I went to a B2B PR and marketing summit recently. But despite it being a B2B summit, I saw a fair amount of B2C content, without practical examples of how to convert B2C learnings into a B2B programme. There was also a lack of discussion around the one relationship that matters when it comes to tracking marketing’s value in B2B organisations today – the sales team.
So why was all this missing?
Well, B2B buyers are so niche and diverse, so it’s easy to talk about huge success stories that reach us as individual consumers. That’s why we love to talk about the Xbox, or how great Lego is.
It’s harder to track the value of marketing to individual (and smaller) B2B buyer groups with very specific challenges, particularly those we may not relate to on a personal level.
So how can we do a better job? To start, I believe the relationship between the marketing and sales teams needs a fundamental re-think.
PR and marketing are a sales support team. Sometimes, we forget this, but we are. Together, we activate the messages sales needs to have conversations, and nurture the relationships that matter.
The relationship with sales needs to work on your side if you want to measure the value you bring. We all sell the same B2B organisation at the end of the day. If we end up doing it separately, we fail to see the quantifiable value of the other, and then new problems are thrown into the spotlight.
I see the sales team as a great way of gathering insights from the field to help marketers understand the brand experience we need to communicate. B2B buyers are a different type of consumer. To get to know them, the sales teams and day-to-day account managers are your windows to your buyers’ hopes, dreams and challenges.
Marketers come into their own when they focus sales in the right way, armed with the right insights, and with a way for the sales team to help connect their campaigns to the big target accounts that matter.
Yes, we should learn from the simplicity of B2C success stories. Yes, we should try and make things accessible. But, ultimately the B2B game is about connection, experience and collaborative working.
At Made By Giants, we have ongoing calls with sales roles to determine the value we bring. A recent integrated campaign brought £7.5m in B2B pipeline – and we had weekly access to the sales team to determine that figure as part of our evaluation process, as well as commercial strategy insights from the get go. This really helped focus our strategy.
If you want to connect to your buyer groups in a way that they understand, with an experience they enjoy, and a way you measure value – the sales team is your key, not dwelling on B2C.