Enterprise Marketing: What, When, How and Why

What is enterprise marketing, exactly?

That’s a question I recently asked myself as I considered the responsibilities my role entails and the many people I get to work with in doing what I do. Honestly, it wasn’t an easy one to answer.

As someone at a company who sells, markets and serves enterprise clients quite often, I thought it was really important for me to dive deep and understand all I could about this topic. After all, enterprise marketing is a key part of my life, and my understanding of it can make or break my success. I figure, if you’re reading this, that might be true for you too.

For that reason, I thought it would be helpful for us to break it all down together. So here’s to you, reader, and to learning all about the four Ws of enterprise marketing.

What is enterprise marketing?

Enterprise marketing can be defined as company-wide customer relationship management and lead generation through multichannel, integrated marketing campaigns targeted toward large enterprises, usually doing over $100m ARR.

While that might sound like “marketing in general” to some of you, things are a bit more nuanced for enterprise marketers than they might be for generalists.

The devil in the details of enterprise marketing

Some of the things that differentiate the needs and realities of enterprise marketing are

  • You work with a larger team of decision-makers: This means managing a broader range of expectations, personalities, challenges and opportunities in driving action and ultimately closing deals.

  • Things can get heavily segmented by departments, locations or other factors: This means you often have to define and sell to one group at a time.

  • While you have to have specific, granular focus across segments, the bigger picture always looms: Even as you break down sales barriers and build relationships one segment at a time, you have to be thinking about how to unify the whole.

  • Lots of tools must be taken advantage of to keep you sane and keep your projects performance-driven: Fortunately, marketing automation platforms and other tools can help you keep track of your performance, reach the right people and build the cross-departmental collaboration, content execution and audience relativity that’s critical to achieving results.

When and how should I focus on enterprise marketing?  

Enterprise marketing can be daunting and may even seem unmanageable, especially if you and the people you work with aren’t prepared to make it work. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, you can establish systems and norms across your teams and those you work with to set yourselves up for success.

Tips for Successful Enterprise Marketing

  1. Find the account-based marketing and enterprise marketing sweet spot: Enterprise marketing and ABM go together like peanut butter and jelly because both require you to take a focused approach to build rapport with accounts and the individuals within them.

    ABM can help you gather critical business intelligence about your prospects that will make developing enterprise marketing programs across your intended channels much easier.

  2. Get ready to understand the diversity of your marketing assets and to scale accordingly: Enterprise marketing demands that you take the time to learn what tools and best practices exist to help you scale your marketing programs to your most important audiences in a smart way. This requires reviewing your inbound marketing programs, social selling, content strategy, lead scoring and organizational preparedness to meet the expectations of the people you sell to.

    As mentioned previously, a wide variety of tools can help you make sure you’re reaching your audiences effectively, measuring your data and minimizing outreach difficulty. Services like Marketo and Salesforce can help enterprise marketers manage their outreach, while products like Intricately can help marketers and salespeople gather deeper business intelligence about their prospects.

  3. Lean on your executives for a helping hand: When developing an enterprise marketing program, you need your team leaders to help build consensus and buy-in as well as craft and implement de-siloed programs for which people can be accountable. Not only that, but their voices can lend serious credibility to any enterprise marketing initiative when strategically implemented.

  4. Remember that relationships go a long way: No one understands an organization or industry better than a person who works in it. When prospecting leads and getting to know an organization to develop your enterprise marketing strategies, it can be a good idea to ask a friend in the know…especially one who happens to work at the target enterprise. By adding value to your friend’s life and making his or her job easier in some way, you can make the benefits of this relationship reciprocal in the long term.

  5. Understand that typical key performance indicators probably won’t work: While every marketing strategy needs goals, the KPIs that are commonly upheld as “best practices” in more general marketing likely won’t be suitable for an enterprise marketing program.

    Instead, enterprise marketers should think about more account-specific KPIs like account penetration, sales per lead, customer lifetime value, organic search growth of company assets and account conversions. These, in addition to an understanding of brand awareness, share of voice, thought leadership and other items tied to analytics can give your brand a better view of how your enterprise marketing efforts are performing.

Before you break into enterprise marketing, define your why

What’s your “why” for enterprise marketing? What’s the reason you feel your business could benefit by working in this unique, complicated, but potentially very beneficial marketing strategy?

It’s important to figure out the answer to this question well before you begin trying to implement any kind of enterprise marketing program. Otherwise, it will likely be much harder for you to create strategies, tactics and goals aligned with any sort of foundational intent.

Not only do you need to analyze why you think it might be a good idea, you also need to consider why you think this strategy could be a good fit for your team’s skills and resources.

Doing so will help you determine early on where the challenges or pain points in implementing enterprise marketing strategy at your organization could be. Then, when the time comes, you can make your case to all of the pertinent parties and start building a successful enterprise marketing program.

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