Face it. Most of the sales methodologies from the 80’s are tired. They do not address what growth companies need today. Growth companies need to shift from using a sales methodology to using a revenue methodology.
Posts related to B2B marketing and sales
Consider Revenue Architecture When Selecting Your Tech Stack
Face it, buyers don’t care whether they are interacting with your marketing or your sales organization, they follow their buying process – often in an unstructured and unpredictable way. They self-sell on the web, research with influencers and engage 1:1 with sales people. An effective buyer experience across a dynamic buyer lifecycle requires that your revenue architecture is designed with a coordinated closed-loop process supported by integrated technology stack.
We read a lot about Martech and SalesTech stacks. This is understandable because marketing and sales teams have traditionally pursued distinct missions with different needs. Yet if your marketing, sales and service “front office” needs to be more integrated to support dynamic buyer pathways, then you might need to re-think your technology stack. An integrated revenue process supported by integrated revenue technology helps deliver a single view of the customer and becomes more responsive and relevant as your buyers jig and jag along their dynamic buying processes.
More insights for the 85% of B2B marketers that don’t have effective personas!
Mapping out your buyers’ pain and organizing via Pain Maps™ to enable the ULTIMATE Goal: Informing Engagement Personas™.
There are many different perspectives and philosophies on persona development. This makes sense, as they’re the most critical element of creating messaging and informing Message Maps™…then identifying and developing content aligned with the buy cycle…and ultimately validating the various components of a true buyer engagement strategy. In the end, persona development should be defined by how it’ll be used – in terms of purpose and context that will drive messaging, and ultimately content strategy. Other marketers will use it more as a “playbook” of all possible or available buyer insights. I’m not saying either is right or wrong, but it’s why we’ve created a new category called Engagement Personas™.
Understanding what makes high-impact content and reexamining the competence of all the content “experts” out there.
The need for content and content marketing, as well as the discipline itself, has grown exponential just in the last few years. The proliferation of content is at staggering levels and buyers are inundated with it on a minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour and daily basis. And I think that the majority of B2B content out there, intended for buyer engagement and advancement, is simply subpar at best. And a BIG word of caution: In addition to a proliferation of content, there is now an explosion of new “experts,” “gurus,”, and “thought-leaders”. My advice is take a long hard look at their career experience prior to considering hiring one of them for guidance.
Marketing Automation is of particular value when pursuing a higher volume lead generation or demand generation model.
In a recent Quora post, we answered a question about the value of marketing automation. If you generate – or seek to generate – a high volume of leads (100+s) from the web from self-directed buyers, then yes, you will value having a Marketing Automation platform.
Consider Marketing Automation as part of a broader “technology stack” – there is the “Martech Stack” and the “SalesTech Stack” – we look at these together as the “RevTech Stack”
Their are a number of leading players in marketing automation – Marketo, HubSpot, Eloqua, Pardot, SharpSpring, Act-On, Infusionsoft, Mautic and others.
Prices range from a few 100 per month to many $1,000s – a lot is based on volumes (size of lists etc), but there are also a wide range of feature sets.
It is difficult to recommend any one system. We use SharpSpring, Pardot, HubSpot and Marketo. All of these are solid systems. Consider the integration and platform ecosystem (e.g. Pardot is part of the Salesforce Cloud).
- Content Calendar: A bird’s-eye view of your social posts, email sends, and blog articles.
- Social Posting: Post directly to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn without leaving SharpSpring.
- Social Listening: Monitor social media activity with customized listening feeds.
- New Trigger/Filter: Create automations based on when leads interact with your social media accounts.
SharpSpring has updated Lead Scoring and the Life of the Lead to now include social interactions. SharpSpring will be releasing to all clients in a few days.
Ready to learn more? Contact us for a guided walkthrough of these new features.
Financial Advisors are an amazingly difficult prospect to engage. They are incredibly busy and already have a wealth of resources already available to them – do they even need to engage with wholesalers? The best way to convert financial advisors to customers is to build your marketing automation program around them.
