I just listened to an interesting podcast featuring my old colleague Heidi Melin. Heidi is CMO of Plex Systems and is a well-respected marketer. It was an interview-style podcast, hosted by Glenn Gow of Crimson Marketing. The topic of the podcast is How CMOs of High Growth Companies Can Achieve Rapid Scale. Naturally, as a former CMO of, and current service provider to, high-growth B2B companies, this subject is very important to me.
Heidi made a number of good points, but two were especially valuable:
- The quantity of contacts in your database is not as important as the quality. You need to identify your top suspects and collect as much information about them as you can. This is especially critical when you are pursuing a “targeted account” model.
- Instead of a separate marketing and sales process, you need a combined revenue model to propel sales growth. While this is easy to say, it is not so easy to do. I’ve written about this quite a bit, including a recent blog post on marketing and sales alignment.
Here are some additional ideas on how to quickly ramp up your awareness, leads and revenue:
- Find one or more strategic partners that already have a strong presence in your target marketplace. While there are a number of pitfalls to avoid, there is nothing that can gain you more exposure and revenue in a short amount of time than a partner that can get your offer into the hands of qualified prospects.
- Drop the timid approach. A steady but cautious approach to demand generation has some benefits (e.g. cash preservation) but it usually won’t achieve fast results. Rapid sales growth requires aggressive planning and execution. Stealth marketing delivers mediocre results.
- The best way to act quickly while minimizing risks is to work with B2B marketers (internal or external) who have a strong batting average with demand generation in your specific industry.
- Even if you expect to build your business with pull marketing techniques, you can bridge the gap with push marketing to fill your lead and revenue funnel. Pay-per-click and/or content syndication are excellent strategies to accomplish this. The point is to do what is necessary (even if it is uncomfortable) to fill the sales funnel.
- You need something to cut through all the promotional clutter, so make sure you have a compelling offer. This is especially important if you are in an industry with large and well-known competitors.
- Incentivize sales reps in exactly the way you want them to behave. As the expression goes, salespeople tend to be somewhat coin-operated, so align their rewards accordingly.
Perhaps the most important tip is to heed Heidi’s advice and create an end-to-end process for driving revenue instead of applying separate marketing and sales models. In my experience, tightly integrated sales and marketing organizations always produce far better results.
As marketers, when it comes to our business lives, our raison d’être (primary reason for existence) is not to just do cool marketing stuff, but rather to support the revenue goals and overall objectives of the business. You can best accomplish this by adopting a revenue model and practicing proven sales growth strategies.