As the Harvard Business Review once said, “If you want to be disruptive, don’t start with best practices. Try, instead, to find your industry’s worst practices.” In our latest whitepaper, Worst-Practice Marketing. How to Bring Your Sales and Marketing Engine to a Screeching Halt, With 9 Things to Avoid for Revenue Success, we reflect on our 70+ combined years of B2B marketing experience to give you some of the worst decisions we’ve seen clients make. In turn, we hope some of these “anti-success” stories give you insight into what to avoid in your efforts to market your products and services.
Perri Marketing primarily works with technology vendors selling enterprise IT solutions to the Fortune 1000. This is a crowded marketplace. And though there are tons of tech players in the industry, there are really only a few massive conglomerates that have the majority of the brand recognition in these niche business sectors. If you’re not one of these massive brands, it can be Sisyphean trying to compete.
We also talk with many smaller tech company founders who have so much belief in their product/service, that their market approach is all we need to do is demo this and it will sell! We love the sentiment behind that idea – your product should be good enough to speak for itself. But you’re going up against software giants. And even with world-class Price, Product, and Placement, you’ll sell yourself short if you don’t dedicate resources to story-telling Promotion as well.
With our extensive experience, we’ve seen (just about) it all. And truthfully, the failures we’ve witnessed have often given us more valuable insights into our work than the successes have. In this whitepaper, we take you through nine of the worst marketing mistakes we’ve seen, and in this blog, we’re going to expand on a few less-obvious highlights we’re itching to talk more about.
Two of the Less Obvious Worst-Practice Marketing Mistakes:
- Leading with your sales pitch. We see this. All. The. Time. Particularly from companies run by technicians. We had one CEO say, “Look at these beautiful dashboards! All you have to do is show a CIO these beautiful dashboards and this product will sell itself.” Again, we love the enthusiasm! And we agree (just a little) because they pay us to. But in the customer’s eyes, when they are unfamiliar with your product, you have to give them a reason to trust you.
Your customers and prospects are bombarded every day with sales pitches. Numbers and stats. Beautiful graphics. But to truly pique your audience’s interest you have to draw them in with a good story. In B2B, we often overlook the storytelling aspect. It can be hard to humanize enterprise IT software. But human beings are behind the decision-making process, and whether you’re talking to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or a consumer picking out dog food at a local grocery store, numbers are far less compelling than a story you can grab onto. Talk about the result of using your product, not a description of the product! Then, once you’ve gotten your audience’s attention, you can hit them with the hard data. But don’t forget the order of operations here.
- Failing to communicate across silos. A few years ago, we met with a client of several years to discuss marketing efforts. We had not been given access to the sales team and came away from the conversation dumbfounded. It went something like this:
PMI: “Could we speak to your sales team to get an understanding of what they’re up against? This would help us hone in on your differentiation and perhaps gain some insight into what’s really working when they are selling.”
PMI Client: “Oh no, we don’t want you talking to sales. We want them to sell and you to focus on marketing.”
And that 2-minute exchange gave us incredibly valuable insight into a problem that was far deeper than a mildly frustrating conversation. Working across siloes doesn’t mean you have to talk to your co-workers 10 times a day or schedule endless cross-company meetings with various teams in your organization, but few things can derail your sales efforts like poor (or no) communication with the marketing team during the marketing promotions process.
With good systems in place and employees who are well-trained in using CRM and Marketing Automation systems, you can create a team atmosphere to help guide your prospects to the finish line with clear, consistent, and compelling communications.
Curious to hear the rest of our 9 Worst Practice Marketing Mistakes from 70+ combined years in B2B marketing? Download our latest whitepaper today!