Lead generation starts with effective segmentation
Before focusing on key strategies, Sales and Marketing must have defined a set of engagement personas and customer segments. Marketing has had personas for a decade but only since the advent of marketing automation software have engagement personas become empowered and brought to life.
Defining financial advisor segments for lead generation
Creating clarity with Sales is a two step process:
- Lead scoring – a measure of how active a financial advisor on your digital properties
- Lead grading – a measure of how profitable the financial advisor is likely to be
It may take several iterations to get lead scoring and grading optimized, however, the process should be fruitful for Sales and Marketing. The process crystallizes Marketing and Sales perspectives around which advisors are most profitable and which digital behaviors are believed to be most relevant to a sale. Some marketing automation vendors have one score that represents profitability and interest. However, being able to separate advisor behaviors from profitability factors simplifies discussions by clarifying customer segments by profitability as seen in the above graphic. As an example, Pardot applies a numerical value for an advisor’s lead score and a letter grade (A-F) for an advisor’s expected profitability.
Ending Content Confusion: Differentiating Between “Domain-Centric” and “Engagement-Focused” Content.
There’s a significant problem with content today that can no longer be ignored. It’s the “elephant in the room”—and some organizations and marketers are aware of it, and some aren’t. It’s that the vast majority of the data from marketing practitioners, benchmark reports, industry analysts, and a multitude of other sources suggests that the #1 objective of content is lead generation and account/buyer conversion, sometimes expressed as “engagement”: (and yes, brand awareness tops some lists). Yet, almost universally, content strategy and content creation is “owned” by Product and/or Corporate Marketing in 60% – 80% of organizations. It’s driven by the Demand Generation team in only 5% – 10% of organizations!
So, let’s get this straight. The primary objective for content is to top-of-funnel inquiries, leads and converting full-funnel opportunities, yet the very people tasked with creating integrated programs to drive that objective DO NOT control the #1 MOST IMPORTANT element which is critical to achieving it? HUH?! Seriously?! That’s like having a plumber wiring your house and an electrician installing the pipes. This can truly blow your mind!
OK, as I step back from the ledge, please allow me to share a highly-informed perspective on this based on a nearly 25 year career in B2B marketing, buyer engagement and demand generation. It’s critically important to acknowledge and understand the difference between “domain-centric” and “engagement-focused” content. Is this starting to make a bit more sense?
The CMO of a “Top 50” B2B technology company said he saw tremendous efficacy in our buyer engagement frameworks and methodologies…but asked himself, and me, the question: why would he need our help with content when he has an dedicated, well-staffed team of product marketers producing it? Then bam…the ability to articulate this difference, which was percolating in my subconscious, hit me right between the eyes. I framed it as “domain-centric” vs. “engagement-focused” content, and the CMO immediately embraced the distinction.
Seems like I sort of threw Product Marketing under the bus, right? Actually, quite the contrary. Product Marketing sits at the intersection of Product Development/Management, Sales, Corporate Marketing, Demand Generation and Field Marketing. As such, they are the single most important information resource in content marketing today. They arguably know more about your products, value proposition, market segments, buyers, market trends, etc. than anyone else in your organization. The disconnect I see, universally across organizations, is that most are classically trained product marketers…schooled in research, creating and articulating value propositions, describing features and benefits, and creating stellar product collateral.
That’s where we Demand Marketers come in and the hand-off begins. By looking through the various white papers, data sheets, collateral, and sales playbooks the Product Marketers have created, Demand Marketers can find what they (and you) are looking for. It’s content that’s embedded and buried within, and it serves a different purpose and context than what is truly useful for buyer engagement. There, in the guise of product and benefit information, you’ll find the buyer’s key pain points, as well as an articulation of how your company, products and solutions help address them. Then you can apply all the insights in our new game-changing eBook entitled Exposed. The False Promises of Revenue Marketing. to create truly effective engagement-focused content.
