For B2B SaaS companies with self-serve or product-led go-to-market (GTM) motions, marketing strategies and channels play an even more significant role as compared to Enterprise B2B offerings that are more sales-driven. At RevelOne, we place hundreds of marketers every year at some of the fastest-growing companies in the country and we see first-hand the best marketing org designs that drive growth. You can explore our B2B SaaS Org Chart, to view a snapshot of the most frequently used org design in well-developed B2B SaaS companies. But each product and organization is different, so in this article, we lay out five key considerations to think about when designing your own company’s specific marketing org structure.
1. Some business models may require investing more, and earlier, in Product Marketing
If your product has high complexity, multiple product tiers, or is sold from the start to distinct customer segments, it likely requires greater investment in product marketing. With more variance in needs across customer segments, a Product Marketer can help connect the value of the product to each of these segments, identifying key target personas, each of their unique pain points, and how your product solves them. This can include developing selling points against alternatives and your competition. For instance, in its B2B SaaS motion, Grammarly sells its AI-driven writing assistant to corporations, educational institutions, and government customers, each of which has very different needs and buying processes. Their product marketing team has specialists aligned against each of these segments who develop targeted messaging and value propositions that are used in both marketing channels and by the sales teams as they follow up.
Product Marketing is also more important if you are creating a new category where more effort and granularity are needed on education around the product and value proposition and messaging on how it solves pain points. This also ties to a greater need for PR and corporate branding (see more on that below), and product marketing then works in concert with those efforts to more directly support GTM efforts.
2. The “virality” of your product may mean a more substantial focus on growth marketing
Some products have viral features that organically sell themselves because collaboration or sharing is core to their use and drives adoption across shared users and groups. For example, Slack is one of the fastest-growing SaaS companies because the product’s natural virality allowed the tool to spread from one advocate to a team, small teams to ancillary teams, across large enterprises, and between companies. This “viral” or “product-led” growth suggests that growth marketing may be a greater part of your marketing motion and calls for growth marketers, and even cross-functional UX or engineering resources, to be added to your team.
Growth marketers come in many shapes and sizes. For viral B2B SaaS products, a growth marketer that will integrate growth tactics and strategies with product enhancements and features will have the most impact. Their focus is on finding incremental customer and revenue opportunities through product-led changes and product-level optimization, so for a naturally viral product, this can be key to driving new customers at scale.
A B2B SaaS company with a product that has network effects is best served by hiring this growth marketer earlier and integrating them into the team. In fact, it should be one of the first marketing hires. That’s because once a growth marketing strategy kicks in, virality will organically add new customers at a brisk pace.
3. When creating a new category consider investing more in PR/communications and content marketing
Companies entering or creating a new category, have their work cut out for them as they seek to define the category and their place within it, educate consumers, and raise awareness. In addition to investing in product marketing, consider scaling your communications and content market teams as well.
Disruptive, earlier stage startups pioneering a new category are faced with the challenge of having to educate people about a new solution, how it solves their problems, and gain attention for something they’ve never heard of. These companies will have to invest in ongoing educational efforts like blogs, articles, whitepapers, and newsletters, as well as awareness efforts like media and press coverage and analyst relations. For companies in more established categories, content can fall under the Head of Acquisition/Growth, but for category pioneers, it can be more effective to have these marketers report to a Head of Comms/PR earlier on so they can work in unison. An example is e-commerce platform CommerceIQ, which helps major brands manage their activities on third-party services like Amazon and Instacart. Those platforms are relatively new among distribution channels and it’s only in the last few years that they reached the scale and complexity to require a separate platform to manage them. For these big brands, the pain point now exists, but PR, comms, and content marketing are needed to build on the narrative of this need and articulate how there is a new category of SaaS software to address it.
For companies entering or creating a new category, investing heavier in content will also take pressure off your product marketer so they focus on staying close to the market and developing customer insights – rather than writing content.
4. For companies in well-established categories, consider investing more in paid marketing support
In “bottoms up” B2B SaaS businesses, self-service sales is the major revenue driver – so marketing typically drives sales. In contrast to the examples above, if companies are in established categories, customers already know and are looking for solutions like yours, and there is already a breadth and depth of conversation on the subject. Therefore, focusing on paid marketing channels where you can intercept and capture existing demand and interest is a common approach to quickly gobble up market share.
Whether you utilize channels like Linkedin and Google to target defined prospect segments, engage with prospects while they are consuming content related to your product or category, or capture demand of prospects searching for solutions like yours on search engines, paid marketing strategies are a great way to capitalize on the intrinsic demand already available within established categories.
A paid marketing leader will likely be your first investment in this case. Channel managers will be your next investment both to support your leader and test into new channels, but then serve as single-channel experts to lend the needed channel-specific expertise and focus to take it to a more sophisticated level and drive scale.
5. Some companies may start out with BDRs in the Marketing Org while GTM motions are still being refined
Earlier stage, marketing-driven B2B SaaS companies with upsell opportunities, high-priced premium offerings, or customer segments they are still trying to identify and refine, sometimes start with their business development representative (BDR) group within the marketing organization. The same is true for customer success when there is the opportunity to arm CS managers with talking points to upsell or sell a premium tier of your product.
For these earlier stage companies, there is often not yet a Head of Sales to manage these efforts, or the company is still trying to figure out which customer segments are their most relevant and which product features or selling approaches are most effective. By homing BDRs within marketing, product marketing and marketing leadership can quickly learn, iterate, and roll out alternative GTM motions.
Some companies want to test BDRs as a cold outreach prospecting tactic. Similar to sending out an email blast, high-volume cold calling can also be managed by marketing while still in the testing phase.
Designing the Right Org for Your Business
Every business is different and has its own nuances around customer segments, product offerings, and market maturity. Our B2B SaaS Marketing Org Chart is a great tool to start with as you embark on building out your marketing org, and the above 5 key considerations are a good way to think about how it should be customized for your unique company and growth needs. If you still have questions or are looking for more support, however, feel free to contact us directly for custom org design advice.
RevelOne is a leading marketing advisory and recruiting firm. We do 300+ searches a year in Marketing and Go-to-Market roles from C-level on down for some of the most recognized names in tech. For custom org design, role scoping, and retained search, contact us.