Tackle Low-Hanging Fruit to Drive Sales While Your B2B Marketing Plans Take Root
Whether you are a startup looking to generate high volumes of quality leads or an established company needing to take your brand to the next level, you probably need to allow a year for your B2B marketing plans to show measurable results.
Why? Because building an effective marketing and sales plan is like any other product—you must do just that: build it. In addition, you must be able to manage it well so that you can generate quality leads and meaningful engagement, while also giving time for the word to get out and for interest and momentum to build. Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.
Unless you are solving a business problem no one else is and the press and influencers in your category can’t stop talking about you—it is difficult to achieve aggressive goals without a strategy, structure, discipline, and dedicated/specialized resources that are being managed by someone who knows what they’re doing.
The good news: You could organize your team to tackle low-hanging fruit by supporting the sales team and gathering intelligence, while bigger plans are being built and tested. Some examples of what you could do:
1. Hire rainmakers
One of the best ways to gain fast momentum is to ensure you have rainmakers who are industry experts that know influencers and decision-makers, and can easily get referrals and appointments to discuss the company’s value proposition.
2. Give support to the sales team
Help your rainmakers and aggressive salespeople succeed by freeing them up of administrative tasks that could take several hours each day from their main job (selling). Hire temps or interns, or dedicate a staff member to help them:
- Gather data and information that will help them showcase their subject matter expertise
- Organize and transfer new lists into the CRM
- Figure out how to optimize the CRM (see point # 3)
- Get people to an event
- Communicate with professionally-designed templates: e.g. e-newsletters, case studies and product presentations
3. Get your CRM in a good place
Dedicate a resource (whether in-house or an external consultant) to optimize your CRM for your sales team. This resource can get dashboards in place to help sales reps quickly analyze the funnel and prioritize their day, plus give one-on-one training to improve efficiency.
4. Build or enhance your social media presence
Build a baseline brand presence on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., and get someone to help the sales team understand how to optimize and leverage social media’s impact with some policies and guidelines. As the article “How Your B2B Content Marketing and Sales Can Work Hand in Hand” from the Content Marketing Institute points out, B2B buyers are more social than they used to be (taking up 6.5 hours per week consuming content online) and are looking to sales people to serve as advisors during their buying journey.
5. Start a webinar series
If you already have a good story about ways you can solve business problems and ease pain, start to get the word out with webinars targeted to your existing customer and prospect database. You could promote them using social media and email. You could also promote by: 1) advertising with key publications whose subscriber list may be interested in what you have to say; and 2) letting other companies co-sponsor and participate (assuming their story ties in and would be valuable to your constituents).
6. Get the team together and brainstorm
While you’re waiting for large-scale integrated marketing plans to take root, you can brainstorm on a campaign idea that’s easy and quick to implement yet unique and buzzworthy (but don’t forget, you still need someone to manage the work). This case study is old but still relevant, as it demonstrates innovative thinking that helped the executive search firm Y Scouts stand out with a Facebook campaign called “What’s Your Why”.
7. Test trade shows
If your sales team is convinced that their presence at certain trade shows will help them…let them go, and maybe try a sponsorship. Trade shows are also a great place to gather intelligence, or to test out a new elevator pitch.
8. Do something for the community
Get your name out by sponsoring programs for non-profits you and your staff believe in. Maybe you could donate your services or products to community projects.
The point is: It takes time to see results from a B2B marketing plan, so give it a year (or throw more money and resources at it to shorten the planning stage and the build). In parallel, tackle some low-hanging fruit and help the sales team be as efficient and productive as possible.