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What it is and why marketers should care

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Everything is measurable in marketing

Measurement is a challenge to every aspect of marketing from attribution to campaign optimization. To meet that challenge, marketers need insights into the vast quantities of data being generated from the wealth of customer touchpoints. New technologies surface insights faster and create the opportunity to visualize and share data. Tools are even giving marketers the ability to predict interactions in order to increase efficiency and allow for real-time adjustments.

Data and analytics take the guesswork out of marketing. They help you get more value from your marketing budget (e.g., better efficiency), improve customer experience, and understand what channels, touchpoints, and strategies are working.

Marketing analytics is an approach to data analysis that helps businesses understand the performance and impact of their marketing investments. Businesses use marketing analytics tools to facilitate the collection, modeling, analysis, and visualization of marketing data.

New technologies are making old channels more accessible. For example, more digital marketers are expanding their campaigns to offline spaces thanks to technologies like programmatic digital out-of-home (DOOH), which enables them to reach hyperlocal audiences on the street and at public venues.

This expanding digital ecosystem, combined with the proliferation of consumer and marketing data and the impending loss of third-party cookies, requires that marketers have a proactive marketing analytics strategy.

In this post, we’ll cover the basics of marketing analytics — what it is, why it’s important, and how marketing teams can use it effectively. Key points covered include:

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

What is marketing analytics?

Marketing analytics is an umbrella term used to describe the processes and technology involved in measuring a company’s marketing activities. Data is central to marketing analytics. Marketing data includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  • Website analytics: Website visits, traffic patterns, referral sources, bounce rate, etc.
  • Social media interactions: Social engagements, follows, profile views, shares, and DMs.
  • Online purchases and transactions: Leads, signups, and sales.
  • Paid ad campaign metrics: Ad views, clicks, CTR, CPM, CPC, conversions, conversion rate, CPL, and overall performance.
  • Customer data: Feedback, behavior, and purchase history.

The people involved in measuring a company’s marketing activities use technology and software that gathers marketing data, aggregates it, and provides visualizations to help them understand what tactics are working and how best to optimize marketing spend.

Types of marketing analytics models

There are three marketing analytics models that marketers use when planning, managing, and optimizing marketing campaigns. The goal of all three models is to help marketers make more insightful decisions about how to plan their campaigns and allocate their budgets.

  • Descriptive: Descriptive models use historical data culled from prior campaign activity to understand what happened and, based on this, inform future campaign planning. This is the “hindsight is 20/20” model, which looks at what happened with past campaigns and uses this information to inform future strategies.
  • Predictive: These models go a step further than descriptive, taking insights and using insights from past campaigns to try and predict customer behavior. This approach seeks to predict influence customer behavior to create a more informed (and targeted) marketing campaign.
  • Prescriptive: Prescriptive models use data from all touchpoints, weighing the impact of each interaction and initiative, for the purpose of creating a campaign that influences customer behavior and/or is more efficient. Prescriptive campaigns are highly targeted and often hyperlocal or focused on a current trend.
marketing analytics models

Why should you care about marketing analytics?

Marketing analytics can surface insights that you weren’t aware of, like how offline and online channels work together and how each consumer interaction influences the final sale or lead or signup (e.g., marketing attribution).

Here are some more reasons you should care about marketing analytics:

  • It provides tangible data around paid marketing initiatives — CPC, CPL, ROI, and brand lift.
  • It informs how your marketing campaigns and initiatives are performing, often in real-time, so you can optimize for improvement.
  • It connects your marketing campaigns to your website traffic and other metrics, enabling you to understand how various tactics and channels impact user and customer behavior.
  • It surfaces opportunities that influence future marketing and content strategies (e.g., a paid search campaign can inform your organic SEO content strategy).
  • It helps you do more with your advertising dollars and increase efficiency by reallocating spend to the most effective channels.
  • It provides a trove of data and information on customers and prospects which can be used to inform customer journey mapping and test the viability of new markets, products, and services.
  • It validates marketing expenses by tying ROI to initiatives.

What it is and how it identifies vital customer touchpoints

Explore capabilities from vendors like Adobe, Pointillist, SharpSpring, Salesforce and more in the full MarTech Intelligence Report on customer journey analytics platforms.

Click here to download!


Who uses or works with marketing analytics tools?

Marketing analytics tools are generally the purview of marketing teams. Here are some use cases that highlight how marketing data is used.

Budget optimization. Your marketing budget has been cut by 10%, 15%, or 30% and you need to refocus your marketing strategy on the best-performing channels and tactics. By analyzing the performance against predetermined KPIs, you can reallocate your budget to the historically best-performing channels.

Media planning. Marketing analytics provides historical data which can be used to make better media planning decisions. You can use results from past campaigns to inform ad creative, media mix, and test new channels. Importantly, marketing analytics ensures that your media choices reflect your audiences’ preferences, and not just what your gut is telling you.

Content planning. Website traffic metrics, paid search campaign reports, keyword trends, and user behavior provide valuable information about what your customers are interested in. You can use this information to plan your content and messaging strategies, for example, by reviewing top content on your website, the most engaging social media posts, and using social media listening tools that surface insight and buzz around a given trend or product.

