B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 1744 · 4 months ago

Messaging That Creates Demand, with Dacia Coffey

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Benji talks to Dacia Coffey, Author of Corporate Caffeine: Boosting B2B Growth Through Sales and Marketing Alignment and CEO of The Marketing Blender.

Discussed in this episode:

  1. How to run a sales mapping exercise in your organization
  2. Creating a holistic messaging timeline
  3. Why a demo early in the sales cycle is crippling

Conversations from the front lines of marketing. This is B two B growth. Today, on B Two B growth, I am thrilled to have dacy a coffee with me. She's the CEO of the marketing blender and the author of Corporate Caffeine, boosting B two B growth through sales and marketing alignment. DASIO, welcome into the show. So excited. Thank you so much for inviting me. Yes, great to have you here and give us a rundown real quick. Just what landed you in B Two B marketing in the first place? Yeah, so I'm kind of a Weirdo. I cut my teeth in sales, Um and hindsight being all B two B sales. I sold commercial power tolls, I was on construction sites, I was in pharmaceutical I was in fundraising England. So I'll be two B. and then my been and I ran a trucking company successfully for eight years and we decided to sell it. Um It landed me at my full blown first marketing agency role pretty late in my career, and so two things were happening. Number One, I really resonated with business to business companies because those are my people, and that is weird in agency land. Nobody goes after those clients any lands those clients, and so that was interesting because I was really realizing I had a point of view that aligned with the market that was underserved in the agency world. And then one of my clients was saying you're the weirdest marketer we've ever met. You think marketing should sell things, and I said, well, what Heaven's name is it supposed to do if it doesn't help you sell anything? And that basically was the impetus for the business plan um to launch, to be two be agency. And then nine years later we've been going at it. We offer fresh and Chief Marketing Officer Services and Strategy Messaging for business to business companies in complicated sales environments. There you go. That's incredible and I love the journey there. And Yeah, B two B is just its own special thing right when it comes to marketing and sales. So having that sales background, I know I've personally found even just my little time in sales to be so beneficial for my B two B marketing chops. And so we're glad that we're tapping into your wealth of knowledge on this episode when when we're looking at the B two B marketing landscape. There's a lot of areas that intrigue me and it's fun to see how different people in organizations are kind of innovating in the space. But you see two specific areas where, in B two B, B two B marketers could get this right and it could create and capture demand at just a whole new level. So what are the two areas you're kind of focused on right now that you see a lot of room for for growth and ultimately for us to creating capture demand? Oh, I love...

...this question. So one big, one huge one is messaging, and what I mean when I'm talking about messaging and the opportunity to be transformational is that messaging is a spectrum. It's like a timeline. Right now, I agree with documenting important fundamentals, brand, promise, value, proposition, etcetera. However, who a buyer is when their first researching their problem all the way to who they are when they finally make a vendor selection and choose their partner, they have changed a lot, and so it's not just about the content that we're delivering there. It's about understanding that the psychology of that buyer was changing and evolving because of the marketing that you're putting out there. And so messaging is not a single sentence, it's not a small time a little group of magic words, but it is a pathway that you build, an emotional pathway as well as a words pathway to help a buyer solve a problem, and so I really would love for people to embrace that. But the other thing, beyond messaging, and it really does apply, it's kind of more like a Segue, is I really want to see more people doing sales mapping exercises where you get marketing and sales and customer support in the same room on an old school whiteboard, literally visualizing where are people, what are the tools, what are they asking, because what you're forcing yourselves to do is a line around the buyer journey and have a truly customer centric point of view before the invoice has ever issued. And that's profound because it sets you up for long term customer satisfaction and that's a big, big deal. The customer Experien it starts at the prospect side. So sales mapping is critical, YEP, and sales mapping is then going to inform messaging and vice versa, depending on what you already have cooked. So I love that these two were going to tackle both of them together in this episode. Let's Talk Messaging First. We'll go deep on both, but let's talk about what's misunderstood often when it comes to messaging, because I think there's a lot of ways we can get this wrong or we can maybe only half baked the way we think about it right, like, Oh yeah, we've got messaging unlock, but are we really speaking to the journey and educating the potential client right on all the way through, essentially, but give me what you think. We easily get wrong when it comes to messaging. So there's a couple of different things. I won't I will try not to scroll off too much on the first topic, but it's around the sales and marketing misalignment that's really common for so many of us...

