In the fast-paced world of B2B marketing, it's essential to separate fact from fiction to develop effective strategies. Learn how to avoid these common pitfalls and what to do instead.
In the fast-paced world of B2B marketing, it's essential to separate fact from fiction to develop effective strategies. To help dispel some common misconceptions, experienced marketing leader and startup advisor, Allyson Letteri, recently hosted a DMC workshop that explored and debunked six common myths surrounding B2B marketing. Read her tips below to avoid these common pitfalls and learn what to do instead.
Myth 1: We're a sales-led company. We don't need marketing yet (and my website doesn't matter)
One prevalent myth is that marketing is unnecessary for sales-led companies. However, neglecting marketing efforts puts unnecessary strain on your sales team and requires them to work even harder. Without marketing, sales professionals end up carrying the burden of attracting, nurturing, and qualifying leads, and there are often missed opportunities to build brand awareness, credibility, and interest through marketing channels such as your website.
Do this instead: It's crucial to create a comprehensive marketing plan that increases conversion rates throughout the customer journey. Think about how you can optimize your owned channels (website, content, emails) with content that will drive traffic and leads, which will ultimately help your sales team achieve higher conversion rates.
Myth 2: I will figure out my messaging as I have sales conversations
While sales conversations provide valuable insights on how to talk about your product, it's better to start with a hypothesis about what messaging is effective to maximize your chances of success.
Do this instead: Proactively develop and refine your messaging and positioning before engaging with prospects so that you can clearly convey how your product is valuable, different, and better than the alternatives. By defining your target personas, positioning, and communication style, you can effectively synthesize your most effective messages for the entire team to use, streamlining your sales efforts. You can always refine your messaging with insights gathered from the sales process, but doing this work in advance will give you an informed starting point and a cohesive brand story.
Myth 3: I need to create a category
Creating a new category for your product can be enticing, but it's also a challenging endeavor. Plus, entering an existing category has its advantages– customers will likely already have context and an understanding of what you do, along with a knowledge of criteria they should use to evaluate you without an uphill battle of education about the category before introducing your product.
Do this instead: Instead of focusing solely on category creation, it's more practical to focus on how you position your product against the alternatives your customers consider. Create a thorough competitive map to help you identify and highlight your product's unique differentiators and benefits. Using various techniques to define your positioning, you can create favorable contrast and provide customers with the context they need to evaluate your solution effectively.
Myth 4: Marketing needs to do one thing: lead generation
While generating qualified leads is a critical function of B2B marketing, it's essential to recognize the broader role that marketing plays throughout the customer journey. Beyond lead generation, marketing encompasses demand generation marketing, product marketing, and content marketing. These functions are instrumental in driving awareness, engagement, sales enablement, and customer satisfaction.
Do this instead: Consider all functions of marketing and the unique role each plays beyond lead generation. Build out other parts of your marketing plan, including how you’ll effectively onboard new customers and engage your current base of customers, in order to unlock the full potential of your B2B marketing efforts.
Myth 5: My first marketing hire should be a "marketing generalist"
As a fast-moving startup founder, the notion of hiring a "marketing generalist" who can wear many hats may seem most appealing. But, it's important to consider the various stages of a startup marketing organization and hire the right skill sets needed to accomplish your goals in each stage.
Do this instead: In Stage 1, you can rely heavily on contractors and agencies to get foundational marketing work accomplished – whether it be copywriting assistance with an investor deck or a PR agency to accelerate press coverage and brand awareness. When you get to Stage 2, think about your first marketing hire as having a "major" and a "minor” instead of searching for a generalist. For example, you may hire a marketer to focus on demand gen and generating leads, but they can ‘minor’ in product marketing, helping develop messaging and sales collateral. This allows your first hire to handle numerous elements of marketing, but ensures they can do a few things really well to help support your goals.
Myth 6: My first marketing hire should be a VP/CMO
The idea of hiring a high-level marketing executive early on might be tempting. But marketing executives are well-equipped to develop strategy and execute through a team, so they may burn out quickly if they take on an individual contributor role.
Do this instead: Hiring a senior marketing executive is usually a Stage 4 hire. Before jumping to Stage 4, hire a Director-level marketer in Stage 3, with a flat organizational structure can provide a player-coach dynamic that fosters capability building. As your company progresses, you can explore a VP or C-level hire that will oversee each Director that leads various functions.
To learn more about Allyson and her other workshops and advisory services, visit https://allysonletteri.com/