The Marketing Boutique

When wrong people lead a company or a department, what do you think happens?

I write this post after a six-month contract with a client who had internal management programs. This isn’t a post about blaming a company rather it is to help your company create a decent place to work so that sales and marketing managers will join your company and stay long enough to make an impact.

We have a marketing communications problem. There are too many people who are in the wrong place in their professional lives. This is affecting your daily life, your business, your finances and not in a good way!

Promoting Loyalty OVER Expertise

Here is a story, I’m sure you can relate to or perhaps even experienced.

Bill (fictional name) has a computer engineering degree. About five years ago Tech Company Z, a software company hired Bill to be their Software Product Trainer. The Software Product Trainer is an onboarding touchpoint for new customers to adopt the software faster and use it properly.

Bill learns the software quickly and in less than one year, the company promotes Bill to be their Sales and Marketing Manager! Right now you should be scratching your head thinking, “huh?!”

This role oversees many facets of the company, such as:

  • Lead generation
  • Sales strategy & implementation
  • Integrated marketing and communications planning
  • Product pricing
  • Software demonstrations
  • Market development
  • Up-selling and cross-selling training

I think you get it. Outside of the customer support and product development, Bill has taken over the rest of the company. But that’s isn’t the problem, Bill was simply not prepared for this large role.

People leading with no expertise

Some companies believe that it is better to hire people with potential and sales and marketing will just come naturally. While other companies believe it is better to hire sales and marketing experts and they will learn the product. Whatever path you choose, what is successful is when there are proper training, guidance, mentorship and evaluation.

For these reasons, a pairing of one junior and one senior sale and marketing manager is generally equivalent to two senior managers and comes at less than 75% of the total cost. If your goal is maximum productivity for minimal expense, this junior/senior pair should be the fundamental molecule of your organization.

wrong people lead and delay fixing

It’s great when a company promotes internally. You see this with startups and small companies when they hire recent graduates and give them a chance to build their expertise.

What’s the problem with this, you’re wondering? Lots of time wasted and that’s money left on the table for the company! But wait, these employees are learning on the job! Unfortunately, what is really happening is missed sales opportunities, slow response to growing problems and the inability to be proactive. These issues affect the company’s bottom line, especially when they have the inability to read the competition correctly.

In my work now as a marketing consultant, I often see companies in a hurry to build a business, completely overlook or underestimate the resources needed to find the right people. Instead, they rush to hire in order to not stunt the growth and opportunity, failing to realize that hiring poorly could ultimately do just that.

What about you? Have you ever been with a company where the wrong person was the head of a department? I would love to hear from you, please comment below.

Understanding your target market behaviour is important. More so, since we all live online. Forrester estimates B2B eCommerce will top a trillion dollars and account for 12.1% of B2B sales by 2020. B2B online shopping is growing, giving you a lot of opportunities for your online B2B store. 

Understanding your target market behaviour through your website

Site Search & Product Filtering

For your b2b customers, online shopping is not a pastime. They are often under pressure to find the right product, at the right price. Most have time constraints, with little time to second guess themselves. As such, your site needs a powerful filtering and categorization set-up to help them find what they are looking – fast.

While your B2B customers may know what product or service they need, doesn’t mean they also know product features or service support that will be truly beneficial for their project. Sometimes, they don’t even have to stick to a strict budget. Consider including a Suggested Products functionality feature to your site to help increase upselling and cross-selling opportunities.

Include sales reps in your customer journey

As the B2B online shopping experience becomes increasingly self-managed by your customer, your sales reps may find themselves with fewer customer interactions. The consultative selling is still required, but since online shopping has removed one ore more steps in the actual closing process, their timing needs to be properly timed. Give your sales reps the opportunity to have a greater impact on your company by implementing a CRM that includes a contact manager, integrates your newsletter campaigns and social media.

An integrated website with backend technology could mean your sales reps will be interacting with your customers at the right time to answer questions, handle objections and provide a quote.

Expand your multi-channel marketing

To ensure that your B2B buyers see your content messages on the social media platforms they use the most, manufacturers and distributors are increasingly engaging customers at different touch-points.

This direct engagement using different sales channels generate more incremental revenue and cost less to serve a customer on a single sales channel. More importantly, engaging your customers on multi-channels increase customer support, which is in line with current customer expectations. As customer expectations rise, B2B buyers are demanding a full spectrum of self-service, full-service, and hybrid purchase options.

Create a Content Funnel to Drive B2B Online Sales

More and more B2B companies are developing a content marketing funnel. The reason being is that B2B products have a longer sales cycle and need more time to close the sale. It is estimated that a B2B sale requires 6 to 8 touchpoints to become a lead. That is 8 touchpoints to one sales lead.

To better understand your target audience’s behaviour and to help them move them down your funnel faster is by creating content they need. Content includes:

  • FAQ: B2B buyers want to learn about businesses and products
  • Competitive Analysis: Content that answers why choose you over the competition
  • Case Studies: Showcase your technical expertise, how you make it simple.

This is what they’re doing during all those preemptive touches. They’re reading, digging, and — most importantly — researching. B2B buyers prefer to self-educate well over halfway through a purchase decision rather than connect with a company sales rep.

Your content-based strategy should be designed to funnel customers from different pain points to your products. The content-based strategy should start on your navigation bar down to trade show visits.

Content Marketing should include content helps your target audience to:

  • Understand — to educate buyers
  • Select — to guide purchase decisions
  • Implement — for post-transaction support

If a new customer arrives to your site, they should be able to learn more about how you can help their problem and potential solutions you provide. Instead of pitching products, your goal is to develop need awareness so the buyer places a real value on solving their problem.

Remember, after all the false news, fake social media accounts, showing your content expert matter on your site is very important. No one else should be able to claim the same expertise as you. Content needs to sound trustworthy.

Selected Resources For You

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