I plead guilty to enjoying a cold beer or two, and I’ve watched with amazement as the decade-long bull market in the craft beer industry shows no signs of abating.
By PAUL RAFFERTY
A pattern is emerging in B2B marketing -- CEOs are frustrated that they can't find a VP of marketing who can do it all, and marketing executives are leaving their positions or being let go because either they don't have the capabilities or aren't being given the resources to do their job in today's Sales 2.0 world.
Due to the maturation of the Internet, the world of B2B selling has changed forever. Prospects now control the discovery process and learn on their own about a company's products and services. They are avoiding the “live” sales interaction for as long as possible.
Consider the following:
This shift has caused a much greater reliance on the marketing department to get their sales representatives “in the door.” This process now begins with a digital marketing interaction which, hopefully, will evolve into a personal selling interaction.
Today’s Marketers Need Additional Skills
Finding, connecting with and engaging prospects requires technology, skills sets and resources that did not even exist five years ago. To be successful, marketing strategies and tactics must be realigned with this new prospect behavior.
Most marketing leaders who entered the workforce 10 or more years ago are well-schooled in a certain set of skills:
. Marketing Communications
. Direct Mail Campaigns
. Public Relations
Today's Web 2.0 and Sales 2.0 requires a leader fluent with an additional set of skills:
. Digital Media Creation: Because a company’s first impression with a prospect is often created digitally, it is important to produce compelling content (Flash/Video) that can be distributed via e-mail to both build awareness and to entice recipients to want to learn more about the company and its products or services.
Producing compelling digital content for e-mail distribution is an art that cannot be overlooked, especially if you consider the fact that a company’s first impression with prospects is often made digitally. Content must be informative and packaged in an engaging format (e.g. flash or video) in order to both build awareness and entice recipients to want to learn more about the company and its products or services. Techniques for accomplishing this:
It Takes a Village
CEOs, especially in small companies, often are frustrated when they can't find all of these capabilities in one marketing leader and, more importantly, that these leaders don't have the bandwidth to handle it all. To succeed, companies must go deep into each of these areas. A poorly executed, glossed-over approach will not work.
Do CEOs know this? Or are their expectations unrealistic about their marketing leaders’ (or anyone's) ability to do this by themselves? We wrote in a recent blog post that it “takes a village of fractional people” to pull this off.
Sales and marketing executives are struggling to find and fund the dedicated expertise to string this critical business process all together. Technology (and the Web, specifically) has raised the bar for the depth and breadth required to succeed in marketing. Many companies are finding themselves falling further behind their well-funded competitors. Until these critical functions are either funded internally or outsourced to a competent partner, marketing will struggle, CEOs will pull their hair out, and the churn will continue.
Paul Rafferty is a founding partner and the Chief Executive Officer of Sales Engine International, a B2B sales acceleration company. SEI implements and relentlessly executes a sales acceleration engine on behalf of its clients. Prior to founding SEI, he spent 20 years with Ceridian Corporation, where he rose from field sales rep to regional vice president of sales, and eventually to national vice president of sales operations with responsibility for a sales organization of more than 600.