The book I chose for my monthly book review post is <Post-acquisition Marketing> authored by Shiv Narayana. I’ve read many marketing books before, and this one was one of the most concise and helpful books with many real-life examples and practical tips.
I clearly remember the time I started working as a B2B marketer. There were many challenges; complex buyer journey, super long sales cycle, the difficulty of measuring attribution just to name a few. How the marketing org is structured was very different which might have to do with the companies I worked for operating in many global regions.
I struggled a lot to prove what I do brings value to the business due to a few reasons;
Attribution is not always straightforward or linear
Some contributions can’t be measured within the current KPI models (i.e. dark social)
There are many layers in the org, so it’s hard to have alignment between the team
Many things are halfway-done as I am spread way too thin
I don’t own the entire marketing (so there is a limit to what I can improve for my domain because all marketing channels are intertwined)
This book calls out the common problems that most B2B marketers encounter and provides solutions. Instead of giving a list of how-to, it describes the core principles that dictate how we do B2B marketing.
I'd like to share my two takeaways from this book;
The interest vs. intent matrix. I have known other quadrants for prioritisation, but this is specifically for B2B marketers. So I can take this right away and apply it to my work with a few tweaks.
The principle. Marketing should be held accountable for pipeline (closed won), not the no. of MQLs. Of course, it is easier said than done. Goals drive actions, so when my goal is to generate more revenues, I’ll naturally gear towards doing things that will bring high-quality leads.
Last but not least, I will finish the book review of this month by picking two passages from the book that I found insightful. If you want to read more passages I highlighted, please keep scrolling down!
👉🏻 Demand generation is less about convincing people to buy and more about meeting people where they are on their buyer journey. (p59)
👉🏻 The main adjustment we made was establishing two new core metrics to judge Marketing success: Marketing Generated Pipeline and Closed Won Deals. By tracking beyond MQLs, we removed Marketing’s bias for lead volume and replaced it with lead quality. (p39)
⭐️ Other bookmarked passages ⭐️
p17. Without data, it is impossible to illustrate the ROI of marketing activities. If you can’t illustrate the ROI of marketing activities, it is impossible to get approval for increased budget. And if you can’t get increased budget, it is impossible to scale Marketing.
p21. For a company with aspirations of growing 30% year over year organically, allocating only 4% of revenue toward Marketing is a recipe for disaster. It meant almost the entire responsibility of growth rested on the shoulders of Sales.
p22. Marketing’s role become narrowly focused on one objective: help Sales close more deals. As a result, marketing activities focused on the items that will deliver the most value to the sales team such as sales enablement, events, and product marketing.
p24. Private equity investors expect Marketing to take on greater responsibility for revenue and bring data to guide decisions to help the company reach its expectations.
p25. The short answer is that even VPs of Marketing haven’t figured out all the ways in which Marketing can drive enterprise value and how to lobby for more budget.
p39. The main adjustment we made was establishing two new core metrics to judge Marketing success: Marketing Generated Pipeline and Closed Won Deals. By tracking beyond MQLs, we removed Marketing’s bias for lead volume and replaced it with lead quality.
p41. Your acceptable cost per lead is the amount you can spend on each lead and remain profitable, based on how likely that lead is to close. With an Acceptable Cost per Lead figure in place, you can set a baseline to evaluate the success of any marketing activities and avoid burning cash on dead ends. When Marketing accountability is tied to MQLs, the way you measure your Acceptable Cost per Lead is by looking at CPA. The CPA implies your cost for any type of lead. Because not all MQLs are created equal, this is a recipe for disaster.
p58. By removing the budget constraint, you can begin to think about all the avenues available to the business to scale its marketing efforts. You can then look at what budget each avenue requires and how much you are willing to fund.
p59. Demand generation is less about convincing people to buy and more about meeting people where they are on their buyer journey.
p65. They do things in random over when there are far more qualified prospects to build assets, campaigns, and programs for. To do things better means doing them in the right order.
p78. Content, on the other hand, is there for the entire journey. It plays a key part in how your customers move from Awareness to Activation to Adoption through to Advocacy.
p81. We just need to build a system so you are always working on the most valuable piece of content for the company.
p82. With so many different inputs for what Content can be producing, it is critical to have a prioritization mechanism - a content roadmap.
p83. We prioritized the biggest opportunity areas based on ROI. To do this, we had to see where the revenue was being lost.
p85. This is why running a diagnostic is the key to figuring out which area content teams should focus on. Without a proper audit of where content resources are best allocated, Content is more reactive than data-driven.
p103. Depending on the company, the critical gaps are different. Some companies are stronger at demand gen, while others are strong at product marketing. No company will be a leader in all 8 areas of marketing defined above, nor is it necessary for the company to be good at everything.
p104. This is why understanding where you are as a company and what kind of marketing team you need is the key to success. It is also why you need to map your gaps back to the investment thesis.
p110. She was treating budgeting more like a math exercise than a strategic one. She had no underlying data to back up her budget ask
p113. First, tie its budget ask to what has already been forecasted for revenue. And second, show where that investment will pay off.
p116. This required personalized content for every industry, persona, use case, and vertical. Given that Company A was such a horizontal platform, this work was essential to driving conversion rates through the funnel.