“Company Launches Innovative New Product …”

“Engineers Awarded Project …”

“Leader to Share Expertise at Annual Conference …”

These recent LinkedIn headlines (names removed to protect the guilty) are just a few real examples of how B2B companies are turning prospects off to their sales efforts.

While the activity may feel great, marketing that centers on your company shows you don’t understand your target customer. When your customer doesn’t think you get them, you don’t get the sale.

According to McKinsey, ineffective marketing is adding months – up to a year in the case of capital-intensive purchases –  to the B2B purchase process. Bad marketing can create negative brand perceptions that your sales team must work even harder to overcome.

Procurement organizations – who, let’s be honest, are driving most of the major B2B purchasing decisions these days – are literal folks. They need to be able to clearly connect your marketing with the company’s pain point. Ineffective marketing that focuses on you, and not your prospect, can do more harm than good.

Take, for example, a recent conversation I had with a sales and marketing leader at a global
B2B company:

“We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on email marketing, advertising and
trade shows. We were on all of the platforms where our prospects were active.
We bought a booth at THE trade show. Talk with our marketing team and they’d give
you an impressive number of prospects reached. Talk with the sales team and they’d
show you that all that effort resulted in a handful of ‘leads’ who barely knew our name
let alone what we did.”

Effective marketing, on the other hand, can shorten the sales cycle, pulling prospects in and helping them take a self-guided tour through your sales funnel. According to a recent study by DemandGen,
65 percent of B2B buyers make purchasing decisions based on your marketing content.

B2B companies tend to be the ones with the greatest to gain from marketing. Yet, they tend to struggle the most with getting marketing to work for them, finding it easier to talk about themselves and their products. It can be easy to delude yourself into believing that product attributes and price are what your prospects are interested in, but these self-centric messages could be hurting your sales efforts a lot more than you think.

Stephanie Johnston is a recovering client turned agency owner on a mission to help B2B companies improve the effectiveness of their marketing efforts and foster deeper collaboration between sales and marketing teams.