6 Things that Scare the Pants Off Your Sales & Marketing Team
In honor of Halloween, earlier this week we looked at the content marketer’s worst fear (#MktgFearFest), which got us thinking about what terrifies other Sales and Marketing professionals in their roles. We asked around and came up with a list of frightful things that keep some members of your Sales and Marketing team up at night.
The CMO/VP Marketing:
For marketing leaders, your success is inexplicably intertwined with the success and effectiveness of your team. Having the right skills, resources and experience levels aligned to the right goals is essential to drive successful outcomes. But like the inevitable walk into a dark basement in a horror flick (why do they always do it?), hiring and talent development always seem to take a backseat to whatever today’s most pressing project or fire is. The reality for marketing leaders is that talent acquisition, management and development should always be the top priority. Without it, everything else will slide.
The Social Marketing Manager:
It’s rough out there for B2B marketers and you can’t defeat the zombies of inattention singlehandedly. In the attention economy, getting social right has to be a team effort. Lack of internal buy-in for the importance of social and lack of employee advocacy and participation on social platforms are real fears because, without them, you’re alone in the dark.
The rapidly changing social media landscape is also pretty terrifying: One minute Twitter is your best friend and the next, all the good guys (your target audience) have bugged out to LinkedIn or to a completely new social network. Or maybe the latest platform update arbitrary changed something that was really effective for you and your workflow (this drives you nuts because you like to be in control).
To take your social media marketing from just scary to scary good, you need to know your prospects, which means knowing their preferred channels and where they like to hang out. You also have to be ready to change your strategy and adapt on-the-fly to make sure you’re there wherever and whenever your buyers what to engage.
The VP, Business Development:
The CMO comes back from the biggest show of the quarter boasting about all the leads the team got. They really hustled and now, here you go, 1,500+ net new leads! But remember the horror movie The Ring, where anyone who watches the cursed videotape dies 7 days later? When you start filtering through “The List,” you’re afraid that’ll be your fate too.
A large list of un-scored, unqualified or just plain poor leads is almost worse than no list at all because there’s only so much qualification you can do by calling someone up…and only occasionally making contact. And it takes a lot of effort to find the needle in the haystack – that qualified lead buried with all the unqualified ones who just wanted the T-shirt.
Sometimes it’s data quality issues that make you want to scream: You’ve got 800 downloads from your latest eBook campaign, but a gremlin in your lead capture form gave every single one the exact same title: “VP Finance.” Neither of these horrors ever happens at PathFactory, of course, but we’ve heard the urban legends enough to know that they must happen somewhere. There’s no better justification for building a robust lead nurturing program with well-defined lead scoring to qualify your prospects, and weed out the monsters before they ever make it onto your BDRs’ calling list.
The Account Exec:
You’re a road warrior and a master of flying the friendly skies. You take pride in the number of air miles you rack up visiting clients and going to shows, but that doesn’t mean you don’t grip the arm of your seat every takeoff and landing. You’ve also been doing this long enough to know when you’re running out of runway with your pipeline.
To hit their number, good salespeople run a 5x pipeline, great ones run a 3x pipe. It’s pretty easy to do the mental math and see when you don’t have enough pipeline. What do you do? Well, you don’t let fear paralyze you: You hustle. You pick up the phone, you reach out to new people, ask your customers for referrals and work on upselling your existing clients. You may also look to Marketing to supply air cover and run a targeted campaign to your territory.
Ultimately, though, what you want is a predictive revenue model that keeps this from happening in the first place by funneling a steady stream of qualified leads to all your sales reps.
The Art Director/Brand Manager:
For you, the big “boo!” is consistent braaaaaanding (ghost noises) across all channels. You’ve just done a huge redesign of your company’s branding. It’s fun. It’s a lot of work. You’ve updated colors, created palettes, painstakingly chosen a set of fonts that work well online and in print, while simultaneously representing the friendliness and professionalism of the brand. You’ve handcrafted hundreds of images and icons to illustrate the complex themes and ideas your company needs to put forth.
Now your company has a brand that represents its unique personality and identity. But – and it’s a big but – the fear comes from having to keep your branding consistent across all channels. Even if you’re at a medium-sized company, it can be hard to keep your artful eye on everything that leaves the building.
For instance, a member of your sales team might create a very beneficial but – let’s be honest – less than aesthetically desirable PowerPoint slide deck. It seems to go out of its way not to follow the custom template you created – the one you thought was un-mess-up-able. Or an employee might play “monster mash” with your website imagery to hack her own social media profile page. Or a partner might create a piece of scary-looking collateral that doesn’t obey your brand guide at all. No one likes to have to play “brand police,” but building a strong brand is one thing, maintaining it over time and across all channels is quite another.
The Demand Gen Marketer:
Nothing strikes fear into the heart of a demand gen marketer like missing a goal. These revenue-centric marketers live and die by the numbers – almost as much as their counterparts in sales. Whether it’s a lead, opportunity or revenue target on their backs, they will go to great lengths to manufacture qualified demand to drive pipeline and deals. The only thing more frightening to a demand gen marketer than not hitting their number is the shroud of uncertainty that sometimes comes with less than perfect reporting and metrics.
As marketers, it’s natural to get a little anxious and afraid sometimes. But what we’re most afraid of is a great indicator of where we can and should improve. It’s about being proactive and preparing for whatever comes next. When the zombie horde is already outside the door is not the greatest time to start thinking about building up your defenses and brushing up on your zombie-killing skills. The best advice at this scary time of year – which just happens to coincide with B2B marketers’ Q4 and 2016 planning – is to use your fear to spur positive action and change.