Excelling in B2B marketing, like an Olympian, is possible with rigor, perseverance and discipline.
I’m a former national caliber swimmer and although I can’t claim to be an Olympian, I’ve worked with athletes of that level at competitions and training camps. Many elements can make an athlete stand out and propel them ahead of everyone else, but without a doubt, you’ll find common elements at the root of their successes.
Reaching the top of your industry, yes, but how?
Apart from rare exceptions, companies that reach the top do so with attention to detail in the majority of their business functions, including marketing. They linger over details and sustain their efforts.
When I was training, it was on a daily basis 11 months out of the year and a minimum of 16 hours per week, according to the frequency of competitions. Moreover, I had to succeed in my studies. My schedule was designed so I could properly attend to the details allowing me to realize my potential. I wasn’t putting all my efforts into only preparing for major competitions. Everything was important; events and training.
Rigor and numbers for continuous improvement
Athletes compare their performance with past competitions and trainings on an ongoing basis. They also compare themselves to their “competitors” and analyse their training, nutrition and rest periods, if necessary. Actions taken have an impact on their performance and they won’t hesitate to do what’s necessary to improve.
Tracking and analyzing your results in marketing and sales shouldn’t be done on an occasional basis, once a year when it’s time to review your budget, or when evaluating your sales and marketing teams. You must take analyses into account and adjust your marketing efforts accordingly. It is an ongoing process.
Perseverance when nothing seems right
Losing, falling and making mistakes are part of progressing towards the achievement of your goals. What matters is not the intensity of the fall or loss, but rather how strongly you get back up.
You’ve made marketing mistakes and you’ll surely make others. What matters is to know what went wrong, correct it quickly and keep moving forward with will and perseverance, more strongly than before the mistake was made.
Discipline and the best means to achieve your goals
Discipline is essential to success in the medium and long term. As for the short term, it can be a gamble or just plain luck. This is where we sometimes get seduced by the illusion of ease!
No serious athlete bases their objectives on luck. I can’t recall the number of mornings I found myself in training at 5:30 (or 5: 45), to then spend the day in class and return to training from 4:15 to 6:15, to end my day face up against my school work…and the next day, start all over again … I also remember that many times I would have exchanged this discipline for going out and partying with my friends! I have no regrets, though.
In my daily life, I often meet executives who manage their marketing like rolling dice, meaning without engaging in a firmly-established direction, nurtured by discipline.
A firmly-established direction has many faces:
Implementing tools to measure changes in the performance of their marketing
Requiring of themselves and their team, to be on top of their game with regards to their knowledge (professional and environmental), as well as be
Meet regularly and ensure that everyone understands what is happening and can make improvements on the spot if necessary.
Like all athletes, you are constantly competing. By being rigorous, perseverant and disciplined, you greatly increase your chances of being at the forefront of the race.
Your comments are always welcome!