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The Great Resignation: What Entrepreneurs Need to Know & Do to Retain Talent

The Great Resignation: What Entrepreneurs Need to Know & Do to Retain Talent

The Snapshot

In 2020 as the pandemic raged, many businesses were forced to make excruciating decisions. Some business owners were forced to reduce pay, others were forced to lay off employees, while others were forced to shut the doors completely. During this period where fear and uncertainty weighed heavily over the populace, many people with secure careers hunkered down to weather the storm. Now, as the pandemic gets further in our rear-view mirror, and things are starting to get back to normal, professionals across an array of industries are calling it quits giving credence to the namesake; “The Great Resignation”. Why is it that only a year earlier people were holding onto their jobs, and today people are walking away in droves. Given this undeniable trend is in full effect, what should entrepreneurs and business leaders do to retain the talent they’ve worked so hard to recruit.

Understanding the Great Resignation

Employee Mindset During the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic is without question an event that will have made its mark on everyone who’s lived through it. It reached far and wide to alter the lives of every person regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, nationality, etc. As the pandemic raged on in 2020, we saw various aspects of our society impacted in significant ways on the daily. With daily infection and death records seemingly being broken day in and day out it seemed less clear as events unfolded when we would see some form of a peak or a plateau? Frustratingly, we did see several peaks only to be followed by a surge in numbers that made us wish for the numbers that freaked us out only a month before.

Furthermore, a global pandemic was not all that we had to worry about in 2020. Every time we turned on the news we were met with atrocity after atrocity.

Here’s Just a Few Low-Lights of 2020
  • Australia caught on fire
  • Political divide in the US
  • Death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Alton Sterling, and too many more
  • The worst recession in US history
  • Harvey Weinstein
  • Tensions with Iran
  • Death of Kobe Bryant
  • Murder Hornets
Murder Hornets

The bottom line is that 2020 was a multifaceted crucible of fear and anxiety that uniformly took a toll on mental health. Throughout all this uncertainty, if you had a job/career, you held onto it.

Employee Mindset in the Post Pandemic World

As we rolled the odometer moving from 2020 to 2021 there was still much to be concerned about. However, largely thanks to an effective and safe vaccine for the pandemic (I wish that we had a vaccine for the aforementioned items) the overwhelming and pervasive sense of fear and anxiety is receding. As these clouds roll back people are emerging changed. The consistent presence of fear and uncertainty have impressed upon all of us that life is short, life is fragile, and we only have one shot.

Effectively, many people have felt something akin to a “wake up call” and are approaching life with the new outlook and point of view. Yes, their job is secure, and it pays the bills, but are they really happy? Do they derive joy from their 2-hour commute? Do they feel appreciated by their coworkers and leaders? Do they feel a sense of fulfillment from their work? Is what they’re doing with their time in alignment with their purpose and passion? The answer of “no” is coming back in resounding abundance, and thus you have “The Great Resignation” amongst employees with secure, and high paying careers.

Work used to be about paying bills, buying things, increasing prestige, etc. Now, people are aware more than ever as to the importance of their time and aligning it with something more deeply rooted in deep satisfaction, meaning, and fulfillment.

The Best Strategy to Retain Talent

Given the “higher order” of needs many are pursuing with their careers compared against the traditional or status quo hallmarks of success, business owners and business leaders must form appropriate strategies to retain the talent they’ve worked so hard to requit. The simplest question that entrepreneurs and business leaders need to address is as follows….

How can I/we help employees find joy, satisfaction, fulfillment, and purpose in their work?

The Macro Answer | Autonomy & Agency

The macro answer as to how entrepreneurs and business leaders need to frame their thinking about retaining talent through the great recession can be found within two simple words: autonomy & agency.

Definitions

Autonomy: a self-governing state

Agency: the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power:OPERATION

Effectively, we’re talking about some very basic human principles here. These people leaving the same good paying jobs that the clung to only a few months ago want their lives to matter. They don’t want to be a drone doing the same mindless work that offers no impression of tangible impact. They are seeking some deeper meaning to what they do and how they spend their time, and status quo will simply not cut it for many of them. With this in mind, here are four specific angles entrepreneurs and business leaders need consider if they want to keep their top talent by providing Autonomy and Agency.

Power to Author Their Narrative Part 1 | Control

What we’re talking about here is the fundamental principle of one having control of their destiny. We are all living our own lives and we want to have some control on where we go and what we do. Empower your employees with the ability to have a say in how they spend their time and energy relative to achieving their job

Power to Author Their Narrative Part 2 | Aspirational Future

As your employees what they want to do and where they want to go within your company. Really listen to them and work with them to shape what this future looks like. Then create an attainable path to help them achieve this plan. Invite them into the story and you will connect them with an aspirational state of what they can be.

Power to Work Where They Want

For most of us we’ve crossed the line of working from home vs. working within an office and we’ve realized it really is possible. Given this is the case many people are thinking thoughts such as

“Wait, I don’t really have to spend two hours of my day commuting to and from an office.”

“Why am I living in this area when where I really want to live is ______________?”