...to what I mean by that is that sales needs to focus on sales messaging because they have to reactive, to literally respond to a human being or set of human beings in front of them consistently. But marketing is proactive, right, and so the messaging is predictive. It is on the front end, and so that's really really important because there's that timeline showing up that marketing is to predict what a buyer needs to see in research and then say the sales handoff is responsive. Right. However, a lot of times in sales driven organizations with so many B two B companies are, I would say, almost all. You know, what happens is that gets pushed backwards where the sales team and the sales leadership starts asking marketing to only have differentiation messaging. Why are we better? Why are we different? And that's fine, but that stuff does not matter. Those exact differentiation words do not matter until there is a fender selection point of view, from a buyer, that means they have to be educated, they have to go through all of that research, they have to understand their problem. Then they have to going to understand their solutions, and I don't mean solutions among specific vendors, I mean total business solutions. I could turn left or right completely different ways to solve their existing problem. Then as they narrow down what they're doing, then there's context around us versus them, and so that can create some real dissonance around, you know, inside and it can derail a marketing team. And so from an internal organizational perspective. That's important, and so I think that timeline piece is absolutely critical and marketing, because marketers are predictive, like we literally are forced to be. We have to be thinking future oriented, we have to be thinking buyer's journey in order to do our job effectively and plan for conversions and teeing up a successful sale. We naturally, even if we might not be calling that, we do understand that there has got to be a timeline of content and if we can create some stronger language around how messaging evolves and that it's actually a spectrum, not a single value proposition, not a single differentiation point of view, not a list of bullet points, that is a really, really big deal when it comes to messaging. So that's that's my big one. The final thing I'll toss out around how it's misunderstood is, man we just kill the emotion in B two B around messaging. Decision Making happens in the emotional center of Center, center of the brain, and so if we're stripping our messaging of the emotion, then we're not truly following the buyer on their real decision maker journey because we're pretending the psychology of decision making doesn't happen. So again there's that journey showing up, and so I think those are come some of the key ways that it's misunderstood. Yeah, I love that you're using this idea of a timeline and how that could inform our content strategy.

I think we are probably pretty familiar of, at least the content marketers listening to this right kind of trying to create content for every part of the funnel. But speak to maybe how those things line up. Are there differences between talking about it in the timeline or creating content for every part of the funnel? And Yeah, like, do you see differences there at all? So yes and no. So I'm going to complicate this a little bit, but since we're talking to Super Smart Audience, I think they're gonna have fun with this conversation. So marketers, I believe, are already doing a really strong job, B two B marketers, of understanding different types of content has to happen in the different parts of the funnel, right Tofu content, you know, versus both food content, etcetera. Um, but what I do think is that that psychology piece, Um, and also broadening the messaging to be very holistic around with the buyers actually experience incing and how difficult it is to make a decision. Is Really, really kind of the part where this timeline is slightly different, because it's not just about understanding your product or understanding your industry's application or solution to a problem. It's bigger. It's what they're facing, it's the war on attention that they have going on and so honestly, it's even the type of content. We've been taught. checklists are more effective, as you know, top of the funnel content versus white papers at the later. So we're getting close. But it's even more specific than that, you know. I mean the introductory language that you use, the emotional language where you're identifying and you're basically trying to read their mind and how they feel, how they see their problem, and you're starting there. So you're literally changing the point of view with which you're trying to resonate as your content evolved. So it's not so much I think we really all have a good, solid handle on this substance that needs to be spread out in the content marketing journey, but the emotion and how that introductory resonant language changes. I think that's really the key. So it's a yes and answer. So it's not too different. It's more additive, if you will, when you're thinking about a timeline. Well, we'll explain there. I want to double click on the language thing because I think it's really easy, which we're about to talk about sales mapping, right. So let's say you identified all these pieces in the funnel that you want to create content for. Okay, that's like the easy step. The hard part is at the top of the funnel, the language we're using being different. If you're an expert, I promise one of the best communicating are exercises you can ever do is figuring out how to make something elementary again once you know it at so that's where this strategy to me. It's fantastic if you can personally learn it, but if you're listening...

