Are you a B2B marketeer with a sizable budget, working for a mid to large size software or services company?
Are you defending your significantly large marketing budget with statistics like
- Cost Per Lead,
- Spend per Opportunity,
- Conversion Rate,
- No of Deals Influence
And all the other stats that excuse you from the REAL NUMBER, the bottom line…i.e Closed business!
Are you frustrated and feel powerless about making a REAL impact to your business.
Because…Oh let me guess
- your field sales team sucks at following up,
- your inside sales is poorly trained,
- your pricing is too high,
- sales does not enter correct data into Salesforce…
Thus reducing the impact of marketing programs…yada yada.
Well here is some news for you.
It’s 2016 and smart marketers in the B2C and B2BC sectors have moved on from complaining and taken matters into their own hands. With the advent of Marketing Data Lakes and Predictive Analytic tools coupled with ‘Front Door’ level targeting capabilities from most advertising platforms, marketing now has the information and the tools to not only track their influence down to the last dollar, but also actually make a major impact on the actual sales cycle.
The use of digital marketing tools to surround prospects in your pipeline with information, assurances, and positive affirmations such as to provide ‘virtual wings’ for them to jump off the ‘purchase precipice’ with complete confidence of a smooth landing.
In this article I will outline the basic concepts, premises and practices of Precipice Marketing. Future articles will follow with details on use case scenarios and situational effectiveness studies which will make the difference between incredible success and moderate gains with these practices.
Step 1 – The Initiative
One of the major efforts involved will be a change in mindset from the top down… An initiative that will need to be supported by the CMO’s and CEO’s of companies who want to use the latest in technology and ‘the art of marketing’ to make a visible impact on the companies bottom line. As the lines blur between Sales and Marketing engagement with prospects, new accords will need to be defined to make sure ‘traditional’ sales and marketing organizations don’t come at loggerheads over engagement and ownership.
Step 2 – The Orchestration
Start at the top, just because Precipice Marketing focuses on prospects ‘in-pipeline’ does not mean you can just jump into the fray into any opportunity and start ‘messing with’ the sales cycle (I have my Sales VP cap on right now… LOL).
To extend and validate marketing impact through to deal closing will require setting up the foundation from the first engagement with prospects. Forget first touch or last touch attribution, lets talk about analyzing and orchestrating a multi-touch process which will not only get you new new leads, but make those leads ‘FANS’ of your marketing style and your company. If you are able to make FANS out of your leads, you will be perfectly poised to give these prospects the wings they need to ‘jump off’ the precipice and land in your ‘customer lounge’.
Step 3 – Rules of Engagement
In a Precipice Marketing cycle, marketing will stay engaged with prospects all the way till the deal is closed. To make sure that this does not lead to utter chaos in the sales process and resulting confusion in the minds of prospects, you will need to set up very structured (yet independent) rules of engagement. Here are a few things to do towards defining and enforcing this:
- Include marketing team members into ‘opportunity team’ into salesforce to formalize the involvement of marketing in the sales process.
- Schedule weekly conference calls with all the team members to discuss opportunity stage, challenges, persons of interest in the target organization and situational sensitivities.
- These meetings can also be in the form of larger gatherings. i.e. one meeting per region per week, where all the sales reps of that region discuss all the deals in play.
- Larger meetings can help marketing consolidate information and present Precipice Marketing ideas to the sales teams after considering multiple deals which may affect each other, positively or negatively (A specific blog post on considering the domino effect of Precipice Marketing is coming soon)
- Sales can request and present reasons for ‘Precipice-silence’ for deals which are sensitive in nature. Discussing these issues openly will also help educated the marketing teams towards situational sensitivities of certain deals, possibly resulting in brewing better ideas coming out for affecting these deals in future meetings.
- Create a calendar/visual board of Precipice Marketing events (broadcast, reach-out, email, tweet, reference, blog) dates, keeping the sales team aware of the process life cycle. The important thing to NOTE here is that all of these messages DON’T NEED TO be approved by Sales. The meetings should define approved themes and marketing should have the independence to execute. If sales insists on controlling all messaging, then Precipice Marketing will fail, due to the basic limitations of stifled thought and timeline bottlenecks.
Step 4 – Monitoring & Reacting
A major issue that has plagued marketers over the years is fragmentation of data. With marketing data and analysis sitting in application silos like Marketo, Salesforce.com, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Excel etc, it has always been very difficult to assess the global effect of marketing in a single dashboard or report.
Enter the marketing data lake!
Companies like Informatica, EMC and Teradata provide technologies which allow us to break those silos and bring all our marketing and sales data together… To understand, view and infer the true value and impact (both positive and negative) of marketing on a corporations business. A properly configured data lake can also serve as a perfect place to run Precipice Marketing scenarios by creating models around existing data about a target prospect and past effects of different marketing tactics on them or similar organizations.
“For the first time, marketers have the agility we need to turn a chaotic, multi-structured data environment into a flexible, manageable, strategic asset.”
says Anish Jariwala, Director of Marketing Strategy, Informatica in the book he co-authored around the use of Data Lake for Marketing.
Coupled with predictive marketing tools like Radius or Lattice Engines , a centralized data lake can provide a very effective way to monitor and quantify the effect of Precipice Marketing on the progress of the deal.
One particularly focused thing to monitor is the sentiment of the prospect on social media reacting to ‘social’ and ‘reference’ associations enacted as part of targeted Precipice Marketing steps. Monitoring individual sentiments from major players in the target organization is more important than monitoring corporate responses.
Remember deals are made with people, corporations just sign the checks.
Step 5 – The Sales Feedback loop
All analysis and monitoring aside, the success of Precipice Marketing should be reflected in the bottom line.
Did the deal close?
Did it close faster?
Did it have a larger ACV?
Did the customer become an advocate of the product?
The answers to the above questions are the final proof of the overall success or failure of your Precipice Marketing processes. Remember the basic principle, that Precipice Marketing succeeds when marketing is able to create ‘Fans’ out of a company’s prospects, but if you are unable to make your sales teams Fans of your marketing messaging and resulting effect, then it’s doubtful that you had a positive effect on the prospects. Remember that sales is motivated by money. They want to close deals at any cost and if you become an asset to their deal closing cycle, they will be the first ones to want you to continue doing it. It’s simple, you are helping them make more money.
Making sure that sales feedback is clean, prejudice free and focused on making Precipice Marketing work to the companies advantage, will depend on the strength of initiative from executive management.
It’s an ART to make your prospect feel that they should pick your product over the competitors. The success of Precipice Marketing will not solely depend on the technical advantages that we have today, but also on the level of Personalization and Specific Messaging that you as a marketer are able to produce and broadcast to your target. Using automated email nurture processes and automated social marketing tools will inevitable lead to failure in these scenarios.
For Precipice Marketing to work, Marketing has to step up and treat each prospect as an individual use case and craft messaging and strategy in partnership with the sales team (as part of the sales team) to surround the prospect with positive reinforcements… and finally give them wings to land into your customer corral.
Look out for follow up posts on 2020compute.com
- The Domino Effect of Precipice Marketing
- Precipice Marketing Use Case Scenarios
- Precipice Marketing Situational Effectiveness Analysis and Adjustments
- Specific Messaging and Social Media as tools for Precipice Marketing
- Conquering the ‘Chasm’ – How Precipice Marketing techniques can help
Till next time..