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An Inside Look at B2BCamp Boston Keynote Speaker Mike Bosworth

Written by Rockannand on September 24, 2012 – 4:51 pm -

 

 

 

B2BCamp Boston is this Saturday 9/29 and runs from 8 am to 2:30 pm. Have you registered yet? There’s still time and if you are really brave and want to present, you can still submit a session for consideration. The deadline for submission is 9am Saturday!

I’m really pumped for this as the democratic and all-volunteer format means that all who attend (we call you participants) decide what will be presented. As of this morning we have over 115 registered and 15 sessions submitted for consideration. We expect a large turnout and great content … check out who is coming and the sessions.

Besides some great sessions, our keynote is the legendary Mike Bosworth. If you’ve been around B2B sales for any length of time,
you’ve probably heard the name Mike Bosworth and his groundbreaking book Solution Selling. Mike is considered one of the pioneers of the B2B sales training model, including Solution Selling and Customer Centric Selling, but his newest project has turned everything we learned in those books and programs on its head.

As Mike explains in this Selling Power guest blog post, When I first got into training in the late 70’s, my mission was to help the salespeople who struggled the most: the bottom 80%. In 2008, however, I got some very disappointing news: the Sales Benchmark Index reported that after all these years, despite the efforts of all the sales methodology companies, (including my own Solution Selling and CustomerCentric Selling methodologies) the 80/20 rule had gotten worse. It was now 87/13!” Read more.

With that, the new program was born. As Mike explains on his web site, StoryLeaders™ was founded to provide insight into the greatest mystery in sales: how the very best salespeople consistently and successfully influence change in others, inspiring their customers to say yes. Top-performing salespeople have always had a knack for forging the types of connections that foster collaboration and the reciprocal sharing of ideas and beliefs. Connections that can move people to change.

Having gone through both Solution Selling and StoryLeaders myself, I am excited to have Mike keynote our first B2BCamp in Boston. The StoryLeaders program addresses the one key component that Solution Selling and the others do not: what makes some sales people so much more effective than others?

You won’t want to miss Mike speak on Saturday 9/29.

Watch this short video of Mike explaining the importance of making connection first.

Register NOW!


Posted in B2B Marketing, Sales & Marketing Events, Storytelling | 1 Comment »

Who Wants to Go to Camp? How About B2B Camp?

Written by Rockannand on May 25, 2012 – 12:33 pm -

Remember summer vacations as a kid? I’m sure most of us went to camp somewhere or we had a week or two at the beach or in the mountains with our “Gramps and Grammy” or Uncle Bob or Fred. In my case, it was camp at my gramp’s retreat in the wilds of Quebec – he called it Rock Annand. Yes we called him Gramps, but we called the retreat camp – all 14 of his grandchildren – and we loved it. So much so that some of us named our companies after it. There’s the Rock Annand Group and Rockannand German Shepherds. I digress. Yes, it’s a PLACE and pronounced Rock AN-und. NOT ahNAND.**

The problem is that we are all grown up now, with crazy busy lives and kids and for some grandkids running around, And with the Memorial Day weekend starting today everyone is thinking of summer and vacations away somewhere. Well, I am here to tell you that camp is NOT just for kids and that we CAN have our camp and business “and eat it to”. It’s called B2B Camp and it’s for all you B2B sales and marketing kiddies who yearn for an experience with other B2Bers at a great retreat location. An experience where we sit around the campfire and share stories about all our hectic sales and marketing endeavors in the real world. The successes and the failures and where we get great inspiration form others and support in how to conquer our fears in climbing the rope (new lead nurturing campaigns) or doing backflips off the diving board (getting that prospect to take our call or respond to our CTAs).

