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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.