6 Lessons One Expert Learned From B2B Marketing

Author:

Aurelien Mottier
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Episode

31

6 Lessons One Expert Learned From B2B Marketing

Aurelien Mottier

CEO at Operatix

Jeremy Langley

Portfolio CMO at The Marketing Centre

“Success is not a terribly good teacher.”

At least that’s what Jeremy Langley says.

We don’t often sit back and reflect on our successes.

But do we take the chance to look at our mistakes and learn from them?

That’s why Jeremy recently wrote an article sharing the six biggest lessons he’s learned as a B2B marketer. He recently came on the B2B Revenue Acceleration podcast to talk about those mistakes, and how to avoid some of them.

Jeremy is currently the Portfolio Chief Marketing Officer at The Marketing Centre, where he works with small-mid size tech business, to help accelerate their growth through strategy development and marketing. He has 20 years of experience in SaaS technology, mainly in commercial leadership roles, ranging from Managing Director to Chief Commercial Officer to CMO.

Here’s what he had to say about common mistakes we make in B2B marketing.

left quote
right quote

Success is not a terribly good teacher.

Jeremy Langley

The 6 Mistakes We Make as B2B Marketers

#1: Asking your non-marketing boss, typically your CEO, to define your role. 

We’re so grateful for the job sometimes, that when somebody says, “this is what I expect of you,” we just ask “how high?” That’s typically where the issue starts.

#2: Taking every penny of budget you can get.

Typically, as a marketing director, you feel happier when you have a larger budget than when you have a smaller one. But this isn’t always the right approach.

#3: Not bringing your CFO or Finance Director on board.

Don’t look at them as your enemy.

#4: Thinking other people care about your MQLs.

(We’ll dig a little deeper into this one below.)

#5: Having a “I’ll hand it off to sales” mentality.

This happens more frequently with markets focused on demand gen. (We’ll talk more about this one below as well.)

#6: Marketing for the organization you think you should have.

The Challenges of Relying on MQLs, & How to Avoid Them

left quote
right quote

If you’re only focused on MQL’s and handoffs, you’re missing a massive opportunity for growth.

Jeremy Langley

Chief execs have a fairly dim view of their marketing organization and leader. If you look at the satisfaction rates of marketing leaders, marketing leaders are often at the bottom of their exec’s satisfaction ratings. Of course, there are some really awesome CEOs who are exceptions to this. But for most, marketing is viewed as sort of necessary evil.

Adding to that, new marketing tools and channels have opened up the possibility of really in-depth, detailed analytics coupled with a greater transparency around what marketing does. Those two things form a desperate geek. In other words, we’re so desperate to prove our value, and there are so many different analytics available to us now, that we throw all of the metrics out on the board room table, thinking that will prove our worth.

The MQL is the ultimate representation of that futile effort.

We’re not saying MQLs aren’t important. They are important and they represent a critical stage of pipeline development.

But an MQL is a predictive indicator of future sales success. So, until you are able to reliably demonstrate the correlation between your MQLs and booked revenue, why bother with it?

left quote
right quote

If you can’t demonstrate a correlation between an MQL and how sales is going to do, then why bother?

Jeremy Langley

Well, when you take on a new role, talk to the CEO and board members, if that’s relevant. Ask them what metrics they think matter. Maybe it’s opportunities, pipeline growth, or maybe they care about meetings. But determine what they think most closely correlates future sales success and what marketing does. Then focus on that.

You could also try educating your fellow board members or execs on what you think an expected correlation between an MQL and close/won revenue. Just make sure it’s based on a benchmark formula.

You Shouldn’t Be ‘Handing Off’ Anything to Sales

At the end of the day, you can’t sit in front of execs and say, “I did my MQLs, but sales didn’t win it. Oh well.”

Thinking of passing opportunities to sales in a sort of handoff, implies a narrow role in marketing: generate qualified opportunities which sales then closes. But that’s not the purpose of marketing leadership.

Let’s step back and talk about the bigger purpose of marketing:

The purpose of marketing is essentially to build the product customer wants to buy. Let’s  assume the product is the combination of the good (or service) and the experience of buying it. Then, the role of marketing is to ensure that the organization delivers, in its entirety, what the customers want in a way that they want to buy it.

That means the role of marketing is systemic. You need to bring together your knowledge of the customer, the market, your product, your competitor’s product, and the customer experience to produce something valuable.

By Handing Off to Sales, You’re Missing a Golden Opportunity

By handing off opportunities to sales, you’re missing a golden opportunity to understand how your business creates the customer experience, a crucial component of achieving your marketing purpose.

