David Craig, Senior Vice President, Wholesale Bank Marketing, SunTrust Bank, discussed the role of business-to-business (B2B) marketers and how they can drive business growth in his keynote presentation to Argyle’s CMO membership at the 2016 Chief Marketing Officer Leadership Forum: Spotlight on B2B Marketing in Atlanta on Oct. 27. In his presentation, “Transforming B2B Marketing Within SunTrust Bank,” Craig described how B2B marketers can use storytelling and the importance of delivering a consistent message to create a strategic business driver.
According to Craig, many B2B marketers focus solely on helping a business generate interest from prospects and customers. However, marketers must be able to deliver an engaging story that garners interest from business leaders as well.
B2B marketers who understand their goals may be better equipped to drive long-lasting partnerships with business leaders. These marketers will be able to explain how they can help a company achieve its short- and long-term goals and use an engaging, relevant message to connect with business leaders.
“What I’m pretty good at is keeping a consistent and repeatable message and using personal stories to support that message and bring it home,” Craig said.
In many instances, marketers fail to prioritize the message that they deliver to business leaders. This sometimes puts marketers in a difficult position and may leave them without the resources they need to thrive.
Comparatively, marketers who focus on storytelling may be able to provide business leaders with a message that all members of a company can support. These marketers will be able to lay the foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship with business leaders as well.
“We all like stories, and they can be funny or interesting,” Craig noted. “We talk about as marketers how we tell the story of our business to client and prospects that make them want to choose us. … But oftentimes, we’re not using that same business strategy with our business leaders within the same organization.”
How marketers develop a message for business leaders is paramount.
“We talk about as marketers how we tell the story of our business to client and prospects that make them want to choose us. … But oftentimes, we’re not using that same business strategy with our business leaders within the same organization.”
If marketers fail to identify common goals with business leaders, they may struggle to provide the right message to business leaders at the right time. On the other hand, marketers who understand a company’s mission can create a distinct message that helps build trust with business leaders.
“We have to tell them a story. We have to make a message that makes sense to them,” Craig pointed out.
Ultimately, marketers can develop a link between acquisition and B2B marketing, according to Craig.
If marketers can define business goals, they can outline how B2B marketing can help a company achieve these aspirations.
“Acquisition can become a mathematical exercise, but then I’ve punctuated that with a personal story,” Craig stated.
At SunTrust, the company needed to develop a B2B marketing system to ensure acquisition could become a repeatable process, one that could deliver long-lasting benefits.
“We needed to build a B2B marketing system,” Craig said. “We needed to build a system so that we could make acquisition a mathematical exercise.”
With a B2B marketing system in place, SunTrust would be able to define the link between different aspects of marketing and ensure that marketers could drive business growth consistently.
“We needed to build a system so that we could make acquisition a mathematical exercise.”
Craig stated the system would allow marketers to ensure his company was able to deliver pertinent messages to prospects, clients and business leaders, making this system exceedingly valuable for his entire company.
“What’s the strategy about what we’re going to say? What’s the delivery channel that we’re going to get the message to the client or prospect through? And then how are we going to measure it? We started to fill in the lines from there,” he said.
Moreover, regardless of how marketers build a B2B marketing system, they must continue to focus on its immediate and long-term goals.
“We’re building a system to make acquisition a mathematical exercise, but we can’t lose sight of what the system is supposed to do,” Craig said.
B2B marketers must be able to describe their business efforts in an engaging manner. This will put marketers in a better position to get the resources they need to transform acquisition into a mathematical exercise as well as gain the trust of business leaders.
Lastly, B2B marketers should consider creating a system in which they can consider all aspects of a business when they develop messaging. This will ensure marketers can establish priorities as part of a B2B marketing system. Plus, marketers may be able to maximize all of the resources at their disposal if they can connect with business leaders and work together to help a company find ways to differentiate itself from rivals.
I am a very serious marketer. Just look at my picture. It’s clear I mean business with my dark suit and non-smiling face. Well, first of all, I work at a bank – we all wear suits. And five skin cancer surgeries killed the nerves on the left side of my face. So, although I’m smiling on the inside, it’s hard to tell on the outside. This works to my advantage, however. When sitting in a room full of bankers, a serious expression makes me appear pensive, determined and strategic. Who would’ve thought those surgeries could have a positive career impact?
Right now (at least before my boss reads this), I lead Marketing for the most serious part of SunTrust – the Wholesale Banking segment – which includes Corporate & Investment Banking, Commercial Real Estate, Commercial & Business Banking and Treasury & Payment Solutions. I lead an extremely talented team of marketers that develop strategic plans to drive Wholesale’s growth. The good news is that we, as a business, are winning. The great news is that we, as a Marketing Team, add increasing value to help the business win even more.