The only certainty in business is the uncertainty of it all...
So, why is your growth planning so linear?... especially in 2020???
Do you have a growth plan that meets the zigs and zags of today? Or, are you finding yourself constantly looking around the corner for the light at the end of the tunnel, and throwing whatever shit you can at the situation in hopes that something will eventually stick?
I can't think of a more relevant topic in today's tumultuous climate--brought on by political divisions so deep we can't even look at each other in the eye over Thanksgiving dinner, exacerbated by the elimination of the holidays altogether thanks to the pandemic--while we jam our professional lives into our homes, and find ourselves spinning plates just to stay above water.
The reality is that this problem you face... the inability to react to outside influences--is not the fault of the pandemic or your political punching bags. This is the result of shooting from the hip all these years, while you convinced yourself that your investments in growth were strategic, not tactical... all because things "seemed fine."
But let's not relitigate the past... and what could have been...
Let's talk about the future.
Whatever lies ahead, hopefully now you can appreciate what I'm about to share with you.
Let's start with the basics--for the last XX years, you've been investing in growth concepts that are impossible to qualify as successful.
I have heard it a thousand times.
You blog because you know you have to... you're on social media because... something about "thought leadership..." You buy email lists to spam and to dump on the plates of salespeople who are eager to please, but often burnout quickly because they're suffocating from going after the exact same opportunities as your competitors, executing the exact same sales playbooks.
Your strategy isn't a strategy at all.. and you know it, but you're not sure how to change it.
Well, let me help you.
Strategy vs Tactics
Very few of you have a hard time admitting that your growth investments aren't working together. You buy leads and hire salespeople, plug them into a CRM, and provide leadership from folks who have seen it all and succeeded no matter what life threw at them. You invest in blogging, SEO marketing, social media, and a new website...
But what, exactly, brings them together? What unifies them?
How do you get a deal out of a blog?
If you're not sure how to answer those questions, or there are gaps with no details, it's because you're investing in blocking and tackling, but don't have a game plan.
Let's peel a layer off the top.
Let's say, for instance, that you know a thing or two about digital marketing, because you've been down this road before, been pitched by a thousand agencies, and have sunk a decent chunk of change into digital marketing...
You blog to get traffic. You use topics built around optimized searches (SEO), and point visitors to clicks on a call-to-action, which takes them to a content offer on your website... they provide their contact information to gain access to the offer, because you pitched it well, and once they submit the form, they're a lead.
What happens next? Exactly? Does sales call? Do they wait until the lead ASKS to be contacted? And what does sales say? What's the script? WHY is that the script? WHY is that the followup protocol? What happens if they get voicemail? What happens next? How do you keep them accountable?What tools facilitate the conversion and subsequent conversations? What about informing sales?
Hell... how did you even come up with that topic? How do you know what people are searching for? How did you come up with the offer? How do you know that people who download it are desirable leads? How do you know they're not?
Do you see what's missing?
There is nothing tying it together... not a sales plan... not a validated marketing concept... lots of great ideas smashed together, and delivered in hopes that more leads will solve all of your sales challenges.
... but no plan that ties it all together.
How to solve this puzzle:
Your strategy should include alignment protocol between sales and marketing... it should frame the buyer's journey... there should be a tech stack to eliminate bottlenecking and valleys of sales death... there should be cohesion in your messaging ... and there should be a plan for every step or misstep along the way.
Lead comes in.
Sales is notified.
Script is executed with precision, both in timing and messaging...
... and collateral and processes provide a paint-by-numbers method of closing new deals.
When we stand up a growth program, my job is to build the core strategy before handing it off to the growth team, which involves:
- Persona development, which feeds ...
- ... MQL & SQL protocol, which feeds ...
- ... Value propositions (positioning statements), which feeds ...
- ... Sales process and architecture, which feeds ...
- ... Deal management architecture, which feeds ...
- ... CRM engineering, which feeds ...
- ... Sales collateral & templates, which feeds ...
- ... Core inbound marketing protocol
Every detail is covered. Sales and marketing operate in the same sandbox... working together to achieve synergistic goals, stripping down their silos, and tearing away self-gratifying echo chambers.
You want to be agile? You want to be able to pivot against the shitstorms of tomorrow? Start with a strategy, and start experimenting...
Experimental vs Linear
How on earth can we be experimental AND execute a strategy?
Well, my friend, the strategy framework I just shared with you is foundation... it gives sales a playbook they can repeat and that you can share and perfect over time.
Once the strategy is built, I hand it over to my partner's team, and they now have a sandbox worthy of their time and energy... because they have the ability to run experiments and test the impact of their efforts on every inch of your sales pipeline.
This is where we deviate sharply from your typical digital marketing agency.
We don't commit to rigid content calendars that get refreshed quarterly or annually based on vanity metrics like traffic, likes, shares, or followers... it's not about keyword ranking. It's not about branding...
It's about growth... pure and simple.
And our plan allows us to test every wild idea that comes to mind without risking too much or putting all of your eggs in one basket.
How an agile marketing process achieves mission-critical goals:
- Agile marketers operate within 2-week sprints
- We run multiple experiments per sprint
- Nothing is off limits
- CRO (conversion rate optimization)
- Content (blogs, offers, videos, YouTube...)
- Social media
- Paid media
- Activation (product onboarding, documentation optimization, chat, in-app tutorials...)
- If it has data, we can hack it
- Experiments are built with hypothesis' in mind
- They're graded with an ICE score (Impact, Confidence, Ease)
- We learn
- We iterate against what we learn
- We standardize success
- We scrap failures
- We do it again
I know I said we wouldn't relitigate 2020, but think about what this would have meant for you in March.
Pandemic hits, and suddenly the world is unrecognizable... but instead of hunkering down, hoping it would disappear in a couple of weeks, your agile marketing approach helps you pivot.
You're operating in 2-week cycles, so you recognize the real and present challenges immediately, not at your next P&L review. You would have thrown together a dozen ideas, tested them, and moved forward while your competitors... well... did exactly the what you did instead, since you didn't have an agile marketing approach.
Data vs Instinct
Agility doesn't come just from being quick and able to pivot based on gut instinct. It's informed by hard data. Every experiment has an expectation. If it's not met, we experiment against our hypothesis' as to why that is, or make calculated decisions to walk away. After all, since we're running 5 - 10 experiments every sprint, the idea of "failure" is not scary.
It's a part of life.
But instead of failing slowly and painfully, we fail forward, and do it quickly.
And we're able to do this because we're objective in the way we measure outcomes.
While the world may eventually resolve to some version of "normalcy" in the near future with the hopeful introduction of a vaccine and better treatments, what this pandemic has taught me is that we don't have to wait... we can use these disruptions to our advantage.
We don't know what tomorrow holds. And I, for one, am not interested in waiting until year-end to find out what happened... That is not how to grow a business during times like these... or any time in the future now that we've experienced what we've experienced...
There may not BE a year-end with that kind of mentality, but if you're strategic in your investments, and agility is at the heart of everything you deploy, you're considerably more likely to crush your competition rather than get crushed by the uncertainties that blindside you.
Just ask our clients... (click here)