Whenever I scroll through my LinkedIn feed, I see a new post about how someone created 100 leads in a day with method X or grew their business overnight with method Y.
My email spam box is similarly stuffed.
I can think of another industry that is so prolific with its quick fixes and that is the diet/health/fitness industry. Over the years I have tried a few, marketing and health, and I have yet to find a solution that didn’t involve a lot more effort than literature promised! So if you are reading this thinking I am about to offer you another one - sorry to disappoint you. The truth of it is that in the same way that a healthy body comes from long term healthy eating and regular exercise; B2B organisations succeed through securing and maintaining long term client relationships.
Technology and the digital world have transformed our ability to connect with prospective clients, we can reach thousands of people at any one time with our messages. In turn, that has led to the belief that it should be quick and easy to materialise lots of clients. But what hasn’t changed is that we are all still human beings and we need to build trust and develop a relationship before we commit to spending. This is crucial in B2B where the spends can be substantial and the goods/services delivered over a prolonged period of time.
Have you ever tried a diet that involves a very limited range of food? Maybe one that involved eating foods that were not your favourites? Or perhaps you have visited a restaurant where nothing on the menu was quite what you wanted. Either way, if something doesn’t appeal to you then you won’t easily engage with it (or in the case of a diet, stick with it). So make sure that the content you produce is a Chef’s Special designed specifically to whet the appetite of your target audience(s).
So just what is the marketing equivalent of ‘eating a balanced diet’? To start with you need to think about your shop front: otherwise known as a website. This should be easy to navigate with lots of really helpful content. The focus should be very much on what your prospective clients want/need to know, rather than what you want to tell them.
I love nuts as a great source of protein, but a friend of mine is so allergic to them, that even the smell of them will have her reaching for an EpiPen. It’s exactly the same for B2B marketing: everyone’s needs are different and there is no one size fits all. Investing time upfront and doing your research will pay dividends further down the line. Find out what your prospective clients need and create content that focuses on solving those problems for them.
Different types of exercise equals multichannel marketing
Getting in front of your audience is going to require a little bit more than a couple of LinkedIn posts. Are your audience on LinkedIn? Do they actively use it? Do you need to explore other social media channels? Or are your audience only really accessible ‘offline’? There are still lots of other ways to get in touch with people and when everyone is going the digital route, a carefully thought out piece of direct mail can be a key conversation opener.
So what about the plethora of tools, apps and platforms out there designed to ‘make it easy’? A well chosen and effectively integrated martech stack will definitely help. The same way that lifting weights will accelerate your path to fitness at a greater pace than putting your empty hands in the air! The real key is to make sure that you choose tech that works for your business and that gets used. Don’t be the person who buys all the kit and then never goes to the gym! For example, when choosing a CRM, make sure you have engaged with all areas of the business who you expect to use it.
World class athletes have coaches for a reason, without a professional to observe, objectively critique and advise on how to improve performance, it is very difficult to truly take your game to the top level. In the world of fitness, those who can afford it have personal trainers and many more attend regular classes. At the other end of the scale there are YouTube videos and a bit of determination.
The good news is that you can achieve plenty with that determination, just as the path to a healthier body can begin with swapping chocolate for fruit, setting up for marketing success starts with the same kind of simple changes. Who are your customers? What challenges do they face? How can you help them overcome them?
‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’
Time is the most important factor in all of this. Make sure you understand any seasonality of your prospect’s buying behaviour. Then hunker down and be ready for a long haul.
If you are looking for a solid, long term effective sales and marketing plan then you might find our blog on ‘Account Based Marketing’ of interest.
Feel free to drop me an email with any questions. I will reply right after I have done ten squats and drunk a spirulina smoothie!