B2B Marketing Blog

The 9 Circles of B2B Marketing Hell

By Alexis Getscher
Jul 20, 2016
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B2B marketing and sales is a drawn out process that takes months, or longer, to convert leads to customers. That extended timeframe means tons of touchpoints, multiple leads from single accounts, lots of nurturing, and too many opportunities to fall into marketing hell.

But, if you know what to avoid, it’s much easier to navigate the marketing landscape and steer clear of traps. Below, read about the 9 circles of B2B marketing hell and what you can do to avoid them.

circles of b2b marketing hell

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Limbo: Transitioning from Demand Gen to ABM

Account-based marketing has been a hot topic for B2B marketers over the last year, and for good reason. According to ITSMA, 80% of marketers measuring ROI say that ABM outperforms other marketing investments.

But deciding between ABM and Demand Gen can leave you in limbo. When do you begin to switch to ABM and how do you get started?

The first step to getting out of Demand Gen limbo, is to recognize that it’s not an either/or situation. Account-based marketing tactics are great, but they’re not one-size-fits-all. For many companies, a good mix of both is the marketing sweet spot.

As a general rule of thumb, as you move up market to closing enterprise deals, the use of ABM tactics increases along with deal size.

Anger: Getting Frustrated with Poor Conversion Results

You’ve taken careful steps to do everything right, setting up the campaigns properly and outlining a nurturing plan. You launch and then sit back and wait for the conversions… but, prospects aren’t converting nearly as well as you expected and that means you’re no longer on track to hit goals.

This scenario has high potential to drop you into the anger circle of marketing hell. It would be easy to throw your hands in the air and say, “I did everything I could and prospects aren’t converting, I give up!”

The key to avoiding this frustration is to use it as a learning process. Think about why prospects aren’t converting. Maybe a different CTA would work better, or maybe the distribution list isn’t targeted enough.

Analyze attribution data to investigate the prospects’ journey and see where you’re losing them. Then, use that information to run A/B tests, optimize the routes that are converting, and provide a better user experience for site visitors.

Gluttony: Focusing on Quantity over Quality

There’s a difference between busy and being productive. Sure, you can push out multiple pieces of content a day and saturate the market with your thoughts and your brand, but how much value are you really gaining from that?

Marketing gluttony is the focus on quantity over quality, and it drives your brand to becoming infamous instead of famous.

In B2B marketing, quality should always be a goal. It’s more valuable to create a single great blog post or highly educational ebook (“great” meaning they drive opportunities and revenue) over multiples of either of those that only drive a ton of unqualified leads. 

Think about it. Would you rather receive one email a week with valuable information relevant to you, or receive several emails a day with multiple pieces of content?

Take the time to produce quality work. Your customers and your bottom line will thank you for it.

Fraud: Being Dishonest about Product Capabilities 

As competition grows within your industry, it’s natural to want to be the best at everything. However, it’s highly unlikely that your product is the best solution for every prospect who comes knocking at your door.

Avoid over promising what your product can do. When you play all features like strengths instead of being honest about what services your product can and can’t provide, you fall into the fraud circle of hell.

What’s the point of making a prospect believe your product is the best for them when it’s not? All that leads to is a bad review and a lack of long-term client relationships.

It’s better to be truthful about product capabilities. Prospects are much more likely to trust you if you’re honest about what your product does well and what other software might do better. Stick to highlighting product strengths. Your leads will appreciate the honesty, and then when you do say that you are the best at a certain feature, they will believe you.

Having every imaginable feature doesn’t make you a great product, focusing on what you do and doing it well, does.

Heresy: Click-Baiting Your Content

Page views are great. They validate your work and make you feel good. So it’s easy to get sucked into creating content simply for clicks. Developing outrageous headlines for blog posts or ad copy for landing pages, might drive a lot of traffic, but that feeling of success is temporary and provides limited business value.

Ad copy and headlines should line up with the content being delivered. Otherwise, you fall into clickbait hell, and although you’ll gain page views, you’ll lose respect in the process.

Instead of a leads goal, marketers should have a revenue goal. That way the whole organization is optimizing for the same metrics and Marketing is focused on producing quality content that drives clicks that convert, not just a high volume of clicks.

Lust: Falling for the Latest Trends

Digital marketing is constantly evolving, which makes it seem like there’s a hot new trend every month. These trends are shiny and new and promise increases here and improvements there. But be warned, not every strategy or tactic will be right for your business.

Marketing lust can lead you in a million different directions. To avoid this circle of B2B hell, document a marketing strategy for your department. If new trends arise, it’s definitely worth it to investigate them and how they can work for your organization. But the key here is to do the research to see what’s is best for your company before jumping on board.

Being first isn’t as important as being accurate.

Greed: Prioritizing Short-Term Results

As we mentioned earlier, the process of B2B marketing and sales is long. Today’s culture of instant satisfaction may be good for social networks, but it lands you in the greed circle of hell when you’re a B2B marketer.

Creating short-term goals and celebrating their achievements is a necessary aspect of business, but prioritizing short-term results over long-term business growth is damaging.

For example, say you publish an ebook and start directing site visitors to a landing page with a form-fill to download the content. A month after publication you take a look at the data and realize there aren’t many downloads. If you’re only focused on the short-term, you may stop promoting the content and hide it in the depths of your site. However, if you take a look at the download to opportunity conversion rate after several months, it could show that the ebook is driving an above average number of opportunities. Meaning, it may be worth it to put even more money behind promoting the content.

Patience is key in B2B marketing. To really measure success, marketers must track and optimize past the lead stage of the funnel. Instant results are a potential indicator of success, but when it comes to B2B marketing outcomes, the tortoise beats the hare.

Violence: Blaming Sales for Low Close Rates

Sales and Marketing alignment provides a solid foundation for company success. For that reason, the teams need to be friends who work together, not enemies who play the blame game.

For example, say Marketing delivers a bunch of leads to the sales team and goes out to happy hour to celebrate hitting the monthly lead goal. Sales follows up with the leads and only converts a small number of them, missing their monthly goals. Marketing blames Sales for not closing deals, and Sales blames Marketing for delivering unqualified leads. Tensions rise in the process and the business struggles to grow.

To prevent this, Marketing and Sales should work together to develop a plan that brings in quality traffic and outlines the number or type of touchpoints that define leads as qualified.

Once the teams are on the same page, Marketing will deliver qualified leads and sales will close more deals. Then everyone can go to happy hour together.

Treachery: Reporting Data that Lies about Results

If you can’t trust your data, what can you trust? Most marketers today use more than one channel (paid search, paid social etc) to advertise to potential prospects. The problem comes when the data from all of these separate channels needs to be pieced together to map the customer journey.

The individual platforms don’t communicate with one another to reconcile data, meaning that a visitor could click on an Adwords campaign on Monday, LinkedIn campaign on Tuesday, a Facebook ad on Wednesday, and then convert on Thursday. Each of those marketing touches would claim 100% credit for the conversion. Marketing would get credit for three conversions, when in reality, it was only one.

To avoid data treachery, you need a single source of truth for marketing data. Each channel and campaign should be run through a marketing attribution solution, so all data is consistently tracked and accounted for. An effective attribution solution should source original data, integrate with marketing automation and the CRM, track all offline and online channels, and connect to revenue so Marketing is given accurate credit for its efforts.

When marketers have access to accurate and fair data, they’re able to make decisions with confidence.

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