In August I co-hosted a round table discussion of top tier marketing executives, focused around busting some big marketing myths. I love these interactive, two-way exchanges of information as they are often where you pick up the most insight - and this conversation really drove home the need for both sales and marketing professionals to broaden their perspective.
It’s fair to say that there are a lot of marketing myths out there, and they can be really damaging to a marketer’s effectiveness if taken seriously. To help you draw the distinction between fact and fiction, here are some of the common offenders that we discussed:
Myth: B2B follows B2C
Truth: This belief, though long-held and particularly quoted in a digital context is, quite simply, rubbish. B2B marketers actually have the opportunity to do things much better if they put in the focus and effort. Excellence in B2B sales and marketing is about finding the right formula for your own business, rather than just adopting trends that may work in B2C. Lead, don’t follow!
Myth: Sales people and marketing people are fundamentally different – they can never really align
Truth: While participants agreed the divide between sales and marketing still exists in many organisations, bridging the gap is possible if we focus on what both teams have in common – a goal to win more business. Greater collaboration comes from a little more effort from both sides to understand each other’s challenges and needs. For example, marketing can do more to encourage sales teams to input better data into the CRM by explaining that the pay-off is higher quality leads and less wasted time. And sales professionals must embrace the fact that their role is changed to be more of a subject matter expert that simply a pipeline or MQL manager.
Myth: If you have identified the right contact, you can win the account
Truth: Many sales and marketing professionals still don’t recognise that today’s account-based marketing approach is not just about the one person the sales team deals with – it’s the ecosystem within the account that matters. There will be a number of touch points within that organisation that need to be nurtured. Most major sales decisions are made by committee and based on a range of diverse criteria based on the priorities of each of those committee members. Closing the sale requires the ability to first understand these priorities and then reconcile them in a solution that suits the committee and the client’s needs.
Myth: Better analytics and automation systems mean attribution is no longer an issue
Truth: While more accurate 'digital fingerprints' are improving the efficacy of account-based marketing as a discipline, attribution is still a problem, according to many of our participants. It’s a challenge that needs our attention if we are to assign credit for leads to the right marketing channels and ensure investment is well directed.
Know more, win more
The key takeaways from the event came back to the need to take time to gather the right knowledge about clients and prospects if account-based marketing is to be genuinely successful. For marketers, this means more focus on qualifying a lead and delivering information of value to sales teams. For sales professionals, it’s time to step into the role of being “subject matter experts” that understand the entire client ecosystem to drive more opportunities.