How to approach your B2B marketing like an NFL quarterback
You need to have your eye on the whole field -- the big picture -- to successfully capture and nurture B2B leads, argues contributor Sonjoy Ganguly.
As a New York Giants fan, I can’t wait for the NFL season to start in September. There’s something amazing about watching a quarterback like Eli Manning call a play and then suddenly seeing the team perform in perfect unison (maybe not always!) to advance on the field toward the end zone.
As competition heats up and becomes stronger and more sophisticated, B2B marketers must begin thinking like quarterbacks — becoming smarter not only about the multi-channel plays they call and the messages they serve, but also about their definitions of success.
Here’s how B2B marketers can better quarterback the team past the goal line.
Line of sight across the whole playing field
I was having a conversation with a marketing colleague and we came to the fundamental realization that B2B marketing is like football in many ways. The receiver is equivalent to the decision maker at your target organizations. But in B2B, it’s more about the consensus sale than ever before.
What makes B2B marketing unique is that it requires reaching multiple stakeholders across a prospect’s organization — ranging from the Financial Analysts, Director of Finance, CFO, VP Engineering, CTO, Architects, Engineering Directors to Procurement Managers and dozens of other business stakeholders.
Without a clear view of all the individual players on the field, the quarterback and its team can be blindsided by any one of the stakeholders and get sacked. To get that receiver over the goal line, you need the whole team working together.
For example, a nine- to 18-month sales cycle can be progressing well with functional stakeholders by meeting their business requirements. But the prospective sale can quickly die if stakeholders from finance aren’t convinced of the economic benefits of the solution.
Additionally, an influencer within a prospect’s organization may be recommending a competitor based on general awareness or even more relevant, personalized content (e.g., best practices, tips, buying guides) that he or she was nurtured with across a long period of time.
Fortunately, today’s B2B marketing ecosystem can help B2B brands gain more holistic insight into organizations they’re selling into and how to engage them across multiple channels.
Penetrate with a multi-player strategy
We all know that buying enterprise software is different from buying a TV. B2B buyers need to acquire a lot more information to make smart decisions. Therefore, they require multiple touch points on an ongoing basis across their organization.
At the heart of these interactions, content reigns and everyone within B2B seller organizations needs to be empowered to offer relevant content to different types of stakeholders.
Need to learn more about the functional specs of a specific capability? Here’s a webinar you can attend with our Product team for additional details. Not sure how to buy an enterprise business platform? Here’s a buying guide — created by our content team — that you can download from our Resource page.
Need to convince your boss that we have the right solution for you? Let’s sit down in a working session with our Solutions team and walk through the platform to help you envision how we can serve your needs and add value.
Your lead generation efforts are all about getting an opportunity to engage with the more direct decision makers. Going back to our football metaphor, that’s the quarterback connecting with his receiver. As I mentioned, you need the whole team to get you over the goal line. In B2B, you need to influence the whole account.
While your lead gen program is connecting you with more select audiences, you need integrated awareness initiatives to nurture the entire account. That awareness campaign is reaching the whole team, to help you get the receiver over the line.
With a more clear understanding of a target prospect’s needs, B2B marketers are better equipped to call the most appropriate plays and orchestrate the team accordingly.
Convert accounts, not individual consumers
B2C marketing traditionally focuses on a dashboard of metrics centered around consumer-based KPIs. These practices have found their way into B2B dashboards as well. This needs to change.
B2B marketers must focus on selling to entire organizations rather than individuals. For example, instead of tracking engagements with specific stakeholders, measuring account penetration and engagement can provide enhanced insight into the health and success of your marketing programs.
By considering these steps when building integrated marketing initiatives, B2B marketers put themselves in a prime position to quarterback the team to the Super Bowl.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech Today. Staff authors are listed here.