Want to be a B2B business-development pro? Start here.

This morning I read an excellent question in a B2B marketing group on LinkedIn. “If you had 30, 60 and 90 days to prove yourself as an effective business development professional, which of the following lead generation techniques would you implement and what percentage of your time would be dedicated towards each?”

  • Business DevelopmentPhone Outreach
  • Email Outreach
  • Social Media
  • Referrals
  • Direct Marketing
  • Events (Webinars, conferences, etc.)
  • Other

If you’re a member of the B2B Lead Generation Roundtable on LinkedIn you can read the answers that follow. Of course I didn’t directly answer the question because I was so disappointed to see “Direct Marketing” on the list as if it were a channel.

As a B2B direct marketing advocate (read fanatic), I guess it’s pretty easy to set me off. But I suspect the person asking the question, Philip Reid of Winning Business Inc., meant to say Direct Mail Marketing, which is indeed a channel.

His oversight, however, got me thinking about how important it is for marketers to understand and use direct marketing if they intend to be effective B2B business-development professionals. I’m not Merriam-Webster, but here’s my definition of direct marketing:

Direct marketing is the marketing approach that is designed to change behavior. Unlike advertising, which is designed to change attitude, direct marketing must be created with the full intention of having the prospect “do something.”

If the primary intent of the communication is not to get a prospect to take a specified action, then the communication is not direct marketing, or as it’s also called — direct response marketing.

I can already hear protests such as “but what about PR and branding?” Those approaches are essential in providing the exposure, positioning and buzz necessary to bring attention and credibility to the company doing the marketing. But they do not directly generate leads in a planned, controlled manner. Social media can do both, but it qualifies as direct marketing only when it’s used to ask recipients to take a specific action.

So I recommend that marketers take a quick review of all their marketing efforts and see which ones fit the description and which ones do not. It’s the fastest path to being a successful business-development pro.

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