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A marketer’s glossary to essential agile marketing terms

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A marketer's glossary to essential agile marketing terms

For the past few weeks, we’ve been sharing chapters from MarTech’s Guide to agile marketing for teams, a comprehensive e-book that takes a look at how teams can best execute in an agile marketing playbook.

But like any good discipline, it’s important to know the terms before diving into the concepts. That’s why we’ve created this quick guide to key terms in agile marketing. And in order to keep this guide usable when you are in quick need of a definition, we’ve kept it to the truly important terms.

The glossary is divided into four sections: Methods and Frameworks; Roles; Artifacts (which is the agile term for “tools”); Meetings; and Managing Work.

Enjoy the guide.


A marketers glossary to essential agile marketing terms

Many marketers struggle to apply agile marketing in a way that adds value to team members. Learn how to break that pattern in this free e-book, “MarTech’s Guide to agile marketing for teams”.

Click here to download!


Methods and Frameworks

Agile

Agile is the ability to create and respond to change. It is a way of dealing with, and ultimately succeeding in, an uncertain and turbulent environment.

Agile Marketing

Agile marketing is an umbrella term for a set of frameworks and practices based on the values and principles expressed in the Agile Marketing Manifesto. When you approach marketing in a particular manner, it’s generally good to live by these values and principles and use them to help figure out the right things to do given your particular context.

Kanban

The Kanban Method is a means to design, manage, and improve flow systems for knowledge work. The method also allows organizations to start with their existing workflow and drive evolutionary change. They can do this by visualizing their flow of work, limiting work in progress (WIP) and stopping starting and starting finishing instead.

Lean Marketing

Lean Marketing is about being agile, about viewing each campaign or marketing activity as one step in the ever-improving progress towards customer acquisition and ultimately customer satisfaction.

Scrum

Scrum is a process framework used to manage product development and other knowledge work. Scrum is empirical in that it provides a means for teams to establish a hypothesis of how they think something works, try it out, reflect on the experience, and make the appropriate adjustments. That is, when the framework is used properly. Scrum is structured in a way that allows teams to incorporate practices from other frameworks where they make sense for the team’s context.

The Agile Marketing Framework

This is was recently created to meet the unique needs of marketing organizations. It’s inspired from the common frameworks of Scrum, Kanban & Lean, taking the best of all three into a formula that marketers find most useful based on real customer experiences.

Roles

Agile Champion This role from The Agile Marketing Framework is about coaching the team and the organization on agile ways of working. This role is not there to project manage work, but rather to empower teams to take ownership and accountability.

Agile Coach is someone brought in, typically from outside the organization, to help your organization enhance it’s agile practices and live out the values and principles of agility.

Marketing Owner is a role that’s responsible for stakeholder relations and prioritization of work. This role has authority and respect from leaders to determine what the team will work on next. This role also updates the Marketing Roadmap and Content Calendar as priorities change. This role often is given to a Marketing Strategist who understands customers, the marketplace and the future direction of work.

Marketing Team

Everyone contributing work is a member of the Marketing Team, despite their official job title. Ideally, there is no hierarchy within the team, allowing for ideation by all team members. In agile marketing, team members have broad skill sets and are able to go beyond their specialties to work on business priorities.

Practice Leads

These are leaders of functional departments. In agile marketing, their role changes significantly. They no longer manage their employees’ work, but instead lead the functional area to achieve optimal quality and best practices.

Product Owner

The product owner is a role in Scrum responsible for managing the product backlog in order to achieve the desired outcome that a team seeks to accomplish. The product owner role was created as part of the Scrum framework in order to address challenges that teams had with multiple, conflicting direction, or no direction at all with respect to which work is the most important to the business and customers.

Scrum Master

This is the team role in the Scrum framework responsible for ensuring the team lives agile values and principles and follows the processes and practices that the team agreed they would use. The role does not generally have any actual authority. People filling this role have to lead from a position of influence, often taking a servant-leadership stance.

Scrum Team

Same as “Marketing Team” used in the Scrum framework.

Stakeholders

These are people invested in the work that the marketing team produces such as Sales, Product Development and Customer Service representatives.

Artifacts

Content Calendar

If your marketing team creates content, you may have a need to schedule when each piece gets published. Having fixed content release dates will still be agile, as long as you can be flexible on some of the details that you put in your content, iterating and revising as you learn more from earlier pieces.

Marketing Backlog

The Marketing Backlog is a place where all of the team’s ideas for future work lives and is transparent to everyone. The backlog is emergent and flexible, changing continuously as campaign data and metrics inform the team on which ideas to move up in prioritization and which ones should not be worked on anymore because they didn’t perform as expected.

Marketing Roadmap

A timeline of anticipated delivery of campaigns to clients that is typically for a quarter at a time, but is reviewed regularly by marketing owners and stakeholders and is subject to change as market and customer demands shift.

Product Backlog

Scrum Term for “Marketing Backlog” typically referring to future work to develop a product.

Sprint Backlog

The set of product backlog items in Scrum selected for the sprint by the team, plus a plan for delivering the committed work.

Meetings

Backlog Readiness

This should happen as needed to make sure that the team’s Marketing Backlog has enough detail to discuss how work will get done during planning. However, it’s important to move quickly and don’t get too deep into the logistics as agile is about switching gears up until the time the team begins work.

