Start Here The Only Growth that Matters in B2B is Sustainable Growth

Don’t worry – you’re like most marketing leaders if…

  • Your company is not a so-called rocket ship.
  • You haven’t solved the company’s growth problem.
  • You’re challenged to hit the target every month/quarter.
  • You work hard and make progress, but it’s not quite enough.

But us as marketers have been misled. We’ve been sold this idea that growth equals marketing. And if that doesn’t work it’s growth equals sales and marketing or sales and marketing and product.

Here’s the bottom line.

Growth is not marketing. Marketing equals marketing. Growth equals how the company is going to win in a sustainable way.

Sustainable growth is not growth at all costs, spamming buyers with high frequency emails, growth hacking, running non-stop lead-based advertising, demand generation, account-based marketing, me too messaging, or benefit-centric ads.

And this is a big opportunity for marketing leaders. To own the growth narrative at the company and lead cross functionally so that everyone understands where sustainable growth will come from.

Think About This…

Ask your senior people across departments this question: How do we grow in a sustainable way? Like, really—what’s the primary way that we will drive growth as a business.

You will get some different answers. Maybe confusion and even disagreement.

And that’s the problem marketing leaders are up against.

A Leadership team that isn’t aligned at the highest level about how the business grows is not setting up the rest of the company for success.

Without a framework for how the company will achieve sustainable growth you’ll likely run into growth failure.

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The Three Most Common Causes of Growth Failure

When your marketing success is unpredictable or unsustainable you’re left with a series of bumps (linear growth) instead of sustainable and compounding growth.

Sustainable Growth is Something You Learn to Attract

Every marketing team starts with growth tactics—they throw a bunch of shit against the wall to try and find something that works—and once they find it they just keep doing more of that. Until they need to throw some other shit on the wall.

For a lot of marketing teams this is their entire growth process. They keep layering on new playbooks, tactics, and new ideas, hoping something sticks.

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But in the end they’re simply testing and learning about tactics that continually drive linear growth… This ad outperformed this ad so let’s do more of it.

When they should ask questions like this:

“Does ad performance even matter?” Is it aligned to the growth hypothesis the business is focusing on?

The ad performance is a business issue, when the only issues that can grow the business are customers problems. “How does our ad performance align to customer issues?”

“Is there any outcome from one ad outperforming another that will fundamentally change our growth trajectory?”

Most marketing teams are not learning in the areas that are most impactful to growth and the buyer.

Learnings are the foundation for your marketing. In fact it’s the biggest competitive advantage in growth.

Over time everything stops working. The things that drive sustainable growth change constantly. The channels, your buyers, your product.

The more you know about your channels, buyers, and product, and apply those learnings you’ll improve your growth.

So the real question is:

Can you learn faster, and apply those learnings quicker than the competition to outgrow them? Do you have a systematic process to capture these learnings? Do you have a way to prioritize experiments based on their impact on the actual business?

Growth tactics and random acts of marketing do not lead to lasting, sustainable growth. Only a framework that focuses on impact and learnings.

The Four-Step Sustainable Growth Framework

Take a moment to think about the type of growth you want.

You can keep trying to scale mediocre marketing tactics, shortcuts, and hacks—for some B2B SaaS companies this might work, but they’re the exception rather than the rule.

If you’re looking for sustainable growth, you need to change your entire approach.

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Growth Hypothesis

For a marketing team to work on the highest impact / value areas around growth, the company itself needs a hypothesis on how they will achieve growth in a compounding and sustainable way.

Aligning and answering this question will enable everyone cross functionally to pull in the same direction while ensuring they work on the most impactful growth areas.

Growth Process

Your marketing team needs a place to come up with a list of ideas against your core growth hypothesis, prioritize them based on impact, capture learnings from those experiments, and to generate more ideas.

The process is your actual growth engine. Without it, you have no way to know if your team is working on the most impactful areas.

Strategic Messaging

Your marketing is an amplifier of your message and is more important than even product/market fit.

If you don’t have the right message, you will always be attempting to scale failure.

Assuming you have product market fit—you’ll need to find message market fit around two key messaging components:

Product positioning: This is how you capture demand by ensuring you have the right value proposition, benefit statements, and pain agitation.

Brand Narrative: This is how you attract growth by ensuring you have the right story wrapped around a compelling brand narrative that makes buyers aware of pain they don’t fully understand.

Marketing Execution

The marketing execution i.e. tactics, fuel your experiments and get fed into your process. All of your experiments will focus on learning either about buyers, channels, or your product to learn how to attract sustainable growth.

Every experiment is launched with a hypothesis, buyer pain we’re seeking to solve, and the impact it will have against growth. As we learn we share these learnings with your team.

Ready to reorient your marketing around sustainable growth?

Getting to sustainable growth requires more than incremental changes. Our clients work with us because they need a growth partner that can help establish the internal growth narrative for the business and work through the four-step Sustainable Growth Framework. That’s what creates the unlock even for great marketing teams.