Creating an Effective B2B Marketing Machine
Dan Kennedy, author of No BS Guide to Trust-Based Marketing and many other books about marketing and entrepreneurship, made the following observation in a recent blog post: “When prospects are properly selected, properly attracted, properly prepared and conditioned, and isolated in a no-competition zone, selling takes care of itself, closing is automatic.”
This comment resonated with me because it perfectly sums up our philosophy of B2B marketing. As opposed to the usual collection of marketing and sales activities, the idea of a machine is to create momentum at every part of the process that leads to a predictable and consistent flow of revenue. We refer to this as being “coin operated.” You put some coins (marketing activities) in at the front end of the marketing machine, follow a series of proven processes, and at the other end, voilà, out pops some revenue.
The key to creating a true sales and marketing machine is to be very intentional about the process. Here are four key attributes of a winning marketing machine:
- Relentlessness – I chose this word for a reason. A marketing machine falters when it is idle and the pump must be primed constantly with awareness building, social media, web content and lead generation activities.
- Consistency – You must have a consistent message across all media. The message doesn’t have to be outstanding (although that helps), but it must be repeated again and again, across multiple media. Most important, all messages should be based on a compelling brand promise and a differentiated value proposition.
- Comprehensiveness – By comprehensiveness, I mean that none of the steps in the end-to-end process should be completed in a vacuum. Every part of the process needs to be optimized and the handoff between marketing and sales must be seamless.
- Achievability – Many a marketing machine has broken down due to the setting of unrealistic objectives. The CEO may demand performance increases that aren’t achievable given the available resources. Then, even though some progress is being made, the entire effort is scuttled and something else is tried. Good B2B marketing isn’t a matter of spectacular and overnight success, but rather a steady, upward climb. The idea is to launch campaigns, test results, refine, launch campaigns, test results, refine again, etc. Over time, this works much better than the scattershot, “chase the next big idea” approach.
Another major difference between traditional marketing and the creation of a legitimate marketing machine is that the marketing machine tends to be driven by pull marketing instead of push marketing strategies. The objective of pull marketing is to make your company (or you) a branded authority and use this “market leader” position to attract legions of followers, otherwise known as opt-in contacts. These contacts are nurtured with content marketing and enticing offers, so that by the time they are ready to engage in the sales process, you are the obvious choice. When you are the only or obvious choice, this protects your profit margins and shortens your sales cycle.
Despite what they may claim, a majority of companies do not have a B2B marketing machine – at least one that is high-powered and efficient. Don’t let this be the case at your company. You can’t build a powerful marketing machine overnight. But you can get started now.