Build a healthy B2B marketing strategy to guarantee business growth- Part 1

Your sales and marketing are like the heart and lungs of your business. They provide crucial oxygen to your business which it needs to survive and thrive. In this week's blog, we discuss how the business environment in which we all exist is changing rapidly. If your sales and marketing fail to adapt to these new conditions, your business will fail to thrive and potentially survive. 

Your go-to-market plan needs to be refreshed

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Clearly the ubiquity of the internet has changed everything. Particularly, it has changed the way your buyers purchase - around 70% of their decision making process has already happened before they'll reach out to a supplier. This radically changes the way you must find, engage, qualify and sell to them. 

But before you rush to change your sales and marketing tactics, its crucial you rebuild your go to market strategy in order to generate a crystal clear plan so you can execute your plan with precision and confidence. Wishy-washy, generic go-to-market strategies and tactcis means you'll waste a ton of money and time and achieve minimum cut through.

The key elements of creating a crystal clear go to market strategy

The 4xWs of strategy

Start by defining these four key areas. Be very wary of doing this exercise in isolation. Bringing the senior team, sales and marketing into a room together, (preferably with an independent moderator to facilitate the process) to thrash out the strategy ensures a healthy diversity of views and more importantly builds crucial alignment between sales and marketing - which is often a challenge.

To Whom: Clearly identify the profile of the ideal organisation that you wish to sell to. Within that define the specific individual(s) who make the actual purchase decision. What are their goals? What is holding them back from personal success? What are their most pressing challenges?

Its likely you will create a long list of problems and challenges they face. Pick the pain point that is most severe. Then pick the pain point that you believe you are best at solving. By focusing on a big problem you are good at fixing, you have already taken a giant step towards creating the clarity you need.

With What: With clarity around your ideal buyer(s), and which pain point you’ll target, the next question is what does the complete solution to that problem look like? Interestingly, when working with clients we regularly find that a current product or service actually fails to fully solve the buyer’s problem and in fact the current solution must evolve somewhat to become a truly effective solution.

 A simple recent example we worked on was for an IT service provider. They targeted medium sized businesses with an outsourced managed services offering. However when we went through the buyer problem definition exercise we realised that, in fact, the very first step the buyer needed was to do a detailed audit of the performance of the current network and from that understand the actual cost to the company of their underperforming technology. In other words they needed to dimension the size of the problem before they would relinquish precious funds to solving it.

Subsequently, our client built a process and a tool to allow their prospects to undertake the audit. They offered their systems architects to administer the audit and make recommendations. They charged the prospect for this service (albeit at a cost recovery level). The subsequent proposal process also changed to match the prospects biggest gap. Close rates increased significantly as did retention rates and overall value per client.

Through Whom: With clarity around the problem you solve best, and the solution, the next question is: Who best uncovers your target buyers who are suffering from that problem. Is it your existing sales team? Do they have the skills to position and sell the value of your full solutions against the buyer’s business problems or are they more comfortable selling your catalogue of products? Given the demographic and geographic spread of your target buyers do you require partners (or different partners) to represent your solution? Can some of your existing clients self serve via an ecommerce solution?

Against whom: Most firms can rattle of the names of their traditional competitors. But with the clarity of focus around your buyer and their problems you fix best, does this change against whom you compete? Are their others you now need to take into consideration? Perhaps now your traditional foe doesn't really compete head to head with you any more?

When evaluating yourself against the competition, score yourself and them using at least the following criteria:

  • How unique is your selling proposition in solving the buyer’s key problem?
  • How well do buyers recognise you as solving their key problem?
  • Does your cost structure compare favourably to the competition?
  • Do you have specific references where you can demonstrate how well you have solved the problem?

The 4Ws approach gives you a straightforward framework around which your sales and marketing team can align and focus their efforts to create a strategic plan based on solid information, that contribute to the achievement of your business goals.

Take 9 easy steps to build a complete B2B marketing and sales plan with a clearly articulated set of tactics for both sales and marketing to use across the whole funnel!




Topics: strategy marketing plan business growth