The Hidden Truth Behind Marketing-led Growth – ep 49

A lot has been said about switching sales-first growth with marketing led growth. We talk about it on our LinkedIn, in our podcast, and pretty much on all our socials. But here’s a hidden truth that isn’t talked about enough when it comes to marketing led growth, and we’re here to discuss it today.

When we talk about sales-led growth, we’re primarily referring to the act of selling with a transactional approach which is made apparent through your communication with your audience, i.e. through outreach. In companies like this, marketing has very few members (sometimes none at all), and it performs a supplemental function. The scenario usually goes like this:

  • Marketing helps sales produce any material they need to make sales easier (collateral, scripts, etc)
  • SDRs and BDRs are tasked with cold calling prospects and pitching them the product/service from the very first touchpoint
  • The approach is transactional as opposed to value-driven

The complete opposite scenario presents itself in marketing led growth, where operations are run with the motive of building a brand and authority and the focus is on leading with a value-driven approach to communications and content.

The secret to this is understanding that this isn’t a binary, either or thing where you can only either be sales-led or marketing led. Most B2B companies have both a perfectly capable sales and marketing team. The switch isn’t about replacing one team with another, or prioritizing one function over another, it is about creating value for your audience so that they find value in what you offer instead of treating selling as a numbers game.

Marketing-driven companies also do cold outreach and other “salesy” stuff, so it isn’t just about what you’re supposed to be doing (or in this case, what you aren’t supposed to be doing), but instead about how you do it.

Unfortunately, this is how companies look at marketing led vs. sales-led growth

So, what is the hidden truth? Well technically, there are 3:

  1. Marketing led and sales-led aren’t mutually exclusive. In this context, they don’t exist in binaries. This means that both can co-exist (in fact, they should coexist), and it is the “how” you do things that really matter.
  2. Sales-led is essentially transactional, and marketing led is value-driven. The former names exist simply because they are easier to understand, but the accurate way to describe this mindset shift would be to go from transaction-driven to value-adding.
  3. Marketing deserves a seat at the revenue table, just like sales and customer success. The way to do that is to attribute most things they do to money, i.e revenue.

So that’s it, those are the 3 unspoken, ugly truths that usually go unnoticed when we talk about marketing led growth.

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