How to use the V2MOM framework to align and inspire your B2B SaaS marketing team

Just a few months into my stint at Campaign Monitor, a new CEO joined to lead the company.

That CEO was a guy named Alex Bard.

Alex co-founded the well-known SaaS company Desk.com before selling it to Salesforce and becoming the VP of Service Cloud (their second largest business unit, behind Sales Cloud).

During his time at Salesforce, Alex was fortunate enough to work directly with Salesforce co-founder and CEO Marc Benioff, and together they utilised a framework Benioff himself devised called the V2MOM to align and manage the Service Cloud team.

When Alex joined Campaign Monitor a few years later, he brought the framework with him and instilled it within Campaign Monitor as a way of aligning the organisation and getting the entire team focused on the same goals.

It was game-changing for the company, and for each team that implemented it.

So in this post, I want to outline how the V2MOM framework works and how you can use it to align and manage your company around what’s most important.

What is the V2MOM framework?

The V2MOM framework is a methodology for setting the vision for your company, and then aligning all the various teams so that they are working together to achieve it.

It’s an acronym for the following:

  • Vision – The vision for where the company is going and what it should look like in a in the future.
  • Values – The values under which the company operates and adheres to.
  • Methods – The key initiatives each team is focused on that will help the company achieve the vision.
  • Obstacles – The identified obstacles that each team will need to overcome to complete their methods and help the company reach the vision.
  • Measures – The measures by which you’ll assess your progress on the methods.

The V2MOM framework helps everyone understand exactly where the company is going, and how the work each individual team member is doing contributes to helping the company achieve the Vision.

How to create a V2MOM framework for your company or team

The V2MOM framework works best when the whole company is utilising it. That way, all teams (product, engineering, etc) all have a clear vision that they’re working towards.

However, even if the entire organisation isn’t onboard with it, it can still be a very useful tool for just aligning a specific team (such as a marketing team).

Either way, the process of creating a V2MOM starts as high up the organisation as it can (I.e. The CEO if the whole company has bought in, or the CMO if it’s just the marketing team who has bought in), and the first step is setting the vision.

Step 1: Set the vision

The first step in creating a V2MOM for your team/company is setting the vision.

The word ‘Vision’ seems to have a lot of various definitions and meanings, but I personally like the Vivid Vision approach popularized by Cameron Herold, the former COO of 1800-GOT-JUNK who helped it grow from $2 million in revenue to $100 million in six years.

Essentially, it involves imagining exactly what your team/company/department will look like in 3 years time and then documenting that in detail.

So for instance, here’s a shortened version of what the Vision might look like for a B2B SaaS marketing team.

In 3 years time, our team of 10 across inbound, paid acquisition, product marketing, PR & operations has successfully built out an optimized growth engine.

We’re ranking number 1 for our key terms in Google, have thousands of engaged social media followers, are frequently mentioned in trade publications and are advertising across key sites our target market hangs out on.

All of these initiatives are driving prospects back to our highly-optimized website. Here they’ll find a beautifully designed website with clear messaging built on in-depth buyer personas, and a blog and Resources section with the highest-quality educational content available in our industry.

From the website, users can either signup for our product and proceed down the onboarding path towards becoming a customer, or can download an amazing in-depth content piece before being put through a strategic lead nurturing workflow that showcases the benefits of using our product and convinces them to signup.

All these initiatives are constantly working to turn prospects into paying customers at a CAC payback time of less than 1 year, and is underpinned by an integrated marketing technology stack that gives us full visibility into what’s working and what isn’t, and allows our team to move fast and achieve the things we want to achieve.

The key to setting a good Vision is to not get bogged down in the ‘How’ and just to dream big. You and the team will work the how later.

Step 2: Set the values

With a clear vision set for the company/department/team, it’s time to set some values.
These values could be set at a company level, or if they don’t yet exist there, can even be set at a team level.

At Campaign Monitor, we have a series of company wide values that we all adhere to. These include:

  • Make Mum Proud – Treat our customers, and each other, with honesty and respect. There are no assholes at Campaign Monitor.
  • Care About Why – We’re always inquisitive, always striving to understand the problems we are solving.
  • Create The Change You Want To See – Have a new idea or a way to make things work better? Do it! It’s up to you. Actions always speak louder than words.
  • If Our Customers Kick-Ass, We Will Too – Help our customers be awesome and do incredible things, the rest will follow.
  • Do Less, But Do It Best – Ruthlessly prioritize. Let’s focus on projects that deliver the most value to the company.

Alternatively, when I was at Dubsat, the company hadn’t set a series of values for everyone to live up too, so I set my own for the team.

By including the values in your V2MOM, you help ensure they’re lived by the team as they become a part of the document that everyone is consistently focused on and referrign back to.

Step 3: Work with key individuals to set the methods

Now that you, as the leader of the company/department/team, have set the vision and the values, it’s time to work with key individuals to set the methods.

Think of Methods as the individual initiatives your team will focus on in order to achieve the Vision in 3 years time. In my time at Campaign Monitor, we’ve experimented at doing quarterly methods & half-yearly methods, and personally prefer quarterly, but it really depends on the business and the team.

