Getting to the integrated growth department

I have this theory/observation. It’s a work in progress, but here goes.

It’s about the “stages of evolution” for high ACV B2B Saas and tech companies’ marketing and sales operations. 

Here are the four stages of evolution I’ve observed. 

1. Sales all the way, all day: here you have little or no marketing and all revenue originates from purely sales activities.

You might have a website and collateral, prepared by an in-house person or freelancers/agencies.

This can work up to a couple million $ in annual recurring revenue.

2. Sales-led growth with marketing support. This is a step up from stage 1: here you have more visible marketing activities – you’ll run tradeshows, do basic leadgen, a whitepaper, social media.

At this stage, marketing is an add-on to sales and the two functions are not at all integrated, usually hardly aligned.

3. Inbound and lead generation with sales enablement. Here, the marketing department will be more intentional, execute a strategy (usually inbound).

Marketing’s efforts go beyond just creating stuff; they are running campaigns and some of marketing’s efforts can actually be measured by contribution to revenue.

Naturally, closer cooperation with sales is a must.

4. The integrated revenue/growth department.

The most obvious signs of this stage are:
– There is one department that’s headed by the chief revenue officer (or similar title). Sales and marketing are separate “sub-departments” or just one growth department.

– The lines between some roles blur, for example, SDRs/BDRs typically look more like marketers based on their activities than sales folks, and usually report into marketing.

– Customer success often gets involved in sales/marketing plays and strategy creation.

– Better sales-marketing alignment happens by design.

– The two teams have overlapping KPIs and don’t hate on each other any more.

In competitive markets in 2022 and beyond, I think it’s hard/impossible to grow beyond $10-12 million without an evolved growth/revenue department.

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