10 Symptoms a Mid-Life Marketing Crisis in B2B Technology Companies


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Your company is fairly successful, but you’re not about to be acquired by Google or Facebook for a billion dollars, so it’s more of the same for the immediate future.

The business is more than 5 years old and great news – you got out of start-up mode quickly with the discovery of a scalable business model and ramped marketing and sales to achieve revenues in excess of $25M (or $50M or $100M).

According to business lists on Manta, there are more than 500 mid-size technology companies in the US with revenue between $20M and $500M.

Our Objective is Revenue and Profit growth.

I have met with leaders in a number of mid-market technology companies over the past year and nearly every one I met has an aggressive growth objective for the next 12 months. Growing at 30+% is easy to say, but not so easy to do.

  • Achieving aggressive growth targets in an established market means taking market share….what are you going to do differently to achieve this?
  • Achieving aggressive growth goals in a nascent market is about developing mind-share; finding and selling early adopters in a value-created way and working your way across the chasm, one deal at a time….would your company get found for the ideal Google query from someone with an idea looking to solve a problem that your company is perfectly placed to fix today?
  • If leads are the oxygen of any B2B company, then competent sales execution is the muscle tissue. Somewhat surprisingly, leads – or the lack thereof and poor sales engagement and execution are the biggest barriers to success in many mid-size technology companies, it’s seldom the product. These companies are old before their time and are facing a mid-life sales and marketing crisis.

    inbound leads 

This is the first in a series of articles that sets out the symptoms of the problem and how to solve it. Our next article will address how to overcome the lack of leads issue.

I need more leads

The two biggest problems in the quest for mind-share and market-share are not solved by the traditional approach to marketing pursued by many mid sized technology companies. As HubSpot’s co-founders eloquently state in this brief video, the traditional approach to technology marketing is not working. Aside from social media marketing, not much has changed in Silicon Valley in the past 4 years.


Let me replay a sales call I made this week in Silicon Valley on a mid-sized technology company to see if there are parallels in your company.

I received an inbound lead from the VP Product Management around this post on measuring clarity in messaging. After an initial telephone dialogue we agreed to meet in their offices.
In our conversation the following issues came to light.

  • We are not getting enough workable leads
  • We have a strong brand, but plenty of competiton in our product markets.
  • We get 50,000+ website visits a month. (Subsequent analaysis reveals that 95+% of the search traffic arriving at the site is based on a keyword with either the company name or product name in the search string. This means that protential prospects doing research to solve real problems will not find them, but will find their competitors.
  • We are paying a lead generation firm to generate leads for us and we are not happy with the quality of the leads or the ROI on this investment.
  • We have a marketing automation platform, but we are struggling to overcome a bunch of issues and it doesn’t help fill the top of the funnel with new leads.
  • Our Website message is fuzzy and it needs a refresh, our market positioning is vague and people can’t really understand how our channel creates value through integrating our product.
  • We have a marketing person doing social media and have 5000+ Facebook fans and we are active on Twitter with a few thousand fans, but they are not driving leads that turn into customers.
  • We do exhibit at tradeshows and they are a good source of leads.
  • We have a fairly big Google Adwords budget and this is our primary source of quality leads.
  • We publish a couple of blogs per week, but the readership is low and we get few comments or shares.
This call actually happened; the dialogue is true and I suspect that there are several hundred mid-size technology companies that will admit to more than 4 of these issues.
My next post will lay out a process and tools to avoid a mid-life marketing crisis.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mark Gibson
Mark Gibson has been at the forefront of developing sales and marketing tools that create clarity in messaging value for 30 years. As a consultant he is now engaged in helping sales, marketing and enablement teams to get clear about value creation. Clarity attracts inbound leads, clarity converts visitors into leads and leads into customers, clarity builds mindshare, clarity engages customers, clarity differentiates value, clarity helps onboard new hires clarity helps raise funds, clarity + execution win markets.


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