Why one size fits all marketing does not work.
Most people would agree that the day you meet your future spouse is not the right day to propose. Why is it then, that marketers are always asking prospects to buy before they’ve even had a first date? Why are they sending the same messaging to the guy who has never heard of them as to the guy who has been in serious discussions with the team for months? Doesn’t make much sense does it?
One size fits all marketing doesn’t work for a complex B2B sales process for the same reason that a marriage proposal doesn’t usually work on a first date. You have to build trust and get to know each other first.
Sales-oriented marketing teams know this and work side by side with sales to develop messaging and methodology that serves to attract, nurture, engage and cultivate prospects as they move their way from unknown entity to repeat customer – from face in the crowd to lifetime partner.
Hunt, Close and Farm
Because the purpose of marketing is to drive leads to sales at each stage of the game, it is important to talk a bit about the breakdown of the sales cycle.
As stated in our recent article, Managing a Sales Territory: Lessons from Baseball, to maximize efficiency, a growth company – particularly one with a recurring revenue product or service – should have three separate areas of proficiency within its sales department: hunters, closers and farmers.
- Hunters in the territory management/business development realm working to target, engage, qualify and nurture accounts.
- Closers in the opportunity management realm working to advance, propose and win.
- Farmers in the account management realm delivering, expanding and renewing to cultivate and grow the client base.
Attract, Nurture, Engage and Cultivate
While sales is hard at work hunting, closing and farming, marketing should be sending specific messaging to support and enhance their efforts. This tailored messaging should serve to attract (originate), nurture, engage and cultivate relationships.
What follows is a brief outline/ explanation of messaging at each stage of the sales cycle.
HUNT – Territory Management/ Business Development:
Messaging designed to attract (originate) and nurture
Sticking with the relationship analogy, the goal of the messaging at this stage is to get the object of your affection to 1.) Notice you exist and 2.) Get that first date. This should be done using broad based brand awareness campaigns and educational, helpful content marketing. Content should be less about features and benefits and more about identifying with and solving the customer’s problems. Remember, this is the “get to know you” stage of the relationship. Be relevant and needs focused. Be sure to answer the fundamental question, “What’s in it for me?”
CLOSE – Opportunity Management
Engage prospects on higher level and speed up the close
The goal of outbound messaging in the opportunity management stage should be more aggressive. You are well past the “getting to know you stage” but, as of yet, there is no long-term commitment. What can you do to seal the deal? Because you are no longer talking to an unknown, messaging should be much more personal. As before, it is still important to be relevant and needs focused and answer the fundamental question, “What’s in it for me?”
FARM – Account Management
Cultivate & grow existing accounts
As anyone who has ever been married knows, the communication needs in a relationship do not end with the words, “I do.” If anything, they increase. Messaging at the account management stage in the game, there- fore, needs to be frequent enough to reinforce your commitment and infrequent enough not to annoy.
Newsletters, webinars, product/service updates and announcements are all good ways to create brand loyalty, as are tips and tricks and other helpful content. Again, be relevant and needs focused. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Use the question, “what’s in it for me?” as a litmus test to make sure what you are sending out is really of value.
Make it a Team Project
Because it is so important to put relevant messaging in front of your prospects at each stage of the relationship, two-way communication and teamwork between sales and marketing is critical. After all, although it is the marketing team who creates and executes the campaigns, it is the sale team that is out there on the front line engaging in day-to-day conversations and garnering first-hand insight into the wants and needs of the prospect/client. This information is an absolute necessity for creating engaging content and messaging and must be shared with all team members.
Not only that, but in order to get total buy in and be able to measure the effectiveness of an effort, all involved need to understand the goals and success indicators at each stage of the sales / marketing cycle.
Invest in Infrastructure, Practice Discipline & Measure, Measure, Measure
One last point, which we’ve touched on in a number of previous articles on Lead Generation, CRM and Territory Management is that before you can segment your sales team and/or the marketing messaging that supports them you have to have the infrastructure in place (the tools, the people and the systems) to do so. You also have to have the discipline to use it. The discipline to consistently execute, religiously record key information about customers and prospects and analyze and interpret that information so that you can act upon what you have learned.
If you don’t have the resources or desire to build the infrastructure needed to plan and execute an ongoing, segmented marketing campaign or to consistently generate relevant messaging and content, partnering with a virtual sales and marketing organization like NuGrowth Solutions can be an attractive alternative.
NuGrowth is a team of innovative, seasoned business development professionals passionately committed to increasing your client base through outsourced marketing and sales services. Not only do we have the infrastructure in place and the sales systems and segmentation down to a science, we understand the sales/marketing connection better than most. Our sales and marketing teams work together day in and day out with the sole purpose of generating new business for our clients.
We bring the people, the processes and the system to take your business to new heights in customer acquisition. If you are interested in working with a partner you can trust to grow business, please give us a call at 800-966-3051.