Additionally, the handoff idea and it’s narrow role of marketing causes some leaders to focus solely on filling the top of the funnel. But that’s the hardest lever to drive growth. A good way of driving growth is to improve conversion of opportunities already in the funnel. But if you’re only focused on MQLs and handoffs, you’re missing a massive opportunity for growth by optimizing the transit of opportunities through the entire funnel.

Lastly, “handing off to sales” can lead to the age-old battle between marketing and sales. Instead, work with sales.

The sales director needs to know that you’re on their side, and you won’t throw them under the bus. They need to know part of your role is to ensure he or she is as wealthy and successful as possible. The way you accomplish this is by understanding the entire sales process and looking for marginal gains throughout the funnel.

You can read Jeremy’s original article on the 6 Mistakes here.

This post is based on an interview with Jeremy Langley from The Marketing Centre.

To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.

powered by Sounder

About Operatix

Operatix is a Sales Acceleration company specialized in supporting B2B Software vendors to identify new revenue streams, increase qualified sales pipeline, and accelerate channel development across Europe and North America. Operatix has a wealth of experience in working with the biggest tech players worldwide as well as a multitude of emerging software vendors.

The JOLT Effect: Helping High Performers Overcome Customer Indecision

Matt Dixon

The Impact of the Economic Downturn on the Tech Industry

Didi Dayton

Leveraging buyer job movements to win more deals

Christian Kletzl

Ready to get started?

Learn more about how we can get work as an extension of your Sales & Marketing teams to drive more revenue.

Channel Transformation

Digital transformation is changing how companies buy and use business solutions, making vendors re-assess the capabilities of their channel ecosystem. With channel dynamics in constant flux, vendors need to be ready to cut ties with partners that don’t share their vision or have connections with the right B2B buyers.

 

Operatix has supported numerous vendors in their path to Channel transformation by assessing current partners and recruiting new partners that are more aligned with their new channel strategy. Once the right partners have been identified, Operatix built scalable outbound sales development programs that accelerated their routes to market.

Inbound Response Management

In a competitive industry like technology every lead counts. Operatix can help you maximize conversion from MQL to SQL and from lead to pipeline, increasing both your revenue and ROI on marketing activities.

Account Identification

Identifying the accounts that are more likely to buy from you is part of our expertise. We will research the market, identify verticals and industries that can benefit from your solution and set up qualified sales engagements for your teams to kick-off the sales process. 

Cold Prospecting

Our team will identify new sales opportunities within the strategic accounts that you haven’t been successful in penetrating through your sales & marketing efforts. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, multitouch approach to connect with prospects, generating qualified sales engagements for your team and ultimately increasing your pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

Partner Concierge Service

Our Partner Concierge Service helps vendors accelerate their channel programs, by engaging and nurturing channel partners and supporting them to get to revenue quicker.

Demand Generation

Whether you need to implement a demand generation strategy or get more results out of your existing demand gen engine, Operatix can work alongside your marketing team to yield better results out of your demand generation programs.

Account-based Marketing

An Account-based Marketing strategy is only as successful as the revenue it generates. At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Lead Qualification

If your marketing leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help sieve through leads that need further qualification, so they are ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with.

Account-based Selling

At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Pipeline Generation

Generating Pipeline for our clients is our key-objective. And we do that by using a multi-touch, multi-channel approach to generate qualified sales engagements for our customers’ sales teams.   

Account Intelligence / Deep Dive

Understanding buying centres, hierarchies and relevant personas in strategic accounts is a fundamental step to increase conversion rates. By leveraging account intelligence in a sales conversation your team can tailor their message and provide value to their prospective customer. But sales & marketing teams often struggle to dedicate time and resources to do the deep research and this is where Operatix can help.

DMID – Decision Maker Identification

Finding quality data is an on-going challenge for B2B Tech vendors. The accuracy of data platforms is questionable and that is why Operatix developed a manual process to identify & verify contact details for decision makers within strategic target accounts.

Playbook design

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to get your messaging right, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapt the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

Recorded Testimonial: RXVantage

Fill in the form below and receive the recorded testimonial of Jeremy Gilman. 

Recorded Testimonial: Qualys

Fill in the form below and receive our recorded testimonial from Joerg Vollmer, the General Manager at Qualys.

Recorded Testimonial: Incorta

Fill in the form below and receive the recorded testimonial of Emily Lewis. 

Sales Playbook Development

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to implementing the correct messaging, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapting the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

Lead Qualification

If your leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help filter through leads that need further qualification, ensuring that they’re ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with and progress through the funnel. 

