Warning Signs Your B2B Marketing Is Giving Up On Its Goals
Reading Time: 12 minutes
Let’s face it, there is a lot to pay attention to when it comes to marketing. The problem is that not all of it will advance our B2B marketing goals one bit. At the end of the day, we need our B2B marketing to set us up for better sales. We’re going to cover traps to avoid in order to better accomplish our B2B marketing goals.
Let’s talk about it:
So, you’re at the office and freaking out about making more sales, making money, making rent and generally keep the lights on.
This should not be. You are a smart person with great ideas. Your aim has always been to go beyond what your competitors are doing.
So what gives? Why are you not seeing positive results you expect from your website, email, blog, white papers, etc?
The problem may be how you’re structuring your marketing efforts.
Let’s talk about some common marketing pitfalls you want to avoid when getting ready for B2B lead generation.
Marketing For Marketing’s Sake
Years back, when I first reared my head into the world of internet marketing, I had a simple idea for how it worked,
Traffic + Followers = Money (Bad Formula)
I learned, through guru repetition, that social media and getting traffic were the cool things to do so I spent my time collecting Twitter followers and trying to build traffic.
But what would be the purpose of all that traffic and those followers? It’s supposed to be sales.
The purpose of marketing is to support sales.
So when managers want to improve traffic, what they’re really saying is: “I want to improve sales.”
Again. “I want to increase my web traffic” = “I want to improve my sales.”
“I want to improve my click through rate” = “I want more people to buy my services.”
Yet with so much pent-up aggression around sales, how often do marketers, marketing managers, and people who use some version of “marketing” in their official title make the connection between marketing and money? By what I see on the regular, not often enough.
If you want money, you want sales –and its connection with your marketing needs to be tighter than politicians and paid lobbyists.
Sales gets a bad rap. It can bring up images of slimy characters cold-calling doctors and garbage men Boiler Room style and beating people into submission with words. But that has changed. The internet has made it more of an equal playing field for buyers and sellers.
Instead of sellers hoarding information until (and only until) buyers pony up the cash, buyers are getting much of their information from these same folks free and (only) then choose to contact the sales department.
I’ve heard it said over and over these days, by the time buyers come to your door they’re nearly 70 percent sold.
Today’s salesperson has become an educator and consultant, which is really blurring the line between marketing and sales.
Hubspot calls it “Smarketing”—so let’s go with that term.
In smarketing, the marketing and sales teams are more like buddies in an open-concept office. They share ideas, strategies, and goals regularly; no walls between ‘em.
Because of this über transparency, marketing and sales have to come up with their own shared language, so they may understand each other.
This means that a hybrid smarketing team will have to decide specifically what a “prospect” and “lead” are and how the smarketing funnel would look.
Beyond that, the best smarketing teams work out a Sales and Marketing SLA (Service-Level-Agreement). This is a way for both sides of the team to know what is expected of them. Marketing gets to work out how many prospects/visitors, leads, and marketing-qualified leads they need to give sales so they can go about and make that money.
This keeps the marketing team focused on goals that actually matter (and allow people to keep their jobs).
This also serves to redirect marketing from efforts that sound good for awards committees today but won’t cut the money mustard tomorrow.
Marketing That’s Always Changing
Marketing is like working out, you can’t expect anything to happen without a bit of consistency.
I once sat down with a respected marketing leader from a top firm and had the chance to ask him a few questions as to where marketing, as a field, was headed.
With over 20 years of experience at his disposal, he explained one of the biggest struggles we’re facing is obsession with the new shiny thing.
“You look around for the best tool to solve a problem—you find one and it solves it well. It’s new, so you learn how to use it and develop your product with it. Then the person you hand it to says,
‘Oh that’s old, here’s the new thing. Mind you, the service you used has only been around eight months!”
I understand the struggle, as you probably do.
Here’s what I’m saying
This is not about slamming new and better tech, instead it’s all about accountability.
Often, you come across a client who wants to do something they believe will increase visits, then conversions, then revenue. And they want to start right away. In the past, I would hop-to, produce the materials for their envisioned campaign and run back breathlessly.
Inevitably, a week of this new direction would bore them (they aren’t seeing numbers skyrocket and hearing angels sing) and they set-up a meeting to talk about a change in direction.
Here is the trouble with that:
- We don’t know why the last campaign didn’t work: Was it me? Did we aim it using the wrong audience? Did we use the wrong channel?
- If we don’t solve for 1,we will make the same dumb mistake again.