Well folks B2B Camp is here! And it’s coming to Boston September 29th at a great location, NERT in Cambridge. It’s not quite summer time, but what adults have time during the summer to take a Saturday to go to a business camp without your family? Starting tomorrow, every Saturday until after Labor Day is spoken for, but as one of co-host of the event, I have the last Saturday of September (which is also the first Saturday of Fall) circled on my calendar.  Matt Bertuzzi, of the Bridge Group has it circled too cause he’s co-hosting with me!!

I strongly suggest you consider marking your calendars too because B2B Camp is like no other B2B sales and marketing event you’ve ever been to. Let me count the ways:

  • B2BCamp is one of the many “un-conferences” gaining popularity around the world, however, this event is solely focused on B2B sales and marketing professionals.
  • Although similar to traditional industry conferences, B2BCamp has no “attendees” because everyone participates in some manner, including you if you join us.
  • Everyone, including hosts, participants (you) and sponsors will be regionally based, so the topics and presenters will be what “we” all want to hear.
  • No one gets special treatment or speaking opportunities. Participants vote on the topics that are proposed that morning and the sessions are more hands-on discussions then death by PowerPoint.
  • Session topics will range from client acquisition practice and use cases, lead to sales process optimization, social selling and marketing, and sales/marketing automation tools and technique. 

Now we won’t really have campfires, s’mores or weeny roasts, but we were able to get a great special guest for our camp to wow and inspire, who will keynote the day. His name is Mike Bosworth, co-founder of StoryLeaders , and known worldwide for founding and growing one of the most successful virtual companies in the B2B arena, Solution Selling. Mike’s talk, entitled the “Power of Story”, will look at how to facilitate and institutionalize “Whole Brain Selling” for the entire sales and marketing team to achieve greater connections with customers and future customers through story. His keynote will draw upon his recently published third book entitled, What Great Salespeople Do: The Science of Selling Through Emotional Connection and the Power of Story.

So there you have it my fellow prospective B2B campers. Grab your calendar and with a sharpie, put B2B Camp Boston in there on 9/29, tell the fam you’ll be going to adult business camp that day and plan to have one memorable experience. No need to pack a lunch (we got that covered), but do bring a favorite blankie or pillow so you can gather round the various story tellers who will keep you motivated, engaged and inspired. Bring lots of business cards too, because just like in summer camp, you will develop lots of new B2B BFFs that you can tweet, text and email when you get back home.

 

** Just for kicks, google ANNAND and you will get a super long list of Annands, all from Scotland or New Scotland (Nova Scotia). Like this one: Annand Coat of Arms.


Posted in B2B Marketing, Marketing & Sales Alignment, Sales & Marketing Events, Storytelling | 2 Comments »

5 Stats Every Good Lead Nurturer Should Know

Written by Rockannand on May 17, 2012 – 6:47 pm -

I must admit, I’m a bit of stats nut when it comes to forming an argument and making my case for something, like whether the Celtics can win it all this year, or saying its time to break up the Red Sox and start all over.

Rethinking the DemandGen Process: Quantity or Quality?

But when it comes to B2B sales and marketing, I am going to get on my soapbox and tell all it’s time to rethink the entire demand generation process. Why? Because looking at a variety of stats from some of my favorite authorities like Gartner, Forrester, Marketing Sherpa and Sirius Decision tell a very dark story about current practices that still plague the B2B industry and have a big-time drag on revenue and profitability growth. These stats represent some of the worst practices that are a carryover from the way we did things in the good old days when buyers actually took your calls and read your email. They also point to an obsession with lead quantity rather than lead quality.

Sales-Ready vs. NOT Sales-Ready

Let’s start at the top. Basically, today when someone hits your web site for the first time and registers for something of interest, only 10-15% of those folks are sales-ready. Most of the rest, 70% or more are not ready to engage beyond this initial opt-in for that white paper or webinar. So going all Lady Gaga and calling all those people who downloaded that cool info-graphic you just published or who dropped by your booth at Info-Mania Marketing World Expo is impressive, but a waste of time. Its not hard to figure out the ones that sales can work on, but that 70+% group will be quickly discarded by your sales team. 

