All, Marketing Strategy

Beyond Lead Gen: 6 Ways Tech CEOs Should Lean on B2B Marketing Strategy to Support Growth

In the fast-paced world of B2B tech companies, marketing isn’t just a tool; it’s the engine that drives demand generation. Modern B2B marketing strategy integrates multiple disciplines, including digital marketing, advertising, SEO, PR, and more to generate inbound leads that become sales opportunities—and ultimately customers. Those sales are the whole point of the business, right?

Filling the sales pipeline is often seen as the sole purpose of marketing, and while this is crucial for achieving short-term sales and growth targets, the scope of marketing should extend far beyond just lead gen. Marketing strategy in the B2B world can—and should—support a wide range of business goals and objectives, all while aligning with and advancing the CEO’s strategic and transformational initiatives.

Since growth is a primary objective of all companies and there are many factors that play into how companies grow, let’s dissect a few strategic objectives that may be feeding the growth strategy and explore the ways that B2B marketing strategies not only support, but have a critical impact these objectives. Addressing these strategic objectives is critical for developing more accurate and successful programming at the tactical level.

#1: Leveraging Existing Customers

The classic acquisition vs. retention statistic is that it takes five times the cost to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing customer. Read that again: five times the cost. If you’re not engaging and nurturing your installed base of customers and clients, you’re missing out.

Everyone in a company should be involved in making sure customers continue to be a top-of-mind focus and enriching the “customer care” experience. But many programs to increase penetration within accounts fall under B2B marketing strategy as well: Think cross-promotion of other offerings, referral programs, co-marketing opportunities, new product/service announcements, upgrades, and more. Consistent and timely information can help to grow customer relationships. Something as simple as a great email program—planned and executed correctly—can get more revenue from your existing customer base. Social selling and communication programs (think executive briefings and client-exclusive webinars) are other great way to reach your existing user base.

#2: Seeking Investment & Partnerships

Whether a company is seeking capital infusion, partnerships, or exploring merger and acquisition (M&A) opportunities, it’s important for marketing to look strategically at the short- and long-term goals for the company—and then support them on a tactical level.

For example, the marketing team can put specific awareness programs in place to attract attention from the desired audience, evaluate the market landscape and opportunities, pinpoint potential dovetails for everything from joint marketing partnerships to alliances to strategic investors, and then help craft and articulate the “win-win.”

#3: Driving Channel Performance

Many tech companies sell in part through channels and partnerships to expand growth opportunities. In larger companies, there are entire sales and marketing organizations dedicated to the channel. Some tech SMBs may have dedicated sales resources for the channel, but marketing is generally tasked with channel marketing as an adjunct responsibility (or worse, not involved at all).

Regardless, marketing should be working hand-in-hand with sales to design programming and institute a robust channel program to (again) both retain existing and attract new prospects. At the end of the day, the channel needs support, attention, and engagement in order to be successful and marketing can play a big role in making that happen. Want a deeper dive? Learn more about channel programs and the results they can yield.

#4: Penetrating New Markets, Segments, and Verticals

Penetrating new markets or segments is often a key growth strategy for B2B tech companies, and it’s not hard to see why: A new audience equals new potential targets and more leads. If new market penetration is a top-level goal of the organization, marketing needs to be involved from the start, collaborating on strategic analysis of market size, ability to penetrate, competitive climate, and SWOT. They should fully understand the challenges, targets, and messaging that will help penetrate and hence expand opportunities.

In our work with clients, we find that understanding the nuances helps with accuracy of targeting and messaging, and done right, helps the company home in on the areas with the highest chance of success. Marketing can go through a thorough segmentation analysis to provide insights for strategic decision-making. Here’s an example: After industry analysis, one of our early-stage clients with a technology platform that could be applied across many verticals decided to focus solely on “owning” the construction market for their technology solution. This market was an emerging, high growth opportunity and competitors were deeply entrenched in alternative verticals, making them hard to displace. The result was penetration into top accounts, a strategic partnership and strategic investment in the space. Want some tips on segmentation? Find them here.

#5: Launching New Products or Services

As new products or services take the stage, marketing should take a deep dive into customer insights—and the ins and outs of the new offering itself—to create truly effective messaging that communicates the value propositions in a way that resonates with the audience. This messaging work and strategic view will inform the launch plan, marketing materials, and rollout for new offerings, helping to ensure that all communication is both accurate and compelling.

While larger companies may have a dedicated product marketing function to handle these tasks, smaller firms often rely on the existing marketing team or specialized agency. Regardless, it’s crucial for marketing to maintain a direct relationship with customers to grasp use cases and benefits and identify key customer personas or roles. They should also maintain close collaboration with the sales team to understand prospect interactions, including any objections or questions, which provides a fuller view of the target market. New offering launches have historically been an area where our clients have brought us on to help across the full spectrum of launch activities—from product naming to the big rollout—either to lead these efforts directly or to supplement their capabilities.

#6: Expanding Geographically

Aspiring for global dominance, companies often consider geographic expansion as a strategic path to growth. We see many US-based companies succeed when they expand to EMEA or APAC, and on the flip side, we have helped a lot of companies based outside the US target the US market. Similar to penetrating new market segments, geographic expansion significantly broadens your potential target audience. This decision requires not only an investment in sales and customer support but also a nuanced approach to marketing across new territories. Language aside, there are cultural considerations, preferences for localization, different channels for social media and content, and, depending on industry, adherence to local laws and regulatory standards to think about.

Marketing teams should carry out detailed analyses to pinpoint the regions with the lowest barriers to entry, while also considering what resources the company will need for expansion. This strategic evaluation by marketing is critical to making informed decisions on how to proceed with global expansion efforts.

Driving Sustainable Growth with a Comprehensive B2B Marketing Strategy

Sustainable growth doesn’t stem from a single tactic or initiative; it will likely involve a combination of the factors above. B2B marketing strategy is the foundation for these objectives and involving your marketing team or agency partner for  the strategic analysis required to drive the right programming will pay off.

Driving growth through effective B2B marketing strategies demands comprehensive expertise. In today’s rapidly evolving market landscape, this often means involving external specialists who bring expertise in all critical areas of B2B marketing—from demand generation and product launches to geographic expansion and channel optimization.

To learn more about whether outsourcing is right for you, download our eBook, Marketing: In-House or Outsource?, or contact us for an introductory chat.