Congratulations—you’ve officially closed on a Series A funding round that will take your tech company to that next level! The downside? Now that you have more people to answer to, super aggressive growth goals and a skeleton crew to do it, the stress is kicking in. Relax. We got this!
Just like your company needed funding, your marketing team is now going to need extra power and support to meet those new goals. Here’s your guide on how to get there:
Who should newly funded tech companies use to help with marketing: a freelancer or an agency?
Typically when you get Series A financing you are ready for a “real” agency. (According to our survey, tech companies tend to make the switch from freelancer to agency after $1M in revenue.)
Here’s why agencies are better than freelancers for aggressively growing companies:
Agencies have more bandwidth and availability.
Freelancers tend to work nights and weekends. That’s not going to be enough bandwidth now that you have aggressive growth goals that require quick-turn work.
(And forget about trying to do it all in-house with your marketing department of 1-2 people…there aren’t enough hours in the day!)
By contrast, an agency will be available for meetings and revisions during normal working hours. They will also have multiple people in the same role (e.g., more than one designer or developer), so work will get done even if someone is out sick for the day.
Agencies are a one-stop shop for all of your marketing needs.
Freelancers are specialized, so you’d need to hire (and manage!) multiple people to run specific areas of your marketing plan. That can end up being a lot of project management on your end for resources that are supposed to be saving you time!
Plus, freelancers often work in silos, responsible for one task and not really aware of the bigger picture…and that’s not good for long-term growth.
On the other hand, agencies who use a retainer model act like an extension of your internal department. They’re able to complete important tasks for a wide range of projects, but they’ll also be guiding the overall strategy and reporting on results. And because you’ll usually be assigned a single point of contact (an Account Manager), you don’t need to manage these specialists individually…saving you tons of time!
Which type of agency is best for growing tech companies?
According to our recent survey, the #1 challenge tech companies face when working with an agency or freelancer is the learning curve. While a generalist agency may struggle to understand industry terminology or a long and complex B2B buying cycle, an agency who works just in the tech industry will be able to move fast and produce great work.
Think of it this way…which one is best suited for your newly-funded tech company?
- The boutique marketing agency that’s a mile away from your headquarters
- The big-name marketing agency with clients who pay for Super Bowl commercials
- The specialized marketing agency who only works with growing software/tech companies
(I think you know the right answer…)
Self-promo alert: here's some more info about our agency's B2B software/tech expertise.
What marketing initiatives should tech companies prioritize after Series A financing?
Are you going to be selling to the same type of customer now as you did pre-funding? If not, it’s time to reexamine your buyer personas to make sure you have a clear understanding of your new audience and what messaging will resonate with them.
This would also be an excellent opportunity to “glow up” your visual brand. (Admit it, you’ve been “Frankenstein-ing” things together over the years and it’s now a hot mess.)
This doesn’t mean you have to rename your company or ditch your logo, but now’s the time to let a professional graphic designer polish your look. A modern, consistent look across collateral, presentations and digital channels will make you appear much more professional.
Self-promo alert: learn about our agency's branding services.
Still using the free version of MailChimp with a Wix website? Do yourself a favor and use some of that funding to invest in technology that will save you time and get better data in the long run.
Our favorite pick? HubSpot: an all-in-one CRM platform that can grow with your business.
It has different “hubs” for marketing, sales, service and operations…though if you prefer to stick with Salesforce and ZenDesk, for example, you can also integrate outside platforms with their software.
By using one central platform to power your sales and marketing process, you’ll have the data and tools you need to attract visitors, engage leads, and delight customers—all within a single portal.
Self-promo alert: learn about our agency's HubSpot expertise.
Is your current website a lead generating machine? Or a “brochureware” site that’s been hobbled together as your company grew?
Since a full website overhaul can be a costly adventure, the influx of cash from investors is the perfect opportunity to upgrade. After all, your website is the hub for all of your marketing efforts…wouldn’t it be great if it could have bells n’ whistles like:
- Filterable resource gallery
- Buy now functionality
- Pop-up forms
- Dynamic personalization
- Smart content
- A/B testing
- Live chat
- Multi-language content
- Mega menu
- Cookie notifications
- The list goes on and on…
Self-promo alert: learn about our agency's website services.
Up until now, we’ve talked about marketing-related items that ALL tech companies need to have: a clear understanding of their audience, a unique visual/written brand, a tech stack that’s integrated between platforms and a website that attracts and converts leads.
But when it comes to digital marketing beyond those foundational elements, things are much more personalized. Some SaaS companies will do great with PPC, whereas others won’t have an impressive ROI. Start-ups with a large email database may find nurturing campaigns effective, whereas other companies without many contacts in their CRM would be better off with other digital tactics.
Whatever your digital marketing needs may be, a great agency partner should compliment your team's current efforts and fill-in the skill gaps. For most companies we surveyed, that means outsourcing tasks like PPC, design and writing while keeping strategic tasks in-house.
Self-promo alert: learn about our agency's digital marketing services.
How much of a tech company’s Series A funds should go toward marketing?
The “experts” say you should allocate 10-20% of your company’s revenue to marketing. If you’ve got aggressive growth goals, definitely err on the higher side of that range.
That said, it doesn’t mean if you’ve received $15M in Series A funding that you are giving an agency $2-3M; that amount will get split between salaries for in-house employees, media costs, martech subscriptions, trade shows, etc. AND agencies.
Does that sound like a lot of money? It may be for the company you are today…but not for the company your VC or PE folks want you to become! Show them the ROI that’s easy to measure with digital marketing and you’ll be golden.