In this blog, I will be discussing why you need to align your sales and marketing efforts so you gain traction with vertical marketing.
One of the biggest issues that exist within organizations is that marketing and sales do not work hand in hand or know which accounts they need to target. Marketing has to be able to gain insight into the accounts that sales people are targeting and can play a strategic role in providing guidance and vision, and influence these accounts beyond delivering traditional lead generation campaigns. You may even want to consider carving out a small business unit composed of marketing and sales experts who focus solely on your vertical efforts – and once you get traction, you can expand.
In vertical marketing, subject area expertise needs to penetrate all aspects of the marketing mix – from product and pricing to promotions. Marketing messages have to address how the product addresses the needs of the vertical and how it will solve a common problem.
Without proper alignment around the vertical, the needs and the end-to-end solution, you cannot hope to become best-in-class. Today, the buying process is solidly in the hands of the buyer and not the seller so it’s important that everyone in your organization speaks the same language and understands the solution.
How to get started:
Start by creating a messaging framework for your targeted vertical. You can conduct research by either:
- hiring an expert to conduct indepth interviews with customers,
- conducting online research via user groups, industry forums, blog posts, webcasts, posting to social media groups etc.,
- or utilizing industry profiles available from First Research reports. (These reports offer extensive industry research written from an objective business perspective and provide detail and executive insight to get you started.)
Once the framework is developed, be sure to share it with everybody in your organization. It is and will remain an important training tool for them.
Bonus tip! Take your vertical marketing one step further by creating messaging for every role you could potentially be talking to. Start with two or three key roles and work through the process. Consider focusing on the end users of the solution. They probably are experiencing the most pain, ensuring the IT department knows all about it. Make sure you also understand HOW these roles consume information and deliver it via those media.
According to CustomerThink, 90% of B2B technology buyers view online video. 80% read blogs. 69% are active in social networks. By providing your messages via multiple media, you’re providing valuable opportunities for your content to be shared with decision makers you may be struggling to reach.
The third blog in this series will provide tips on pulling together a plan for building your vertical content, so stay tuned to our blog (https://thepartnermarketinggroup.com/blog/).
In the meantime, check out a webinar I recently presented for Microsoft- Deadly Marketing Errors: If I Say what I Do and I Do What I Say – Customers Will Believe Me. If you’re a Microsoft partner, you can register for the on-demand session here.
By Cheryl Salazar, Virtual Marketing Director at The Partner Marketing Group