For the last few months I’ve been doing research on LinkedIn, asking Marketers what are some of the challenges they face in executing their daily marketing tasks within their roles.
It has led me to create the Jamaican State of Marketing 2019 Research Report.
By the way if you'd like me to do one for your country let me know.
You can download the report here if you'd like to take a look at the data collected and insights.
If you have already downloaded it, send me an email and let me know your thoughts on it.
Of all the challenges experienced, one answer kept repeating. 82.4% of Marketers surveyed said trying to get adequate funding to execute their marketing efforts is their number one challenge.
I agree that it can be a challenge for us marketers, especially when management expects the moon moved and the seas parted with a limited budget.
I decided to dig deeper as to why this may be.
The Challenge Marketers Face
What I've found is at the end of the day it really boils down to one thing, and that is perceived value.
Marketers the problem is that management can’t see the value in allocating more (or any) funds to marketing because they don’t see the value they will receive in return if they do so.
They have a hard time quantifying how spending more on Marketing will help the company make money and grow.
The harsh reality is that most companies are sales-driven, and would rather hire 100 salespersons before hiring one (1) marketer, because they can see, measure, and quantify the immediate return from sales. It’s not so easy with marketing, especially if you’re trying to justify your spend using Brand Awareness and Engagement as the reason for an increase in your marketing budget.
To be frank with you my fellow marketers, management doesn’t really care about awareness and engagement, they care about revenue.
I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who is the CEO of a tech company. He shared with me how well things were going with his sales team, and now he wants to bring me in to run a three month campaign to ramp up his sales efforts and make them more targeted through marketing.
The point I'm making with this is that he sought to increase sales first, then once that was done that's when he brought me in as the Marketer to put focus and intention behind his sales efforts.
And this was only made possible because he sees the value in my approach to marketing, which is marketing that achieve business goals.
So the question now becomes, "How do you show that marketing can be valuable and convince management to invest more into it?"
Showing Management the Value of Marketing
Since sales is prioritized in pretty much every for-profit company, the best way to show the value of marketing is to tie it back to sales.
I’ve had the benefit of being in marketing for over a decade, as well as being in sales for both B2C and B2B companies for close to a decade. I mention this because it allows me to show I have a holistic perspective from both sides of the same coin, and to help you understand things from a sales point of view and how it can connect back to marketing.
Firstly, you need to understand the nuances of sales.
Why is this important? Because once you understand the nuances of sales you will know how marketing can help sales: 1). Close more deals thus increasing sales, and 2). Shorten the time it takes for a salesperson to close each deal.
By doing so you have now significantly increased your marketing value, and therefore increase the likelihood you can convince management to give you more money for your marketing budget.
For every sales professional who goes out and sells every day there are certain challenges they are met with:
Getting pass gatekeepers to meet with decision makers
Convincing the potential customer to see the value in what the company offers
Decreasing the time it takes to close a single deal
Closing as many deals as possible within a month to meet (or exceed) quota
The key is to find ways to make the job of sales easier, and more effective and efficient by helping them eliminate or reduce these challenges.
So how do you do that?
Let’s break down each.
1. Getting pass gatekeepers
Gatekeepers are bombarded with many salespeople trying to sell to their bosses every day. The best way to be accommodated by a gatekeeper is to be different and stand out from the other companies.
Instead of trying to sell or raise awareness for your products and services, focus your marketing on helping.
Create marketing campaigns and content that educates your potential customer in areas of importance to them, and helps them do their job much easier. It’s awareness, but in a different way.
By doing so it not only differentiates you from the competition, but it starts the process of them knowing who you are and liking you (two of the three factors necessary for making a sale).
Once you can do that they will be more than willing to give your sales team access to the decision makers because now you’re a brand coming from a place of how you can help them, not sell them.
If you’re in the B2C space there are no gatekeepers. However, you do need to understand who influences the decisions in how money is spent in the household of your target audience. Your product may be for men, but if the wife decides how the income is spent then you’ll need to create content to get her to buy into your brand.
2. Convincing the customer to see the value
Value is nothing more than perception. From my personal experience in sales most decision makers tend not to go with a particular company not because they don’t see the value in the product/service, they just don’t know if the person/company delivering the product/service can deliver on what they promise.
This comes down to trust (the third factor necessary for making a sale).
In other words, can they trust your company to deliver on what it promises by the time they promise it? At times it may just come down to them not knowing if your company is competent enough to do the job.
To help with this challenge it goes back to the first point of creating content to educate.
More than likely you already have content that outlines all the features and benefits of what you offer. Now you need content that shows your company as an expert in its area of expertise, that knows what they are doing.
Focus your marketing on answering questions and challenges that the potential customer may have within their job, company, or industry in relation to your company’s area of expertise. Doing so shows that you know your industry, and more importantly understand the needs of your customer.
According to Pardot (a subsidiary of Salesforce) 70% of buyers have already made a decision on who they will buy from through online research before a salesperson even talks to them.
Therefore, if your company can be the one to answer those questions, once a salesperson starts the conversation 70% of the work of convincing the customer to say yes would have already been done.
3. Decreasing the time to close a deal
There are a number of reasons why a deal may take a long time to close. The company’s procurement process may take long, there are certain signoffs that need to happen that may be delayed, there is a change in priority at the office (for B2B) or at home (for B2C). It could be something as unexpected as internal politics (it happens).
Those things you have no control over.
However, to make the process of closing a deal easier for sales create content that answers objections and questions that customers may have that may prevent them from crossing the final tipping point to a “Yes”.
Liaise with sales to find out from them what are the typical questions that customers tend to have that keeps them from closing the deal.
Once you have this create content, whether in a brochure form or digital content, that answers these questions in as much detail as possible.
By doing so you help sales reduce or eliminate any friction they may come across in trying to close a potential customer.
Also, you not only help to reduce the time taken to close a deal, but you also help the company save money and resources to do so (customer acquisition costs).
4. Closing as many deals as possible
To be fair to my fellow marketers this one really comes down to the sales person going out every day and how much time and effort they are willing to put in to meet their monthly quota.
However, what I can say is in executing your marketing don’t just think of your only role in the sales process being brand awareness. See the entire picture and process from end-to-end, and create marketing systems in place that helps a potential customer move through that process until they become a paying customer for the company.
My Final Thoughts
The above is simply a guide as to how as a marketer you can show your value to the company. Use the method outlined, create a marketing process, and present it to management. Ensure to focus on how your marketing ties back to helping sales, that it either helps the company a). Make money, or b). Save money.
As Jim Rohn says “If you help enough people get what they want you get what you want”.
What other ways can you identify to show management the value of marketing?