The topic of this article is the one everyone’s familiar with. Every single company wants to shorten sales cycle and increase revenue. It’s related to their goals and their core existence.
What can we do to get relevant clients faster and, at the same time, increase the size of our deals to increase the revenue?
Today, the mystery’s being revealed.
I’m gonna explain to you the way we, at Funky Marketing, work, and by doing that I wanna show you the way you can do it, too, for your company.
Our main focus is on Linkedin. We’re in B2B, and it’s kinda an obvious choice. This is where our target audience spends most of their working hours.
Linkedin, as a platform, is focused on people, on individuals. The mission of LinkedIn is simple: connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.
It’s a no-brainer what you need to do to be successful there.
So, we go in two ways.
From a personal perspective
We build personal brands of the people from the company. In most cases, those are decision-makers (including the CEO) and members of the marketing and sales teams.
It’s important to involve the CEO from day one because the motivation comes from the top. If the CEOs are not in from the very start, it might not work and you can quit at this point.
My recommendation is to only work with people that are aligned with you in thinking and understand what it takes for your strategy to work. It makes life easier.
So, what’s the process for shorten sales cycle?
We do the monthly interview with each person involved in the strategy. That’s how we find out who they are, what they do, what do they struggle with, with problems they solve, etc. We find out who they are as a person, the way they communicate.. Are they funny?
We use interviews and we use existing content from the website, at first.
A lot of B2B companies have good content on the website, created over keywords, and focused on SEO. Ok, being focused on SEO instead of being focused on people is not great, but it is the content we can use to distribute. In most cases, this content has been seen by 14 people (employees and their relatives), and shared only once, on the company pages.
We mix personal stories with hammering over pain points.
After all, the goal is to get results, right?
No matter if you’re selling a beer or enterprise software, all marketing is ultimately person to person. That’s why authenticity, collaborative storytelling, and brand purpose have such currency in B2B marketing.
B2B buyers are looking for a compelling “what the fuck is there for me” reason to buy.
And it goes beyond features.
And beyond price.
Pretty much every business software application increases efficiency or improves operations in some shape or form. I’m generalizing for the sake of context.
Those things aren’t differentiators. They are a basic requirement for market consideration.
Implementing a new business solution, in most cases, requires change on the part of employees, and unless the current pain is very great, people generally resist change.
Successful B2B marketing is about explaining how the new solution will make life better, not only for the product champion but all the other users and stakeholders as well.
Thaaat’s where it gets complicated.
To not end standing alone in the corner at the party, skip the explanations of marketing automation processes, the intricacies of content marketing strategy and craft, and data-driven marketing.
Focus on customers and tell a damn good story.
So personal stories, results, testimonials, reviews, processes, experience, sharing knowledge.. This is what we invest in, from a personal level perspective.
We produce enough content for hitting all the stages in their buyers’ journey.
We create personal brands of the people involved in the strategy and we start making thought leaders out of them.
That’s why, when we work with B2B companies, we check if they have a good culture and established values.
Why is the company culture important?
If they do, people know their purpose. And they are willing to talk about it.
So we create a sort of a hub inside the company. It can be just a Slack or Whatsapp group.
This is where people are:
- getting educated about Linkedin and personal branding
- getting feedback about their Linkedin posts
- sharing thoughts of what they wanna share
- engaging with other people’s posts and suggestions
We can feel if a post is gonna get traction before it is posted or scheduled because we’re seeing it in the hub. People involved with it in the hub will be involved on Linkedin, too.
Introverts, people not used to sharing, wanna dominate too when they see their colleagues dominating. To get there, they receive help from their colleagues even before they go out to Linkedin and post.
CEOs and decision-makers are involved, too, so it’s not an easy thing to do. But remember..
Linkedin is just an extension of what’s already happening inside the company. And it all starts with leadership.
On the other hand, engagement is highly important. We connect with the right people.
What does it mean to “connect with the right people”?
It means connecting with people from your target group and creating the right content is not enough. We grow their Linkedin engagement by applying the same principle Facebook algorithm uses.
On Facebook, you create a campaign based on one goal you want to achieve.
For engagement – Engagement Campaign.
For conversions – Conversion campaign.
When you choose Engagement, Facebook finds people already engaged with other Facebook pages and posts. Those who are reacting, liking, commenting, and sharing.
People already engaged with other people’s posts are more likely to engage with your posts than any other people.
Let’s move to Linkedin.
In each niche or industry, you have people with hundreds of likes and comments on their posts. They aren’t necessarily your target audience, but they are your colleagues, interested in the same content as you are.
Apply the same logic as the Facebook algorithm does.
