Talking Turkey – Scot Mckee

If you have a vested interest in the future commercial success of your business (and I hope you do), then you need to do the following:

1. Read this blog.

2. Buy this book.

 

1. Scot McKee is not a turkey. He just talks it. Straight down the line, in between the eyes or as he would say “right in the goolies”. 

Scot is a living, breathing, walking, talking and sometimes shouting example of why organisations that sell business to business need to get to grips with what a brand is and does and means and the implicit value of differentiation. I suspect most of you don’t know him (yet), but you should; and here’s why.

Scot helps businesses that sell to other businesses to realise, optimise and capitalise  on what it is about them that their customers come to know, trust and value. He helps organisations understand that what they are and have is a Brand and then he helps them develop and exploit the value of that brand in a way that is quite possibly unique in the B2B world.

What’s most interesting about him is that he does this in a way that makes perfectly logical sense to those who consider themselves “not marketing”. He talks in plain English (sometimes really plain English!), in commercial terms and he presents his approach in a manner that everyone around the boardroom table and across the company can understand and contribute to.

In today’s hyper connected world, when it is easy to get side-tracked and distracted by “new” and flash and cool stuff, Scot provides the perfect tonic and roadmap that makes it easy for business owners and leaders to understand and engage in.

If you’re in the B2B business, today I don’t think you have a choice about whether to engage in developing your “brand”, you’re already up to your neck in it, whether you know it or not.

If that’s the case you could do a great deal worse than checking out Scot McKee and his company BirdDog and….

2. buying his latest book: Creative B2B Branding (no, really). You can find it on Amazon here. (and for your reassurance) I am not on commission or doing the “affiliate” thing. I can just tell you that in the last 20+ years of working in this space, this is without question the clearest, most entertaining and pertinent explanation of what a Brand is and means to B2B AND what you can and should do about it. It’s highly irreverent (thank goodness) and provides  entirely practical and straightforward advice.

Of course you’ll find a lot of free and very entertaining stuff on his site and blog too.

Why am I telling you all this?

I like what Scot does and how he does it. It is rare to find someone so well differentiated and bold in their approach and I applaud him for both things. He also makes me laugh out loud…and that’s all together more important.

 

 

 

Market Less – Sell More

Most people will have heard of the “Sales Funnel”.  This is a simple concept. You put lots of Prospects in the top, move them through the sales process and over a period of time some of the Prospects come out as Customers at the bottom. If you keep doing that and refining the processes as you go, you should be able to make this a reasonably predictable model. I.e I get 100 people interested each month and I convert 60 of them each month to customers. The job then is to improve the conversion rate and reduce the cost of selling etc – but that’s a different blog.

What many will be involved in but probably not aware of is Marketing’s version of this.

It’s the same principle however. I market to lots of people, attract a proportion of them, engage some of them, get a few of them to leave details or download something or maybe even agree to a sales appointment.

In many instances, Marketing’s funnel actually feeds Sales’ funnel, so the ones that drop out Marketing’s funnel go into the top of the one marked “Sales” as a Prospect….see what I mean?

So what?

Well you see the Marketing funnel never really worked in the Business to Business (B2b) World.

Everyone sort of secretly knew it too.

It’s just that “doing lots of marketing” feels good. It makes agencies happy and keeps them in business, it helps keep marketing teams in a job and it allows everyone to point at the list of events they’ve done this year or the number of emails they’ve sent or the number of press cuttings and the amount they’ve spent on telemarketing etc.

It was a bit annoying however when the pesky sales team would tend to moan that none of this actually made much difference to the leads and opportunities they were keen to work on.  That would happen at least once a month.

It also got a bit more difficult each quarter when the Sales Director and Marketing Director would meet round a big table with other important looking people and would “agree to disagree”.

The worst time of all was when it came to the end of the Financial Year and the really annoying people who count the money would question whether having spent so much, there was any return in view.

It was usually OK because someone would shout, “Brand Awareness” and everyone would relax again.

And anyway that only really lasted until the Xmas party and then the budgets or “allocations” were set and we could do the whole thing again.

It’s a bit different now though.

Now there’s less time, less tolerance and a lot less money. There’s also a lot more competition and fewer customers too.

What’s happening now is that savvy marketers are realising what it was that sales were doing which made so much sense.

You see marketing had; agencies (of many and varied types), Marcomms managers, PR Managers, direct mail, CRM, Marketing Automation (ho ho!), Digital etc etc.

Sales people on the other had a car, a phone, 24hrs in a day, a fat carrot in front of them and a pointy stick behind them.

On the whole the sales people per capita and per £ invested, tended to find and deliver considerably more revenue and profit.

So argue, shout, defend and debate all you like….but I’ll let you in on a secret. The people round the big table and the ones with their hands on the bank account..know it’s true too.

So, the savvy marketers are giving up on their own idea of a funnel and are enjoying the simple benefits that thrift can bring. They are going back to their routes of research, proposition development, market testing, sales support and customer engagement.

They are in fact, spending a lot less and achieving a lot more.

Now there’s a thing.

B2B Marketing – Wakey, Wakey….!

Top Tip:

Business to Business Marketeers. People who buy things from your company are people first, job role second, company representative third. Try communicating with them in that order, you may find you get more success.

Here’s the logic:

People may spend 8 hours a day at work but, in the main they do that so that they can spend more time outside work doing the things that make them happy. Beyond being an IT Director or an Admin Assistant, you may well find that the person with whom you want to interact is also a man or a woman. They may also have a long term partner, husband or wife or children. They may be really young or consider themselves middle aged or even old. They may be gay or straight, they might be a risk taker or risk averse. They may even have some aspirations and objectives they want to attain, like getting promoted, working abroad, raising happy healthy children, putting their children through private school, buying a posh car, being seen by their peers as being excellent, or by their boss as being indispensible or by their industry as a thought leader.

That’s a lot of things they might be or want before they consider themselves to be “the IT Director” .

If people buy from people, isn’t it about time we learned to communicate with each other like that?

B2B Marketing needs to wake up and smell the coffee before it becomes and anachronism.