Marketing campaigns. Marketing content. Marketing budget. Marketing Data. Marketing Technology Stack. Marketing/sales handoff. Customer marketing. Revenue-Driven marketing. Account Based Marketing. Product Marketing. Advocate Marketing.
What are all those things you might ask? Those are all essential parts of a successful marketing program for a B2B organization looking to grow in 2019. It sounds like a lot of things – because it is. In fact, that list doesn’t even cover all of the elements of the kind of program you need to improve your business (we didn’t even include all of the ones that don’t have the word marketing in them).
So, now comes the question: how is your business doing in each element? How are you doing in integrating all of them together? If you don’t know the answer, chances are you might not only be missing out on useful evaluations and data, but you might also be missing essential activities.
The 3 Life Stages of B2B Marketing Programs
As a marketing company, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, creating, and analyzing marketing programs. In all that time, we’ve come to notice that B2B companies, no matter the industry, tend to have a marketing program that falls into one of three categories, or life stages.
We like to call those stages Foundation, Maturing, and Scaling Up. Of course, the goal for an organization that wants to achieve exponential growth is the final, Scaling Up stage. But – you can just jump straight into that. To run a successful and sustainable program, you first need to establish a solid base in the Foundation stage and find your growth methods in the Maturing stage.
Here’s a little breakdown of each stage, including which marketing elements are generally involved in them:
The Foundation Stage represents the building of the cornerstones of your marketing program. It means establishing, just as the name suggests, a foundation from which the rest of your marketing (and even sales) activities will stem from.
A few of the elements of a solid marketing foundation are:
- Lead Generation
- Content Strategy
- B2B Branding
- Campaign Implementation
- Budget Planning
Organizations that don’t have, or are still working on, any of these elements are still working on building their foundation. Many B2B leaders tend to assume that things like Branding and Content Strategy are designed for B2Cs and are not required for them, but this is not true. The modern B2B buyer will require just as many touch-points with your company (and your brand) as a B2C buyer would – often more.
For companies that have already established all, or the majority of, these elements, the next step is to look at how they can start to grow their business and revenue in the Maturing Stage.
The Maturing Stage represents the first growth of a B2B organization. It’s what happens after a foundation has been solidly established and a business is ready to start growing. To get into this stage, it’s important that you first ensure you are doing well in the Foundation Stage.
A few of the marketing elements which are critical to the Maturing Stage are:
- A Solid Technology Stack
- Marketing Data Collection and Analysis
- Marketing and Sales Alignment with an Established Handoff Process
- Customer Marketing
- Revenue-Driven Marketing
- Defined Marketing Roles and Responsibilities
Organizations with a good foundation that are ready to start seeing revenue growth results should focus mostly on the above tactics. At this point in your marketing process, you should have invested in a solid technology stack that will help you to strategize, create, and automate marketing (and sales) activities.
But perhaps the most important element at this stage, for B2B organizations, is the alignment of sales and marketing is critical. You won’t be able to achieve the exponential growth of the final stage if your sales team is conveying an entirely different message over the phone than your prospects saw in your marketing material. Sales and Marketing teams needs to talk to each other, otherwise you’ll find yourself gathering leads that are no good.
Exponential Growth Stage
The final stage is all about getting that Exponential Growth for your business and for your revenue. Once you’ve established your foundation and have been successful in attaining business growth, its time to move on to the more complex, deep-dive strategies and tactics that will keep that growth going on, well, exponentially.
Here are a few of the types of marketing you need to do in the Exponential Growth Stage:
- Account-Based marketing
- Partner marketing
- Product marketing
- Field marketing
- Advocate marketing
While it may be the most sparse-looking list, this is actually the most comprehensive list. The types of marketing that are key to achieving exponential growth are highly-personalized and require a B2B organization to have an excellent Sales process behind them (including a CRM), an established brand, good analytics tracking, and more.
How to Measure Your B2B’s Stage
Figuring out how to measure which stage your B2B organization falls in is important to deciding what your next steps should be, and which strategies you should be engaging in. But how exactly do you measure that?
You could go through all of the activities listed in each stage above, figure out which one’s you’re doing and which one’s you’re not – remember to also take into account if any are more or less importance to your organization – and then make a decision.
Or, you could take our brand new Marketing Strategy Diagnostics Quiz! In around 5 minutes you’ll go through each of the elements of each of the stages and rate how well your business is doing them. At the end, you’ll get a score in each category that will help you decide your positioning.
But it doesn’t end there! Once you’ve finished the quiz, we’ll contact you with personalized results based on score and your answers to all the questions. So what are you waiting for? Take the quiz now!