Sales 2.0: Three statistics every sales leader must know

Sales 2.0 solutions are tools, applications, and technology solutions that modern sales teams use to improve any aspect of their sales organization.  The term was coined in 200sales.206 and the movement has grown rapidly over the years. (more on that in a minute)

Sales will never be the same.  Before the Sales 2.0 movement began, sales people were left out on their own to figure out how to hit the number.  Marketing bought them a list and sales called the list even though it sucked.  Their technology was a phone, email, and a CRM system or contact manager.  Remember fax machines?  The fax machine was sales person 1.0’s best friend.  Now, the game has changed.  Companies like Radius Intelligence* allow sales people build their own prospect lists and give sales people intelligence that helps them figure out what to say when they contact that list. Lattice Engines* uses a big data approach to tell sales people which of their current prospects or customers are more likely to close this quarter.  Sales people still use phone and email, but they also use social media to connect with their customers.  And finally, e-signature applications like DocuSign have ended the need for a fax machine forever.

Everyone is talking about the Gartner prediction that the CMO will spend more than the CIO in 2017, but the VP of Sales may come close.  There are progressive sales organizations with 40+ Sales 2.0 applications running live today. [Read more…]

The sales technology revolution is being driven from the ground up

Warning:  I am breaking my own rules and “pontification” blogging.   I love breaking my own rules especially when I am contradicting my last post

Sales technology is hot as “all-get-up” right now.  I outlined a number of reasons why I believe this is true in a post for SocialSellingU.  The point I’d like to pontificate on is the “consumerization of sales technology” and it’s role in the rise of sales technology.  Bottom line: You can buy most sales technology solutions with a credit card.

1.  The BYOD revolution has hit sales and marketing technology — I got this quote from my buddy Miles Austin who can talk for hours on the topic: “Years ago, CIOs said there was no way they would support IPhones and IPads and now look.  It’s the same thing in sales,  smart sales people don’t ask – If they think a sales tool help them sell better, they plop down their credit card and buy it.”   In other words, this is a true revolution by the people and for the people.  Executives can’t hope to stop it, they can only jump on board.  My buddy and business partner Lars Nilsson implemented tons of sales technology solutions at ArcSight which was bought by HP.  It seems like he would have to spend his time researching technology to keep up, but he always talks about how the majority of  solutions they implemented were initially brought to him by individuals in his organization.

2.  Sales people are officially technologically self-empowered –. If you are a sales rep who still says: “My organization gives us no support, we don’t even have…”, then fix it because you can.  An individual rep can buy their own CRM, create email and nurturing programs,  buy their own lists, gather their own sales intelligence, automate contracts and quotes, etc, etc.   Today’s products are so easy to use, you can get up and running yourself.   Per-user costs are so reasonable, you aren’t breaking the bank.

As a marketer in the sales technology space, you have a real opportunity to triangulate on your target accounts. When you sell and market to sales, anyone on the team is an influencer.  Your new lead definition is: “they are in sales”.   If you can get a couple people in the organization using and getting value from your product, then you can take that use-case and success metrics to decision makers for a bigger deal.   And that ladies and gentleman, is a good thing for everyone.

Oh and I forget to add, sales technology is fun.  There are so many amazing things happening in the space.  I have just been having a ball preparing for my webinar Thursday with Koka Sexton, Matt Heinz, Miles Austin, Nancy Nardin, and Brian Vellmure entitled: 31 Must-Have Sales Tools in 2013. When you start to look into all the different options, you want to start going on them immediately.

XOXO

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

14 Easy Social Selling “To-Dos” You Can Implement Right Now

July 25 through July 29 is Social Business week on Focus.com. If you’ve read my blog, you know that I’m a fan of the Social CRM movement, but I am not an expert – so I’m leaving that to the pros. I am sticking to my expertise, hosting a couple of events about social and sales and marketing. I am hosting a webinar with the master of content/inbound/social media marketing, Mike Volpe, on Friday, July 29, at 1 pm PT. Before that, I am hosting a social selling roundtable at 11 am PT with Nigel Edelshain, Miles Austin and Koka Sexton. It’s fun trading ideas for using social for a lot of things. Sales is definitely a favorite of mine.

