B2B marketers share their expertise at the AMA panel.
I was recently invited to moderate a panel discussion for the Toronto chapter of the American Marketing Association. Three of Toronto's best B2B marketers were on the panel - Leslie Carter, Chief Brand and Strategy Officer at Knightsbridge, Mike Hennessy, VP Sales and Marketing at Intelliresponse, and Elizabeth Williams, Director of Marketing and Communications at ADP Canada.
I was excited to sit down with them to talk about "How to grow sales by using marketing for B2B companies."
The 60+ people in attendance got some great information from these 3 superstar B2B marketers. I came away from the event with these key insights:
B2B marketing is all about revenue generation.
I asked the panelists a question about measuring success, and figured I'd get answers that talked about lead generation, market awareness and growing the pipeline. But the first thing Liz Williams mentioned was revenue. She looks at a lot of marketing KPIs (like market awareness and lead generation), but she stated very clearly that revenue is the number one most important thing. Period. All other KPIs are just leading or lagging indicators for it.
The other panelists echoed her sentiments, and their comments basically came down to this: good marketing has nothing to do with how many email newsletter or webinars you produce, or how many brochures/golf balls/t-shirts you distribute. It's about the business’s bottom line – which means revenues, profits and growth.
Measuring results is essential. But some things are hard to measure.
It's critical for marketers to quantify the results they deliver, like leads and conversion rates. But there are some qualitative factors in marketing that are tough to measure, but are vitally important.
Leslie Carter gave a great example of this qualitative dilemma. Every year, she hires a third-party to conduct an analysis of the deals her company won and lost over the previous year. This process gives her unparalleled insight on the nuances behind why buyers choose one company over another. The insights she gains from the win-loss analysis inform some of the most important strategic decisions she’s made in the past several years. But she would be hard pressed to quantify the ROI of conducting that third-party evaluation. Even though it’s tough to measure, Carter knows it's unbelievably important. And her point is that sometimes, that's enough.
In B2B, keep marketing as simple as you can.
B2B marketing is complex. You have more personas to communicate with, through more channels than ever before. It's very easy for marketers to get lost in the number of possible content pieces, campaigns and distribution channels. The insight here is a basic one: it's more important to keep it simple than to try to manage touching every customer in every medium, at every point in the cycle. That's just too much complexity.
Mike Hennessy recommended this for dealing with content. Instead of creating multiple pieces separately, IntelliResponse will do one core content piece and "atomize" (a sexy word for repurposing or versioning) elements of it for different channels and personas. It's an approach that minimizes complexity, ensures messaging is consistent and keeps content creation costs to a minimum.
I'd like to thank all three amazing B2B marketers for sharing a huge wealth of information that benefited everyone. There’s a great photo album and summary of the session here as well. And thanks to AMA Toronto for organizing a fantastic event!