Last week I mentioned that we had a great "marketing speed dating" session, with B2B companies getting paired up to ask their challenging questions to Mezzanine’s expert B2B marketers. I’m writing about some of the most common questions in this series of blog posts. In the first post I talked about how to get buy-in for marketing from management.
This post addresses the issue of tactics - and which ones you should focus on when you're just getting your marketing started.
This is a common challenge for B2B companies: where to start marketing. There are so many options to choose from, it can be paralyzing to think about them too long. Some companies just pick something – anything – to start with so they can feel forward momentum, but that’s not a great way to go.
Here’s a more strategic way to think about where to start. There are five key areas that your marketing efforts can potentially focus on:
2. Market awareness
3. Lead generation
4. Sales support
5. Retention and referrals
We find that with most companies, the most profitable place to start isn't where people think. The initial inclination is to go right to market awareness and lead generation, because that's all about finding new customers. (Which is the sexiest place to start, if not the most lucrative.)
But why focus on the people who don't know you, when you already have a captive audience: your current customers? Instead of starting with Market Awareness and Lead Generation, think about Sales Support and Retention / Referral. You'll be surprised what a difference it can make to your revenue.
Here are 3 ways to do this:
- Support your sales team.
Your sales people are out there every day, talking with prospects and representing your company. Give them the marketing tools they need to sell. If they don't have good collateral and product spec sheets, or the quality of your materials doesn't reflect the quality of your product or service, you're not helping them. In fact, you're wasting their time and your money – and hurting your business. Update your brochures and sales sheets so they properly reflect your offering and your brand. Put together some recent, professionally-written materials. Give them a toolkit that will help them convert prospects into customers.
- Talk to your existing customers.
If you have a broad offering, you probably have many customers who only buy one thing from you – mostly because they don't know you offer anything else. All you have to do is tell them. There's a huge opportunity to educate a group that already knows you, and increase or expand what they currently buy. It's the lowest hanging fruit there is – it always surprises me how few companies take advantage of it.
- Promote your past successes.
Send out emails with case studies showing what you can do and help your customers understand what more you can do for them. Tell them the stories of your other clients’ successes so that they can connect the dots to their own business challenges. Clients often like hearing about what else you’re working on, and it’s a great opportunity for you to increase your share of wallet, while educating them on new solutions.
For more ideas on choosing which tactics will work best for your needs, download PROFITGuide's Special Report on our new B2B Marketing book, The Radical Sales Shift.