Question on LinkedIn Answers: “What should a B2B marketing department do to improve the results it’s generating?”
Response from Bob London:
Great question–which begs several precursors: (a) what are the goals? (b) how are “results” defined? (c) what measurement tools are in place today?
Probably safe to assume a B2B marketing department is charged with generating demand (leads) and in many cases educating/priming the market while positioning the company as a thought leader.
Here are some ways in which a B2B marketing department can improve results and not get lost in the characterization that “we’re not sure what marketing does relative to the business.”
- Commit to the challenge of contributing ROI for the overall marketing budget–so that the department pays for itself at least 15 – 20 times over each year.
- Exert internal marketing leadership–take on the business’s longstanding challenges/dilemmas, whether it’s “why do we churn customers?” or “why don’t we know which marketing programs work and which don’t? or “where is our most profitable 3-year growth going to come from?”
- Improve accountability–measure everything that moves (and everything that doesn’t for that matter). Every weekly update should include a review of 30 days previous results and forward projections. Integrate all systems (CRM, marketing automation, accounting) that will provide an end to end view of the data.
- Assume a budget of zero (regardless of how uncomfortable this may feel)–then implement programs in order of priority and results. This will force you to orient the marketing budget and department around the company’s goals.
- Listen to the rest of the organization–don’t bump heads with it.
- Devote/redirect as much budget as possible towards lower cost, online lead gen and thought leadership initiatives. For each business challenge, ask the question: how can we address this via online strategies and channels vs. traditional. This will make the entire budget work harder on a dollar for dollar basis since it will be easier to track results.
- Every B2B marketer should use Google AdWords; at least do a significant test using .05% of your total annual marketing budget. Do not run a generic ad pointing to your home page; rather offer a white paper or other valuable subject matter content, and point the ad to a specific landing page dedicated to that offer.
- Optimize your site content so that it shows up in targeted searches for whatever you are marketing.
- Make sure you are using some form of prospecting/hunting to bridge the gap between lead gen programs and sales. Prospecting (i.e. outsourced or in-house telemarketing) serves as a lower cost way to qualify leads as well as gather market data on prospect hot buttons and what competitors/ substitutes/alternatives your prospects are using.
- Implement a simple but formal prospect nurture process whereby you treat every inbound inquiry as a long-term suspect and stay in touch via e-newsletters, white paper offers and webinars.
- Have an intern or staffer collect all stray business cards that have not been entered into the marketing database and enter them as part of your nurture process.
- Have an intern or staffer mine LinkedIn for prospect names using company names and job titles. Relevant contacts should be fed into an outbound teleprospecting process to qualify; interested contacts should then be added to the nurture process.
- Add a “living” FAQ section to your site and regularly publish your answers to client/customer questions. Your answers will invariably include relevant keywords that can bolster your natural/organic page rankings on Google, et al. Also, we all tend to get the same questions from multiple people, so rather than rewriting the answer each time or searching your hard drive, just send the link to your blog/site where your answer already resides.
Hope this proves helpful!
- Bob London
On Target. On Site. On Demand.