B2B marketers are a bit like the vice president of the United States.
We are not exactly educated for it (with 85% of us “self-taught” in the discipline) and no one really grows up with the dream of becoming one (wasn’t on my list either…).
Selling HVAC systems, precision measuring equipment or safety services for the oil & gas industry doesn’t have the sex appeal of your Nikes, Pepsies and Apples of the world.
That’s a shame.
I can’t say I’m not biased, but being in B2B Marketing is arguable one of the most awesome jobs out there. Like working in quality control at an ice cream factory or being a test driver for Ferrari.
Here’s why it feels damn good 2B a B2B Marketer.
Do you have an inner David Kelley? B2B marketing might be for you
Does creative problem solving tickle your fancy?
B2B buying typically differs from B2C in 3 ways; The value is higher, there are more people involved, the buying process is longer and involves more steps.
Generally speaking, buying an airplane is a more complex process than buying a pair of Adidas.
Because of the higher buying complexity in B2B, the task of helping companies initiate and drive this process (the role of marketing & sales), is equally higher in complexity. To make 1 sale, we need to get 6.8 people to agree on 7 “Moments of Truth”, risking at any point, any one of them hitting the “abort mission” button.
To help manage this process sellers use the Sales Pipeline and Marketers use the Lead Pipeline (or automated lead scoring).
A systematic approach to understanding where the customer is in the buying process, who is involved and what best next steps are.
At Kvadrant, we call this the company’s “Lead Engine”; a connected system of activities and outcomes, for how the company create, capture and convert leads, to generate qualified sales opportunities (and sales pipeline value), supported by technology.
With the engine in place, you can be creative in designing controlled experiments to improve activity (cost) / outcome (value) ratios, for the different cogwheels of the system. Continuously improving performance
Damn it feels good to creatively improve lead engine performance.
Do you dig Dale Carnegie? B2B marketing might be for you
Would you describe yourself as a real people person?
B2B is very similar to B2C, in that commercial success requires you to have a deep understanding of the people that you are targeting to buy your services & solutions. What are their tasks, pains, concerns, wishes, ambitions etc and how do they change throughout the buying process?
B2B buying happens over long multiple stage processes where it is critical to “put yourself in the shoes of the buyer” and where the buyer is in this process.
If you are engaging with the buyer early in their buying process, you engage around their potential pains or opportunities for improvement (and not around your solution).
If you engage late in the buying process, you engage around the business case for your solution and risk of not doing anything or something else.
With an understanding of your buyers, you can effectively design and deliver your messages and content to match what they are interested in at different stages of their buying process, and to help them move forward.
Are you down with Warren Buffet? B2B marketing might be for you
Are you business savvy?
Business in general is about making investments for an expected return and B2B marketing is exactly the same. At the highest commercial leve; What is the cost of making a sale and what is it worth? (Read more in “2 numbers every CEO should ask their commercial executives to know by heart”).
In B2B marketing, we invest in lead generating, capturing and nurturing activities, to create qualified opportunities for sale, and to help sales move the opportunity forward (sales enablement).
- Invest €10k in a video to engage via Linkedin.
- Expect to generate traffic to website where you capture contact information and permission to contact, with access to a free webinar.
- For the investment to pay off, you need to generate say 5x investment cost (€50k) in weighted pipeline value.
- If captured leads average 5% win-rates and €20k in value, the video needs to generate at least 50 leads (€50k / (€20k x 5%), for marketing to nurture towards sales readiness.
If you think your video can generate enough views and webiste visits to create 50 leads, you should invest and make the deal. If it turns out to be hugely succesful with good unit economics, consider “doubling down” and increasing your bet.
You scale the parts of your lead engine with the highest pay-off and de-invest (or fix) the ones with the lowest)
Damn it feels good to make systematic investments and reap the returns
B2B marketing is for more than people with a marketing degree
Studying international business and finance, I never thought I’d make my living in B2B marketing. But succesfull B2B marketing goes far beyond Kotlers Ps and requires you to draw on operations skills (setting up the engine), creative skills (setting up the experiments) and business & finance skills (undertanding investment returns and risks).
Maybe you haven’t thought of yourself as a B2B marketer either, but perhaps you should?
It feels damn good 2B in B2B Marketing.