...to the show right now and you're a leader man, if you want to make yourself extra valuable for your company, figure out how to equip the marketers on your team to speak the language they know so well at their most elementary level. So that's my question for you is, how would you train someone to do that? Because we know the topics we need to cover, but often I come across B two B websites where they're covering the right topic but in the wrong language. Yes, so if anybody wants to do a deeper dive on this, it's in my book, but I would like to use the language called we call it messaging choreography. And so it's about not just about saying the right thing, but about saying the right thing at the right time in the right tone. And so at the very top of that the number one way to get somebody's attention and attention is in exchange. So, for instance, we ask people to pay attention. That means if they are paying US something, we need to be giving them something for that payment. So it is literally an exchange. And so how do you how do you give something a value where people pay in their attention? Well, then, number one thing is you talk to them about them, and so that's where we talk about messaging choreography. The very first thing is mirroring, and so early in their problem research phase you've got to talk about all of the overwhelm all of the emotions surrounding how how it feels to have that problem, how overwhelming it is to have so many different solutions, how difficult it is to carve out time to solve a problem in the modern world. So that's just an example, but you really have to think about them, almost empathetically, walking in their shoes. What does it feel like to sit at their desk? And I mean feel like, and that's the introductory language. We call it mirroring, and that's the other thing. Is You're called to action. You're asking somebody to pay attention. You're not asking them to marry you, you're not asking them for the sale, and so you've got to be really thoughtful that you match match the mirroring and the emotional language to an appropriate call to action so that they actually can take a step closer to you without creating that friction that can happen going too fast. My a D D will take over if I let you go further and I'll forget this question. So just take me to what's an appropriate call to action? Top of this conversation. You're just explaining the problem in their language. You're doing some mirroring techniques. What, what do you think is an appropriate call to action? All right, my data marketers out here are gonna be so mad about this one, but honestly, it's even just to get them to stay on the page longer. So sometimes the call to action is more subtle where we're tracking time on page. I love video clicks right Um or watch longer type of thing. And so especially at that top, top place. I mean this is where, you know, we just are asking them to move from attention to time. So literally a single click through or two click throughs. I mean we're just trying to get past that standard seven seconds. Yeah, that's good.

Okay. So give me an example before we go on to the sales mapping, of just how language would change as the lead matures and as they get a better understanding what how's that playing out practically speaking? I love it. Okay. So, literally, when I was talking about how it feels to be behind their desk, Um, if you've done any of your buyer persona research, which I know you guys have, in Very B two B marketing, you have to, you know, think about the words they literally used to describe their problem. And this is where it gets tricky, because sometimes the words that they're using early in the research phase they're wrong. Right, like, as subject matter experts, we know that's not the real problem or that's not really the correct semantics. It does not matter. You have to mirror how they see their problem. You have plenty of time and the rest of the buyer's journey to correct them and educate them around more proper language and how to understand their solutions and their problem better. But in the beginning you meet them where they're at and that means very specific language, language around how their problem feels and what they see about it. Now, later on, you might remind them, you will still start with emotional language, but now you're talking to a more advanced educated buyer and you're talking to them more with emotion, around being so close to solving a solution. You know you want to paint a picture of resolution and try to Pique excitement about the fact that sometime soon they are no longer going to have this problem, and that's very different and you can't do that too earlier. You're going to freak them out because they've got a long way to go in order to manage change inside the organization, inside of their own psychology before they're going to make a decision. So you've got to be just really, really thoughtful around where the emotion and the understanding is and just meet them where they are, whether it's the exact words you agree with or not. You mentioned a common issue in the B two B space that I also felt firsthand on our first call. You talked about how, once you start going down this road, you're changing your language. You start to realize, oh well, maybe the fact that we're trying to push people to a demo just as fast as possible because, oh, look, our marketing materials working and we can prove it out, because look at all these demos that we helped equip, right, but that that actually might not be going back to the call to action piece, that might not be the call to action that makes the most sense and that's going to make some people panic a little bit. We see this one show up a lot, that the demo early in the sales cycle is way too soon. And here's why. Because when someone's watching a demo they need context to understand what...

