As the group stage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup draws to a close, many teams will be heading home (England included – it’s still sore) no doubt blaming lady luck and their lack of pre-tournament preparation for their poor fortunes. The other teams will be looking ahead to the next round and focusing intently on their next training sessions. Just like in football, B2B marketing success comes from having a good team performance and a solid training regime. As they say… practice makes perfect.
To the training pitch
Or at least the training room. The world of B2B marketing is ever-changing, and keeping up with the latest developments can be a struggle. What new social media channels have cropped up? Does direct mail still work? Are ebooks becoming more popular than white papers? The answers to these questions affect your entire team and your ability to generate the best ROI from your marketing activity. For this reason, you need to ensure that the manager within each section of your team (e.g. content, creative, social media, operations) is keeping their ear to the ground and picking up on even the slightest developments within the industry. They should then begin further investigation and testing to see if the changes are likely to enable a positive outcome for your team. Once it has been proved that the latest development (such as a new social media channel) can further your success and generate ROI, it’s time to train the rest of the team. Whether it’s a workshop style meeting, a PowerPoint presentation, or a one-to-one get together, ensure every member of your team knows about the new tool or process.
Less running between cones
Unlike footballers, B2B marketing training requires a lot less running between road cones, but it does still require a great deal of repetition and practice. Just because there’s a new social media channel or a new marketing automation tool, doesn’t mean your social media and content guys are going to become experts overnight. They need to practice, analyse and repeat in order to see improvement. This is where the element of development comes into play. They’ve been trained on how to use the tool, now they just need to develop their skills and become experts. The best way to encourage this development is to set realistic targets, such as achieve 30 new followers on the social media channel in the next month. By setting these targets it helps to drive the development of staff and also quickly highlights any skill gaps or potential issues.
In football, when a team’s chosen players are unable to perform at their optimum level or they simply don’t have the skill-set to achieve success, substitute players can be brought on to bolster the team. This is the same in B2B marketing when you require expert skills to help you meet your new business and ROI goals – the substitutes are called an agency. A B2B marketing agency can provide proven expert knowledge and experience to assist your current team or even provide a completely new marketing team to help you reach your business growth objectives.
Identifying development needs
It’s easy for a football manager to spot when his players are falling short of the mark; it’s not so simple for a B2B manager though. That’s why we created the B2BMI calculator. By using this handy tool it’s easy to identify skill gaps in your team and where you should be targeting your training and development. To see where you require training and pre-match preparation…