As the old saying goes, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step”. In marketing it’s the same way — the road to a won deal consists of several steps. Let me tell you how to get this journey started if you’re just about to change or set up your marketing activities.
About the author
Haralds Gabrans Zukovs is Head of Marketing at fintech startup Credolab. His work is not limited to the usual marketing tools, but he constantly tests new approaches and tries to be among the first to use the latest practices of digital marketing, based on an evidence-based approach, careful work with data and a never-ending cycle of hypothesis testing.
He has experience within a wide range of B2B industries: from hardware and IoT to fintech and blockchain, present in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Haralds has held consecutive marketing directorships at Nordigen, Hyve Group and since March 2022 he is leading the marketing at Credolab. He also advises and consults companies and professionals around the world and genuinely believes that digital marketing is truly his calling.
What is full-cycle marketing
Full-cycle marketing (in coop with sales) is a framework that literally “surrounds” the customer, helping to build awareness, demand generation, capture and win the deals for the company: from the process of getting to building brand and product awareness, to closing the deal, and upselling.
It consists of several components, to name a few:
- Audience we want to reach → What is the buyer persona we want to target? Where do they work, in which companies, industries?
- Acquisition → How is our top of the funnel set up, how do we reach the potential ICP across the channels?
- Conversion → How do we convert customers at the bottom of the funnel?
- Retention → How do we retain a customer?
- Loyalty → What incentives do we have built? How do we turn customers into brand advocates?
The word cycle means that all these steps are not linear tasks, but a continuous sequence of actions. After the last step is completed, we return to the first step, and so on, it is an endless loop that can be improved and tested always. It can become a very powerful approach to reach your revenue KPIs and achieve growth.
Full-cycle marketing is an important part to achieve more success with selling their services. This approach allows you to get the most out of your sales and marketing efforts targeting their potential ICPs without draining budgets on never-ending attempts to find new customers. It is vital to make sure that your sales and marketing departments work as a unified organism and have the right approach implemented across the pillars.
Setting up this kind of method is not that complicated if you start with the right approach to implement it. There are multiple steps and things to take into account while setting up a full-cycle approach, up to 40 or more! In this article, I’ll try to simplify the steps for you to be able to start transition as quickly as possible.
Step 1: Check current approach and analyse used channels
Before engaging in the implementation of full-cycle marketing, it’s important to understand what is the current situation, what is working, what is not and what approaches you are already using.
Do a simple or more in-depth report, try to look at these stages and answer these questions:
- What is your current ICP and are you reaching it at the moment?
- What is the current customer journey and are you targeting them on the right channels and materials?
- Interview sales and customer support department to gain advanced level of insights. Are you converting the right customers and they know what they are buying?
Run insights and talk with as many involved people as possible, even better if you can
get to the clients and have a chat with them as well. . You’d be surprised how much space for adjustment or improvement you could find. This advice is especially useful for new hires in the marketing department.
Cooperate and work together to create this insights report. Include marketing, sales and customer support — you’ll learn a lot about the companies you sell your services to.
Step 2: Create task based action plan
To move quickly, a task based action plan tied to overall KPIs works great as a seamless process to get up to speed when marketing pillars have caveats or there has been no marketing at all.
- Set up process, implement best practices etc.
- Move towards demand generation and demand capturing
- Move the revenue needle for the company
Step 3: Start building and measuring
From my experience it doesn’t take more than 1-2 weeks (based on data amount and company size) from the insight gathering to having an action plan. Implementing this action plan depends on the amount of work and if you need to create or redo (based on best practices) big items (website, analytics dashboards etc.).
A few steps that usually have repeated from company to company:
Prioritise your tasks based on, which are more valuable for your bottom line KPis and would make a difference. Start working with these tasks first and then move on onto the rest.
Build and/or improve your ICP. The ideal customer profile helps departaments to target and separate the customers they want to reach. So take your time to define an ideal customer profile, involve different teams from the company to get the information you need. An in-depth guide to building a precise ICP for B2B companies.
My years of experience in marketing suggest that the more detailed the ICP is, the easier it is to achieve your KPIs.
Work on being on and making improvements across the ads, website, emails and other (if needed). Once you’ve your precise ICP, you should make sure that you are distributing your materials and messages on the channels your target audience can be reached. Use best practices as a starting point and build on top of that and learn what works the best in your case. Be sure that you can track as much as possible, set up attribution tools and use self reported analytics as well.
Work as a single organism with sales to convert as many opportunities as possible. Sales and marketing needs to be aligned and have a single goal of converting customers. Sales department benefits a lot from having cadences (set up process, lead scoring, deal scoring, lead qualifying process etc.) to work as an effective organism with marketing.
Potential tool set up to implement most important pillars. Consider taking a closer look and giving these tools a try.
- Salesloft – to build processes and cadences for sales
- Zapier – for automation
- Hubspot – All-in-one solution for CRM, email marketing, lead scoring, workflow and sequence automation, notifications and more
- io – helps to track buyer’s journey and content revenue contribution
- Shield – LinkedIn analytics tool
- Hootsuite – social media posting automation
- Leadfeeder and Happierleads – track and see which companies visit your website and landing pages
Step 3.5: Build, measure and analyse, test, repeat – create endless growth loops
And a simple last tip — don’t stop and completely re-build your marketing from scratch, it will stop revenue flow, even if it doesn’t follow 100% the principles of full-cycle marketing. Do it in stages and start with building strong basics and reap low hanging fruits.
For example, upsell new products to current clients, bottom of the funnel improvements, demand capturing improvements. These could bring instant short term benefits and combined with improvements at the top of the funnel could be the golden ticket in the future.
Test, what works, what doesn’t build and push those things that work. Afterwards start yearly cycles with a lot stronger position and build marketing plans and strategies based on this success.