...they're seeing. Right. But if you're placing is one of your earliest calls to action, you've got a buyer that hasn't really learned much about the different opera offerings in the different ways that they might be able to solve their problem. So you're gonna have somebody on the call or on the Demo Gooing, Yup, uh Huh. Yeah, it looks good, Yep, but what those Yups ands actually mean is I don't know what I'm looking at, and so it probably looks pretty in great to them, but they don't really understand where in that positioning mind map it's supposed to go. And so what ends up happening is you have to do that demo two or three times more and oftentimes for other people in addition, because later when they're building consensus, because in a demo they have to understand what they're viewing versus other options. And if you put and that's a time investment, it's not an attention investment. So attention, like I said, is a couple of you know, getting them from a couple of seconds to third seconds, to sixty seconds to ninety seconds. Once you start getting those multiple minutes, then you're asking them to invest time and you spend time on you. And so that's why a demo early on is oftentimes slowing down a buyer cycle, not speeding it up, and so that can be really, really dangerous because they just don't know what they're looking at and they don't even know that. They don't know what they're looking at. Yeah, we could stick on that point for a long time, but that to me, that actually flows and drives US perfectly into the second part of this right, because once you get sales mapping right, you're gonna be able to place where the demo fits better in this entire structure and then you can actually truly start fostering demand in a different way. So take me through, you know, this exercise. There's gonna be people listening that have done something like this before, but I'll assume you know there's gonna be pieces of this that are different for every organization. Let's go as basic as we can first. When you're thinking of sales mapping, what's this exercise like? What should it look like? Yep, absolutely so. It is literally a small group of people in a room in front of a white board, Um, and you are drawing. We like to use a circle. In my book you can see examples if anybody wants to, you know, go through this with their team. We draw a circle and we simplify the sales cycle into awareness. How do they know you exist and how are they how are you getting them to pay attention and then trust are you who you say you are in getting them to spend time with you? And then, obviously, what has to happen to close the deal, and marketing can and should support the clothes, and so that's a little tangent. I'm not going to chase that one, but this is really important. But you have this group of people in your talking about what are the common questions, what are the common conversations in each one of these what are the tools that we have each...

...place, on the marketing side and on the sales side, that those buyers, those prospects, are engaging with? And you put it in an order, in a chronological order, so everybody can see and what you're actually doing is creating a visualization exercise the shows the buyer's journey in the real world, the common conversations, the common language, the tools that sales is or is not using, the marketing pieces that are are not effective, because one of the things that happens is marketers say we've got all fifty of these different things and only three of them show up in a sales mapping exercise, because it's the only thing the buyers actually need. And so you can get lean in the right places, but you can also visualize where you might be losing people and why, because, especially if you have a particularly sparse portion of that map, well, you know, maybe you can ask the right questions to find out. You need to fortify that area across the marketing and sales spectrum. So if I was doing this exercise, I think I'd want a couple of practitioners that are in the weeds on actually executing this day in, day out, and then obviously you're gonna have some executives in the room. Probably your CEO is pretty involved in the price CEO, CMO or director of marketing, and then you're going to have your sales leader. Who Else is? Am I missing somebody? But who? Who Do you want to be in that small group? You completely nailed it because really you're trying to build tribal knowledge inside of your organization where everybody has a unique bit specific queen of view of that buyer at a different place. So you want your salespeople because they heard those conversations. You want your marketers because they know what's being clicked on and what people are responding to, and those early research phase. I definitely love when there is a customer service or a project manager or an operations people, the people that just know the customers once they're actually customers. And definitely leadership, because what sales mapping does is it creates a realistic action plan for what to build and what to kill and it creates decision making criteria where everybody can agree in the best thing about it is that people start asking really interesting, smart questions by simply following their curiosity, because customer service might not have ever heard that on the prospect side. And Wow, like what can happen when now you're building a customer experience all the way back from truly cradle to grave perspective? I mean it is incredibly impactful for marketers but ironically, for the entire organization. So I'm a huge fan of this for alignment and simplicity sake. So I would think that one of the complexities of this. First, it's called sales mapping, so it already sounds like is leading this,...

