In the recent B2B space, marketing holds the accountability for leads and sales is responsible for deal closures. However, in B2C environment, marketers are customarily more operational (which means marketing often closes deals, especially in the e-commerce world). In the B2C dominion, it is very evident who marketing’s real customer is: the people who swipe their credit or debit cards.
This doesn’t stand completely true in the B2B world. In many situations, there are many people that are involved in the buying cycle — which includes the frequent follow-ups, RFPs, demos, and MarCom before the deal is finally cracked. Generally, B2B marketers are not considered a part of the sales process; thus when a deal closes, Sales always gets credit for closing it while marketing battles to justify how they played a part in the won deal. It can be very annoying for marketers when they do not get any warranted credit for won deals closing after months and months of work, even after knowing that Sales are working on marketing-generated leads. It can be a hard pill to swallow, and to be fair, quite negative for the marketing departments that are expected to turn leads into dollars with the snap of their fingers.
What could be the solution then? Well, first-of-all, B2B marketers need to study their way of thinking. Instead of concentrating only on their “customers”, it’s time now that marketers start thinking of their customers in two separate sets: the end customer, and their sales team. Let’s take a look at each below.
CUSTOMER NO. 1 – “Sales Team”
Well, where can I start as a Marketer myself! Marketing’s first client is obviously Sales, the people who talk to your end customers on a daily basis. Your sales reps have needs that require marketing support at the “pre-sales” stage, which also includes enhancing in-house database periodically for generating leads, fostering your industry thought leadership or for creative marketing collaterals. Without any of these marketing efforts, your sales reps would have a slight chance of having too many leads to reach out and hardly any content to aid as touch points with their buyers. That’s the precise reason why product marketing and content marketing will always play such a large role in most mature B2B companies.
CUSTOMER NO. 2 – “End Customer”
Now comes the real one! Marketing’s second customer is the end user (the deal makers). In most organizations, Marketing is at least partially responsible for making sure the end user is happy and engaged on a timely basis. This covers building creative content in the form of infographics, user scenarios, white papers, webinars, and press releases media promotions, along with having a social media presence, syndicating content, organizing and attending events, creating customer stories, and much more. The end customer should feel like your company is real, your product is real, and most notably, you are real. Just imagine – would you be buying from a firm whose content is constantly immaterial or unhelpful, or if they did not have an intelligible brand message? Chances are, perhaps NO! That’s the reason why marketing exists.
To summarize, both these customers’ types are likewise vital to drive marketing efforts. If you emphasize solely on CUSTOMER NO.2 (End Customer), you will likely have problems internally. The same goes if you focus totally on your CUSTOMER NO. 1 (Sales Team). Remember the simple logic, if sales’ numbers go up, marketing’s value invariably goes up with it.