I don’t know about you, but I’m always uneasy when a CEO describes his or her strategy and somewhere along the way you hear a variation on the “after all, how hard can it be to grab a small share of a big market” argument? Well, the answer is always “a lot harder than you think”.
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SELL THE DIFFERENCE: Establishing your Unique Solution Value
What would happen if you were able to double your sales and marketing resources overnight? Assuming that you haven’t already saturated your target market, how confident are you that you could at least double your revenues - and how long would that take? What if you were able to quadruple your resources?
According to many marketing leaders I speak to, B2B marketing budgets are coming under increasing pressure. These marketing leaders are being asked by their Managing Directors and Chief Executives (and let’s not forget their Finance Directors and CFOs) to justify what their marketing budgets are actually buying them. Many, as a result, are having to do more with less, and being asked to demonstrate marketing’s contribution to revenue.
According to a recent series of articles by Adam Needles, author of “Balancing the Demand Equation”, the current state of B2B demand generation is deeply and seriously troubled - because many marketers are still failing to think of the task of creating demand as process with a series of optimisable steps through which prospect interest is turned into a life time of customer revenue.
I come across many marketing organisations that seem to believe that the more leads they generate, the better they are doing. They may even be measured and rewarded by their management on the basis of the number of leads marketing generates. But I want to show you why why focusing on quantity rather than quality is a really, really bad idea.
There has been no shortage of articles highlighting the growing importance of having great content to support your sales and marketing processes at every stage in the buying decision journey. MarketingProfs recently published a study of over 1,000 B2B marketers - and their findings suggest some clues as how today’s best-in-class B2B sales and marketing organisations are able to make their content irresistibly attractive.
Your prospects' concerns, motivations and priorities change - often significantly - as they move from stage to stage in their buying decision process. Smart marketers are conciously aligning their offers, activities and content to the relevant point in the buyer's journey in order to encourage the prospect to move to the next stage with them. This is an easy concept in principle, but requires focus and real discipline to make it work in practice - although the potential benefits to sales and marketing effectiveness are profound.
In today’s business climate, you would think that few organisations could afford to invest large amounts of sales and marketing effort in pursuing opportunities that are never destined to close. Yet I continue to come across examples of sales people chasing deals that they have no chance of winning and - equally frustrating - loosing otherwise well qualified opportunities to either the competition or to “no decision” because of a failure to identify, understand or address the key decision-makers’ motivations and concerns…
Regrettably, the situation I’m about to describe is still far too common in many B2B sales and marketing organisations. Marketing is busy generating leads that the sales team never seem to bother following up. Sales complain that they never have enough of the right sort of opportunities. Budgets, time and effort are wasted. Targets are missed. Relationships between sales and marketing are strained. But it doesn’t have to be this way - and you can fix it…
I joined LinkedIn on 23rd August 2004, so tomorrow marks my 7th anniversary. As an early adopter, I’ve seen tremendous benefits from their approach to what is probably now best described as “business social networking”. I’ve recruited staff, given references, secured introductions and found new business. But I’ve become concerned that the network may be encouraging bad practices amongst its more recent recruits…