This topic might be a bit strange coming from a marketer, but I've been having conversations with quite a few founders of (Enterprise-) B2B companies lately and think it's worth talking about.
Most companies that sell to businesses, get started like this: After the founders built or specced out an MVP, they hire a team to build the product. Then they hire a team to sell that product. The rest of the team is there to support those two functions.
Or in the words of Dave Kellogg:
Enterprise software is a two-engine plane and those two engines are quota-carrying salesreps (QCRs) who sell the software and storypoint-burning developers (DEVs) who write it.
...everyone else is “the help” — including marketing, finance, sales supporting roles (e.g., SCs, SDRs), engineering-supporting roles (e.g., QA, PM, TPM), customer service, and yes, the CEO. The faster you understand this, in my humble opinion, the better.
And while consumer products (especially DTC/CPG brands) are a different story, I think a lot of B2B marketers who work at companies with CHF 10k+ average order value (and no self-serve option) should take this mantra to heart: "Marketing exists to make sales easier".
How can marketing help?
- Giving sales qualified leads to work on.
- Building training and tools that helps sales sell more.
- Providing competitive information that helps win more deals.
- Creating an ideal customer profile (ICP) that helps sales focus on the most winnable deals.
- Building industry-specific messaging that helps sell in given verticals
- Working with product marketing to build product that is inherently more salable.
- Corporate strategy development to put the company in the right markets with the right offerings.
- Building a content strategy to establish a thought-leader position in the market and use that brand equity for customer acquisition and retention.
I think there is just as much value being in a "helping" or supporting function. It's just that marketers don't like to hear that (especially the ones coming from agencies and B2C brands). The impact and influence you can have as a marketer with the above-mentioned activities are far-reaching and profound for the business.
But at the end of the day it's our responsibility as professional marketers to be realistic on where we add the most value.