Dear SaaStr: My Marketing Team Doesn’t Do Enough. Should I Fire Them?

Q: I have a SaaS startup. I feel my marketing team does not make enough efforts. Should I fire the team?

No … take that concern and energy and instead bring in their boss.  Top your team and see what happens.  Go find your real VP of Marketing.  She’ll then figure out who on the team to keep, who to let go, and where to upgrade.

Until then:

First, start measuring things.  Don’t let marketing be a soft science.  Measure, if nothing else, (x) leads / pipeline / opportunities generated plus (y) ROI on all marketing spend.

Now you have a baseline.

Second, set clear, agreed upon goals here.  If you want to grow revenue 150% in the next twelve months, then, say, make marketing hit 200% opportunity growth.  And break this up into monthly targets for MQLs, or just Plain Old Leads, or Opportunities, or whatever metric you pick.

Ok …

So I’m guessing you’ve done neither of these well since you’re not happy with the team.  Part of the reason may be the marketing team lacks sufficient ownership / management experience. One big problem with junior marketing hires — unlike junior sales hires — is they’ve rarely been given a number to own.  Marketing thus doesn’t breed ownership and leadership as well as sales.

So if you hire too junior in marketing, you often just end up with a squish soft mess.  Blog posts.  Social stuff.  A B- PR firm.  But … not so many more leads.

Now that you have the team aligned around quantifiable revenue goals … you’re ready to hire a boss for the team to blow out those goals.  If your team is horrible, yes get rid of them.  But in marketing, often for the short term, something is better than nothing, especially if the absolute cost is relatively low and you are still seeing some results at least.  Focus instead on hiring a boss for them.

Then, she’ll figure out who to keep.  And who to let go.

(note: an updated SaaStr Classic answer)

Published on August 11, 2021

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