B2B marketing and business growth veterans, Nancy Koors and Kevin Gold co-developed the Customer Acquisition Framework to help B2B companies develop and implement an acquisition marketing and growth program.
Customer acquisition is an approach where “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” By integrating every aspect of this customer acquisition framework, you’ll construct a program that best serves the non-linear buying behavior of your B2B buyers. When executed effectively, the results will generate sustainable and significantly better B2B growth.
A Breakdown of the Customer Acquisition Framework
The framework starts with the BRAND at the center. Many people skip this and go right to execution. But with the changes in B2B buying behavior and an increase in the number of people on decision committees during the buying process, educating and providing value with consistent messaging is more important now than ever.
Interconnected with BRAND is your BUYER. After all, a brand is the connection between your company and your target buyer. You cannot create brand value without deeply understanding the role, challenges and goals associated with your target buyers. Learning more about your buyer-first will position you better for every aspect of customer acquisition.
Introducing the Big Rocks – Journey, Content and Channels
If you are familiar with Stephen Covey’s “First Things First” approach to time management, then you are familiar with the concept of the “big rocks”. The big rocks are the activities that are urgent and important. They demand special time and attention. Brand (and its associated Buyers) at the center are critical yet the big rocks come next and are equally important to get right. The first Big Rock extending out from brand is the buyer’s JOURNEY.
Buyers are seeking a solution and moving through a process to identify, research, consider and decide on the best option among alternatives to solve their problem and/or achieve their goal. By researching and documenting your buyers’ journey, you can begin informing, educating, equipping and enabling them.
Consider this…a buyer may purchase a product or service like yours once or twice per year. Maybe more or less depending on your industry. Yet your company sells hundreds to thousands of your products or services over the same time period. Who’s the buying expert? YOU ARE! Your company’s experience with many buyers gives you a superior perspective to use for guiding your buyers through their process. You may not always be the best solution for every buyer, but you can quickly identify (and target) the right buyers for your product or service and provide them the absolutely best buying experience!
The second Big Rock extending out from brand is CONTENT. Content is a building block for every effective customer acquisition program. By defining the “space” you what to own and developing the resources to help buyers within this space gain the knowledge, trust, confidence and conviction to move through their journey, you position your business as the best choice.
Content comes in all varieties whether text, video, images or audio. What you choose and what you ultimately produce is driven by an understanding of your buyer personas, their journey and what they need to do to move to a buying decision. If you don’t have a clear and documented content strategy and associated plan, then don’t attempt it! How often have you come across a business website where their blog or news sections are either empty or outdated? What type of impressions does that situation create? It’s not a positive one for sure! If you don’t have a plan with the resources to support it then you’re better off not doing it at all.
CHANNELS is the third Big Rock. These marketing channels are deliberately chosen ways to find and connect with your target audience along their buyer’s journey using your message platform to create and build engagement.
Less is more when it comes to selecting the right channels. Being everywhere but in a limited (e.g. outdated, irrelevant, infrequent, etc.) manner, may do more harm than good. Pick the channels most effective for reaching your target audience and spend the resources to optimize it for the best results.
There are more than 120 marketing channels available to distribute your message to an audience. And “new, shiny objects” in digital marketing pop-up frequently that can quickly grab your attention and cause needless clutter. Get focused on where your buyers coalesce and start testing those channels one at a time or as your resources are available. Operating within 2-3 channels is OK – you don’t need to be all places. But the places you do choose to operate should be all-in.
For B2B, and across all industries, there are a number of core channels that tend to operate under the 80/20 rule. Although a longer-term strategy and requires a solid growth infrastrcuture and quality content, search engine optimization (SEO) is a core channel. It provides the highest volume of visitor traffic to your website at the lowest cost over time. Email marketing is another core channel.
However, marketing is a process that requires the integration of many parts to produce a comprehensive, effective and sustainable customer acquisition program. You need to select channels that target top fo the funnel, middle of the funnel and bottom of the funnel activities of your buyers. Remember, buying is a non-linear process. So you want to leverage marketing channels that connect with buyers at whatever point they may be along their buyer’s journey.
The Core Activities Supporting the Big Rocks
Once the big rocks (brand, content, channels and journey) are in place, it’s time to implement the right growth infrastructure. Your website is critical since it carries your brand messaging and is in the forefront of buyer engagement. According to research, “90% of buyers visit a vendors website to learn and engage.” Secondly, marketing automation and a CRM are important for acquisition marketing and growth. You can’t manage want you don’t measure and these marketing and sales technologies capture critical data points. In addition, they help create greater relevance, value and engagement with your buyers throughout their buying stages.
Lead nurturing and sales enablement spawn out of your growth infrastructure as specific ways to equip your sales team with high-value content to share with buyers and engage with prospects throughout their buying journey.
The Ongoing Executions to Grow and Sustain Customer Acquisition
Metrics establish visibility into and set the points for managing your entire customer acquisition program. They help determine whether your program is on target to achieve your goals or failing. Depending on what your metrics show and how they are trending, you either apply optimization strategies to generate more of the same or begin troubleshooting to fix barriers clogging up your pipeline.
The devil is clearly in the details but this customer acquisition framework can guide your efforts to ensure you and your team are covering every critical component for an effective acquisition marketing and growth program. If you want to dive deeper into the Customer Acquisition Framework – download the “Effective Customer Acquisition for B2B Growth” ebook.
Want to know specifically how the customer acquisition framework can help your B2B sales growth efforts? Contact us now.
If you are interested in you and your team attending a customer acquisition bootcamp that walks step-by-step through the framework, you can check out the bootcamp details.