What Happens to the 70+% That are NOT Sales-Ready?

The latent demand ones typically just fall by the way side. And that is not only a shame, but a HUGE waste of your leadgen dollars. That is something your CEO or CFO will remind you of come budget review time because 3 out of 4 of those leads will end up buying sometime in the future. More damning though is stat #3 from the worst practice hit list: 9 out of 10 of those who buy, do so from someone other than who started things off initially. Think about that one for a moment. Let it roll around in that rational analytical mind of yours before you start reaching for the bottle of Tequila.

“You Tawkin’ to ME?”

Point #4 speaks to buyer behavior today that is driven to total distraction with Smart Phones and texting and tweets and stop-by workers and bosses. With B2B buyers bombarded by 3-5,000 messages daily, it takes 11-13 proactive outbound communications to interrupt those ADHD buyers. That’s a lot of emails, phone calls and banner ads loaded with supposedly juicy content before that target buyer asks, “you tawkin’ to me?” and pays attention. It’s not necessarily that the content or the offer or the call-to-action is irrelevant or weak. You have to be committed, be persistent and keep trying.

What’s the Payoff for the Shift to Quality?

Finally, though we have painted a dark and hopeless picture here with the state of things in B2B lead management behavior, the real message to deliver to your sales team and your bosses is that doing it right will make a huge difference in revenues and commissions for everyone. Sirius Decisions annual study of the B2B market repeatedly report that the best-in-class sales and marketing teams generate four (4) times the number of closed deals than average team from the same number of leads.

If that doesn’t get your bosses’ attention when you make your case for making some changes in your lead management practices, then you have a different problem to deal with friends.

 


Posted in B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Lead Management, Lead Nurturing, Lead Quality, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Start with WHY: The Secret to Good Storytelling Part 2

Written by Rockannand on February 29, 2012 – 11:10 am -

When You Open Your Mouth, Have a Point

When ever I think of stories, I’m always reminded of one of the best movie lines of all time from a movie full of great ones, “Trains, Planes and Automobiles”.  Steve Martin (Neal) has already had his fill of John Candy’s (Del) character and finally loses it after hearing another of Del’s stories:

“And by the way, you know, when you’re telling these little stories? Here’s a good idea … have a POINT. It makes it so much more interesting for the listener.”

Trains, Planes and Automobiies

Trains, Planes and Automobiles

Don’t you wish every encounter with a seller started with a story that had a point? Lately all my dealings with sales folks have been maddening. I feel like asking them, “what’s your point, because I really don’t understand what you want and why I should listen to you”. It seems that sellers are too busy focusing on the WHAT and HOW, that they almost always forget the WHY. Without the WHY, there is no story and nothing for me to connect to for context that makes the story interesting and makes me curious.

Start with the Point

Just once I wish a sales person who has never met me before would take some time and do enough research so that he starts the conversation with a very clear point. Let me give you an example. Since I deal with a large number of CEOs, I have found that having stories that relate to beliefs and challenges that they typically deal with to be important to make that vital connection at the start of conversation. One of my favorites goes like this:

“Hi John, can I share a story with you about another CEO who believed that their must be a simpler way for his sales team to talk about his company (product) with his target buyers?”

The answer is usually yes, which then gives me permission to spend 2 to 3 minutes to tell that story. Notice the words I used.

Can I share a story

About another CEO who believed

Everyone likes to hear a story. That opens the door and relaxes our brain, but the next line is the point of the story and provides the listener with the reason WHY I want to tell them about WHAT I did for that other CEO and HOW I solved his problem.

The Golden Circle – From the Inside Out

Simon Sinek wrote a fascinating book entitled, “Start With Why”, that explains that as listeners we process information from the inside out. It all starts with our emotional brain, where we process information by understanding the WHY of the story before our thinking brain kicks in by applying the rational arguments associated with all the facts and figures. Sinek calls it the “golden circle” which depicts three concentric circles starting with WHY in the middle followed by WHAT and then HOW. The WHY is your belief, your cause, your purpose and that is what listeners connect to. As Sinek explains, “People buy WHY you do it, not what you do.”