Backlog Refinement

Scrum term for “Backlog Readiness”, formerly known as “Backlog Grooming”.

Campaign Performance Review

This session is for the team and stakeholders to look at how campaigns in market are performing, using data and insights to inform future work. The team will also showcase any new work done that cycle that’s ready to launch. Finally, the marketing roadmap should be reviewed based on these findings and updated based on market performance, new customer insights or marketplace changes.

Daily Huddle

This is a time for the team to coordinate timing on work in progress, share any updates on feedback from campaigns in flight and to ask for help from team members. This should feel more like a football team huddling to make its next play than a status update. The Daily Huddle is for team members to talk to each other and to keep themselves moving forward with their planned work.

Daily Scrum 

Similar to the Daily Huddle, the Scrum team inspects the progress toward the sprint goal and adapts the sprint backlog as necessary, adjusting the upcoming planned work. Maximum of 15 minutes each day.

Launch Planning

This is where the team collaborates and plans for the work they hope to launch in a 5 or 10-day cycle. The goal is for everyone on the team to commit to what work they plan to accomplish and how they’re going to work together to achieve that goal. Good Cycle Planning involves synchronizing the timing around work and understanding everything involved to deliver something of value to customers.

Sprint

A timeboxed, consistent period that the team works with minimal interruptions to meet its goal of getting committed work items done. A marketing sprint is either one or two weeks, maintaining consistency in the length.

Sprint Planning

Sprint planning is an event in the Scrum framework where the team determines the product backlog items they will work on during that sprint and discusses their initial plan for completing those product backlog items. Teams may find it helpful to establish a sprint goal and use that as the basis by which they determine which product backlog items they work on during that sprint.

Sprint Retrospective

The Scrum team inspects how the last sprint went regarding individuals, interactions, processes, tools, and definition of done. The Team identifies improvements to make the next sprint more effective and enjoyable. This is the conclusion of the sprint. 

Sprint Review

The entire Scrum team inspects the sprint’s outcome with stakeholders and determines future adaptations. Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback.

Team Improvement Workshop

This is a collaborative session for team members to look at continuous improvement. The goal is to find a small action item that the team can implement in the coming cycle to improve how they work together. Reflecting back at the most recent cycle may help the team learn from actual events.

Managing Work

Big Goals (or Big Hairy Audacious Goals, or B.H.A.G)

A collaborative creation activity between all team members and stakeholders. The goals should align to higher-level business objectives or KPIs. The team should create 1-to-3 Big Goals of what they hope to achieve in the upcoming timeframe, thinking about what would make them successful. When everyone is in alignment, priorities become much clearer.

Customer Story

There are how Marketing Backlog items can be written to view work from a customer’s perspective. A customer story includes the “Who”, “What” and “Why” of the work. Within the story, individual team members create the tasks necessary to complete the story.

Epic

A really big story that needs to be broken into smaller stories before a team can work on it in a sprint.

Minimally Viable Campaign

The earliest point that a piece of a larger campaign can be delivered to customers to add value or test an assumption.

Story Points

Story points are a unit of measure for expressing an estimate of the overall effort that will be required to fully implement a product backlog item or any other piece of work. When we estimate with story points, we assign a point value to each item. 

Subtask

Subtasks are created at sprint planning by the team and are used to determine the “how” and “who” will work on the story to get it to done. Subtasks are often estimated in hours.

Test, Learn and Measure

Testing your marketing with many small experiments, abandoning failed experiments and scaling efforts that perform well.

Theme

A group of stories that are tied together in some way, such as by campaign or project.

User Story

Product backlog items written in story format to align the team on the work from the users’ perspective, typically of a software system.

Marketing work management: A snapshot

What it is: Marketing work management platforms help marketing leaders and their teams structure their day-to-day work to meet their goals on deadline and within budget constraints, all while managing resources and facilitating communication and collaboration. Functions may include task assignments, time tracking, budgeting, team communication and file sharing, among others.

Why it’s important today. Work environments have changed drastically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has heightened the need for work management tools that help marketers navigate these new workflows.

Marketers have been at work developing processes that allow them to work with those outside their own offices since marketing projects—campaigns, websites, white papers, or webinars—frequently involve working with outside sources.

Also, with marketers required to design interfaces, write content, and create engaging visual assets today, more marketers are adopting agile workflow practices, which often have features to support agile practices.

What the tools do. All of these changes have heightened the need for marketing work management software, which optimizes and documents the projects undertaken by digital marketers. They often integrate with other systems like digital asset management platforms and creative suites. But most importantly, these systems improve process clarity, transparency, and accountability, helping marketers keep work on track.

Read next: What is marketing work management and how do these platforms support agile marketing

About The Author

A marketers glossary to essential agile marketing terms

Stacey knows what it’s like to be a marketer, after all, she’s one of the few agile coaches and trainers that got her start there. After graduating from journalism school, she worked as a content writer, strategist, director and adjunct marketing professor. She became passionate about agile as a better way to work in 2012 when she experimented with it for an ad agency client. Since then she has been a scrum master, agile coach and has helped with numerous agile transformations with teams across the globe. Stacey speaks at several agile conferences, has more certs to her name than she can remember and loves to practice agile at home with her family. As a lifelong Minnesotan, she recently relocated to North Carolina where she’s busy learning how to cook grits and say “y’all.”


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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

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Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

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So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

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  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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