Category: Marketing

How to Craft a Marketing Budget


This is the 26th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

As we are developing marketing in a startup, we typically start with a budget of $0. It involves a small team, with people doing multiple jobs at once and stretching resources thin. As the team grows and we want to accelerate growth, we need to determine how we can invest in marketing and earn that money back with new customers. To do that, we need to craft a marketing budget: typically a breakdown in Excel of what items we intend to spend marketing dollars on monthly. To start, the budget should consist of the following items:

  • Headcount
  • Tools
  • Demand Gen Spend
  • Events
  • Consultants

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How to Score Leads

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 6.37.32 AMThis is the 22nd post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

When we first start building an inbound marketing and demand generation program, every lead feels like a huge success. When I first started, I had every MQL emailed to me, and I would click through their source detail to see the exact journey they took from target > lead > MQL. That is awesome when we have just a few leads.

As we successfully build a pipeline of qualified leads, we’ll quickly find that (A) we don’t want an email alert for every one and (B) not every lead is created equally. A real lead pipeline mandates that we begin sorting and scoring our leads, only delivering the most qualified to our sales team. Lead scoring is simply identifying which leads are the best leads, and delivering them to the sales team first.

We should start lead scoring when:

  • We generate more leads than the sales team can handle
  • We are getting feedback about “bad leads” from the sales team
  • We narrow down our target buyer persona

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How to Advertise in Print

This is the 21st post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

Stack-magsFor a modern B2B startup, it almost seems taboo to consider advertising in print. After all, digital is more cost effective, easier to measure and the way of the future. However, print can still be an effective part of a brand building and demand gen strategy. Let’s breakdown when it is appropriate to consider print:

When you need to establish your band

Brand recognition is this hazy, nebulous “thing” that CFOs often despise because it’s so difficult to measure real ROI. However, there is no doubt that if you are the new kid on the block as a startup, targets recognizing your brand is going to create more trust and accelerate conversion on content downloads and demo requests. Being seen in a widely read industry print publication regularly helps to build that trust and recognition.

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How to Align Marketing, Sales and Customer Success

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 7.00.09 AMThis is the 18th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

Modern B2B startups look at sales and marketing as one cohesive unit responsible for generating revenue. Marketing owns the top of the funnel (generating leads), sales owns the middle of the funnel (converting leads to opportunities and customers) and in the SaaS world, customer success owns the bottom of the funnel (retaining and upselling customers).

Successful organizations understand that in order to convert leads to customers, and retain them, each stage of the funnel must work together in unison. This requires tight alignment between sales, marketing and customer success. Marketing must generate the right amount of qualified leads, sales needs to provide adequate pipeline coverage to close, and customer success must properly onboard, deliver on sales promises and prevent churn.

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How to Manage CRM Imports

excelThis is the 16th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

In an early stage marketing team that supports a growing sales team, there likely isn’t a separate “sales operations” function. When it comes to managing the infrastructure and intake of data, it often falls on the marketing team. For example, the sales team goes to a conference and comes back with a list of leads that need to be nurtured. How do those leads end up in the CRM and marketing automation system, enrolled in the right nurture campaign and tagged with the right field values (e.g. persona and lifecycle stage)?

While it sounds like a simply process, there are so many opportunities to make a mistake in the process. To ensure it gets done right, let’s break down that process, step by step:

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How to Hire a Marketing Intern

This is the 15th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

With the right structure in place, interns can be tremendously impactful in an early stage B2B marketing team. There are a few prerequisites that you need in order to be successful when hiring an intern. Specifically, prior to an intern starting, you should:

Have the infrastructure (automation, CRM) in place

The lead in a B2B startup marketing team should be building the basic infrastructure prior to making any core marketing hires. This ensures the lead has an intimate understanding of the machinery that powers an inbound marketing engine. An intern will be most impactful once that machinery is built and humming.

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How to Enable Marketing Partners

This is the 14th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

As we map out the B2B demand generation strategy, we’ll find that leads can come from a variety of sources that are driven from inbound marketing campaigns. These sources might include:

  • Direct web traffic
  • Email marketing
  • Organic searches
  • Paid (Adwords, display ads)
  • Social media

Generating leads through these sources requires a lot of work. Depending on the industry, we may be able supplement our efforts by leveraging partners. These could be companies that offer complementary services (i.e. we sell to the same persona) or that have an established integration with our product. Let’s break down the benefits for us and the partner:

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How to Write an Ebook

DesigningEbookCoversIconThis is the 13th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

An inbound marketing strategy typically involves many different types of content: PDF guides, ebooks, webinars, infographics, videos and more. One of the cornerstone pieces that your team will create to help tell your product’s story are ebooks. Put simply, an ebook is often just a long guide or a combination of multiple blog posts, well-designed and packaged as a downloadable PDF. Just using the label “ebook” often packs an additional punch that intrigues targets and drives downloads.

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How to Host a Webinar

This is the 12th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

As your inbound machine starts to crank and you are producing volumes of content (guides, ebooks, infographics), webinars can be useful to provide variety and connect with targets who may not be interested in reading an entire ebook. Depending on your target persona, webinars are surprisingly popular and can generate quite a bit of buzz in your industry. They also require a lot of logistics and planning, so let’s walk through the process of hosting a successful webinar:

1. Identify the topic

Each webinar should tangentially relate to one of the core points of your story (i.e. your product’s value props). A great strategy to get started is pairing a webinar and written content piece about the same topic. For example, my team wrote an ebook about the future of technology for health clubs. We’ll host a webinar about the same topic that essentially walks through the content of the ebook. That’s effective because some targets will want to read the ebook and others would rather consume that content in webinar format.

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How to Track 9 Marketing Metrics

This is the 11th post of a 50 article series for beginners building marketing at B2B startups.

Over the last 10-15 years, marketing has become far more measurable and analytical. Using closed loop reporting and marketing automations systems, marketers can quickly zoom in on key metrics that indicate if we’re executing effectively. Here is a breakdown of 9 metrics to consider tracking:

MQLs by source

The key funnel metric that us (and our VP of Sales) will care about is marketing qualified leads (MQLs). As a reminder, MQLs are leads that “raise their hand” indicating they are nurtured enough to talk to sales by filling out a demo request form on our website. The more MQLs we can feed our sales team with, the more swings at bat they have to start a conversation. Additionally, we should segment MQLs by source (e.g how many leads came from your email marketing campaigns versus your paid online ads?) This can all be tracked by the marketing automation system.

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