Partner Portal / Marketing Concierge Service

Vendors often spend thousands of dollars building multifunctional Partner Portals to help channel partners educate their teams, manage opportunities, and create marketing programs. Still, these portals are often underutilized due to lack of bandwidth and capacity from vendors to offer support in enabling their partner community. Operatix, through their Partner Development team, can support your partners to make the best use out of your partner portal, managing the relationship with your partners and helping them set up co-marketing campaigns to drive more revenue for both businesses. 

Marketing & Sales Alignment

The sales development function is often seen as the “glue” that brings sales & marketing teams together. By working as an extension of your teams, Operatix will be your predictable source of pipeline, sales & revenue.

Optimization of MDF

Market Development Funds are an important component of any channel ecosystem, though vendors believe they are not maximizing the return on investment they should be getting from their MDF programs. At Operatix, we build scalable outbound sales development programs that will give you the visibility of return over the invested spend and will provide clear value for your channel partners.

Increase Partner Productivity

The 80/20 rule is still very applicable to the channel, which means that investing in partner productivity should be a priority for vendors looking to grow their businesses. Operatix can increase partner productivity and shorten sales cycles, by identifying ready to engage sales opportunities for your most valued channel partners.

Virtual Channel Account managers

Our VCAM team is responsible for building, maintaining, and managing sound relationships with current and prospective channel partners. They can get involved in opening up new sales conversations as well as closing small businesses up to $ 10k.

Tier 1 & Tier 2 Activation

Whether your business decided for a Tier 1 or Tier 2 distribution model, Operatix can help your channel partners get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements to your channel partners we can accelerate your route to market with tangible and easily measurable results.

Solution Selling Training

Far too often vendors insist on enabling their channel partners to talk about features and technical details of their solutions. Customers don’t buy features; they buy the benefits your solution can bring. Operatix will work with your partner community to train them in articulating your message from a high-level business perspective, enabling them to talk to prospects about the value your solution can bring to their company from a board-level perspective.

Channel Enablement

Enabling your channel partners have measurable wins for your business when done right. Operatix has a proven track record in enabling channel partners from a sales & marketing perspective, providing them the knowledge and tools to successfully pitch your solution and sell the value & benefits of it. 

Partner Recruitment

Recruiting the right Channel Partners is the first step for a successful channel program. Operatix has helped over 350 B2B Software vendors recruit suitable channel partners across EMEA and North America, supporting them to scale and expand their presence in different geographies and verticals. 

Risk/Reward Business Model

To truly work as an extension of our client’s sales & marketing teams, we have also adapted our business models to show how our clients operate, and how their success is measured. With our risk/reward business model your investment is proportional to the results our team delivers.

Sales Qualified Leads

On average, 52.5% of the sales engagements set up by our team progress into a next step in the sale process. That means that 5 out of 10 meetings will progress either into a POC, a Demo or a pipeline opportunity.

Geographical Scale

Trading in different geographical markets not only requires a knowledge of the native language, local rules & policies, but a deeper understanding of the local culture and habits. We have the ability to deliver campaigns in multiple countries with flexible resource allocation. This is through our team of international speakers, who have the ability to sell in 17 different languages across the globe.

Increase Revenue & Decrease Cost

Building an internal sales development team comes with many additional costs and challenges that aren’t always taken into account: recruiting resources, training and enabling them etc. You also need to take into account the need for having the data and tools to make them successful, which in turn requires time, capital and effort. By outsourcing your sales development to Operatix you will see your revenue increasing, while decreasing costs and business risk.

Predictable Pipeline Generation

On average, our clients see a 26X ROI on the programs we deliver. By understanding your revenue targets and sales pipeline gap, we will work on a sales & marketing plan that will deliver tangible results.

Vertical Growth

Entering new industries or launching new product lines? Operatix can accelerate your growth by supporting your go-to-market strategy, and getting your sales teams in front of decision makers in key target accounts.

Reduce Headcount

By outsourcing your sales development and partner programs to Operatix; we reduce headcount and the challenges that come with managing people, technologies, and processes. We take care of your sales development, so you can focus on what matters the most: growing your business.

Revenue Acceleration

Operatix helps your business get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements for your direct sales team (to kick-off new sales cycles), or by accelerating the growth of your channel partners, our focus remains on delivering tangible results for your business. 

Persona-based Selling

Operatix team will design specifically tailored messages to influence the different levels of decision makers in the sales process, tailoring the communication according to each job function. Our focus is to sell the value of your solution from a business perspective, not its features.    

Recorded Testimonial: Bitglass

Fill in the form below and receive our recorded testimonial from Aya Fawzy, the former director of Bitglass.