn was saying? Do we have content that addresses each level of the funnel, top, middle and bottom? Is Paid Search up and running? Are we bidding on high intent keywords or just keywords that drive top of funnel awareness? Is the website up and running? Do we have SEO errors? Is there an SSL certificate? Do we have cookies installed? Are we remarketing to people?
There's all these kinds of checklist items that you can look at and really quickly gauge which areas are put into place and which need to still be built. Now, the difference is that some of those are going to be directly attributable to revenue quicker in the short term and some of them are going to be long-term investments. Stijn, what you were saying is we need to make sure that we're looking at the bottom of the funnel and reducing friction for the sales team.
I love that idea. One of the things that Dave Gerhardt always says is "get closer to revenue", in the sense that if you are starting out a marketing function and you're trying to understand the 90 day priorities, the first thing that you should do is really look at the activities that are just right above the customer giving you their money or signing up for a monthly subscription. So what are the things that are directly tied to them purchasing from you? How do you optimize those pieces?
Whether that's adding a direct schedule link for a sales person after someone requests a demo or whether it's just looking at the funnel and seeing: does it look like a funnel or does it look like a snake that just swallowed a tire? If it looks like a snake that swallowed a tire, how do we reduce the size of that tire?
Is it because we're giving sales the wrong type of leads? Is it because there's too many? Sales can't follow up quick enough? Does sales not have the right resources to bring them down the funnel? Are there certain channels that are creating lower quality leads than others? Right? There's all these kinds of questions that just stem from looking at the bottom of the funnel, getting close to the revenue.
At the end of the day, you really just have to make it easier for people to buy from you. I think everybody's very familiar with the idea of sales enablement, but we don't talk enough about buyer enablement. How do you just make it easier for people to buy from you? So I think that's really one of the keys. Stijn, you've equated this in one of your articles to marketing as being like driving a car. Right?
So when you're building your 90 day plan, you have to look at the dashboard. You have to see how fast you're going. You've got to check on the RPMs. How much fuel do we have? Is the engine on fire or is it a good temperature? If you look at the dashboard too long and you fail to look out the windshield to see the curve that's coming up. At some point, you're going to crash.
You have to balance between the two. You have to look at what's coming and make sure you're seeing the future and planning for that and for the growth, and making sure that you're going to make a left turn when you need to. Then also monitoring the dashboard to make sure you're going as fast as you can without losing control, and you're shifting when you hit the Rev Limiter, and the engine is in good shape, and you're applying the right amount of pressure on the gas and the brake... and all those things.
So I think as long as you're balancing for short-term – reducing funnel friction – and also long-term – building the foundation for growth and for scale and thinking about the future and running tests and trying new things and moving quickly, I think that's the right way to approach it.