3 rules for building a revenue-driven marketing strategy

3 rules for building a revenue-driven marketing strategy

July 15, 2022

Last week, our VP of Marketing, Nick Wentz shared his insight on the shift toward revenue-driven marketing. Although still early in its practice, many B2B marketing teams have been navigating this shift whether they had a name for it or not. We’ve seen CMOs shift to CROs, BDR (or SDR) functions reporting to Marketing, and marketing metrics stretch beyond leads and MQLs to actual revenue.

But, this next evolution of marketing is about more than marketing teams driving efficient revenue. It’s about getting a seat at the revenue table. If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that marketing is a vital driver of growth, specifically revenue growth.

So how do we get there? How do we, as marketers, earn a seat at the revenue table and keep it? We do what marketers do best, we adapt. We align closer with sales, we lean further into the data, and we become revenue-driven in everything that we do — even if we have to rewrite the rules to get there.

3 rules for revenue-driven marketers

At Clearbit, we’ve found that there are three key rules marketers should follow to become revenue-driven. (Click to jump ahead.)

Rule #1 - Don’t let marketing be a black box

  • Be accountable for revenue metrics, not vanity metrics. Transparency and accountability are key.

Rule #2 - Focus on reaching, winning (and retaining) high-value customers

  • Align with sales through shared goals & go-to-market motions. Then build repeatable, predictable, and scalable programs that activate your ideal customer profile at every stage of the customer journey.

Rule #3 - Take a data-driven, systematic approach to experimentation

  • This requires a fully utilized and flexible technology stack with data as your foundation.

Take a look at how these rules can be used to guide your revenue-driven marketing strategy.

Rule #1 - Don’t let marketing be a black box

Transparency and accountability. These are the values that every company strives for. So why does it sometimes feel like the marketing team is working in a black box?

Marketing teams have to shift their focus from vanity metrics to metrics that drive revenue. Revenue-driven marketers have to take accountability for their impact on revenue. Make those metrics front and center so that everyone in marketing and across the company understands performance and marketing’s contribution to revenue.

What this looks like in practice:

  • Understand what a good lead looks like and how it moves through the funnel. How long does it take for a lead to convert at each stage of the funnel and what touchpoints are needed to move them along?
  • Speak the same language as revenue leaders. Growth percentages and metrics like CAC, LTV, ACV, ARR, and MRR are all things that your CEO, CRO, and CFO care about.
  • Ensure your marketing strategy is distributed and understood by key stakeholders. Asking for additional budget becomes significantly easier when Finance has the necessary context: we’re doing this because XYZ, and you can expect to see these results by this time.

Identify and focus on the metrics that drive revenue. The metrics only matter as long as they’re tied to revenue.”

Nick Wentz, VP of Marketing, Clearbit

“Don’t give people the opportunity to poke holes in the metrics with comments like, ‘your MQLs aren’t even ready to buy.’ Learn to speak the language of revenue leaders.
Colin White, Head of Demand Generation, Clearbit

Rule #2 - Focus on reaching, winning (and retaining) high-value customers

If you want to have a seat at the revenue table, you can’t come empty-handed. Your alignment with sales, customer success, and operations have to be step-in-step to bring in and retain high-value customers. To do this, revenue-driven marketers have to become hyper-focused on activating their ICP at every stage of the funnel.

Lead generation is only the beginning for revenue-driven marketers. You have to do everything you can to continue building trust in every step along the buyer’s journey.

Is the messaging on your website aligned with the messaging your sales team uses during calls? Does your product deliver on your pre-sales promises? According to a 2021 Global Marketing Survey by Forrester, 35% of marketing decision-makers reported “improving marketing alignment with other functions” as the top need to support marketing priorities.

What this looks like in practice:

  • Get a clear understanding of your most important customers. Develop an ideal customer profile (ICP) and orient your team around it from messaging to targeting, lead scoring, and more.
  • Perfect the customer journey. Work collaboratively with your go-to-market teams to understand the ideal customer’s journey from awareness to advocacy stages. Build programs through a combination of content and channels that guide your ICP through the customer journey
  • Establish shared accountability. Work with leadership, sales, and operations to define goals, create SLAs, and establish regular check-ins to review the progress. This encourages alignment across teams, instead of siloed execution and reporting.

GTM teams who work collaboratively to understand the ideal customer’s journey from awareness to advocacy stages will know how to better attract, convert, and empower their customers.”
Justin Tsang, Growth Product Manager, Clearbit

Revenue-driven marketing starts with a clear understanding of your most important customers. Once you know this, you can develop an ICP and orient your team around it. That includes everything from targeting, messaging, positioning, content, scoring, routing, and more.”
Nick Wentz, VP of Marketing, Clearbit

Rule #3 - Take a data-driven, systematic approach to experimentation

It’s one thing to have a revenue marketing strategy, it’s another to execute it. If you don’t have the right tools or data in place to experiment and incorporate your new revenue-focused marketing initiatives it’s going to be hard to hit those revenue goals you’ve just committed to.

Most companies aren’t lacking data, what’s lacking is a way to make it actionable. If you make data the foundation of your tech stack, it’s incorporated into everything you do. Revenue-driven marketers are fully utilizing their tech stack to ensure the best possible ROI from their tools and programs.

What this looks like in practice:

  • Evaluate your tech stack often and use the best tools available to you. Top-tier tools can improve data quality by 5 - 10% which can impact everything from your ads, to personalized content, and even sales performance.
  • Get comfortable with experimentation. Lead with data, be strategic in methodology and follow-through and always utilize the full potential of your tech stack.

Revenue-driven marketers should be constantly evaluating tools and techniques to improve their own internal data so processes are smoother, conversations are more personalized, and their ads are shown to the right people.”
Julie Beynon, Head of Analytics, Clearbit

“Marketers can hedge the risk that comes with experimenting by running experiments that are data-driven, air-tight in terms of methodology and follow-through, and instrumented by the proper stack.
Justin Tsang, Growth Product Manager, Clearbit

Revenue-driven marketing is here. Are you ready?

As you work to implement a revenue-marketing strategy, keep these three rules in mind. This shift to revenue-driven marketing is still in its early stages despite being introduced over 10 years ago. Today, B2B marketers have the knowledge, data, and tools to bring value to the revenue table — don’t be afraid to take your seat.

Focus your funnel by activating your ICP at every stage of the customer journey. Download our playbook, How to activate your ICP in 5 steps to start building a high-impact marketing strategy that drives revenue.

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