One of the biggest complaints I hear from folks is not having enough time for social endeavors. I usually tell people I wouldn’t recommend it if it’s a time-suck. So I’ve compiled a list of easy things that salespeople can do, none of which seems too scary or daunting – and it can all be done right away. Let me know what you would add to the following list.

  1. Create a LinkedIn profile.
  2. Fill it out completely, including a picture.
  3. Upgrade your account.
  4. Watch every day from your upgraded LinkedIn account to see who clicked on your profile.
  5. Connect with as many of your business and personal contacts as you can.
  6. Move beyond business cards – get in the habit of connecting with people immediately after you meet them.
  7. Spend some time seeing if your prospects are connected to any of your contacts and ask for a referral.
  8. Join LinkedIn groups relevant to your industry. Not just so you can see the conversations happening in your space, but so you can join the same “clubs” that your prospects are in.
  9. Figure out where your prospects are on the Internet (with only a few cases, everyone is). Is it Twitter, LinkedIn, focus.com, etc.? It could even be a message board somewhere.
  10. Watch them. Remember the title of this post is “easy.” Don’t worry about doing much; you can just watch. You will gain insight into your prospects that you’ve never had before.
  11. Recognize their good works. If they write an insightful blog post or answer a question really well, send them a note.
  12. Find the top influencers in your space (they will be on Twitter or Google if they are influencers) and follow them.
  13. Create a social relationship with the influencers. This is akin to being friends with the cool kids at school.
  14. Before a sales call, look up your prospect’s or customer’s recent social “works” – posts, tweets, Q&A. Mention it to them; they will love it.

There – was that hard? Let’s just start with that. There’s more…but you gotta start somewhere.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

World’s Most Incomplete List of Social CRM Experts

Social CRM is my new hobby. When I originally heard the term, I mocked it because I didn’t understand it. Sorry about that. Now I am listening, and I am starting to get it. Here is how I got here:

1. Ignorance: I ignored social CRM and when asked, I mocked it. Again, sorry.

2. Enlightenment: Salesforce.com bought Radian6, and I moderated a roundtable with some of the top social CRM experts in the business: Mike Fauscette, Brian Vellmure, Mitch Lieberman, Steve Woods and Esteban Kolsky. I realized that these are smart guys and I needed to figure out social CRM.

3. Education: I asked some people whom I should follow then started following them on Twitter. I started to read what I could (when I could). Brian Vellmure is now one of my boys, and is a resource for me on the topic.

Here are my observations on social CRM:

  • I have stopped reading regular “social media” experts. What I like about the social CRM crowd is they don’t talk about “how to set up your Facebook” page. Instead they are focused on tying social back to the organization.
  • Warning: It can be hard trying to distinguish the thought-leaders from the wannabes. From the looks of it, there are CRM analysts who added the word “social” to the front of their expertise. There are social wonks who have tacked “CRM” onto the back of their expertise. You have to be careful in determining who’s who.
  • If you want to know the definition of social CRM, I found a good one here on Focus.com.
  • The list at the end of this post might be wrong. I have thrown this out here to get reactions and am prepared to refine the list. Here is what I did: 1) Asked my respected friends whom to follow; 2) Added some of my favorite CRM guys (shout-out to Chris Bucholtz) even though I am not sure they all claim to be on the social CRM bandwagon. If they don’t now, they will soon enough.

How about this for a big, hairy goal that should prove to you I am beginning to understand the market: I hope Esteban Kolsky reads this and rips me. Then I know I have arrived. Seriously, if I am wrong, let me know, I am cool with that. But please don’t insult anyone.

