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Why Presentation Skills Are Important in Marketing

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why presentation skills are important in marketing

What does it take to be a successful marketer?

Turns out we don’t have to guess because someone’s already done the research. Fractl used IBM’s Watson Personality Insights API from 2019 to pick out the key traits and characteristics of 20 of the world’s most prominent marketing leaders (I even made the list!).

According to the study, the No. 1 trait shared by marketing leaders is adventurousness, followed by high energy levels, assertiveness, and intelligence.

presentation skills compared to other skills

One interesting thing about this is that you’d also find a lot of those traits in people with exceptional presentation skills.

To put yourself out there and present to a room full of people, you need to be at least a little adventurous. If you’re not a high-energy person, you’ll find it hard to keep people engaged. If you’re not assertive, you’ll struggle to communicate your points effectively. The list goes on.

That’s not a coincidence. To make it as a marketer, excellent presentation skills are pretty much nonnegotiable.

3 Reasons Presentation Skills Are Important in Marketing

In a way, marketing is one big presentation. When we write a blog post or appear on a podcast, we’re presenting. When we research our audience, we’re trying to understand better what they want to see and learn from our presentations.

In other words, strong presentation skills underlie pretty much every aspect of marketing. If you can deliver an incredible presentation, you can:

1. Having Good Presentation Skills Drive Trust in Your Brand

What makes people trust brands? According to a global survey from PR and marketing consultancy Edelman, it boils down to three key factors:

  1. Product experience: The most important factor, 87 percent of respondents cited their experience with a product as a reason to trust a brand.
  2. Customer experience: 56 percent of consumers said their own experiences with a brand play an important part in building trust.
  3. Societal impact: 38 percent of consumers believe a brand’s impact on society is an important factor in assessing its trustworthiness.

However, an even more crucial point underpins all of this. Without strong presentation skills, potential customers aren’t going to know about any of those things!

If you don’t tout the quality of your product, or highlight your superb reviews and testimonials, or demonstrate your commitment to making the world a better place, how will anyone know whether they can trust you?

2. Presentation Skills Help Create Brand Awareness

Ever wondered why personal social media accounts get better engagement than brand accounts? Because it’s easier to sell a person than a brand.

That’s why speaking at conferences, networking meetups, and other events can be such a useful tool for building brand awareness. It puts a human face on your brand, which instantly makes you more recognizable, relatable, and memorable. That’s why for many of us, when we hear the words Apple, Microsoft, or Tesla, we immediately think of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Elon Musk.

3. Use Your Presentation Skills to Drive Sales

Your presentation skills can be one of the biggest weapons in your armory when it comes to selling your product.

According to a study from Chief Marketer, live events are the second-biggest source of B2B leads, and also generate the second-highest ROI of any sales channel.

presentation skills - top sources of leads and ROI

Granted, not all those respondents would have been guest speakers at those events, but to generate leads, they would have absolutely been speaking to prospects at their display stands, during networking sessions, and even while queuing to buy a hot dog or coffee. Their one-on-one presentation skills were crucial to breaking the ice with those leads.

How to Develop Your Marketing Presentation Skills

By this point, you hopefully agree with me that presentation skills are essential for modern marketers. Now, let’s take a look at how to hone those skills to meet your marketing objectives.

1. Set Goals for Developing Your Presentation Skills

If I told you to write me a blog right now, you’d likely find it pretty tough. After all, I’ve not given you any information. You don’t have a theme, or a title, or even an audience. In short, there’s no way of knowing what I’m looking for, so you can’t gauge what success looks like.

Alternatively, if I told you to write a blog about this year’s biggest trends in SEO, aimed at marketing leaders for SaaS startups, you’d have a much clearer idea of how to proceed.

The same thing is true for developing your presentation skills. Start by defining exactly what you want to achieve, such as:

  • becoming a better (or first-time) conference speaker
  • delivering more impactful training sessions
  • speaking more persuasively to leads
  • engaging potential prospects at the top of the sales funnel
  • honing your pitch presentations

Also, give yourself a deadline. Rather than generally building up your presentation skills, commit to improving your public speaking in time for a specific conference or networking event. Sign up as a speaker early; that way, you’re completely accountable for following through with your plans.

2. Research Your Audience

As well as simply “doing more of it,” there’s another extremely effective way to help you feel more confident about speaking in front of an audience: Do your research.

When you think about it, imposter syndrome is another big reason people shy away from public speaking. We worry we’ll be exposed as frauds and charlatans who don’t know what we’re talking about.

Thoroughly researching your audience will help guard against that feeling. When you know exactly who you’re talking to, it becomes much simpler to build an effective presentation.

If I’m speaking to a room of NASA engineers, I’m not going to tell them how to build a better rocket. I can’t tell them anything they don’t already know (and most of what I say would likely be wildly inaccurate).

However, I almost certainly know more about marketing than them. Maybe I’d tell them how, by sharing snippets of their work through their personal social profiles, they can build awareness and interest in what they do, which in turn, might persuade politicians that increased federal funding for NASA would be a real vote-winner. With that increased funding, they can go away and build better rockets.

