The most respected surgeons in the world have the best survival rates. But they don’t have the best survival rates because they’re better surgeons. They have the best survival rates because they choose their patients very, very carefully.
Great surgeons know exactly what variables in the patient’s history correlate to successful outcomes. They then avoid patients who don’t fit the profile and focus their energy on the patients most likely to survive.
To show why this is really relevant to you as a B2B marketer, I’d like to start with how it’s relevant to us as a B2B agency.
At Velocity, we apply the ‘patient screening’ idea when we’re meeting prospective clients for the first time. Some agencies hoover up every bit of business going. They’ll say whatever they need to say and be whoever they need to be in order to win the business.
To be honest, we’ve been guilty of this in our time. And it invariably ends in tears (the equivalent of the patient dying). We’ve been seduced by exciting projects that really didn’t play to our strengths and we’ve usually regretted it — even if the client ended up happy.
The fact is, we know exactly what we’re good at. And while it’s okay to go a bit off-piste, we have to recognise that doing so will, over time, lower our hit rate.
More to the point, the time and energy we put into these tangential projects are invested at the expense of projects that are right in our sweet spot. The ones we slam dunk every time.
So we’ve learned over the years to spot real, Velocity-shaped holes in prospect companies. And we’ve learned to spot projects that really don’t need what we do best. When we respectfully decline the latter, we spend more time on the former. So our hit rates go up. Our clients say nice things about us. And we attract more of the projects we love.
The exact same principle applies to all B2B marketing. The idea isn’t to attract every prospect who has a passing interest in what you do. The idea is to generate sales-ready leads that hit smack in the middle of your sweet-spot; the projects that need exactly the dimensions your products excel at.
To do this, you need to know the precise size and shape of your sweet spot. You need to not only know who you are and why people should care, you need to know how you stack up against competitors and substitutes.
Only then can you isolate the dimensions that set you apart and build your marketing around them. When you do this, you’ll be generating and nurturing contacts that lead to great sales conversations — instead of meetings where your sales people are bending over backwards to fit a brief that really isn’t suited to your business.
More ‘perfect fit’ projects means more successful projects, more happy customers, more recommendations. Fewer perfect fits means… the opposite.
Our eBook, The Holy Trinity of Tech Marketing, talks about the three questions that will help you identify your company’s sweet spots. This is where we start when we take on new clients. Because if you get this right, the success rates rise for everything else you do.