My last blog was about the importance of business owners taking personal responsibility for generating revenue. The “everybody sells” mentality is one I learned throughout my years as an entrepreneur, and building a successful sales organization within Tribridge has been one of the best investments we’ve ever made.
It took me awhile to learn how the sales function works but even longer to fully understand the huge role marketing has in the growth of a company. Admittedly, when we started Tribridge I thought marketing was all about hosting customer events like fishing trips or sponsoring parties at conferences. For the first several years, we spent very little energy or strategic investments on things like lead generation campaigns, paid search or branding.
Yes, events were and still are an invaluable part of how we connect with our customers, partners and prospects. But as I learned from my friend and colleague David Weiss, sales and marketing should be viewed as one process – a continuum that includes all phases of the customer lifecycle, from one-to-one relationship nurturing to initiatives that identify and influence prospects. I underestimated the power of marketing to really drive revenue into the business.
Fast forward years later, our marketing engine now includes a mix of customer and prospect marketing, events, corporate communications, PR, brand strategy, SEO and social media. I have been pleasantly surprised by how much business we get through leads that come through our website or blogs. I have learned that it is possible to impact potential buyers of our services without an established relationship.
I was at our Customer Connect event in Boston a few days ago, and one of the topics I spoke about was social media and how it’s critical part of any marketing and PR strategy. I think a lot of CEOs and business leaders believe it’s not a good investment of time and resources, or they fear the lack of control. I was also skeptical of social media’s place in a B2B business like ours until fairly recently. My personal opinion has changed as I’ve seen how social media can help build the brand, give prospects a proactive look at your company’s culture, and enhance the customer experience. It’s a great way to connect the enterprise with personal and community relationships.
Like sales, the concept of the marketing mix can be overwhelming for entrepreneurs, especially when you’re just starting out and have limited resources. But with careful planning, an open mind and good people, you can make a big impact without a huge budget. The best thing you can do is reinvest the money from deals won into larger, more strategic marketing initiatives. It works!