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How to Write a Communications Plan

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

A communications plan is a fantastic way of showing how well you understand your audience. It also shows your ability to deliver insights about your products and services to gain the consumers’ attention. However, writing one can be challenging. It takes time, dedication, and effort to develop the best information pathway.

This post will explore the crucial points for the success of your communication plan. Read on!

What is a Communications Plan?

A communications plan is a structured strategy of developing and distributing information about a product, service, or company to the target audience. 

The plan also contains procedures for communicating with buyers, clients, stakeholders, and others using various tools such as telephones, computers, and print media.

What Makes Up a Good Communications Plan?

Below are the critical components.

1. Introduction

The introduction contains:

  • The plan’s background

  • Objectives

  • Strategies of the communications program

  • A high-level description of how it works

  • A brief description of the business, competition, and corporate goals

2. Objectives

This section captures your targeted business or marketing outcome for the project. Objectives are measurable and specific. If the goal is to sell one million iPads during the Christmas holidays, your plan could include increasing iPad sales by 20% over last year’s holiday season, achieving 10 million dollars in iPad revenue, and opening 50 new stores with iPads on display.

3. Program Outline

This section explains the actions required to implement the objectives and strategy outlined in the introduction. The outline captures profiles of stakeholders, communication channels, planning, and scheduling. 

It also includes the training needs of communication team members, support required to implement the communication plan, and resources needed for communication activities. 

The size and nature of the target audience are also discussed with the expected response after delivering information about a product, service, or company through different channels.

4. Strategy/Methodology

It is the list of specific action steps required to conduct an activity mentioned in the program outline. It is broken down according to different communication channels like print or electronic media. 

The methodology also captures recommendations for effective tone, language, and style depending on the target audience.

5. Schedules

This section contains specific implementation activities based on your marketing campaign timeline for each channel. This includes print media, web, press releases, and face-to-face meetings. It also maps out the amount of effort you need to spend on each activity.

6. Budgets

This part includes the budget requirements and costs of activities detailed within the communications plan. Furthermore, it includes information on expected costs and resources required to accomplish each task and activity mentioned in the program outline and methodology.

7. Issues and Risks

With every good communications plan, expect to have some risks and issues. This section captures what should go well with your plan and what may go wrong along the way. It also identifies potential obstacles that can affect the success of your communications plans, like employees not taking the initiative or lack of commitment, budget, and time constraints.

8. Monitoring and Evaluation

This section contains the method of putting your plan into action. It captures how you will measure success for each task mentioned in the tactics. It also explains who is responsible for measuring success, how it will be done, when it will be done, and what information is required to finalize results. 

9. Appendix

The appendix includes information or additional data not contained in the communications plan’s body but valuable to communicate with stakeholders. It could be product literature, logos, presentations, reports, case studies, and photos required to effectively deliver the intended message. You can also use this section to capture metrics and anecdotes that may not fit into the body.

How To Create An Excellent Communications Plan

1. Define The Purpose Of The Communication

Identifying the purpose of your communication is beneficial in determining your strategy’s objective and expected achievement. 

Building a meaningful sense for your communication channel requires you to:

  • Research the current scenario and requirements for your product or service

  • Take inputs from crucial members who work with your target audience and highlight the problems faced by them

  • Create a valuable plan to highlight your product or service advantages

2. Identify Your Target Audience 

Who are you trying to reach? For example, suppose you are targeting high-profile clients.  You must have a clear idea for your communication on issues such as what products or services they consume as well as the level of expertise necessary to solve the problems that currently exist within their niche. 

To define your audience, do the following:

  • Identify the right person to share with your audience

  • Analyze demographics, purchasing power, location, and age that count when defining your audience

  • Understand the critical pain points of your target audience

  • Identify if your target audience prefers written content, video, or social media for

  • Decide what actions you want them to take after they are exposed to your communication

3. Develop The Message

Creating the right message involves the following concepts: 

1. Content

Content creates an emotional bond with your target audience while delivering your message and motivates them to purchase. 

When developing content, you should;

  • Be original

  • Be knowledgeable and passionate

  • Use simple and easy-to-understand words. 

  • Focus on your target audience perspective than the business perspective.

  • Use an “I” perspective to ensure efficiency in message delivery

2. Mood

Mood describes the motive behind your communication. It’s a powerful tool to communicate with your customers and ensure you have their full attention: To create the right mood for your communication plan, you should; 

  • Overcome objections and provide answers to questions raised by your target audience.

  • Make them feel an emotional connection with your product or service

  • Build trust by highlighting key pain point addresses in your products or services 

3. Design

Design is essential to understanding the mood of your communication. Having a great plan creates a positive impact on how people perceive your brand. To create a strong design effect, consider the following: 

  • Use a single, consistent color scheme for your content

  • Create a custom logo

  • Highlight key features in your product or service

  • Select the correct font to ensure ease of use and readability

4. Language

Always use your target audience’s everyday language. Use words that are widely used by your audience on your products and services to describe their pain points. For example, if you’re targeting the construction industry, use words such as storm drain and lateral line instead of industry technical terms such as infiltration trenches and property drains.

4. Select The Best-Fit Communication Channels

List out all communication channels that potentially serve your target audience. Evaluate each separately before settling on the ideal channel that fits into your communication strategy. 

