Today’s B2B Marketing organizations require an unusually diverse range of talent. Marketing operations teams need highly technical staff to build out martech stacks for lead management. They also need highly analytical staff to sort through the millions of data points being collected about buyer behavior. Corporate Marketing teams need strong creative teams to design e-books, infographics, and video content. Demand Generation teams need super-organized campaign managers to orchestrate webinars, ad campaigns, and email programs.
Four Key Questions about Marketing Talent and Organization
Marketing organizations are rarely staffed. At most SaaS and cloud companies, the marketing team is under-resourced in terms of headcount and over-extended in terms of deliverables. Optimizing the available talent to achieve the maximum possible outcome is one of the biggest challenges marketing leaders face. When it comes to organizational design and talent management, CMOs need to address four key questions about how best to fulfill the different functions in marketing:
1)Relevance and Resources
Which of the various B2B marketing functions are most relevant to your organization and need to be resourced? If you are a smaller company you may not need specialized resources on functions such as customer or partner marketing. If you are a larger organization you may have multiple teams performing each function in different geographic regions or different industries.
2)Internal versus External Talent
Which functions do you want to staff in-house? Which functions do you want to outsource to external agencies, freelancers, or consultants? Which functions do you want to use a hybrid strategy mixing internal and external talent? In some disciplines there may not be a full workload and a consultant may be a better option. External talent is often more expensive than in-house, but outside talent sometimes has deeper experience than the internal team.
3) Specialists vs Generalists
Which functions need to be resourced with specialized experts that have depth in one of the 40 disciplines? Which functions can be managed by generalists that may own 3, 4, or 5 of the various disciplines? Specialized resources often provide higher quality in a particular function, but result in more headcount expense.
4) Centralized vs Distributed
Which functions should be centralized at headquarters versus distributed geographically in each international region? Which functions should be organized by product line versus which should be corporate functions? Which functions should be aligned to specific sales teams (or partners) versus which should support all distribution channels?
List of 40 B2B Marketing Functions
Below is a list of 40 functions that most SaaS or Cloud B2B Marketing organizations will require as they scale and grow. The list is grouped into six categories:
The list can support a variety of use cases. If you are a newly appointed CMO, you might use the list to conduct a gap analysis of your existing talent. If you are established CMO, you might use the list to think through your long-term organization design.
Note that marketing functions can be organized in many different ways to achieve success. Some of the functions outlined below may be grouped differently in your organization. For example, tradeshows and events is listed under demand generation, but it may live under the brand and communications team in some orgs. The website is listed under brand and communications, but it may be slotted under marketing operations in some orgs.
Branding and Communications
Branding and communications functions may be centralized in a corporate marketing function or split into smaller, more specialized teams. When resourced effectively, the teams will be able to use:
- Social media to build a strong word-of-mouth buzz in your community
- Public relations to achieve the greatest share of voice in the media
- Analyst relations to secure a leadership position in vendor rankings
The goal is to ensure that all of your prospective buyers know the company, understand the value proposition, and have a positive opinion. Branding and communications functions typically include:
Defines the brand promise, brand personality, and brand voice. Owns the visual identity (logos, typography, and colors). Manages brand architecture including sub-brands and product names. Measures the level of awareness and strength of reputation amongst customers, partners, analysts, and investors. Owns relationships with outside branding agencies.
Performs design, layout, and file production for brochures, white papers, and sales tools. Designs creative assets such as illustrations, iconography, and infographics. Recording, editing, and file production of podcasts, screencasts, and live video interviews. Digital asset management of licensed audio, video, illustrations, and photography stock.
Pitches journalists at national publications (Wall Street Journal, Fast Company), industry trade publications (Industry Dive, STORES), and regional media (Boston Globe, LA Times). Includes functions such as issuing press releases, submitting award applications, and planning crisis communications.
Manages corporate Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, and SnapChat accounts. Key activities include sharing news, growing followers, and engaging influencers. Also, works with finance to jointly manage profiles on Pitchbook, Crunchbase, and other investor brand sites. Collaborates with human resources to jointly manage profiles on Glassdoor, CareerBliss, and other employer brand sites.