To illustrate what Methods are, we’ll continue the previous example of a Marketing Team at a B2B SaaS company and examine what the Methods might look like as the team works towards the aforementioned Vision:

  • Increase organic search traffic (Paul) – Find and onboard SEO agency. Conduct keyword research and identify key terms. Complete technical audit & implement changes.
  • Grow social traffic (John) – Scale posting across all our social media accounts. Experiment with untapped channels like Medium & Quora.
  • Scale paid acquisition (Paul) – Find and onboard PPC agency. Implement programmatic buying. Design and implement retargeting strategy.
  • Optimize website to increase conversion rate (Amy) – Refine messaging on homepage. Launch new features page to better explain product. Develop & launch new case study video for customers page.
  • Scale content production (Leanne) – Devise content strategy. Find and onboard a team of freelance writers. Scale blogging to 3x per week. Produce 2 eBooks per month for lead generation.
  • Implement lead generation & nurturing (John) – Design lead nurturing strategy & workflows. Design & launch gated content landing pages. Create emails and setup nurturing workflows. Work with sales to define MQL point and handover process.
  • Scale PR (Frankie) – Identify key media publications and influencers to engage with. Build a story framework that aligns with the brand, positioning, company vision & mission, etc. Generate 30+ media hits in key publications by producing executive bylines, supporting product launches & telling customer stories.
  • Enable team success by building a foundation for growth (Leo) – Implement Segment on the website and start tracking key events. Setup Amazon Redshift data warehouse to store data. Purchase and implement Looker and build key dashboards for access by the marketing team.

 

As you can see above, each Method has 3 parts to it: The overview, the owner and the detail.

The overview is a short description of the Method, while the owner makes it clear who is responsible for executing this method, and finally the detail provides some more information on what exactly needs to be accomplished in the timeframe (it’s usually a good idea to set and revise the Methods every quarter to remain agile as you work towards the longer term Vision).

Depending on your management style and team makeup, you can set these top-down, bottom-up or a mix of both. I personally prefer a combined approach where you put the Vision and Values in front of team members and let them come up with their own methods, before working with them to refine them based on your own knowledge of priorities, other team member’s methods, etc.

 

Step 4: Identify obstacles and come up with a plan to mitigate them

In any team, there are obstacles to success.

It might be lack of design & development resources to get things done, or maybe it’s lack of budget.

Regardless of what the obstacles are, a good team can overcome them as long as they identify early what they’re likely to be and have a plan in place for how they are going to overcome them.

The obstacles each company and each team faces are obviously going to be very different, but here are some example obstacles for the marketing team at the fictitious B2B SaaS company I’ve been discussing throughout:

Access to creative resources
We have a limited number of people in the creative team and a lot of projects coming from the various parts of the marketing department that need to be prioritized.

In order to achieve the Vision, the marketing team needs the creative team’s assistance with initiatives like designing pages for the website, designing eBooks & landing pages for lead generation, designing emails for lead nurturing, etc.

In order to overcome the challenge of limited creative resources and ensure all Methods are executed, we will:

  • Build strong relationships with the creative team – Invite creative team members to marketing team events & dinners to foster positive relationships among the teams.
  • Encourage open communication & transparency between teams – Invite key members of the creative team to weekly marketing team meetings so they understand the initiatives we’re working on and why.
  • Frontload submission of creative briefs – As early as possible, submit briefs to the creative team for work needed to be carried out, in order to give the project adequate time to progress through the backlog and get prioritized.
  • Make compelling revenue-based arguments for the project – Help get projects prioritized by coming up with revenue models that clearly outline the value of the work for the business, and attend creative team meetings to fight for prioritization.

As you can see, each Obstacle being outlined in the V2MOM contains a clear description of the challenge faced by the team/individual as well as a plan for overcoming that challenge and ensuring execution of the Method within the agreed timeframe.

 

Step 5: Define the measures of success

In order to know whether you’ve been successful or not, you need to set clear measures for each method.

In my opinion, these measures should include both output and outcome related metrics.

For instance, here’s what the measures might look like for the ‘Grow social traffic’ method in the section above:

By end of December 2016, be posting 300 times per month to our social channels, and have completed experiments in 3 new channels (Medium, SlideShare, Quora). Be generating 2000+ engagements (likes, shares, etc) on our posts each month, and be driving 10,000+ visitors to our website from social each month.

As you can see, a number of the measures are based on output (posting 300 times per month to social channels and completing experiments in 3 new channels), while others based on outcomes (2000+ engagements, 10,000+ visitors).

In my opinion, it’s important to have both because outcome-based metrics aren’t always fully within the control of the owner.

For instance, in the case of a social-media focused method like the one mentioned here, external factors like changes to Facebook’s Newsfeed Algorithm and Twitter introducing an algorithmic feed can have a significant impact on engagement and click-throughs.

If you were only measuring success on outcome-based measures, it would look like John (the owner of the Method) is doing a poor job. However, if you have output-based and outcome-based measures that John has committed to achieving then you can get a much better handle on John’s performance.

In conclusion

From a managers perspective, The V2MOM is a great framework that you can implement in your team to help create alignment, focus people on projects that deliver the maximum value for the business, and create a culture of ownership and accountability amongst the team.

From an employee perspective, the V2MOM framework has a lot of benefits as well. It gives clarity to individual team members on the projects they own and the outputs and outcomes that are expected of them, and helps them understand how those projects contribute to the overall success of the organization.

Although V2MOM isn’t the only framework that can help you achieve this (OKR’s is another one), it’s certainly a great start. So take it, customize it to your business (we’ve even tweaked it a little bit at Campaign Monitor to make it right for us) and start using to align, focus and motivate your team.

Aaron Beashel
ab@aaronbeashel.com

Just two loves: marketing & surfing. When I’m not in the ocean, you’ll find me helping B2B SaaS companies acquire and retain customers.

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