Easter break is that time of the year where many B2B marketers pause to catch their breath, reflect on what they have achieved so far this year, and refocus on the push for the financial year-end and perhaps beyond.
I teach ADMA's B2B Marketing Strategy course twice per year, based on MathMarketing's Funnel Academy. In the course, I always ask the same question: "What is your campaign planning timeframe?" Most answer "quarterly", occasionally "six monthly" and very rarely beyond that other than in some vague general sense for budgetary purposes; usually something like, "Oh, the same as last year plus 5% for inflation."
Then I ask, "Thinking about your marketing and sales cycle, how long do your buyer's typically take to make a decision." Remembering that this is B2B Marketing and products and services are almost always complex, the answers invariably come back, "Oh at least 6 months just for the sales cycle, sometimes over a year, if we add in marketing almost always 9-12 months at a minimum."
At this point, the attendees often start exchanging some uncomfortable looks as the implications of these two answers become clear. They are only marketing to part of the buyer's decision making cycle! Gaping holes are left in the consistent application of influence over the buyer, where sellers leave buyers to make up their own minds or worse still leave their competitors to take over the task of educating and influencing buyers.
Often, this leads to "knee-jerk" marketing, where the B2B Marketer is putting together end-of-month or end-of-quarter special offers to try and drive an increase in last minute leads to meet their goals. Or they focus only on the very top of the funnel, generating additional website traffic and unqualified leads, which they subsequently hand over to an understandably unimpressed sales team!
Good B2B marketers undertand that they must create momentum in their marketing activities by applying consistent marketing campaign tactics across the entire duration of the marketing and sales funnel. Specific tactics and content for the top, middle and bottom of the funnel must be sewn together to cover the full buyer's journey.
"But I don't have the resources to do all of that," is a common response. Yet by the end of the course by utilising the techniques we teach, each delegate leaves with a plan they can apply to their business the very next day.
If you would like to read more about the content of ADMA's B2B marketing strategy please visit their website. I would love to see you there!
Do you market to only part of your buyer's journey? What techniques do you use to create momentum in your go to market funnel?