Manages relationships with Tier 1 industry analysts such as Gartner, Forrester, and IDC as well as Tier 2 analysts such as Frost & Sullivan, 451 Research, and CBInsights. Conducts regular briefings to obtain coverage in research notes and rank favorably in vendor comparisons such as the Gartner Magic Quadrant, Forrester Wave, and IDC Marketscape.
Leads design, development, and maintenance of the corporate website and any microsites. Responsible for maintaining the content under the products, resources, and company sections of the menu. Manages technology including hosting provider, disaster recovery, and health monitoring of the site.
Influences management consultants, systems integrators, and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firms that advise target customers on technology purchasing decisions. Conducts regular updates to share news about product features, future roadmap, customer wins, and technology innovations.
Acts as internal agency to support the functions within the business. Develops recruiting brochures, overview presentations, and social media content for the human resources team. Supports sales kickoff, president’s club, and new hire boot camps with promotional giveaways, presentation materials, and event management. Enables the executive team with graphic design, copy writing, and video production services.
Demand generation teams are responsible for filling the sales pipeline with qualified leads to maximize the probability of achieving the growth targets. When resourced effectively, the demand generation team will be able to use:
- SEO and advertising to drive inbound leads to your website
- Webinars and tradeshows to identify buyers earlier in the cycle
- ABM and gifting to secure conversations with top decision makers at your highest potential targets
The goal is to ensure that your sales team has conversations with as many buyers as possible that are in an active purchasing cycle. Demand generation functions typically include:
Webinars + Virtual Events
Schedules live online presentations designed to generate new qualified leads or accelerate deals in the pipeline. Responsible for sending email invitations, creating website registration pages, and developing the presentation content. Follows up after the event to share the presentation replay with registrants.
Sends emails to prospects and customers to generate new qualified leads. Emails might be a link to download a new white paper, an invitation to an event/webinar, or a mix of different content packaged into a newsletter. Activities include creating the copy, defining the distribution list, and monitoring the open/clickthrough rates.
eGifting & Direct Mail
Ships attention-getting gifts to target buyers via FedEx or online distribution channels. Examples include creative metaphors such as puzzles or hourglasses as well as more traditional items such as handwritten notes and printed collateral. Activities include identifying a concept, defining the target list, distributing the gifts, and tracking receipt confirmations.
Search Engine Optimization
Boosts ranking for keyword searches on Google and Bing as well as for sites like YouTube, Amazon, and Quora. Involves writing content with a goal of ranking on the first page of search results in featured snippets, knowledge graphs, or site listings. Key activities include keyword research, on-page and off-page optimization strategies.
Events + Tradeshows
Sponsors industry tradeshows focusing on technology (CES, SXSW, TechCrunch Disrupt), vertical industries (NRF, HIMSS, Mobile World Congress), or vendor communities (Hubspot Inbound, Salesforce Dreamforce, SAP Sapphire). Includes designing exhibit space, managing floorshow logistics, and coordinating booth staffing. Determines strategies to create engagement with event attendees such as swag/giveaways, raffles/contests, and speaking engagements.
Manages digital advertising campaigns on search engines (Google, Bing, YouTube), within social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter), and online media sites (CNN, Forbes, Wired). Additionally, includes advertising through traditional print, radio, TV, and Out-of-Home placements. Key activities include developing the creative and messaging as well as media buying and measurement of results.
Manages on-going series of campaigns to drive leads into the top of the sales funnel. Defines the campaign target segments, pipeline goals, programs budget and calendar of activities. Executes the various marketing activities such as email distributions, webinar production, and digital ad placements. Measures and reports on the effectiveness of the campaign.
Account Based Marketing
Executes a series high-touch campaigns targeted at a select group of accounts with high revenue potential. Orchestrates the cadence of activities performed by marketing managers, sales development representatives, account executives, and customer success managers. Develops personalized website pages, email communications, solution proposals, and direct mail programs to increase conversion rates. Measures engagement of key stakeholders at each account.
