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Content Collaboration: Building a Formidable Content Team

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11 B2B Content Ideas to Fuel your Marketing (with Examples)

There’s almost never a one-size-fits all approach to building or managing a content marketing team.

It’s part art, part science. So, just as there’s no “right way” to draw a picture, there’s no “right way” to build a content team. But there are some basic principles to follow that can boost your chances of success. 

These fundamental principles include filling key roles with the right people, using the right tools, and baking best practices into your team’s approach. 

Let’s take a closer look.

Key roles your content team should have

In this section, we’ll cover the roles that will serve as the foundation for your content marketing team. 

1. Content Marketing Manager 

This person will be the leader of your team in many ways, overseeing the development and execution of your content marketing strategy. A content marketing manager is typically tasked with: 

  • Building out the content calendar

  • Managing writers and other content creators

  • Developing workflows and processes for creating and delivering content

  • Ensuring the team produces quality content that meets your business goals (e.g. boosting sales, engaging loyal customers, driving traffic)

For example, Jenna MJ Thomas is the content marketing manager for the software company, OneTrust. In this role, Thomas builds her company’s content strategy, plans the editorial calendar, and oversees the implementation of multichannel, integrated content campaigns.

2. Subject Matter Expert(s) 

The next key role to fill on your content marketing team is that of the subject matter expert, also known as an SME. Depending on the size and scope of your content strategy, you may actually need multiple SMEs with different areas of expertise. 

Subject matter experts are important because their expertise lends an air of authority to your content, establishing your brand as an industry leader. You can use SMEs to enhance your content in a number of ways: 

  • Podcast interviews

  • Guest blog posts

  • Developing content strategy

  • Reviewing content ideas and topics

  • Fact checking technical content before it’s published

  • Contributing quotes to lend credibility to your content

  • Working with ghostwriters to produce content

  • Hosting webinars or special events

For example, Welcome’s CEO Shafqat Islam recently contributed a guest post on our blog after Gartner released its 2022 Magic Quadrant for Content Marketing Platforms, naming Welcome the leader for the fifth year in a row. (More on this later!)   

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Featuring an authoritative figure like a company CEO in a blog post adds credibility to your content. It can also attract a different audience than other blog posts, drawing in those who are interested in the CEO’s perspective as opposed to other topics. 

Another example comes from Koupon Media’s podcast, How Convenient. Many episodes feature relevant subject matter experts from within the company. In the episode about gamification, for example, Koupon interviewed their own VP of Engineering, Brian Reinhart. 

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3. Content Creators 

As you might guess, content creators are the people on your team who create the content itself — writers, designers, videographers, and more. Finding the right content creators is important because they directly affect the quality of your content. 

In fact, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) advises that when hiring a writer, the quality of the person’s work should outweigh their background and qualifications. CMI also posits that a highly skilled writer is often more valuable than an average writer with in-depth knowledge about a particular subject. 

Here are some tips to find the best content creators: 

4. Managing Editor 

Next up is the managing editor. This person oversees the day-to-day activities of your content marketing operation, making sure deadlines are met in a timely manner and that your content is up to par. 

The managing editor is often responsible for strategic tasks in addition to technical ones, including: 

  • Developing content ideas

  • Managing the content calendar

  • Collaborating with writers and designers

  • Assigning content to writers and other content creators

  • Ensuring content meets quality standards

  • Fact checking and proofreading

  • Making sure content has the right tone and brand voice

  • Approving graphics and layout

For example, Rohma Abbas is the managing editor at OpenView, a venture capital and private equity firm in the Boston area.

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As OpenView’s managing editor, Abbas oversees all content production on their blog. She works closely with contributing writers, freelancers, and internal experts to help them find just the right words to tell their story and provide the best possible reader experience for OpenView’s audience. 

When hiring a managing editor, it’s a good idea to look for someone who’s highly organized, pays attention to detail, and has experience as a writer. 

It’s also important to find someone who’s adept at both giving and receiving constructive criticism, since a large part of their job is giving feedback and working through revisions with other staff members. 

5. Proofreader(s) 

In addition to the managing editor, you’ll need at least one proofreader on your team — especially if you have a large content operation. 

A proofreader typically has a much narrower set of tasks compared to an editor, focused entirely on the superficial aspects of writing like spelling, grammar, and punctuation. This keeps your content clean and frees up the managing editor to focus on strategic issues like tone and quality. 

Proofreaders go over each piece of content with a fine-toothed comb, checking each piece of content for the following:

When hiring a proofreader, look for someone who is extremely detail-oriented and has expert-level knowledge of the structural elements of writing. 

