Content marketing is one of the best forms of thought leadership. It's a proven long-term marketing strategy to help drive revenue for an organization of any size. 

For years, B2B marketing teams have used content to help drive leads to fill out a form, download that content, and thus "fill the funnel" for sales. However, the costs for developing content for a lead-based marketing strategy are woefully inefficient, as Forrester Research states that less than 1% of leads will ever become customers.

There's a revolution happening in B2B marketing and sales. One of the titans of content marketing is Joe Pulizzi. I was honored to be included in his new book Killing Marketing: How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Costs Into Profit

In Killing Marketing, I shared how we took an innovative approach to help B2B marketers wake up to the fact that the days of traditional lead generation are over. The reason Joe asked to interview me for his book is that we're both constantly challenging the status quo of B2B marketing. Here's one example.

At my startup, Terminus, we decided we needed to have another brand to help drive awareness for this new subcategory of B2B marketing: account-based marketing (ABM).

From my perspective, at its core, ABM is a laser-focused approach to B2B marketing in which marketing and sales teams work together to target best-fit accounts and turn them into customers.

From this subcategory, #FlipMyFunnel was born.

#FlipMyFunnel is a community of B2B marketing, sales, and customer success professionals who share their collective knowledge to empower each other to drive value in their organizations.

We have over 6,000 members located all of over the U.S., London, Canada, India and even Israel! We were amazed by how many people were bought into the idea of "flipping the funnel" on the traditional lead generation model.

With literally no money, we decided to pull off a conference in two months! Unlike large corporations, we didn't have unlimited resources to invest in building a category-shifting movement. We were a scrappy startup and had to use the strength of our #FlipMyFunnel community members and the quality of its resources and benefits to get where it is today.

The first #FlipMyFunnel conference in 2015 was a huge success with nearly 300 attendees including innovative B2B leaders who were also ready to "kill" traditional lead-based marketing and embrace ABM. 

One of my favorite quotes from my conversation with Pulizzi focuses on the actual financial logistics of the first event. 

"We put an event together in a couple of months and invited all top leaders in the marketplace that cared about the topic. Nothing to do with Terminus...not a single person spoke at the conference about Terminus. Ten sponsors [helped] to pay for the conference...it was almost like...no real money spent [was] from us because it was all taken care of by the sponsorships. We were able to bring in 300 to 400 people to attend the conference...and we were able to build relationships with all these top leaders..."

Since 2015, we've gone on to host eight successful events with a significant portion of the budget being covered by outside sponsorships and registered attendees. The events themselves would have cost Terminus over $1.5 million to produce.

However, because we designed the #FlipMyFunnel events to bring together our community, we ended up turning this cost center into revenue. Of the more than 300 customers we currently have at Terminus, about a third of those closed/won accounts attended #FlipMyFunnel events.  

So how did we do it? 

We focused on the problem and built awareness around it. 

Terminus didn't talk about itself as a company or present a pitch during the events as "here's what Terminus does and here's how Terminus can help you." Instead, we focused on the problem at hand: killing leads.

By creating resources that make solutions--like account-based marketing--become clearer, we were able to position #FlipMyFunnel events as an industry event and not a Terminus event. The goal for #FlipMyFunnel was to bring together a group of B2B innovators who were ready to literally flip the funnel.

Here's my advice to other entrepreneurs and startup founders who may be in a similar spot Terminus and #FlipMyFunnel were in just two years ago:

  • Focus on the problem and determine how to create industry resources that will help solve it. Remember that mantra: a rising tide lifts all boats.

  • Grow your brand organically. Once I identified the problem with the traditional B2B marketing funnel and coined #FlipMyFunnel for ABM, I started to blog consistently in hopes of bringing awareness to the community.

  • Revenue can come from outside of your company. Don't be afraid to partner with other industry organizations to help actualize your product. Your budget will thank you.

Tackling B2B marketing and sales is a daunting task, but it's made easier by flipping the funnel on your traditional strategy. Bringing it back to Joe's work, what part of your company's marketing game are you ready to kill? 

Published on: Oct 25, 2017
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