People already engaged with other people’s posts are more likely to engage with your posts than any other people.
- Find relevant professionals in your industry
- Follow them
- Comment on their posts giving value and in-debt insights
- Go through likes and add relevant people
They will make your posts more visible.
To make it work:
- Post relevant content regularly
- Make people think
- Give value without hesitation
This personal perspective results in a few things:
- Getting messages on Linkedin
- People going to the profile, checking the Featured us section and scheduling a call
- People going to Google, searching for the person’s name, finding the website that way, and scheduling the call
We build a company’s brand by creating personal brands of the people working in the company.
From the company perspective
Besides using a blog, we suggest starting a video or audio series. The best option is to do both. It can be an interview series, or it can be a podcast.
We select several people from our target group (but those that are active and have an audience) and invite them to be guests.
Everyone likes to talk about themselves for an hour. We prepare a set of questions, ask all that we need to find out the way they’re working, the way they’re investing in new products or services, we take them through the buyers’ journey.
So we get a recorded long-form content that we can post on YouTube (YouTube is great for building a brand) – video version, and to Anchor (which then spreads it to all the leading podcast platforms) – audio.
We then repurpose the content to smaller pieces of video content or audiograms (6-8 pieces out of an hour of long-form content), add headlines and transcription, and use it on Linkedin, primarily.
We send all the versions to the guests, so they can share it on their profiles.
We use pieces with guests on our company page, where we practically build our company brand on the personal brands of our guests.
We tag them, quote them, so their network can see it. Also, at the same time, we’re connecting with respectable people from the company, to make our content more visible.
The pieces of content where we’re talking are going to the personal profile of the person hosting the podcast.
That’s how we educate potential clients with content that hits all stages of their buyers’ journey, and, at the same, time, we start a long-term relationship with them. After the podcast, we nurture that relationship and move slowly to the conversation where we can show them the way we help them solve their problems (they already know we can, at this point).
This is how it works on Linkedin, in short.
If you wanna learn more about how we create content, specifically, check the article called How to create a B2B content machine.
But.. It takes time for content to work, you say.
Yes, it’s true.
When you’re hiring a salesperson, you give them at least 3 months to close the first sale.
When you’re hiring a marketing agency, you expect to get results right away.
It doesn’t make sense.
We tell people that, if their sales cycle is 3 months long (for example), they can expect marketing to bring results in 6 months, so double the time of your sales cycle.
Now, I know it’s a struggle. In case a client wants to get results faster, we add advertising to the equation.
When I say advertising, I mean Facebook and Instagram. Eventually Linkedin.
We don’t use them to get leads. Or to get sales.
We use advertising to accelerate content consumption.
We use content such as news like articles, case studies, researches, testimonials, and distribute it via Facebook and Instagram Ads to our target groups. We’re targeting decision-makers, on one hand, and we target people that are going to use the product or the service, on the other hand.
The only thing we want them to do, at this stage, is to consume the content. Each person has 3 minutes per day to consume content. This is what we’re aiming for, no matter if it’s the decision-maker or someone else. Facebook’s gonna deliver it to them exactly when they’re most willing to read/see it.
We’re watching if the right people are reacting on a channel level, and, if they are, we’re tracking how much time they spend consuming it on the website. If they’re consuming it, then we wait.
Depending on the length of the decision-making process in the company, it’s gonna take more or less time for them to come and convert. Sometimes, a person from the company that will lead the implementation saw it, and he needs approval from the CEO, so the CEO comes and converts.
We’re only seeing it in the number of scheduled calls, demo signups, or whatever is the CTA.
This is the process.
Now, let’s zoom out.
If you do this, as a marketing, and only send sales qualified leads (SQLs) to sales, so people that clicked or said – yes, I want to talk to sales, what will happen?
Sales will say – wow, marketing is finally doing a good job! Yes, we’re getting fewer leads, but those are actually qualified leads that we can work with and close.
When they have qualified leads, they will be able to close them. And to close them faster.
So when this is the situation, the company doesn’t need 10 people in sales. They need, let’s say, two. Two experienced people that know their job.
With 10 of them, you gotta have people that don’t have all the experience. If you have two instead of 10, it means that the experience of each buyer will be amazing.
That’s how you grow your revenue and can get the money back to the product, for example.
Also, when salespeople are getting educated and highly interested buyers, they’ll be able to increase the deal size, which will additionally increase revenue.
And because deals are closed faster, sales can do something additional and different from what marketing does, like going outbound.
This is what we do for you and your business.
If done right, it increases the revenue, the personal brands of the people involved in the strategy, and it increases the company brand.