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 »

Three Ways Software Company Execs Missed the Boat during the 2009 Recession

Written by Rockannand on March 1, 2010 – 11:00 am -

First off, not all software tech firms hit the bricks after Lehman tanked on September 15, 2009. Sales pipelines softened across the board and selling from Q408 through Q309 was tough.

BUT not impossible. Some of my observation companies even thrived. What happened?

1.  You did not change your “voice”.

Other than adding the “r” word to email subject lines, overall market messages did not connect with buyers in 2009. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you really know what your clients value about you and your products, especially during the recession?
  • Did you change your messaging and positioning to reflect these value statements and focus on your unique ability to deliver what they want?
  • Re-read your website, press releases and first few slides of your sales presentations. Now put yourself in your target buyer’s shoes. Would you be looking for your company to solve your biggest 2009/2010 problems?

2. You stopped talking to your target buyers and best clients.

Too many companies panicked and retrenched. Spending was cut across the board without regard to impact on sales and marketing program performance. Lead generation efforts were scaled back. Prospects and buyers that were not immediately scored as “sales-ready” were ignored. Lead nurturing processes were stopped altogether.

Sirius Decisions recent industry survey indicated that for a $150K software deal, marketing will touch that buyer 15 times before it becomes “sales-ready”. Those leads you spent all that money on to generate in 2008 are your best prospecting opportunities this year. Investing resources and time in lead management processes that cultivate those leads through the buy cycle should have been the priority in 2009.

3. You settled for “me-too” direct marketing tactics.

I subscribe (opt-in) to quite a few company’s web site content and/or register for webinars and see the same tactic/process over and over again. If I download something, I always get an auto-responder thanking me, often times followed by a tele-sales call. Of course I don’t respond to the call, so many weeks and months go by and the pattern repeats based on some pre-determined schedule. Rarely do they track my behavior and execute something that is specific to what I am interested in.

I call this “one and done” or “batch and blast” broadcasts. What a waste of time, but worse, I believe it is alienating the buyer. Marketing automation coupled with some great research and case studies over the past 3-4 years have given us the tools and processes proven to be successful, but adoption has been marginal at best the past 12 months.

We all know that a recession means learning to do more with less. That means optimizing the resources you have following with practices and tools that have proven effective, especially in bad economic times. The past year dictated focusing on known buyers or high probability buyers with more touches using campaign tactics with very specific calls-to-action.

Rarely did I actually see the targeted approach, but the ones that did got my attention and kept it. I even bought from those solution providers for me and my clients. Why, because they connected to my buying needs better and more frequently.

As always your comments and reactions are most welcome.

Posted in B2B Marketing, Predictions | No Comments »

DemandGen Report Outlook Comments

Written by Rockannand on February 3, 2010 – 4:33 pm -

I was recently asked by Andrew Gaffney, Editor/Publisher of the DemandGen Report, to comment on trends impacting marketing automation adoption. Some of my comments along with other industry experts were published on December 15th “Industry Analysts Predict Increased Adoption, Sophistication For Automation In 2010″.

This is an important topic for B2B marketers and their bosses to consider when establishing budgets and program strategies for 2010. I have posted the questions and all my answers to assist in the dialogue.

DemandGen Report: What changes do you anticipate in marketing budgets heading into next year? Continued emphasis on demand generation investments?
I see overall spending slightly up over 2009. But emphasis will clearly be on demand gen tactics and programs that have shown a clear ROI. Expect to see less spend in traditional industry trade shows and more in one day virtual conferences. I see more emphasis in lead nurturing and developing/re-purposing content for use in those campaigns.

DemandGen Report: Adoption rates for marketing automation remained pretty low through 2009. Do you see that picking up steam in 2010?
Yes to some extent, but I think it is more the case of many companies needing to work on doing more with less, especially when it comes to executing more multi-channel, multi-tactic campaigns for smaller segmented groups of prospects and existing clients.

DemandGen Report: What shifts are going to have to take place within B2B organizations to get them to prioritize the investment in the solutions and processes required to effectively drive demand generation?

Not enough companies have a good handle on what it costs to generate a qualified lead that is accepted by sales. CEOs and CFOs will be demanding metrics that show clear ROI before making the bigger investments. What many companies are starting to realize it’s not just the costs of the tools, but the resource costs involved in process change and development that often is the stumbling block towards realizing the value.

DemandGen Report: Have automation tools and other investments in demand generation proven themselves as a competitive differentiator for the early adopters?
Yes. No question, as every case study I read showing increases in lead quality and quantity has marketing automation as a key driver. The automation investment alone though is not what creates the competitive differentiation, but how the tools are used to drive better marketing and lead management processes. In every successful project I’ve participated, the common thread was marketing’s ability to change from simply generating “hand-raiser” leads for sales to become lead qualifiers. The impact on sales performance is significant as sales spends less time with prospects who are not sales-ready. During 2009, the companies that were still closing deals were more focused on the high probability opportunities as marketing used automation to manage and develop qualified leads before turning over to sales.

DemandGen Report: Assuming awareness and sophistication around demand generation practices are increasing, what do you expect to be the key areas of focus for leading B2B organizations in 2010?
As I have mentioned above, improving lead management processes to optimize and realize the value of automation will be a big focus with my clients. Before trying something new, my clients are researching and asking how they can enhance what they are already doing. I expect to see more focus on behavior-based segmentation in driving more personalized/customized content for each campaign. It’s more work, but the studies show much greater results.

DemandGen Report:  What other trends do you see emerging in 2010 within the demand generation/marketing automation space, i.e.?
2009 saw a significant jump in the use of telesales for 1st step lead follow-up. I believe 2010 will see marketing working even more closely with sales to define campaigns for very targeted groups of prospects. Using more online prospect intelligence (e.g., zoominfo, jigsaw) campaigns will be executed for prospect groups of 25-50 with a very specific call-to-action that sales/inside sales calls on within 48-72 hours for follow up. I have been executing a number of these type campaigns over the past few months with very strong results. Depending on sales force size, we can process hundreds of prospects in a matter of weeks or 1-2 months and generate a significant number of sales-ready opportunities. An added bonus is that we “freshen” our marketing database with the status on accounts that can now be intelligently slotted into lead nurturing campaigns based on expressed interest. In this case, marketing automation keeps the ones that are not sales-ready in lead management processes that continually test for readiness in the months ahead.

As always your comments and reactions are most welcome.

Posted in Predictions | No Comments »