Marketing and Sales are the two thorniest areas for any B2B business to master. Even companies that have been in business for 100 years are finding sales and marketing in 2018 daunting. Why? Digital has disrupted age-old models. Sticking with the status quo is just not viable whether you company measures turnover in millions or billions.

But innovating with sales and marketing is a bit like changing out the engine of an airplane in mid-flight. How does a B2B company embrace new realities and services around sales and marketing without losing any current momentum that might be left?  This question alone has led to the further demise of so many well-managed companies. The truth is you cannot manage your way into the new world of sales and marketing. You must innovate to get there.

One of the easiest ways to make any change is to first accept what you see today not what you know from previous experience. Let me break it down. B2B buyers are not answering phone and email messages the way they used to. Does this mean those media are dead? Hardly! It just means we must understand that it will take much more to reach a client that way than it used to. How much does relevant new conversation cost your business? What is it worth? For Thought Horizon the answer is in the $1,000s, not $100s. The reason? More phone calls and emails are needed to get any response at all.

So where does that leave us for innovation? It simply means that we need to look at other means to create awareness and conversations and weigh those efforts against the increasing cost of generating leads otherwise.

For example, many sales leaders are wary of letting sales teams use social media to interact with clients and generate new leads because it further delays the time it will take to get those same leads by other means. The logic may seem fuzzy, but it is there for anyone who is measuring success on meeting quota each month.

This is where technology comes in. Finding technology to leverage social media, for instance, can allow a team to innovate without losing time working on older methods side-by-side. What if social media could be outsourced and measured as a competing sales method? That is the question B2B sales teams need to be asking.

While this isn’t the only example of B2B marketing innovation the model is the same for other marketing ideas. Whether it is using automated email campaigns or promoted posts on LinkedIn, running new ideas in parallel leveraging technology is the right way to innovate. Of course, being able to measure the results of both to compare ROI is critical to finding your way forward in the ever-changing landscape of the B2B market.

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