Revenue Rules! More Effective, Scalable and Predictable Growth with Marketing- Cody Ward


Cody Ward teaches 30 rules that help companies avoid common problems. The three problems are justification, accelerated rates of change, and everyone thinks that they are marketers. These rules are good, basic guidelines to improve revenue and avoid problems that many companies face.


Cody Ward is the VP of Demand Gen Marketing at Sequoia Consulting Group. Cody specializes in sourcing pipeline and accelerating revenue for hypergrowth companies via marketing.


“Don’t just talk work, talk about the entire business as a whole and your contribution to it, then model it out.”

“The more personalized you can get and specific, the more relevant when that communication comes over. It always performs better.”

Key Points

  1. Revenue should be the guiding principle 
  1. To improve revenue, get other teams involved. 
  1. Asking for feedback and adapting the plan is important 

Key Points

Welcome to my session at the rev Tech Summit titled revenue rules strategies for effective and scalable predictive growth via marketing.

Our we’re gonna have some fun today because this is a topic that I’ve been I’ve been thinking about and talking about for for a while now. And it’s from the point of view as a practitioner, and a practitioner who’s found this niche and b2b in SAS in a hyper growth companies and one of one of my CEOs said to me and said to the organization I really want you guys to come to us with a point of view, have it be data guided, and have it with conviction? And, and so it was instilled in me, how can I affect the organization and put together the principles from which I’ve learned into an organized practice and I was hoping to share those with all of you during this session revenue should be your ruler, your guiding principle your your, your queen, so to speak your king, it should be what’s what’s integrating your marketing plus your sales plus your client services organization together.  It should be the one KPI you can all agree on hopefully, and I hope you get a lot out of today. And thank you for for joining this session.

And so just a little bit about me, we’re not going to spend a lot of time here, but this is kind of the niche in the area that I’ve grown up and I’ve been at companies for different companies that have gone on to have successful exits. I’ve been at companies that are in hyper growth mode in this b2b SaaS technology world.

Basically, I just want to tell you where I’m coming from, when I go through some of the challenges that I’ve discovered in marketing and demand gen, specifically b2b and SaaS, and hopefully they resonate with you and their challenges that that you can say, Ah, yeah, I’ve I’ve been there. And so, you know, let’s talk about these revenue rules. There’s 30 of them, but it’s, it’s not going to be that complicated when we go through them. Really, let’s rewind a little bit and say why did these rules exist?

And that’s to really address three common problems. And the problems is where I started in the problems. I hope all of you watching this are going to be nodding your head. So let’s talk about justification first, this is the intense pressure to show results and justify your job constantly and right away. And so, to combat this challenge, these are the rules specifically for the first one is to think like a strategic business leader at the organization first, have a long term plan, think long term in share long term, what your plan is, if you don’t have a plan, it’s gonna create a vacuum and that vacuum will be filled by everyone else’s ideas. And so you got to think long term. And the other thing too is Don’t think of your funnel and your area of business as you’re justifying.

Don’t just talk work, talk about the entire business as a whole and your contribution to it, then model it out. We believe that this is what’s going to happen and we measure that against ourselves. And we’re getting smarter and smarter and smarter looking for insights every single month. If you didn’t predicted in advance, it’s really hard to either ask for more defend the investment you have, according to the right format, really, really matters.

If your executives have a board, for example, and they’re reporting to that board. You should feed them the numbers in the format that they’re used. To. And in the format that likely the port is is asking them for and don’t be on the receiving end of the ask for what’s your budget, like be super proactive about it and give them the budget upfront.

This is that vacuum filling the void concept. It’s totally true in terms of a budget is you need to ask for what you need to influence a model that you’ve created, and not the other way around. The other thing too, is Don’t overextend on technology. As you think about tech, the tech should be designed to make it easier to do business with you to inch closer to understanding what you do. And to understand what you’re offering is. Don’t make it so hard. They’ll make them jump through a bunch of steps where they got to talk to an SDR and talk to a sales rep and the sales rep is like 15 steps for the price. reduce friction. You have to have a backbone to your head of sales and give the best people who are raising their hand to that person.

Have your sales team and answer their questions be helpful and then develop a bias towards an action get out of planning mode. And if you’re in justification mode, go do stuff go get things done maybe a little bit higher volume and scale than you have right now, in order to kind of give yourself a little bit of runway left. Here’s all the work that we’re doing. I’m justifying why we’re doing it. But look, there’s a lot and then get back to the here’s our plan. Here’s our model. Yes, we’re affecting, yes, we expected this and kind of have that conversation together.

The next challenge and the next problem is change. And so it’s not just changes constant said change is accelerating. So when you’re hiring people, yes, go for maybe some of the specialist roles and some of the things that people have seen the movie before, but also go for go getters and the people who just have drive.

The way we’ve been doing it, you start hearing that in your organization. Find some people who don’t like it that way, or at least one a question and validate that it is the right way to do it. Having a direct channel is one that no one can ever take that away from you. It also allows you to expand and upsell and cross sell and do all of those things.

The other thing if you can, if you can focus on this and and really put some attention to it. The dividends have always come back. And that is promoting your customers as heroes, putting them in the forefront and telling their story first. Your story will be told through them, but it’ll be way more credible. It’ll be way more interesting. And I’ll get out of the products and the features and the benefits. It’ll be you know that human genuine connection that your buyers are likely looking for. I believe that people don’t want to hear from companies and that instead people want to hear from people. I would rather follow you know the CEO of a company than necessarily the company’s brand.

