In my last post I talked about the importance of language. Today I want to scratch beneath the surface to call out the importance of process.
Although your goal is the moment when the signatures are on the contract papers and the deal is done, a pursuit takes place over time. Defined as “the act of trying to achieve a plan, activity, or situation,” the pursuit is the bit that your marketing efforts cover, not the contract signature – that’s the desired outcome!
The process is one of stages, each governed closely and requiring a different mix of activities and deliverables from marketing and communications. This is what your pursuit marketing strategy has to cover – the end-to-end journey with the goal of winning that deal.
As James Clear, the author of ‘Atomic Habits’ points out, “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”
If you want to build a ‘Pursuit Marketing Practice’ rather than just helping win one single deal, it pays to set up a system. It’s the difference between providing ad-hoc, or one-off support based on ‘gut feel and experience’ and growing a function or capability that lets you consistently repeat actions and processes that work, and have impact, as well as evolving this practice in line with your learnings.
Combine systems and emotion for maximum impact
However, systems alone are not enough. I experienced this firsthand, when I stepped in to take over the pursuit marketing for a significant deal. The first time I attended the meeting with the marketers and communicators, they seemed disengaged, and the group and their activities felt disjointed. They needed a common sense of purpose and a clear goal to get us to win this deal, together.
I decided to go back to the start. Instead of briefing them on the deal, I talked about the pursuit, about our quest. Introducing a common project plan with clear accountabilities, I explained how each of their puzzle pieces was contributing an important part to the overall success of this plan. At the same time we started to document what was working, and what was not working, as well as building a framework to codify activities and processes. This was the beginning of a system and the foundation for our pursuit marketing practice.
In addition – and this is a must for any pursuit marketing programme – I invited the sales leader into the key strategy-shaping calls, and on other occasions too when his context and input were needed. This turned a group of individuals from different departments into a tribe, ready to do what they could to help win that deal. Every single member of this agile team was now invested!
The deal? We won! And the Sales Team called out Marketing and Communications as instrumental in achieving this win. The stuff of legend 😉
Here at Inflexion Group, we can help you develop your Pursuit Marketing Strategy and the systems needed to take it from a ‘one off’ to a fully operational and impactful function.