Value_Creation-Is_Marketing_Pulling_Its_Weight-As a private equity investor, you and your fellow board members feel frustrated. New value isn’t being created as quickly as you’d hoped. Naturally, all eyes turn to sales.


It’s a classic trap: expecting too much of sales and not enough of marketing. But to members of the board, marketing is a nebulous concept. How it creates value is not well understood.


To accelerate value creation in your portfolio company, you need to do two things:


1)      Understand the vital role marketing plays in value creation; and


2)      Develop an integrated revenue strategy—one in which sales and marketing are perfectly aligned.


First, let’s put marketing in its proper context. Then we’ll show you how to unlock value faster.


Marketing: A Mission-Critical Function

Marketing is more than events, trade shows, and lead-generation email campaigns. It’s the connective tissue between products and sales. In an organization’s functional hierarchy, it sits right in the middle. It’s key to unlocking new value.


But is your marketing team contributing fully?


Your marketing leader’s answers to these three questions will tell you.


Question 1: What Is the Marketing Team’s Philosophy?


Are team members focused on demand generation and lead management? Or do brand awareness and sales enablement drive their efforts?


Question 2: Is There a Marketing Strategy?


Marketing should have a documented operating plan detailing how it will increase revenue contribution.


Question 3: Are Marketing and Sales Strategies Aligned?


You can validate alignment in one of two ways.


  • Metrics: Are there cascading metrics that run from marketing to sales in their revenue assumptions?


  • Budget: Look at your key market segments. For every dollar you spend, how much is going toward marketing? How much toward sales? That ratio will differ depending on the segment (e.g., fast growing vs. sleepy legacy).



Once you have answers, you can begin to assess the job ahead of you. Will marketing need to create a strategy? If a strategy exists, what are its weaknesses?


We’ve created a Sales and Marketing Alignment Tool that will help you align marketing and sales goals.  This tool is helpful for increasing pipeline and revenue growth along with marketing revenue contribution.  You can download the tool here.




Six Steps to a Best-in-Class Marketing Strategy

Knowing what to look for in a marketing strategy is half the battle. Our six-step marketing strategy methodology can help guide you.


Here, we’ve included examples of areas addressed. You’ll also find questions you can ask your marketing leader. Use these to stress test your marketing plan. It’s a quick way to deepen your understanding of how marketing creates value.


1 – Segmentation


Objectives Include:


  • Identifying subsets of buyers with common needs and priorities


  • Understanding how buyers make purchase decisions



Question for Marketing Leader: “Which accounts will generate the most revenue in the shortest amount of time?”


2 – Planning


Objectives Include:


  • Identifying the budget needed and how you’ll allocate it


  • Designing marketing campaigns that attract buyers



Question for Marketing Leader: “How are we planning to reach our revenue goal in relation to our competitors?”


3 – Engagement


Objectives Include:


  • Increasing awareness of and interest in your products/solutions


  • Turning early-stage prospects into sale-ready leads



Question for Marketing Leader: “What’s our plan for generating awareness of our products?”


4 – Organization


Objectives Include:


  • Defining the optimal marketing department structure for implementing the marketing strategy


  • Determining the necessary headcount



Question for Marketing Leader: “Do we have what we need to execute?”


5 – Execution


Objectives Include:


  • Advancing sales opportunities through strategic content delivery


  • Creating reports that consistently satisfy the needs of the executive leadership team



Question for Marketing Leader: “How will we produce enough quality content to meet our marketing and sales objectives?”


6 – Support


Objectives Include:


  • Increasing marketing efficiency through process, technology, metrics, and best practices


  • Automating core business processes to remove administrative burdens and increase marketing organization productivity



Question for Marketing Leader: “What are you doing, and what plans do you have, to increase marketing efficiency?”


Delving into these details will enable you to diagnose the strength of your plan. Is it comprehensive? Is it actionable? Now you have some evidence.




Matt Sharrers

Leads the firm's focus on the CEO’s role in accelerating revenue growth by embracing emerging best practices to grow revenue faster than the industry and competitors. 

Matt Sharrers is the CEO of SBI, a management consulting firm specialized in sales and marketing that is dedicated to helping you Make Your Number. Forbes recognizes SBI as one of The Best Management Consulting Firms in 2017.


Over the course of nearly a decade at SBI, Matt Sharrers was an instrumental early partner guiding SBI as the Senior Partner. Matt’s functional responsibilities included acting as the head of sales where he led SBI’s double-digit revenue growth, and was responsible for the hiring function to build SBI’s team of revenue generation experts.


Prior to joining SBI in 2009, Matt spent eleven years leading sales and marketing teams as a Vice President of Sales. Matt has “lived in the field.” As a result, he is the foremost expert in the art of separating fact from fiction as it relates to revenue growth best practices. CEOs and Private equity investors turn to Matt’s team at SBI when they need to unlock trapped growth inside of their companies.



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