Revenue marketing is often a loosely used term among B2B marketers. To many, it is just the act of focusing marketing activities toward lead generation.
In addition, a lot of us understand what revops (revenue operations) is, what the sales team does, and what marketing has been doing over the years in B2B businesses. But not many clearly understand what revenue marketing is all about. The most common questions raised with regard to this are:
- What is revenue marketing and what are its responsibilities?
- Is revenue marketing a separate function from sales and marketing?
- Who is responsible for revenue marketing in an organization?
- How do you measure the impact of revenue marketing?
In this article, we answer these – and many more such – questions related to revenue marketing. I also intend to throw a fresh perspective on the topic – different from what a lot of marketing gurus talk about.
That said, let us dive right into the core topic.
What is revenue marketing?
Attempting to limit revenue marketing within the boundaries of a few sentences would be pointless. This is mostly because, different companies have different ways of looking at it. But broadly speaking,
Revenue marketing is the science (and art) of planning, executing, measuring, analyzing, and finetuning growth activities in a way that they contribute to the topline of the business.
Confusion often happens when we try to see revenue marketing as a standalone function or process. However, in reality, it falls at the intersection of multiple activities such as marketing, sales, GTM (Go To Market), demand generation, and even product management.
In essence, revenue marketing is not a separate function by itself. Rather, it is characterized by approaching every marketing activity as an opportunity for building revenue and pipeline.
Is revenue marketing all about marketing alone?
Revenue marketing as such is purely the responsibility of marketing. At the same time, it seeks extensive collaboration between multiple teams including (and not limited to) marketing, sales, product, revops, and senior management.
Revenue marketing is similar to GTM in this context – the only difference being that GTM is mostly CEO/founder-driven whereas revenue marketing is CMO-driven. While the CEO or CRO (Chief Revenue Officer) would be involved in defining revenue goals, the execution is more or less led by the CMO or head of marketing.
For the large part, revenue marketing calls for collaborative work between marketing and sales since the latter is the most impacted (or the neediest) by the success or failure of the function.
Revops and revenue marketing – are they the same?
Revops is an integrated business function that concerns everything revenue. From identifying opportunities to increasing revenue across business divisions to executing revenue programs and optimizing existing processes for revenue expansion, revops looks at any activity relating to revenue generation and optimization.
On the other hand, revenue marketing is more like a subset of revops that looks at revenue only through the lens of marketing. The revenue marketing team typically is not worried about which product or service brought in the highest amount of revenue (unless that is defined as a performance goal). Instead, it aims to improve the overall topline of the business, and more importantly, increase the percentage of revenue contributed or influenced by marketing.
A fresh outlook toward revenue marketing
As a part of my research for writing this piece, I did some reading online to understand what others are talking about when it comes to revenue marketing. Surprisingly enough, most of the content revolves around either of the following two ideas:
- Shifting the focus to lead generation
- Ensuring alignment between marketing and sales (read my article on how to align marketing and sales here).
Though they are pivotal, revenue marketing is much more than these.
- It involves making sure not just sales and marketing, but other functions like customer success, product, engineering, etc., are all in sync when it comes to supporting revenue marketing goals.
- It involves ensuring that you have all the necessary tech at your disposal to be able to execute and measure revenue marketing campaigns.
- It is about establishing a consistent flow of leads that helps build a high-quality pipeline.
I can add more to the above. But you get the point here. So we should all learn to look at revenue marketing with a wider perspective like this.
Key roles and responsibilities of revenue marketing
Now that we have a basic understanding of what revenue marketing is all about, let us dive deep into the function’s key roles and responsibilities. They include:
- Identifying new opportunities for building revenue and pipeline (from a marketing standpoint).
- Planning and executing short-term and long-term revenue marketing programs that yield the maximum possible ROI.
- Optimizing marketing campaigns for maximum conversions, thereby achieving revenue and pipeline goals.
- Configuring the right tech, frameworks, and templates required to achieve revenue marketing goals.
- Analyzing the results of marketing activities (campaigns, hiring decisions, martech investments, etc.).
- Making sure all the stakeholders are aligned with the goals of revenue marketing.
- Enhancing marketing actions based on insights from analyzing revenue marketing programs.
Understanding these in detail will put us in a better position to implement revenue marketing programs.
1. Identifying revenue opportunities
While revops looks at new revenue opportunities from a holistic business perspective, revenue marketing works on how it can contribute to that overall goal. A few examples of new avenues of revenue that marketing can identify are:
- Participating in an industry event that could help the company reach a new audience.
