Simple marketing advice

B2B technology marketers have their work cut out for them. With complex sales cycles, buyer fragmentation and too many “me too” competitors, there is no doubt that marketing is becoming more difficult.

Be findable: Findability is the degree to which an object can be found, discovered or located. Being findable means that no matter how or what you sell, your customers and prospects can find you easily. The concept of “being findable” applies equally to a brick-and-mortar storefront, to the geographic zones that one serves (and does not), to organic search engine rankings or how product information is organized and represented in a reseller’s catalog. No matter what your industry, as the effectiveness of advertising continues to decrease, buyers must be able to find you in order to make informed decisions about you.

Get the prospect the right answer fast to win more deals: A JD Powers study showed that 30% of the reason for losing deals is lack of responsiveness by reps. “Typically the first salesperson back to the prospective customer with a good proposal that meets the customer’s needs gets locked into the customer’s mind as the vendor of choice and ultimately wins the deal,” says Godard Abel, founder of BigMachines, Inc., ( Abel believes competitors become “column fodder” by responding slowly or not listening to the customer and have their proposal miss the mark.

Your brand is an asset: No matter what your size, your brand deserves protection, says Michael Kiefer, an expert in enterprise Internet risk mitigation, believes if your business depends on a positive internet reputation, then you must decisively manage your reputation online. Negative brand sentiment is virtually impossible to erase. No matter how large or small your firm, brands and ecosystems are routinely damaged by disgruntled employees, partners, online vandals and criminals. Kiefer advises small businesses to watch their domains, web linkages, and their brand chatter on the Internet, usergroups and blogs.

Use metrics – even if the metrics change: Marketing measurement is not a thing, it is a process. The process of measuring your marketing performance will lead to new insight and perspectives that will help you adapt and hone your process over time. If your metrics don’t work, don’t be afraid to change them. Don’t be afraid when your key marketing metrics change. In fact, be happy that your metrics are evolving and you are learning more about your customers.

Your sales people are your brand: A great brand is built by positive, repeated actions. Every sales interaction (good or bad) represents the brand. Therefore, every time your sales representatives put your message in front of your prospective customers, your brand is being represented. Every sales conversation is an opportunity to build brand awareness and loyalty. The promise of the brand is not just about the product (no matter how great), it is about the personal connections, trust and consistency necessary to build a relationship with key buyers. When allocating resources to build your brand in the market, you should not lose sight of this critical factor.

Marketing should attend every pipeline review: Marketing and sales need to be very tightly coupled together through the entire selling process. Marketing should be required to participate in the sales process from the beginning all the way through the close of a sale. It starts by requiring marketing to participate in the weekly sales pipeline meeting. This is a great opportunity for the marketing team to work with the sales team to understand the realities of the sales process as well as the effectiveness of marketing and lead generation programs. What can marketing do to help move the sale through the process? When marketing is integrated to the sales process they will have a better understanding and a real-time feedback loop to adjust things on the fly to meet customer and sales team needs.