You can develop an individual communication plan for each channel. For example, using our marketing communicating solutions allows you to retain trademark messaging while driving unified advertising communications steadily across every touchpoint.

You can also have a good mix of communication channels to reach out to different target audiences. The communication channels could be a mix of face-to-face communication, event-based communication, social media, and advertisements.

When selecting the best-fit channel, you should:

  • Understand the advantages and disadvantages of each channel

  • Determine the medium that works best for your target audience

  • Evaluate your budget and resources before making an informed decision

  • Pick a channel widely applicable within your target audience and niche 

Leverage your communication channel to maintain a consistent focus for all posts on your channel. It also confirms you are reaching the right audience with each post, video, or email. 

5. Evaluate Your Resources

Do you have sufficient resources? The supplies available at your disposal will always determine the success of your communications plan. Resources range from time, financial, human, software, equipment, and your networks. 

Always maximize the available resources without compromising on quality. If you are going to outsource additions, consider their implications to your communications plans. Have a precise integration plan to achieve the desired income while facilitating the intended project goals. 

6. Anticipate Shocks

Shocks are unexpected events outside the control of management that can disrupt your activities or plans. The communication shocks include:

  • The death of supporting or mainstream staff.

  • Natural disasters.

  • Death of key stakeholders or purchase decision-makers.

  • Amendments or enactment of new communication laws and competition.

Always prepare for these events before their occurrence in the following ways: 

  • Identify key stakeholders and their key contacts

  • Plan for the worst possible outcome to avoid getting caught up off-guard

  • Develop contingency plans to ensure continuity with your communication plans after the shocks 

  • Paying keen attention to details to point out signs of shock occurrences 

7. Create An Effective Action Plan

Action plans can manage and measure your communication activities. They cover the following aspects. 

1. Campaign planning

  • Determining the milestones and deadlines in your communications plan

  • Setting a timeframe for your communication plan

  • Selecting and assigning each team member with a task 

  • Allocating resources for every task

2. Measuring and tracking 

  • Establishing measurable goals and objectives for your communication plan

  • Creating a way of measuring your achievement against set targets 

  • Monitoring the results on an ongoing basis

  • Monitoring signs for possible risks and developing issues that you should address

3. Ways of improving your communication plan

  • Determining whether your communication’s goals and objectives are clear 

  • Gauging if your targeted audience received your content correctly

  • Distinguishing your strategy reflects all your audience’s necessary pain points 

  • Determining the effectiveness of your communications plan’s monitoring 

  • Evaluating whether you have the proper channels to adopt to tackle the good and bad stressors affecting your plan

8. Evaluate Any Feedback Offered

Feedback from your target audience helps you understand the effectiveness of your communication plan. A recent study done by G2 and Heinz Marketing showed that approximately 61% of buyers prefer seeing around 11-50 reviews before purchasing.

Feedback could be gathered through channels such as: 

  • Customer feedback forms 

  • Inspection of your website traffic 

  • Reviews, comments, and interactions on your social media platforms 

  • Surveying your links click-through rates 

  • Monitoring the number of leads generated from your website 

You can also gather feedback by engaging directly with the target audience through: 

What Is The Importance Of A Communications Plan?

The following are the reasons why you have to consider preparing a communications plan:

Defining Your Target Audience

You are more likely to reach your audience if you know the individual needs of different target audiences. 

Budgeting For Your Communications

It is easier to plan for communications if you understand how much you can spend. A communications plan helps you develop realistic expectations around return on investment for your contacts.

Resource Allocation

A clear communications plan reduces the timelines needed to identify the resources required to implement and execute the strategy. It also helps you distribute resources effectively for maximum reach and impact of the plan.

Clear Objectives

Achieving your objectives requires a well-structured communications plan with specific goals, target audience, key messages, and measurement mechanisms.

Trustworthiness & Transparency

A well-defined communications plan demonstrates credibility and transparently communicates your intentions to the target audience. It also boosts your stakeholders’ confidence in your products or services.

Alignment With Other Strategies

A well-defined communications plan enhances your overall brand strategy by reinforcing key messages and positioning across different channels. It also helps you improve alignment and integration between marketing, public relations, and business development strategies.

Flexibility

Communications plans are beneficial for adjusting and developing new strategies leading to business growth. Based on the feedback from stakeholders, a clear strategy will help you address issues and make any necessary course corrections.

Sustainability

A communication plan sets the foundation for an organization to build on over time. Ensure you discover what works and continue to deliver on your objectives through multiple communication avenues.

When To Update Your Communications Plan?

Below are the appropriate moments for you to update your communications plan:

  • When you have analyzed the effectiveness of your strategy and identified areas that require improvements 

  • When you have done a formal review after experiencing changes in the business environment, such as new competitors entering the market or increased competitor activity 

  • When you have identified new target audiences that require a unique and different marketing approach 

  • When you have developed new product/ service offerings that need to be communicated in a different way 

  • When you have gained feedback from your target audience on the effectiveness of your communication strategy after its launch 

Whenever you are looking for an expert in creating an effective communications plan, Welcome has got you covered. We are an expert marketing orchestration platform with four years of experience harmonizing marketers’ roles in planning, collaborating, monitoring, and working efficiently. Get in touch with us for a free and no-obligation consultation.


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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

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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.

1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

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.

1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To
  • 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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