How to be a Great B2B Marketing Coach


Share on LinkedIn

In honor of Super Bowl week, I thought I would explore just what it takes to be a great B2B marketing coach. Hopefully you won’t have to deal with issues like injuries and deflated footballs. But regardless if you are solely responsible for your B2B marketing efforts, or manage one or more people, you need to accept the responsibility for moving the ball forward.  Here are six strategies to help you accomplish this:

  1. Don’t keep running the same plays. By same plays, I mean that you don’t mix up your media or messaging. Over time, running the same marketing campaigns targeted at the same prospect audience will produce diminishing returns. For example, an email campaign that produced a .5 percent response the first time will drop off to .4 percent at the second effort and decline significantly on subsequent efforts. To be successful, you need to change the offer, message and media.
  1. Don’t practice a “Prevent” Defense. You see this all the time in football, where the team is ahead and the coach decides to sit on the win, play conservatively and let the other team move the ball freely, but without letting them score. A team that has played brilliantly on defense now changes the entire game plan designed solely to stop them from losing. As often as not, the prevent defense prevents your own team from winning. You can do the marketing version of this by getting so cautious that you lose your differentiation and competitive advantage.
  1. Choose the right role for your players . Tom Brady would be a poor cornerback and Richard Sherman would be equally bad at playing the quarterback position. The same is true of your team. Find out what your staff (and you are good at) and let them do as much of it as possible. Sometimes, what a person is good at is not what you hired them to do. The point is to maximize the individual contributions in such a way that the entire team is more successful.  This is perhaps the most challenging, but also most important contribution of any coach.
  1. Be your most fervent evangelist. As the leader of your team’s marketing efforts, you need to set the tone for how everyone communicates their feelings about your products or services. I have witnessed entire marketing departments that have disrespect for both what they are selling and their customers and prospects. You can’t beat the competition if you don’t love what you are doing and don’t expect to win, any more than a football team can beat the other team if it goes into a game timid and afraid.
  1. Don’t give up, even when the situation looks bleak. A good example of this is how the Green Bay Packers had a supposedly insurmountable lead against the Seahawks, and then lost the game because they reverted to timid and predictable prevent defensive and offensive play. In the case of marketing, you want your competition to become overconfident and overly conservative. You can then run some fresh plays and win the game.
  1. Elevate your game when necessary. Some coaches (e.g. the just-departed Broncos’ John Fox) have reputations as good regular season, but poor post-season coaches. The same is true of quarterbacks and other athletes inside and outside football. Be a marketing coach that knows how to elevate your performance, as well as the performance of your teammates, when the stakes are high.

Great B2B marketing coaches know how to hire the best staff, mix up their plays, avoid the prevent defense, take intelligent risks, and elevate their game when necessary to beat the competition.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Christopher Ryan
Christopher Ryan is CEO of Fusion Marketing Partners, a B2B marketing consulting firm and interim/fractional CMO. He blogs at Great B2B Marketing and you can follow him at Google+. Chris has 25 years of marketing, technology, and senior management experience. As a marketing executive and services provider, Chris has created and executed numerous programs that build market awareness, drive lead generation and increase revenue.


  1. I find what you talk about in your third point to be so true, in my industry we refer to this often as “under eight soccer”. We really strive to find the right position for each of our “players” to avoid everyone piling up on one objective or “ball” in this scenario. It really pays to spread everyone out to work as a unit rather than clogging everyone up with one task.

  2. Tyler, appreciate your comment, although I am unfamiliar with the term “under eight soccer”. Good marketing teams are a blend of specific job expertise and unit cohesion.



Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here