Like yourself, I have read many informative articles on B2B content marketing. These have greatly assisted me to better understand what is needed to generate higher revenue in highly competitive fields. I am a strong advocate that an ongoing education is crucial to stay abreast in any industry or field and B2B content marketing is no different.
But through consistent observation, via many one-on-one interviews with business and sales professionals, I have unearthed a significant discovery in why the B2B world has come to resent their company’s efforts to “Build the brand” and create content for their sales teams.
And the discovery is this: The lack of reverse engineering, by those assigned the task to conduct marketing, to deliver content that excites and reinforces the intelligent selling processes employed by their top closers.
Somehow marketing and sales has become disconnected in too many businesses. Branding became devoid of accountability to the company’s bottom line. The question then becomes, “Does marketing need to directly support and build sales?” And the answer is a resounding “Yes”. Let’s be pragmatic, it is the closer, not the marketing department, that keeps the company afloat by rendering the revenue it demands to operate and be profitable. Realistically, these closers may or may not depend on the company’s branding and current content to generate their sales. Individually, or as a team of individuals, your company thrives or dies to the degree that it closes new clients and customers and keeps them coming back to purchase even more products and/or services.
What CEO’s Don’t Expect From Their Marketing Department
This is not an idle or unimportant observation to review in your own B2B content marketing efforts. Consider this case study: In Fournaise Marketing Group’s 2012 Global Marketing Effectiveness Program, they interviewed more than 1,200 CEOs across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Their report confirms that the majority of those CEOs that possess their own in-house marketing departments, they do so, “purely out of tradition.” Most CEOs stated that they, “made the conscious decision not to expect more from marketing than branding.”
It was a widespread consensus that marketing professionals live too much in the brand, their own creative bubble. Those CEOs did not find marketing professionals to be ROI focused, intent on bringing accountability, correlating how they spend the money with achieving a positive impact on the P&L.
A mere twenty percent (1 out of 5) of CEOs believe that their top marketers need to become ROI accountable. The report went on to add that seventy-three percent (3 out of 4) of these CEOs believe that marketers, “lack credibility because they cannot prove the impact of marketing on business.” However, of those CEOs, seventy percent admit that their own lack of trust and attitude is to blame for the poor reputation of marketers. The lack of expectation for results has ensured the continuation of disconnect between the marketing department and the sales team.
The CEO’s Core Problem
The CEO is not building a connection and working relationship between the marketing department and their sales people. A CEO wishing to generate more sales must start expecting their marketing department to understand, engage, service and supply their top closers with B2B content marketing that they dream of to close even more clientele. You would be amazed at the reaction I garner when I tell the CEO that his or her content needs to be sales based, satisfying first their top closers.
I commonly ask the closers in confidence, “Do you like the content/marketing materials that you currently have and is it helping you to close more sales?” The common reaction is a smirk, rolled eyes and a look of disgust.
Excited & Supported Sales Professionals Will 3X Your Sales
Increasing your sales can be easily achieved by providing the exact content that your sales team dreams of possessing and utilizing. I will ask of the top closers, “If I gave you a magic lamp and you could have three wishes, in terms of what content you needed from your company so that you could make more sales, what would you wish for?” Quite often, it is not what the company is providing, or minimally they desire some adjustment or upgrade of existing content.
By reverse engineering the B2B content marketing from a sales professional’s point of view, your marketing department is now connected in directly affecting the ROI of the company. Working in tandem to create profitability elevates marketing into a CEO’s best scenario. It will generate new found enthusiasm in your sales team, and your sales with dramatically increase as a result.