Selling anything in the current climate is tough. Throw B2B, technology, and marketing services into the mix and the odds of finding a qualified lead — never mind closing an actual sale — increase substantially.
Tighter budgets and longer sales cycles have also conspired to make 2023 a force to be reckoned with on the sales front.
On the positive side, our experience gives us real empathy for the people and brands targeting the same sectors we do. While Wildfire sells PR services to a broad range of tech brands, our clients sell tech to an equally diverse audience. But we move in the same circles, facing similar challenges, and I thought it worth sharing what has worked for my team as we prepare together for 2024.
Siloed sales and marketing sucks
I’ve had one foot in sales and one foot in marketing throughout most of my career and so sales and marketing failing to see eye-to-eye is not a challenge I’ve faced personally.
That said, I regularly see companies operating siloed sales and marketing functions, with metrics that are not mutually supportive of the business as a whole.
It’s why my team and I adopted a demand generation model. It brings sales and marketing together, with one goal that unites us…growth.
The best of both worlds
Successful demand generation combines long-term brand marketing campaigns and short-term product/service marketing in tandem to enable all stages of the buyer journey.
By the time Wildfire’s target audience is looking to purchase PR consultancy, they typically have a decent foundation of product-led marketing set up.
This type of marketing aims to educate the target market about the unique value of a proposition. It goes into detail about how the product or service will improve the day-to-day life of the purchaser and how this sets the solution aside from competitive or alternative offerings.
The challenge with this kind of marketing is that it is of most interest to the 5% of the audience that are in-market. The other 95% might be interested. But they’re unlikely to have the time to invest in this level of education, preferring to focus their attention instead on more pressing priorities.
Get in it for the long haul
Getting and — more importantly — staying on the radar of a target audience that is currently not in-market is vital for long-term commercial success.
Creating a universally engaging brand narrative which resonates with the target audience, whether they’re ready to buy or not, is the key to success. This is where PR comes into its own.
Wildfire can create measurable campaigns that influence the capture and conversion of the 5% existing demand. However, a more valuable metric — albeit a longer-term one — is the number of prospects, potential partners, employees, and investors who are inspired to jump onto Google and search for your brand when they’re ready to buy.
If this number is increasing every financial quarter, your brand marketing is working and you’re essentially creating future demand.
Content downloads do not constitute qualified leads
Good quality comms and content agencies do not subscribe to the idea that content downloads equate to marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and that signifies ‘job done’.
Where possible, Wildfire and our sister-agency KT2 work with clients to create content pathways and campaigns that capture real intent data, whatever that looks like for the client.
Product demos, completed enquiries forms, and requests for pricing are all great measures of intent. These are the metrics that demand generation campaigns should focus on, because inbound enquiries constitute real leads for your sales team.
PR that drives true growth
There are several case study examples on Wildfire’s website that demonstrate how PR has supported growth and I’d invite you to check them out.
If you’re in a hurry, I recommend this example for cybersecurity brand IS Decisions.
And feel free to drop me a note via firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like more detail on this particular case study, further examples, or to speak to a member of our team.