Give them freedom, within reason, to live where they want to live, and/or consider a continuation of remote working if that meets the employee’s desire. In any case, what you’re really looking to do is give your people a choice in the matter rather than exerting an authoritarian mandate over them.

Power to Work When They Want

For some jobs it’s a requirement to work certain hours. If you’re in sales or customer service, you need to revolve your schedule around the schedule of your clients. However, there are some jobs or task within a job that are not directly reliant upon standard office hours. Again, give your people more of a choice as to when they perform their job functions so long as those core job functions get done.

The Wrap Up

As the US continues to deal with the great recession, the most important thing for leaders to do is learn how to retain their top talent. Giving your employees autonomy and agency at work will not only help them find joy in what they’re doing but it may also drive sales for you as well! There are many ways that companies can provide these two things: Power over narrative; Aspirational future; Freedom of where they live or remotely working; Flexible hours. Find out which tip would be best suited for your company and give the people who make up your team a choice on how they want to spend their time during this challenging economic period. Remember, your people are so much more than a means to and end for you and your company. They are people with their own lives, their own families, hopes, dreams, and ambitions. By giving them agency and autonomy, you’re giving them choice and freedom. You are creating an opportunity to connect what they do with their own unique higher purpose.

As a premium consulting firm one of our greatest pleasures is helping connect entrepreneurs and business leaders with the higher order of their employee’s needs. The results are all too often astounding when you align what someone does with their purpose, passion, and who they want to become.

Resources

LinkedIn: The Great Resignation is Here

Forbes: Workers are Quitting Their Jobs in Record Numbers, As the US Experiences a Booming Job Market

NPR: As the Pandemic Recedes, Millions of Workers are Saying ‘I Quit’

US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS)

7 Benefits of Letting Employees Work Remotely

Stop Wasting Money and Adopt the Marketing is Sales at Scale Mindset

Stop Wasting Money and Adopt the Marketing is Sales at Scale Mindset

The Common Problem | Sales vs. Marketing

Why is it that since the dawn of time Sales and Marketing departments have been bitter foes? In the first company that ever existed was Cain the VP of Sales and Able the VP of Marketing, or maybe it was the other way around. At companies around the world these departments seem to view the other as the personification of their respective cliches. Marketers see salespeople as flashy, jet-setting attention seekers, that drive fast cars, and wear fancy clothes. Respectively, salespeople all too often see their marketing colleagues as vegan moustachioed hipsters, jonesing for their next IPA or pour-over coffee, depending upon the time of day of course. 

The bottom line is that there is a palpable line of delineation between these respective departments. Not surprisingly this division serves only to draw a negative impact on team harmony, company culture, customer experience, and revenue. To be clear this is a manufactured division that consistently exists across a myriad of companies for no other reason than the detestable and inexcusable reason of “because it’s always been that way”.

No company should suffer the cost from this self-inflicted division between Marketing and Sales departments. What companies truly need is a transformational alignment between these respective departments. A transformational alignment that’s brought about by Marketing and Sales understand their respective roles in the sales cycle, and most importantly for Marketing to assume the ethos of “Sales at Scale”.

The Marketing Ethos “Sales at Scale”

Let’s be clear about something; Marketing and Sales are on the same team when it comes to the sales cycle. In the context of how Marketing and Sales should work together in an ideal sales cycle we should look no further than how major league baseball teams handle their pitching rotation in a nine inning game. Simply put, in baseball you have the starting pitcher that starts the game, throws four to six innings, and sets up the rest of the game for a successful outcome. The middle relief pitcher comes in for a couple of innings to move the game along, and finally, you have the fabled “closer” that comes in the 8th or 9th inning to bring the heat, and secure the win. This is precisely how the roles of Marketing and Sales should play out in the sales cycle. Marketing serves as the first encounter with a prospect, and they carry the prospect forward in the sales cycle. Naturally, as things progress Sales comes in to carry the engagement forward and closes the deal.

Once this fundamental principle of how Marketing and Sales should work together in harmony as part of the sales cycle is understood the “Sales ast Scale” mentality can take hold. The “Sales at Scale” mentality is simply the understanding of Marketing’s role in the sales process and that they are responsible for setting up the Sales team for bountiful success. In this manner Marketing is an extension of Sales, with the main difference being they tell the story at the front-end of the sales cycle with a megaphone. Marketing’s role is to reach out far and wide telling the story of your company to would be prospects. Prospects that answer the call are to be greeted with phenomenally helpful content that directly resonates with their pains and desires. Additional relevant content is made effortlessly available to the prospect until such time they pass the threshold where they become a “sales qualified lead”, at which time the sales reps come in to do what they do best.

This is “Sales at Scale” at work, and it’s far removed from the unfortunate oppositional state of Marketing and Sales departments at most companies.

Marketing’s “Sales at Scale” Ethos Comes Down to Revenue

According to NAICS 88% of the 17,310,600 businesses in the US produce under $10 million dollars a year in revenue. These businesses do not need their Marketing and Sales departments bickering the way they’ve always done. Leaders need to lead out of the status quo and towards a more harmonious way of doing business that provides a better buying experience for the customer, happier employees, and more revenue. Businesses must shape the narrative so that Marketing and Sales understand they each have tremendous responsibility relative to the sales cycle. Once Marketing fully embraces and implements the “Sales at Scale” ethos they can enable the Sales team to experience more success than ever before. Reject status quo, embrace the “Sales at Scale” ethos, and set your company up for the success it deserves. 

