B2B Marketing

I was talking to one of the SaaS vendors and he was mentioning that their Sales & Marketing expenses were 75% to 125% of their new sales bookings. He was also mentioning that anything below 75% and anything above 125% is considered to be danger zones. I was relating this to one of my earlier posts on this “To SaaS or not to SaaS – An ISV’s perspective”.  In that post I had dealt in detail as to why ISVs may not be going for SaaS discounting the benefits of moving to SaaS.

This high percentage of Sales & Marketing expense adds another dimension to ISVs possibly not wanting to move the SaaS way. For them to be successful, it becomes extremely important for ISVs to ensure that their sales and marketing is cost-effective, for which they need to have extremely good visibility on their sales funnel and ability to predict and forecast accurately. Additionally, they need to identify metrics that would be able to measure the returns on every program that they do in the mix. Keep what brings revenue and throw what doesn’t in your marketing mix.

This also makes it necessary for the ISVs to have access to quality funding that will allow them to do increased sales and marketing spending towards achieving breakeven and eventually profitability. As more and more customers seek SaaS, this may not result in a level playing field as big platform players would be better positioned to offer them as opposed to non-funded setups. Else, you need to have substantial legacy revenue for you to easily move the SaaS way.

I’ve started writing a book on ‘how do you get your customers to buy your product or service?’ specifically with the B2B segment in mind. My writing is going to be based on the following, though not in the same order:

1. My writings will be based on the work that I did – with more focus on what one shouldn’t do rather than what one should do

2. I strongly believe in the fact that there is no such thing called the ‘right way to market’ – it would speak about the experimentation that is required and how to keep it low-cost

3. New age marketing tools like Social Media Marketing, buzz marketing etc.

4. Why is it so important not to lose focus on traditional marketing principles; for instance, value proposition and positioning statements remain sacrosanct irrespective of the medium that you choose

4. It would also have templates that would allow one to do their marketing plan

5. It would have practical examples with which one can de-risk their marketing intiatives

6. Series of interviews with marketing practitioners from different settings. These would also be covered in the book

7. Lead generation techniques, lead nurturing techniques and  its effectiveness

8. Thought leadership – it certainly is about thoughts?

9. Marketing ideas that you can take and implement immediately; ideas that wouldn’t take you more than 2 minutes to start implementing 

10. Taking it out of social marketing, specific focus is going to be on twitter – I am going tweet about this book as well effectively

I’d appreciate your comments and also appreciate inputs on what you would like to see in this book.

My customer called me into a meeting and told me that he has a peculiar problem and he wanted my opinion on it.  He said that his organization has a huge sales pipeline but they are not resulting in sales.  Where does the problem lie?

I have written a post on this in my company blog and you can view it by clicking here.

I have been having a number of discussions with some business incubators and the companies that have been incubated by them. General feeling in this community is that they don’t need marketing and they are not at a stage where they have to look at marketing. Their model is, let the technology evolve and then we will hire a PR and Advertising agency and go for a big-bang launch.

I wrote this post in my company’s blog and you can read it by clicking here

With the economy slowing down, there has been cuts in terms of spending across all functions. Marketing typically happens to be one of the first ones to receive a budget cut, for reasons beyond my comprehension. Slowdown or no slowdown, these in my mind are things that every B2B marketer should know and should implement, not in any particular order.

I wrote this post in my company’s blog and you can read it by clicking here

I responded to one of the queries that was asked by one of the contacts in my linkedin network. I wanted to share that with my blog readers as well. Here are the details of what I wrote.

Sales is really hard especially in a B2B environment. I am adding my two cents as to what needs to be done in a B2B scenario.

Here are the things that need to be done:

1. All your activities should be market-driven as opposed to marketing driven. You are better off doing what your market wants than creating a need for what you can provide

2. For every product/service that you offer, there needs to be a market position as well as a value proposition; else do not offer the product or service

3. Most companies in my mind do not even have a positioning statement, and they go with “everything to everyone” mindset. This is a very important aspect and you need to reinforce this positioning in all forms of communication, be it emailers, direct mailers, presentations, forums, blogs, social media, webinars, webcasts, newsletters, case studies, thought papers, adwords, b2b ad buys, speaking pitches and a few more that you can think of 

4. You need to have your revenue goals defined, from where you can back calculate as to the number of opportunities that you need to look at, based on history and your ability to close

5. Additionally, based on the budgets that you have towards generating the demand, you can work out activities that will get you the pipeline that you need to achieve your larger revenue goals

6. All your marketing activities need to be tightly integrated with sales, else it helps no one in particular and that includes your organization’s revenue goals.  There essentially needs to be a healthy dialogue between the lead generators and the ones who are going to act on those leads

7. For every product/service that you offer, you should be able to define your target segments and accordingly clean up your data. Minimize time and resource spent on it; maximize productivity and profits