The problem when B2B marketing works
“We’ve got too many leads coming through… I’ll have to hire an extra staff member… problems of growing, I guess.”
– September 2015 email from client of Ginormous since 2013
When I’m talking with a prospective client about our B2B marketing services, the focus is usually on what results might be expected, and by when.
Of course, everyone (including ‘we’) would like to achieve all of their objectives within the first three months – to successfully launch into new markets, or take sales to a ‘whole new level’ if growth has stalled. It can take a while for pipeline-building momentum to reach the tipping-point of intensity, but once it starts…
From a slow drip to a tsunami of new business
It’s not that good things can’t start happening right away – they often do. For example, when we developed the new B2B (professional services) website for Billings + Ellis, “Your accountants in South Melbourne”, the first enquiry from a prospective new client came within days of the launch. As the website has grown with carefully-targeted content, supported by newsletters loaded with helpful information, the rate of new client acquisitions has slowly but steadily increased.
With B2B direct marketing (aka ‘lead generation’, ‘sales prospecting’, etc) the flow of new business can start with a drip. There will be a few more drips, falling at random, until it starts to look more like a trickle, and you’re thinking, “If this keeps up, it will be good.” Eventually the trickle becomes a flood. What was a ‘busy period’ has become the new normal. With all of the elements in the marketing mix working correctly (including after-sales satisfaction), on it goes. Building upon growth, year upon year.
The challenge of continuous growth
All of the clients we’ve been helping in the B2B marketing space for more than one year will face problems associated with success. An increase in the number of introductory meetings or demonstrations will cause more proposals to be written and pricing schedules to be prepared, stretching the principal or BDM. When opportunities in the pipeline are converted into sales, there is more work to be done in the areas of service provision and product delivery, including after-sales support.
“Can you not book any more product demonstrations for a few weeks? We’re flat out looking after all these new customers.”
– June 2015 message from client of Ginormous since 2012
I must emphasise that it takes more than just the B2B marketing effort to drive growth. In the first place, the products or services have to be ‘great’ – so we’re quite choosy about what sales propositions we take on. Secondly, the organisation must have a good reputation, and a strong commitment to keeping clients or customers satisfied. Thirdly, marketing communications must do justice to the product or service (if they don’t, we can help). Finally, the organisation’s principal, BDM or sales representatives must be good at converting the new leads and opportunities into sales.