The marketing operations team is responsible for maximizing the productivity of the team with technology, data, and analytics. When resourced effectively, the marketing operations team will be able to use:
- Data collection to arm BDRs, sales reps, and marketing with intelligence about prospects in the pipeline
- Analytics to identify the best performing campaigns driving the highest dollars of pipeline, bookings, revenue
Marketing operations teams may be paired with its sister organizations from sales and customer success in a centralized Revenue Operations team. Regardless of where marketing ops lives in the org chart, the goal is to ensure that sales and marketing teams are spending budget and resources on activities that have the highest ROI. Marketing operations functions typically include:
Leads vendor selection, on-going maintenance, and optimization of the MarTech stack, which typically includes Marketing Automation Platforms (Hubspot, Marketo) and ABM suites (6Sense, Terminus). Performs configuration of new technologies, day-to-day administration of existing apps, and integration with other platforms such as CRM (SalesTech).
Grows the marketing database that supports email, direct mail, advertising, and other lead gen programs. Defines strategy to maximize first-party data collection on behaviors and interests. Sources third-party data such as account-level firmographic and technographic details and contact-level demographic and psychographic information.
KPIs & Metrics
Tracks performance of lead generation campaigns with metrics such as cost per lead or Marketing Customer Acquisition Cost (MCAC). Monitors the volume of MALs, MQLs, SALs, and SQLs generated by marketing as well as conversion rates between phases. Quantifies marketing’s contribution to the business with data about pipeline sourced, ACV booked, and revenue contributed.
Centrally manages the marketing programs budget across the various regions, product lines, and marketing functions. Approves vendor contracts and invoices. Tracks variance to plan and forecasting expenses for the current and upcoming quarters. Calculates the ROI from campaign spend and performance against expectations.
Ensures compliance with data privacy regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, CASL, CAN SPAM with proper use of unsubscribes and opt-ins. Defines policies and controls for systems to minimize cybersecurity risks as well as approvals and authorizations for vendors to mitigate potential fraud or non-performance.
Lead Generation Processes
Defines lead management processes including routing and nurturing. Establishes qualification criteria for lead stages such as inquiry, MAL, and MQL. Manages lead attribution and lead scoring algorithm logic. Builds service level agreements between marketing and sales teams for pipeline quotas and response timeframes.
The product marketing team owns market and competitive analysis, messaging and positioning, and supports the product development lifecycle by helping to launch new offerings. When resourced effectively, the product marketing team will be able to:
- Improve win rates with competitive intelligence and differentiated positioning that elevates your sales
- Capture higher market share in targeted industries and customer segments with audience-specific messaging
Sometimes product marketing is combined with related functions such as vertical industry marketing or solution marketing. Regardless of how it is organized, the goal is to enable the sales team with the messages and materials it needs to win more business. Product marketing functions typically include:
Sizes market for category with models for Total Addressable Market (TAM), Serviceable Addressable Market (SAM), and growth rates. Studies market dynamics within vertical industries, geographic segments, and sales channels. Tracks estimated market share of competitors.
Analyzes firmographics and technographics of customers. Develops ideal customer profile and buyer personas. Maps the customer journey including compelling events, purchasing drivers, and key influencers. Conducts win/loss analysis to understand purchasing behaviors and buyer psychographics.
Develops list of known competitors including niche SaaS/cloud players, technology mega-vendor solutions, as well as managed services and outsourcing alternatives. Tracks competitor partner relationships, investment activity, mergers and acquisitions. Prepares sales tools such as vendor lumascapes and competitive battlecards.
Collaborates with product management to launch new releases. Champions internal activities such as sales training, configure, price, and quote documentation, and CRM system updates. Spearheads external communications to customers, partners, analysts, media, and investors. Nurtures customer beta programs, lead generation campaigns, and sales incentive programs.
Messaging and Positioning
Tells the company story starting with mission and vision. Enumerate product features, expected benefits, and competitive differentiators. Shares other highlights such as technology innovation, cybersecurity posture, and customer experience. Defines market leadership claims using analyst rankings, market share statistics, or geographic footprint.
