A New Strategy That Replaces The Old Sales TacticsThe Talent, Sales & Scale Podcast
The average CMO doesn’t last long these days.
When it comes to B2B sales, the way buyers find vendors has changed, but for many companies, the marketing playbooks remain the same. Often marketing departments are running ineffective, traditional marketing campaigns led by a rotation of CMOs churning one after another.
So what’s happening?
Is the marketing not aggressive enough?
Are CMOs losing their magic touch?
Should you just dump more money into marketing efforts and hope for the best?
The short answer is no.
The long answer is thankfully not that long at all — the buyer’s journey has fundamentally changed and traditional marketing is no longer the right tool for the new landscape.
On an episode of The Talent, Sales & Scale Podcast, I discussed how the buyer’s journey has changed, how to adapt to this change, and how creating a community around your content marketing can be far more effective in the long run.
- Buyers today don’t care about your brand or your sales pitch. Instead, engage them by building a community that shares industry insights and updates; the sales will follow naturally.
- The buyer’s journey has changed, so it’s important to go where your buyers hang out and talk shop. This is where real engagement can — and will — make a difference.
- Sales today is less about pitches and more about relationships. Instead of honing your pitch, reinvest your energy in developing truly valuable content that creates exciting conversations and positions you as a leader in your industry.
Buyers don’t need you, they need solutions.
There’s an important 2018 Gartner study that I talk about all the time — and for good reason. According to the data, the average buyer is more than 50% through their buying journey before they even contact a vendor.
This change is huge and largely unaccounted for by many marketing departments. And yet, many companies continue launching outdated campaigns to capture a buyer and pitch to them at the beginning of their journey.
The harsh reality is that the buyer doesn’t want to speak to you yet. They’re doing their own research and conferring with their colleagues before they’re ready to talk. Your perfectly crafted sales copy and premium graphics don’t mean much to them anymore, especially if they lack substance.
While this may seem a bit doom and gloom, it’s really not. In fact, it’s an incredibly exciting time to be in marketing. Why? Because there are new marketing techniques that account for this shift in the buyer’s journey, allowing you to build a relationship in an organic way that empowers you and the buyer to redefine your sales relationship.
Adding to the conversation — no sales pitch included.
Interacting and contributing to important conversations in your industry or ecosystem is essential to meeting buyers where they are. Whether that’s in a Slack channel, a LinkedIn group, or even down at the local bar, meeting and talking shop with the leading minds in your industry is invaluable.
Here’s an example of how something like this can grow:
Several years ago, a group of video engineers working for big tech companies in the San Francisco Bay Area began meeting for drinks once a month. Nothing arranged by a company or forced employee socializing — it was just a group of colleagues talking about their industry and sharing info.
The casual meetup grew into an actual event, an annual conference. But the group had an important rule: No sales pitches.
It’s a solid tactic for anyone engaging in the community —
✔️ join the conversation,
✔️ learn from your peers,
✔️ and then grow relationships that will lead organically to sales.
Content marketing with substance, not fluff.
Your company likely already does content marketing and if you feel like it’s going nowhere or you’re struggling to build a community around it, there’s a reason for that.
A lot of the content marketing playbook started in the early era of SEO.
500-word blog posts with lightweight content and attractive infographics, developed primarily for Google to index, may have worked well in 2011, but it doesn’t work today.
When the buyer doesn’t need you anymore, you have to make yourself needed again. Think about what your buyer does need and create that. It’s not that your branding isn’t good or your copy is lackluster — it’s that your content isn’t relevant to your buyers and comes across as too sales-y.
Begin building your community.
Instead of focusing your efforts on convoluted sales pitches, develop a place for industry experts to swap info and learn from one another. Not only will it enhance your own professional development, but it will also allow you to form organic relationships with buyers. But before you even start, it’s essential to remember that you’re not building this community around your brand as a company — buyers aren’t naive.
If you position yourself as a resource and a mecca for insightful conversation, the buyers come to you and will ask for your opinion. You’ve now pitched yourself without pitching at all — the buyer sees you as a collaborator to solve their problem because you’ve built a foundation of trust.
Whether it’s a LinkedIn group for your podcast, a discord server, or a weekly Zoom happy hour, there’s no perfect platform or ideal time to get started. The sooner you start building this community, the less it will matter where it’s hosted (assuming your content is valuable and you’re fostering engaging, important conversations).
So throw out the old marketing playbook and start building opportunities for people to come together — by adapting, you’ll stay ahead of the game and the competition.
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