So, here it is — the 70 (OK, 71 and now 72) people I follow on the topic of social CRM (in random order):

  1. Greg Satell
  2. Lauren Vargas
  3. Frank Eliason
  4. Rachel Happe
  5. Tatyana Kanzaveli
  6. Becky Carroll
  7. Blake Landau
  8. Ray Wang
  9. John Rourke
  10. Jeremiah Owyang
  11. Michael Wu
  12. Maria Ogneva
  13. Jim Berkowitz
  14. Graham Hill
  15. Jacob Morgan
  16. Jon Ferrara
  17. Laurence Buchanan
  18. Ed Sullivan
  19. Brian Vellmure
  20. Michael Fauscette
  21. John Perez
  22. Allen Bonde
  23. Robin Carey
  24. Blake Cahill
  25. Amber Naslund
  26. Adrian Ott
  27. Barry Dalton
  28. Arie Goldshlager
  29. Leila Summa
  30. Don Peppers
  31. Gregory Yankelovich
  32. Mike Boysen
  33. Wouter Trumpie
  34. Mark Tamis
  35. Marshall Lager
  36. Mark Reuter
  37. Russ Hatfield, Jr.
  38. Bill Odell
  39. Merlyn Gordon
  40. Nitin Badjatia
  41. Mark Behrens
  42. Bob Warfield
  43. Wim Rampen
  44. Bob Thompson
  45. Janet Jozefak
  46. Martin Schneider
  47. Paul Greenberg
  48. Jill Dyche
  49. Anthony Nemelka
  50. Clara Shih
  51. Christopher Carfi
  52. Jesus Hoyos
  53. David Alston
  54. Valeria Maltoni
  55. Brent Leary
  56. Mitch Lieberman
  57. Sanjay Dholakia
  58. Prem Kumar Aparanji
  59. Josh Weinberger
  60. Esteban Kolsky
  61. Natalie Petouhoff
  62. Andreas Gotthelf
  63. Kathy Herrmann
  64. Louis Columbus
  65. Don Tapscott
  66. Anthony Lye
  67. Chris Bucholtz
  68. Umberto Milletti
  69. Jim Storer
  70. Jeff Nolan (added 5/17  1.25pm)
  71. Brian Vellmure

Interested observer:

71.  Michael Krigsman

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Why did Salesforce.com buy Radian6?

I have resisted for the longest time becoming a news organization. I typically write what I feel. Guess what: I missed out. With the Focus.com platform, I can tackle topical issues particularly when I’m not sure I know the answer. (: For instance, I MUST not know enough because everyone tells me that Benioff could care less about marketing then he runs off and does THIS. I need to understand it. Here is what we have done, we reached out and got some of the most respected experts (All Focus Experts thank you) in the space to tell all of us what this all means.

I have 6 fundamental questions:

  • Why did Salesforce.com buy Radian6?
  • What is your analysis of the move?
  • What is Marc Benioff’s plan? Where is Marc Benioff going from here?
  • What does it mean to the crm/social crm space
  • What does it mean for the social media monitoring space?
  • Bonus:  What does this mean for the marketing automation space? (I invited Steve Woods from Eloqua purposely for this)

And I’m getting them answered in tomorrow’s roundtable teleconference: What the Salesforce.com/ Radian 6 Deal Really Means

I haven’t been this excited about an event in a long time. Here are the details:

WHEN
Friday, April 1, 2011, 10:00 a.m. PT/ 1:00 p.m. ET

WHERE
Toll-free Dial-In Number: (866) 951-1151
International Dial-In Number: (201) 590-2255
Conference Number: 4999006

Here is the crew (How big is this!)

Brian Vellmure is the principal and founder of Initium LLC, a strategic consulting firm specializing in increasing corporate value through customer focused business design. For more than a decade, Brian has been helping companies increase profitability through customer focused initiatives. He is an accomplished business leader, management consultant, and award winning and syndicated blogger. He is often referred to as a thought leader and pioneer in the emerging discipline of Social CRM.

Esteban Kolsky is the Principal and Founder of ThinkJar, an advisory and research think-tank focused on Customer Strategies. He has over 22 years of experience in customer service and CRM consulting, research and advisory services, and is currently advising vendors and organization how to extend customer interactions from the CRM niche to the entire organization in their efforts to become Social Businesses.

Steve Woods is the CTO at Eloqua and author of the book “Digital Body Language” which focuses on the transformation under way in our buyers and how we as marketers can respond. Steve is also deeply involved with the Eloqua user community, with whom he regularly interacts through the discussions on his Eloqua Artisan blog.