...but I don't think they necessarily should. The other the other part of this too is we all know in the B two B space, for so many organizations, marketing was like the last in the room. You had to get your funding, you have your team's kind of built out and then you're like, okay, now we have enough security to really bring in marketing and figure out our messaging. And so you're not only is this maybe leaning on that sales word, but it's also you're late to the room. Do you think marketing should be leading this conversation and, if so, how do we go about that when so much in the B Two b space is driven by just sales? Oh, such a good, tricky question. So yes, I do think marketing should be leading this conversation if, and here's the big if, if they have the UM perception inside the organization and the natural tendency in their own selves to to follow their curiosity and be very open to whatever they hear, even if they don't like the answers, and to not take um offense to anything like if certain things are not valued in that room or certain tools are not used as much as you would like them too, because that's the that's the tricky part. So if, UM, there is a marketing leader that's new to the organization, it's a perfect opportunity, or new to a promotion, it's a really perfect opportunity to use that newness to ask very um open questions that don't have an angle or an agenda to them. But this is one of those scenarios where, if that's not true, if there is significant emotional friction around sales and marketing or marketing any beyond, the team is feeling really undervalue, where's gonna be difficult to go through that conversation. This is where an external facilitator is magic because the value is equal and it aligns the team around what are we trying to accomplish together. And you know, in an external person won't let any agendas be run because they don't they can walk through and they can kind of kill those sacred cals, if you will, because they don't know not to write. So it's a yes, if question. But I still do believe, even from an external facilitation standpoint, this is a marketing ownership point of view because, after sales mapping, sales mapping done well will form the basis of your entire actionable marketing plan. I literally call it the hack for building a marketing plan because it's the fastest way to see what's missing and what you need and what's actually working and how marketing is actually driving sales conversations and how sales is actually working those leads. So it's incredibly half of which is why I believe wholeheartedly must be on the...

...marketing side. But the facilitation of that is a little tricky if there's, you know, any sort of cultural misalignment happening in the organization. So if you're going to take on a project of this kind of skill, get everybody in the room actually have a meeting of the minds. Once you've completed this, there is the ongoing maintenance that this is working, these content pieces are better than others. This is most helpful to sale, the sales team. How often are you revisiting it with those key stakeholders? What does it look like to to update it? Such a great, great, great, great question. So two answers um one is really straightforward, one's a little more complicated. The straightforward one is if there's been massive team change on the sales side, on the leadership side, on the marketing side, you need to Redo this one simply because, like I said, this needs to form decision making criteria that aligns all the teams on the same page and if there's a new team or new voices, they need to be allowed to see this firsthand and participate in it um so that's the straightforward answer. The slightly more complicated answer, if the team is really stable and there has not been turnover in any of those key areas, is that as you see these things, it's start to apply ways that you can track them. You know, real return on investment in marketing is about running towards the right problem next right. So if you think about a business development pipeline, and I mean a holistic one, not marketing funnel over here and sales pipeline over here, total business development funnel, the real key is to find out where are we hemorrhaging opportunities, where are we losing the most people or where our leads least qualified, et Cetera. And so when you are looking at this, a lot of times there's big opportunity on the marketing side for improving lead quality or making the lead flow more efficient, like how do we get them in a more ready state once they talk to sales? That's fine, when the sales mapping really needs to be redone is when you realize that the business development funnel the total one, where the next big problem is really inside of that sales pipeline portion like closer to the tip of the sphere. Um. And so what? And the reason why is because marketing is uniquely, uniquely and powerfully positioned to help sales solve these problems, because marketers are frequently better writers than salespeople. They have more time to do it. So marketing can do lots of interesting things about pre writing sales content and, you know, working through common conversations and helping sales teams put in real and practical sales collateral that can move the sales cycle along faster. They can create automations. There's so many different things they...

