Over the past few months I have had the pleasure of interviewing nineteen influential B2B sales and marketing leaders to discuss their views in areas like traditional and new media strategies, current and future trends, B2B lead generation, and sales lead management.
I came away with at least one new piece of insight from each and wanted to share some of my favorites with you. Each interview is only about 25 – 30 minutes and all are available on our blog and YouTube channel. In post-production, we break each interview down into small segments and provide “teaser” copy for each segment. Below are some highlights (a couple of minutes each). I hope you enjoy them:
|Today's Featured Guests|
|Tony Jaros, SiriusDecisions
Brian Carroll, MECLABS
Rich Vancil, IDC
Ginger Conlon, DM News (formerly with 1to1 Media)
Christopher Hosford, BtoB, The Magazine for Marketing Strategists
Tony Jaros, Sirius Decisions, talked about “Establishing Presence at the Earliest Stages of Buying”
Click to start video at this point—In commenting on the balance between outbound marketing and inbound marketing and noting that 70% of leads will be inbound-originated by 2015, Tony says that B2B sales and marketing leaders need to accept the reality that “many of your buyers and your customers are looking at and collecting information about you long before they’re ever going to engage with you.”
He adds that the number of sources of information is only going to continue to proliferate: “What that means is that if you’re not in those places that your buyers congregate and collect information and not able either to influence the information that’s given or provide credible information of your own, you miss at the very earliest stages of buying your opportunity to be able to influence buyers. And that’s a huge mistake, because what it means fundamentally is that you’re going to come late to the party.”
Brian Carroll, MECLABS, talked about BANT and the Value of Warm Leads
Click to start video at this point—Commenting on the application of BANT (budget, authority, need and timeframe) qualifying today, Brian believes it continues to be relevant: “I think for most companies—if you look at what salespeople really need to know in order to move the needle—those are the questions they’re asking themselves when they’re trying to qualify an opportunity.” In the questions, he continues to see a big opportunity around progression and believes BANT has to happen in the process.
He adds that there is value in qualified leads where there are not specific timeframes or budgets identified early on: “We actually have found, and our research bears this out, that warm leads often ignored by salespeople represent significant revenue. In fact, when we studied the conversion rate for one company recently, what we found is that most of their lead conversion was happening from nurtured leads that were warm that the salespeople had ignored.”
He says these warm leads actually had a higher conversion rate because—with the so-called “hot” leads—the sales team wasn’t involved early enough to influence outcomes.
Rich Vancil, IDC, talked about the need to focus on sales enablement as his advice to CMO’s for 2012:
Click to start video at this point—In response to a CMO asking him for one area to focus on for the balance of 2012, Rich recommends sales enablement. He defines this as getting the right marketing content assets to the right seller at the right time in the right place in the right format to move an opportunity forward.
He notes that when they survey sellers on a hundred things marketing produces—like a data sheet, a webcast, a white paper, an event, etc.—sellers invariable say they use 15% to 20% of those things.
When marketing can stop producing the 70% or 80% of things that sales isn’t using, there are two major benefits. You’re saving money immediately, and you’re going to have fewer things for that sales person to have to sort through as he or she gets prepared for sales calls.
Ginger Conlon, DM News, talked about harnessing big data and embracing “social”:
Click to start video at this point—On the marketing side, Ginger notes there is a lot of talk about big data. It’s time to pay attention to pulling data together from all the different sources, but pull the right data. Ask yourself, “What is the data needed to support business goals and get a better understanding of our customers?”
When you have the right data about your customers that your competitors don’t have, you can communicate with them in a more relevant way. You’ll also be able to present them with unique products, services, customer support, or experiences. You know what they want and what’s important to them at a level your competitors just can’t match, and this will create competitive advantage.
On the sales side, really embrace social and listen in. Buying cycles are changing. Purchasers are doing a lot of research before they engage with your company. It’s important for you to be further up the funnel. Be in those online communities offering advice, solving problems, and sharing information. Become the partner before the sale so there is a relationship established, and, when it’s time to have that conversation, it won’t be just about price.
Christopher Hosford talked about marketing & sales alignment via a shared lead definition:
Click to start video at this point—Christopher talks about the importance of marketing and sales agreeing on the definition of a lead. He references SiriusDecisions’ demand waterfall and its methodology to define Marketing Qualified Leads, Sales Accepted Leads and Sales Qualified Leads. He adds that using firm definitions like this supports lead acceptance: “I’ve seen many examples of a Sales Qualified Lead sitting in a CRM system and just getting cold. A couple of efforts, and then it just goes by the boards. A true acceptance of those leads can really bring them on board.”
I hope you enjoyed this edition of “The Best of PowerViews”. For more insight into some of today’s toughest sales and marketing challenges, visit our blog.
By Dan McDade