How to Structure Your SaaS Marketing Team the Best Way Possible
Now that you have accustomed yourself to the many marketing strategies involved in SaaS, it’s time to develop a good marketing team that will share the work. But where should you start?
During the first three years after their foundation, SaaS companies spend between 80 to 120% of their revenue on sales and marketing. But before starting to spend your revenue by hiring people, you have to make sure that you know about each SaaS marketing position and its responsibilities. SaaS can both be customer and product-oriented, and there are countless very specific positions. Once you’ve understood the positions, you’ll have to decide on how you want to organize your team yourself. Will you have a large marketing team made up of directors, “head of”s, and teams working under them; or will you have a small team that’s only made up of managers? Which implementation roles do you need to hire first, depending on your current size and needs?
This article explains the departments that are fundamental to a SaaS company and the specific positions that are usually included in each of these departments. It also categorizes the positions based on their roles and suggests ways to structure and manage your marketing team based on size.
Your marketing department promotes your business and analyzes its performance to increase revenue. However, having a single marketing department for your many different marketing needs would be chaotic, and this is especially true for SaaS companies. They have a lot on their plates when it comes to promoting their products: being visible on numerous digital platforms, analyzing their own performance along with their competition’s, constantly checking the needs of their customers are just a few of the techniques they have to use. We have a whole blog post dedicated to SaaS marketing, and all of the techniques we mention there should be managed via proper delegation.
That is why separating your marketing team into the right departments is crucial. There are several ways in which you can organize your team, but the main departments and positions that you should use are based on the three most crucial SaaS marketing techniques:
1. Content Marketing
The content marketing department is in charge of the creation and publication of content that’ll drive traffic and generate leads. This department is also responsible for the planning, distribution, analysis, and improvement of said content. The content marketing department thus contains several positions that share this work.
- The Content Marketing Manager, who overlooks all of the positions below to ensure that the content, its distribution, and its performance all align with the overall marketing strategy of the brand.
- The Content Strategist, who does the competitor/SEO/industry analaysis to determine the content strategy that the brand will follow (so most of the planning that I’ve talked about in my Content Marketing Guide are done by this person;)
- The Content Writer/Creator, who does the writing and editing;
- The Social Media Marketing Manager, who manages and optimizes the distribution of content on social media platforms;
- The PR Manager, who follows the latest trends and the public’s needs, to connect with influencers in the industry and to organize events.
Your content marketing department will probably be the department you start from while establishing your team. As content marketing results in conversion rates six times more than other marketing methods, if you’re a newly formed business, you’ll want to have a solid content marketing team. The positions above are the basic positions that you’ll want to hire first.
2. Product Marketing
73% of organizations that have been surveyed indicated that almost all of their apps will be SaaS by the end of this year. This means that people and businesses are constantly on the lookout for the right product and the right features. By having a good product marketing team, you can be one of the brands that businesses work with.
The product marketing department is responsible for your product’s positioning, which is related to the visibility that your products need. Their responsibilities also include competitive product analysis to show differentiation, launching products and making sure that their features and value is understood by customers and salespeople, working with customer personas to make targeted advertisements, and more. Their main goal is to reduce customer churn and to increase retention. Some of the positions under this department include:
- The Product Marketing Manager, who is responsible for planning the marketing strategy of the new product/features/services based on a good understanding of buyer personas;
- The UX Writer, who writes the microcopy in apps and products in a way that will improve user experience;
- The Sales Enablement Manager, who equips the sales team with the necessary data and information, and manages the content about the product features to help customers make informed decisions.
Again, the positions above are the basic positions that you’ll want to hire before growing your product marketing team.
3. Growth Marketing/Demand Generation
The demand generation department, also called the growth marketing department, aims to get customers and prospects interested in your products and features. This department is heavily involved with analytics and data, as they use this information to manage PPC ads, digital channels, and sales optimization. The growth marketing department also optimizes landing pages, websites, and ads by conducting A/B tests. Some of the positions that are involved are:
- The Marketing Operations Manager, who plans and oversees the usage of data, analytic tools and automation for lead generation;
- The Inbound Marketing Manager, who works closely with the content marketing department to pull prospects towards your brand by creating brand awareness;
- The Paid Acquisition Manager, who optimizes the paid advertisements of the brand;
- The SEO Specialist, who optimizes websites so that they’ll rank and perform better on search engines;
- The Email Specialist, who manages email marketing campaigns via automation and segmentation to engage with prospects and customers.