6. Distribution Specialist(s) 

Once your content is created, you need someone to publish it in all the right places — also known as content distribution. If you’re not too familiar with this concept, content distribution is the overall process of publishing, sharing, and promoting your content through various channels.  

These include owned channels (like your website), shared channels (social media), paid channels (ads) and earned channels (similar to publicity). And while the actual distribution happens after your content is created, it’s important to understand where a piece is going to be distributed before it’s created. 

This is where a distribution specialist comes into play. Not only will they publish your content, but they’ll also guide your strategy from the beginning to make sure your content is optimized for each channel. (Hint: If you can find a distribution specialist who also does SEO, that’s even better!)

7. Analytics Manager

If you’re churning out content without paying attention to how it’s performing, you could be wasting serious time on the wrong stuff. Enter the analytics manager. 

This person keeps an eye on all of your metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), letting your team know what’s working and what’s not. This allows you to adjust your strategy accordingly. 

Here are some typical tasks for an analytics manager: 

  • Create and maintain a reporting system to deliver daily, weekly, and monthly insights on content analytics and traffic trends

  • Identify and interpret patterns in consumption behavior

  • Identify new opportunities and best practices based on emerging trends

When hiring an analytics manager, look for someone who is proficient in all things technical, from content tagging and measurement to the management of large, complex data sets. You’ll also want someone who is a proven collaborator, with the ability to present insights in a compelling, easy-to-understand manner. 

How to build a formidable content team

Now that you know all about the roles you need to fill for your content team, here are six steps to help you put it all together. 

1. Select your team members

The first step in building a formidable content team is choosing the right players — both individually and collectively. 

If you’re assembling a team from within an existing department, who would be a good fit for each role? Jot down a list of names and then consider whether this group would work well together. 

If you’re assembling a brand-new team, create job descriptions for each role and post them on the appropriate forums. LinkedIn is a good place to start, along with writer’s groups and industry associations. 

It’s generally a good idea to hire your content marketing manager and managing editor first so they can participate in assembling the rest of the team. It’s also a good idea to have a solid strategy in place so you have a general idea of how many content creators you’ll need. 

Jill Phillips of Buildfire suggests, “Before you start looking for writers, you need to create an effective content strategy that will help you decide on the type and number of writers you need to hire. The strategy will also help you stay focused on your long-term goals and not just on producing content.”

2. Get your content team focused on key KPIs

Once you’ve assembled your team, let them know what success looks like by focusing them on key KPIs. Not only does this point everyone in the same direction, but having a content team who has mastered performance measurement will put you way ahead of the curve. 

Our 2022 State of Content Survey found that the ability to measure performance has the highest impact on a team’s success, yet it’s the most challenging and underdeveloped part of content operations. 

For example, only 9% of marketers rated their ability to demonstrate the impact of content as “excellent”. Breaking it down further, 44% had difficulty with holistic reporting, 43% with tracking performance across channels, and 39% with measuring KPIs. 

By focusing on KPIs from the start, your team will be better equipped to measure success in the future. 

3. Create an onboarding process

When assembling a new team, it’s important to have a clear onboarding process so that everyone knows exactly what they’re supposed to do — and what everyone else is supposed to do. 

As the Content Marketing Institute puts it: “To function efficiently, it’s important to have clearly defined job roles and a formal structure for your team. Without this, responsibilities get blurred and chaos usually ensues.”

In addition to defining roles, it’s a good idea to create a style guide to give new team members during the onboarding process. This creates consistency across all of your content and gives writers and other creators something to refer to when they have questions. 

4. Build your content calendar

Next up is creating your content calendar — a long-term timeline for planning and executing your overall strategy. This helps to keep your team on the same page. And on top of that, here are a few other benefits of a well-planned content calendar

  • Reduces the amount of time your team spends brainstorming and scheduling because it’s all done up front.

  • Makes it easier to handle change because you can see the big picture and move things around accordingly.

  • Improves collaboration within your marketing team, with management, with other departments in your company, and with outside stakeholders.

  • Provides the vantage point needed to repurpose existing or evergreen content and use your resources more efficiently.

  • Allows you to measure results based on your marketing objectives and change course when needed. 

5. Set up a workflow using project management software

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Once you’ve mapped out your content calendar, it’s time to set up a workflow so that the right people get the right tasks at the right time. When a writer finishes a draft, for example, who does it go to? When your managing editor signs off on a piece of content, how does it get published? 

Since there are so many moving parts with content marketing, most teams use some kind of project management software to keep things running smoothly — and automatically. 

Take Welcome’s software, for example. Our straightforward marketing workflow and task management system was purpose-built for marketers, ensuring alignment across the board. Here are a few things you get from our workflows: 

  • Never miss a deadline – All team members can track progress at a glance with activity history details for each task and project update.

