How would you evaluate your company’s marketing? If you are like most MDs, CCOs, and Sales & Marketing Directors that I meet, the scorecard summary is as follows: your website’s rubbish and you need more leads.
Take a look in the mirror
If you think your marketing is under-achieving, then it can be useful to start by understanding which elements of your own attitudes and actions might be having a negative impact on marketing performance.
Here are five simple observations that will help – and don’t be surprised if they seem blindingly obvious – the best remedies usually are…..
1. Make sure your marketing objectives are aligned to business need
You know precisely what the business needs to achieve, but have you made sure that the people actioning marketing tasks have the same clarity of understanding? This starts with the business goals. What are your sales targets? How are these broken down in terms of average deal size, deal types and number of deals required?
The quantity of deals is usually more important than the revenue objective because it sets the marketing cadence. It also enables your marketing manager to work back up the funnel to quantify the opportunities you need.
2. It’s all about the audience
Unless you have a genuine innovation, then what you sell is secondary.
What you sell and who you sell to are inextricably interlinked, but who you sell to comes first. Why? Because it helps you decide how to describe your solutions and capabilities.
This is an oversimplified example, but it illustrates the point. If you sell application software, and your audience is IT, you explain yourself in bits and bytes or feeds and speeds. But if your audience is the business user, then you describe yourself in terms of challenges overcome, business outcomes, employee engagement and customer experience.
The language that marketing uses to describe your business……. your brand/image/identity…..the way you articulate your solutions and services…….everything… starts with the audience. So, are you clear in your mind about who you are selling to?
3. Make sure your website tells your story
Your website plays a number of different roles. One of them is that it should tell your story when people come to check you out. Does your website tell your story? By way of illustration, here’s my story:
My hunting ground is clear and unambiguous: I’m looking for the MDs and Sales Directors in SMBs in the tech sector.
Cremarc’s proposition is equally clear: my team can provide the full range of marketing services that an SMB needs, with deeper expertise than an in-house marketer could possibly possess, and at lower cost (both in time and money).
Our differentiation is undeniable: my team really understands the tech sector and its buyers. Technology marketing is our 100% focus.
How do I reflect this in my website? If you wish, you can have a look here or here. But it shouldn’t take you long to write your story in about 50 words, so it might be more productive to write it…and then see if you can find it on your own website.
4. Make sure your website can be found
As I mentioned earlier, your website plays a number of different roles. One of them is that it needs to be found by prospects who match your target profile and are looking for solutions that you provide.
But it’s not just about being found…. it’s about being found by the right people. For example, although Cremarc does fabulous websites, I don’t want to be found by small-office/home-office b2c traders looking for an eCommerce site. That’s a good business to be in…but it’s not where we focus.
You need to address the technical aspects of your website that search engines scrutinise but, more than that, you also need to identify the keywords and phrases that are aligned to the potential buyers you want to attract.
This brings you back to knowing your audience: what phrases and terminology do your buyers use when they are searching for your solutions? Ensure that your website is fully optimised for these keywords. Start narrow so that Google learns the things that are really important about you, and then extend.
If you leave this critical activity to an inexperienced marketer or worse, a generic SEO/PPC agency, they will impeccably execute the wrong things. Sounds familiar?
5. Cultivating interest into intent
If over the past few months, you were selling home-working UC and IT Security solution etc, then you were probably flooded by prospects who wanted your solution and wanted it immediately. They went from first enquiry to purchase order in days, if not hours. But these were exceptional times.
For most businesses, the reality now is that over two thirds of the buyer’s journey is conducted before they are ready to engage with a sales person. Marketing has to do more than simply catch the buyer’s attention and get them into the top of the funnel. Catching attention matters but it is not the full story. Look at your own behaviours…. you wouldn’t make b2b purchasing decisions on first contact so why would you expect your prospects to?
Marketing has to cultivate the buyer’s initial interest in order to generate leads that are ready for sales. A click on a single email shows interest, but it does not demonstrate intent and by no means does it represent a qualified lead. Instead, Marketing has to take the buyer on a journey. It must touch the prospect multiple times, catching their interest, cultivating this interest into intent. In combination this takes them to a point where it is the right time to engage sales.
So have you defined how you want to engage with your buyers? What interactions you want them to have with your company? Make sure your objectives for marketing and the way you evaluate marketing success, drive the right marketing behaviours at each step along your buyers’ engagement path.
For organisations looking to establish marketing in their business or those looking to review their existing marketing efforts, where is the best place to start? Again, I’d recommend that you look at your own best practice.
Technology Solutions engagements usually start on the right foot when you run an effective discovery process. Your client engages openly with you to outline their challenges. As their supplier/partner, you add value, expertise and some good processes. Together you derive the most effective path to get from the current situation to the desired state.
Why should marketing be any different?
Instead of deciding what’s best for your business and searching for a supplier who can execute your instruction at the lowest cost….engage with a partner who understands your business and can develop the solution that best fits your business needs.
As part of a Cremarc Marketing Discovery, we run a short workshop with all of the key stakeholders, to understand the goals and aspirations of your business and to enable us to create a set of clear and aligned marketing objectives. We then map these objectives onto an outline marketing plan which focuses on delivering the right messages, to the right people at the right time with a defined process to cultivate interest into intent.