You know the story…your B2B business starts to grow…it faces difficult challenges as it does but…

  • You have created a performing monster of people, process and technology…..”we do things our way… but I can’t see where things are…quotes, service calls, pipeline, etc.”…It works….but it’s fragile…
  • You invest in a CRM system because the nice sales people told you to… You adopt it after some pushing and sweating …. You start to “see it all…” finally, you are improving it, making sense of it, and beginning to look for opportunities to save money, make money and take control…….
  • Your sales team is performing better but the pipeline isn’t growing…
  • You start to look at marketing a little differently, “we are leaner, more effective, we can handle more…we need more…”
  • But Marketing is the “Dark Art”…. “where do I place my spend… how do I make sure it delivers more….does it really work for us….?

 

What next?

Many small B2B businesses leave direct marketing as a portion of another role, not even creating a dedicated marketing role; it is often left as a simple email or newsletter blasted out to anyone who has ever contacted them or been contacted, no real connection to the sales team… or perhaps a website left hanging in the ether with nothing being directed to it and no understanding of what works because it is not directly traced back to content or context. However the principals of all marketing B2B or B2C or P2P (Don’t ask!) are the same… so here are the tips…

  1. Know your customer. How can you cut through the competition if you don’t know what is important to them…
  2. Relevance creates engagement, context demands attention, timing promotes response. Frame the business problem for them then talk to the solution, contact them when they are front of mind…so many businesses need help framing their reason for existence, once you have it, frame the problem its solves for your client….If I read a blog/email/newspost and someone calls me to ask me what I thought then I am much more likely to engage whilst it is even front of mind.…
  3. If budget is tight, track what you can where you can and treat everything as a campaign that has a purpose and a success metric attached to it.
  4. Everything is a campaign: Website is a campaign, Social Media is a campaign, an Event …it’s a… campaign. Why, How, What – Why are you doing it, how will you execute, what will be the deliverable and outcome.
  5. Once you have invested in a (hopefully Sugar) CRM, system, marketing is the least used function. However, your customers and their data is your most important asset so consistently asking them to buy the same thing over and over turns them off. Understand what’s important and what will be important to them and frame your services around this.
  6. Email and Social are like a “Lightsabers” (I know, counting down the days until December 17th!!) used correctly a powerful force for good… incorrectly a dark path that can lead to white noise, and being ignored and not listened to.
  7. Referrals are everything. So make sure you stay front of mind of your advocates if they move around

“That’s all very well…” you will say “but we only have one person doing everything.” This is where automation can help. Technology has come down in price, it is affordable but it needs to be used wisely. To keep costs down try to use out of the box integrations that give you what you need… for example SugarCRM and IBM Silverpop. It pays to map out the process for example:

  1. Set your target lists for a campaign
  2. Agree your indicators. Opens, click thrus, likes, re-posts etc…
  3. Decide how to respond to each indicator:
    • What does an “open” warrant in response?
    • What does a click thru to the website warrant in response?
    • What does exploration of the website warrant?
    • What does a like warrant?
  4. Automate the indicator to “nudge” or trigger activity whether this is a follow up contact by phone or email.

 

 

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