What you’ll learn
- The best approaches to aligned transformation
- How your content should change with your customer
- The most important thing to a customer-centric strategy
- How to drive transformation in top-heavy change resistant organisations
- True transformation begins with becoming customer-centric
- Marketing, sales and product should always be focused on customer needs
- The first step is understanding your company's ability to address the needs and challenges of your target market - not individuals, but buying groups.
Aligning your business towards a singular goal is an effective way of making a lot of progress in a very short time-span. However, in the world of B2B marketing where large accounts are at stake, it’s one of the only ways to remain competitive and relevant in the market.
We attended a hands-on workshop at the EMEA Forrester B2B Summit this year focused on this topic alone. Driving Aligned B2B Marketing Transformation was an interactive session with industry experts on how B2B companies can align their teams towards a singular goal. Forrester presented a step-by-step plan for tackling the top challenges of alignment that any B2B company can use.
In this blog, we’ve outlined our takeaways from the presentation and summarised what we learned so that you can apply it for your own business. With the information presented below, you can align your business with effective analytical B2B marketing, today.
Top Challenges and Solutions for B2B Alignment
In dealing with enterprises of all sizes from around the world, Forrester encountered similar trends and challenges each of these companies faced when attempting to align their teams. These challenges were varied in nature, but they all fell into three broad categories:
Applying the go-to-market (GTM) strategy to the business
The first stumbling block many businesses encounter is forming a GTM strategy and initially applying it to their business. They often feel that their strategy just doesn’t connect with their customers, or that they lack something unique for their approach.
Without a solid strategy guiding a business, everything that business does will be confusing and in disarray.
The solution: Become customer-centric and TEI-focused
The key misunderstanding here is that your strategy shouldn’t be about your product. It needs to be about your customer. For each department, the product means something different. However, the customers should always remain the same - this is the key to alignment. The most critical element of aligning an organisation is moving from being product-focused to customer centric.
To understand your customers, you need a solid basis in fact. Forrester recommends using first-party data like interviews, spending time with customers, experiencing their pain points firsthand, to understand how you can address their needs. One tactic that was presented was to conduct a supply and demand analysis and put them together in a SWOT.
It’s important to note that while individual accounts are important, they shouldn’t be your main focus. Instead, try to group accounts into common trends and create personas to see their needs and wants at a glance.
- A focus on TEI
In addition to becoming customer-centric, Forrester highlighted how important a TEI-focus is. TEI, that is Total Economic Impact, measures the benefits, costs and flexibility of your strategy and weights it against the risks and uncertainty in the market.
TEI boils the value of your product down into real money terms, making it easy for stakeholders to understand, but it's much more comprehensive than ROI because it includes both present and future outcomes.
A good strategy takes TEI into consideration for long-term success, and allows room to be flexible. This is critical, because companies need to be able to respond to market changes - the minute your customer fails to recognize themself in your product or marketing, they will leave.
Aligning strategy with the revenue engine
Even if many companies had a solid strategy, they simply could not get their team to follow along together. Sales, marketing, and product teams (The Revenue Engine as Forrester terms them) would all operate with different philosophies and objectives.
Each team would have different objectives, different methodologies and even completely different ways of thinking. This would often lead to disorganised operations, with each department pulling in different directions.
If businesses wanted to truly align their operations, they would have to get each of these teams on the same page.
The solution: Quick wins with one goal
As mentioned above, the key to a good alignment strategy is to move from being product-focused to being customer-centric. However, once this strategy is laid out, you have to obtain buy-in from the different departments.
Forrester believes that the best way to do this is through quick wins to gain buy-in throughout the process that allow you to work toward your long-term goals. For example, if marketing needs a tool to gain greater insights into customers, perhaps that information would be beneficial as to what the sales team would need to land a major account. In addition, the data could be useful to help products develop their offering to be more relevant and useful.
In short, achieving quick wins should have a ‘everyone wins’ ethos. However, each quick win should drive the company towards longer term goals. If your goal is to drive revenue growth, each win should incrementally add to that goal - or whatever you outline in your strategy.
Creating and driving demand with aligned campaigns
In addition to your company becoming aligned, you need to align your marketing campaigns to your new strategy as well. Businesses that neglect to do this often have teams with a shared ethos, but struggle to connect to their customers.
As mentioned above, your campaigns should be customer centric. For this Forrester gave some helpful tips you can use to define your customers and adapt to their changing needs.
Defining your customer
It’s critical to understand your ideal customer and understand which personas are fundamental in the buying process. To define your customer, you need to associate certain attributes to the persona you want to target, namely:
- Functional attributes - what they functionally need from your product
- Emotive attributes - what emotions drive them
- Behavioural attributes - communication types, desired content
- Decision process attributes - what they need to know before moving to the next buyer stage
Once you have defined their attributes, you need to be able to create and change your content to their needs, based on where they are in the buyer’s journey. Everything flows downstream from addressing audience needs, so don't reset their journey from the beginning by misunderstanding where they are in the buying process.
When creating content that shifts and adapts to your customers, you should keep in mind that the questions they need answering will change as they become closer to a sale. Therefore, you need feedback from your customers and the market. Pay attention to shifting trends and what gets customers to ultimately make the decision to purchase.
Align for success
Aligning your organisation can reap massive benefits for your business. Having every department, stakeholder and process pushing in the right direction not only achieves success faster, but strengthens your brand consistency and defines your voice as a company.
If you would like some guidance for your own digital marketing and insight generation, contact LeadFabric today. We’ll examine your needs, set up a solid plan and get you on the road to success in no time.