Kicking off B2B growth and demand-gen in young startups: What you don’t know will take its toll

Kicking off proper B2B growth marketing in a startup : What you don’t know will take its toll
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In today’s world of B2B marketing, the way a startup builds its sales and marketing infrastructure can have a great impact. Usually, many of the foundations are laid in the early stages, as the seed money-raising was completed. 

While nearly every sales or marketing executive knows a few things about enterprise sales, lead-gen, ABM, or Outbound Marketing, at least in theory, their knowledge about these domains is often not sufficient for the supervision that is needed. 

It doesn’t help that these disciplines, like almost every other in the fast-paced tech industry, are constantly being upended. The strategies you used just a few short months ago can become outdated. 

After more than 8 years of running a global B2B (usually deep-tech) startup-marketing agency focused on post-seed or round A stages, we’ve helped more than 100 startups build their initial global marketing and growth infrastructure and set and pursue KPIs that defined their evaluation in future rounds. 

Being that most of these startups were in their early stages and had small teams, we had to fill the internal marketing ‘know-how’ void and work on strategic and operational plans in parallel to the actual implementation. 

It is still clear (and also understood) that decision-makers are missing critical knowledge — be the founders, CEOs, CMOs, or marketing professionals. It’s only human. They’re sometimes missing the foundations required to really get the gist of outbound, prospecting, ABM B2B growth, and more so that they can achieve their objectives. 

For all these reasons and more, we created a guide focusing on how to build prospect databases, run inbound and outbound activities, and connect between sales and marketing to establish awareness, positioning, and no less important, supercharge business opportunities.

This article brings some of the guide insights to you so that you can use them to cultivate a robust marketing foundation.

Want to get your hands on the guide? No problem, Just fill in your details below. Otherwise, continue reading. 

 

BUILDING PROSPECT-DATABASES & KICKING OFF B2B ABM, SDR & OUTBOUND OUTREACH

 

Most Founders Don’t know enough  

When you onboard your product or R&D operation, do you make sure that there is someone you trust around to oversee the setup? Someone who knows something about the challenge? 

The same should go for sales and marketing. 

Startup executives, please wake up and acknowledge the fact that things sure have changed a lot in the last 2 years and are changing again while I write these words. As long as you are aware of how dynamic the environment is, you will be safe 🙂  

The B2B tech marketing ecosystem is constantly maturing, giving way to new solutions that make it easy to connect with real-time databases and extract highly relevant super-tailored prospect lists. From here, other tools help sales and marketing smoothly collaborate and use multiple inbound and outbound techniques to hunt down only the right people, and continue doing so until the goal is achieved. 

Assuming that you have developed a good product, a proper sales and marketing operation will set your startup future.  Therefore, you should need to know the fundamentals: You should know how to assess the internal stakeholders and agencies you hire for the job, how to set the expectations that you have, how to estimate the investment that you’re shooting for, and to define the things that you don’t really need. 

The guide speaks about outbound prospecting, accompanying inbound activities, tools, and technologies that are “startup” friendly. It also shines a light on prospect databases — what we consider to be the fundamental pillar that connects the teams (sales and marketing). 

Here are some highlights:  

The Prospecting List Playbook

Every prospecting operation should include a list and then, based on it, a defined funnel of a customer journey that doesn’t start with a sales pitch . Direct sales pitching to people that never heard of the brand is hardly optimal

A prospect list serves both outbound and inbound sales and marketing outreach in parallel.

This means that having sales and marketing fully aligned and coordinated around personas, accounts, MQL, SQL, and sales opportunities definitions (and KPIs) is essential. This can be achieved by running dedicated all-hands strategy sessions, where you co-define these metrics and set KPIs together.

One key is a scoring mechanism for each prospect, so both marketing and sales teams know how to treat each lead.  

Database building has moved way beyond purchasing static lists at exorbitant prices or just scraping online databases, though these strategies still exist. 

There are plenty of new, innovative tools that help with building ultra-targeted databases that are also continuously updated in real-time. We weigh their differences in the eBook

While prospect databases should include a segmentation and scoring mechanism, they should also list industry influencers, potential partners, and ‘non-whale’ leads who can impact brand awareness among those oh-so-desirable whales. 

Also, keep in mind that as you scale, you’ll need to think about maintaining your database in a collaborative tool like a marketing automation solution that comes with a CRM.   

Creating a communication plan that defines the type of outreach (message and content) you’ll deliver at each stage of the funnel is another key. Top funnel activities target prospects that aren’t familiar with the brand, yet, and as such should be easy-going and distributed through specific channels. Mid-funnel activities focus on prospects that have displayed awareness of the brand (and as such are scored accordingly ). There, the content is much more focused on the solution and its utilities. 

Tracking engagement is important to scoring. This is also called nurturing leads — meaning using marketing activities, provoking them to engage with ads, posts, emails, or any other form of content until they have reached a score threshold that moves them down the funnel – towards becoming a sales opportunity. 

Some solutions automatically update scores according to engagement activities. This comes in handy when the scale of new leads justifies an investment in automation capabilities. 

Tracking and automation also enable you to automatically wake up sales (alerts) when MQLs are nearing an SQL stage and it’s time for a 1ON1 action. 

Sales and marketing collaboration is key throughout this process. But, how is it done practically? Both teams should be committed to generating business opportunities. They should both agree on the funnel, stages, effort, and content. 

Ensure that communication and cooperation are running smoothly with weekly meetings that include all process stakeholders. Marketing should update on their campaigns, SDRs should present findings from their discussions, including the objections they’re hearing, while sales should present their conversion metrics. 

Proper attribution tracking is critical- to get both marketing and sales aligned on exactly how to grow sales opportunities, not just leads.

Einav Laviv
Einav Laviv is a tech marketing expert, a startup founder and the CEO at G2Mteam, that supports Israeli startups with full stack global marketing services. She lives, breathes and loves startups & marketing: B2B, B2C, Mobile, online and product
Einav Laviv
Einav Laviv
hello [at] g2mteam.com