Michael Fauscette leads IDC’s Software Business Solutions Group which includes research and consulting in enterprise software applications, collaboration and social applications, software partner and alliances, open source, software vendor business models, cloud computing and software pricing and licensing. He also provides thought leadership in the area of social applications and the transition to the social business.

Mitch Lieberman is Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Comity Technology Advisors, and has 15 years of experience in CRM domain. He has the social business expertise to offer analysis and strategic advice to companies of all sizes, helping them leverage social technology to better manage their relationships with individual consumers and their business customers.

This one’s gonna be a blockbuster. You should be there.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Mid-Life Crisis Averted: The Funnelholic Is Here to Stay

What an amazing couple of weeks it’s been since I wrote my midlife crisis post, “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” and asked the question, “What should I do with my industry-specific blog now that I want to create different content?” on the Internet love of my life, Focus.com. Besides blog comments from friends and strangers, my angst went global (I got email from Sweden – Daniel Wood, who is a great sales and motivation blogger).  I spoke to people at length. Just yesterday, I was talking on the phone about my midlife crisis with Gary S. Hart, who is a sales blogger as well. The consensus is to keep The Funnelholic brand. Whether you delivered the message via phone or Web, thanks to everyone who gave your input.

Here is what I decided: The Funnelholic stays, and I will write about whatever floats my boat.  The entire process became a real awakening for me about why I blog. It’s because I love it. If I lose some readers, I have to live with it. If I started writing about things I don’t care about, then The Funnelholic would fail anyway.

Here’s what I’ve learned from the whole episode:

  1. If you have no passion, then your blog will suck. It was cool to discover that people really like reading The Funnelholic. I have loved creating content for this blog, and I continue to love writing on it. That may be the most important thing I learned: people can feel your passion.
  2. If you have no passion, your “social-media” presence will suck. The comment above is also true about your social media bearing. As Focus.com builds, you can see people who love what they are doing answering questions with gusto. If it pains you to write or talk about it, find a new career path. You’ve lost your passion.
  3. Writing helps you solidify your ideology. I have all this stuff in my head about business, marketing, sales and so forth. Writing about it – on The Funnelholic, as a guest blogger elsewhere, on Focus.com – helps me coalesce my thoughts and properly organize my beliefs.
  4. The personal online brand revolution is on. I built a brand, and the brand has a following. That was cool – and it’s something I shouldn’t start again from square one. Steve Woods and I talked about this idea years ago. He said: “There will be a new type of talent, an Internet free-agent superstar.  In some cases, companies may hire because they want that person associated with their brand.”  Interesting. I am not Chris Brogan, but I’ve got something.

Thanks to everyone for their kind words and thoughtful advice.

I remain (and will continue to remain) yours sincerely,

The Funnelholic

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Is it time to close (or perhaps rename) this blog? This question has been in the back of my mind for the past few weeks. I tried to create a provocative title for this post, but the real question is: What should I do with The Funnelholic? The issue at hand is that I believe I have a lot to offer beyond just the sales and marketing funnel. Here is an example: I have learned a lot about the startup business from helping build Tippit and now Focus – I want to share these tips. Moreover, with my new role at Focus, I have been reading a ton of customer service, HR, and business-building content that I want to discuss and share. Is The Funnelholic capable of expanding beyond the funnel?

Here is another scenario I thought of: What if, for my next job, I want to be hired as a CEO (for example). Would being The Funnelholic help me or hurt me?

Just so everyone knows, I have written about how I came to the name this blog on the Annuitas Blog awhile back. In a nutshell, my CEO Scott Albro came up with the name. I had wanted “Funnelnomics,” but it was taken by my friend Suaad Sait . Scott said, “You need something that represents you, more fun and loose, it should be something like ‘The Funnelholic.’ I bought the domain name that day, started blogging, and it was on.

It was a great name: totally memorable and well-suited for my personality (irreverent, a bit edgy). Just the other night, I went to the Content Rules awards dinner, hosted by Eloqua at Foreign Cinema, and met Ann Handley for the first time. I said, “I’m Craig Rosenberg.” No reaction, no recognition. Then I said, “The Funnelholic.” “Ooooh!” she said. Like it or not, The Funnelholic is my brand.

