THE STATE OF MARKETING IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING, AND NO ONE KNOWS THIS BETTER THAN NATALIE TRUONG, CMO ASIA & HEAD OF B2B MARKETING, PACIFIC AT MERCER.
Natalie has extensive experience across B2C and B2B in a variety of industries including: professional services, financial services, superannuation and telecommunications across Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
She has held senior marketing and commercial roles in leading organisations such as ANZ Banking Group, Bank of Melbourne (Westpac), IOOF and CPA Australia.
Safe to say, she knows a thing or two about marketing, which is why we wanted to chat with Natalie about all things B2B and B2C, the disconnect between sales and marketing, the importance of customer experience and the things that keep her up at night, just for good measure.
The Mercer CMO also featured in a webinar on building productive relationships between sales and marketing last Thursday.
For now, check out our insightful interview below!
Natalie, you’ve worked across B2C and B2B marketing within a variety of industries across the APAC region. What would you say are the key differences between B2C and B2B marketing?
There is one key difference. B2B requires a lot more patience … and then some! The sales cycles are longer in B2B. Decisions don’t take seconds or minutes, they can take weeks, months or even years.
You also need to have more patience because you need to develop collateral and marketing that is relevant to many, instead of just one-to-one. In some instances, the buying decision is made not just by one economic buyer, but three, five or 10 economic buyers in a B2B environment.
Often there can be a disconnect between marketing and sales teams. What’s your experience of this and why does it exist?
There are reasons why I think this exists and it was certainly my experience when I started at Mercer. There is a miscommunication/misunderstanding in sales credits and marketing focusing on the wrong metric.
Sales thinks that if they chase an opportunity and close a lead as closed/won in the CRM, then marketing gets the sales credit. This is of course incorrect and it’s our job as marketers to educate and remind our sales teams of this.
Secondly, marketers need to stop focusing on the quantity of leads they are throwing over the fence to sales, and instead focus on the quality.
We often talk about customer experience in B2C marketing and putting the customer at the heart of everything. For B2B marketing, when the customer is a business and not a consumer, how do you think about customer experience and how important is it?
I think about it in the same way I would for B2C.
Businesses still have people (customers) making the decision. Whether it’s B2C or B2B, I think about the pain points I need to help customers solve, and then I think about how to deliver a beautiful experience to solve it.
You are speaking on an upcoming webinar about throwing away Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) altogether. Why do you think this is necessary?
An MQL occurs when one of three things happen.
1) A customer completes a form to access gated information.
2) A customer reaches 100 points in the lead scoring model
3) A customer completes an enquiry form online.
These are not genuine marketing leads, they are lazy leads! In my opinion, an MQL should only be counted when sales accept the lead and agrees to pursue, not when it fits a textbook marketing definition.
If you could change any laws about marketing, what would you change and why?
Nothing – the laws are in place to stop bad marketers, we just need to be more brilliant marketers.
What marketing technology are you most excited about?
The good old fashion CRM – if only we could get people to use it properly (as a marketer, I’d get invaluable insights!)
What keeps you up at night?
Not much, as I’m zapped from the day! Mercer is a global company – so there’s always a time zone that’s awake.
If something were to keep me awake at night, it would be whether I’d left anything on the table from the day. For example, did I support my team enough? Did I help to create more passionate, creative marketers today? Did we help clients solve any business problems? Did we create marketing that people admire? And so on …
So – are you feeling inspired to take your marketing to the next level? Good news! You can hear more from Natalie in last week’s webinar where she discusses how marketing and sales teams can better align to share the same objectives and KPIs, and how to work together on mutually agreed lead management and scoring process.