The Golden Circle - Simon Sinek

If you think of my CEO example above, the point of my story is that every one on the sales team can learn to tell a more effective story and more easily connect with buyers. That is my belief that is important to share to connect emotionally with my buyer’s beliefs. With that connection, I can now explain the specifics of what I do and how I do it to make that belief a reality.

Listen to Simon explain the power of the golden circle in this compelling TED talk presentation.

So that’s my story today, What’s yours?

 

Related posts:

The Importance of Storytelling in B2B Sales & Marketing

What is the  Secret to Good Storytelling Part 1


Posted in Content Marketing, Storytelling, Thought Leadership | No Comments »

What is the Secret to Good Storytelling? Part 1

Written by Rockannand on February 22, 2012 – 1:34 pm -

In my last post, I indicated that the secret to good storytelling lies in making an emotional connection with buyers. But, I am not naive to think that this is an easy thing to do for most of us, regardless of our position in the company. The challenge, as I have learned in life personally and professionally, is that making the connection means earning the other person’s trust. And that my friends means making ourselves vulnerable. And further more we have to take the Nestea plunge first in order to get the other person  - our buyer, our boss, our partner, our children – to open up, listen and respond.

Now I know what you are thinking … sounds way too “touchy-feely” to me. And what does what have to do with business, content marketing and telling good stories. Well folks it has everything to do with having another person open up and listen to what we have to say.

The key takeaway for all of us is that we need to have the courage to be vulnerable first to encourage our buyer to be vulnerable too. Mike Bosworth in his new book, “What Great Salespeople Do” ( see my recap post on Mike’s new book), discusses the importance of vulnerability in a story he relates from an early career mentor:

“Bob used to say that there is a ‘veneer of bullshit’ between two strangers, and as we all know, that’s especially true with a seller and buyer. Until you break through that veneer of bullshit, he’d tell me, you have no chance of selling anything.”

To get a better idea of what i am suggesting here, watch this very entertaining and compelling TED-talk story by Dr. Brene Brown.

 

Related posts:

The Importance of Storytelling in B2B Sales & Marketing

 

 


Posted in B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Storytelling, Thought Leadership | No Comments »

The Importance of Storytelling in B2B Sales & Marketing

Written by Rockannand on February 2, 2012 – 12:01 pm -

 

So let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, I started a BLOG and started writing about my views and experiences as a B2B sales and marketing junkie. After 30+ years in the field, first 20+ working with a number of software companies in every aspect of field operations and then 10+ as a consultant, I felt I had something to say so I did what every warm blooded marketer feels they need to do and started cranking out CONTENT. First a web site, then BLOG posts with a few choice podcasts and webinars. A couple of plum conferences in front of live audiences; interviews for trade pub articles and some articles and white papers of my own. Lots of arguments and opinions supported by facts and stats and use cases.

But what is the end game of all this content creation and publication? Followers? Likes? Retweets? In my case, it’s all about building trust with my audience and to find buyers and influencers who believe what I believe. God knows we have created mountains of content and information to supposedly make it easier for buyers to buy. Buyers should be able to defend their decisions as intelligent and authoritative, but are they?

But Are We Telling Good Stories?

It depends on how you measure and from whose perspective … yours or your buyer? My head, or my “thinking brain” says yes, but my gut, or my “emotional brain” says no. I had been feeling this way for a while, then I read a fascinating new book and attended the author’s workshop last week. It was a “eureka” moment for me.

The author is Mike Bosworth, legendary creator of Solution Selling and Customer-Centric Selling. The book is entitled, “What Great Salespeople Do: The Science of Selling Through Emotional Connection and the Power of Story”. Now the importance of storytelling is not new for sellers and marketers. But when we look at how it influences buyer behavior and why it works, we see more clearly that there is a right way and wrong way to tell stories.