- Focused ABM (Account Based Marketing) and customer marketing efforts that can help with expansion revenue (though expansion revenue is typically used as a SaaS term, it can be extended to other subscription-based businesses as well).
- Identifying new partners who could penetrate new markets or bring in complementing capabilities.
- Spotting a new channel (say podcasting) that could help in long-term revenue generation.
2. Planning and executing revenue marketing programs
Ideally, every marketing campaign should be part of a revenue marketing program. What I mean by this is that when you plan and execute a campaign, the end goal should ideally be revenue and building pipeline.
But you may ask – what about brand awareness and PR campaigns?
For such campaigns that are more long-term in nature, I like to adopt a different mindset. I would split the objectives of such campaigns into short-term and long-term.
For instance, for brand campaigns, short-term goals could be reach, engagement on social media posts, changes in brand keywords search, etc (To learn how to measure the success of your branding efforts, please check out the article 10 metrics to measure the brand awareness and reach of your B2B business).
On the other hand, the long-term goal would primarily be generating more new business – thereby increasing revenue.
Now, let us come to planning and executing these programs.
Since we are approaching every marketing activity with a ‘revenue mindset’, the following image illustrates how to map everything marketing to revenue:
Here, the idea is to have short-term and long-term activities contribute to a certain percentage of the current year’s revenue goals (the % would slightly change depending on the industry, nature of your offerings, length of the sales cycle, etc.).
Note: How to accurately align each marketing campaign with your revenue goals is a complex topic that requires a very detailed explanation. I am intentionally skipping that topic in this article. If you are specifically interested in it, please feel free to leave a comment.
3. Optimizing marketing campaigns for conversion
When I say optimizing for conversion, I am not just referring to paid campaigns. It is also about optimizing your content & copy, landing pages, messaging, etc., to enhance conversions in the short run as well as the long run.
Optimizing for the short run would involve things like modifying ad copy, enhancing the content on landing pages, changing the meta title and description of existing pages, etc.
Examples of long-term optimization tactics include making content SEO-friendly, using videos for building credibility, leveraging social selling, and the like.
4. Configuring the right tech for revenue marketing
Revenue marketing as such does not use a different set of tech enablers. It is more or less the same as in the case of marketing – only that they would be a subset of what a marketing team would use.
Given below are the categories of marketing tech necessary for revenue marketing:
- Market research: tools for competitor analysis, analyzing industry reports, and marketing trends.
- Campaign execution and management: email marketing, PPC campaigns, funnel builders, SEO tools, webinar hosting tools, marketing automation, etc.
- Marketing attribution & analytics tools: tools for measuring campaign success, visitor tracking tools, website analytics tools, ads management & optimization platforms, etc.
- Frameworks and templates: for preparing marketing budgets, creating social media calendars, content calendars, etc.
- Tools for design: for creating banners, editing videos, editing audio, etc.
- Tools for website management: CMS (Content Management System), hosting, tag management, etc.
- Content creation assistants: AI writers, grammar checkers, plagiarism checkers, etc.
You might be able to add 2 or 3 more categories to this. But pretty much any tool that helps you achieve your revenue marketing goals would fit here.
5. Analyzing the results of marketing activities
With regards to revenue marketing, following are some of the metrics you can measure to analyze the performance of your campaigns and activities:
- Total revenue and pipeline (contributed/influenced by marketing).
- Cost-related metrics: Examples include cost per lead (CPL), cost per MQL, cost per SQL, cost per opportunity, and cost per deal win/CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost). These can be measured along different dimensions such as channel, campaign, region, etc.
- Funnel-related metrics: Number of leads, MQLs, SQLs, opportunities, demo requests, deal wins, website visit to lead conversion, lead to MQL conversion, MQL to SQL conversion, SQL to opportunity conversion, etc. These can also be calculated along various dimensions like channel, region, campaign, content type, etc.
- Customer-specific metrics: NPS (Net Promoter Score)/CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) score, LTV (Lifetime Value), churn rate, average deal size, etc.
- Forecast and budget metrics: this involves predicting and planning for outcomes rather than measuring them. Establishing benchmarks for revenue, pipeline, total budget, budget utilization, etc., is critical to revenue marketing success.
6. Ensuring alignment
One of the things I spoke about in the fresh perspective section is that revenue marketing is not just about marketing and sales teams collaborating. It demands collaboration between multiple teams including:
- Product development/management
- Customer success
- Senior management/leadership
- HR. finance, and IT
Out of all the functions, sales is the most impacted by revenue marketing. Marketing is also dependent on sales in ensuring that the high intent leads they pass on get closed. It’s a win-win situation.
Revops is more like the monitor of all revenue-related activities. It also acts as a guiding light for marketing to take the right decisions. And when marketing takes the right decisions, revops gains.