...can do. And so when it's really showing up in the numbers or in the subjects, you know subjective stories, you know closing ratios are off, but you you can see that the next big problem to solve is improving closing ratios and improving how quickly the sales cycles actually running. That's a great time to Redo um the sales mapping exercise, because there's probably some broken assumptions like a demo in a wrong place, or like how many case studies you need to show or how many follow ups that actually takes to close the sale, and marketing can really help fortify those sales people and get them in a more powerful position to make really quick and really aggressive improvements in the most important place in the sales funnel. I think both of these are so important. These are conversations we have to be having. How messaging is often misunderstood, updating or messaging and then and then sales mapping, and I think coming up for air here at the end of this conversation and thinking about how much alignment can be driven if you were to, let's say, on the sales mapping side, to really stress this to your team in a meaningful way, even outside of if if you know sales and marketing, sits under revenue, if you stress this to your entire organization, once you have this written out, the amount of momentum it can create for you when done right, when these conversations just become natural inside your organization and people feel like they're on the same page, these are some of the most meaningful conversations you can have. So for the marketers listening to this, if you've done a sales mapping exercise and it's sitting in a google drive somewhere or it's sitting on some website, like does that thing off and make sure that people are aware of what this actually looks like for new hires. This should be something that everyone walks through, because you're going to all speak the same language and you won't have to update it as often, even as there's turnover, right, because then people are already on the same page. You can make little adjustments as you go but to me, this that piece of sales mapping. Make sure that it's not just an exercise you do once, but it's in front of people often. That's going to make this so, so meaningful. All right, I want Dacy, I want you to end this episode by giving us a challenge, giving us some homework coming out of this conversation around messaging and sales mapping. What should we do with the information we learned learned from you today? Alright, so I'm actually gonna give you two Um you know. One is ask the dumb questions. What I mean by that is reach across the aisle, you know, reach from marketing, this sales style side, to create these conversations where you allow yourself to ask open ended questions, because you might be surprised at what you hear. So constantly go back test your assumptions, especially if you're if something is broken, something is happening in the data Um, go back and think about them staging piece and think about where, and a lot...

...of times that tribal knowledge in your industry or inside of your organization will help you find it. The other one is a lot more personal, fundamental and, I think, exciting, and it's that I really really want marketing to take on a Servant Leadership Paradigm, like where it's not just about the right content or the right tactic, but it is literally about the empathy of being human and realizing that your work is helping other business people elevate their work do amazing things. And so when you're putting great content out there and you're allowing yourself to speak to the emotion of that problem, the emotion of that situation, you're validating that they're not alone, you're encouraging them that they can make progress in a really complicated scenario and that it's possible and that there are good people guiding the process. And so a allowing year selves as marketers to really think that way and to express that thought, that servant leadership thought, that customer centricity in your work internally in your organization. It is amazing. When that starts taking on a life of its own internally, what happens? Because it will, because it's fundamental about how like, about what it feels like to be a human being, and we bring that humanity into the business world, but sometimes we try to squash it or we pretend that it's not there. But we are complicated at work just like we are complicated at home, and marketers are the perfect people to validate that and create that service attitude that really allows people to explore their potential in the work world. So that's my real challenge to the audience is embrace it all, dive like, be all in on your work. Don't Pigeonhole, because what called you to marketing is something fundamental about your humanity and about what you believe in, about the business world and people. So don't let experience or business steal that from you. Go back to that spark. I love it. Thank you for the challenge. I think that's a great way to start to wrap this thing up. For listeners that are hearing this, they want to stay connected to you, to the work that you do. What's the best way for people to connect? Yeah, absolutely so, especially based on what we were talking about today, my book Corporate Caffeine. You can find it on all the major channels Amazon. I also have a podcast if you want to hear more about how this stuff is actually applied. Um and it's called corporate caffeine also, and so you can find on all the major podcast platforms. And if anybody's looking for structured support, my company is the marketing BLENDER DOT com. Absolutely wonderful to have you with us today. Thanks so much for stopping by. B Two B growth. This was so fun and keep up the amazing work. You guys are awesome. Benji so appreciated, and I want to say to...

...all of those listening thank you for checking out this episode. If you haven't followed me to be growth on whatever podcast player you're listening to this on right now, we'd appreciate you following the show so you never missed an episode. We're here to help fuel your growth and innovation and you can reach out to me on Linkedin at any time to search Benji block talking about marketing, business and life over there, and we'd love to hear from you. All right, we'll be back real soon with another episode. THANKS FOR LISTENING TO EVERYBODY.

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