But is it my brand, or have I typecast myself? I feel like a television star trying to break out of his medium to make it in the movies. What do I do now that I want to talk about more? I want to talk about business, not just demand generation and marketing automation. This whole “soul-searching” process has led me to these questions:

1. What should I do with The Funnelholic? Now that you know what you know, what is your recommendation? Should it stay or should it go? At the Content Rules dinner, I asked my table-mates the same question. My table had PR people (but primarily knowledgeable social media-ites) Mandy Mladenoff, Abigail Snyder, Jesse Noyes, Tyler Willis, and Lisa Loeffler. They thought I was crazy (literally). Their vote was that the brand stays and the writing can evolve. What do you think? Please submit your opinion.

2. What is the best practice for naming a blog? Should you use your name, or should you give the blog its own unique name? Could I have avoided typecasting had I gone with my name? Give me your input.

The real question is: Now what?

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

The Marketing Hipster Dictionary, Part II: 53 Definitions Every Marketer Should Know

Here we are again. If you missed Part I, make sure to read it first. Once again, before we begin, I need to introduce the members of the band:

On the guitar, Tom Scearce (@TLOTL), and on the electric keyboard, Chris Jablonski (@cjablonski).

I can say this, we had a lot of fun. Check out numbers 37-49. @TLOTL has some great ones.

25.  Cold calling: I really have no idea why I put this on here. It’s pretty simple: You pick up the phone and call someone who has no idea you are calling. In today’s day and age, this is best left to professionals — a.k.a., outsourced.

26.  Contacts: Just names. The contact movement has been brought upon us by breakthrough companies such as Jigsaw, demandbase and NetProspex. These are not leads, even if these companies market them as such. Contact purchasing is a critical component to push marketing (see below).

27.   Leads: A lead is a person who has opted in for an offer (see below). As mentioned above, a contact is not a lead.

28.   Offer: An offer can be defined as “something” someone has opted-in for. These can be discrete offers such as white papers, webinars and podcasts. They can also be an appointment with a sales person.

29.   Lead generation: Activities designed to create leads.

30.   Demand generation: All the activities designed to create demand. Not just lead generation, which is part of it. Everything — including things like PR, speaking engagements, advertising, discounts or special offers and so on and so on. BTW, this is an interesting point of conversation — check out some of the answers to this on Focus.com.

31.    Lead nurturing: A process that uses content (offers, tools, white papers, etc.) and distribution tactics (email, phone, Web, etc.) to market to leads over time until they are measurably ready to engage. This one was hard. I got some terrific definitions from experts on Focus.com.

32.   Remarkable content: You need to develop this every day, and you know it’s remarkable if people can apply it right away. You need to deliver on three characteristics: 1) value: create substantive, meaningful and high-quality content and 2) efficiency: package for simplicity and ease of consumption; 3) relevance: target buyers and address their specific challenges. (@cjablonski)

33.   Push marketing: “Knocking on someone’s door.” In other words, using outbound marketing tactics such as email, phone and direct mail to market to contacts in order to create leads. Examples are outsourced appointment setting and email campaigns to a list.

34.   Pull marketing: As opposed to push marketing, “getting people to walk into your store.” Pull means you are using SEO, paid search, etc. to attract people who are searching for something you offer. It also includes getting people to look at your products in other stores through online media and white paper syndication, for example. Because not all buyers are walking into your store, you need to make sure you are represented in other stores that attract your type of buyer.

35.   Landing page: A Web page with a call-to-action to download an offer, such as a webinar, a white paper, and so on. In order to download the offer, the user has to fill out a form. (@cjablonski)

36.  Direct mail: The act of sending a marketing offer via the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, and so on. This is a dying lead-generation tool. NOTE: there are marketers who believe direct mail still works despite the cost and low conversion rates. My suggestion is that, if you don’t do it now, don’t start.