Develops library of tools that map to each phase of the sales cycle from initial discovery and demo to the final differentiation and close. Creates product brochures and targeted solution briefs for different buyer personas and use cases. Builds library of presentation slides, RFP answers, and recorded demo videos. Supports value engineering programs with business case templates, ROI models, and TCO calculators.
Identifies target industries with highest product-market fit and potential spend such as financial services, healthcare, or public sector. Develops messaging that targets unique business problems of specific industries. Documents positioning in industry solution brochures, sales presentation materials, and representative case studies.
The customer marketing team plays a key role in growing revenue, both by helping both to land (new accounts) and expand (existing accounts). When resourced effectively, the customer marketing team will be to launch:
- Advocacy programs such as online reviews that lead to increases in new customer acquisition
- Growth campaigns to the install base that help to drive bigger renewals and mid-contract upgrades
Depending upon the relative importance of growth from the install base, the customer marketing function can take on different forms. It may be a separate group reporting to the CMO with defined revenue targets or it may be a part-time responsibility of someone on the corporate marketing team. Customer marketing functions typically include:
Manages the annual user conference. Promotes the event, drives registration, and attracts sponsors. Develops event agenda, solicits speakers, and creates content. Manages event website, mobile application, and the virtual experience.
Manages online reputation on software review sites (G2, TrustRadius, Software Advice), app marketplaces (AWS, Azure, Salesforce), and search engines (Google, Bing). Solicits online reviews from happy customers. Maintains profiles to boost organic search rankings and utilizes paid search to boost conversion rates.
Designs user groups, online communities, and advisory boards that drive higher levels of loyalty, growth, and advocacy from the customer base. Recruits customers, encourages participation, and boosts engagement among members. Catalyzes discussions using internal and external subject matter experts to generate discussions about best practices, industry trends, or new product requirements.
Maps communications to customer journey including on-boarding, implementation, anniversaries, and renewals. Distributes regular cadence of communications via webinars, email newsletters, and direct mail. Creates event-driven content about new releases, product roadmap, and customer support.
Manages upsell and cross-sell campaigns to increase recurring revenue and customer lifetime value. Utilizes campaign strategies such as webinars, email, and content marketing to identify new opportunities. Arms customer success with tools to accelerate sales cycle, differentiate solution, and win deals.
The partner marketing team works with the alliances and channel organizations in sales to build pipeline with other software providers, systems integrators, and BPO firms. When resourced effectively, the partner marketing team will spearhead:
- Campaigns and materials that drive new potential channel partners to sales
- Joint marketing programs that drive sales pipeline with existing partners
Depending upon the relative importance of growth through referrals and alternative distribution channels, the partner marketing function can take on different forms. It may be a separate group reporting to the CMO or it may be a fraction of an FTE within the demand generation team. Partner marketing functions typically include:
Identifies list of potential partners including software vendors, systems integrators, business process outsourcers, and other niche consultants. Defines the firmographics and psychographics of the ideal partner profile.
New Partner Acquisition
Defines value proposition related to faster revenue growth, higher customer satisfaction, or increased win rate. Builds presentation materials, brochures, and growth calculators for use in recruitment process. Defines multiple tiers of partner programs with varying levels of revenue commitments and benefits.
Collaborates with partner’s marketing team to promote the joint solution. Issue joint press releases and bylined articles to generate media coverage. Delivers joint briefings with analysts to gain exposure in research notes. Jointly sponsors and presents at industry tradeshows to create market buzz.
Joint Lead Generation
Collaborates with partner’s marketing team on joint campaigns. Execute joint webinars, email, content, and event strategies to build pipeline. Manages Marketing Development Funds program to partially fund campaign efforts.
Joint Sales Tools
Enables partners with library of tools that map to each phase of the sales cycle from initial discovery and demo to the final differentiation and close. Creates jointly branded product brochures and targeted solution briefs for vertical industries, use cases, and customer segments. Shares library of presentation slides, RFP answers, and recorded demo videos.