- The Head of Demand Generation, who’s responsible for the work and colloboration of all the positions above (and the necessary departments) to maximize growth.
SaaS Marketing Roles
Positions I have mentioned above (and those that I’m yet to mention) can also be categorized based on who they’re involved with, who they report to, and which departments they collaborate with. There are four main categories, but remember that a role can belong to more than one category:
The roles under this title are involved with the channel or brand-specific sales: each manager position has a channel associated with it.
- Content Marketing Manager
- Social Media Manager/Coordinator
- Product Marketing Manager
- Digital Advertising Manager
- Events Manager
- Customer Marketing Manager
- SEO Manager
- Community Manager
- Partnership/Affiliate Manager
These roles need high experience and a team-oriented mindset, as they lead big teams that are made up of implementation roles and cross-channel roles. Their responsibilities are usually general and comprehensive.
- Chief Marketing Official
The CMO is responsible for marketing strategies and performance measurements across all platforms. They have to have a long-term vision when it comes to their marketing strategy. They are the ones who do the general planning, development and execution of a brand’s marketing needs. Different from positions such as the Product Manager, the CMO isn’t only focused on marketing products or generating awareness. They are responsible for every aspect of the brand’s advertisements.
- VP of Marketing
Although the VP of Marketing and CMO have a thin line separating them, their jobs are not the same. The VP executes the plans and strategies defined by the CMO. They are responsible for the delegation of work and the achieved results via the marketing team.
- Communications Director
Responsible for both internal and external communications of a brand. They are the main person when it comes to media contact. They manage the PR team, as communication with the brand’s audience is also their responsibility.
- Brand Director
Content, PR campaigns, paid advertisements, and all other marketing-related actions affect a brand’s positioning. The brand director is responsible for ensuring that all marketing campaigns are in line with the brand’s reputation and positioning.
- Content Director/Manager
Explained under the content marketing department’s content marketing manager position.
- Growth Director
Responsible for using data and analytics to grow the customer base of the business.
Since most of these senior roles have a wide range of responsibilities, their goals may overlap. That’s why collaboration amongst these roles is important as it is for other positions. Certain positions may report to multiple senior roles, and communication between roles is important to be on the same page as a marketing team.
These roles have similar responsibilities to senior roles but on a lower scale. For instance, while the brand director is responsible for the branding of the whole company, the brand manager is responsible for the branding of the specific sub-brands that a business produces. Some of the roles are also categorized as implementation roles. These mid-level sales roles are:
- Digital Marketing Manager
- Growth Marketing Manager
- Marketing Operations Manager
- Brand Manager
- Marketing Project Manager
Cross-Channel Roles, as their name suggests, work across different departments collaboratively. They are vital for the smooth running of the marketing strategy designed by the senior roles (the CMO specifically.) These roles are:
- Marketing Coordinator
Coordinates the collaboration of the positions under each department.
- Digital Marketer
Reports to the digital marketing manager and coordinates the digital advertisements, campaigns, content distribution, etc. on online platforms under each department.
- Conversion Rate Specialist
Constantly improve the conversion rate of an organization’s website, landing pages, etc. by analyzing users’ journeys via analytics tools like Hockeystack.
- Marketing Assistant
Helps with any marketing effort based on need.
- Graphic Designer
Works for all the departments’ design needs.
Creates multipurpose content: said content can be used by content marketers on any distribution channel as needed.
- Web Designer
Designs web pages that will capture leads and maximize conversion rates.
- Content Marketer
Works closely with the Copywriter to create any content that’s necessary for growth, product, or brand marketing. This content may range from email sequences to infographic posts for Instagram.
- Content Strategist
Together with the Content Marketer and the Copywriter, the Content Strategist makes the strategic planning and performance analysis of any marketing effort that uses content.