And the reason why is It’s usually more interesting and I just want to as a human, I want to connect with another human. And so use that if you’ve got really smart, talented people on your team with you know, high credentials and a ton of expertise. promote them as gurus promote them as heroes and leaders and thought leaders use that as your content inside of all of your marketing channels  And not just features and benefits and you know, going head to head with your competitors because if you can celebrate them, it’s going to be that much more interesting and likely your your prospects and your clients will want to have conversations with them, which always leads to good things.

The other thing is if you’re thinking about, you know, constant change, think about your content like a product just like you were to launch maybe a SaaS business or a new service you would have all this hype around it, you’d have all these different ways that you’re talking about it. You would have all these different, you know this product launch plan, do the same thing with your content in make your content kind of more, make it value added and not just and not just a standalone piece like like think of it like a product and you’ll start to realize that it gets a little bit better and then weave your story into all of this your customer stories your Gewirtz, your your content like a product like you don’t have to make it so overt and just say here’s our story, you know, have that be kind of a secondary or third thing you get after you’ve got them hooked.

The more personalized you can get and specific, the more relevant when that communication comes over. It always performs better also marketing should not be by committee as the marketing function. You should be trying to push the envelope in terms of brand and messaging as far as you can so that you differentiate your company from all your competitors. And that’s that’s your brand identity, cultivate that protect it, instill it into everyone who touches a prospect and a client because that will be timeless and on the same veins as you know as things change, and rules and regulations change.

One thing that will never go away is protecting people’s information. You got to be really, really sensitive to that and keep your bar higher than the latest GDPR CCPA and follow all of the rules that currently exist but with the previous one, you kind of are probably ahead of it.

So this is the third kind of final challenge problem here. And it’s that everyone thinks that they’re a marketer, and I have thought about this a lot and I think it’s because everyone consumes advertising and marketing all day every day. Everyone was a consumer of social media, they get emails that go to websites. And so people naturally are comfortable. And they recognize how they’re being marketed to and advertised to. And so when they flip it on its head and your stakeholders are trying to help you.

They have a bunch of ideas. And so the ideas will come at you and they’ll be from a place of I want to help you have you tried this. Check this out. And if you don’t have an agenda, and if you don’t have a plan, you will likely be executing all your stakeholders ideas instead of your own. And so, one way to combat this is to communicate what you did are doing and are about to do. And the reason you do this is because you’re filling that void. You’re saying we just did this, or we’re about to do this or I’m currently doing this we’re about to do this. And so it leaves no room for someone to say well, why don’t you do this other stuff? Look how busy we are. We have an agenda we have a plan. We have a model now. This is what we’re doing.

We also don’t have a plan that’s just, you know, a plan as we’ve documented like we we were showing it to you we’ve written it down somewhere. This isn’t some loose strategy and vision of tactics. We have a written plan that we are following. We don’t need the absence of a plan in the absence of communicating a plan will be someone else’s plan. I really can’t emphasize that enough. And that’s one of the things that takes the marketing team off course.

And is one of the big challenges is is optics everyone thinks they can do it. expecially really smart leaders. And so if you can have your plan, if you can predict and model it. Teach everyone to be data guided and data driven. Think of your ideas like a science experiments, actually write hypotheses, test it out, and then come back to it and write a synopsis. What did you learn? What happened? Were he right? Were you wrong? bring everyone along for the ride. And, again, communicate what you’ve learned in your insights and that will help really fill the fill the gap here.

Prioritize your work by effort and impact. So if someone gives you a bunch of things to do, give them the opportunity costs say this is what we were planning on doing. And this is the impact it was going to make this is this is our goals and plan. We are agile and adaptable and are able to accommodate a lot of things. But ultimately, the opportunity cost of us doing X ray now is why and we’ve already been talking about why for a while. And so it’s a tool to block and tackle some of the constant barrage of of tasks and activities that you’re you’re being asked to do as a marketing team. And you start to see that these are all around the theme of setting your agenda, protecting it. And in really kind of standing for something with a strong point of view.

Don’t just tell your own function, secure allies across different departments, bring them along for the ride, get their feedback. It shouldn’t be constant, but it should be at the right times at the front of a campaign, the end of the year, the beginning of the year, really trying to understand how you can serve your stakeholders and build allies so that they find what you’re doing is credible and impactful for really what they care about. Don’t forget about some of those those other functions like alliances strategic partnerships, for some reason, they’re always kind of thought of after the fact but bring in all of those partners in in the get go and kind of make everyone feel like they’re they’re heard and understood. And also find time to talk to the frontlines like the frontline people who are having the conversations with your customers and your buyers and prospects. jump in there and have the same conversations and ask questions, because it’s much easier to say the reason we’re doing things is because we heard directly from our clients versus we think this is what they want. And it’s kind of a hypothesis but you know, over here sales is talking to them and hearing something else like go hear firsthand what the challenges are.

Talk to them constantly celebrate them, you know you’re starting to see some of these rules work together now and get feedback on everything. And so, like, tell them what you’re doing. Have experiments, solicit feedback on everything, but really defend your agenda and what you’re doing with results and metrics and numbers. And these are some ways to kind of have your own perspective or plan. Everyone understands your plan. internal marketing is just as important as external marketing, especially when you’re getting bigger and at scale. And then this goes back to the brand and the position and you know this timeless Don’t be so reactive like if your competitors are doing a bunch of stuff, recognize it and respond to it. But don’t be a marketing organization that is constantly on the back end and the knee jerk reactions. You’re usually never able to get ahead and so resist it come up with a plan stick with your agenda, be data guided, and you’ll be in a good position.

So that is my session. Hopefully I gave you some ideas. Thank you for joining me today. Hopefully had some some insights here. If you have any questions or ideas or you’ve thought of another rule that you’re like, ooh, this would be a good one for justification. I would definitely enjoy talking shop with anyone at this conference. That will thank you for so much. I hope you enjoy the rest of the rep text.