B2B marketing and the long game
James is the Marketing Director at CloudCall after working in marketing for 20 years. After graduating with a business degree, James found himself in the marketing industry as the ‘no wrong answer’ sector. Daniel is the Channel Marketing Director at CloudCall after entering the industry around 20 years ago in consumer goods giving him a good background in product and brand management.
Talking the difference between B2B and B2C, marketers have a decision to make and for Daniel, B2B is more of a challenge due to tighter resources, lack of feedback, and the many buyer personas involved in the purchasing decision. With B2B marketing you have a greater audience to convince to part with cash and the challenge is even tougher in the current climate.
In B2B your selling to a company and assessing the power within the individuals you talk to. Whereas with B2C your selling to an individual making a decision for themselves, it’s a less broad decision influencing less people.
With B2C you have the ability to walk into the store and watch the customer shop. You can stand back and watch how they shopped, what they picked up and get a feel for their purchase decision.
But with B2B you can’t do that. You must find other ways to understand the customer. Every good marketer will tell you the essence of marketing is understanding your customer.
In B2B, you are a step removed, you need to work with people in other ways by building relationships, talk to people about why they buy and talk to your sales people. It ultimately means you need to much more involved in that purchasing decision.
Through the pandemic it meant each deal was harder to win which for CloudCall meant the sales and marketing teams had to work closely together to win those deals.
Learning why each customer said yes, no or maybe meant the sales team were coming to marketing sooner. It used to be coming to the marketing team to ask them to make a document look pretty, but now there is more of an understanding that they can get you the deal if you give them some time.
Getting the sales team to understand the time it takes for lead generation with marketing and the appreciation and implications that lead generation can have, that’s the handover point.
The best sales and marketing relationships will have a handover point which they both understand.
With sales and marketing, both teams have slightly different goals. Sales are looking to hit a target this month, whereas the marketers have a longer-term view over the next year.
Straight out of the gate you have an oppositional view. The key to overcoming this is to understand these differences then you can get over it.
On the channel marketing side, Daniel was able to re-establish relationships with partners during the pandemic which although was slow to pass leads over it but from a channel perspective, it has been good.
With partnerships currently, they are all similarly trying to find their way out of this.
There’s been debate around the bigger picture of marketing and getting the sales team on board because it’s the long game.
They’re not in it for the likes and the comments that are the vanity metric so it was important to make the sales team understand that they’re now getting 5/6 web leads a day off the back of social sharing to multiple networks via Paiger.
What is a lead for CloudCall?
They count a lead as a demo request. Within that they have a 1/3 conversion rate.
What is CloudCall’s nurturing process?
Email marketing and awareness scoring. A lot of this process for them is automated to keep the sales team selling. It turns to a manual process at events as they want to engage with them quicker via a bespoke programme.
To solve the friction between MQL and SQL James helps the sales team to write their prospecting sequence because it is still marketing but it is sales too. So combining the two for the content part is something that is helping CloudCall’s sale.
Writing copy is not simple. Daniel tends to write officially meaning he must re-edit his tone to be more conversational to ensure the positioning is not wrong. So a lot of the time it takes experience to understand the need for adjustment in the copy.
How do you prove to the sales team that the MQL is working?
If someone visits the features of the website but the minute you click on the pricing page that’s a buying signal. So when you do your scoring you will rank that higher based on the buying intent – making it an MQL.
So getting the sales team to understand that buyer journey and explain to them how and why the score will allow the sales team to sell.
Initially in CloudCall, marketing was the PR and advertisement but now it’s become much more the nurture journey and lead generation.
80% of marketing you can’t measure the effectiveness but things like web leads, of course, you can count them. More money won’t equate automatically to more leads it's about trial and error in finding different routes to get leads.
Finding the balance between quality and quantity of leads where sales and marketing differ too.
When it comes to measuring marketers don’t want to measured on revenue because winning that revenue is not in their hands. So if the marketing teams bonus relies on the sales team being good at their job is another point for conflict.
But being judged on revenue could make everyone being forced to work together. So having shared goals e.g. demo’s is an equal goal. The demo to pipeline creation is where marketers really want to be measured.
Enforcing too strict measurements on marketing can have a negative effect if it results in quantity over quality of deals. Daniel experienced this challenge when his team were measured on lead increases which brought low-quality deals but lots of them.
So identifying the split and mix of leads will ensure you don’t just play the numbers game.
In light of the new account-based marketing strategy – CloudCall has started to some of this but identifying what is a good ABM is something they are looking at now and are at the start of.
James has a desire to get bigger customers but you tend to start the business getting smaller customers. Sometimes you have to be careful with the vanity idea.
Any advice to new marketers?
James’s advice is to not take it personally. Everyone is a marketing professional and knows marketing, unlike finance or support. Everyone has a built-in desire to be in marketing so everyone has an opinion. 99% of the time they just mean well but don’t give great advice so just don’t take it personally.
The first thing you are taught about marketing is the 4p’s and there’s a reason for that. Don’t think you are just in advertising or the colouring-in department. Marketing is the backbone of a good strategy of any organisation and you should be proud to be a marketer. The 4P’s being product, price, place and promotion – promotion is very specifically last and that’s the place most marketers get cornered into.
Daniel’s advice is to put the customer at the front and centre of everything you should do. Understand their entire journey. Also, have an objective in everything you do. In doing that, you can always prove what you are doing and how it progressed. A lot of marketers will fit their results to their objectives after the fact when it should be the other way round.