We are at the halfway mark for 2015. The year has seen a lot happen around the world—good, bad and ugly. From the world’s first fully sustainable, zero-carbon, zero-waste city completing Phase 1 (Masdar City, near Abu Dhabi), to the first self-regulating artificial heart becoming available in the EU, to the first commercial advertisement on the moon by Japanese beverage maker of Pocari Sweat, to horrific events such as the massacres in Nigeria by Boko Haram, the Airbus A320 crash in the French Alps, the devastating earthquakes in Nepal, and many more events that have made 2015 the kind of year we won’t forget in a hurry. With another six months to go before we close out this year, now is as good a time as any to reflect on what we have achieved and where we are headed, what drives our passion, what we aim for and where we can find the inspiration.
Christians have The Ten Commandments, the Torah offers Jews the Shloshah Asar Ikkarim (13 Principles), the Five Pillars of Islam drive the foundation of Muslim life, and every major religion has an ideology or doctrines that help believers stay true to their faith. In our personal lives, we make resolutions at the start of the year; some we forget, and others we continue to strive for. It’s a good ritual to follow, but you need something more than a ritual. You need to think beyond seasonal and annual resolutions to a perennial manifesto, a credo that guides you through life. Should you put this credo in writing? I think it helps to do so, because we forget very easily. Having something to go back to and reflect on when you are distracted and swaying off your path can be very useful. Here is some great advice on how to make your own manifesto.
As a leader, your personal credo can also influence and guide the manifesto for your brand. The values that your organization and your team uphold can benefit hugely from the thought leadership and philosophy that you practice and share. Not sure where to start? Read these tips on creating your brand manifesto.
I was in Paris recently for a one-of-a-kind video shoot (I will share more about this in a future post) where my “role” was that of a Samurai. In order to immerse myself completely into the role, I sought out and deeply reflected on this Samurai Credo. These 16 principles resonate with my personality and the beliefs that have shaped my experiences of life.
Does your organization have a manifesto? Here is an insightful Infographic on the B2B Lead Generation Manifesto. In the complex and ever-evolving world of B2B, you also need a credo that becomes the cornerstone of how you measure everything you do and whether or not it makes the world a better place for your customers.
B2B Demand Generation Credo—14 Principles to Live By
As CMO of your B2B enterprise, you have the power to become the Samurai—the honorable warrior who is dutiful to the organization, a leader of men, loyal unto death when it comes to upholding the values and promise of your brand.
Here is my recommended 14-point Demand Generation Samurai Credo.
- Effective lead generation is not a sprint but a marathon. Prepare for the long road. Forget spike marketing and aim for deeper relationships through engagement.
- Complexity is the enemy of effective lead generation programs. If you need a whiteboard to explain your lead generation process, you have gone too far. Rally your team around realistic goals and encourage them to take ownership of customer experience.
- Pull, don’t push. Resolve to never push leads out to your field force and to your sales channels; it does NOT work. Get them to come and pick up their leads and track progression. Use the transformational, new lead distribution methodology that has won the Best Demand Generation Solution award from one of the largest IT manufacturers in the world.
- A lead is a privilege, not a right. Make sure your sales and marketing teams understand this. If you have channel partners, see that they understand this too. Seeing a buyer demonstrate interest in interacting with your brand and moving towards a buying decision is a very important privilege that must be handled with the greatest care. There is tremendous ‘buyer fatigue’ with 24×7 sales talk and pushy sales tactics. Bombarding them with sales messages will only drive them further away and end up making them brand-averse towards your company.
- Great sales people close business…let them. Don’t think you can substitute people with systems and the latest tools. Technology is only an enabler; buyers want to deal with real people.
- Lead generation is more about the right process and less about the right platform. There are far too many platform specialists touting their platforms as the best one to use. If you don’t have the right process that is tailored to your target personas, your platform will fail, undoubtedly.
- Congruency works, misalignment kills. For years now, we have been talking about decentralization, breaking down of silos, achieving marketing and sales alignment, but it hasn’t happened the way it should. Particularly, the large organizations that have too many moving parts and even more talking heads, are still struggling with trying to find the balance.
- Reporting and ROI are critical, but drowning in complex metrics and reports creates analysis-paralysis. Make the effort to simplify your reporting and get a 360° view of your B2B lead generation activities. Big Data is only useful if it helps you gain actionable insights that will drive Big Results.
- Do not confuse activities with results. It is easy to get carried away by the numbers, especially in social media marketing. The volume of social activity or fans and likes generated mean nothing if you don’t have quality engagements that will help nurture long term relationships.
- Less bling, more substance. The shiny new toys are very attractive. Added to that is peer pressure, industry trends and competitor activity. What you need to look for, however, are solutions that will work for your target audience and your brand. Never mind if you don’t have the sparkle and shine, if you have substance, that’s what counts.
- Innovate, then innovate some more, then innovate again. Never stop because that is the true purpose of business—to innovate and make life better for others. Tried and true methods are good, so don’t discard what works. That should not stop you however, from making small, significant changes that will hold the attention of your buyers and make your brand stand out.
- Business is personal. If your offering is not personalized to your buyers, you are wasting their time and yours. Whether you are a billion dollar, global corporation or a small, local outfit, you need to serve your customers like a boutique that customizes every buyer’s order and delivers an exemplary experience each time.
- Beware of legacy issues. “It’s how we have always done it”, is no longer a reason to continue like that. In fact, that should be the driver of growth hacking and disruptive marketing. Shake things up, take some risk, be bold, stand by your decision and take pride in the changes that you see.
- Less is more; your content must provide value. Yes, it is the wave of content marketing, but quality, not quantity is what drives conversion. As you continue to create high volumes, check to see if your B2B content is killing sales.