An unfortunate statement often said by manufacturing executives goes something like this, “I agree that we need to spend money on B2B marketing, but I’m not really sure of its ongoing value, or the return we get from it.”
It is safe to say that a number of you reading this piece have said or heard a similar comment. I must admit, I believe marketers have played a major role in perpetuating that idea.
So, what can we do to alleviate some of that frustration and distain for marketing?
For starters, marketers have to take a more disciplined approach to their internal communications. We need to continually inform management about the purpose and value of our marketing efforts, and educate our sales teams about marketing’s role and value in their sales process and success.
Here’s a quick refresher on the indispensable role marketing plays as a valuable revenue generating activity.
#1 Good B2B marketing makes sales calls less cold
Research has found that a familiar brand breeds trust while an unfamiliar one is greeted with suspicion. Marketing assets that communicate the right message, and use the most effective media, will increase brand or product awareness among a target audience. Without this effort to promote familiarity, sales people will continually call on prospects as complete strangers, and need to overcome barriers such as: “Never heard of you guys.“ What company are you with?” “What do you guys do exactly?” Effective marketing warms up an initial call and even helps to build a sales rep’s lead generation funnel.
#2 Good B2B marketing makes sales meetings less uncomfortable and more engaging
Marketing assets allow a potential customer an opportunity to engage with the brand or product before, during, and even after a meeting. In other words, when a sales rep is not present, well-written and relevant marketing materials continue to work and build trust. When the marketing team develops relevant and meaningful resources, sales reps gain the advantage of sharing insights such as, “I noticed you downloaded our ACME Company case study. Is there any part about it that you feel is relevant to your situation?” Equipped with powerful tools, sales people are able to say during a meeting, “Here, let me show you this quickly, it best demonstrates the highest value we can offer you.”
#3 Good B2B marketing reinforces the buying decision and encourages customer loyalty
As marketers continue to keep the brand or product top-of-mind with relevant and well-positioned media, prospects will continue to lower their emotional resistance to the brand, and towards a sales rep as well. These efforts also expedite trust and loyalty with a rep’s existing customers. As new products come to market, good B2B marketers will re-engage their target market and educate prospects and current customers about its value to them. This builds confidence and trust among existing customers and they will welcome another sales call – if they don’t call their sales rep first.
Here’s the catch…
We have to do marketing effectively in order for it to get the credit and gain the respect of management and sales people. The harsh truth is that marketing done poorly is not a revenue generating activity. Instead it becomes a sales team aggravating activity. And, it may also be damaging your brand and generating resistance for your sales reps.
I encourage you to follow these 4-steps to mitigate risk and increase revenue generating conversations.
- Identify what your organization is trying to accomplish and who your buyer is. Set objectives.
- Clarify within your organization those objectives and align your marketing strategy with your budget. Set proper and reasonable expectations upfront. Work hard to identify the highest value to your target audience and then figure out how to communicate that message as simply as possible.
- Unify your plan across multiple media and sales tools in order to translate your product’s maximum value efficiently. And, remember the maximum value may not have anything to do with how your product is made or how long you have been in business.
- Justify the spend to management and the sales team. Set up metrics and milestones to keep tabs on your plan and tactics. Always be analyzing and adapting your strategy. As soon as you get traction and success, make sure you let the whole organization know that the marketing efforts are playing a part in growing the business. Because, “We’re growing the business” is always a welcome phrase to hear.
About Nuts & Bolts
The articles found on our blog are intended to educate, inspire and reconcile B2B sales and marketing professionals. We are all fighting on the same side, ideally working towards the same goals within our organizations. At Artime Group we believe that most manufacturers produce more value than they effectively communicate. That leaves money on the table for both management and sales professionals. We hope our articles spur dialog on collaboration and the value of good marketing.
Follow the 4-steps above and your B2B marketing will play a more effective role as a sales generating activity. In addition, if you’re interested you can download our “Simple Worksheets” at www.artimegroup.com/4-stepsplanner, or download our E-Book on the subject.