What’s the Secret to Good Storytelling?

The secret lies in making an emotional connection with buyers. Why? Because as Bosworth and co-author Ben Zoldan (Customer-Centric Selling) so expertly explain, “breakthroughs in neuroscience have determined that people don’t make decision solely on the basis of logic … in fact, emotions play the dominant role in most decision-making processes.”

I’ve always known this point to be true – it probably has been one of the keys to my success in B2B sales and marketing. However, reading the book and going through the Story Leaders workshop last week provided a field-tested framework for how to construct and deliver stories to build trust and rapport with buyers. I like frameworks. I use them all the time in my practice and have relied on them throughout my career. They feed my (sometimes overly) analytical personality … thirsting for information, facts and figures, logic, process-driven. Very left-brain though … the “thinking” brain.

But frameworks must be based on beliefs and points-of-view that prove out to be true. And ignoring the importance of establishing rapport may help explain why all of the sales enablement training and methodology programs have not raised the performance of those it was targeted to improve – the 80% of the sales force that only delivered 20% of the sales. Bosworth and Zoldan point out that recent research shows that the old 80/20 rule – where 20% of salespeople deliver 80% of the sales – is more like 87-13. The gap has gotten worse between the best and the rest of the pack. Ouch!

Marketers Need to Apply the Story Telling Teachings to Build Trust

I believe that successful content marketing strategies are about quality, not quantity. We need to tell our stories with authenticity and real passion in order to cut through the information overload that buyers are experiencing. Most company stories on web sites lack characters and people to make them real and believable – they don’t draw me in emotionally. What I like about Bosworth and Zoldan’s approach is that they actually teach you how to make your ideas, beliefs and experiences “storiable” using a proven story structure. Their approach shows marketers, as well as salespeople how to develop stories that overcomes buyer skepticism to connect with the emotional brain where trust is formed.

So that’s my story today. What’s yours?


Posted in B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Thought Leadership, Training Programs | 2 Comments »

Maybe We Should Call It Something Else: Why Salespeople Think Marketing Automation is a Four-Letter Word

Written by Rockannand on November 3, 2011 – 10:58 am -

As part of our series of guest posts, this article was contributed by my colleague Rick Schwartz of Sales Addiction.
Henry

Ancient History

Going back to the mid 1900s we’ve been automating everything. Manufacturing began using machines to do what people used to do and in some cases, the people were put out of work.

My first personal experience with automation happened 1979-ish. I was a customer service rep for what used to be called “The Phone Company.” Part of our job was answering inquiries about customer bills. Once the customer asked a question, we’d put them on hold, go over to the file cabinets, look for and (sometimes) find the copy of their bill.

Then someone had the idea that we all get computer monitors on our desk which could access the company’s mainframe. We’d be able to view the bill more quickly and provide better, more accurate service.

This was fine except that no one in the office had really every seen a computer screen and keyboard before. Some of us thought it was a really cool thing and we adapted. Some folks who had been on the job for many years couldn’t or wouldn’t give it a chance. Eventually those folks left their jobs.

More Recently

n the late 90s it was Sales Force Automation. Sometimes it was called a Contact Management system or a Customer Relationship Management system. It didn’t matter. The upshot was that sales people had to learn a new way to do their jobs. They were told it would help them sell more stuff. They didn’t believe it. All they saw was learning to do a new thing for management – not to mention that it was mostly about making them more accountable for their daily work.

There are tons of other examples, but you get the point. Today, looking back at any of these new ideas, most workers can’t imagine doing their jobs without the aid of various types of automation.

So what’s up with Marketing Automation?

It’s presented as something that will help close more deals and make more money. The challenge is that it contains that four letter word – Auto(mation).

