If you are a long-time listener, you know that my episodes tend to focus on marketing and business, not so much about me. I am going to be up close and personal today as I record the last episode of 2019, I decided to do a little self-reflection, a look back to my 2019.
Frankly, this year didn’t start very well, business-wise. I didn’t tell many people, but my pipeline was bone dry for the first 5 months. I had speaking engagements and small projects here and there, but nothing steady or substantial. I was so scared that I started considering going back to be a full-time corporate citizen. You know how you are hitting a wall and can’t break through and you don’t know what the next steps are. That’s how I felt earlier this year for several months. The key was that I had a good run for the first 4 years, and I didn’t do a good job of continuously developing my sales pipeline. I got cocky and thought the business would just come. Well, it didn’t come in the first half of the year.
So, I started investing in business development and re-evaluating my business model. I started prospecting.
I talked about how I started that in my blog post: Lessons Learned from Doing Virtual Cold Calls via LinkedIn Sales Navigator. I also evaluated my business model. Most of my projects are 2-10 month long engagements. The purchase cycle to get a project like that is long. Because I am in B2B, my purchase cycle for new clients can range from 3-18 months. That’s not a quick turnaround to increase revenue and billings, isn’t it? Projects like that are still the bulk of my revenue.
However, I, now, offer 10-hour and 15-hour consultation and mentor packages.
The cost for these packages is smaller and many B2B marketers can pretty much pay using corporate credit cards. It doesn’t involve a PO or the challenge of being an approved vendor. I’ve been testing this new model and, so far, it has been well-received by people who came to my sessions and workshops. I started getting inquiries from people who listen to my podcast as well.
The people who reach out for this kind of help are newly promoted VPs of Marketing, Marketing Directors, marketers making a career transition from traditional to digital or young marketers who have the goal of becoming a director or a first-line manager. They want some help to cultivate their strategic thinking skills. I’ve been there and done that. That’s my forte and I know how to help people build that skill set. I talked about how to think strategically and how to cultivate strategic thinking in Episode 106 and Episode 107.
At the same time, with the business model changes, I am also evaluating the content I offer.
I re-aligned the content I create with my business models and created more templates. It’s amazing that the structure of your business models has ramifications on everything you do. This is also why my one-page marketing plan always starts with business goals and business objectives first before going into marketing objectives. Business models and objectives guide marketing strategy and planning. Period!
On the speaking front, I continue to sharpen my craft. I try different ways to deliver my keynotes and sessions. I add humor whenever possible and I select fun images and gifs to add colors to my presentations. I try different openings and closings. I have always viewed myself as a coach and teacher, but here is my newfound discovery. I’ve come to realize that the audience wants to learn, but they also want to be entertained, especially going to session after session at a conference. They are tired of listening.
So, I’ve been thinking about what I can do to entertain them, yet also deliver useful messages and key take-aways. The mindset of being an entertainer literally changes how I work and deliver my presentations now. I am not saying I need to be a stand-up comedian, but it helps to look at different ways to deliver dry materials like messaging frameworks or sales/marketing alignment. I keep asking myself: “How can I make it more fun?”
In addition to blog posts and podcast episodes, I launched my YouTube channel in October.
Adding video content has been on my bucket list for 3 years. You probably don’t know this, but I tended to freeze and get very nervous in front of a camera. Well, after 20 video episodes and countless re-takes and re-recording, I’ve finally overcome that. But I continue to hone my craft.
To be honest, YouTube is not the most ideal channel for talking about B2B marketing. Seasoned B2B marketers usually don’t go to YouTube to find information. They tend to start with a search. I am doing this for myself to further improve my presentation skills. Although, I suspect millennial B2B marketers will be going to YouTube for information and maybe that can be a growing potential audience.
With business development, new business models, a different approach to delivering presentations, and the launch of my YouTube channel, needless to say, I’ve been very busy. Building a personal brand and working on client projects are 2 full-time jobs. I work until 11 or 12 often on weekdays and weekends. My husband, Mike, would read, do his music or whatever, while patiently waiting for me to be done for the night. I am so grateful to have a partner who allows me to be me and gives me space to do what I need to do. However, he does think I am crazy to work that hard. I know. I am crazy.
Ok, the reflection is not all about work. I do yoga 2-3 times a week. I take on the challenge of learning 1-2 difficult poses every year.
As of 2019, I can finally say that I can do a headstand (Salamba Shirshasana Sirsasana), handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana), and forearm stand (Pincha Mayurasana). For 2020, I want to focus on a couple of backward bend postures, especially the upward bow pose, Urdhva Dhanurasana, which is a backward bend while lifting up your spine using your arms and legs.
And, one thing on my bucket list is to learn how to dance. I started taking dance lessons to learn how to waltz and tango. Yes, I am a tango dancing B2B marketer. These are two different dance styles. One is super elegant and fluid, the other one is about showing force and crispness for each move. Dancing and yoga help me manage the stress of working 2-full time jobs. I love it!
Looking back on 2019, like everyone else, I’ve had good days and bad days.
I’ve had more setbacks than successes, but that’s what life is all about, we learn from setbacks and failures. I’ve met some great people, I’ve also met some asses. I chose to focus on the best time and let the bad moments go. I am grateful that every morning I can look forward to a new day. I am grateful for all your support.
With the holidays and family events and celebrations approaching, I hope that you’ll take a quiet moment with a cup or a glass of your favorite drink to reflect on your 2019. Cherish what you’ve accomplished, and make a mental note of how far you’ve come. Let go of negativity and emotional pain. Get yourself ready for 2020. It’s going to be here in no time.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!
I’ll see you in 2020. Again, this is Pam from B2B Marketing and More with Pam Didner. Signing off for 2019.
Thank you for tuning in to B2B Marketing and More with Pam Didner. If you like the content, please subscribe to Apple Podcasts. If you prefer YouTube, please subscribe to my YouTube channel. It’s all about B2B Marketing.
Before you leave, make sure to check out the previous podcast episodes.