B2B SaaS Revenue Marketing: How to Build a Structure
You’re not alone. Building a revenue marketing team is one of the most difficult challenges for any company, but it’s also one of the most important.
The good news is that we’ve got you covered with our guide to structuring your revenue marketing team! This will help you build a structure that will ensure optimal results and success in your business.
Let’s start with typical B2B Marketing Models…
Typical B2B Marketing Models
In the ’90s, most B2B companies had marketing departments that looked something like this:
There were no marketing operations, and demand generation was part of the Marcom Director’s realm, which also included PR, direct mail, events, and “branding.”
After more than 25 years, we can see how the industry and this structure changed:
- In addition to sales contact, telemarketing, events, and direct mail, we now have several ways to engage prospects and customers. We also have “digital marketing groups,” since the majority of these emerging platforms are digital.
- Today’s marketing technologies and customer data are exploding, necessitating the creation of a Marketing Operations team to oversee these assets.
- We now have to hire more analytically oriented people and data scientists as our marketing accountability for revenue has grown.
- Content is now king. We now need relevant, educational content to engage our prospects. This explains why 30% of the marketing budget is spent on content.
An improved org chart
Let’s set aside areas that didn’t change much like product marketing, product management, channel alliances, competitor analysis, and analyst relations. (Keep in mind that even if they didn’t change they are still required)
Instead, let’s focus on the three newer areas mentioned above:
- Marketing operations
- Content and digital services
- Digital demand generation
These three teams could form a Center of Excellence that provides demand generation, content, and data to a larger B2C or B2B global marketing organization.
They, as a group:
- Create and carry out demand generation strategies to impact revenue.
- Establish best practices, guidelines, and standards for demand generation and optimization of marketing productivity through the use of people, process, and technology
- Create and distribute localized content and campaigns to field marketing.
Let’s take a closer look at each of them:
Digital and Content Groups
Yes, there are two groups, but due to close relations between them, they mostly report to one director or vice president. The website infrastructure and social media are owned by the Digital group. Designers, writers, production managers, and content strategists make up the Content group, in charge of all raw content.
They’ll depend on subject matter experts from other parts of the company in many cases. Given the strong working relationship between these two teams, one of which owns many of the channels and the other the content, putting them under one leader makes sense.
A Digital and Content group’s charter might look like this:
Create compelling content to increase customer and prospect engagement, which will lead to more qualified leads for Sales.
Notice the word “engagement” in the previous sentence. Remember, great businesses spend up to 40% (or more) of their marketing budget on content, and many don’t even know if it’s engaging their prospects and customers! Are you tracking how much each piece of content you create today generates engagement?
The Digital Content group is the fuel for the Demand Generation engine. They create their roadmap based on inputs from the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), product marketing, sales, requirements gathered from the Demand Generation team, field marketing, and other marketing teams.
Website is also content and, as such, belongs in a category that creates content for other media, but there’s a crossroad here in terms of organizational structure:
- Do the search, display, and paid traffic gurus (or agencies) who have historically worked closely with website designers and producers fall into this category as well?
- Do they splinter from their website production comrades and join the Demand Generation group, or do they splinter from their website production comrades and join the Demand Generation group?
Most companies, needless to say, have kept them in the same group…for now. As a result, the organization chart will most likely look like this:
As marketing organizations seek to create omnichannel campaigns that provide prospects and customers with a consistent multi-channel experience, the inbound team is being pushed closer to the Demand Generation group’s marketing automation team.
If you keep your inbound and social teams in the Digital and Content group, make sure they form a strong bond with the Demand Generation team, as they will be collaborating more regularly.
THE TRAFFIC MANAGER
I’m going to go off on a topic here, but trust me when I say this would have implications for the content group’s organization.
Let’s take a look at the life cycle of a content asset. You find a subject matter expert in the company and have them write a short E-book, which you then post on the company website, and you’re done, right?
Creating the core content, which serves as the foundation for all other assets, is likely a third of the battle. Getting value from core content these days usually looks something like this:
- Create a core content (ebook in this example)
- Write a blog post to promote the ebook
- Write email copy to promote ebook with outbound email channel
- Write landing page copy for it
- Write ad copy if you are going to use some display ads or paid search to promote an ebook
- Engage a graphic designer to add graphics and images to all of the above.
“That’s all, right?”
Well, no. There’s still work to be done now that you’ve completed everything for one asset.
To support this, you’ll need to plan campaigns across all platforms, including email, blog, paid search, display advertising, and social promoted posts. We haven’t even mentioned splitting this excellent piece of core content into tweets, infographics, bylined posts, SlideShare, and other formats.
Someone needs to coordinate all these things and that’s where the traffic coordinator comes in.
Various “campaigns” are being run through various channels, and project managers may be used for each (one for social, one for outbound, one for the website). Having a traffic manager who organizes the development of all assets relevant to the core content makes perfect sense.
To ensure that all promotions and campaigns go live on time, this person coordinates with all of the channel-specific campaign project managers.
Traffic management is no longer just for agencies, and it entails a lot more work than you would think. It’s also a field of expertise that many campaign project managers are lacking.