5 Fundamental B2B Marketing Trends for 2021

5 Fundamental B2B Marketing Trends for 2021

Overview

Marketing is all about change and it’s time to take a look at what trends can’t be ignored as we take strides to strategically move forward while accounting for the lasting impact of COVID. A pattern from recent years has been that B2B marketing will continue to evolve, with more influence of B2C making a big impact. In an effort to ensure marketing budgets see maximum returns here are five B2B marketing trends for 2021 that businesses should acknowledge and embrace.

Acceleration of Digital Marketing

Marketing is not just a digital thing anymore. Brands are now adapting to the new world in which we live and as such, have been focusing on creating better strategies for marketing themselves digitally rather than only using traditional methods of advertising. Digital consumption has become more popular among users worldwide due to factors like generational changes within today’s workplaces along with rapid advancements in technology that make it easier for people everywhere to enjoy connecting and interacting online 24/7 from their computers or mobile devices all over the globe.

For this reason, 2021 will be the year that B2B firms adopt a truly digital-first and digital-centric approach to marketing. And they will see it as their responsibility for pushing digital strategies harder and with greater focus on using data better in order to accelerate growth.

Three areas where digital acceleration is sure to play out are as follows.

Video Content

Because it’s no longer a novelty, B2B firms are now gravitating towards video content and use of videos will increase in order to make marketing more effective. Ultimately, the focus should be on supplying helpful and captivating content that your would-be customers could engage with to learn more about how your company can directly solve their business challenges.

Virtual Events

The conference and trade show business are on it’s heels and it will be awhile before anything that resembles the past takes shape. Therefore, if you’ve relied on tradeshows before you need to take a concerted effort to shift to a more digital event strategy. Leveraging webinars and livestreams is a great way to achieve this. This is becoming a noiser space so if you want your webinar or virtual event to be noticed you’re likely going to have to take a more creative approach.

Intent-Based SEO & SEM

Organic and paid search are not new to B2B marketers, but the rise of digital consumption has pushed these marketing professionals into investing more heavily in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). However, it is more important than ever before to move from a “key-word” based approach to a more intent-focused approach. Get in your prospects’ heads and think about how they might approach a google search relative to the problems your products and services solve, and create content around that.

Artificial Intelligence and Marketing

Artificial intelligence has a future in the marketing world. Companies are now using it to develop new messages to offer more personalized content, messages that will resonate with their target audiences. In 2021 artificial intelligence will play an important role in marketing as the technology continues to get smarter and smarter. It is not so much about having a chatbot talk to users but rather about having AI help companies reach out to prospects by learning from the data that they have and applying those learnings to create new messages for them.

Artificial intelligence can seem a bit like “snake oil” from days gone by, but it is something companies who wish to be a leader in their domain must focus on. There are a growing number of companies showing up that promise to put the power of artificial intelligence to work for you to help make your life easier, uncover hidden insights, help you prioritize your leads, and so on. It is best to explore these companies while still exercising a sizable amount of caution relative to the promises they purport to bring.

Here is a brief list of more notable vendors offering artificial intelligence powered solutions to marketers.

Chorus – a transcript and audio analysis company that derives insights as to how messaging can be improved

Crystal – integrates DISC personality insights into sales processes

6sense – AI powered predictive analytics and lead scoring

Customer Centric Marketing

There’s a bit of a paradox when dealing with current customers in terms of sales and marketing. On one hand selling to current customers is quite a bit easier (given there is a good relationship) because there already is a basis of trust, there is an existing relationship, and the contractual thresholds have been established which offers a much fewer “red-tape” based sales impediments. This is all wonderful because it puts the prospect of generating revenue well within reach. However, marketing to current customers is far more challenging than marketing to net-new prospects because of the additional elements to the equation. For example if you’re going to market to your current customers and minimize the chance of pissing them off or looking foolish you must factor in elements such as how long they’ve been a customer, are they currently happy with your products or services, what is it exactly that they own, how many support calls have they been placing, etc.

There certainly is gold in terms of revenue generating opportunity within your existing customer base, but it can be a risky endeavour that should not be entered into without careful thought and planning. If we all agree that customer experience is king then the last thing we want to do is risk harming that because of an easy bone-headed mistake.

Move Beyond Traditional Marketing Strategies

Combined with the blistering speed at which we experience change in this digital world with the game-changing aspects of the pandemic we have a new basis to operate when it comes to b2b marketing strategies. “Tried and true” marketing strategies may not be enough to cut through the noise and make an impact on your target audience in this new world we’re operating within.  Successful companies will need to follow a mix of traditional and new marketing strategies, while placing greater emphasis on the daring and creative. Marketing teams should be given greater creative license to experiment in an effort to reach and make an impact on your target audience. Creativity and risk is quickly becoming the new standard in terms of marketing strategy at successful companies.