Adding a new process (automated or not) into the sales world is seen as something that is disruptive – and frankly it is. At the end of the day, recent metrics and case studies show that adopting MA can be a big boon to those chasing sales results. In most cases however, a sales department is nowhere near the end of the day when a new idea is presented.

For now, I’ll leave the solutions to smarter souls than me. If you have any ideas, please comment.


Posted in B2B Marketing, Marketing & Sales Alignment, Marketing Automation, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Beat Common Lead Nurturing Failures with “Live in 45″

Written by Rockannand on October 26, 2011 – 2:03 pm -

We keep hearing the stories of great results from lead nurturing, only to find that achieving them is much easier said than done. Why is that?

  • Incomplete strategy. Marketers don’t take into account all of the components needed for good execution of a lead nurturing campaign. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.
  • Poor execution. We are all pressed for time, juggling many projects so we cut corners, making mistakes that lead to disappointing results.
  • Analysis paralysis. We over-think each aspect of the campaign, the content, the audience, the steps, frequency.  Searching for the perfect campaign, but we only get wrapped around the axle and nothing gets done.

There are many more reasons why B2B marketers fail at lead nurturing, but these are the three biggies in my book. But first some context for what I have been doing of late.

How The Lead Gen Process is Like Fishing
Before I started my consulting practice in 2001, a colleague of mine and I experimented for over a  year  with an approach to demand generation that led me to marketing automation in 1999.  Our approach had these key attributes.

  • Strong content that demonstrated thought leadership not product expertise.
  • Automated, rules-based processes that generate new leads and manage existing ones.
  • List segmentation to be able to test campaign tactics across many audiences simultaneously.
  • Digitally-based, with web tracking to follow interest, behavior and determine sales readiness.
  • A heavy focus on outcomes realized in 6-8 weeks

What about the analogy to fishing? The secret to fishing and  catching the most is always to have your pole in the water casting out because you never know when the fish will pass by. The problem with fishing is that you can only have one rod working one spot at a time. If there’s nothing there, you move to the next spot. It takes time and effort to hit all the spots.

Traditional leadgen campaigns have also been like fishing in that each campaign has required execution one at a time – one campaign, one cast.  If no bites, we move on.  Batch and Blast. We really don’t know WHY the campaign failed because it could have been wrong day, wrong week/month, poor content, bad list. Just like fishing: Wrong bait, wrong tide, wrong weather conditions, wrong spot.

Live in 45: Fishing Many Virtual Ponds at Once
What if marketers, could execute the same campaigns to many target segments with different offers, subject lines and headlines? Marketing automation affords you the unique opportunity to hit all those “spots” (target segments) simultaneously and virtually using different types of bait (tactics and offers).Of course, the tools have had the ability to do these practices for a while now, but my experience is that the practices have lacked focus on outcomes and lots of testing.

This is where the Live in 45 system comes in to play.

The name of the game today is knowing exactly where to focus scarce sales and marketing resources and on the best opportunity and high return programs. For B2B marketers that means accelerating the learning process of what tactics work and what do not and what target segments are better audiences for your products and services. Unfortunately, this appears to be where the rubber meets the nails, potholes and the breakdown lane as marketers have focused their program objectives too much on activity and not on outcomes.  When you are focused on the wrong metrics and questionable goals, it takes much longer to learn where the fish are and where they are not, what bait to use, what time of day and tides, etc.

The Ultimate Live in 45 Lead Nurturing Program
The best fisherman test and measure All the time.  They learn from their mistakes faster than the rest. The secret is not magic, but simply “outfishing” the competition with a system that works and works well.

I call it the Live in 45 system. It is a focused lead nurturing strategy that overcomes the failures mentioned above.  Results you can expect in the first 90 days might consist of finding and closing over $100,000 of new business from “dead leads” that sales overlooked and doubling the number of marketing qualified opportunities passed to the sales team.

