PowerViews with Michael Brenner: The Battle for Customer Attention

Posted by Dan McDade

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on May 14, 2013 7:37:00 AM

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My guest today is Michael Brenner, Vice President of Marketing and Content Strategy at SAP and Managing Editor for the SAP Business Innovation site. At SAP, Michael’s challenge is to transform social business and content marketing to reduce cost-per-acquisition of new customers. Michael is also the author of B2BMarketingInsider.com, where he discusses content marketing, demand generation, mobile strategy, and sales alignment to name a few.

Below, you can read highlights from our discussion or use the links to start the video from different parts of the conversation. (Due to technical difficulties only one side of the video will display.)

The Battle for Customer Attention

Click to start video at this pointMichael sees one of the biggest challenges companies are currently facing is the “battle for customer attention.” Our buyers are spending a lot of time looking at content other than what we’re putting out there, if not also, filtering out what we’re trying to put in front of them. With the amount of information on the web it’s a real challenge to reach consumers, get their attention, and hopefully get them into your funnel, whether you’re in marketing or sales.

Sales is Still Important

Click to start video at this pointMichael summarizes one of his favorite quotes from Peter Drucker that the aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous. However, as a former salesperson, he is quick to explain that this doesn’t mean it’s the aim of marketing to make salespeople superfluous. It’s the aim of marketing to assist salespeople and the aim of sales is to enable buyers to buy. It’s that personal one-to-one connection that ultimately leads to sales.

Sales and Marketing Need to Speak a Common Language

Click to start video at this pointThe alignment of marketing and sales is at the top of almost every survey Michael has seen about senior marketing leaders regarding their greatest challenges. The next great challenge for marketers is to either produce enough leads or the right kinds of leads, and these two items can shift in importance based upon the economy and time of year. At the beginning of the year or quarter, it may be top of list to generate as many leads as possible and as time advances the focus shifts to lead quality over quantity.

Having a common lead definition is critical in meeting these goals because marketing and sales alignment comes down to speaking a common language, which is often what separates the two. Another component of alignment is simply to work as a team. Michael encourages professionals to make a friend in marketing or a friend in sales. If you’re a marketer, join a salesperson on a customer call. There is no better way to start speaking the same language than to rally around the customer. This goes a long way toward breaking down communication barriers.

Social Selling & Personal Branding

Click to start video at this pointAs we look forward at the remainder of the year and into the next, Michael recommends talking to your sales team about social selling. Michael generally talks about this first with the inside sales team to have them explore ways they may be able to reach consumers that they haven’t with traditional methods. LinkedIn leads the way as a social marketing platform for business, offering many ways to connect.

Michael also recommends that every professional look at personal branding. This applies not only to sales and marketing professionals, but also to business owners and entrepreneurs. More and more people are tuning out from the traditional news methods and tuning into social channels, keeping up with the latest news by getting it from their peers. As this trend continues it becomes more important to create your own personal brand.

You can connect with Michael and learn more about his work via the following resources:

Michael Brenner


B2B Marketing Insider Website: www.b2bmarketinginsider.com

Twitter: @BrennerMichael




The next PowerViews will be with Ardath Albee of Marketing Interactions, Inc. Stay Tuned.


By Dan McDade

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Topics: B2B Marketing, Inside Sales, B2B Sales, PowerViews

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