Clarity & Enablement

Your clients are assaulted nearly every second of every day by companies looking to grab their attention. One of the best ways to stand out is to have an intentional focus on clarity. It can be tempting for marketers to become a bit more “cute” with their marketing content, but do so at your peril. The harder you make it for your prospects to understand what you do relative to the business challenges they have, the less effective your company will be in terms of generating revenue opportunities. Embrace the “less is more” ethos in terms of creating your content. “Call the thing what the thing is” when you’re trying to convey a message to your prospect. Be direct, clear, and concise. This is one of the most basic yet most challenging principles in marketing because the prospect of “adding more”, or using whimsical turns of phrase seem fun, fresh, and new. However, keep in mind that “more is not more”, rather “less is more”. Create your message, and then strip it down to the bare essentials letting anything unnecessary hit the cutting room floor. When it comes to clarity, be ruthless when it comes to stripping down your messaging.

Conclusion

It is inevitable that as the world around us changes, so will marketing. The five b2b marketing trends for 2021 we’ve discussed are just a starting point for what you can expect to see in b2b marketing over the coming years. Keep your eye on these evolving trends and build effective digital strategies accordingly. However, always remember that you are marketing to people. People are at their core fickle emotional beings, and that will likely not change anytime too soon.

Market Muse – AI powered content research and writing

Chorus – a transcript and audio analysis company that derives insights as to how messaging can be improved

Crystal – integrates DISC personality insights into sales processes

6sense – AI powered predictive analytics and lead scoring

Customer Centric Marketing

There’s a bit of a paradox when dealing with current customers in terms of sales and marketing. On one hand selling to current customers is quite a bit easier (given there is a good relationship) because there already is a basis of trust, there is an existing relationship, and the contractual thresholds have been established which offers a much fewer “red-tape” based sales impediments. This is all wonderful because it puts the prospect of generating revenue well within reach. However, marketing to current customers is far more challenging than marketing to net-new prospects because of the additional elements to the equation. For example if you’re going to market to your current customers and minimize the chance of pissing them off or looking foolish you must factor in elements such as how long they’ve been a customer, are they currently happy with your products or services, what is it exactly that they own, how many support calls have they been placing, etc.

There certainly is gold in terms of revenue generating opportunity within your existing customer base, but it can be a risky endeavour that should not be entered into without careful thought and planning. If we all agree that customer experience is king then the last thing we want to do is risk harming that because of an easy bone-headed mistake.

Move Beyond Traditional Marketing Strategies

Combined with the blistering speed at which we experience change in this digital world with the game-changing aspects of the pandemic we have a new basis to operate when it comes to b2b marketing strategies. “Tried and true” marketing strategies may not be enough to cut through the noise and make an impact on your target audience in this new world we’re operating within.  Successful companies will need to follow a mix of traditional and new marketing strategies, while placing greater emphasis on the daring and creative. Marketing teams should be given greater creative license to experiment in an effort to reach and make an impact on your target audience. Creativity and risk is quickly becoming the new standard in terms of marketing strategy at successful companies.

Clarity & Enablement

Your clients are assaulted nearly every second of every day by companies looking to grab their attention. One of the best ways to stand out is to have an intentional focus on clarity. It can be tempting for marketers to become a bit more “cute” with their marketing content, but do so at your peril. The harder you make it for your prospects to understand what you do relative to the business challenges they have, the less effective your company will be in terms of generating revenue opportunities. Embrace the “less is more” ethos in terms of creating your content. “Call the thing what the thing is” when you’re trying to convey a message to your prospect. Be direct, clear, and concise. This is one of the most basic yet most challenging principles in marketing because the prospect of “adding more”, or using whimsical turns of phrase seem fun, fresh, and new. However, keep in mind that “more is not more”, rather “less is more”. Create your message, and then strip it down to the bare essentials letting anything unnecessary hit the cutting room floor. When it comes to clarity, be ruthless when it comes to stripping down your messaging.

Conclusion

It is inevitable that as the world around us changes, so will marketing. The five b2b marketing trends for 2021 we’ve discussed are just a starting point for what you can expect to see in b2b marketing over the coming years. Keep your eye on these evolving trends and build effective digital strategies accordingly. However, always remember that you are marketing to people. People are at their core fickle emotional beings, and that will likely not change anytime too soon.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Jarvis.ai (formerly Conversion.ai) – an AI powered content writing tool

Market Muse – AI powered content research and writing

Chorus – a transcript and audio analysis company that derives insights as to how messaging can be improved

Crystal – integrates DISC personality insights into sales processes

6sense – AI powered predictive analytics and lead scoring

Customer Centric Marketing

There’s a bit of a paradox when dealing with current customers in terms of sales and marketing. On one hand selling to current customers is quite a bit easier (given there is a good relationship) because there already is a basis of trust, there is an existing relationship, and the contractual thresholds have been established which offers a much fewer “red-tape” based sales impediments. This is all wonderful because it puts the prospect of generating revenue well within reach. However, marketing to current customers is far more challenging than marketing to net-new prospects because of the additional elements to the equation. For example if you’re going to market to your current customers and minimize the chance of pissing them off or looking foolish you must factor in elements such as how long they’ve been a customer, are they currently happy with your products or services, what is it exactly that they own, how many support calls have they been placing, etc.