THE CONTENT STRATEGIST
The Content Strategists work with sales, field marketing, and the Demand Generation team to understand their needs for customer engagement.
The marketing manager brings together the needs of various groups, adds their knowledge of market segments, revenue targets, and media trends, and creates a content roadmap that will yield the best business results.
The content strategist is a jack of all trades. They understand the demographics, buying cycles, and markets that their company caters to best as well as what messages are befitting for which audience in different media formats.
They know how much free or premium product should be offered on any given website; they know what mix of tools, templates, and research reports will drive engagement with certain audiences but not others (e.g., Korea vs France). Their portfolio ranges from understanding buyer personas 101 to driving an international campaign through specific channels dependent on country-specific nuances like culture, language, usage, patterns, etc…
The blog is also content. Is your blog all about the content or about being a channel in your mind? What are the best ways to make the most of that content? Is there a product or tool that can help you channel externally-created, relevant content to your prospects through your sales reps?
Takeaway? If you don’t already have a content strategist in your team, you definitely need one.
Here are some suggestions for how to organize and lead a successful Digital and Content team:
- Set the Digital and Content team’s charter.
- Keep SEO/SEM specialists near the web designers/producers.
- Identify SMEs across the company and provide core content creation in their work descriptions and quarterly MBOs (Management By Objective).
- Set up systems to monitor how well the existing content is being received.
- Define the traffic manager’s position.
- Create a job description for the content strategist.
- Collect information from sales/channels, demand generation, and field marketing.
- Be agile. Produce no more than a 3–6 month calendar.
- Distribute content as widely as possible.
Demand Generation Group
Demand Generation comprises brand awareness building, thought leadership, lead acquisition, lead nurturing, loyalty marketing, and advocacy.
To be the most successful at generating demand in today’s market, you must appoint a diverse team of strategists and specialists. Each member has an integral role — not to leave any stone unturned when trying to reach goals, no matter if goals are related to building brand awareness or acquiring leads with minimal cost-per-conversion rates.
Successful teams should include:
- Campaign strategists who have skills across many disciplines including marketing strategy;
- Program managers skilled in creating plans based on data analysis;
- Technology power users able to create campaigns from design through development phases while maintaining standards like code quality and accessibility compliance;
- PR professionals capable of executing strategies such as crisis communications planning which are more traditional forms of advertising now than ever before because people don’t want
It’s possible you’ll be surprised to see the inbound team here rather than under the digital group mentioned earlier. This is a nod to the growing synergy between inbound and outbound marketing in the development of multi-channel campaigns. Working in the same Demand Generation community is beneficial to both functions.
These days, we have a variety of channels for lead nurturing. Since we can now use social media for retargeting, we need to keep the inbound team in close contact with the outbound team, which has historically been used almost exclusively for nurturing.
Let’s take a look at a team charter and structure.
TEAM CHARTER AND STRUCTURE
A Demand Generation group’s charter looks like this:
As a result, the following roles are likely to be included in this group in larger organizations:
Program managers, who are top-level business managers in charge of marketing investment in Demand Generation, lead the content team and eventually own the most important metric: marketing-influenced revenue.
Campaign managers follow the program managers’ directions. In smaller companies, they’re often the same person who specializes in one or more channels, but because campaigns are becoming more omnichannel, it’s better to have them focused on the target market segment.
Campaigns are divided into groups based on where they are in the buying cycle — awareness, lead acquisition, lead nurturing, customer loyalty, advocacy, and so on.
Marketing technology (MarTech) power users, quality assurance, and best practices management can be included in either the MO or Demand Gen group. Keeping them in Demand Generation ensures that they remain in close contact with the Program and Campaign Management teams.
Putting your MO function in the shared resources community means they’ll be close to analytics and project management. This means that this team will most likely have a more streamlined collaboration with the field marketing team and that the “HQ” area will be less likely to dominate the global campaign calendar unless the revenue goals merit it.
INBOUND VS. OUTBOUND DIGRESSION
Some say that inbound is less expensive for lead generation than outbound, or that outbound is mass marketing (TV commercials, radio, email blasts, trade shows). Is inbound marketing just content marketing with SEO and paid traffic from online sources?
The fact that the two are merging is not news, so marketers must step beyond the debates, unite their teams, and begin planning and executing omnichannel campaigns.
Today’s consumers want to interact with you through a variety of platforms, including television, mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. They also want consistent communications across these channels. By understanding this need for consistency between the different mediums we use it becomes easier for us to provide them what they are looking for!
With all this being said, separating the marketing into siloes based on their digital channel expertise — web team, social team, email team, PR, etc. — is no longer a good idea.
Campaigns are omnichannel.
Imagine a campaign that begins with a Facebook promoted blog post, links to premium content on the web that is accessed on a mobile device, invite the prospect to visit a shop, and then sends a follow-up email the next day, a remarketing campaign a week later, and a teleprospecting call a week later.
Or, you might simply place them in a 6-month email nurturing campaign and wait for their lead score to rise. (Definitely no!)
the inbound team deserves to be in the Demand Generation Group, just like the outbound team:
- Along with marketing automation power users, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Twitter, and Instagram “power users” should be included in the “power user group.”
