Rethinking B2B Marketing: The Key to Sustainable Growth

As a marketer in the B2B space, it can be all too easy to get caught up in the numbers game - revenue, leads, conversions, and so on. But what if the real key to long-term success in B2B marketing lies not in these metrics, but in the inputs and KPIs that contribute to them? In this article, we'll explore why revenue should not be your main KPI, and how to develop a sustainable and scalable marketing program that truly drives growth.

The Over-Rotation to Measuring Marketing on Revenue

In recent years, there's been a growing push among B2B marketers to focus on efficiency and revenue. But the truth is, applying goals to marketing that they can't fully control is not a data-driven approach. Instead, it's a short-term fix that forces marketing teams to make a bunch of tactical shifts without stopping growth at all costs.

The problem with this over-rotation to measuring marketing on revenue is that it's not a sustainable or scalable approach. Sure, you might see short-term gains, but eventually, you'll run out of time to optimize for revenue. To truly drive growth in the B2B space, marketers need to shift their focus from revenue to the key inputs and KPIs that contribute to it.

Identifying the Growth Hypothesis for Your Company

A growth hypothesis is an educated guess or assumption about what strategies and tactics will drive sustainable growth for a business. It is a framework for testing and experimenting with different marketing methods and determining which ones are most effective in driving growth. The growth hypothesis takes into account a series of vital key inputs and provides a roadmap for determining what changes and optimizations need to be made in order to drive sustainable growth.

It is a crucial component of any data-driven, sustainable marketing strategy, as it allows marketers to make informed decisions based on data and experiment with new tactics in order to drive growth.

So, what are these key inputs and KPIs? In its simplest form, sustainable growth can be represented by the equation:

Distribution Method * 'Ah-Ha' Moments * Core Value = Sustainable Growth

Let's break it down:

1. Distribution Method

The first component of this equation is the distribution method your company is focused on leveraging for sustainable growth. This might include content-led, sales-led, word of mouth, performance, or partnerships. To determine the effectiveness of your distribution method, you might consider metrics such as payback period, keyword rankings, qualified top-line traffic, brand/category searches, sales meetings, and so on.

2. 'Ah-Ha' Moments

The second component of the equation is the 'ah-ha' moments in your buyer's journey that signal a realization or epiphany. These moments might be when buyers consume your brand narrative, visit key pages on your website, or experience your product. To measure the impact of these moments, you might track metrics such as engaged narrative traffic, traffic with intent, and so on.

3. Core Value

The final component of the equation is the core value of your product or service. This is the biggest impact marketing can have on pipeline and revenue, but it's also the least measured area in marketing. To track the impact of your marketing efforts on core value, you might consider metrics such as in-product moments, product videos, and requests for demos.

From Key Inputs to Sustainable Growth

By focusing on these key inputs and KPIs, you can start to understand the constraints and opportunities that your marketing team should focus on. For example, if your distribution is not compounding, you can run experiments to find ways to improve. If you have compounding distribution but buyers aren't reaching their 'ah-ha' moments, you might need to add friction to encourage engagement. By continually experimenting and optimizing based on these key inputs, you'll be able to drive sustainable growth over the long term.


It's time for us to shift our focus from revenue as the be-all and end-all of marketing success. By focusing solely on revenue, we are not being data-driven and we are missing out on key inputs that contribute to sustainable growth. Instead, we should be focused on identifying the growth hypothesis for our company and creating an equation that maps to sustainable growth. This equation should consider the distribution method, 'ah-ha' moments, and core value as key inputs. By focusing on these key inputs and metrics, we can run experiments, identify constraints, and make informed decisions that drive sustainable and scalable growth for our business. Let's shift our focus from short-term tactical shifts to long-term, data-driven strategies that will lead us to success in the years to come.

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