- Social Media Marketer
Works for all departments as they make use of social media to drive traffic, distribute content and reach qualified leads.
- PPC and SEO Specialists
Manage and optimize the PPC ads that are run by departments, improve the ranking of the brand’s website by doing keyword and competition analysis, and measure performance with the right PPC reports or SEO tools.
SaaS Marketing Team Structure
As I’ve said before, there isn’t a “right way” of structuring your SaaS marketing team. Based on the size of your business, your customer base, and your budget, you’ll design your marketing team according to your capabilities and needs. However, the most basic structure can be based on your marketing team’s size.
Small Marketing Teams
Small Marketing teams are made up of the managers under each department. These managers take on the major responsibilities of said department, and they’re all on the same level in terms of importance under the Head of Marketing. This is important because having a hierarchy between department heads makes collaboration less likely.
Also note that there are two managers from the growth marketing department and that there’s the Senior Designer who’s not a manager. The Senior Designer is simply an experienced graphic designer who does the designs for the other positions but does not strategize in any marketing-related way.
- Head of Marketing
- Content Marketing Manager
- Head of Demand Generation/Growth Marketing Manager
- Marketing Operations Manager
- Product Marketing Manager
- Senior Designer
Large Marketing Teams
Businesses that have no problem with funding and spending, and those that have started to target enterprise businesses, use large marketing teams. The structure of large teams is separated into four parts, the two being involved with two of the main marketing departments I have talked about above. The third, Marketing Operations, is dedicated to studying the whole customer journey and optimizing the strategies used in each stage of the journey. The fourth is about Brand Marketing, which would be an essential position for big SaaS companies. This branch is involved solely with brand awareness, acquisition, and retention. Content marketing is found under this branch, since content marketing is essentially about brand awareness. These four main branches are all under the VP of Marketing.
- VP of Marketing
- Director of Growth Marketing
- Head of Paid Marketing
- Head of SEO
- Head of Web
- Head of ABM (account based marketing)
- Director of Product Marketing
- Head of Partnerships
- Head of Community
- Head of Customer Marketing
- Director of Marketing Operations
- Head of Lifecycle Marketing
- Head of Marketing Analytics
- Director of Brand Marketing
- Head of Content Marketing
- Head of Marketing Design
- Head of PR and Social
- Director of Growth Marketing
There are two positions I haven’t mentioned before under large marketing teams, which require explanation. The first is the Head of ABM, found under growth marketing: this position identifies high-value target accounts according to specific ABM metrics and develops necessary strategies to engage with the accounts on a personalized basis. This is an important position since 76% of marketers fail to use data effectively to target the right accounts.
The second is the Head of Lifecycle Marketing under marketing operations: this position analyzes and optimizes customer journeys, which starts from the top of the sales funnel and continues until customer retention.
One last note: there are also positions working under the “Head of”s. So the Head of SEO overlooks the SEO Analyst, the SEO Strategist, the SEO Executive, and many other niche positions. This applies to all the “Head of”s, of course.
Creating a marketing team from scratch may seem intimidating, but the key is to start small and to grow at the same pace as your brand. First, determine which roles you’ll need to hire first from each department. Then, decide on whether you’ll need a large marketing team or a small one (if you’re starting from scratch, chances are that you’ll need a small one.) Then, design the hierarchy of positions by looking at the basic template we’ve provided above, and make changes as you seem necessary.
As your business grows, you may need more frequent blog posts, and for that, you will hire more copywriters. Or, you may need to focus more on your PPC ads after discovering that they’re underperforming, and for that, you’ll hire a PPC specialist. In short, your progress will be the deciding factor. No matter which size or model you choose, don’t forget to manage your talent the best way possible.
A marketing team should include the core marketing departments related to your business’s goals, and under these departments, it should include the senior roles, manager roles and implementation roles.
A content marketing manager, an SEO strategist/analyst, a web designer, a product marketing manager, and a conversion rate specialist are the most fundamental positions that a SaaS marketing team should include, although there are more specific positions involved as well.
Channel Management, Marketing Information Management, Marketing Planning, Pricing, Product Service Management, Promotion, and Selling.