The one and only way to succeed with B2B marketing

Why is it that most B2B CMO’s last just a year or so? It’s simple they fall into the B2C trap, their CEO will ask them how much demand that last ad campaign generated, and they give an answer. It’s that simple the clock is ticking, trust will decay and a new CMO will be in within the year.

What happens? Well B2B marketing is a complex derivative process, where slowly but surely through brand enhancing value exchanges (aligned very carefully to the specifics of the target audience) prospects learn of problems that they should be thinking about solving, realize these are their problems, form a strategy to solve these problems, identify choices and enact a process of consideration, purchase and implementation. It’s a carefully crafted business process that involves decision makers, influencers, approvers and advisers.

B2B marketers have to make sure that they are providing great compelling knowledge, advice and quality access to the right people throughout the process without annoying the prospects. Being in consideration is key.

If the CMO ever says “well that advert generated 200% ROI” without explaining that the return on that investment was to move the needle on the brand or get prospects to move from unaware to aware then the assumption that the CEO would have it that that ad closed deals. That assumption can only lead to an erosion of trust, as clearly no ad in a B2B world actually closes a deal directly.

A B2B marketing campaign starts with a source of people to market too. These are contacts.

When a contact interacts with the campaign, ie. signing up for an event, downloading a gated asset, then that’s great, they are inquiring.

When those inquiring contacts start to share information about their intent which such jewels as a timeline, access to a budget, details on their requirement, then they are a lead.

And when that lead starts to get detailed it becomes qualified.

And when a qualified lead is accepted by sales as one they will expend effort on trying to win, assign an expected close date and a proposed deal value it becomes an opportunity.

I find it very helpful to call this the CILO process, as it’s a simple idea that the whole business can understand and adopt.

Not every single touch point builds leads, but campaigns build contacts, inquiries, leads, qualified leads and opportunities (CILO). Those are the true measures of a B2B marketing team. Ones that deeply drive sales and can start with a strategy and end with tactical success.

Training a CEO on what to expect and how to gain value from B2B marketing is the first and last job of the head of marketing. When the CEO and the marketing leaders are aligned, great things happen.

Any CMO that has survived longer that two years in a B2B marketing organization (without the CEO changing) is doing this.

When you look to hire a new head of marketing and you’re a B2B company, think about this when you read those resumes….


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