Interview with Max van den Ingh, Founder of Growth Hacking Agency
How do you start your career in SaaS Marketing? What’s currently happening in B2B SaaS Marketing? Max van den Ingh, founder of Growth Marketing Agency Unmuted answers these questions.
Max, tell us: how did you end up working in the SaaS industry?
When I was working as a marketer at MisterGreen, I used quite a lot of SaaS tools and products. I kind of fell in love with these tools and how they work. The scalability of software products, compared to traditional services and products, creates a lot of opportunities for growth.
So when I got the chance to start a position as Head of Growth at a B2B SaaS company with a highly scalable product and a global presence, I couldn’t wait to get started. It turned out to be a very fun ride.
In your opinion, what makes a great marketing professional?
I think great marketing professionals tend to have certain habits. They’re curious and resourceful by nature. They have a can-do attitude. And they also like convincing people of their ideas and concepts. I think a good marketer is capable of seeing the bigger picture, and working to achieve smaller goals within that bigger picture.
“I think solving tough challenges is what makes marketing such an awesome line of work.”
What’s the most difficult part of being a marketer?
First of all, marketing is a lot of fun. And I think it’s solving tough challenges that makes marketing such an awesome line of work. But one very difficult part of marketing in the B2B SaaS industry is data attribution. Many marketers struggle with managers who think marketing should be measured along the lines of e-commerce-like metrics.
But the truth is, marketing is just a way to try and move things forward or move things in the right direction. And that’s something that’s super hard to measure. It’s less quantitative, it’s more qualitative. A lot of managers like pushing direct performance metrics, which pushes marketers into doing less attractive types of marketing.
Why is marketing so important for SaaS or other B2B companies?
I think there’s only one, simple answer to this question: it makes sales easier, and companies need more sales to grow. With marketing or demand generation, you make sales more likely to happen.
What advice would you give other marketers looking to move up the ladder?
I think you should find a place where senior management believes in marketing. Or understands marketing and is willing to invest in it.
Marketing is like a muscle, you need to be able to flex it. A lot. And if you can’t flex your marketing muscles, because you’re restricted… Then you won’t gain any experience. So my advice is to find a place where leadership really gets marketing and wants to invest in it.
“Marketing is like a muscle, you need to be able to flex it. A lot. And if you can’t flex your marketing muscles, because you’re restricted… Then you won’t gain any experience.”
What do you think is key to developing a healthy pipeline for the long term?
I think it’s always going to be a combination between a couple of key factors. But, first and foremost, your product or service should solve actual problems, and you need to understand every aspect of that problem.
So ask yourself:
Who has this problem? How frequently are they having these problems? When do these problems come up? What are the solutions to these problems? What are examples of solutions to these problems? Who found solutions to these problems already? And where do we fit in?
You really need to understand what you’re solving. Only then can you create resources and solutions around these problems. This is one of the principles of reciprocity. Giving something first will increase the likelihood that people will return the favor.
Understand which problems you’re solving, create resources around that, and make sure that those resources are easily accessible to your audience. This will help you build a strong pipeline. Making it accessible to your audience could also mean running advertising campaigns, being active on social media, sending out a newsletter, sponsoring an event, etc.
What are the most recent trends and developments you see in the growth marketing industry?
The biggest trend I’m currently seeing is a combined focus on brand awareness and account-based marketing (ABM). So both being out there and directly speaking to the prospects you target. The people whose problems you identified and to which your products or services are the solution.
This approach works, because the pipeline that you generate from ABM campaigns, and from some of the people that convert from your awareness campaigns, will be way more relevant to your team.
Before, marketers were focusing on getting everyone in the pipeline. Generating as many leads as possible. But companies have experienced that pushing more leads in the pipeline isn’t always a great idea, especially in terms of operations. Don’t generate too many leads, generate the leads that matter, and which are a natural fit to your specific solution.
What does a growth marketer do three to five years from now?
First of all, I firmly believe that marketing & sales teams will join together as revenue teams. We’re seeing it happen in America and to be honest, most SMBs still have a lot of Sales & Marketing Managers being one person who’s responsible for both. When I was working at MisterGreen this was also the case and it actually worked just fine. No alignment issues whatsoever.
But the future of marketing will also be very strongly influenced by developments in automation. I foresee hybrid workflows where marketers use AI to leverage certain work, and then act more like a chief editor, overseeing and editing the results. So more automation tools, more AI, with marketers overseeing the operations and quality of these marketing automation machines.