I call this “Entering through the Exit Door”:
Picture this: you’ve come up to your friendly department store, Penny Pete’s, and you try to enter from the first door you find.
It cracks open a bit and slams in your face. You do this a few more times and it’s just not working.
You peer through that store glass window and check out all the customers giving each other high-fives for finding deals of a lifetime, magical décor, and smiling faces eagerly waiting to greet you. So instead of trying one of the hundred doors available…
You go back to your car and say, “Screw this store!”
Doesn’t make sense, does it?
In marketing, we often find ourselves entering through the exit door. We have some great ideas then we get a helping of reality — without taking the time to understand why we’re having a hard time.
And what is this situation reality shouting at us? Use another door!
Don’t dump your entire strategy just because you haven’t met your required page rank in two weeks. Instead of scrapping things and making humongous changes, think about how you can make things work a little better with smaller changes.
If you don’t, how can you ever say with confidence that you know what’s working and what isn’t?
Marketing That’s Not Buyer-obsessed
Many of us develop our marketing campaigns as if we weren’t interacting with people. We’ve all been guilty of it.
Tell me if this sounds familiar: you sit down with the task you have to complete at hand, your company narrative swirling around your brain –and it really inspires you. This marketing piece is going to kill: you’ve unearthed some related notes you swiped from a similar successful Fortune 500 endeavor, you know the color, font sizes, plus all the kick-ass slogans you’ll use. All the tools are ready for use.
But one thing is missing: one teeny-tiny bit you neglected to consider—the buyer. Where is the buyer love?
Now you might believe you aren’t ignoring buyers with your marketing. However, are they central to every piece you create?
I’m not talking about vague crappy ideas like “being human,” “making friendly jabs,” or “being real,” I’m talking about keeping your buyer’s persona and buyer’s journey at the core of your marketing strategy.
Your buyer persona
You know this already, I’m sure. But with the plethora of crap we commit to with marketing, it’s easy to forget: when you develop a marketing piece of anything, you need to check it against your ideal buyer personas.
Aaron Ross and Marylou Tyler, writing in their book, Predictable Revenue, lament that even accomplished business folk overlook this basic fact:
“If your sales or lead generation efforts are struggling, first look to yourself. How clear is your Ideal Customer Profile? Have you identified their core challenges? Are you marketing to and speaking to those ideal clients, or are you speaking to too broad an audience, and diluting your voice?”
Executives hate to do this because they feel like they are shrinking their market opportunity…”
Your buyers matter, so focusing on their needs first and foremost is the name of this game.
What to focus on
We can’t focus on everything equally even though we’d like to, so we’ll need to prioritize. If you only have 50 seconds to draw something insightful from the buyer persona you’ve created, look at the challenges.
They always give you something to solve through your marketing materials.
Other than looking over your buyer persona, you’ll want to develop this piece of buyer love as well…
Your buyer journey
Your ideal buyers will not arrive in the same state. Think about visiting a hardware store for a moment. Depending upon the amount of reading done, personal experience, and aptitude, we each enter into hardware stores at different stages.
- Some of us enter with our hardhats and tool belts around our waists, ready to make a decision. We know exactly what we need and how much.
- Others are sure of our specific problem but not how to fix. We’re all about consideration and exploring solutions.
- Then there are us poor souls who know there’s something funny going on with our house but have no clue what or how to fix it. Here we have a general awareness of the problem.
Your buyers fall into these same categories:
- Awareness: “This situation’s not great. Why?”
- Consideration: “I know the problem. What now?”
- Decision: “I know the solution. I’m ready to act!”
When we forget that this buyer journey exists, we tend to favor one of the stages exclusively. If your focus is money (imagine that, in business!) we tend to create glorified ads and call them blog posts and content marketing.
If I got five dollars for every company that came to me with nothing but “Guess what? We’ve got a new product to buy!” posts, I’d be giving Peter Thiel a run for it.
Develop content for each stage of the buyer journey to help guide your customers to the logical conclusion of their journey: your solution.
Keep your marketing content fit and focused
As with most things, it’s easy to get discouraged with the practice of marketing and figure that it just doesn’t work–but that’s all it is—discouragement. Instead of planning how to drop away from marketing in general, why not get more specific about what you want it to do for you.
To see results you can be proud of, you’ll need marketing that:
- Connects to your sales
- Remains fairly consistent for testing/experimenting purposes
- Loves on your buyers as much as you so and
· Keeps the buyer conversation alive
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