Featured Post

B2B Influencer Marketing is Broken 💔

May 27, 2024

3.5 minutes

First and Foremost, Happy Memorial Day! Dale, Jake, and I are grateful for everyone who has sacrificed to protect our country, rights, and things we hold dear. That gratitude extends to all who have served in our armed forces.

This week's newsletter was typed in Barcelona but is being delivered from somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea. Krystal and I are on a cruise that we had absolutely zero intention of going on... until we saw that the price was legitimately too good to be true—it reminded me of Salesforce's pricing at the end of the FY. You know, the pricing you get when you say you're going to switch to HubSpot, and your AE throws a hail Mary? Yeah... that kind of pricing.

A HUGE shoutout to Dale and Jake for holding the fort down while I am gone. I'm working a few hours a day behind the scenes, but have actually committed to no meetings which is a first for me.

Enough about that, let's talk GTM.

On Deck

  • B2B Influencer Marketing is A$$ Backwards
  • Lessons Learned as a Fractional GTM Leader: Outbound Shut Down After One Week
  • Content We Can't Get Enough Of
  • How to Better Sync Sales & Marketing

B2B Influencer Marketing is A$$ Backwards

The Misfire of Misaligned Influence: A Modern Marketing Morality Tale

It's exciting. I'll admit it. The first time I got an InMail from someone wanting to pay me to post about their product I was stoked. I couldn't think of a faster way to make anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand bucks for doing almost nothing. I took the meeting and checked out the product and quickly determined that there was no way in hell that I wanted my name attached to it. I politely declined the offer and was hit with a flurry of messages telling me it didn't matter if I used or liked the product. The content manager just wanted people with big followings to fabricate posts about their "experience" to garner attention. Hard pass for me, and $2k lost.

But, let's be real for a moment... there are a lot of people out there who would have taken the money and run. And that my friends, is everything that is wrong with "influencer marketing" as we know it today.

From a company standpoint, I get it. The allure of people with vast followings and perceived social media clout can sometimes eclipse the principles of authenticity and alignment.

Let Me Introduce Sarah:

Sarah (name changed for her privacy), is a relatively new coaching client of mine who also happens to be a well-known SMB sales leader with a LinkedIn following of almost 50k. For transparency, that is just over 2k of my following. Sales leadership is my strong suit, LinkedIn is clearly one of hers 😂. She's brilliant in her own right and has earned respect and credibility in her niche.

Enter "EnterpriseSolutions," a company specializing in high-end, complex sales tools designed for large enterprise orgs. Eager to tap into the influencer marketing trend, they scrolled through LinkedIn, and focused on follower counts more than the actual fit of the person with the followers. They approached Sarah without any diligence, offering her $1500 for a single post promoting their product. Nevermind the fact that Sarah has never led an enterprise team or sold an enterprise product in her life.

Swayed by a quick $1,500, she agreed, despite never having used the product herself or having worked in the space. The company even crafted an outline of the post for her. Fast-forward a week or so later, the post goes live, and it's a giant dud. The disconnect was glaring!

The Fallout: A Cascade of Credibility Crises

The response was swift and unforgiving. Sarah’s audience, accustomed to her tailored advice for SMBs, was confused. Comments piled up, peppered with skepticism. “Have you actually used this, Sarah?” one asked. “Isn’t this for big companies?” said another. The post, meant to inspire sales, spurred doubts instead.

The backlash bled over to "EnterpriseSolutions," whose attempt to shortcut to credibility backfired spectacularly. The mismatch between the influencer’s audience and the product’s target market became painfully apparent. Not only did the campaign flop, but it also ignited a flurry of online criticism. LinkedIn became filled with posts about you "EnterpriseSolutions" simply pays for inauthentic endorsements.

The Reckoning: Losses Beyond Likes

Sarah’s credibility took a massive hit - over 5k followers gone according to her. Once admired for her genuine advice and relatable content, she now faced a trust deficit. The damage was not confined to this single post. Other companies she had been engaged with for promotional posts pulled back due to skepticism. Ultimately, this tarnished her "influencer" status.

EnterpriseSolutions also faced a ton of fallout. To this day, months later, there are still posts made on LinkedIn referencing their "pay to play" mindset.

Listen, I love me some good influencer marketing. But, ya gotta follow the golden rule: Alignment over audience.

Crafting Authentic Influencer Partnerships

To harness the true power of influencer marketing, companies should pivot their strategy to focus on influencers who:

  • Genuinely Use the Product: Influencers should have first-hand experience with the product. This not only ensures authentic endorsements but also means that the influencer can genuinely vouch for its benefits and features. I can tell you that we (RR) will NEVER recommend or push a product we do not, or have not, actually used ourselves.
  • Align with the Target Market: The influencer’s audience should mirror the company’s ideal customer profile (ICP). This ensures that the marketing efforts reach the most receptive and relevant audience. There is a reason you don't see me posting about product management software. I'm a revenue leader, not a product leader. I'd have zero credibility in the space.
  • Can Demonstrate Real Value: Beyond endorsements, influencers should be able to demonstrate how the product fits into realistic workflows or solves real problems, providing tangible examples or case studies. Nothing better than when someone DMs me to ask how I use "XYZ product" and I can hop on a Zoom and show them.

