Live from the SaaStock USA 2024 Scale Stage, Kyle Lacy (CMO, Jellyfish) tells marketing leaders the five ways to not get fired.

“I believe marketing should have a seat at the table for all four of these to force alignment, because you are the hub and spoke of the go to market model – in my opinion. So that’s why it’s important that you at least help own, or at least help report, on these things.”

The average tenure of a marketing and sales leader at a high-growth startup is short, and it’s short for a reason. How do you build staying power at any company as a marketing leader? It’s important to build specific strategies to gain a seat at the proverbial table. Join Kyle Lacy as he walks you through the five ways to position yourself as a marketing leader, from revenue alignment to owning a pipeline/revenue number.

Watch or listen to the full episode below or read on for key takeaways.


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The average tenure of a SaaS marketing leader is between 16 and 18 months. Here are Kyle Lacy’s lessons on how to not get fired – based on his 17 years experience in marketing leadership roles at companies including Jellyfish, Lessonly, OpenView, and Salesforce. 

1. Own a top, bottom, and middle number

Move from numbers that keep score to numbers that drive better actions. For marketing leaders, that means bookings and pipeline. Work with finance or RevOps to build a pipeline model that helps the sales team close more deals. If you lack historical data, make a good guess and then change it month on month, depending on what is happening in the market and your sales team.

2. Understand efficiency of your GTM channels

Efficiency means different things to different people. The most important interpretation for marketing leaders? The one that aligns with your finance team. Understand what they mean by efficiency and implement it across your entire GTM team. You should know the efficiency of the BDR team, of AEs, inbound, paid ads, and events. 

3. Lead alignment efforts

GTM teams should be aligned on Communication, Revenue, Enablement, and Metrics – or the CREM de la creme of growth. In the talk Kyle focused on two of these points:

  • Communication: Kyle introduces set weekly, monthly, and quarterly communications across the team. Each has its own purpose but together all three keep the team moving in the same direction. 
  • Enablement: Sitting across industry knowledge, product understanding, use cases, and go-to-market, enablement levels your team up and helps new team members ramp up more quickly. 

4. Over prepare for board meetings

Over prepare so you never ever have to say “I don’t know” in a board meeting. Kyle tips for this include: 

  • Setting time to have your slides and talk track ripped apart by peers, mentors, or your CEO. 
  • In the meeting, reintroduce the challenges from last quarter and discuss how you tackled them.
  • Include these must have slides: quarterly wins and challenges, pipeline booking and funnel conversion, special topic (e.g. what do you need help with), and a quarterly look ahead. 

5. Be a little irrational

“It is much easier to be fired for being illogical than it is for being unimaginative. The fatal issue is the logic always gets you to exactly the same place as your competitors,” Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman, Ogilvy.

As a brand marketer, Kyle says that 30% of your budget should be set aside to let creative teams test cool ideas. The example from Kyle was a golden llama employee initiative that they ran as a direct mail campaign to prospects and customers. While a campaign that included little to no mention of the product, it resulted in $500K in revenue. 

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