There certainly is gold in terms of revenue generating opportunity within your existing customer base, but it can be a risky endeavour that should not be entered into without careful thought and planning. If we all agree that customer experience is king then the last thing we want to do is risk harming that because of an easy bone-headed mistake.

Move Beyond Traditional Marketing Strategies

Combined with the blistering speed at which we experience change in this digital world with the game-changing aspects of the pandemic we have a new basis to operate when it comes to b2b marketing strategies. “Tried and true” marketing strategies may not be enough to cut through the noise and make an impact on your target audience in this new world we’re operating within.  Successful companies will need to follow a mix of traditional and new marketing strategies, while placing greater emphasis on the daring and creative. Marketing teams should be given greater creative license to experiment in an effort to reach and make an impact on your target audience. Creativity and risk is quickly becoming the new standard in terms of marketing strategy at successful companies.

Clarity & Enablement

Your clients are assaulted nearly every second of every day by companies looking to grab their attention. One of the best ways to stand out is to have an intentional focus on clarity. It can be tempting for marketers to become a bit more “cute” with their marketing content, but do so at your peril. The harder you make it for your prospects to understand what you do relative to the business challenges they have, the less effective your company will be in terms of generating revenue opportunities. Embrace the “less is more” ethos in terms of creating your content. “Call the thing what the thing is” when you’re trying to convey a message to your prospect. Be direct, clear, and concise. This is one of the most basic yet most challenging principles in marketing because the prospect of “adding more”, or using whimsical turns of phrase seem fun, fresh, and new. However, keep in mind that “more is not more”, rather “less is more”. Create your message, and then strip it down to the bare essentials letting anything unnecessary hit the cutting room floor. When it comes to clarity, be ruthless when it comes to stripping down your messaging.

Conclusion

It is inevitable that as the world around us changes, so will marketing. The five b2b marketing trends for 2021 we’ve discussed are just a starting point for what you can expect to see in b2b marketing over the coming years. Keep your eye on these evolving trends and build effective digital strategies accordingly. However, always remember that you are marketing to people. People are at their core fickle emotional beings, and that will likely not change anytime too soon.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Jarvis.ai (formerly Conversion.ai) – an AI powered content writing tool

Market Muse – AI powered content research and writing

Chorus – a transcript and audio analysis company that derives insights as to how messaging can be improved

Crystal – integrates DISC personality insights into sales processes

6sense – AI powered predictive analytics and lead scoring

Customer Centric Marketing

There’s a bit of a paradox when dealing with current customers in terms of sales and marketing. On one hand selling to current customers is quite a bit easier (given there is a good relationship) because there already is a basis of trust, there is an existing relationship, and the contractual thresholds have been established which offers a much fewer “red-tape” based sales impediments. This is all wonderful because it puts the prospect of generating revenue well within reach. However, marketing to current customers is far more challenging than marketing to net-new prospects because of the additional elements to the equation. For example if you’re going to market to your current customers and minimize the chance of pissing them off or looking foolish you must factor in elements such as how long they’ve been a customer, are they currently happy with your products or services, what is it exactly that they own, how many support calls have they been placing, etc.

There certainly is gold in terms of revenue generating opportunity within your existing customer base, but it can be a risky endeavour that should not be entered into without careful thought and planning. If we all agree that customer experience is king then the last thing we want to do is risk harming that because of an easy bone-headed mistake.

Move Beyond Traditional Marketing Strategies

Combined with the blistering speed at which we experience change in this digital world with the game-changing aspects of the pandemic we have a new basis to operate when it comes to b2b marketing strategies. “Tried and true” marketing strategies may not be enough to cut through the noise and make an impact on your target audience in this new world we’re operating within.  Successful companies will need to follow a mix of traditional and new marketing strategies, while placing greater emphasis on the daring and creative. Marketing teams should be given greater creative license to experiment in an effort to reach and make an impact on your target audience. Creativity and risk is quickly becoming the new standard in terms of marketing strategy at successful companies.

Clarity & Enablement

Your clients are assaulted nearly every second of every day by companies looking to grab their attention. One of the best ways to stand out is to have an intentional focus on clarity. It can be tempting for marketers to become a bit more “cute” with their marketing content, but do so at your peril. The harder you make it for your prospects to understand what you do relative to the business challenges they have, the less effective your company will be in terms of generating revenue opportunities. Embrace the “less is more” ethos in terms of creating your content. “Call the thing what the thing is” when you’re trying to convey a message to your prospect. Be direct, clear, and concise. This is one of the most basic yet most challenging principles in marketing because the prospect of “adding more”, or using whimsical turns of phrase seem fun, fresh, and new. However, keep in mind that “more is not more”, rather “less is more”. Create your message, and then strip it down to the bare essentials letting anything unnecessary hit the cutting room floor. When it comes to clarity, be ruthless when it comes to stripping down your messaging.

