While B2B leaders keep demanding greater lead generation flow, marketing finds itself stuck in a tunnel of uncertainty. As marketing leaders search for a guiding light, they face a number of obstacles.
Unfortunately the broader economic climate and inflation / recession markers are dictating a season of uncertainty. Business leaders love market upswings, dislike downswings and abhor uncertainty. As I speak with executive team members from across a cadre of companies (all sizes and industry verticals), uncertainty dominates each conversation.
If the market is clearly in a downswing, executives can make necessary expense cuts while also making well-calculated investments that offer a competitive advantage and / or faster ramp once the economic climate pivots. But when there is uncertainty ruling the day, even the savviest business leaders can succumb — for in uncertain times it is too easy to “wait until next week” when the picture may be less cloudy.
Tough times present an opportunity to return to the fundamentals — your marketing funnel — to adapt, enhance and overhaul your approach. Focus on these key marketing tools and activities to “see the light” of success at the end of the funnel.
REFOCUS ON MARKETING FUNDAMENTALS
Your marketing funnel provides the foundation of all your activities. When current demand generation efforts fail to deliver, your marketing leadership could benefit from reevaluating and adjusting current tools and efforts.
Re-evaluate Your Ideal Buyer Profile (Awareness and Interest)
Has your ideal buyer profile changed with market dynamics? Or has the buyer journey changed? Has your organization introduced new solutions that engage different buying committee members? Are your marketing and sales efforts still aligned?
The right target buyer profiles are vital. Just as market dynamics affect your organization and change your greatest pains and needs, they do the same for your buyers too. Ask these questions with your leadership team and be honest about the answers in order to remain an expert on your target market and to continue to Seek to Serve™ their needs.
Review Your Value Proposition (Interest and Consideration)
Are the buyer’s pains and your solution’s potential outcomes still compelling enough to drive a decision? Are the pains still relevant? Are new pains more important — and do buyers see these yet or are they locked in the status quo? Is your solution a “vitamin” or a “pain killer,” and does your approach reflect that accordingly?
As the buying dynamic changes, your value proposition needs to reflect these changes in order to offer the strongest value message for your buyers. Look to building value messaging buckets so your sales teams can tailor content for different buyer segments. And ensure your value proposition still presents a current, compelling pain-solution-gain-proof story for your specific audiences — one that everyone in your organization sells by.
Refine Marketing and Prospecting Activities (Consideration and Action)
Should marketing activities be more targeted? How aligned are you with sales on account-based marketing strategies? What role does sales prospecting play in outbound marketing? Are you enabling sales effectively to scale prospecting?
What has worked in the past will not always work in the current market environment. Ask these questions as you refine your marketing and prospecting efforts. Consider a different mix of marketing / prospecting activities (e.g. digital, calls, webinars), for example. Or better yet, go meet with your existing clients in-person. The market uncertainty provides a perfect platform to engage in a dialogue with your clients’ leadership teams. What are they seeing in the marketplace? What concerns them? How are they responding? How do they need your organization to help them (especially where you are not helping now)? But bring some insights to the conversation yourself — maybe a new infographic reflecting some market trends or a slide that they can use in their next board meeting to summarize the climate. Bring value to the table in your meeting.
FIND THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE MARKETING FUNNEL
When your foundational marketing strategy and activities reflect the market environment, your B2B organization will continue to better serve buyers where competitors lag behind. Your organization can look out for new and changing buyer issues and opportunities as a trusted advisor. And your organization can keep buyers moving through the marketing funnel even when uncertainty and market pressures breed buyer indecision and tighten budgets.
After following this course of action, the light your marketers are searching for will transform from a train racing toward them at full speed to a light of success at the end of the marketing funnel.
Start finding your way through the tunnel with the Mereo Value Proposition Formula Worksheet to align your teams around.