Power up your best B2B Marketing Channel
B2B Marketing is very different from Consumer Marketing. One of the most important distinctions is that Consumer Marketing's objective is to get an order; B2B Marketing's objective is to build a relationship over time. By building a relationship, when the target prospect enters a buying cycle, they are more likely to think of your company as a top provider and reach out to you for help. B2B Marketers create content designed to get the prospect’s attention and then move them through their buying process (while collecting information.) You experience this model whenever you search for a topic and have to give your email address (or other data) to download a white paper.
B2B Marketers also use various “channels” to deliver their content series to the potential customer. As technology has evolved over the past decade, digital campaigns have become increasingly more persistent, interactive, and measurable – which is why they are so attractive. But if B2B Marketing's primary objective is to build relationships over time, then why don’t marketers more effectively leverage the one channel that is designed to do this very thing - the sales team?
B2B Marketers often get distracted by the hype created by the marketing automation industry, and frequently undertake initiatives that overlook their best marketing channel – the sales team. I know this because I’ve done this, and I’ve talked to hundreds of marketers who have done the same thing.
A quick online search about B2B Marketing Channels turns up an enormous number of articles discussing Email, LinkedIn Ads, Paid Search (and SEO), Display Ads, Retargeting Platforms, Webinars & Podcasts (the next big thing!) – along with the “Best Practices” and “Top 10 Things You Should Know” about each channel. Unfortunately, according to Salesforce.com’s marketing cloud service, Pardot:
“Marketing and sales teams typically use separate processes, tools, and data, and they have different priorities. What all this means is that, in many organizations, marketing and sales work in different systems and use different data.”
Yes, digital channels are persistent, interactive, and measurable... but salespeople are too. And sales channels have one characteristic that digital channels do not – they are insightful. They don’t just deliver content, but they can also react to prospect engagement in ways that an email message or display advertisement cannot.
Salespeople can ask great questions. They can interpret answers and customize a value proposition on the fly. They can anticipate and handle objections.
The sales team can be an incredibly effective marketing channel if organizations and processes are aligned. This requires marketers to view the sales team as an extension of the marketing cadence, rather than as a separate entity. To successfully integrate the sales channel into marketing campaigns, marketers must ask themselves:
How will our content be delivered not just through a LinkedIn Advertisement, but also by the salesperson who is calling on the same target?
What additional data can I collect from a salesperson that I would not be able to get from an email?
How can I integrate the activities of my sales team into my overall marketing metrics?
Your sales channel delivers thousands upon thousands of emails, LinkedIn messages, text messages, voice mails, and handwritten notes every year – but are you truly integrating your sales and marketing messages? Do you effectively leverage the most customer-centric marketing channel you have?
So here's what to do:
When evaluating your marketing strategy and budget, be sure to incorporate your sales team into the overall plan. An integrated sales and marketing strategy will include tools which:
Help the sales team get the messaging right (are they Captivating prospects, Differentiating from the competition, and Validating your message?)
Increase persistence (we recommend a 12 Week/16 Touch plan)
Ensure that the sales channel is armed with the right questions to capture critical market insights (a strong S.I.G.N. questioning strategy)
Equip your sales team with the ability to anticipate and handle objections effectively (are they Listening, Acknowledging, Exploring, and only then…Responding?)
Your sales channel is also your most important marketing channel, so don’t miss the opportunity to integrate your strategies. If you do, then you are simply missing out on growth. Contact us if you're interested in strengthening & aligning your sales team, marketing, and strategy - we help companies and their people grow.