If you hear enough new years’ resolutions, you’ll see certain themes develop.
We all know them: get in shape, cut out the junk, reconnect with the people in your life, learn a new skill, etc… For marketers making lists for 2017, the resolutions run parallel—be more efficient, find ways to declutter the tech stack, engage buyers at a deeper level, yadda yadda.
Looking ahead to next year, it’s easy to predict we’ll have our assumptions challenged, be surprised by our audience, and be introduced to new industry innovations. It happens every year. For marketers looking to set a steady course for success instead of just chasing the latest fads, keep these three words in the front of your mind: quality, tribe, process.
Focus on the quality of your engagements, not the quantity.
Chances are your organization is not suffering for lack of emails sent. Our annual benchmarking report, again, revealed the striking numbers—81% of marketers report sending out over 1,000 automated emails per month to their prospects. And while I applaud the hustle at face value, that barrage of communication just isn’t producing the kind of value one would hope—half our respondents report seeing no increase at all in qualified leads.
When a mass content campaign flops, frustrated marketers tend to point blame at automation itself or further muddy the waters by adding more tech in an attempt to solve the problem. It’s not the data that’s failing to produce results, it’s the way organizations are using it. You can practice something all day, but there’s a fine line between practice and stagnation. Make sure you’re improving and not just going through the motions.
That’s why an Account Based Everything approach is necessary to deliver content and campaigns that actually matter to the people you’re reaching. When you launch an ABE program, you’re forcing all departments—not just marketing—to hyper-personalize their communications with buyers everyone has already agreed can benefit from your offering.
Turn the focus on how your customers can get max value (often based on their role) instead of blabbering on about how great your product is. Use data to paint a picture of who each of your prospects is, then give them all unique, threaded, one-to-one experiences that build upon each other.
Think like a tribe.
More important than any sales goal next year should be creating and maintaining a company culture where your employees find joy in being a part of the greater good. And that ain’t easy. In a classic study of dozens of corporations, well over half of all employees are at best, either looking out for themselves ahead of team goals or, at worst, passively or actively undermining leadership.
The idea there’s a hierarchy of employee mindsets within all companies, and that teams can grow to reach higher plateaus of group-mind, is the basis of the concept of tribal leadership. Humans naturally form tribes, and It’s up to leaders to notice behaviors and ways individuals interact with each other so that everyone can be put in the right place, doing the right things.
Whether you emphasize innovation, play, discipline, or any number of other values that inform your company’s culture, you’ll only go as far as the buy-in you get from your tribes.
Your mission this year is to transform your people from a self-aware “I’m so great” mentality to an inclusive “we’re so great” mindset. That only happens when everyone is committed to your grander mission as a company (read: how you intend to solve big problems) that your employees come to work every day in support of something bigger than themselves. Work on creating that culture every single day, from how you assign work to all the way down to who you hire.
Fall in love with the process.
We may think we know all the answers, or trust in our intuition to make decisions on the fly, but when everyone at a company operates this way, things go haywire. Is a standardized method of coming to conclusions boring? Sometimes. Is it effective? Absolutely. You’re likely in this business because you were attracted to the fast-paced nature of it and how the only constant is change. Well, without a process in place that reliably accounts for change, you’ll always be playing catch-up.
So many companies lag behind their customers in terms of adaptability, and therefore fail to meet consumers where they are as a result. Part of creating an effective process is understanding the path your customers go through when making a decision—you know, buyer journey type stuff. How you communicate with your buyers should be intentional and active across the entire organization.
Same goes for adopting a new piece of technology. You may be wowed by a software platform’s new version, but have you considered how it might integrate with your current process or stack? Does it solve a real failing of a current technology or will it be an ineffective band-aid to cover mistakes you’ve made? Before you execute any new initiative, you have to examine all possibilities and not be blind to your own shortcomings (or you can steal ours here).
Here’s to an even more successful new year.
Keep your team focused on quality over quantity. Build your tribe. And focus on tight, enabled processes. Think of it as getting in shape, cutting out the junk, reconnecting with the people in your life, and learning a new skill. Happy New Year!
Meet Justin Gray
Justin is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of LeadMD, the world’s largest revenue operations agency having implemented over half of the Marketo user base. Justin has made a career of launching successful companies and scaling them, with successful exits of over 200MM+ in the last decade. Justin’s latest endeavor launched in 2016 when he co-founded Six Bricks an online learning startup designed to combat employee and customer churn through experience-based education. Over the past 10 years, Justin has emerged as a strong voice for entrepreneurship, marketing and culture. As a recognized speaker, Justin has been published over 350 times in industry publications and holds his own column, Tribal Knowledge in Inc., while writing for Entrepreneur, Tech Crunch and others. Justin and his wife Jennifer met over marketing and three years later welcomed their son, Grayson, into the world in April of 2017.