Your marketing strategy makes sense but does it make you money?

Your marketing strategy makes sense but does it make you money?

You won’t forgive me if I said I didn’t have a marketing strategy. And your grudge would be fair. After all, I’m a marketing consultant. My 2018 marketing strategy exists and it makes a lot of sense i.e. I’ll do more of what worked and less of what didn’t. That’s all, right? Well, no. This year, I’ve taken a brutal approach to my traditional planning. Everything I do has to link back to clear KPIs, in particular, MONEY. Yes, the dirty word that few people can discuss.

As a business owner, you probably know how much you want to make this year. It’ll be a percentage increase from last year. Or you might want to generate similar revenues but improve your profit margins.  If your marketing strategy doesn’t help you make the money and margins, don’t bother. I mean it. What you have is another to-do list that you will soon forget.

Ask these questions as you develop your marketing strategy

  • Is your mission for this year the same as last? Why?
  • Are you planning to serve a different kind of customer? If you are targeting larger companies, do you have the credibility, resources and competencies? If not, how will you get it?
  • Do you have a different value proposition for each customer group? Have you understood what each care about so that your product resonates?
  • What is your overall business promise to your customers? To be the best or the cheapest or the most reliable?
  • How much of your revenue will come from marketing efforts?
  • How much will you spend on marketing to get this revenue?
  • What proportion of your revenue will come from repeat customers?
  • Can you get referrals to new customers from existing or previous customers? How will you ask for these referrals?
  • How much of your business will come from referrals e.g. 40%?
  • Which marketing activities will help you achieve these goals e.g. ads, events, SEO, networking etc?
  • How much will you spend on each activity?
  • How will you know that it is working?
  • What kind of content do you need to create to attract and engage new and existing customers?
  • Will you create these materials internally or will you engage an external company?
  • What changes do you need to make to your processes and systems to allow you effectively track and maintain a healthy sales pipeline e.g. CRM, email marketing?
  • What are your non-financial goals e.g. award to win, public speaking engagements, adopting a charity?

These questions will really focus your strategy. If you don’t ever look at your strategy again then it’s unlikely that you are meeting your goals.

marketing strategy template checklist YO! Marketing Aberdeen

To help you keep focused, consider hiring a marketing consultant who understands your industry, not just marketing. An hour or two a month with the consultant can be invaluable in reviewing your marketing efforts against business goals, and making changes if necessary.   You are running your business on limited time, resources and budget. Can you afford to spend time on strategies that don’t take you forward?

B2B Digital Transformation: Best Practices in Sales & Marketing Teams

B2B Digital Transformation: Best Practices in Sales & Marketing Teams

For a recent Forrester report on the B2B digital transformation, the team interviewed senior execs from global corporation giants GE, IBM and Cisco Systems. The report highlights key themes arising from the move to align sales teams with the new reality of the digital world.

Why B2B Digital Transformation?

B2B digital transformation is driven from the buyer’s side as companies seek to attract digital buyers. Previous articles suggest that the root cause of sales and marketing misalignment is a lack of understanding of the buyer. Some practitioners explain that closer alignment between sales and marketing could even shorten sales cycles.

Therefore, global leaders like GE, Cisco and IBM have taken steps to reevaluate sales and marketing strategies and to enable new ways of empowering direct sales teams. Part of the reevaluation is a digital transformation. According to the Forrester report, key areas of best practices are experimentation, collaboration and innovation. Similar practices apply to any change management programme including social media and technology adoption.

BOOK: The Smart Sceptic’s Guide to Social Media in Organisation

In this blog post, I will summarise the three case studies: GE, Cisco and IBM to draw out key insights.

Cisco: B2B Digital Transformation through Collaborative Innovation

Cisco aims to tie innovation to business outcomes and to de-fragment pockets of innovation throughout the business. The goals are:

  • Meet customers where they are
  • Reach new markets more efficiently
  • Give sales teams more time for actual selling activities

Focusing on innovation and collaboration, Cisco executed its B2B digital transformation as follows:

  • They built and piloted new tools, managing the innovation from incubation to scale. The new tools were based on increased efficiency and higher quality interactions with potential and existing buyers.
  • They established collaboration and shared goals between sales and marketing. For instance, they paired marketing’s sentiment data with sales data. These create insights that tie to opportunities for the organisation.

GE: B2B Digital Transformation through Centralised Innovation

GE is a complex, matrix organisation with several products being sold across different divisions. Therefore, the emphasis for the industrial giant are:

  • Centralise new technologies
  • Form new collaboration partnerships across the divisions
  • Reduce sales cycles by 50%

Some of the positive benefits of executing the initiative were that:

  • Centralising enables scaling of technology. For instance, it allows the reuse and recycling of successful tools and processes. It also provides a 360 degree view of interactions at all levels across the organisation, hence increasing collaboration on opportunities.
  • Collaboration enables sales to respond to customers 50% faster. For instance, GE built an app to reduce time that sales teams spend addressing forecast questions. Salespeople can input information on the fly through voice text solutions. Overall, GE’s sales teams are spending more time on customer-facing selling activities.

IBM: B2B Digital Transformation through Data-Driven Sales Innovation

IBM saw significant incremental sales revenue from putting data scientists in sales teams rather than at corporate level. The success from leveraging data science can be attributed to:

  • Making data scientists part of the sales team. The organisation developed deeper understanding of buyers due to a more scientific approach. For instance, salespeople could differentiate between a motivated buyer and a latent buyer. Also, the teams could more accurately assign sales cycles and measure the impact of new tools and tactics.
READ: Seven Ways to Revive Your Corporate Culture


  • Identify pockets of innovation in the sales team then empower salespeople who already have digital affinity to test new approaches. This drives a culture of innovation starting with early adopters.
  • Seek out tools that increase efficiency in the sales team, enable more personalised engagement and provide rich buyer/seller/relationship analytics.
  • Have at least one data scientist that aligns with sales.

To read the full report, contact Mary Shea, PhD or visit

Feature Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

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