Linsay's Pearls of Wisdom

Linsay Duncan

Linsay Duncan

3 Top Tips

Align sales & marketing from the start
Embrace Sales Navigator
Think flexibly

3 Mistakes to avoid

Focusing on yourselves
Leaving marketing too late
Going it alone
From getting started early to learning from competitors, ScaleWise Coach and marketing expert Linsay Duncan runs through her key marketing dos and don'ts for scaling companies.
Hi, I’m Linsay Duncan and I’m a ScaleWise Coach. I’ve spent over 20 years building and fixing B2B marketing. As the founder of Your Allies, my team of CMOs advise boards, run marketing functions, transform teams and mentor marketing talent, while I also help founders and revenue leaders disrupt the market by boosting their market visibility and credibility. Here’s my 3x3.

3 Tips to embrace

Tip 1: Align sales & marketing from the start

Getting sales & marketing aligned from the start is so smart. Going back 20 years, we didn’t have the tools to do it properly, but now there’s no excuse not to tie them together as early as possible. When you get this right, performance can multiply tenfold.

The key is starting from the top. Appointing one overarching sales & marketing leader who can lead with one shared vision, who will ensure there’s a shared view of the customer and that shared goals flowing down into all levels of sales & marketing. As a result, the sales & marketing team will naturally work as a team, helping drive each other towards greater shared success rather than engaging in departmental glory-seeking or finger-pointing.

Tip 2: Embrace Sales Navigator

I swear I’m not employed by LinkedIn, but the Sales Navigator tool is a game-changer for B2B scaling companies looking to streamline sales activities and profile their market. Firstly, as sales tools go, the price point is pretty affordable given how well Sales Navigator helps you profile your prospective audience (at a business and individual level).

Secondly, instead of your sales team wasting hours trawling through LinkedIn profiles, Sales Navigator lets you build targeted lists. Now, LinkedIn may not be the right place to actually engage with your audience, but there’s good news: Sales Navigator can integrate with your CRM, which can connect to your marketing automation platform. As such, Sales can profie their audience effectively and feed that through to marketing to warm up through nurturing activities. What’s more, you can easily tune into your audience’s latest activities and using Sales Navigator correctly can save 2-3 hours of each sales rep’s time per week compared to using LinkedIn.

Tip 3: Think flexibly

From remote working to flexible hours, the last 12 months have radically shifted the goal posts of traditional work. Companies are now looking at new working structures without the traditional constraints and the same goes for marketing.

Scaling companies should consider what their business needs to achieve their marketing goals without the usual constraints, such as full-time employment or employment full-stop.
We live in a plug-in world where you can dip into resources on-demand. Whether that’s using online resources, such as SaaS processes and tools, or hiring a part-time CMO to develop a full-time marketing strategy, there are now so many smart ways to make your investment work harder and give your marketing the strategic edge it needs to drive business growth. Gone are the days of having to tie yourself up in long-term contracts.

3 Mistakes to avoid

Mistake 1: Focusing on yourselves

Picture the marketing campaign: ‘We do this...Our Solutions do that...We’re the leaders in X’. Are you convinced? When it comes to marketing content and comms, an inward-looking ‘we,we,we’ approach reeks of a childish company that is just shouting to be heard. It shows the company isn’t tuned into their customers’ needs or pain points. Yet somehow this style of marketing persists.

We’re all sophisticated buyers these days. In our personal lives, we engage with personalised marketing that speaks to what we need and ignore spam emails and flyers that shout about products. It’s the same in our professional roles. Scaling companies therefore need to take a step back, look at how they position themselves and at the channels they’re present on. Are they the right ones with the right audience? Are they doing the right things on that channel? Put yourself in your customer’s shoes: what would you want to hear?

Mistake 2: Leaving marketing too late

Like many things in life, the longer you leave it, the harder it is to fix. It’s the classic marketing problem: an ambitious leader is determined to knock the rivals off their perch and goes all in on product and sales, thinking that marketing is just a sales tactic and they have it under control.

Fast forward and after an initial sales surge and stage of organic growth, the company has no presence in the market, low levels of visibility and credibility among their prospective audience and other industry professionals. At this point, it’s hard to quickly rectify this mistake. You can’t suddenly build a presence on Google, for example, or transform ignored channels into sources of growth. It’s tough to move from a position of weakness to one of power, especially when competitors have been doing marketing well and building up market share; clawing that back will take time and, in fact, may not be reversible. The moral of the story: invest in marketing early.

Mistake 3: Going it alone

It’s no surprise that scaling companies think they have to grow a marketing function all on their own. Most have built up their companies from scratch, so it makes sense to build up a pool of prospects and devise marketing strategies from scratch too, right?

In fact, smart scale-ups will work out which influencers in the market they can lean on. Trying to build networks from scratch takes time under your own steam, whereas influencers and advocates can drive visibility to an audience you’d struggle to otherwise access, at a pace you’d struggle to otherwise achieve. They’ll work with partners with more established networks and piggyback on their brands to get seen and heard. Similarly, looking up at the big players in the market can be a smart move. Study their marketing trajectory (they’ve gone through the same growing pains as you) and see what you can learn and use in your own approaches.

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