I have decided to offer the program as a 6-week guided implementation delivered in a group setting for a fraction of what my clients have paid in custom engagement. Its called the “Ultimate ‘Live in 45’ Lead Nurturing Program”.

Check it out here and let me know what you think. The inaugural program kicks off next Tuesday November 1. I am excited at the prospects and welcome your questions and feedback.


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Posted in Lead Nurturing, Marketing Automation | 1 Comment »

“Among the Blind, the One-Eyed are King”, and other Musings from CRM Evolution 2011 Conference in NYC

Written by Rockannand on August 25, 2011 – 10:31 am -

The Rock Annand Group has hit the conference speaking circuit again after a (too long) hiatus. My 3 favorite cities to visit for conferences are San Francisco, New York and Boston and I hit all 3 in August and September, starting with New York two weeks ago for the CRM Evolution 2011 annual event, hosted by CRM guru Paul Greenberg.

While this conference is not one of the biggies when compared to Dreamforce 2011 (I’ll be there next week) or the Inbound Marketing Summit and Hubspot User Group-HUGS in Boston (I’ll be there too mid-September), I will say it is no less relevant and substantive. There were some great speakers and panel discussions about what’s working and what’s not in CRM and social CRM with some impressive companies telling their stories.

So what’s behind the provocative title?
Well it comes from something my old boss Dave Simbari,  currently CEO of SupplyPro, always says when talking about sales and marketing execution. “Henry, don’t get wrapped around the axle, or boil the ocean when you do this. Keep it simple and follow through and things will turn out fine.”

Translation: most of the pack is too busy trying to define the perfect strategy or building the perfect program and never get anything done and fail to execute. They are blind, so by focusing on the basics, what I call the fundamentals, you can develop and execute sales and marketing programs, supported by CRM, that deliver results even a CEO with ADHD will love.

A Social Business is Just GOOD Business
That simple message could be found in countless sessions the week of August 8th. Even though the conference organizers attempted to dress things up by putting the word “social” in front of the somewhat tired and old CRM acronym, the presenters stayed away from the hype and buzz of social media as something new to try and stuck with the reality of the social phenomenon.

This point was best brought home by R “Ray”  Wang, principle analyst and CEO at Constellation Research, when he said, “a social business is just GOOD business.” What Ray was saying is that being social has always been the key to building relationships and winning business. Businesses and buyers have always conducted conversations about their problems and how they plan to solve them. The difference now vs 5-10 years ago is that they are carrying on their conversations online with peers in a myriad of communities and discussion forums. The question is whether today’s businesses want to listen and participate in those conversations.

Listen and Observe More, Talk Less
The reality is the vast majority of businesses ARE blind (and deaf) to what’s being said about them and their competitors online. Tell me what sales rep would not want to know what their best customers and prospects have said about them or their competitors before their next sales call?

Today’s CRM solutions and the multitude of sales enablement plug-ins allow companies to know so much more about their target audience then ever before. Countless examples were shared (Volvo Trucks) showing how B2B marketers have opened the eyes and ears of sales and executives with more qualified deals.

Ray Wang’s 5 Rules to Adopt to Become More Social
My question is why companies continue to turn a blind eye to what’s happening in their buyers’ world? As Ray Wang  so correctly stated, “We are using disruptive technologies at home and we need to figure out how to bring them into the enterprise. How can IT become more social?” Ray went on to identify 5 rules that businesses need to adopt to become more social:

  • Trust is the new currency.
  • Social is a cultural shift for the enterprise.
  • Building community is the goal.
  • Person-to-person (P2P) is today’s reality – not B2B or B2C – frictionless commerce is where its at.
  • A social business is just GOOD business.

Amen Ray. And I don’t mean Ray Charles ;) .

Listen to our 8/11/11 Webcast:

 Create a Winning Lead Strategy in 90 Days


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Posted in B2B Marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Management, Marketing Automation, Marketing Automation Monday | 1 Comment »

B2B Marketing 3.0 – What’s Next for Marketers?

