Many B2B companies face a dilemma around where to invest for revenue growth. Investing in marketing has always been dicey for the sales-oriented culture because of its lack of measurability — we know it works, we just can’t tell what parts of our investment are doing the heavy lifting.
Sure, many new measurement tools have come along, but they still only measure campaign effectiveness and not whether the demand marketing is generating translates into sales.
Because of this, simply making a larger investment in marketing won’t get you where you need to go in the digital world.
Most B2B companies don’t have a choice. They need to rethink the entire marketing operation to fully support collaboration with sales before it’s too late.
Rethinking your sales and marketing
A strong sales culture with an emphasis on prospecting is still appropriate, but marketing’s role must be diverted away from tactics that create branding and awareness and toward lead generation and lead intelligence for sales.
Put another way, marketing’s focus should be to drive one-to-one conversations digitally, helping to supplement the sales person’s ability to prospect and qualify.
Doing this correctly is not a simple fix. And it’s not a series of projects that can be assigned to marketing either. It requires a complete rethinking in the way that we approach marketing.
Marketing must be aligned with sales in B2B companies with a complex sale if they’re going to grow revenue— period. Its new role can be better defined as generating interest for sales through content that adds value, creates experience, and provides thought leadership to generate conversations at all stages of the sales funnel. In other words, marketing needs to drive one-to-one sales conversations digitally.
The case for content
It is now marketing’s burden to build as much of that trust online as possible by providing thought leadership and other forms of engaging content that creates a unique experience for the consumer.
It starts with the creation of content that is going to identify some lead intelligence on a prospect when they interact with it, which is why the content strategy and mapping to the sales process is so important.
When marketing produces great content such as a compelling white paper, it can replace some of what the traditional sales professional used to be able to do on their own by knocking on doors, making cold calls, and attending networking events and conferences.
Getting to know your customer
Before you start pumping out blogs and buying marketing automation systems, it’s time to get to know your audience. Involve every part of your team, from customer service, to account leads, to executives. They all know something about the customer that you don’t.
The hard truth for many business owners is that no one cares about you. They care about their own problems, and if you have something that can solve it, they’ll be all ears.
For a step-by-step guide on creating a content strategy
Sales and marketing unite
A good sales prospector should be able to use marketing’s support in the digital world to prioritize his or her prospecting efforts.
Content marketing programs done in conjunction with sales creates significant lead intelligence to warm up calls and help the salesperson to prioritize their efforts.