Conclusion

It is inevitable that as the world around us changes, so will marketing. The five b2b marketing trends for 2021 we’ve discussed are just a starting point for what you can expect to see in b2b marketing over the coming years. Keep your eye on these evolving trends and build effective digital strategies accordingly. However, always remember that you are marketing to people. People are at their core fickle emotional beings, and that will likely not change anytime too soon.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]
5 Reasons You Should Be Using LinkedIn for B2B Marketing

5 Reasons You Should Be Using LinkedIn for B2B Marketing

Summary

LinkedIn is an online network that connects professionals to their colleagues, friends, and business contacts. Coming in with over 500 million members in more than 200 countries and territories with a majority of users being white collar professionals, LinkedIn can be an incredible way to market your B2B products and services. Your marketing dollars are extremely valuable and in this article we will help you understand why LinkedIn deserves your attention.

5 Reasons You Should Be Using LinkedIn for B2B Marketing:

1 | Market to Who Matters

2 | One Word – Segmentation

3 | Use Your Own Lists

4 | Recently Visited

5 | Measure & Improve

1 | Market to Who Matters

As a marker who’s charged with promoting solutions across social media you’ve got many options. You’ve got Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and deciding which venue you should toss your money towards can be daunting. If you find yourself at this intersection, I can relate as I’ve been there a number of times myself, and I’ve found it helpful to focus on who I’m trying to get in front of along with what I’m trying to accomplish. Here is the basic breakdown I like to go with when considering this…

Goal: Get my B2B product & services in front of the largest number of people to achieve vast brand exposure for the least amount of money possible.

Best Social Media Platform: Facebook and/or Instagram

Goal: Get my B2B product & services in front of a specific targeted audience who is likely to have the authority to either make purchases or influence buying decisions, and get them to take some kind of action (ex. download an eBook, register for a webinar, etc)

Best Social Media Platform: LinkedIn hands down!

A Note on Perceived Cost

It is often thought that advertising on LinkedIn is very expensive as the cost-per-click (CPC) can be 3-5 times the amount of alternatives like Facebook and Instagram. While this is viewpoint is in fact true, it really is a narrow view that does not offer a complete picture into what’s really going on. LinkedIn offers a very specific kind of advertising that is much more likely to lead to an action than other options. Where Facebook and Instagram are great for creating brand awareness with the widest audience possible, LinkedIn can be used as a marketing tool where you want your offer in front of people who have a much greater chance of leading to revenue.

Simply put if LinkedIn costs 3X or 5X more per “click” than Facebook or Instagram but it has a 10X greater chance of generating a real revenue then LinkedIn is clearly your better option for revenue generation and practical return on investment.

2 | One Word – Segmentation

One of the best aspects of B2B marketing on LinkedIn is it’s ability to segment your audience into very precise groupings using an array of filters. For example, using a combination of traits such as the following will take a broad audience down to only a few thousand people who are likely to be the top decision makers of the financial industry specifically located in NY in this case…

  • Location: New York Metropolitan Area
  • Company Industry = Capital Markets, Banking, Financial Services
  • Member Interests = Finance & Economy
  • Member Age = 55+
  • Years Experience = 12+
  • Degrees = Masters of Business Administration
  • Job Title = Managing Partner

How-To Segment Lists in LinkedIn

3 | Use Your Own Lists

Given you’re coming from a B2B company it’s likely you have a particular industry you’re focused on such as hospital, banks, insurance companies, restaurants, etc. In this scenario it’s often true that you will have a CRM such as SalesForce or HubSpot where you have a good collection of contacts that occupy specific roles or have specific personas at companies your business is focused on.

Given that these are known entities at both the company level and the contact level LinkedIn offers you options to focus on these companies and contacts specifically. You simply segment the list of companies and/or contacts you want to focus your LinkedIn advertising on within your CRM and then export that list as a CSV, and then upload this “target list” into LinkedIn. Within LinkedIn you’ll simply create your campaign, and associate your targeted lists as the audience you’re after and boom!

How-To Upload Your Lists into LinkedIn

Pro Tip | HubSpot (which I’m a big fan of by the way) offers some direct ways to do this directly within HubSpot via integrations with LinkedIn.

4 | Recently Visited

Another really cool, albeit a tool for a more nuanced strategy, is the ability to target people who’ve recently visited a specific location. Let’s say there was a big event such as an industry tradeshow or a company’s user group conference in a certain city. You can combine your specific industry and contact criteria, as mentioned earlier in the “Segmentation” section, and combine that with the criteria of “recently visited” to provide a super dialed in message to this audience. This can be a very effective way to leverage a unique event-based opportunity to place a compelling message in front of your ideal group and get them to take an action that leads to a sale.

5 | Measure & Improve

This should go without saying, but the heart of the “science of marketing” is really comes down to measuring your results, disseminate insights from the data, and use this knowledge to tweak you strategy for the next go around so that you can be that much more effective. LinkedIn offers all of the standard ways to measure performance as you would expect so you can observe how effective you were in your campaign.

