B2B Marketers: Stop Casting a Wide Net and Start Spearfishing Big, Fat Tuna Prospects, Instead

Devon-McDonald by

We all know B2B and B2C marketing are separate beasts.

B2C marketers are able to cast really wide nets to catch millions of minnows (i.e. paying customers).

B2B marketers (in most cases) have a finite group of businesses that will see the value in investing in the solution and become paying customers.

The distinction seems clear, but if that’s the case I have a question for the B2B marketers out there — why are you trying to cast such a wide net? As a result, what you’re bringing in is a bunch of scrawny catches mixed with random debris! You should be tossing the net aside and spearfishing for big, fat tuna, instead.

How to Go After the Big Catch in 3 Steps

Step 1: Identify Your Marketing Targets

Recently, I participated in a two-day onsite workshop with one of our portfolio company’s sales and marketing teams. This company, like many of our investments, has a very specific target customer segment — but they are still going too broad with their marketing approach.

There are roughly 2,000 target companies, and roughly five buying roles within those 2,000 entities. Therefore, there are literally 10,000 people that the marketing and BDR team should be touching.

Given that finite world of customers there is an incredibly opportunity to touch them all!

What an amazing thing, right? Of course, before they start reaching out they need to build that list of 10,000 names first. Luckily, there are plenty of third parties that can help with that.

The real task is building out an effective plan of engagement.

Step 2: Map Out Your Engagements

To engage directly, marketers need to be thinking about the following five C’s:

  • Contact points: the channels you will use to make contact (email, *calling with BDRs, advertising, etc.)
  • Context: your messaging taking into account who they are, their buying role, etc.
  • Conversion: what do you want these buyers to do?
  • Content: preferred content formats that your buyers want to consume
  • Carrots: incentives to drive the conversion

Step 3: Report on Your Results and Provide Visibility

It’s important to report on this weekly — not only to keep yourself focused, but also to provide visibility to other executives who are depending on you to build pipeline.

Why? Well, visibility for marketing is a very good thing. Let’s be serious, marketing can sometimes be the company stepchild. Sales tends to be the golden child (or the squeaky wheel, depending on your perspective) that gets all the attention and influence. After all, they are “closest to the revenue”. But a beautiful thing has happened in the last decade for marketers: data and analytics galore are at your finger tips. Finally, marketers can use data to prove that they are very, very important to the health of company’s revenue numbers. Just as important, in fact, as sales.
A weekly update is also the perfect opportunity to keep the marketing team focused on the biggest goals. If what you are focused on is not going to directly impact some of the major metrics that you track in your report then why the hell are you doing it?! Eliminate fluff.

What should be included in your reporting?

That really depends on what is most important to your business, and what stage of the funnel marketing is being asked to prioritize. Here is what OpenView’s Scott Maxwell recently recommended that one of our portfolio marketing leaders include in his weekly update that gets sent to the executive team. This marketing leader (like many at the expansion stage) is being asked to focus on top-of-the-funnel, and managing the BDR team as well:
  • Number of pieces of content created by type this week
  • Number of point of contact (call, email, social, direct mail, etc) made to target prospects by marketing stage this week
  • Number of conversions made by marketing stage each week
  • Number of qualified leads sent to BDRs this week
  • Conversion rate from qualified leads to appointments by BDRs
  • Number of new contacts sent to BDRs this week
  • Number of sales opportunities generated by marketing leads this week
  • Total pipeline for marketing leads
  • Closed won for marketing generated leads

Who should you send your reporting to?

I’d suggest the entire marketing team (duh), the VP of Sales, BDR team/manager, CEO, and perhaps your CFO.

Have any questions? I’d love to answer them in the comments. In the meantime, happy spearfishing, B2B marketers!

Image courtesy of Ed Bierman