Auditing 3 B2B SaaS Companies with $250k Ad Spend – 5 Key Takeaways

Even high growth B2B companies make mistakes with their marketing. 

This is evident every time I do a comprehensive audit for new customers to pick apart their existing growth strategy and systems. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you have to know where you are before you know where you’re going. 

I find the gaps so we can lay a solid foundation and build a brand that’s deserving of growth. 

Recently, I audited three B2B companies with a combined ad spend of $250k per month..

During these audits here’s what we found:

1. They were targeting “broad match” keywords.

Broad match is the default keyword type in Google Ads and can be used if you want your ads to display for a variety of related user searches as opposed to “exact match” where your ads only display for the exact keyword you’ve specified.

The problem is these type of account structures create what we call massive icebergs. While you're targeting 10-20 different broad match keywords this can turn into 1,000s of different search terms that you're actually paying for.

Here's where B2B brands get stuck. What I found in my audits was that the ad groups that targeted broad match keywords performed with an insanely low CPC and CPL metrics, but revenue and sales efficiency were trash.

We tracked CAC payback periods between 24 and 60 months in some of the campaigns making it not scalable and no longer profitable.

The problem with broad match is that your ads can display for TOO many people – people who may not be interested in your offer. You may get more eyes on your ads, but you may be targeting a wide pool of people who will never buy from you.

B2B companies get stuck because if they ever make adjustments away from this structure lead volume drops and everyone panics. You can spend years stuck here until one day the CEO asks "We're spending $100k month on paid search how is that performing?"

2. The ads were not properly scaled.

Lead generation is rarely, if ever, the end goal when it comes to your B2B SaaS marketing – revenue is. Many brands make the mistake of focusing on the number of leads but then fail to measure real, tangible growth in terms of revenue and sales. 

What I noticed with the three B2B companies was that their paid campaigns were scaled based on their ability to generate leads, not growth. This hurt their ability to understand whether their campaigns were successful in generating growth and revenue for their businesses.

Account structure matters a TON with paid acquisition across all channels. Most agencies ignore this critical step and scaling paid goes something like this: Revenue coming from paid search so increase paid search budget.

The reality is if revenue is coming from paid search or LinkedIn or even Facebook you should have your account structured in a way that you can identify specifically where the revenue is coming from and scale those learnings to maximize revenue.

With our customers as we find paid winners we're finding new ways to scale it beyond paid into organic opportunities to reduce CAC and scale growth even further.

If you’re not measuring the right SaaS growth KPIs, you may be misinterpreting the success (or failure) of your campaigns. We’re all about measuring the metrics that stand for dollars in your pocket and working to generate real demand for your business. 

3. They were scaled past their growth curve.

These three companies had scaled their campaigns far beyond their growth curve. In an attempt to drive more leads and revenue, they continued to expand their budget but were failing to see proportional results.

In all three of these examples we were able to re-invest 30%-70% of budget into campaigns that will actually move the needle and drive serious growth for the business.

Pouring money into your ads in an attempt to “scale” doesn’t always pay off. Work smarter, not harder. 

4. Most marketing agencies take a “set it and forget it” approach.

When most marketing agencies see something working, they’re likely to “set and forget” the campaign, assuming it will continue generating results. But, almost inevitably, I see results hitting a plateau, especially if the previous “strategy” has been simply increasing ad spend.

With large budgets, you're changing things faster. This means more opportunities for things to “break” and more responsibility when it comes to managing the brand’s budget and expectations. A lot can go wrong.

Consider this: With an ad budget of $25k/mo on LinkedIn, you're likely changing ads weekly. If your agency is not fire them. This includes running 5-10+ segmentation combinations, with 2+ ads per segment, and then making messaging optimizations across the campaigns.

Agencies that set and forget your campaigns are doing you a HUGE disservice. They should be hands-on, continuously optimizing, and, most importantly, taking a Buyer-Led Growth approach to your marketing. 

5. Paid was not the problem.

Most agencies tell clients how they're going to fix their ad accounts. The reality is, paid was not the source of their struggle. In these examples, it was buyer friction and no real growth engine.

No amount of “tweaking” of ad copy or “scaling” up your ad budget is going to make up for having a broken marketing engine . If you’re focused on tactics or on lead generation or on traffic, you’re doing it wrong. Sorry. 

Buyer Friction Hurts Your B2B Marketing the Most

Here’s my lesson to you: Stop letting friction slow down your marketing

Adopt a Buyer-Led Growth model to create a sustainable, scalable growth engine and start seeing REAL results from your ad spend. 

No hacks. No gimmicks. Just an in-depth understanding of what your buyers want and how they buy.

We do this deep dive for all customers in the first 30 days. It's hard, but you can fix these problems. We can help