The product or engineering team is the one that creates what a company sells. No amount of marketing will work without the right product or solution. Similarly, it is the responsibility of marketing, sales, and customer success teams to pass customer and prospect feedback in a timely manner to the product team to ensure the right feature updates are made at the right time. This is a two-way motion that has a significant impact on the topline of the business.
The senior management is responsible for creating the right ecosystem for the revenue marketing team to achieve its goals. From allocating the right resources to ensuring fast approval and having the right performance appraisal system in place, the senior management team has a multi-faceted role to play.
Other departments like HR, finance, and IT act as enablers by offering the necessary support to the revenue marketing team.
7. Enhancing marketing actions
This is pretty straightforward. This essentially involves making use of the feedback loop. The feedback loop is about collecting insights from the data of your revenue marketing programs. It also requires you to collect qualitative feedback from all the stakeholders.
Based on these two pieces of information, you make the necessary changes to the following elements:
- Tools and tech
- Choice of channels
- People and processes
Who constitutes a revenue marketing team?
Revenue marketing is an evolving function and most companies today do not have a dedicated team for it. But before we look at what constitutes a revenue marketing team, let us address this question:
Do all organizations need to have a separate team for revenue marketing?
The answer is NO.
This has to be analyzed along two different dimensions. The first one of them is the size and stage of your business. When you are starting up and trying to build everything lean, it doesn’t make sense to have a person or two focusing on revenue marketing alone. In that sense, dedicated revenue marketing personnel are required in:
- Small-size businesses that have been operational for a while – especially if they are struggling to find new revenue opportunities.
- Mid-size companies that are in the active phase of growth.
- Large enterprises that need to always find new ways to optimize revenue.
The second dimension is the nature of the revenue marketing role itself. As I mentioned before, revenue marketing in the first place is a mindset. And if you are able to run a marketing department that is aligned with the revenue goals of the business, you need not necessarily have a dedicated revenue marketing team. I will explain this further when we talk about the key roles in a revenue marketing team in the next section.
The revenue marketing team
There are predominantly three ways of constituting a revenue marketing team:
- A dedicated revenue marketing team
- A revenue marketing team integrated into the revops team
- A marketing team with an extreme focus on revenue and pipeline (without dedicated revenue marketing personnel)
In the first case, you have clearly defined roles. Though this would vary depending on the nature of your organization, the following image illustrates broadly how a dedicated revenue marketing team looks like:
It is to be noted here that this structure need not be the same across companies. For instance, in some companies, the CMO reports to the CRO (it could also be a dotted reporting structure). Or maybe the revops team works closely with the marketing team to do revenue-based analyses of all marketing campaigns.
In addition, some companies might not have a demand gen function at all. Instead, they have separate leads for content, branding, performance marketing, etc. Whatever the hierarchy looks like, the idea is to have everyone responsible for revenue outcomes in marketing closely work with the CMO, revops team, and other stakeholders to make sure marketing adds value to the business in terms of revenue growth.
In the second case where the revenue marketing team is integrated into the revops team, the revops personnel will help marketing by looking at marketing through the lens of revenue growth and optimization.
In the third case, there are no dedicated revops or revenue marketing teams. Everyone who is concerned with growth in the marketing department takes ownership and ensures he/she helps the business consistently grow.
Ideally, the very first step in the overall approach to revenue marketing is to finalize the goals. In most cases, these are defined by the management. The CMO’s responsibility is to translate that into high-impact marketing actions. Everything else required for a revenue marketing function to sustain (other than defining goals) has been explained in the roles and responsibilities section.
I have tried to make this article as comprehensive as possible. But I am sure that there could be more questions or concerns. Please feel free to leave a comment in case you have any such queries.
About the author
Naseef KPO is the Founder and CEO of Skalegrow. He comes with rich experience across multiple areas of B2B marketing including content marketing, demand generation, SEO, account based marketing, marketing analytics, revenue attribution, marketing technology, etc. He writes thought-provoking and relevant articles on The Skalegrow Blog and his weekly LinkedIn newsletter Elevate Your Marketing.
Prior to starting Skalegrow, Naseef led large marketing teams in multi-million dollar B2B organizations where he made significant contributions to the topline growth of the business. He has also appeared on numerous podcasts where he shared his thoughts on trending marketing topics such as the application of AI in marketing, startup marketing, ABM, and B2B content marketing, just to name a few. Being the founder of Skalegrow, he is currently focusing on helping its clients stay ahead of their competition by using innovative yet practical marketing tactics.
You can connect with Naseef KPO on LinkedIn.