Understanding the Sales Enablement Paradox

Look in most organizations and you’ll find someone responsible for sales training, sales materials, systems that support the sales organization, and sales team support.  That person usually sits in Marketing or Sales and it may be their full-time job or they squeeze it in between other responsibilities....   Read the full article on Salesforce Sales Blog

3 Steps To A Killer Content Strategy

Originally posted on Salesforce.com Blog at https://blogs.salesforce.com/company/2013/10/killer-content.html   30% of B2B marketing budgets are spent on content according to the 2013 B2B Content Marketing Report, yet a whopping 50% of vendors’ content is ignored by prospects according to New Business Strategies’ research. You can sidestep this expensive loss of money and prospect-attracting opportunities if you follow this approach: deliver the right content, through the right channels, at the right times for your kind of customers. In our increasingly digital world, most buyers look online for helpful information, often in ways that are invisible to you, yet some don’t have to be. As buyers evaluate a business purchase, they go on a journey that includes evaluating different ways of achieving their objective, researching solutions and getting input from their peers.  Along the way they interact with a lot of content.  Where does vendor content fit into their journey? Vendor content should inform, educate and establish the vendor as a trusted resource throughout in the buyer’s process. The challenge is that vendor content is not as trusted as customer- or peer-generated content.  Even before the white paper is read, the buyer assumes the vendor will be biased and not objective.  The trick is for vendors to understand and deliver a content strategy that takes into account buyer perspectives.  Instead of delivering content that ‘sells’, vendors must adopt a strategy of delivering content that ‘enables’. While the steps that B2B buyers go through are fairly consistent, their specific content needs and expectations are unique to each brand and market-segment.  Vendors with the right content strategy can out-perform their peers in conversion by three-fold or more.  There are three steps to creating a content strategy that drives revenue:

1. Know Your Buyers

The first step in establishing a content strategy is to understand, in detail, your customer’s needs and expectations at each step of their purchase journey. For example, in the journey mapping that New Business Strategies conducted for Good Technology™, during the Search phase buyers looked for information on the pros and cons of different technology architectures. In most cases, prospects just used Google to find the information online. A third party blog post with the right keywords, a technical whitepaper promoted through Google Adwords and a webinar or video on the topic could collectively dominate the search results on this niche topic.  Once the buyers’ journey is discovered and documented, you’re ready to start aligning content to your buyers’ expectations and drive conversion.

 2. Dump What No One Reads

While downloading a white paper might “earn” the buyer 10 points in your marketing automation system, the action is only relevant if the buyer acts on the content and, because of it, goes on to the next step in their journey. When your team understands the buyer’s content needs and expectations at each step of the buyer’s journey they can compare it with current content inventory and do some house-cleaning. Knowing what content buyers need and where they look for it enables content marketers to facilitate strategic, surgical strikes rather than bombarding the web and “seeing what sticks.”

 3. Craft Your Content Strategy

Best practices in content strategy are to align every content asset, regardless of whether it is created by a vendor, customer or influencer, directly to a specific step in buyer’ journey.   Leveraging journey maps, marketers can define their content strategy in four steps:
  1. Match each content (and channel) to a step in the journey, by persona.
  2. For each tollgate, identify the corresponding call-to-action content.
  3. Define content assets in detail for each target audience.
  4. Expand lead scoring to include the sequence of content buyers interact with.
Don’t forget to update your content strategy quarterly to reflect evolving buyer expectations and market conditions. Now that you have a clear, actionable content strategy here are a few tips on operationalizing content:
  1. Use language and messaging that matches your buyers' tone, terminology, and definition of value.
  2. Let your journey maps define campaign/touch frequency.
  3. Match Call-To-Actions to specific tollgates to help buyers successfully navigate their internal processes.
  4. Narrow down digital channels to those buyers told you that they trust and visit.
Organizations that intimately understand their buyers’ journey can convert views into revenue more effectively. By creating content customers look for that solves a specific need content marketing can evolve from a carpet-bombing approach, to a laser precision shot that produces real, measureable, business results. It all starts by first understanding your buyers’ journey.

New Business Strategies’ Christine Crandell Announced as Finalist for MarketingProfs Bright Bulb B2B Award

  Scotts Valley, CA SEPT. 28, 2013 — New Business Strategies™, a strategic marketing consultancy, today announced that Christine Crandell, its President and co-founder, were among the MarketingProfs Bright Bulb B2B Awards list of finalists announced this week. The Bright Bulb B2B Awards recognize brilliance, excellence, and innovation in B2B marketing. In general, MarketingProfs is looking to celebrate unique people and programs that can demonstrate measurable success. MarketingProfs' in-house team judged the entries, along with an external judging committee of marketing practitioners:

