In 25-plus years of B2B marketing, I’ve left a few banana skins on the floor, and failed to pick them up before slipping on them myself. This is why I’m sharing a short series of banana skins so that you might see them before it’s too late – unless you already know them, in which case, you’re ahead of me.

B2B marketing banana skin no 8 to avoid is this: thinking the big deal is in before the big deal is really in. There’s no better feeling in the B2B marketing world than knowing your marketing efforts made a difference, that they hooked in a major or strategic customer. It’s almost always time for some serious mental cartwheels.

That big deal, however, is never truly ‘in’, until you’ve received the contractual paperwork. Verbal commitments mean very little. And then it still might not happen, or the implementation might be problematic, or the customer may negotiate away the marketing clauses at a higher or unseen level to you. And even then the deal may not be a crowning success, preventing you from leveraging further marketing and advocacy benefits.

The best way to deal with this is to hope for the best, plan for the worst. If you have 2 or 3 of these large deals on the hook, you’ve safety in numbers, you’ve some insurance. Always ask yourself what you would need to do to double the pipeline number, to smash it to smithereens, to bring in twice the number of marquee customers. Then that ‘sure fire’ deal becomes far less of an issue, but no less of an opportunity if it goes swimmingly.