As a b2b marketer, life can sometimes feel like a balancing act - you’re juggling so many priorities, hoping to fend off anything that may throw a spanner in the works.
Unfortunately, life does happen - and when it does, it’s time to take a deep breath, remind yourself that you’re not saving lives, and plan how you’re going to deal with the situation.
So without further ado, here are the five most common b2b marketing frustrations we see time and time again, and tips on how to deal with them. We hope it helps!
1. No one knows what you do (or appreciates it)
This is the number one complaint we hear (and most of us at Bc have experienced it in previous roles too!). Most of the business thinks marketing is the colouring-in department, and you’re constantly jibed with jokes about how many meetings you have to decide on, well, colours.
The Remedy: This is a great opportunity to educate your company, demonstrating clearly how you contribute to the bottom-line. Set KPIs based on revenue (not vanity metrics) and hold yourself accountable to them and make sure you include senior stakeholders across the business in your reporting loop. Don’t be backwards in coming forward either - remember to share your wins company-wide when you hit your goals or achieve something spectacular.
Another reason you may not be seen as adding value is that Sales doesn’t see the value in what you do - which means some sales and marketing alignment is in order (but we’ll touch on that later).
2. Goal posts are constantly moving
Entrepreneurs are very skilled and talented people - but sometimes, their focus is not aligned with yours; more specifically, they focus on the long-term, while you’re looking after today and tomorrow. If you report directly to an entrepreneur, and they are constantly pulling you in different directions, you’ll know how hard this can be.
Try this on: you’ve spent the best part of two weeks preparing for a priority initiative, project planning, mobilising resources, researching and setting media budgets and creating content. Just as you’re getting ready to go live, a different and seemingly unrelated initiative takes priority. Rinse. Repeat.
The Remedy: Don’t just be a ‘yes’ person. Leaders need to hear the good and the bad, so push back when you feel strongly about something. This includes letting them know the amount of work (and dollars) that have gone into prepping for go-live.
Managing up can be difficult, but our best advice is this: Keep your cool and stick to the cold, hard facts; use data to support your recommendations; and make sure your boss knows you’ll support him/her, regardless of the decision they make.
3. Sales reps are ruining your data
Speaking of data, messy data is a constant issue in the stand-off between Marketing and Sales. How many times have you dealt with the “DO NOT CALL”-in-the-FirstName-field issue? Or had sales reps inputting their own email address instead of a lead’s when they’re at an event? What about sales reps who don’t change the prospect’s Lifecycle Stage to customer after a sale?
Mistakes like these inhibit you from using the full range of features that come with your marketing automation platform, because personalisation just can’t be a thing until the data is clean. It also makes you want to rip your hair out.
The Remedy: Marketing and sales need to have a clear process when it comes to lead management, and your sales team needs to understand the impact that these mistakes have on the business.
Don’t be afraid to show them - firsthand, the impact of dirty data, not just on you, but on prospects. To be aligned and function as one team, you need to be on the same side - that of the prospect or customer, instead of being at each other’s throats.
As for events, it helps to have a marketer around to crack the whip and make sure leads are being entered and categorised correctly.
4. Approval by committee
Inefficient approval processes are, by far, the most frustrating thing that marketers deal with on a daily basis. And the more stakeholders there are, the worse it gets.
Here’s what it looks like: you put a heap of effort into consulting the right subject matter specialists and after substantial research you draft, write, edit, design and proof an awesome piece of content. You embark on your well-designed approval process and step it through flawlessly - only to have it blocked at the final hurdle.
The anticipation of seeing the work you produced out and in-market is suddenly replaced by the urge to bang your head against a brick wall.
The Remedy: As much as you’d hate to add yet another step in the approval process, consider having an outline of whatever it is you’re producing that everyone with a stake can agree to, before the entire thing is fleshed out.
It will save you time and hassle in the long run. If you operate your approval process like a funnel, you’ll find it is easier to keep things moving. For example, you may include 6 stakeholders in the concept and outline, but just two final approvers is plenty. If they want to get another opinion, let them - as long as they provide consolidated feedback and are confident to make the final call themselves.
5. You’re only one person - but they expect you to do everything
If you’ve ever worked for a small company and been the sole marketer, then you know that feel. You’re given crazy-high KPIs and you’re expected to know it all - the strategy, tactics, and technologies associated with:
- Content marketing
- Website design and UX
- Brand development
- Website development
- Paid acquisition
- Marketing operations
- Marketing analytics
- Social media and PR
- Events and campaigns
To make matters worse, marketing is often devalued - it’s the last function that gets hired, and it’s the one with the least budget. You are often left feeling like this:
The Remedy: First, try the education piece mentioned above, and show your stakeholders just how challenging and intensive the marketing process is. Clearly display the process and time requirements against all of the initiatives your leaders want completed. Show how it is physically impossible to get everything done in even a 60-hour week. If your leaders prefer to sustain the ambitious goals and timeline and are less worried about spend, you have a business case for outsourcing.
Then, get some help. A b2b inbound marketing agency like ours can help with all of the above, and can also forecast the potential impact of the engagement on revenue.
This way you can work with the agency to prioritise goals and outsource some marketing elements, while also having the added advantage of upskilling by shadowing them.
If you happen to be looking for an agency, by the way, hit us up :)