I’ve spent the last 10 years working as THE marketing team, or the captain of a marketing team consisting of two or three people. I’ve seen a lot of successes, as well as a fair share of strategies and tactics that did not pan out.
Last week, I got together with James Carbary on the B2B Growth Podcast. We talked about three major marketing tips that drive growth at small business-to-business companies.
Think Like a Media Company
“Brands with small marketing teams need to think less like a product or service company and more like a media company.”
One of the biggest opportunities for B2B businesses comes down to perception.
Every marketing professional has dreamed of having access to a team of sales people that can smile and dial - generating warm leads all day long. However, this just isn’t reality for the times we live in or the resources available to a small marketing team.
The real marketing dream – a new perspective
Become the key educator in your industry. Be the blog, podcast or Facebook group that has answers. Position your company as the primary resource in your market on those topics that people need to know about.
If you are consistently producing quality content for your industry, your customers will find you. You're also giving them the knowledge to know why your product or service is the fit they’ve been missing. The best part is that shifting your mindset is something that you can start today.
Know your Marketing Funnel
“Understand the steps in your target market's buying process and where each of your leads fall into them.”
This is the first step I take with every company I work with. Knowing your marketing and sales funnel is the key to prioritizing your time and budget.
Evolving your thinking about your market from “customers” and the “non-customers” to a more nuanced funnel is an opportunity for many types of companies – both new and well-established.
You will make bigger strides with your strategy when you truly segment your leads by funnel lifecycle stage. As you manually and digitally qualify leads, you'll find that there are many steps that your non-customers take to become a customer.
Break out those steps, give them a name (leads, mql, sql, etc.), and break down their needs at every step. Every company will break down and define these segments differently. However, this micro-segmentation allows you to track conversion rates per segment, rather than track one conversion (non-customer to customer).
A typical funnel has the following steps or segments. This varies depending on the company.
- Subscribers – people that follow your blog, social media, etc. on a regular basis.
- Leads – people that may have reached out for something a little more specific (this can be anything from an e-book to contact sales).
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) – these are people that fit your target persona and are a fit for your product. These are passed on to sales.
- Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) – these are people that your sales team will reach out to and spend more than one call getting to know and fostering a relationship with.
- Opportunity – this is someone that is going to purchase something with someone.
Now, you can track the conversion rates for each segment and spot the weak part of the funnel. Let’s say that 50% of SQL become opportunities, but only 10% of your opportunities become customers, now you know where the problem lies. You know which leg of the sales process needs your help.
It’s All About the Systems
The number one thing that every small marketing team asks is, “How can I get everything finished (with systems)?”
- Content Creation System
- Content Distribution System
- List building
- Capture website visitors
Creating repeatable processes for every part of your operation allows you to move quickly when you delegate. You can delegate as you get new team members or ideally, outsource repetitious tasks. However, to make that work, you have to put systems in place to streamline the process.
If you want to learn more about my favorite system, batching, check out the episode here or download it directly from on iTunes. Thanks again to James Carbary and Jonathan Green for hosting me on the B2B Growth Podcast!