I welcome the idea that technology has changed and continues to change the way business is done, and that we need to harness this technology and governing methodologies to improve the way we sell. But the first ones onto the “digital bandwagon” were marketers, and many of them exploited their prime mover position. Everywhere you look now, there is a digital marketing company that will promise “all you can eat leads”, and “never cold call again.” And they are all experts on sales. Suddenly, there are so many sales experts, its actually mind boggling!
The message coming from a lot of them is that digital marketing methods promise leads like you have never seen before, that will be so good for your business, you must consume or be left out in the cold.
This industry has boomed to such an extent that there are now businesses being built on the back of the work being done by digital marketing agencies. Their sole purpose is to help you manage the leads you are receiving from the digital-sphere, and you need their help because you are having to work your way through hundreds, if not thousands of leads. The modern marketing talk has lead us to believe that there are suddenly so many more leads in the world – for everyone. And so we consume leads like we do a good mead on a night out with our mates… Because it feels like the right thing to do, it’s euphoric and nothing can go wrong! But it’s just as easy to get carried away.
Now, many years down the line we are starting to see the aftermath of empty promises – the hangover that comes from eating “all the leads we like”. Most of these leads are junk (they will never convert to paying clients). That is the toxicity we are putting into our businesses, like the mead on that night out with mates. These toxins seriously dilute our focus and distract us from doing what we do best!
Then end result? A woody pipeline that cost you an absolute fortune. And now your business is under massive pressure to make up for the sales you have not been getting while investing in the “all you can eat leads” and you need to cover the money spent. It’s a double whammy, and an easy trap to fall into.
So what does this all mean? Are all digital marketing methods toxic? No, not at all. I already said we need to use technology and it’s ensuing methodologies to increase sales performance. It’s how you harness this technology that really matters. Digital marketing in the business to business space is more complex than business to consumer, and we need to be realistic and logical about it. If you are selling a slick product to engineering companies in your area, would it make sense to be getting thousands of leads every month? Are there that many engineering companies in your area? It sounds really silly, but it’s actually that simple.
Rather get these modern marketing people to provide you with 5 to 10 leads a month that are really relevant and likely to close. As simple as this sounds, the next question is how much work would be involved in getting you these 5 to 10 proper leads a month? My guess would be that it will probably take the same amount of effort as it would to get you the thousands of rubbish leads. Which means the cost will be pretty much the same.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for a hangover, you just have to ride it out. You can only prevent a hangover. No one can argue that prevention in this case starts with the client. And in the business to business space, who knows your clients better than your sales people? Get your sales people to work with your marketing people to profile your clients. Find out what makes them good (or bad) for your business, and what traits they have in common. Think about their challenges, their industry, the number of employees they have, their turnover, and where you can reach their decision makers. Then come up with a unique marketing plan to target your prospective clients.
Even when done right, getting these leads through modern marketing methods will take some time. If you don’t have time and need sales, pick up the phone and call your prospects..