f t i +

How Small Marketing Teams Outperform Big Ones

Steve Ambuul

Welcome to “work smarter, not harder,” marketing edition. 


We’ve worked with hundreds of marketing teams, and know for a fact that a few people — even one person — can outperform massive marketing departments by strategically using marketing automation tools (MATs).


If you aren’t using these tools at all (or aren’t taking advantage of their most valuable features), you’re missing out on opportunities for optimization that could take your team to the next level.


Here are a few ways small marketing teams can use automation as a force multiplier and hit the same targets as much larger teams:


Email automation


This one’s a gimme. For B2B and ecommerce companies especially, email automation can be the most valuable way of passively generating business.


One solid strategy is to use HubSpot marketing automation tools to set up email campaigns that are triggered by certain actions — say, downloading content — and continue to create value for the lead via email until they decide to convert.


The key phrase here is create value. Sending pushy emails (or sending them too often) will drive people to hit the unsubscribe button or mark your emails as spam. Instead, send carefully-timed, useful content like discounts, helpful blog posts, and “personal” check-ins.


Related: You’ve Been Lied to About Personalized Email Marketing


Email automation can help you maximize the ROI of your lead-generation efforts, which are often the most labor-intensive things marketing teams do. Set up long-term nurture sequences to keep your business top-of-mind and make sure every possible conversion happens.


And don’t forget to analyze and optimize! A/B test variables like subject lines and calls to action, and continue to refine your email list segmentation for the best possible results.


Lead scoring


Lead scoring is the process of assigning values to records in your contact database, usually based on how likely they are to convert.


This can help you segment your audience into categories like leads, marketing qualified leads (MQLs), and sales qualified leads (SQLs). You can then use the segments to send different types of campaigns to contacts with different interest levels.


How you implement lead scoring is up to you, but it’s generally based on a combination of factors, such as demographic information, how they engage with marketing emails and/or content on your website, and how well they match up with your target audience.


Lead scoring can also tell you who’s not a good fit for you, so your team doesn’t waste time on leads who aren’t likely to convert (or just aren’t ready yet).


Insight from your sales team is incredibly helpful for lead scoring, but you should also dig into the numbers for more detailed, accurate info. 


That’s where CRM automation platforms like Oracle's Eloqua, Salesforce's Pardot, Adobe's Marketo, or HubSpot can save your team the most time and effort — automated lead scoring tools make the process faster and easier, and some even allow for custom lead scoring criteria.


For example, HubSpot offers a Predictive Lead Scoring tool that uses machine learning to compare leads and score them based on thousands of data points.


Automated paid ad optimization


Some paid ad channels let you automatically optimize ads for maximum success, like Google responsive ads and Facebook responsive ads, which use machine learning to test and identify the best-performing combinations of ad headlines and keywords.


These tools do most of the work for your team so they don’t have to spend time manually compiling A/B test results and revising copy.


Content optimization


For some teams, constantly churning out new content is a winning strategy. But small marketing teams don’t always have time to create and implement new content on a regular basis.


If you already have a decent amount of pre-existing content, you can make it work harder for you by conducting a semi-regular analysis of performance and updating or optimizing content.


Here are a few ways to refresh old posts:


  • Add new/updated info that wasn’t available at the time the post was written
  • Identify and incorporate additional target keywords
  • Incorporate backlinks to more recent or higher-performing posts
  • Optimize content to try to win a Google featured snippet


It’s a lot faster to update an old post than it is to ideate, outline, write, implement, and promote a new one, so take advantage of optimization when your team is short on time.


ABM automation


For B2B businesses with limited target markets, ABM tools like Terminus, Triblio, and Kwanzoo can automatically serve ads to leads based on criteria like job title or company and help keep your sales and marketing teams aligned.


These tools are like lead scoring, segmentation, and digital advertising all in one — perfect for businesses with smaller marketing teams.




Even if your marketing team is just a few people, you can still reach your goals like a larger department — you just need the right combination of strategies and tools to help you stay competitive.


Remember, when you use marketing automation tools to their full potential, you’re already one step ahead of larger marketing teams who don’t. So take advantage of what’s available and watch your team’s hard work pay off.


We can help you choose the best marketing automation tools for your business. Let’s talk!

Definitely not spam

Sign up for our newsletter

Don't worry - we only average, like, two emojis per subject line.

Got a question for Steve Ambuul?

Message the author of this post and they'll get back to you.

Fire Away