In these competitive times in Singapore and the region, it’s not enough for marketers to just build brand awareness. In a study of CEOs and decision makers by Fournaise Marketing Group, 73% of them said that CMOs lack the ability to grow their organisations’ top line in terms of more customer demand, more sales, more prospects, more conversions or more market share. Also, 77% had issues with all the talk about brand equity that can't be linked to actual firm equity or any other financial metric.
Clearly it’s no longer enough for marketers to just put together messaging pieces and disseminate thought leadership material. To become indispensable, marketers need to accelerate deals by creating new conversations. These conversations could be both with new clients as well as with existing clients around new solution sets.
How can Marketers help with Accelerating Deals?
Permission for a new conversation is acquired when events, speaking opportunities, direct marketing (email and telemarketing) and digital marketing are coupled with strong ‘calls to action’. A call to action is driven by offering experiences- a free workshop or relevant research or a unique point of view. Permission for a new conversation that uncovers a client need is a lead.
Marketers need to collaborate with the business in filling up their pipeline with qualified leads. This will help sales teams to optimise their efforts. In the case of professional services firms where the subject matter experts’ time is billable and highly valuable, this will enable them to focus on pursuing high potential sales opportunities.
Marketers also need to take the ownership of tracking these leads. In the age of distraction and information overload, the permission to engage in a conversation with a client is very valuable. So it’s critical that marketing helps companies realise full value out of this permission by ensuring that leads are followed up immediately and nothing falls through the cracks.
The Power of Storytelling and Video
Storytelling cuts through competitive clutter far more effectively and has greater influence over buying behaviours. Marketers need to proactively recruit clients to be featured in client stories. In a client story, you can demonstrate how you have partnered with a client to address their business issues and achieve results.
Get your clients to talk about how your solution helped them to achieve their strategic objectives. It makes your company’s expertise and accomplishments real in ways other materials cannot. Client Stories can be in printed format or in Video. Gadgets like Flip camera make it very easy to create high quality HD videos.
In Singapore and parts of Asia, broadband and smartphone penetrations are very high. This presents marketers opportunities to engage with clients and prospects through digital marketing and social media. Client stories can be promoted through your website and social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter. Also, pages with video seem to rank higher in search results with Google giving you higher visibility.
Also, if there are multiple subject matter experts across various locations contributing to a proposal, you can create a video showcasing their expertise for the client project. Provide videos as part of the proposal. Let the pursuit team run them during the pitch. The clients will value your team’s commitment in helping them succeed and will position you to win their business.
The Importance of Metrics and Communication
It’s also important to measure the results of your marketing campaigns and socialise them internally. Track leads as they progress to opportunities and wins because what gets measured gets done. Provide business leaders regular updates about the number of leads, conversion to wins and the resulting increase in revenue. Seek opportunities to publicise these results through town halls and internal employee newsletters. This will raise the profile of marketing internally and help you to recruit more advocates.
Once marketing driven incremental revenue starts pouring in, more and more business leaders will reach out to you to seek your support with their business development plans. The quality of your conversations will improve. Your team will no longer be seen as a cost center. And you will be perceived as a true business partner driving growth and increasing revenues.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Maneesh is a regional marketing director for a global professional services company and also the Asia Pacific advisory board member in Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. He has lived in Singapore for over 10 years, has travelled extensively across Asia, the Pacific, and the Middle East, and contributed to the success of many diverse teams in the B2B space. In 2011, he received Brand Leadership Award for Excellence in Branding & Marketing conferred by CMO Asia.