Conclusion | Why LinkedIn Matters to B2B Marketers

With over 400 million professionally focused members, LinkedIn is the best place for B2B marketers to spend their advertising dollars of all the social media platforms in terms of generating real sales opportunities that leads to real revenue. LinkedIn gives the B2B marketer unpresented ability to dial into a very specific audience in your company’s target market segment and deliver a hyper-specific message that has a much better chance of fostering engagement. Yes, LinkedIn may seem at first glance to be vastly more expensive than platforms such as Facebook or Instagram, but in the end it’s revenue that matters most to your company and that’s what LinkedIn can deliver. After all keep the primary objective (i.e. revenue) in focus and don’t get caught in the siren song of mere vanity metrics of impressions to a broad audience of people that will never buy your products or services.

Marketing vs. Branding: Which One is More Important to Your Business

Marketing vs. Branding: Which One is More Important to Your Business

Overview

Marketing and branding are two important aspects of business as they both help drive a company’s growth, but which one is more important? Before we can begin to address this question we must address the fact that most executives don’t fully appreciate the differences between marketing and branding. More often than not, they are viewed as one in the same. This misunderstanding is a fundamental problem that keeps businesses from maximizing their dollars spent towards marketing efforts. This article will help clearly lay out the differences between the two and help businesses understand what they should be focusing on.

Sales & Marketing | The Fundamental Differences

So, what are the fundamental differences between marketing and branding? Marketing is used to get your products in front of potential customers so that they can make purchases or cross a threshold where they become qualified leads for the sales team to engage with. Branding, on the other hand focuses more on what your company looks like to the world along with “planting a flag” in the headspace of your customer by ensuring your brand is recognizable to the customer and is associated with a set of emotions that people feel when they see or engage with your company. Branding is ultimately a matter of establishing a permanent identity within the mental landscape of your prospects. Essentially, marketing builds awareness and opportunities whereas branding builds recognition and emotional value in the mind of the customer.

Both marketing and branding are extremely important, but they achieve different objectives. Now that their purpose is clear the question is what should your business focus on?

Should Your Business Focus on Branding or Marketing?

In order to appropriately answer this question, you simply need to look at what stage your business is in. A few questions you can ask of yourself to help orient whether you should focus on marketing or branding are as follows…

1.            Is your business one of the undisputed behemoths of your domain?

2.            Is your business making $100M in annual reoccurring revenue?

3.            Does your company have it’s own user group?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then your business is likely at point where branding can begin to take precedence. In other words, branding is a primary business objective that should best be reserved for companies that are already solidly established within their domain. However, this space is occupied by only a small fraction of businesses operating today, and unless you’re clearly in this category then it’s imperative to set marketing as your highest business priority.

If at this point, you’re somewhat unclear as to exactly why marketing should be prioritized over branding for most companies then let me make it clear by asking you a simple question. Which is most important to your business right now; being recognized or making money? Revenue and profitability are king, and if you don’t feel that’s the case then revisit the questions listed above. Most businesses of the small to medium variety must prioritize the expenditure of their resources towards investments that will generate returns in the form of revenue as it is this revenue that will fuel the growth your needs.

You may think you’re making an important purchase for your business by investing in a logo redesign or new promotional materials, but these kinds of investments are at best loosely correlated with revenue generation. If you’re not adding customers to your fold that are happy provide revenue branding efforts will prove entirely fruitless. Branding can help provide some degree of differentiation from competitors, which is critical at certain stages within the competitive landscape; however, there’s no point in being recognized as desirable when your audience does not know you exist. This is what marketing does for you. Marketing efforts put you in front of prospective customers and provides you a shot an winning their business, generating revenue, and creating a happy customer that will serve as a force multiplier in terms of convincing other prospects to cross the threshold of making a purchase to become another happy customer. This is especially true in the business-to-business space as prospects are going to need much more from you than a crisp look to trust you well enough to become a customer.

Marketing Gives You a Shot

Marketing is a matter of putting your products, services, and ultimately your value in front of prospective buyers. The logic as to why marketing for most businesses is quite simple and it flows as follows…

•             The better you are at marketing your solutions the better you’ll be at creating more opportunities

•             A deep war chest of revenue paired with several happy customers gives you what you need to grow and dominate your space.

•             The more opportunities create increases your chances winning new customers and generating revenue

Once you are firmly entrenched in your space as a major player and revenue is not a problem, then you can start to focus more of your efforts on branding and appropriately reap the benefits based upon the associated benefits.

Conclusion

Marketing is the lifeblood of any company. It generates revenue and growth, but most companies focus too much on branding instead of marketing. Brands that are not marketed well cannot generate revenue or grow their business because they have no one to sell to! If you are worrying about your brand more than generating sales then it’s time for a change in strategy so start focusing on how you can drive legit sales opportunities via a range of digital marketing strategies like webinars, content that offers value to your prospects, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising, email campaigns, social media ads etc. We’ll be here every step of the way helping you learn how to use these techniques to increase your online visibility and attract new customers who will buy from you again and again!

