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Lucas Hamon Jan 8, 2015 4:29:00 PM 11 min read

Resolution this: Fix Your Broken B2B Sales & Marketing System

Take a leap in yourself... a REAL leap for your company's greater good.

 Jump into the new year with legitimate organic marketing goals

Many have resolved to get in better physical shape (I am one of them). It's not an unusual thing to hear this time of year, is it?

What is ALWAYS unusual are all of the strange ways people intend to use to get there.

There are hundreds and thousands of fads and gimmicks for both diet and exercise, some which are making crazy claims and others which are quite effective... at first. But what happens when the results taper off or they just become too hard to deal with due to the fact that it ARE gimmicky and unrealistic for the long term (like the syrup tea "diet")?

"Invariably, we all fall off the fad-wagons, and by the end of the year we are in worse shape than ever before." 

Marketing - especially digital marketing - is no different. The genuine article always prevails in the end, and I have 10 ways you can correct your current trajectory, so you aren't making these types of resolutions for your company next year. By then, wouldn't you rather instead build on your progress from THIS year?

Great strength happens by following a tried and true strategy - for marketing, it's organic and it's inbound

Of  course you would; it's how great strength happens



BE REAL WITH YOURSELF:

bigstock-Funny-Athlete_cropped-1Simply put, those who succeed with their resolutions stay away from the gimmicks and fads and stick to what works: a healthy diet & exercise and a genuine, organic marketing strategy. Sure, it takes a little bit longer, and it's harder at first, but I'm putting my money on the genuine article EVERY time, because it works and it's sustainable... and it's PROVEN.

And that's really all there is to it.

You can get caught up in the quick schemes very easily, and they may even generate positive results right out of the gate. Many businesses still purchase lists for their cold-callers, for example, so something about it is still working... After all, they are immediately starting off with more contacts than those who earn them like the inbounders.

But is having more contacts enough to win the race? I think not, so let's break it down, so you can review  what YOUR company is doing.

1. END Outbound Cold-Calling. PERIOD:

I've talked about this a lot in the past, and have been met with a mix of responses, but most have agreed that cold-calling isn't as effective as it used to be, except those in denial, who are still holding onto these antiquated notions, as if they are tied to their careers.

(PS. They're NOT, and I have a blog post upcoming that will prove it and show you outbounders how to change even when your company won't)

I understand that companies still need to hunt for new business, but that doesn't mean you need to go into your calls stone cold. There are SO many tools available to us for forging relationships with our future customers prior to making that first call, that it's just plain ignorant at this point to think the best way to generate sales is to "pound the phones."

Some of my favorite quotes include (from THIS discussion in LinkedIn):

"Maybe marketing and sales teams need to think more about lead nurturing."

"... the digital age has redefined the rules of client engagement and generating new leads"

"Whether cold calling is annoying or not, it still has a big disadvantage: you waste a lot of time on your never-to-be clients"

I personally hate getting cold calls.... absolutely hate it, and I never return them. They disrupt my day, and it makes me think that the person on the other end has no respect for me or my time. Remember, I WAS the guy on the other end of that call for nearly a decade, and believe me... I am SORRY.

bigstock-Bored-businessman-making-phone-47027296I worked for companies that forced this methodology on me as part of the status quo, even though I was so much more effective when deploying social media mini-inbound campaigns. It rocked the boat because I was beating all of my colleagues and making half the amount of outbound calls...

So to keep them off my back, I would still rack up days where I made 100 cold calls - which were absolutely exhausting and generally fruitless.

If you're in b2b sales, I'm sure you can relate.

2. Start Blogging

This has got to be my favorite new toy. Blogging opened up an entirely new foundation for raising company awareness for Orange Pegs Media in 2014.

Check out my blog about this EXACT subject from a few weeks ago.

3. Drop SEO, & Adopt an SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Strategy

"Search Engine Optimization" (SEO) needs to go. First of all, it starts off on completely the wrong foot just by the way it sounds, which is why it all too often ends up in the hands of your IT department or web developers.

A) It requires CONSTANT updating and adjustments

B) It ties in with everything MARKETING. There is very little coding, if any, but TONS of writing. 

Think about what your IT folks do - program, troubleshoot, and set up printers. Your web designers design websites, not content, and they're typically outsourced with very little contact once the site is published.

Search Engine Marketing is one of the most important elements you'll tie into your company's outreach program. It's how people find YOU, and it fits into your blogging, social media, website, landing pages, emails, content, and MORE. Yes, it's THAT important.

Marketing gets your outreach efforts better than anybody (except sales, of course), and they are handling all of those other pieces, even directing the web development, right? (they should be) - They need to be intimately involved in your SEO/SEM strategy, because it's about the language people use to find you. How is the guy who sets up your printers supposed to know that?

4. Get an SLA between your Sales & Marketing Teams

Your b2b sales & marketing teams need to be on the same page, and this is not accomplished solely with monthly meetings between the two.

Marketing should be constantly looking to sales for guidance, and sales should have a transparent view on what marketing is accomplishing. Think about how much more effective they would BOTH be if there were:

  • Live lead scoring
  • SMART marketing goals
  • Department accountability
  • Value measurement instead of quantity

Create a real agreement between the two, and see it through! Somebody from each side should be in charge, and everybody held accountable. Need help with it? Just ask!

5. Stop Buying Lists

Seriously. If you're calling me off of a purchased list, your chances of reaching me are nil. Not to mention, most of those numbers, emails, and physical addresses are going to be disconnected dead-ends. Why would you want to have your best sales reps working through so much garbage?

