"We know that you're working hard.
The next step is to do it with rigor"
Seth Godin expands a bit on the topic of rigor in a recent post, saying "Rigor is a focus on process. Paying attention to not just how you do things, but why. Rigor requires us to never use an emergency as an excuse. It is a process for the long haul, the work of a professional."
This resonated for me because I spend a lot of time with industrial manufacturing companies contrasting the real rigor which they bring to manufacturing process and bottom line management, with the rather more haphazard approach to revenue growth. (I've written about that, for instance here and here in a two part piece for the Mass Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and discussed it in this video.)
What's common today in B2B Sales & Marketing?
There's a lot of formulaic junk. Blog posts written to check the box; social postings to satisfy some activity metric; LinkedIn messages from reps asking if you'd like to spend 15 minutes to hear how they'll rock your world. In fact, the satirists at Vooza (@VoozaHQ) have nailed it - just substitute any any B2B marketing or sales term for "networking" here and you'll know what I mean.
If it wasn't tragic it would be hilarious, right?
What's uncommon and desperately needed?
How could manufacturers apply analogous rigor to their top-line growth as they do to their production operations?
Of course they could use precisely the same methods - look at the last 6 months of blog posts and conduct a kaizen to improve under performing posts and develop standard work and guidelines to ensure that future posts will be more likely to outperform, and that that any under performance will be quickly identified and corrected.
But they could also take the following concrete steps:
- determine key biz dev metrics that support business strategy and are meaningful to revenue (growth, profitability, diversification, predictability/stability, etc.)
- understand what levers to pull to directly impact those (and how to measure - what tools and what constitutes material change)
- adopt an agile approach built on bold marketing sprints (growth driven design & minimum viable product for websites, incremental data driven market expansion, leveraging technology to drive superior sales results)
And most importantly, stop producing any content or information which answers their questions/talks their topics.
The single biggest step every company should take as the foundation of a rigorous approach to biz dev is extensive qualitative research with won/loss/typical prospects. Any B2B marketing information or B2B sales effort that isn't thoroughly grounded in that information is destined to mediocrity at best and likely irrelevance.
Process vs. outcomes & a lost decade
Too many industrial manufacturing companies have sales & marketing approaches that are similar to what Radius describes in it's look at the culture of Japanese Salarymen - long hours focused on process (call reports, requisite number of tweets, number of cold calls, etc.) rather than bold experiments and accountability for results.
Will your business experience a lost decade too?
Or will you get serious about managing your revenue growth as you do your manufacturing? If you're ready, download this free guide that maps out the industrial marketing steps - then let's discuss how you adapt your sales process accordingly.