At Leadspace, we work with some of the world’s largest enterprises across a breadth of industries to power highly relevant, highly personalized experiences that are customer-centric while driving measurable business results.
What our customers consistently tell us is that, despite (or sometimes even because of) their size and scale, creating compelling B2B strategies is a common business hurdle. So our team spends much of our time applying our collective decades of experience to help big brands shift their models to a digitally-led approach.
Strategy vs Solutions vs Tactics
Some fundamentals: When we say “strategy,” we mean a plan to achieve a major objective. A good strategy provides a clear set of principles that govern the achievement of a clear goal: the course a business should take (or not take) and the things they should prioritize (and not prioritize).
A great B2B strategy must take into account the MarTech ecosystem, and the strengths and opportunities of Marketing Automation and CRM platforms, in conjunction with user psychology. A shift to digitally-led experience selling—in which B2B organizations more effectively engage customers throughout the buying journey—can enable lower cost of sales, lower customer acquisition cost (CAC), and higher revenue growth. This may require investments in sales teams and infrastructure—with incremental change giving way to bold transformation.
Driving pipeline, creating opportunities, and encouraging buying behaviors that lead to your desired outcomes—whether that be revenue or LTV—requires insight, planning, testing, and iteration. It’s a process and a journey for both you and your users or customers. Importantly, this strategy should take into account the advantages and disadvantages of the platform without going deep into specific actions and solutions. A great strategy should still be great even if the underlying tactical opportunities change or the solutions that enable it to evolve.
A B2B Strategic Framework
At the highest level, digital initiatives should revolve around a clear plan about what to build and why. Assess a few fundamental questions—the who, what, how, and why you want to connect with your customers. Let’s focus on the why and the how. Here are a few thought starters:
- What are we aiming to accomplish?
- Have we mapped out our customers’ digital journey?
- Will our products and services solve a real problem for our customers?
- Do we need capabilities to deliver or improve the experience?
- What cross-channel customer behaviors can we help impact and influence?
At Leadspace, we think through each of these questions, and so many more, to begin to understand why your business needs a CDP, and by extension, a digital activation strategy. What does a B2B marketing or sales strategy mean to your organization? Once we’ve explored some of these questions, we begin to map out the elements to frame out a strategy: your Executive Priorities and The Business Situation, Strategic Objectives, Value Metrics & KPIs, Channels & Tactics.
Your marketing and sales organizations may serve multiple strategic purposes, but knowing your priorities focuses your team on understanding what’s most important. Identifying which of these executive goals apply to your sales and marketing teams will help define which strategic or operational objectives are most important, and which are secondary. This is the first step in defining your strategy. Consciously answering these two basic questions can have a big impact on the clarity of every decision that follows.
With high-level executive goals to frame your focus, and your strategic objectives then define the outcomes your B2B motions will achieve.
Concrete objectives will ensure that your company knows what its strategies are expected to accomplish and when a particular strategy has accomplished its purpose. In other words, without objectives, strategy decisions and all that follow will take place in a vacuum. Ask yourself:
- What are your main objectives for including marketing as part of your overall business strategy?
- Keep your objectives SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely)
When setting out to establish objectives, most experts agree that the logical approach to the difficult task of setting objectives is to proceed from the broad to the specific. Start with a general statement, and then map that to something specific, something actionable. At that point, you’re ready to think about metrics.
Defining Key Metrics
Once you know what you want to accomplish, how will you know you’ve accomplished it? Metrics.
Each strategic objective should have at least one clearly defined key performance indicator associated with it to ensure we’re working towards our predetermined goal for the business, and ultimately, having a positive impact on the organization. By defining measures of success through the lens of metrics like revenue, marketing influenced and sourced, speed-to-lead retention, pipeline, Lead Routing Accuracy, Routing time on Task, and engagement metrics, you will have those indicators to show success. Here are a few primers to get you started
- What are the 3-5 specific KPIs we’ll use at the end of our effort(s) to determine if our campaigns successfully achieved the objectives?
- Which KPIs respond to the strategic objectives listed above, and are they a direct, or indirect, measurement of the objective?
- How will they be measured and analyzed? Do you have a GA Instance that you’re using for analytics?
Once you know how you’ll measure success, you can begin architecting sales and marketing motions to achieve those metrics. Within a motion, you’ll define campaigns composed of specific tactics (such as messaging or A/B testing), and you’ll track your performance metrics with reporting.
Engagement Programs & Motions
Once you know what you want to do, and how you’ll measure it, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of what your sales and marketing motions should be.
A few questions to consider:
- Which sales methodologies are you going to marry with a sales process to develop a specific sales motion, and what should those be? No-touch? Inside Sales? Field Sales?
- How are you approaching value selling, are you instituting a specific sales model such as the challenger model to drive consistency across your sales org?
- Which processes are hindering your progress internally? Lead Scoring, Account Matching, Poor Data Quality?
- What has traditionally worked to win new business? Where do you see the opportunities to:
- Grow existing business?
- Grow new business?
- Where do we see the highest % of closed/lost deals within our sales funnel? What could we do to improve at that stage? Do we know the "Reason for Loss?"
On the Marketing side, An audit is always going to be necessary before you define a revised strategy.
- Have you assessed your maturity level relative to your historical strategic efforts?
- Are you managing mostly batch campaigns without personalization?
- What does your lead scoring or lead generation motion look like right now?
- Revenue split per region/market, and are some markets more attractive than others? Why?
- Expected/projected % revenue uplift per region or market?
- What barriers, obstacles, or complications can prevent a prospect who likes us from buying our solution?
- Do you have existing content/resources to repurpose to hit the ground running more quickly?
Here, we begin the shift from strategic planning to tactical planning with a vision of the actual processes, campaigns, and tactics that will constitute the buyer journey. For many large organizations, this phase is a make-or-break moment, and adhering to the prior strategic choices is the difference between success and chaos.
Not only should the motions you’re about to craft align with the organizational objectives you’ve agreed upon internally, but they must also serve as the guiding light for interacting and engaging with your customers and prospects, and highlight the reasons that your targets should be engaging with you—what value are you providing to your customers. This is both an art and a science in that you’ll need to hypothesize and test your motions to ensure your strategy is positively impacting your business.
You may be asking yourself, what types of programs can I build to help me realize my objectives and show measurable impact through our sales KPIs? It’s a good question, and there’s no hard or fast rule to it, but you have to start somewhere.
However, to get started, look at your overarching objectives and use those as a platform upon which you can build the framing for your programs, and understand that this work should not be static, but instead always reviewed and iterated