Congratulations! You’ve been hired into a B2B marketing organization and now it’s your first day on the job. What do you do? Assess and take stock, that’s what. You need to assess what is in place, what’s needed, and what’s missing. Here’s a handy list to help you get clear on what you need to do – it’s a lot, but keep chipping away and you will arrive at a well-oiled machine that drives revenue for your company.
- Is there a marketing plan?
- If not, what are the revenue goals, and what percentage is marketing responsible for?
- Do you know who the competition is and how they are marketing their products and services?
- Do you know your target markets, accounts, and buyers?
- Do you understand how your product solves their problems?
- Have you translated that information into clear positioning, messaging, and value propositions?
- Do you have a clear idea on how you will promote your messages to your audiences in various channels?
- Do you know how much you have to spend and what your ideal cost per lead and cost per acquisition are?
- Do you have the right DNA on the team, and if not, what is your plan to backfill?
- How will you measure and report results? What does success look like?
1) Brand Awareness
- Do you have a public relations firm or freelancer on retainer?
- Have you identified a steady cadence of product and company news and thought leadership?
- Are you submitting for speaking opps, awards, bylines, rapid issues response, and editorial calendars?
- Have you developed a customer advocacy program? How else can you establish authority? E.g., third-party validation via crowd reviews, analysts, and other testimonials / social proof.
- Do you know who the influential analysts are in your space? Do you have research agreements with these firms? And either way, are you regularly briefing them?
- What are your social media channels and what is the process for approving and posting on behalf of the company?
- How are you being found online? Do you have a strong Google search presence? Are all your pages SEOed for tags, page titles and descriptions with your keywords (at a minimum)?
- How does blogging fit in? Are you using it for thought leadership, lead gen, and keyword SEO
2) Demand Generation
- Have you determined whether lead gen, account marketing, or combination of the two are best to meet marketing’s contribution to revenue?
- Do you know the benchmark conversion rates along the buyer journey for your industry and how your company compares?
- Have you mapped out the buyer journey with content and channels for each phase (i.e., Awareness / Evaluation / Consideration / Decision)?
- How are you executing on each of those channels? (i.e., PPC [and if so, which channels? Google, Bing, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.], display, retargeting, content syndication, and trade shows and events)?
- Do you know what your weekly lead volume cadence will be and is that where it needs to be?
- What does your email marketing program look like? Are you partnering with third parties to promote content to their lists or just marketing to in-house lists?
- Is direct mail or print advertising something you should do?
- How will you support partners through marketing?
- What are the processes and procedures by which you are partnering with Sales? Have you established clear, ongoing communication about lead volume, lead handling, etc.?
- What are you doing to communicate with current customers to keep them up-to-speed on product features and use cases?
- Have you established a clear brand identity and editorial guidelines?
As I noted in my previous post, you need to have the right skills on the team. If you don’t have the right DNA, where can you backfill by outsourcing? If you outsource, do agencies or freelancers make more sense?
- Do you have a CMS? If not, how is the website managed?
- Do you have a marketing automation platform? If not, how do you send out lead nurture emails and create landing pages on the fly?
- Is your marketing automation platform integrated with a CRM? If not, how are you tracking lead to deal flow and conversion rates by channel?
- Do you have access to analytics to understand how your visitors interact with your website so you can optimize the pages that aren’t working (for starters)?
Do you have adequate access to monetary resources to fulfill the goals for which Marketing is responsible? Once you’ve assessed and sized all the above, you’ll have a better sense of the answer. And if the answer is no, it’s time now to have the conversation about what to expect with the current budget.
About the Author
Kim Ann King is the author of “The Complete Guide to B2B Marketing: New Tools, Tactics, and Techniques to Succeed in the Digital Economy.” She has helped launch and build several pioneering Internet companies and writes frequently about marketing and technology.
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