  • Alan Belniak—Director of Marketing Content, LogMeIn
  • Rohit Bhargava—Founder, Influential Marketing Group
  • Carissa Caramanis O'Brien—Social Media Community and Content Director, Aetna
  • Susan Emerick—Social Business Program Manager, IBM
  • Carlos Hidalgo—CEO, ANNUITAS
  • Erika Napoletano—RedHead Writing
  • Tim Washer—Social Media Manager, Cisco Systems
  • Nick Westergaard—Founder, Brand Driven Digital
B2B Luminary The B2B Luminary Award honors an innovative individual who has made a mark in B2B marketing this year.  The honoree is a true visionary in B2B marketing and is playing a significant role in its evolution. Finalists:
  • Christine Crandell—President, New Business Strategies
  • Sean Shoffstall—Chief Operating Officer, Ozone Online
  • Karen Thomas-Smith—Vice President Marketing, Accountable Care Solutions, Optum
James Crandell, Chairman of New Business Strategies, said, “We deeply appreciate this recognition of Christine by MarketingProfs.  She was the driver of our innovative Sellers’ Compass™ methodology which a proven blueprint to achieving predictable revenue growth. We’re proud Christine is a finalist as it validates her visionary thought-leadership role in enabling organizations to achieve record-level results." Winners will be announced in Boston on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at MarketingProfs 7thannual B2B Marketing Forum. About MarketingProfs With over half a million members, MarketingProfs is the largest community of marketers in the world. It provides the latest marketing know-how and "what works" in marketing with unparalleled breadth and depth: online and offline, strategic and tactical, to companies of all sizes and in all industries. MarketingProfs specialties include marketing, advertising, social media, email, search, SEO, digital marketing, online marketing, mobile, case studies, research, seminars, webinars, and conferences. https://www.marketingprofs.com/ About New Business Strategies New Business Strategies™ is a B2B strategy and customer experience consulting firm that helps companies achieve predictable revenue growth.  We Listen. We Craft. We Deliver.    https://www.NewBizS.com    

Our 4-Step Method for Getting Customer Centric

There's a lot of discussion in marketing communities about how important the customer is and the role of customer experience programs, but few offer a prescriptive pathway to improving customer centricity; Probably because the exact steps that need to be taken are not as obvious as it is in other aspects of business. The CEO may know that their corporate culture needs to be adjusted to focus more on the customer, instead of internal politics, but not what steps to take to achieve a cultural transition.   One of the ways New Business Strategies differs from other customer experience and business strategy consultancies is our concrete methodology for consistently aligning organizations with their buyers with pre-built programs we have implemented before. Everything about our methodology is based on our Sellers' Compass, which provides a framework to map the journey buyers go through in their lifecycle as a prospect and customer. Clients that understand what influences a buyer's decision to buy, renew and evangelize their products develop a North star that guides their path to aligning with the customer's decisions that contribute to revenue.   I'm happy to announce today that we have finally committed our methodology to paper in a new whitepaper that serves as the industry's first actionable, how-to for building a customer-centric organization.   Read the whitepaper at: https://newbizs.com/resource-library/papers-stories-webinars/experience-to-revenue-white-paper/

14 Articles Every CMO Should Read

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post “The Myth that Marketing Automation Reveals Buyers’ Journeys” that explained there was increasing consensus among analysts, academics and consultants about changes in the buyer’s journey and the mandate for vendors to adapt to those changes in order to grow. Consolidating the research in one place demonstrates the flood of voices urging vendors to align with the customer, break down silos and bridge marketing and sales departments. Below is a collection of reading materials every marketing executive should sift through. Customer Centricity • A study by Booz & Company found that companies that offered valuable customization in a cost-effective way outperformed their peers in revenue growth two-to-one and had profit margins 5 to 10 percent higher than competitors. • A Forrester report on content marketing emphasized that the right content “requires a deep understanding of the buyers, their information needs, and their content sourcing preferences.” • An article in the International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management recommends an approach where “all business processes and all individuals are focused on identifying and meeting the needs of the customer.“ • Forrester has published a wealth of research aligned with the recommendations we give at New Business Strategies, including reports like “Transform To An Experience-Driven Organization” and “Become Customer-Centric, Service-Focused, And Automated.” • Forrester analyst Ronald Rogowski wrote a post urging readers to improve the digital customer experience. Forrester has also written reports about webinars, social media and other aspects of marketing and how to align them with the buyer’s journey. Marketing & sales alignmentHubSpot wrote a good post about overcoming the blame game between marketing and sales with open communication and more accountability. • One of my own blogs last year offers three metrics to measure the degree of sales and marketing alignment within your organization. • A report by Oracle says the friction between marketing and sales has gotten “cliché” and found that a lack of communication was at its heart. • Research by CSO Insights and IDC have identified four problems with a lack of marketing and sales alignment: longer sales cycles, missed quotas, lower productivity and less sales efficiency. (source) • A study by The Red Herring found that sales and marketing alignment was ranked a nine or ten on an importance scale of 10. (source) Breaking down silos • According to an article in HBR, executives identify silos as the top inhibitor of innovation, but silos can only be overcome if executives can embrace change. • Businessweek provided an overview of silos and some common approaches to overcoming them. • Forrester’s 2012 Tech Marketing Planning Guidance noted that marketing hasn’t made the drastic changes that are needed, because each year’s plan is based on last year’s marketing strategy. • IBM’s 2012 State of Marketing Survey called upon marketers to expand our role in the customer experience and break down silos.