I recently attended the Sirius Decisions Summit 2017, joining over 3,000 peers looking to further their B2B expertise across sales and marketing. For several days, I had the privilege of learning how analytics, research, and insights can help clearly define the sales and marketing strategy moving forward. Here are my top 10 list of insights from the conference.
Caveat emptor – there were many concurrent sessions, and many I wanted to attend but couldn’t, so this is just one CMO’s perspective.
1. Don’t go chasing waterfalls … as Sirius just came out with a new one – Sirius has found that chasing one off leads does not always result in “closed-won” deals; rather companies should focus on buying groups that might progress to more qualified leads. Getting an understanding of this earlier in the decision process can lead to much more realistic pipelines.
2. Make room for agile marketing and happy accidents – In other words, fail fast. It’s ok to fail when it comes to marketing, but do it quickly and learn from it. One area where this works well is with Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. It is easy enough to set up multiple tests of the ad and if one, or both, don’t work – simply pull it and try again with different messaging. You’re likely not harming your audience, and the budget commitment is usually minimal.
3. Stop taking “selfies” and start focusing on audience-centric messaging – Talk to your customer and understand their business problems/issues so that you’re not working in a vacuum. You know what you sell, and you sell it well. Your customers may need a more detailed, or different, explanation.
4. Franchise For Success – SAP spoke of a model they developed to create centers of excellence in sales and marketing and spread that worldwide. Your organization may have multiple geographies, time zones and subsidiaries, but that doesn’t mean that marketing can’t be somewhat aligned centrally. There are many tools available today to help streamline content creation and allows for a centralized place for all employees to see what has been created, what is in process, and what still needs to be developed.
5. Trust but verify – getting commitment and alignment from sales on lead action – Don’t be the “boy who cried wolf” on either the sales or marketing side of the business. Both departments need to understand that leads need to be vetted before putting a huge amount of effort behind them, not simply because an individual yells, “HOT LEAD!”
6. Avoid “random acts of marketing” – Similar to my next point, do not buy or create something marketing-related unless it has a longer-term purpose. Yes, sometimes you may need one-off sets of branded pens but in general, you don’t. Marketing activities should all be a part of a larger year-long plan that has direction and focus. The visual below about random acts vs. planning from Sirius might have been my favorite of the show.
7. Content! Content! Content! – Or Reuse! Recycle! Reduce! However you want to word it, don’t create new content just for the sake of creating new content. Review your existing materials -both internal and external facing and see what is utilized – often times 60% or more is never being used. Many of the pieces will still be relevant and may only need minor reformatting, or updating of the data, to better suit a new industry or audience.
8. Get out of the office and into the field – Marketing and sales can sometimes (ok, often) butt heads; but in reality the two need to be closely aligned. It can only help, not hurt, for marketing to participate in sales calls (as an observer) and learn how the sales team demos certain product lines or explains certain services offered.
9. Keep your ears open for the buzz on account based marketing – This is easier said than done as one typically needs the technology stack in place to be able to track, measure, record, reach out to and close the loop with each targeted account. However, even baby steps can help. Start with a target of your top 20 customers and complete a personalized campaign, with call down, follow up and closing the deal.
10. Learn how a shark impersonates a guerilla – Often, traditional marketing avenues can only get you so far. Sometimes you have to take a risk and do something to get your audience’s attention. Daymond John, from the U.S.-based show, Shark Tank, gave an excellent overview of how his clothing company, FUBU, used guerilla marketing to break down traditional barriers and enter new markets.
Bonus Round: What do winners do that is different? Being from Boston and a sports fan -- we used analytics and insights to take a team to five Superbowls. We also used data to bring a World Series to a city that had not seen one in over 80 years. Changing the way you look at marketing can bring new successes to your organization as well.