Long gone are the days of marketing being seen as the advertising department, a team who can send some emails or help tidy-up a sales presentation. We’re similarly trying to move away from that traditional, distant sales-marketing relationship. In this changing landscape, how can marketing become more visible for a seat at the table?
To win as a marketer, we must acknowledge today’s buyer in the B2B space – they make self-service decisions and purchase intent is visible, so the influence in the buyer’s journey through marketing content means the role of sales is less relevant early in the purchase cycle. Let’s look at this in terms of numbers:
- According to a recent McKinsey Survey, 90% are willing to digital self-serve – end-to-end – to make a B2B purchase.
- Forrester predicts 80% or more of the sales cycle is set to go digital and remote.
- Whilst Earnest points out 20-30% of B2B buyers say they’ll want to interact with sales reps in person post-Covid.
The modern marketer needs strategic alignment, a powerhouse of an automation platform and smart tools, a mature marketing mindset and line of sight with the executive leadership team. The industry has significantly transformed digitally not only through software innovation and purposeful online content creation but also by driving strategic business goals with long-term demand generation, high-intent lead generation, holding data at the centre of campaigns and cross functional ABM. This new era of marketing focuses on joining forces with sales and bringing human authenticity to the world of B2B, which, let’s be honest, lacks the je ne sais quoi or heart-racing impact that many B2C brands have mastered.
Here’s how to get yourself and your marketing team noticed by the CEO and make an impact to the rest of the business:
1. Tune into what the business needs
Don’t be the last to know what the business is focussing on, be proactive and engage with the leadership on key initiatives and projects the business aims to lead on. This will help carve a marketing plan that drives the overall business goals – the budget conversation is a lot easier since we are all batting for the same team and a genuine alignment on achievements. Put the business objectives front and centre. You may not necessarily get the budget you need to go big, so start small with impactful activities. Hedge bets where they matter.
2. Don’t just do what’s been done before
How often are marketers guilty of using the same campaign plan and making a few edits to give it a refresh? If you’ve been unable to measure the impact of a campaign or seen no success factors, why would you try it again? Start to shake things up, adventure out your comfort zone. Be bolder with messages and do something no one in the industry has tried before. It can go one of two ways: either you’re a huge success who wins tons of marketing awards and kudos or the latter, you need to find a new job! Go hard or go home!
3. Hire for soft skills not just hard
Most roles look for tons of experience and knowledge, degree level accreditations and other qualifications that even the best of us have never even heard of. Much of the role can be learnt on the job. You could be from another background and taking a career shift. It’s not rocket science but just because you manage to get a role in the industry it doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to succeed. There are very few marketers who are in the elite level of the game. The softer skills are often overlooked but get you the right attention in the business. Hire people who may not have all the hard skills. If you have the right development and learning paths, anyone has a chance to succeed in their role. Learn to take a chance.
4. Inspire, educate and empower
As a marketer, it’s critical to share insights and educate about the changing landscape of buyers, what really matters when it comes to KPIs and spark emotion in the content delivered. Marketing can bring together what the business stands for, what makes it different and empower a workforce to proudly be part of the brand. Give perspective on cutting edge innovations in the tech stack, how ABM is essential to bring together sales and marketing whilst ensuring everyone knows the basics – such as what is demand gen vs lead gen. Teach something new.
5. Collaborate for campaigns
The best campaigns are those where cross-collaboration takes place. Don’t run a campaign solely with marketing leading or at the forefront. Involve key stakeholders throughout the process and listen to the sales floor – their insights are invaluable and are closest to the customer. The content produced needs a story and value-proposition, however, mix this with the right creative with emotional cues from powerful words, captivating images, and videos to an unforgettable beat within the right context, then you’ll be onto a winner. Remember: content is King, context is Queen.
So, for the next campaign you drive, think how this will get noticed, not just externally for your key audience but internally to ensure you can give marketing a permanent seat at the table
Why not check out Propolis, our exclusive community for B2B marketers to share insights, learn from industry leading marketers, and access our best content. Propolis includes a Hive (group) specially dedicated to brand and content strategy.