B2B Marketing is notorious for short job life cycles, flawed KPI’s, under investment and strategic marketing plans never being seen through. It’s no wonder that the average term of a Chief Marketing Officer is only 18 months in the UK*, with Senior Marketing Managers/Head of Marketing in SMEs experiencing the same roller coaster career.
Equally frustrated are the business leaders and sales teams who are continually trying to get their B2B Marketing to work but inevitably finding themselves spinning in a cycle of stop start marketing activity, frustration and high marketing employee churn (39% planning on exiting their job within 12 months and 81 within 3 years).
Why is the situation so different to the B2C marketing arena where marketing thrives, drives businesses and brands to new heights of success?
As a marketer specialising in the B2B IT/Tech sector, for me, marketing has never been so important with B2B buying behaviour pivoted on reference not deference, multiple marketing channels, social branding and selling and multiple touch points across the long process of engagement to conversion.
The real financial gains are in longer term marketing approaches to accommodate not only the Brand but sustainable long term lead flow and nurturing to accommodate the long term nature of the buying cycle. Done right, surely the pressure for short term quick sales wins should evaporate?
Five Key Cultural and Structural Blockages
Five key B2B cultural and structural elements often exist to spur on the B2B Marketing Merry-Go-Round and the prioritisation of shortism, stemming from the perception of what marketing is and does and short term sales driven vision:
1) Short term revenue targets V’s Long term financial gain
2) Tactical activity V’s Strategic activity
3) Sales ownership V’s Independent voice of the market
4) Board position absence V’s Strategic Board function
5) Marketing as an expense V’s Marketing as an investment
Put all these critical elements together and throw in the demand for marketing performance metrics based on short term measurements, it’s not surprising many marketing departments are paddling upstream trying to keep on the marketing merry-go-round that just keeps spinning around in circles.
Rarely is a strategic marketing plan seen through (and sometimes even read), as the day-to-day tactics corrode all long term strategic planning as marketers strive to keep their jobs by meeting short term metrics and sales tactics.
Top this off with underinvestment and an average 18 month senior staff turn around, it’s no wonder B2B marketing becomes trapped in cycle of sales shortism and its corrosive nature to long-term marketing success and financial gain.
Over the last eight years I’ve had many conversations with CEOs, business owners and sales directors about their frustrations with their senior marketing person. And there’s a lot of consistency in what’s being said: “…is overwhelmed and dis-organised”, “”…is not experienced enough”, “….is not strategic but great at organising and doing”, “….is brilliant at brand and long term but has failed to get the results we need”, “…spends a lot of time planning but there’s not enough hands on activity”.
Is it surprising the life of a senior marketing professional is around eighteen months? It’s a catch 22 job and the real issue of the B2B Marketing Merry-Go-Round is often centred within the business, an absence at Board level and a lack of strategic and operational alignment with sales.
Bridging the Gap
Is MarTech a Solution?
The role of MarTech and radically intelligent data sourcing to truly align sales and marketing to create a potent commercial growth machine, is the biggest opportunity and change in B2B marketing in over a decade.
Today there is nearly no reason why sales and marketing should not be aligned strategically to attain both sets of objectives. The companies and business leaders who hit on this, do not only keep their marketing staff but critically experience exponent commercial growth.
Sadly in a lot of cases, investment in CRM and marketing automation platforms is not being reaped to its full potential due to poor content, training and sales and marketing synergy.
Surprising, many companies and marketers are simply not aware of the critical role of B2B Predicative Analytics Platforms such as Nexus, (if you are not aware, I’ve put a link in) to not only deliver unimaginably targeted and researched prospect lists but expose exactly what your target audience is thinking, reading and behavioural intent for a truly personalised and highly targeted content and account based sales and marketing approach.
Across the Pond, US businesses are surging ahead with their B2B marketing, aligning their sales and marketing operations, harnessing B2B Predicative Analytics Platforms, building block chain MarTech solutions and importantly, prioritising Marketing at a Board level because of its long term strategic importance. Isn’t it time we caught them up and started to overcome the shortism Vs longtism battle?
If you are interested, the Business Marketing Club NW are hosting an Xchange event on the 14th June 5.30pm in Manchester to discuss and share ideas on “How to drive better sales and marketing alignment”.
Why not join myself and other client-side B2B marketers for complimentary drinks, nibbles and idea driven conversation? CLICK HERE
*IPA Report June 2016