Finding rhythm: When’s the right time to talk to your buyer?

When a buyer is ready to talk, we need to talk with them right away. And if they’re not, we need to follow up. But what is the right cadence? How quickly should I follow up? How quickly should my next and my next and my next correspondence be? How many should there be?

Landing the right cadence – That’s what we’re going to explore in this month’s blog.

Timing is everything

When you say something is just as important as what you say.

Imagine you’ve been used to receiving emails every month notifying you about a new copy of my blog, but then one day it stops.  Suddenly six months later, I send you an email and say, “Hey, I’ve got a new blog. Would you like to read it?”

How do you receive that email? Not as a creator, but as a consumer. How does it feel to you if there’s been a six-month gap?

Truthfully, that’s actually not a hypothetical question, because despite everything I’m about to say today, we actually lost our own rhythm. So, this is very much about “do as I say and not as I do”. I respect the irony.

For all that, how does it feel? It feels kind of odd, and it feels like spam. That’s an extreme example of poor cadence. Let’s keep looking at cadence a little more.

Why B2B Marketing struggles to find rhythm

I want to make the problem worse before I try to make it better, and I’m going to make it worse by talking about what’s normal in B2B marketing.

Think about marketing. Maybe you’re a marketer yourself. Maybe you have marketers working in your firm, even for you. Think about the marketing role. For some, it’s a career passion. I’ve been lucky; it’s been my career passion.

For many, it’s a role between roles. Maybe they weren’t quite cut out for sales; they drift into marketing. Maybe they’re not quite deep enough in a product, and they drift from engineering.

There are a lot of people in marketing who are not committed to marketing. There are a few who absolutely are.

But certainly, that filler role means that we’ve got a lot of happy amateurs in marketing. And for them, we make their lives worse because we say to them, “By the way, you’ve got quarterly targets to meet.” And then we say to them, “And by the way, we’re only going to approve the budgets quarterly.”

And then we say to them, “By the way, it’s going to take a month before we get our act together and approve your quarterly budget. Oh, and by the way, don’t send anything in the last month of the quarter, because all of our sales guys are busy.”

It’s a horror show.

  • Lots of happy amateurs
  • Really poor planning and budgeting
  • Really poor cadence

So, in B2B, unfortunately, we start something, do it a bit, stop it, perhaps measure it, often don’t, and then start something else. The sense of rhythm that I’m going to try and build an argument for today is almost completely missing.

 

You’ve got to fight for your right to market

Rhythmic marketing is about earning the right to say the next thing, and saying it at the right time. I want to deal with the ‘earning’ bit just now: If I say something, and it’s moderately persuasive, I’ve perhaps earned the right to say the next something, but I haven’t earned that right forever.

So rhythmic marketing is about earning the right to say the next thing, knowing what the next thing is, even building into the next thing. I really need this kind of cadence that’s got a rhythm to it, that you as the receiver of that messaging are expecting, and even looking forward to.

Now, rhythmic marketing is as key for the seller as it is for the buyer. If you have rhythm in your marketing activities, you get to:

  • Build systems around implementing them really well;
  • Build processes around doing it better this time than last time; and
  • Measure and learn.

And so, I’ve argued a little bit that rhythm is about earning the next and doing it at the right speed, but it’s also about improving our own marketing.

Every buyer dances to a different rhythm

The final point I want to make about rhythmic marketing is that it’s different strokes for different folks. What I mean is that you have to think about what the buyer is ready for next.

Think about a buyer who isn’t progressing. The purpose of your marketing is to remain positioned with them – just to keep on the radar a little bit, and maybe concept-educate them a little bit.

That kind of rhythm is perhaps, in B2B at least, a monthly email. A monthly LinkedIn post. Monthly might be the right cadence for that.

Think, by contrast, about what the right rhythm is for somebody who’s just downloaded an e-book, after having gone through some earlier hurdles. They might have seen a social media ad. They’ve gone to a landing page. They’ve heard a message. They’ve responded. They’ve now downloaded the e-book.

The right rhythm in that circumstance is a very different rhythm. It’s going to be faster. It’s going to be perhaps more assertive. So, there might be three or four or five relatively short communications that come out pretty quickly after that download moment. And by quickly, it might mean days. It might mean hours. It’s very situational, but it’s certainly not going to be months.

How to plan for the right rhythm

So, I’ve offered two examples that I want to draw a comparison between. One is the right rhythm for somebody who’s not progressed, and you’re just trying to remain positioned with them. That perhaps might be monthly. And then there’s the right rhythm for somebody who’s shown interest, and you need to act right now.

Think now about the right rhythm for somebody who is on your website and they’ve engaged with live chat. You want to offer immediate answers, and if they haven’t responded, maybe a quick ping 30, 40, 50 seconds later. That’s a very different rhythm.

So how do we plan the right rhythm?

  1. You need to plan the rhythm before the tactic. Then you plan the tactic. Don’t write an email until you know whether it has any cousins. Work out how many there are, how far apart they’re going to be, and write for the buyer in each of those cases.
  2. You should be doing that with the team on board. Get Sales and Marketing in a room together and work out all of your tactics, not just those that are going to be rhythmic.

Now, if you have a Funnel Plan, in your Funnel Plan, you’ll know that there are two places where you’re going to put rhythmic tactics:

  • Within the progression. I’m trying to move a buyer from this stage to this stage. That’s certainly an area where you want rhythmic tactics.
  • But also in nurturing, when we’re trying to get them back into the funnel if they’ve leaked So, the recycling tactics.

Now, again, if you have a Funnel Plan, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you don’t have a Funnel Plan, you can get one. Go to funnelplan.com and grab yourself a Funnel Plan from there.

I hope you got value from this blog. I enjoyed putting it together for you and I’m planning lots more for the next. Until then, may your funnel be full and always flowing.

 

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Our thanks this week to:

Bella Newton for blog production

Hugh Macfarlane for scripting and presenting this week’s show