The Right Way Forward

For those of you (companies and individuals) thinking of getting into the influencer marketing game, avoid the temptation to go after big numbers and bigger names, or any company that will cut a check. Remember that in influencer marketing, as in all forms of marketing, authenticity, and alignment are the true drivers of success. Learn from Sarah’s story and don't let this happen to you.

Lessons Learned as a Fractional GTM Leader

Each week in this section, we aim to bring you real-life lessons learned either by us or by one of the founders we work with. All names have been changed to protect the identities of others...

Outbound Shut Down After One Week

Meet Charlie, a founder bubbling with the energy of a thousand espresso shots, ready to conquer the world with his latest tech startup, "InnovateFast." Charlie was blessed to have a great product, that solved a vast pain for many companies. Because of this, he experienced a good amount of inbound leads following his Seed round. Driven by the need to accelerate sales for additional funding, Charlie decided it was time to kickstart an outbound sales engine to take his sales to the next level. After soliciting outside input, he dove headfirst into the world of outbound.

Charlie was a man of action. He gathered a team of "so-called" experts and devised a plan that involved trying three different email sequences and two different call scripts—all within the first week. He and the "experts" worked tirelessly, crafting messages they believed would resonate.

After two weeks of sending emails and making calls, Charlie’s enthusiasm dwindled. Response rates were low. Meeting rates from cold calls sucked. Charlie was deflated. "Outbound sales just don’t work!" he declared in a team meeting, throwing his hands up in despair. The outbound engine hadn’t just stalled; in Charlie’s eyes, it was a total write-off.

Here's the problem: the belief that sales, much like instant noodles, could be boiled down to quick results. Outbound sales, unlike microwaved meals, require more than just a few minutes to simmer. They need time to marinate in the market, iterations to find the right flavor, and continuous testing to ensure the recipe is just right. You also need real experts to help craft your messaging versus the cheapest "consultant" you can find.

The Lesson: Patience, Young Skywalker

The moral of the story is clear: in sales, patience isn't just a virtue; it's a necessity. Building an effective outbound sales strategy is akin to planting a garden. You cannot simply sow the seeds and expect a harvest the next morning. Each sequence and script is a seed that needs tending—watering with adjustments, pruning with optimizations, and sometimes replanting entirely.

Charlie’s tale happens all to often. Founders and revenue leaders alike who think that you can just "try" something for a week or two and expect stellar results. Remember, sales strategies are not light switches to be flipped on for immediate illumination. They are more like dimmer switches, requiring fine-tuning to achieve the perfect lighting. Jumping ship after a week is like forsaking a ship because it hasn’t crossed the ocean overnight.

Iterate, Iterate, Iterate!

For those setting out to construct their outbound engines, remember this: the first iteration is just the beginning. It’s a test flight. The real magic happens in the iteration lab—where you tweak, adjust, and sometimes overhaul strategies based on real data and feedback. It’s a cycle of continuous improvement.

If you aren't willing to give time to this meticulous process, then perhaps outbound isn’t for you. But if you are prepared to invest the effort, to learn from each call that wasn’t returned and every email that wasn’t opened, then gear up. Just give it the time it deserves.

Content We Can't Get Enough Of

Scott Leese is one of the OGs of fractional work. I've known Scott for many years and consider him not just a mentor, but a friend. I was fortunate enough to work with him (as a VP of Sales for a company he was consulting), and attend Surf and Sales in Costa Rica. How we met is another story for another day... it's amazing Scott speaks to me after I cancelled not one but two meetings on him at the last minute. The post below got my wheels turning (and some seventy other people's as well). I know many fractional leaders who are trying to, or who have gone back to full-time work. Some because they "could not cut it" in the fractional space... but the vast majority were super-successful but missed being part of a team.

The mindset Scott described below blows my mind. I actually would say the opposite is true. A good fractional leader is exactly who you want as your next VP of Sales. They've been there, done that, and seen exactly what's needed to build/scale a startup. I hope this trend changes.

Synch Your Sales & Marketing with Austin Laroche

Austin LaRoche is the CEO of ATAK Interactive and creator of the M2S (Marketing-to-Sales) Framework, a B2B growth system that synchronizes strategy and execution in a simple, pragmatic plan of “Strength in Structure.”

As a full-service marketing agency, ATAK Interactive works closely with B2B companies (printing, packaging, manufacturing, and more) to align their brand, data, and audience to attract, connect, close, and delight new customers.

Austin is an engaged entrepreneur with a passion for helping other business owners see their vision come to light

During the show, Austin shared his secrets on:

  • Alignment of strategies between departments
  • Letting conversions be your north-star
  • Conversion rate optimization best practices‍

Check out the show here.

Book Your Free Strategy Call​
Revenue Reimage logo

Revenue Reimagined

Subscribe
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

Heading 4

Heading 5
Heading 6

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.

Block quote

Ordered list

  1. Item 1
  2. Item 2
  3. Item 3

Unordered list

  • Item A
  • Item B
  • Item C

Text link

Bold text

Emphasis

Superscript

Subscript

By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.