  • Create a single point of truth – Grant access to all relevant information necessary to accomplish a task, user by user, so that each contributor can focus on the details most relevant to them.

  • Build alignment from the beginning – Manage all relevant details in one place, allowing users to focus on whether their contributions are meeting the expectations set during the initial planning stage

  • Set strict or flexible marketing workflows – Things change by the minute for marketers. Make your workflows as strict or as flexible as you need with your workflows with customizable task management.

6. Encourage courtesy among team members

This last point may not seem that important at first glance, but it’s absolutely critical. 

Content creation involves a lot of collaboration, revisions, feedback, and constructive criticism. If these things aren’t communicated in a positive way, it can lead to resentment and animosity among staff members — a poison pill that can quickly pull your team under. 

So, it’s important to foster an environment of courtesy and professionalism from the very beginning. 

For example, when giving feedback or suggestions for revisions, you should recognize the work that’s already been put into the project. Explain why you think the changes are necessary and encourage the writer or creator to provide their thoughts as well. 

Same goes for writers or creators responding to edits. They should be able to accept criticism and make changes without taking things personally. 

Must-have content collaboration tools for your team

Did you know only 16% of organizations have the right tech in place to manage their content operations? Sixteen percent! 

To make sure you’re part of this group, here’s a list of essential tools you need for your team to reach its full potential. 

1. Content marketing management software

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The first thing you need in your marketing technology (MarTech) stack is a good content marketing management software. This tool should be the backbone of your stack, connecting to your other solutions while also doubling as a project management tool. 

We’re a little biased, so we think Welcome’s software is the best choice here. But don’t just take it from us! As you can see above, Gartner has once again named Welcome the leader in the In the Magic Quadrant for Content Marketing Platforms, positioning us furthest to the right for Completeness of Vision and highest for Ability to Execute for the fifth consecutive year. 

Gartner also rated Welcome the #1 vendor across all three use cases — B2B Demand Generation, B2C Narrative Design, and Complex, Distributed Marketing.

2. Content management system (CMS)

Next up is a good content management system. This tool is a critical component in your MarTech stack because it handles all the things that go on behind the scenes of your website like assigning permissions and organizing content. 

There’s an endless variety of web content management software to choose from, each with its own set of features and benefits. Some software, for example, is ideally suited for ecommerce sites whereas others are tailored towards bloggers or service-based businesses. 

Which one is right for you mostly depends on what you need your website to do and how tech-savvy you are. 

3. Social media scheduling software

Social media will undoubtedly play a large role in your content distribution strategy. Oftentimes though, the time you’re available to post on social media isn’t the same as your audience’s most active time. 

This is where social media scheduling software comes into play. It allows you to align and schedule posts to multiple social platforms at different times to maximize your reach. 

This tool will be your Distribution Specialist’s best friend. Not only does this mean they don’t have to be live on social media at all hours of the day, but it also means they can take advantage of the optimal posting times for each platform. 

4. SEO software

Finally, you need a good SEO tool to make sure your content is found through organic search. After all, what good is it to put a ton of content out there if no one can find it? 

Plus, SEO software can do a lot more than just optimize for keywords. Here are some other things you can do with your SEO tool: 

  • Analyze your competitor’s SEO strategy

  • Save time and money on manual SEO audits

  • Find high-converting keywords to drive your content strategy 

  • Track SEO progress & KPIs

  • Visualize and conceptualize data

  • Communicate clear ROI to clients

FAQs on building a content team

How do you build a content development team? 

There are many different ways to build a content team. Here are six steps to get you started: 

  • Select your team members

  • Get your team focused on key KPIs

  • Create an onboarding process

  • Build your content calendar

  • Set up a workflow using project management software 

  • Encourage courtesy among team members

What are the rules for a content team?

There are no pre-set rules for a content marketing team — that’s one of the things that makes content marketing so unique. There are so many different ways to do it, and what works for one company may not work for the next. 

What is content collaboration?

Content collaboration is the process of involving multiple people in the creation of a piece of content. This usually involves strategists, writers, designers, editors, proofreaders, and subject matter experts. 

Why is content collaboration important?

First, it provides multiple points of view — a subject matter expert, for example, can provide insight that a writer couldn’t get on their own. Second, it ensures that you’re producing high-quality content by allowing people with different skill sets to perform different tasks. .

Conclusion

Building a top notch team is critical to content marketing success, and now you know what roles to fill, how to assemble a formidable team, and what tools you need to get the job done. Best of luck! 

Content Collaboration Building a Formidable Content Team


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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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