There has been a noticeable SaaS and startup recession in the last couple of years that understandably impacted sales cycles. However, this downturn has shed light on structural issues that existed even before these challenges arose.
Before the recession, there was an explosion of startups and SaaS companies. We were in the midst of an industrial revolution bell curve, but we are now on the downward slope of it.
What Worked Before Doesn't Work Now
The competition for people's attention has intensified as more companies vie for the same audience. However, companies' methods to reach potential customers have undergone significant changes. Platforms like Gmail and Outlook have made it increasingly difficult to gain access to inboxes. Similarly, the "Cookie Apocalypse" and iOS 14 changes have added to these challenges. These shifts demand a reassessment of the growth marketer's toolkits and new strategic approaches.
Every marketing channel experiences a decline in performance over time. Except for newer platforms like TikTok, click-through rates (CTRs) have been steadily decreasing. However, effective channels gradually become over-saturated with ads, which makes b2b demand generation and lead generation ineffective.
Navigating Marketing and Sales Budgets in a Cost-Efficient Manner
Before the market correction, the common approach was to continue spending despite declining CTR. SaaS companies, flush with capital, didn't view diminishing CTRs as a crisis. Instead, they escalated customer acquisition costs, deferring efficiency-focused growth strategies until they became imperative. However, the focus has now shifted dramatically toward cost-efficiency.
Given this substantial shift, numerous B2B marketing and sales professionals are grappling with questions like, "What steps should I take? How can I adapt my strategies?"
How to Grow Marketing and Sales in a Budget-Constrained Environment
In a budget-constrained and less responsive market, resource allocation becomes paramount. Every dollar and effort invested must yield a significant impact. How can you effectively plan and predict where to allocate these resources?
In the current landscape, growth teams should redirect their attention from channels to customers:
- Develop an Ideal Customer Profile that defines potential buyers with the shortest buying cycle.
- Scrape firmographic, contact, and intent data on the ICP-like audiences.
- Investigate and map the buying journey of this high-intent audience to identify the most promising ad channels.
- Utilize this data to create a more efficient growth strategy that caters to customer needs and behaviors.
#1 Data-Driven ICP
Effective growth strategies stem from a well-defined Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) backed by data-driven precision. Fuzzy ICP definitions no longer suffice. To begin, scrutinize your highest Annual Contract Value (ACV) customers. Delve into their attributes and leverage this data to define an ICP marketing strategy that allows you to scale and grow.
Shift your focus to your audiences, considering where and how to reach and engage with them and their conversion patterns. Align the attributes of your top ACV customers with the data points of the channels that connect you with them. For instance, cross-reference industry information from LinkedIn and ZoomInfo.
You can source and cross-match these details using a data orchestration platform like Primer. It provides prospect data from 10+ trusted providers that you can merge into comprehensive and ready-to-use audience lists. Those can be pushed directly to ad platforms, CRM accounts, or CSV files.
#2 Growth Sprints Approach to Marketing and Sales
Embrace a culture of experimentation and agility. Continuous experimentation is essential, executed within shorter and tighter cycles. Many marketing and sales teams, from larger enterprises to early-stage companies, have adopted growth sprints.
This approach helps growth teams respond to market changes promptly, enabling faster feedback and informed decisions. The days of quarterly planning and extended waiting are obsolete. Feedback loops must become shorter and more responsive.
#3 Set Audience Reach Rate as a Key Campaign Metric
Expanding your reach is crucial, even if it means broadening your target audience. A narrow focus can lead to audience fatigue. Dive deep to identify every suitable target account and contact. It is particularly vital for traditional channels like cold email.
Explore which B2B data providers align best with your ICP and how you can layer databases to enhance market coverage. For example, combining Apollo with a LinkedIn scraper and another database can yield substantial coverage, enabling personalized outreach via email.