To discover more in-depth insights on this topic, download a copy of the eBook by simply clicking on the link below to discover 9 principles to exponentially increase leads, conversion and pipeline velocity:
Many management experts remind us to find the most important element to manage and stay focused on it! What is that “one thing” for increasing revenue?
I would argue that most important factor is the difference in the amount of revenue produced by the top sales person compared to the average salesperson during the first years of a product’s introduction.
Frequently for new differentiated products the “top 10 percent” salespeople will sell more than 2x or 3x the amount that the average salesperson sells. The early sales are critical for gaining market share for new products while the differentiation is high. Over time, as the market and the other salespeople learn more about the product and the customer value delivered, the size of the revenue gap will decrease…but by then the competitors will have started to catch up also and the differentiating advantage decreases.
What does the average salesperson learn after the introduction and a couple of sales cycles that enables them to increase the amount of revenue produced, approaching closer to the sales levels of the top salespeople? If the firm provided that information earlier, would the average salesperson be able to produce higher sales levels earlier? The answer is yes!
Firms really can’t get much more revenue out of the “top 10%” salespeople, and trying to save the “bottom 10%” is a waste of time. But we can provide the information needed by the average salesperson to impact their revenue production by almost 2X.
Creating Logical Pathways™: How to build a clear engagement path via content – to advance buyers and increase conversion through the buy cycle by 300% or more!
It’s crucial to buyer advancement and conversion to seed content in logical, sequential parts of your buyers’ UX (user/visitor experience) by using your various digital assets/properties. It allows you to use “guided selling” techniques to capture additional depth of understanding via progressive profiling. One good content asset deserves an even better one, and then an even better one after that.
Or…to put it another way: By providing increasingly attractive incentives on each successive page of your digital properties (website, registration, thank you or landing pages, etc.), you’ll be able to focus prospect behavior and streamline data capture. It works very simply: Upon their registration for an initial asset requiring minimal information, pull prospective buyers further in with an even stronger content offer of higher perceived value—provided they take the “next step” you’ve guided them towards.
See for yourself how this is a powerful tool for engaging prospects and collecting essential information about their companies, current situation, challenges, pain points, needs, and of course stage in the buying process. And the value in monitoring and analyzing their Digital Body Language will be priceless.
It’s all about leaving bread crumbs along the conversion path you want your prospective buyers to follow! And ALWAYS define calls-to-action everywhere (social media, blog posts, landing pages, on your website, in automated lead nurturing e-mails, via links within all types of content assets such as eBooks, guides, etc.). What do you want the buyer who consumes content to do next? (Below is just one simple example of the practical application of this principle.)
What questions are buyers trying to answer at the early and middle stages of their buying process? Your content should help specific audiences (i.e., Engagement Personas™) answer questions like, “do I have a problem?” or “do I have THIS problem?” and “how should I solve it?” You’re attempting to surface latent pain and demand… long before the conversation shifts to what solution is best. Your solution is obviously the best, but TRUST is what makes it obvious to a discerning buyer.
To that end, one of the most valuable aspects of Engagement Personas™ when constructed effectively is to anticipate and answer the questions a buyer would ask at each step of the process. If you have content that answers them in a way that’s relevant to the specific prospective buyer, fantastic. If you don’t, then that’s where you start. The other suggestion for enabling Engagement Personas™ to drive strategy is to develop engagement scenarios.
To discover more in-depth insights on this topic, download a copy of the eBook by simply clicking on the link below to discover 9 buyer engagement principles to exponentially increase leads, conversion, pipeline velocity and revenue impact:
- Lorman Education
- Charles Schwab IMPACT
- Mutual Fund Education Alliance
- Inbound Marketing Summit
- NAPFA Conferences
- MIT Sloan Symposiums
- Harvard Business School Events
- The Content Marketing Conference
- The Pan Mass Challenge
- Best Buddies Challenge
- Food Venture Center (Vermont)
- The Fund for Greensboro (Vermont)