Written by Rockannand on July 20, 2011 – 12:50 pm -

I had the pleasure of participating in the Focus.com B2B Marketing Week last week, a collection of webinars and round table panels that brought together the top experts in their fields to discuss the state of B2B marketing. Nine sessions covering many important topics in B2B marketing with lots of talking heads – marketing consultants, vendors and industry pundits. This is the third Focus round table I have done this year and I must say they are great way to hear what others are experiencing in the market across the country.

Our round table entitled “B2B Marketing 3.0: What’s Next for Marketers?” centered on answering these questions:

  • Definition of B2B Marketing 2.0
  • Definition of B2B Marketing 3.0. What prompted the change?
  • How many marketers are ready for 3.0?
  • What is the biggest impediment to making the shift, skills or tools?
  • What is the one thing you would recommend every marketer focus on the rest of 2011?

Mac McConnell, partner/founder of BlueBird Strategies moderated and I was joined by colleagues Joe Zuccaro, President and CEO of Allinio, Greg Ott, CMO of Demandbase and Matt West, Sr Director Marketing of Genius.

You can listen to the full 45 minute round table here. But let me give you my quick take on these questions:

Definition of B2B Marketing 2.0

  • Marketers begin to realize that awareness does not drive buyer behavior anymore. PR campaigns and traditional advertising don’t work the same way anymore.
  • Moving from mostly outbound campaigns that “broadcast” the company’s primary go-to-market message to outreach that promotes having a conversation with target audiences.
  • Focusing on presenting market problems and recommended solutions rather than products and services.
  • Marketers turn to digital marketing as the preferred approach to connect directly with buyers and customers.

Definition of B2B Marketing 3.0: What’s Prompting the Change?

  • The rise of social networking and buyer reliance and focus on what the community thinks about various problems and how best to solve them.
  • The need to treat sales and marketing as a “service” to customers and buyers. Providing value-based information that helps buyers make more informed decisions.
  • The need for marketing to be revenue focused, not just developing leads at the top of the funnel. What’s marketing’s contribution to the pipeline?
  • Marketers trying to make sense of their target markets and the data that is sitting in all those data stores in the enterprise. What are the most profitable markets/customers? Which markets should be exploited more/less?

How Many Marketers are Ready for 3.0?
Not nearly enough. Here are some recent research findings that show just how far marketers have to go before they can make the transition:

  • In a 2011 Fournaise Marketing Group study, 73% of CEO’s stated that “marketers lack business credibility and are not the business growth generators they should be”.
  • At the Sirius Decisions 2011 Summit when asked if their marketing people had the right skill set to succeed only 1.1% responded with a yes.
  • A 2010 Bulldog Solutions – Frost & Sullivan Survey showed that 44% of marketing automation owners stated lack of people/skills as a limiting success factor

What is the Biggest Impediment to Making the Shift?
Clearly there is a significant skills gap. We don’t need yet ANOTHER CRM, Email Marketing or Marketing Automation tool set. The industry lacks a certification program for B2B marketers that addresses the core disciplines within marketing operations. This represents a big opportunity for what Paul Dunay predicted for the “rise of the marketing technologist”.

What is the One Thing Marketers Should Focus on Now?
It’s not too early to look ahead to 2012 plans and what marketers need to do to lay the foundation for success. It’s extremely important that marketers review existing programs and prioritize those that have the greatest chance of producing results that impact the sales pipeline and closed business. With less than 6 months left in 2011, CEOs and VPs of Sales are gearing up to close as much business as possible before year-end.

  • How much has marketing committed to those quarter and year-end numbers?
  • How much revenue contribution have you made thus far?
  • How much more contribution can you make in the next 5+ months?

Times ticking so let’s get focused and see how much better we can be in the months ahead. Listen to the entire round table here. What’s your take?


Posted in B2B Marketing, Marketing Automation, Predictions, Thought Leadership | 2 Comments »

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