I’ve spoken with B2B Startup founders about the moment they find out that the investment round went through. They all tell me the same story. Their teams are celebrating, and they’ve been looking forward to this for so long, but in the actual moment, they are full of dread and worry. How can they scale marketing, grow their sales team and fill their pipeline to meet the new aggressive growth goals?
The hard reality is that scaling up a company is a different skill set than the early phases and it has different challenges. That’s why up to 50% of startup founders leave (or are asked to leave) following a large fundraising round.
In this series of blog posts, we will look at challenges that B2B startup founders face when they need to dramatically scale up their business following a funding round. In this post, we will look at how to scale marketing.
What Message Are You Sending?
Test your marketing rocket!
Before you can scale up your marketing, you need to make sure you know exactly who you are selling to, what problem you are solving and what message and channels resonate the best with him or her. If you’ve gotten this far in a company, you have a good sense of what the answers to these questions are, but you need to test and refine the message to make sure that when you invest in marketing, you are hitting the lead velocity rate that your new VC expects.
If you have the wrong buyer, the wrong problem, and even a messaging that is slightly off, you won’t be generating enough leads fast enough to meet your new growth goals.
The best way to test these messages and ideas is to run small marketing campaigns, use A/B testing and look at the results.
Marketing Take-off: Get help for the first 6 months
Once you have the right target, the right business problem and the right message, then it’s take-off time! For this phase you need significantly more marketing capacity than you will need later on. I like to think about the first six months as the take-off phase. Like an airplane taking off, it requires considerably more energy and work to take-off than it does once you’ve reached cruising altitude.
To scale marketing, you need help during this take off phase, not only because it requires more people than you need later on, but also because during these 6 months the CMO needs to be recruiting to build his or her team. In this phase you should be generating 5 or more blog posts per week, multiple non-gated long form content, email campaigns, several videos per week, and at least 1 downloadable long form piece of content per month. This all also needs to be on a website that is on message and looks great! The goal is to own all of the topics around the problem you solve, so you become the reference in the market. At Nituno, we focus on helping startups for this take-off phase then slowly step back handing work off at the cruise altitude phase.
Marketing at “Cruise Altitude”
To scale marketing with the approach we mention above, it means that the CMO can focusing on building their team for cruise altitude marketing. When I talk about cruise altitude marketing, I mean a marketing effort that has a well-designed processes, all the tools and collateral they need and a team to deliver the content and prospecting materials.
At this phase, you should have a clear sense of your target buyer, the problem you solve and the best messaging, now you just need to write the relevant content, manage the adverts and let the machine work for you!