The 5 Bitter Gifts of Failure

The 5 Bitter Gifts of Failure

Overview

Let me get one thing straight right out of the gate; I hate failing. You could say I’m one of those “hate to lose more than I love winning” kind of guys and when I fall short that feeling of failure sticks with me for a period of time (the bigger the failure the longer it sticks with me). My career in sales was able to give me a high volume of victories and failures in the form of “wins” and “losses” in a relatively short period of time, and I can assure you that unlike most things in life, failing more often does not make it any easier. So, given that failure is so bad, how is it that it can bear any gifts at all? Failure is a funny thing I’ve learned because while it is quite painful failure does provide a few bitter gifts. However, these gifts don’t just present themselves in a nice clean way when you experience failure. You have to actually do the difficult thing and sit in your failure for a moment. You have to look around and examine what external (things you can’t control) and internal (things you can control) factors brought you to this point. You have to do a bit of forensic analysis to discover what the heck happened. In military terms they call this the “after action review” and my buddy Davin Marceau (17 year Army Ranger) has a thing to say about that HERE. With that being said, here are the five gifts of failure that I’ve learned that can be applied as much to our personal lives as much as our professional lives.

The Five Gifts of Failure

  1. Hard Earned Lessons
  2. Practice Getting Up
  3. Providence
  4. A Basis for Empathy
  5. Mentorship Preparation

Hard Earned Lessons

There is a saying that “experience is the best teacher”, and I can attest that this is especially true with the experience of failure. I don’t especially like replaying the tape and forensically evaluate the path I took to failure in a certain situation. However, the displeasure I get from that far outweighs how much I simply hate the feeling of losing. So, I gladly evaluate the circumstances that lead to my failure with meticulous hindsight in an earnest attempt to learn everything I can from the situation. The better I can cement the available lessons into my methods the more likely I’ll be able to avoid finding myself in a similar circumstance. Simply put, if you do the hard work of learning as much as you can from your failure you’re that much more likely to spot any similar “red-flags” in the future, and thus avoid the same mistakes that lead to your failure. Fail fast, fail often, and fair early as the saying goes.

Practice Getting Up

One of the most bitter gifts of failure brings is the practice in getting back up again, dusting yourself off, and resetting yourself to get back in the fight. Many people feel as though it is their failures that define them, and this could not be further from the truth. What defines you is your propensity to get back up not matter how often and how viciously you get knocked down. The practice of getting up over and over is the definition of grit and resilience, and these are muscles that improve with increased exposure. In other words, the more you fail the faster you can find yourself getting back up, adapting, evolving, and getting back in the game. Getting knocked down is a part of life, and it does not mean you’re supposed to stay down. Learn the lessons from your mistakes, pick yourself back up, and go forward stronger and smarter.

Providence

Life is a funny thing when you look at certain circumstances with the benefit of hindsight. Many of us have a plan for our lives only to find that life does not give a crap about your plans, and it promptly chews your plan up and spits it back at you. What then? Well, it is not terribly uncommon to hear of situations where a failure connected that person to an opportunity that would not have otherwise manifested if it were not for that failure. These opportunities range from finding a new job, finding a new friend, or finding a spouse. As with so many other things we discuss here on the Upward Spiral this is a core feature of a high-performance mindset. When you experience failure you can choose to view things in a more open way rather than the myopic tendences failure promotes in people. You can choose to view the failure as a sort of crossroads in life that much like how a butterfly in the Amazon can cause a typhoon in the South Pacific. In other words certain events that will lead to great things for you in life start the path to manifestation through this current “failure” that you’re experiencing.

A Basis for Empathy

Have you ever had something bad happen to you, and then somebody who has zero experience or connection to the hurt your feeling tells you that “they understand” and that everything is going to be okay? Are you also like me and want to tell these people to take a hike? Simply put we don’t want sympathy from people who have not experienced what we’re going through. Their words simply are not helpful, and they only serve to exacerbate our melancholy mood. However, when someone kindly approaches you and connects to your situation with a “I’ve been there before” manner, that feels good. When people have gone through similar situations as ours, experienced the hurt we’re currently feeling, and they were able to live and grow beyond that situation, we are most inclined to hear what they have to say. We eat their words up because their experiences shows us that they truly do “get it”, and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and they may be able to help you get there faster because of their experience. These failures that you are experience suck, but they could serve as the basis for your ability to empathetically connect with someone going through the same thing in the future. In your failure you are being properly equipped to help someone in the future, and that is a powerful thing.

Mentorship Preparation

Simply put, the more you fail, the more you know. The role of mentor or “coach” is one of the most rewarding roles I have ever been in, and it is more my failures, rather than my victories, that help me connect with people and guide them. With out a doubt you will win more than you lose when you learn from your failures and keep putting yourself out there. All of this experience serves as the basis for you to firmly sit in the role of mentor to others in the future. Think of your failures as an investment in your future mentorship capacity. We are all mentors in training, and it is a moral imperative to offer our insights and wisdom to those who seek it.

Conclusion

Failure is not fun, but if you can wisely look past the initial hurt you may feel, you will find an abundance of gifts to be had. These gifts of failure are bitter to be sure, but they are gifts that really matter and will make a difference in your life and in the lives of others. So, when you fail understand that there are lessons to be learned, you get to hone the character traits of grit and resilience, other opportunities may open up for you that would not have otherwise manifested, you are able to build on your ability to empathetically connect with others, and your experience of failure is one of the most valuable building blocks of you becoming an effective mentor to others. And remember, you are not defined by your failures.