With that in mind, before you start working on your next presentation, ask yourself the following questions about your audience:

  • How old are they?
  • Where are they from?
  • What jobs do they do?
  • Who do they work for?
  • How experienced are they?
  • What are their pain points?

The idea here is to identify the “thing” you know that’s of most value to your audience. The more you can niche down, the better. If you can’t answer some of those questions, speak to the event organizers; they should be able to help.

3. Incorporate Humor and Stories

Throughout human history, storytelling has been one of our most effective tools for influencing, inspiring, and teaching one another.

Paul Smith, author of “Lead With a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire,” put it better than me when he wrote:

In any group, roughly 40 percent will be predominantly visual learners who learn best from videos, diagrams, or illustrations. Another 40 percent will be auditory, learning best through lectures and discussions. The remaining 20 percent are kinesthetic learners, who learn best by doing, experiencing, or feeling.

Storytelling has aspects that work for all three types. Visual learners appreciate the mental pictures storytelling evokes. Auditory learners focus on the words and the storyteller’s voice. Kinesthetic learners remember the emotional connections and feelings from the story.

With that in mind, another key way to improve your presentation skills is to work on your storytelling. Don’t just tell your audience how a certain tactic can get them more sales; give them specific, real-world examples that help them relate your advice to their own circumstances.

Also, don’t overlook the power of humor to engage an audience. As the British comedian John Cleese said:

If I can get you to laugh with me, you like me better, which makes you more open to my ideas. And if I can persuade you to laugh at the particular point I make, by laughing at it you acknowledge its truth.

I’m not suggesting you go away and write a 30-minute standup set, but if you can drop a couple one-liners here and there, it can go a long way to getting your audience on your side.

4. Practice in Front of an Audience

Glossophobia, or fear of public speaking, is a common complaint. One much-quoted (and very old) Gallup survey claims it’s the second-most prevalent fear in Americans, affecting 40 percent of respondents.

presentation skills - fear of public speaking

Clearly, it’s not the “speaking” element that puts us on edge. It’s the idea of doing it in front of an audience. What if we make fools of ourselves, or say the wrong thing and get booed off stage?

Painful as it might sound, in my experience, the best way to overcome this is to seek out opportunities to speak in front of an audience. This can be in your professional or personal lives. It can be as simple as saying a few words at family gatherings or giving small presentations to your team at work.

Use Your Presentation Skills: 5 Tips for an Effective Marketing Presentation

You’ve set goals for improving your presentation skills, done your research, crafted a handful of engaging anecdotes, and practiced in front of an audience. Now, it’s time to weave all those things together to create a killer marketing presentation. Bear these five tips in mind while you’re doing it:

1. Start Strong

According to one study, you’ve only got 30 seconds before your audience’s attention starts to lapse. That means you need a strong start to persuade them you’re worth listening to. Lead with your most eye-catching statistic, your best joke, or your punchiest anecdote, and keep it short. On average, we speak at up to 130 words per minute, so that only gives you a maximum of 65 words to play with.

2. Make a Good First Impression

Presentation skills aren’t just about what you say. They’re also about how people perceive you.

A study at California State University, Northridge, found students followed instructions far more accurately when those instructions were given by someone who was dressed casually rather than professionally.

Why did this happen? One interpretation from the study’s authors is that the students responded better to someone dressed similarly to them:

Perhaps the participants in our study felt that they were better able to relate to the experimenter in the casual-dress condition, thereby lowering their anxiety and increasing their ability to follow directions correctly.

In short, there’s no such thing as a right or wrong way to look or dress for a presentation. Rather, we should reflect our audience.

3. Come Prepared

Don’t kid yourself it’ll “be alright on the night.” If you don’t prepare properly, it won’t!

Figure out what works best for you by running through your presentation multiple times. Do you find it easiest to work off cue cards? Do you need visual aids? Or is it better for you to run lines until you’ve memorized your presentation word for word?

4. Ask Questions

There’s no better way to guarantee people are paying attention than to ask regular questions throughout your speech!

This isn’t about putting people on the spot. Instead, it’s about turning your presentation from a one-way narrative to a two-way conversation.

Say you’re giving advice on tackling a specific problem. Ask how many people had experienced that problem, when they first noticed it, and why they’re so keen to fix it.

5. Back Your Claims

There are very few instances in which you shouldn’t be supporting your claims with real evidence. Even if you’re giving your personal opinion on a topic, those opinions should be backed with actual data from reputable sources.

If I’m telling you that Facebook is the best platform to grow your business, you likely wouldn’t just take my word for it. You’d want to hear evidence about Facebook’s audience, the effectiveness of advertising on the platform, and how much it’ll cost.

Conclusion

No one is born with incredible presentation skills; not even Steve Jobs.

Sure, some of us are more confident than others at talking to an audience and getting our points across effectively. However, it takes work; and if honing your presentation skills is taking you away from other important work, like content marketing or SEO, our agency is here to help.

The good news is the harder you work at it, the more confident you’ll feel, and the better your presentation skills will become. It’s a virtuous circle!

What tips have you used to level up your marketing presentation skills?

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

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Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To
  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

1716755164 348 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755164 348 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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