B2B Marketing is Broken

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B2B's love affair with automation has broken your marketing. You're losing revenue because of it.

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Imagine you’re talking to your doctor about your goal of losing weight. You share your plans to eat healthy and work with a trainer to improve your physical fitness. And your doctor, instead of praising you, exclaims,

That sounds like hard work. How long is it going to take you to drop the weight that way! I personally suggest surgery to staple your stomach, followed by liposuction. You’re in, you’re out, you’re skinny. Quick results you can measure easily.

How would you feel? Would you question why your doctor was pushing a short-term fix while ignoring the impact on your long term health of not changing your lifestyle?

Now imagine applying that same logic to your marketing strategy.

The story you’ve been told probably went something like this:

Marketing? Forget marketing – that’s hard work. It costs a lot more money (lie #1) and wastes your time (lie #2). Instead, just focus on getting an email and a phone number. Then follow up relentlessly until you get a meeting. If you get 100 leads, you should get around 30 meetings, half of those will ask for a quote, and half of those will buy. Want more sales, get more leads.

Of course, just like the weight loss surgery, this advice is incomplete.

  • Get weight loss surgery without changing your lifestyle, and pretty soon, you’re gaining back all the weight you lost. So it’s back to the plastic surgeon you go, only to be told that the reason the surgery isn’t working is because you didn’t make the needed changes to your lifestyle.
  • Pay for lead gen without building a marketing foundation for your brand, and pretty soon, you’ve got a pipeline filled with “opportunities” that are going nowhere and your forecasting is completely out of whack. The leads aren’t really qualified. Some of the people you’re talking to aren’t a great fit for your business. Very few of the deals are closing.

Unfortunately, it sounds believable. The math is easy to follow and who doesn’t like being able to walk into a performance review armed with pretty charts and graphs. This is an actual comment from a senior marketing strategist in a recent LinkedIn discussion:

I’m still trying to understand “Demand Gen”. It sounds like site optimization + branding + content marketing. I love direct response leg gen because it’s fast and dollar measurable. I put up B2B leads, the SDRs call, Sales sells, we count the ROI.

What’s missing is any understanding of what really motivates these B2B leads to fill out the form in the first place. Which content did they consume? How much (or how little) do they know about you? Why do they really want your content?

Quantity over Quality Myth

The problem is that this kind of lead generation delivers rapidly declining results. And the pandemic has only accelerated the decay.

Skipping over key pieces of your growth architecture is the digital equivalent of a classic slimy sales rep from a bad 70’s movie, always hustling and never welcome to the dinner party. Pretty quickly, you discover that:

It’s True, Most B2B Marketing IS Broken

But that doesn’t mean YOUR marketing has to be. In fact, you have an unprecedented opportunity to grab hold of an early to market advantage by shifting your focus away from endlessly chasing leads, instead cultivating a community of enthusiastic fans who sing your praises.

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