Pragmatic Positivity: Leading a Marketing Team During Uncertain Times

April 1, 2020 Latane Conant

Over the last couple of weeks, I've gotten several LinkedIn messages, Slacks, emails, and calls asking what my team's plan is, given the current crisis. I’ve been responding to people individually, but decided to share some thoughts here, in case it might be helpful to others in our community.

My first thought is, we can only control what we can control. 

We’re marketing and sales professionals, not economists or infectious disease specialists. I don’t have a plan for an economic meltdown. I’m trying to stay informed while not binge watching the news — it’s too easy to go into a fear spiral. 

That being said, my planning lens is “pragmatic positivity” (which I totally made up).

The first step for me was to look at the data. Powered by Salesforce reports and Google sheets, I calculated that our biggest trade show created 4.8% of our pipeline last year and represented 8% of our budget (hard dollar cost). It was also all-hands-on-deck, with months of preparation and follow up. AND interestingly enough, our biggest show had a lower-than-average win rate.

I also revisited our revenue planning model. The reality is, changing the dials further down the funnel has a MUCH bigger impact on revenue than more pipeline. Historically, we’ve been 90% focused on top-of-the-funnel and trying to grow customer marketing and product marketing capabilities. However, if I move a few of those things just 1-2%, it’s significant. So, I've re-allocated resources to those areas.

Look at your content and creative. True story: We ran a campaign called “Do The Match” a few months ago. The landing page and creative were honestly kinda lame, and the results were pretty lame too. For Valentine's Day, we re-did the campaign with the same CTA, but this time made it fun and interesting with killer creative — and it’s done amazing in terms of ideal customer engagement and new pipeline.

Drink the champagne. InMarket is the new inbound, and BDRs are a BFD. I’ve written a lot about both, because they predictably drive pipeline with or without an event. Just like anything you’re doing, you can always improve. For us, this means ensuring our follow-up around InMarket accounts is timely, cadences are amazing, and personalization is designed to add value to each persona on the buying team, based on their intent keywords. We’re inspecting and refreshing it all.

We strategically infuse personalized direct mail at the right stage and for the right accounts, which has yielded a 70% better open rate than the industry average. It’s a no brainer to double down on that program.

Getting sh#t done. I created a start, stop, continue slide for the team. And I’m pretty pumped about all the things we can stop. Trade shows are expensive, and also VERY time consuming and distracting — booth graphics, microsites, ancillary event postcards, collateral, logistical cat herding, travel, pre- and post-show blogs, tweets, BDR cadences, speaker preparation, the list goes on and on. We have so many other things in flight that are almost done, and now with this bandwidth bonus we can get all the ebooks, infographics, and video series out the door. 

Here are some tactics we’re currently focused on:

  • Investing extra $$ in digital. We are aggressively moving $$ to account display advertising, Google targeting (which is optimized for InMarket and account scores) and LinkedIn spend.
  • Warm call blitzes. (Y’all know I don’t believe in cold calls!) We can all rally (sales, marketing, BDRs, and CS) around calling accounts we know are InMarket, with a great message that adds value. 

While this situation really sucks… Chaos, challenges, and disruption provide opportunities for creativity and problem solving. We’re coming up with new ideas for micro-segmentation and using insights to fuel creative new campaigns. 

Hopefully some of this is helpful to you. We’re all in it together. More to come as our situation changes.

If not, my mom sent me this recipe for a “Quarantini” :)

 

How to Mix a Quarantini:

You’ll need: 0.5 oz Cointreau , 1.5 oz Gin , 0.5 oz Fresh lemon juice , Dash of sweet vermouth 

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Order everything online and instruct them to leave it outside your house. 
  3. Wash your hands again (without touching the faucet).
  4. Don your protective gear complete with mask & gloves to retrieve your items. 
  5. Wash your hands (this time singing Styx’s “Come Sail Away” all the way through). 
  6. Combine all ingredients in a shaker.
  7. Wash your hands again.
  8. Shake vigorously with ice. 
  9. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  10. Garnish with an orange wedge. 
  11. Wash those hands.
  12. Sanitize your phone so you can take a picture of your Quarantini for the ‘gram.
  13. Drink!
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