- In their omnichannel campaigns, paid traffic campaign managers should become the same people who leverage outbound channels.
- Project managers for omnichannel campaigns, which combine inbound and outbound channels, must be experts at managing assets and resources.
Is it really inbound marketing if you use social media to remarket to leads with whom you already have a relationship?
What does this matter? It’s good Demand Generation marketing, and your prospects might prefer to interact with you via that channel rather than through email.
It appears that the marketing industry undergoes major changes every couple of years. The buying process is being reshaped by new media, and we must constantly evolve our selling and marketing processes to keep up with it.
Technology, clean data, optimized processes, and constant feedback from all prior interactions, regardless of platform, are all needed for the Demand Generation team to execute relevant engagement with prospects. This motivates us to unite the teams responsible for driving engagement under a single global Demand Generation leader.
Here are a few steps to help you reorganize:
- Decide on the Demand Generation group’s charter.
- Determine which channels are most effective for your company based on where your prospects engage…
- Begin planning omnichannel campaigns.
- Create a campaign development process that is consistent across all channels.
- Create omnichannel campaign briefs and blueprint templates.
- Begin educating your MAP power users about inbound marketing (high level).
- Begin educating your inbound channel team on the funnel, marketing automation, and customer relationship management.
- Educate several project managers on how to handle inbound and outbound campaigns, and eventually omnichannel campaigns.
- You can now begin merging the teams… Create omnichannel SWAT teams of inbound, outbound, power users, and project managers.
Marketing Operations Group
Marketing Operations is a central team devoted to improving the management of technology, process, data, and marketing analytics. This centralized unit makes marketing more efficient and successful has been widely shared by many since its inception.
Analysts, competitive intelligence, data management, project management, marketing technology and vendor management, training, and process experts are the roles included in operations. We’ve also seen companies place technology power users in this category so that they can serve the demand generation and field marketing groups as a centralized service.
MARKETING OPERATIONS MATURITY
Some larger companies have had centralized Marketing Operations for more than ten years, while others, often smaller organizations, have either decentralized marketing functions or assigned a single manager or director to the role with no direct reporting.
Because of the varying maturity levels of Marketing Operations within organizations, this range of organizational structure exists:
Marketing Operations may begin as a decentralized set of reactive responsibilities for technologies and metrics. MO is a centralized function in the most mature case, serving as a source of data and insights for leadership decision-making, a central focus for customer experience data, and the foundation for marketing productivity, agility, and accountability.
The MO function continues to evolve, but current responsibilities fall into the following areas:
- MarTech strategy, selection, integration, and optimization
- Management of vendors
- Data governance, management, and optimization
- Engineering and optimization of processes
- Analysis, reporting, and measurement
- Project management, education, and training
- Change management
- For campaign execution and content operations, perhaps a global shared services group.
When the following potential benefits begin to demand organizational change, we usually see companies step beyond the decentralized MO function and start to centralize.
- Organizational agility and increased marketing performance
- Marketing efforts adjusted more quickly in response to changing consumer behavior, market conditions, and business direction.
- Increased revenue, profit, and market share
- Underpinning a shift from marketing being managed as a cost center to operating more like a business, with formalized best practices, processes, infrastructure, and reporting
- Data-driven business, customer, and product/service decisions that benefit customers and shareholders
THE USUAL MARKETING OPERATIONS EVOLUTION
Typically, the Marketing Operations group will focus on gaining a better understanding of the ever-growing set of marketing technologies right from the start. Then they’ll soon realize that they need to do so in the context of the data and the processes that go with it. And it’s just a matter of time before reporting, finance, project management, and training are thrown into the mix.
This could be a difficult transition for some marketers who are used to operating in an environment that has no responsibility for revenue. They may need time adjusting and learning how to change their mentality from “creative cost center” to one of accountability, processes, reporting, optimizing the business side of things.
Following a Director of Marketing Operations, the new hires are in this order:
- Technologist — someone who can lead governance and integration initiatives, as well as set the direction. Vendor management is also something they do.
- Data wizard — I hesitate to use the term data scientist because it may be overkill for small businesses, but that is where this role is found in larger businesses. This person should also be used for all reporting and analytics.
- Outsource much of the process re-engineering — Most businesses would not need a full-time employee (FTE) to fill this role.
- Outsource your training, but don’t underestimate the value of it.
- Borrow project management resources from IT until the team has so many projects that you need your own full-time employee.
MO relies on people who are both left-brain and right-brain oriented. They can be both analytical and creative. They are the unicorns of marketing. Since MO is growing so rapidly, they are becoming increasingly hard to find. However, since this is a key step in your journey, please devote enough time and resources to establishing a strong charter and the necessary skillsets for this group.
If you’re looking for a way to optimize your revenue marketing team, we hope this blog post has given you some insight. Our guide should get you started on the right path towards building and structuring your own successful revenue marketing team!
If you want more information, or if you want us to help you create a marketing structure for your company shoot us a message and let’s chat!