I work with a lot of startups on positioning and one of the most gaping holes is always references. When I ask the question, “Who is willing to say that your solution is awesome?” the answer is always, “No one, we don’t have customers (or willing customers) yet.” They then expect me to move on to my next question, but instead I dig in my heels. Because you can get references! You just need to know where to look.
One of the top frustrations I hear from sales and marketing is, “Our opportunities seem to get stuck in the pipeline, we need a way to create urgency so they purchase.” This is a common problem for many companies as most products and solutions are a nice-to-have. Will they improve the lives of buyers? Sure! But it doesn’t mean there is a fire burning under them to buy it. This is the reality so many B2B salespeople are faced with – trying to drag opportunities through to the next stage without clear motivation for them to do so.
Just like the article on how to turn prospects into excited opportunities, sales and marketing need to create a journey for opportunities in order for them to progress to purchase. A journey where sales is adding value at each step. With some help from marketing, you can insert some great tools into your sales cycle to do just that.
One of the most common demand generation issues I hear from clients is, “We get leads, but they rarely convert into opportunities.” If you could use some conversion rate improvement, the following marketing tools are excellent assets to use on your website for prospect engagement.
Fundamentally, you will need to build a journey for your website visitors. Think of this journey like hiking trails in a park. The prospect wants to choose which trail they go on and how long they take in their journey. Your job is to keep the path clear and to insert value along the way so they always know how to continue forward and have the motivation to do so. If they aren’t motivated to continue on their journey, they are going to pack up and leave.
That’s right, you heard me. It’s time to take a hard look at paid search and see if it is really driving leads that convert into sale. If you sell a consumer product, paid search may indeed still be a goldmine (just a bit more costly than it used to be). But if you sell to businesses a product that requires a considered purchase, chances are that paid search leads aren’t pulling their weight.
How to check if paid search is working
Back in 2007, I was asked to figure out what our business needed to be doing in social media. I was asked because I had headed up other transformation projects with success. But those projects I liked, social media on the other hand, I hated. Don’t get me wrong, I completely saw the potential for social media to promote our business and the project was a big success. But when it came to actually creating social posts, that was never my passion – professionally or personally. So the fact that I’m now raving about a new social tool is a bit unexpected.
A huge transformation that B2B companies are undergoing is the switch to Account Based Marketing and Selling (ABM). This is a big change for enterprise companies whose systems and processes revolve around “warm leads” versus “warm accounts”. And with new technology enabling ABM to be successful, big operations decisions and purchases are being made.
But if you’re a startup or a small business looking to grow with marketing, what you’re wondering is “Will ABM even work for a small budget like mine?”
The answer is an emphatic yes! (And you’ll get results faster than the enterprises!)
It’s likely a truth for every B2B marketer, at some point in our careers, we’ve touted features. It’s the ultimate marketing sin, yet it’s sooo easy to do. It’s much harder to step inside the shoes of your customers and figure out what they want to know. The reality is that when a prospect visits your website they want to know two things:
- Is this product for me?
- Will it solve my immediate pain?
And guess what, you have less than 30 seconds to answers those questions for them or they will bounce. If your homepage is focused on what type of product you have and the fancy features that make it special, you’ve lost the sale.
There are some clear points along the growth of your business where you need to invest in marketing expertise. By “expertise” I mean high level marketing experts that have been there, done that. However, that doesn’t mean you need to invest in marketing headcount. Let’s face it, hiring an entry level marketer to “do marketing” means you are leaving the go-to-market strategy for your company in the hands of that inexperienced employee. Not a comforting thought.
How do I know if I need marketing expertise?
From business launch through to high growth, the path won’t be easy and there are some critical events where you should think hard about bringing in qualified marketing expertise.
It’s time to think about your blog a bit differently. Sure, blog articles are still a great way to drive traffic to your website, but they can be so much more. Start treating your blog like a lab experiment and amazing things can happen.
3 Experiments to start running on your blog today
Companies I’ve talked to that are taking on an ABM strategy seem to approach BDR involvement with one of two extremes: Either eliminating their role completely under the concept that target accounts are too precious to be handled by anyone other than an account executive OR allowing the BDR team to function as they have been, cold calling into target accounts.
The best approach is somewhere in the middle. BDRs can still play a very important role in ABM, but they do need to change their approach.