Editor’s note: This post is adapted from a keynote by Melton Littlepage, CMO of
New Relic, that was presented at the 2018 Elevate SaaS Masterclass.

Every business wants to increase its revenue. And to do that you’ve got to grow. The problem is that when you’re in a rush to do so, you put a ton of pressure on your projects and wind up needing an infinitely scalable marketing budget just to get enough leads in the door. That’s not the way to be profitable nor is it how you win in the marketplace.

To be effective at marketing, decrease your costs, and drive focus within your business, there are four rules that you should always follow:

1. Know what job you do for your customers.

Your customers hire your software to do a very specific task. You need to understand what that is and be the best in the world at it. The better you understand the job they’re actually hiring you to do, the more effective your sales and marketing will be, the more satisfied your customers will be, and the more likely they’ll be to renew with you.  

2. Be selective about the personas you target.

Don’t go after every potential buyer of your software. Instead, find the one or two personas that are going to be loyal customers and advocates for you and focus on them. That’s not to say that you need to ignore everyone else. Over time, you may want to go after other personas too. But, if you want to build momentum early on, pick a lane and stick with it. Identify one or two personas and try to understand both their needs and the conditions that need to be met for them to want to enter into a sales conversation.

While you’re at it, make sure that you don’t waste time on accounts that are hard to sell or that will quickly churn. They’re just a distraction and not a good use of your time. Instead, focus on accounts that are in your sweet spot. Things will move much more quickly when you do and you’ll get better results because they understand what you offer, they’re satisfied, and they’re likely going to advocate for you in the market.

In the end, it’s not about getting more leads, it’s about getting the right leads, so be selective about which personas you go after.

3. Develop the right culture around marketing budget.

Having the right culture around marketing budget can have a big impact on the success of your business. Your budget probably isn’t infinitely scaleable. If you’re trying to do anything and everything, you’re not only burning through a lot of capital, you’re also probably wasting a lot of time and energy.

When it comes to your marketing budget, thinking small is incredibly powerful. Measure everything that you’re doing to see what’s having an impact and what’s not. Then start turning off any programs that don’t appear to be making a difference and see if there’s any effect. The idea is to consolidate down to a small number of programs or initiatives and to do them really well. The notion of less is more may be a cliché, but when it comes to thinking small about your budget, it’s actually a very strategic approach.

4. Focus on helping your customer.

Don’t just create noise in the marketplace by creating a lot of hype and useless content. Instead, remember that your customers have complex needs. Take the time to understand those needs and then work on solving them. It’s only when your customers know that they can count on you for help that they’ll be interested in maintaining a long-term, loyal relationship with you.

Follow these four steps and your business will be better placed to succeed. It’s certainly worked well for New Relic.