Why do a B2B marketing audit? How? What’s the purpose? Are there any good marketing audit examples available?
When you lead a business-to-business company or consider acquiring a B2B organization, the state of the marketing function is often the hardest to assess. Given the broad nature of marketing responsibilities, the impact on current and future success, and the number of opinions that various stakeholders typically have, many CEOs and Investors ask us for guidance on how to do a B2B marketing audit.
An audit can help to quickly assess a company’s marketing capabilities – including identifying strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for growth. It does not have to be an exhaustive, in-depth assessment of the company’s marketing function. Rather, think of a typical audit as a prospective car or home inspection report. Ideally you use visible and readily-available information, sometimes provided by the company, or using specialized tools, to develop a high-level report to answer the following questions:
Sometimes, the marketing audit extends beyond the “state” of the marketing function and includes the state of the actual market opportunity. This could be as simple as a TAM (Total Addressable Market) analysis, or a detailed review of Product Market Fit, the Serviceable part of the Addressable Market (SAM) and the state of Execution readiness (SOM, or Serviceable and Obtainable Market). Depending on the completeness of other due diligence assessments, these areas can be part of the marketing audit as needed.
What topics should a marketing audit address? Here’s an (incomplete) list:
Pipeline and Funnel
Product market fit
Go to market
There are typically two reasons to do a marketing audit, with distinct outcomes:
Let’s unpack the core outcomes and needs from each type. In each instance you should expect a “report card” summarizing the company’s marketing status – strengths, weaknesses, uncertainties, and opportunities.
The main reason to do an audit before an investment transaction is to inform a go/no-go decision, or help with the appropriate valuation of the business. In reality, both will be driven mostly by pure financial metrics, but there are a couple interesting areas to audit that can prove helpful. The other thing to consider is that a real diligence study involves data requests, which create deal fatigue/deal risk, and can slow down the deal timeline. Any audit angle that doesn't impact the go/no-go decision, or valuation, is best done post-close.
Example outcomes are an online presence scan with insights in the brand visibility, competitive positioning, and online “digital” reputation. A thorough diligence document review can expose rosy or risky assumptions re market(ing) conditions, ROI, and state of the team and ability to execute.
When reviewing the Marketing function of a business that you own, you can go deeper, with access to the people, processes and documentation that allow a thorough review. The remainder of this article is meant to help you do just that.
The following questions are grouped by function in your B2B SaaS Company. These are optimized by our team doing many audits, and have led to great insights and uncovered opportunities and risks that otherwise would have been missed.
In due diligence interviews, you often have ~30 minutes to understand the state of this team’s marketing capabilities. You have to figure out if the product marketing function has been based on an actual positioning and product management strategy.
These questions are designed to help you turn over the most important marketing stones.
One of the quickest ways to confirm or “test” a company’s product value proposition and customer journey assumptions is to speak directly with a company’s happy and unhappy customers. This interview guide is full of questions our CMOs ask customers and partners in our full-service engagements.
Marketing materials that can be helpful to review to complete the marketing audit:
A marketing function report card generated by an audit should typically cover the following areas:
Kalungi performs a standard Marketing Audit for B2B SaaS Companies. Here’s an example of what a typical report would look like:
There are many sites like neilpatel.com where you can get a free audit of your website, often including your company’s organic and paid search results to help you understand some of the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of its inbound reputation. Below are some sample reports based on our website kalungi.com. We are happy to show you how to get your performance to grow like that.
Is the company’s general online presence growing or shrinking over time? Is organic domain authority tracking upwards or downwards over time? A good B2B website audit includes many aspects found in a tool like SEMrush:
Increased organic traffic over time is a good leading indicator that a company’s online brand and website is getting stronger. But, alone it doesn’t tell us much. We also need to understand how much traffic results from relevant intent-based keyword and branded search terms.
An increase in search interest over time for branded keywords can indicate positive brand awareness in a particular market segment. This will go hand-in-hand with a content audit for your company.
These signal buying intent. Ranking for HI keywords means your company's content and website appear when people are in the “Consideration” and “Decision” stages of the funnel. These are the most important keywords a company's website can rank for – as long as they align with the company’s value proposition and industry category.
This shows us an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of a competitive domains’ presence in organic search results. Data-visualizations are based on domains’ organic traffic and the number of keywords they rank for in Google's top 100 organic search results.
Please email email@example.com for more information about how we can partner to run an audit like this for your company.