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The Early Stage SaaS Marketing Team Blueprint


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Early Stage SaaS Marketing Goals require the right go to market goals and team. Learn how to structure your marketing organization for early stage SaaS.

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The Early Stage SaaS Marketing Team Blueprint

  1. 1. The early stage marketing team blueprint Dave Hawley
  2. 2. 2 Key question determine your GTM model • Is your product a new category, or a better version of an existing product? • Buyer awareness of issue your product solves for dictates investment in product marketing (to educate on how important this is) versus lead generation (to find the people who should care how important this is). • What’s your price? • Average price dictates sales motion (over the phone vs “in person,” sales, the need for sales development and sales cycle length and lead volume required. • How many sales people are already hired? • Demand generation capacity needed to hit sales volume should dictate the amount of lead generation that is needed.
  3. 3. 3 Key question determine your GTM model • High volume or high renewal/upsell/cross sell GTM model? • If high-volume sales, plan on more demand generation and/or sales development earlier. • If high renewal/upsell/cross sell is your goal hire for product, customer marketing and content marketing earlier. • How specific does marketing need to target your buyer? • What combination of factors (industry, region, category, use case, buyer, user, etc.) do leads need to include for sales to close deals predictably? • The more narrow this is, the more you need product marketing. • The broader this is, the more you need demand generation.
  4. 4. 4 You are not hiring a sales & marketing team • You are hiring a GTM team • The goals of marketing and sales should be tightly aligned to create alignment and “healthy pressure,” around messaging, pipeline and revenue goals. • Shared goals can be a great way to get started on sales and marketing alignment. • When this isn’t the mentality, sales and marketing alignment becomes difficult (and it’s a painful and difficult problem to solve).
  5. 5. 5 The 80/20 budgeting rule for early stage marketing • 80% of time, effort and budget should go to lead generation • Demand generation is “oxygen,” for a sales team at the early stage (once it has run through it’s rolodex) • Pipeline volume growth is the biggest indicator of marketing success in the early stage • 20% of time, effort and budget should go to brand (PR, events, original content, social media) • Some branding investments are required but don’t pay off in year one. If you overspend here, you won’t have the capital to keep the “oxygen on” • You have a “mini brand,” and while you should look to maintain/grow it, don’t do so at a high cost to lead generation
  6. 6. 6 Build a team around key levers of the go to market formula Revenue target = Lead volume (x) Conversion to sales rate (x) Sales close rate (x) Average sales price (x) *awareness investments support all of the above in measurable and unmeasurable ways (see demand generation formula)
  7. 7. 7 Hire team to support your go to market formula • Lead volume • Hire lead generation / marketing ops for pipeline • Measure on lead volume growth, budget adherence, conversion to sales rate growth • Hire SDR as alternative - measure on pipeline growth and close rate of sourced deals • Conversion to sales rate • Hire SDR / SMB sales for volume sales handoff • Measure on volume goals, conversion to sales rate and close rate • Sales close rate and average sales price • Hire PMM / sales enablement / content (in enterprise only) • Measure on close rate and average sales price
  8. 8. 8 What type of person to hire ? • Demand Gen • Experimental mindset • Hypothesize, test, measure, repeat • Marketing “engineer,” (websites, landing pages, email and digital marketing) • PMM • Research minded / high empathy for buyer • Motivated to be “In the field,” with sales • Agile content delivery • SDR • Dedicated • Energetic • Coachable
  9. 9. 9 Who to hire first ? Look at the GTM formula – and place your bets Lead volume is the easiest to drive, but costs the most Sales close rate is the cheapest, but hardest to drive Conversion to sales rate is in between
  10. 10. 10 Archetype early stage Saas GTM team • Awareness • Outsourced to PR firm for their rolodex primarily • Sales development • Hired mainly for deals that average > $50k, typically 2nd to 4th sales hire (see 3:1 ratio) • Lead generation • Typically the first marketer to be hired and the first to be fired • Hire demand generation after product market fit and after (see) message market fit • Product/content marketing • Typically hired “too late,” after lead generation efforts do not yield acceptable results • Demand generation is the most expensive way to “test your message,”
  11. 11. 11 Flip the typical process on its head • There is a better way than the archetypical process • Ideally know you buyer and their concerns intimately before you spend budget on awareness or demand generation • Steps to avoid this tactic 1. Narrow down your TAM 2. Define your immediately addressable market buyer intimately (see IAM) (see the intimate champion profile) and test GTM and buyer hypothesis (the role of third grade) 3. Attack your immediately addressable with proven messages and awareness and demand generation budget
  12. 12. 1212 Learn how an experienced partner can help you build, improve your expand your early stage GTM team