Like I said before, I spent a decade in b2b sales, and I absolutely HATED it when my bosses handed me their next favorite lists. Just digging through them to find the few tiny opportunities was a full-time job.

Not to boast, but I was a top performer... time and time again... and 95% of that success was built through my efforts prospecting and networking on LinkedIn - But I was only allowed to spend a fraction of my time doing it MY way, so think about how much MORE I could have done without dealing with their time-wasters! 

So, seriously, stop it!

6. Kill the Link Farms & Bad Inbound Links

This is not an inbound vs outbound marketing discussion. This is about Google and friends cracking down on devious marketing tactics, and link farming is numero uno on their public enemies list.

The farms, to those of you who are a little behind, are developed by "SEO agencies" that "help" their clients with what Google percieves as being incredibly valuable - creating inbound links into your website.

See, the more inbound links you have, the more likely Google is going to send search results your way. But here's the rub: link farms don't work, and bad links, often associated with those farms, will actually HURT you instead. In fact, you may bet banned by your favorite search engines altogether if you don't fall in line with this one. Ask the Penguin!

Use Google's Webmaster tools to root them out. You'll be glad you did.

7. Get on Social Media

Looking to transact? Then you should DEFINITELY be on Social MediaIf your b2b business doesn't have a LinkedIn profile by now, a screw is definitely loose. If your b2c business isn't on Facebook, I have no words...

Get on all of them - well at least the major ones regardless if you're b2b or b2c, because you know what? ... Customers exist on all of them.

It's not hard to do, and they're FREE! Not to mention, doing this will actually contribute to your SEM strategy. Seriously. You will surface in organic searches more often when you have one of these platforms showcasing your business.

8. ... & Make it SOCIAL

bigstock-Happy-Teens-35243588The quickest way to lose my "like" or "follow" is to start broadcasting your message without prejudice on your social media channels... the second quickest way is to go completely silent.

I don't use facebook to transact, and I hate clutter on LinkedIn. The noise in Twitter can be unbearable, and Google+ is very picky about this sort of thing.

So, take some time, and actually get involved with your social networks. Use legitimate social media management tools. Start and join real group conversations on LinkedIn (yes, you can share your content, but don't stop there! TALK to the people who respond!). Favorite and RT your favorite tweets. Like other businesses and communities on Facebook.

Curate on ALL of them!

Social media is a sales tool and should be treated that way.  But it's also good for customer service, because you can address public issues as they arise, and you can measure your audience engagement. But if all you do is broadcast, you'll become invisible and totally irrelevant... Even your employees will cringe at the thought of liking or sharing your boring, transparently self-serving content.

9. Care About your Reputation

Reputation management and public relations are so much different today than they were 20 years ago. It used to be that churning and abusing employees was a good way to run a business. Then Glassdoor.com (& many others) happened, and all of those bitter ex-employees began having a material impact on your ability to hire and transact. Yes, I have seen this FIRST-hand!

Today, new hires AND business prospects are looking for you online, and when they don't like what they see, they're going to take their business and employment elsewhere. Wouldn't you?

And what about business leaders who don't have social media profiles? What does that tell YOU as a would-be buyer/employee? It tells me that they have something to hide or don't want to deal with the flack from their past. I'm not alone here either

If you care about your business, you should care about your reputation - which means you should do more than try to stuff your web noise in front of all of your bad reviews in searches about your company - Google HATES that.

10. Consider Going Inbound

bigstock-Healthy-lifestyle-concept-Die-53047768

Inbound - It's how you make your company eat healthy and exercise

Inbound marketing is a product of digital empowerment. It relies on genuine tactics, and the results are long-term, sustainable, and when Google releases a new algorithm to level the playing field, you won't cringe like those link-farmers.

But don't just hit it from one angle.

For my first year in business I was a social media consultant, and even though I approached it from an inbound perspective, on its own, the results were nominal.  I saw first-hand how much more effective I was when I was working with a team of other marketers, and it's what drove me to converting into an inbound agency.

With inbound marketing, you tie it all together... email, social media, website, SEM/SEO, workflows, lead nurturing & scoring, blogging, calling, etc.

So, give it a test drive... It won't hurt - I promise.

 


2015 is already underway -

Set goals that are attainable, but don't forget to drive vehicles that actually have a chance at reaching their destinations. Whether you're trying to get in shape or get your business in shape, expect to roll up your sleeves and put real time and resources into it.

If you stick to the genuine article, it will pay off, it will compounding, and you'll OWN every bit of your success. You'll no longer be "that guy" who's always trying the next latest fad or gimmick to get ahead. Inbound marketing has been around for nearly a decade, and there is TONS of proof that it works.

Don't be "that guy." Haven't you ever noticed how out of shape they are? What about noticing that outbound isn't what it used to be?

Good luck with strengthening and growing your business, and have a Healthy New Year!

Is your company's marketing strategy healthy for new business development?


Have you set your marketing goals for 2015 yet? Or, are you interested in taking another look? Check out our free SMART goals calculator - Special thanks to our friends at Hubspot: -  

Plan YOUR S.M.A.R.T. Marketing Goals!

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Lucas Hamon

Over 10 years of B2B sales experience in staffing, software, consulting, & tax advisory. Today, as CEO, Lucas obsesses over inbound, helping businesses grow! Husband. Father. Beachgoer. Wearer of plunging v-necks.

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