Telling your story in the B2B marketing world is challenging. It is a complicated landscape with many stakeholders, complex relationships, and multiple customer needs. Based upon my experience doing just that for the past 20 years, I’ve come up with 3 keys to achieve success in this daunting world.
Key #1: The CRO is Your Friend
When I’m inside firms that sell Business 2 Business, I can’t believe how often I see the disconnect between sales and marketing. Business Marketing has one objective: driving revenue (see my previous post). So a good head of marketing not only must have a great relationship with Head of Sales, but encourages the marketing team to have a terrific relationship with their reflective person on the sales team.
But it’s more than “team building”, it’s about walking lock-step with the sales team and jointly building the go-to-market & sales strategy. That is, making sure marketing is thinking about success in terms same terms that the C-suite and CRO are: revenue, margin, and cashflow. And, operationally, it means both teams are focused on the same target accounts, same business decision makers and same storylines. Partnering with your head of sales means the rising tide lifts all the boats.
Key #2: Measure Twice, Cut Once
Take the time to plan your marketing strategy and do it in a way that all the key stakeholders are involved. Ideally, you should involve, the C-Suite, sales, marketing, finance, account, product, and of course your own marketing team. But, cross-functional planning is really only the first step. You also need to create a success measurement platform that not only measures the KPIs of marketing but more importantly, how they contribute to your firm’s profit and loss.
Additionally, you should be aware of how each and every program drives business value. If a program doesn’t, it needs to be chopped. As marketers, we have lots of marketing tactics (advertising, pr, events, etc.) all which must contribute to the business. Its our job to figure out how, and how much. And we need to get our marketing teams to think the same way as well.
Key #3: Tell Your Story at Scale
In today’s world that we market into, business decision makers are the most fickle bunch. eMail response rates are at their lowest. So we need to tell a well planned story to as many decision makers as possible in a measurable way. We need to do it at Scale. This is not just traditional messaging distribution but redefining the way we tell our stories. We need to make them more modular that is every story can be broken down to its bits, so we can create highlights that are important to a particular audience, industry segment, ultimately person. And we need to deliver this at scale.
We need to be smarter about our audience so we can align our storytelling. But, what used to be a few storylines for a few targets is now a matrix of hundreds of storylines for hundreds of personas. This requires both strategic message planning and content management and distribution systems. All orchestrated in a way, so the right message goes to the right target at the right time. And systems that see those interactions can interpret them in for the sales executive running that account. Turning interactions into customer insight.
So if we follow these 3 keys, business marketing at scale becomes manageable. These will help you overcome the challenges. And make you, your boss and your team the heroes at the next board meeting.