Create audiences and build customer personas. Marketing campaign data can help you better define and understand your customers so you can build more targeted audiences for future campaigns. Identifying customer content preferences can help you craft content that specific audiences are more likely to engage with. This also helps improve a customer’s experience with your brand.

Key goals of marketing analytics

Here are some of the main goals marketing analytics tools can help brands meet:

  • Understanding what marketing channels, tactics, and approaches work best to achieve a business goal (e.g., growth, sales, leads, etc.).
  • Measuring ROI from marketing and advertising initiatives.
  • Capturing data from website sessions to better understand what content customers value.
  • Observing how users interact with website features and objects like buttons, video, and forms.
  • Monitoring, managing, and optimizing performance for digital and offline marketing campaigns.
  • Creating audience segments for more precise ad and content targeting and personalization.
  • Providing clear data visualizations to better analyze and act on data for a variety of audiences, including executive/board level as well as tactical reporting.
  • Enabling different teams and departments to share campaign performance and collaborate on marketing strategy.
  • Understanding how content, marketing, sales, customer behavior, and all marketing and sales initiatives are working together (e.g., customer journey analytics).

The variety of touchpoints connected to the modern customer journey are transforming the way marketers track their campaigns. Where once data analysis was focused on browser and website activity, now consumers are combining online and offline channels to learn about companies, brands, and products.

A recent Google poll revealed that over 70% of people described themselves as channel-agnostic, meaning they were more flexible about whether they buy offline or online. Analytics tools can help marketers keep track of this growing subset of customers.

There are a variety of ways that marketers get the data they need to, plan, analyze and optimize campaigns and no shortage of tools available to help get the job done. Some of these tools can also collect data from offline channels and integrate it with digital campaign data. They include:

  • Website analytics tools like Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, and MixPanel.
  • Campaign analytics tools like Semrush, Cyfe, and Klipfolio.
  • Social analytics tools like SproutSocial and HootSuite.
  • Social listening tools like Brandwatch and Falcon.io.
  • Customer journey analytics (CJA) software like Sprinklr, Thunderhead, and Pointillist.
  • Sales intelligence tools like HubSpot, Salesforce, and ActiveCampaign.
  • Marketing data aggregators like Domo and Supermetrics.
  • Company financial data.

Many of the above-listed tools have features that intersect with each other. Google Analytics has robust website traffic analytics, campaign analytics, and some journey mapping capabilities.

SproutSocial provides social media engagement analytics and social listening to help users surface trends and insights from social data.

It’s standard operating procedure for marketers to use more than one tool or platform. Thus, it’s becoming increasingly important to connect and integrate your marketing data sources into one (and please forgive us for this buzzword) “single source of truth,” which lets you understand your entire marketing ecosystem. Tools like Domo and Supermetrics integrate data from multiple sources, where it can be used to create marketing reports and dashboards.


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Click here to download!


How marketing analytics can help marketers succeed

As customer journeys shift and new touchpoints and channels emerge, showing how ad campaigns and marketing initiatives work together to achieve a goal will become more important. The marketing ecosystem is also becoming more digital, with digital marketing comprising nearly 60% of marketing budgets according to the AMA’s 2021 CMO Survey.

Marketing analytics can help CMOs demonstrate the effectiveness of their campaigns. It’s the best way to illustrate the tangible impact that marketing has on business success. And as marketing budgets become fragmented across more channels, tools, and initiatives, marketing analytics can help ensure there’s adequate funding for the next quarter’s ad and marketing campaign spending.

Resources for learning more about marketing analytics

Do you want to learn more about marketing analytics? We recommend the following resources:

Marketing attribution and predictive analytics: A snapshot

What it is. Marketing attribution and predictive analytics platforms are software that employ sophisticated statistical modeling and machine learning to evaluate the impact of each marketing touch a buyer encounters along a purchase journey across all channels, with the goal of helping marketers allocate future spending. Platforms with predictive analytics capabilities also use data, statistical algorithms and machine learning to predict future outcomes based on historical data and scenario building.

Why it’s hot today. Many marketers know roughly half their media spend is wasted, but few are aware of which half that is. And with tight budgets due to the economic uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are seeking to rid themselves of waste.

Attribution challenges. Buyers are using more channels and devices in their purchase journeys than ever before. The lack of attributive modeling and analytics makes it even more difficult to help them along the way.

Marketers continuing to use traditional channels find this challenge magnified. The advent of digital privacy regulations has also led to the disappearance of third-party cookies, one of marketers’ most useful data sources.

Marketing attribution and predictive analytics platforms can help marketers tackle these challenges. They give professionals more information about their buyers and help them get a better handle on the issue of budget waste.

Read Next: What do marketing attribution and predictive analytics tools do?


About The Author

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Jacqueline Dooley is a freelance B2B content writer and journalist covering martech industry news and trends. Since 2018, she’s worked with B2B-focused agencies, publications, and direct clients to create articles, blog posts, whitepapers, and eBooks. Prior to that, Dooley founded Twelve Thousand, LLC where she worked with clients to create, manage, and optimize paid search and social campaigns.

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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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