Will The Dogs Like the Dog Food?

Will The Dogs Like the Dog Food?

Discovering product/market fit

Your product/market fit will determine whether you grow fast, slow or not at all. Remember, a B2B product or service exists for only two reasons:

  • saves time
  • saves money

You must prove to yourself and your investors that your idea will fly in the marketplace. But the typical Catch-22 is that you don’t have a ton of money for formal market research.

You don’t need it. Use these no/low cost techniques to determine your product/market fit, before you open the vault to develop it.

Why am I doing this?

  1. To see your product’s value from your prospects’ standpoint.
  2. To hear what your salespeople will hear.
  3. To learn how to align your new concept with the marketplace.

Remember that business is a social process

The first thing to understand (and many people don’t) is that business is a social process. To do this successfully you’ll be spending the bulk of your time talking with people…not staring at a laptop screen.

If this provokes anxiety you’re in good company. Many people are hesitant to reach out to strangers. If you take the plunge, however, you’ll find it gets much easier as you go along.


Do this first

Work through the following 5-point strategy model first. Just apply what you already know, or strongly suspect, is true about the market. Support each assumption with whatever market information you have on hand.

  1. What are the trends in my industry?
  2. What’s driving the trends?
  3. What are we doing about the trends?
  4. What are our competitors doing about the trends?
  5. What should we be doing about the trends to grow revenue and profits?

Now you have a baseline.

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“Field of Dreams” marketing won’t cut it…

“Field of Dreams” marketing won’t cut it…

Build It and They Will Come…

B2B marketing technology. Image from movie Field of Dreams. Photo from Universal Studios


Here’s the truth

Building a legitimate demand gen infrastructure and using it to good effect can be every bit as complicated as modern day farming. It takes a ton of effort, specialized tools and top skills to grow a crop of qualified leads that delight the troops on the front lines – sales.

Field of Dreams was an OK movie; at least it had a feel good ending. If you’re thinking, however, that a minimal demand gen infrastructure and some haphazard blogs and emails will coax Shoeless Joe Jackson out of his cornfield, think again.

Like farming, demand generation is not easy. It’s a tough slog with serious skillsets, B2B marketing technology and seeding required. And, just like a corn crop, there’s always lag time before companies see a decent crop.

However, if you’re determined to harvest sales qualified leads using the tools of modern demand generation, here’s how to go about it.

B2B marketing technology is like the cornfield in "Field of Dreams"

? Universal Studios

B2B Marketing Technology

For a cornfield you might need a tractor, a plow, a disk harrow and a planter.

For B2B demand gen you’ll need specialized tools including an email platform with tracking, segmented email lists, social media accounts with company pages, landing pages on your website, conversion forms and an SEO tool.

If you really want to rock-n-roll you’ll link all of this to your sales automation tool or CRM.

Necessary Skillsets

A quality high yield corn crop requires the skills of a dedicated, experienced farmer.

For a well functioning B2B demand gen program you?ll need the skills of a dedicated, experienced demand gen expert, which few companies have when they first take on this task.

If you can afford it, hire someone full time only after rigorous screening for technology and content know-how.? If you’re not ready for a full timer there are thousands of small and mid-sized firms that specialize in various or all aspects of demand generation.

Their sales pitches are free and it’s good to go through about a dozen, testing them for knowledge about technology, content and campaign creation. You’ll learn a lot just from this process and likely find someone who’s affordable and easy to work with.

Campaigns & Content Are?Your Seeds

Every corn farmer knows that without high quality seed, yields and crop quality will be greatly diminished. The same goes for B2B demand generation.

Marketing Sherpa B2B marketing technology.

Case study from Marketing Sherpa.

Your campaigns and content are the seeds for a high yielding demand gen crop. A direct correlation exists between sales leads generated and the relevance, timing and quality of your content and campaigns.

It’s easy to self-educate ?on this topic since so much has been written about creating quality content and campaigns. My favorite places to stay informed include Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Sherpa.

For a good case study on how a real company did it, and succeeded, click on the Case Study icon.

We’re seeing lots of companies in the $10-500 million range falling behind their peers in using the tools of demand gen, especially B2B marketech.

These smaller companies aren’t engaging with martech to their best advantage. They’ve coined an all new market strategy called Build It And They Will Come.

Here’s a typical field of dreams approach:

  1. The CEO or another higher up reads that social media marketing is a sure fire way to generate loads of qualified sales leads. OK, you’re at least reading the sports page.
  2. Around midnight a company engineer gets an email asking him/her to set up LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. That’s the equivalent of going to Walmart and buying a bat.
  3. The next day, whoever’s running the reception desk gets a new assignment: content marketing. Now you have a bat and a ball.
  4. In between answering the phone and helping the head of HR, who’s still managing with ‘spreadsheets, the receptionist comes up with a blogpost that seems interesting. It gets posted. Swiiiiing batter! Strike one…
  5. Building on that success the receptionist now blasts an email about the company picnic to everyone the company’s ever heard of. Swing and a miss! Strike two…
  6. Back to social media where a blog gets posted about the company’s umpteenth anniversary. Amazingly, no one cares. Foul ball!

And so forth until the CEO gets distracted by the crisis-of-the-month and the whole thing falls by the wayside. The receptionist is happy to pay attention to something else.

B2B Marketology, July 2017

July 2017 issue of B2B Marketology from Harris CMO Partners. Demand generation articles and calendar. In this issue: marketing automation for SMBs and a simple guide for creating B2B content, tech company example included. Plus upcoming B2B marketing conferences and webinars through the remainder of summer and into fall.

B2B Marketology, July 2017, from Harris CMO Partners

B2B Marketology: In This Issue