I’ve been startled by the lack of willingness of marketing teams to experiment with initiatives outside of traditional email and content marketing. 

This default to “do what we know” mentality is a blind spot for businesses that want to grow, especially if they’re competing in crowded or hyper-competitive market segments. 

In the past few years, we are seeing some traditional B2B marketers skipping big-budget initiatives of conventional marketing in favor of low-cost options that salespeople love and, that leads to growth and engagement with their customer base.

For example, we helped one of our clients execute a survey to forty of their top customers and prospects to uncover potential needs to support new account acquisition, up-sell and cross-sell of products and services. The survey consisted of four easy-to-answer questions, where the company would submit a $50 donation in their name to the charity of their choice for completing the survey. The results were off the charts, and salespeople engaged in meaningful conversations with more than half of the twenty-five individuals that completed the survey. The initiative itself isn’t what made the difference. Success came from the approach and team they put together to make it happen.

  • Here’s a summary of the approach we helped the marketing team deploy:  Engaged four marketing oriented sales leaders and salespeople and asked for two hours.
  • Held a structured kick-off call and solicited from the sales team, incentives or offers they thought might prompt a prospect our customer to complete a survey.
  • Collaboratively developed six questionsthat would be of value to the contact and the company, and then narrowed it down to four with sales team help.
  • Tested four different creative and messaging options the sales team felt would resonate with their contacts – the creative options they preferred were the simplest ones with the least creative flair. 
  • Gained commitment from the sales teamthat they would personally deliver in-person or speak directly with the contact to provide proof that the company donated – and that they would attempt to engage with the contact!
  • Held an accountability call with the sales team end of weeks one and two to discuss progress and the results.

This experiment was designed to test two primary variables – marketing to a small population with a targeted, yet non-traditional message and involving salespeople at a level that is not possible with large scale initiatives. The volume of leads was barely a blip in the monthly lead volume generated by the company. However, the experiment proved more than just good ROI. The marketing team discovered how significant sales team involvement in marketing campaigns could be, and that lower-budget, non-traditional initiatives have a place in the marketing initiatives portfolio.

Speak with your marketing team and explore if they are conducting marketing experiments. If they are, probe for their learnings and insight. If they aren’t, nudge them to try a few. Remember, the objective isn’t solely to measure ROI! 

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