How Do You Do Everything You Need Simultaneously For Revenue Generation?
Before everyone freaks out, I don’t mean B2B marketing pros don’t know how to market their own businesses. I know you understand how to do email marketing, optimize a website landing page and publish an e-book.
What I mean is that with so many levers, so many tactics and so many ideas for marketers to use today, figuring out which ones will produce the best results, knowing how to prioritize one tactic over another and making sure you execute flawlessly is the new challenge facing our marketing teams.
Now, layer on top of that the extended responsibilities for marketing people, because it’s not enough to build a website, create collateral or even send out a monthly email. Today, marketing teams are required to drive more visitors to your website, turn those visitors into leads, nurture those leads into sales opportunities, hand those sales opportunities over to sales, and help sales convert them into new customers and revenue.
The big $100,000 question remains: What should your marketing team be doing?
It’s not going to be hard to find people who tell you to skip over strategy. They’ll say your message is fine, you don’t have to be different than your competition and you don’t need to spend money on strategy since you have personas. That is a lie perpetuated by people who don’t know how to do marketing strategy, so they tell you to skip it.
When we evaluate client marketing programs and we see one company with a working effort and one with a broken effort, the cause of the break is almost always lack of strategy. If you have no message, no differentiation and no stories, you have no compelling business reason for anyone to do anything. If you don’t have anything interesting to say, don’t say anything at all.
I have 100 colorful metaphors around why strategy is critical. It's more than critical; it’s a requirement. We won’t work with a client that doesn’t have it or isn’t willing to have us create it for them.
While starting to blog, sending emails, posting to social and working on your website in month one sounds productive, it’s a complete waste of time and money if you don’t have a disruptive, compelling and emotional story to grab a prospect by the shirt collar and get their attention. Can every single one of your reps and executives tell me what you do in a way that gets me interested in your story? If the answer is "no" (and be honest), you have strategy work to do.
With so much to do and so little time to do it, what you work on and in what order becomes key. But how do you decide? You need a prioritization methodology to apply in your case.
What we’ve found works the best is looking at the effort and the impact. What tactics take the least amount of effort and produce the biggest results? If you start with these tactics, you’ll be guaranteed to get as much done as possible and have the biggest impact as possible.
Here’s an example: You have three marketing people on your marketing team. That’s 120 hours of work if everyone is working 40 hours a week. Everything you do has time and effort associated with it. Some work takes one hour, and some work might take 10 hours. If you plan on doing three big projects that take 40 hours each, and the impact of that work is going to produce 100 leads, that’s one scenario.
Now let’s start planning the work that can be done in two hours and produce 10 additional leads each. You have six projects like this. That’s 60 leads in 12 hours. You still have 108 more hours to plan and only 20 leads to generate. You can still get those two big projects in and generate 66 leads, and you’ll still have 18 more hours left for more lead gen.
Without prioritization, you generated 100 leads from 120 hours of work. With prioritization, you generated 126 leads from 102 hours of work. This is a big difference when you have limited budget and limited resources. I don’t know anyone with an unlimited marketing budget, so everyone needs to be efficient with their time, their tactics and their resources.
What you just learned above about prioritization is only a small piece of the Agile marketing methodology. This is a systematic approach to working on revenue generation. It includes a planning methodology, a prioritization effort and continuous improvement rituals, as well as how you estimate work and how your team members collaborate on the work.
Agile marketing was derived from the Agile software development approach that proved to deliver better software faster based on a series of practices (or rituals) all designed to put more emphasis on collaboration with the client, team planning, a smaller delivery of working product and continuous improvement.
Marketing has adopted a similar approach, and it's helped us have our team work more closely with clients, create better deliverables and collaborate more internally on creative solutions for our clients. Internal marketing teams can benefit, too. One of the big benefits is agreed-on deliverables. This allows the team to focus without interruption or fire drills, and it produces better work in less time. Just like the example above, you get more leads in less time.
Data, Analytics And Marketing Software
One of the big innovations in marketing is the availability of data. Before, the loudest voice at the meeting generally got to do what they thought was right. Sometimes it was the person with the most important title. That’s gone today. Now, the data carries the day. When we have options, we test them. The option that performs best gets to be the control going forward. This way, we’re constantly striving for better and better performance.
Technology has empowered both sales and marketing with tools that provide unmatched analytics and insight. Today, we no longer guess what’s working; we know for sure, based on the data. Tactics that are doing great get additional investment. Tactics that are below expectations get attention and optimization. Tactics that are consistently underperforming get canceled. This also helps us optimize time and investment to produce the best results.
Working More Closely With Sales
Last (but certainly not least) is the new alignment between sales and marketing. Marketing and sales can no longer be two islands. They have to work together. We’d like to see them restructured into a single revenue team, with one chief revenue officer (CRO) responsible for both sales and marketing and accountable for a single metric— monthly revenue attainment against targeted revenue.
If that’s too dramatic for you, consider putting these two teams together in one physical space, having them meet regularly and giving them the shared revenue goal as a shared objective. Have them work together to create messages, content and campaigns that drive the underlying metrics to support revenue goal attainment.
I hope you’ve read this and you’re thinking, “Yes, this sounds like us; there are so many options and we’ve tried a lot of them, but we keep doing the same stuff over and over again expecting different results.” It can be confusing. You'll find tons of blogs, videos and messages from experts all with a different perspective, a different recommendation and a different opinion on how to do marketing.
The reality is your business needs a unique approach that works for your company with your products, in your industry, and with your people and your culture. No “one-size-fits-all” marketing solutions exist. That’s why the stuff you’ve tried hasn’t quite worked like you expected. It’s time to try an approach that is aligned with how people buy today, an approach that takes full advantage of all the tactics available to marketers, and an approach that is based on research, data and science.
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