Launching Marketing at a Sales-First Organization – ep 31

If you’re a sales focused company looking to pivot to stage 5 of the ABM framework and invest more resources in marketing, this episode is for you.

Klear’s ABM framework talks about how growth marketing in B2B tech companies (with long sales cycles) usually goes. If you haven’t caught up with ep 29 yet, here’s a sneak peek for you:

Phase 1: Sales is the only focus
Phase 2: Primary focus on sales + support from marketing
Phase 3: Sales + moderately mature marketing department
Phase 4: Launch of ABM
Phase 5: Integrated growth department (marketing + sales)

Most companies are stuck in phase 1 and 2, and you’re here to find out how to get to phase 5.

Simple – Ask the right questions.

Asking vague or inconsequential questions have the potential to massively mess up your strategy. When you ask questions like:

  • Content or brand first?
  • How will we get leads?
  • Should we do X?

…you expect binary answers, when the truth is, the answers are almost always subjective and elaborate.

The first step to getting to stage 5 is a mindset shift. Understanding that this is what marketing is and can do:

  • Produce content
  • Generate traction based off of that content
  • Repurpose that content
  • Get inbound leads

This is what marketing is not and cannot do:

  • A lead generation powerhouse that will get you leads the second you put out your first piece of content
  • A gift that keeps on giving even when the strategy is subpar

In 2022, marketing is so much more than just a side-kick to sales.

By asking questions like:

  • Who are my best customers and why?
  • How do I find and attract more like them?
  • How will sales and marketing blend?
  • Who should be the next/first marketing hire?

…you will find your ICP, your ideal clients that actually convert, the best talent for you and the opportunity to tailor your company and offering to your client’s preferences.

At Klear, we help you focus on the right questions. When you work with us, you will gain clear insights on the following:

  1. Ideal customers

Your best customers are the easiest to sell to and the easiest to service. Finding out your best customers will help you weed out personas that are no longer relevant or serve your purpose.

“Take a look at your process and then take a look at the sort of people you get along with, what sort of organizations you blend well with, etc and blend them with the capabilities of your product/service. This’ll help you draw up your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).”

2. Show up

The only way to get noticed is to go out there and connect with people. Be in places where they hang out — where do they get their information from, where do they download their guides, ebooks and whitepapers from?

The key is to show up and get noticed, and the ideal time to do this is right before the need for your product arises. That way, when they need a solution, they’ll come to you.

3. Marketing or sales?

The problem: or
The solution: and

Marketing isn’t just about sales support, it encompansses a bunch of other things — SEO, demand generation, lead generation, outbound marketing, content and more. Instead of replacing one with the other, focus on blending the two functions.

The revenue department should fence in both marketing and sales, closing the loop of a customer’s buying journey.

4. Best hires

Your team will reflect how the department performs and eventually, how the company performs. Finding the right hires goes beyond just talent and culture fits.

Companies that work with Klear go through a strategy sprint with us. But, answers to questions about the best hires get answered only a few months after the sprint. The reason being simple: unless you don’t figure out what works and what doesn’t, you can’t hire someone to help you do it.

Say you’re big on video. You test it out the first couple of months, play around with it and eventually figure out that maybe video isn’t for you. If you’d hired a videographer a month into the trial process, you’d have to fire them 6 months later. That makes for a horrible scenario for both you and them.

5. Goal setting

The only way to get to the end goal, is to have a goal to begin with. Aimless effort is unproductive — you can’t swing with your eyes closed and hope to strike gold.

Sure, don’t bite off more than what you can chew, we don’t believe in the ‘everything is possible if you try hard enough’ agenda; but it doesn’t hurt to try. What’s a win without a challenge anyway?

Case study for a company this has worked for:

One of our clients, an 18-person consulting company (with a 0 person marketing team) decided that if they wanted to scale, they’d have to follow the footsteps of the consulting giant, McKinsey.

Their plan: Build a really strong thought leadership foundation.

For starters, let’s look at the problems in this mindset. Mckinsey has 38k employees, they have 18. Trying to emulate the success of a company that is 2000x times their size is a slippery slope to disappointment.

We started by creating a content factory for them and then trained the other marketers they hired to do the same in-house. We also helped revamp the outbound strategy they had in place by launching an account based campaign on Linkedin, directing them to content we created.

Note: Our test budget was about 5-7k over the course of 2 months. If you’re targeting smaller companies with fewer resources, this may not be the best tactic to use.

Closing notes:

Laying the foundation by asking the right questions is going to take you a long way. Moving from stage 1 to 5 isn’t an overnight process (unless you’re doing it horribly wrong), so don’t expect to change up a few things and see results. Once you set the foundation, all there’s left to do is scale, but start by doing the small things right first.

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