37.  Return on contribution: Anyone who takes the time and energy to create remarkable content needs to also invest time in managing return on contribution. This can mean several things: 1) crowd-sourcing the content to leverage the friends and followers of the contributors for added distribution; 2) syndicating your content through targeted media properties; 3) engaging in online conversations where your content can be delivered in a relevant context ; and 4) leveraging your content across multiple campaigns, including lead-nurturing programs. (@TLOTL)

38.  Micro-marketed content: The opposite of mass-marketed content. An unmediated, free-flowing discussion among genuine experts in a niche category (e.g., this discussion on Focus.com) is often more relevant and helpful to buyers than a banner ad or an industry trade publication. (@TLOTL)

39.  “Multi-channel, multi-touch”: The mantra of any successful pipeline/revenue generation program. Email, Web and phone are all integrated and response-measured (scored) using marketing automation services. (@TLOTL)

40.  The “three legged stool”: In direct marketing, results are usually, ultimately, a function of the:

  • List (or audience)
  • Offer
  • Creative

Underperform in any one of these areas and the stool falls over. (@TLOTL)

41.  The revenue/sausage factory: A useful metaphor for helping the uninitiated understand how the marketing and sales team work together to drive the top line. The factory can include “upstream” suppliers like Google, direct mail programs or demand-gen agencies. And it can also encompass post-sales “revenue recognition” functions like professional services and account management. (@TLOTL)

42.  Pipeline erosion rate: Your sales team converts your leads into pipeline deals. They win some, they lose some. Some deals roll into next month/quarter. Some don’t. The erosion rate measures the lost pipeline value that must be replaced through incremental demand-gen efforts and budget. (@TLOTL)

43.   Rotting lead rate: The percentage of leads that go untouched by sales (no email, call or voicemail) before they start to “rot.” Keep in mind that the goal is not necessarily a 0% “rot-rate.” In some cases, it’s totally ok for sales to let leads “rot.” If sales has warmer leads to work, marketing can take back the leads that would otherwise rot and nurture them until they are ready. (@TLOTL)

44.  Funnel jockey: The demand-generation expert in every successful marketing department who understands his or her funnel well enough to hard-wire the entire revenue manufacturing process, from marketing spend, to lead gen, to pipeline creation and booked revenue. This person is one of the Excel users in the marketing department who is most likely to have a working command of functions like VLOOKUP, GETPIVOTDATA, SUMPRODUCT, and RAND. (@TLOTL)

45.  Campaign Sorcerer: Describes a marketer who can quickly articulate and illustrate campaign concepts with a unique and integrated skill set that includes design aesthetics, copywriting/storyboarding, program logistics, and schedule visualization. A Powerpoint/Keynote Magic User proficient in spell-casting with SnagIt and Photoshop. (@TLOTL)

46.  Market whisperer: The agency-side marketer who can, in 30 minutes or less, figure out the essence of a client’s marketing and sales challenges, with minimal to no briefing from said client, consulting only Twitter, Google, WordPress and Michael Porter’s Five Forces model. This marketer is more likely than his or her peers to get away with wearing ironic tee shirts or quirky, comment-worthy eyewear/accessories. (@TLOTL)

47.  Tweeps: Twitter + Peeps = Tweeps. (@TLOTL)

48.  Product myopia: Outdated marketing thinking still practiced by many who engage with prospects and clients through the lens of their own solutions. (@cjablonski)

49.  Trapping the chicken in the courtyard: A semi-obscure “Rocky II” reference/metaphor describing the relentless and often frustrating pursuit of repeatable marketing and sales success. “I feel like a Kentucky Fried idiot.” — Rocky Balboa (@TLOTL)

50.  Buyer engagement: Your goal anytime a buyer comes into contact with you. To get their full attention and immerse them into a brand experience, make sure everything you do is valuable and differentiated. (@cjablonski)

Below are SiriusDecisions definitions I have included because they have done an amazing job of getting marketers to use their methodology and lingo. This is for the other marketers who aren’t Sirius trained and want to talk the talk (I chose the three most used terms)

51.  MQL (Marketing qualified lead): Prospects defined by your marketing and sales organization as someone ready to pass to sales. They’re instrumental in calculating lead gen metrics, such as marketing qualified lead rate (# of MQLs/# of total marketing contacts).

52.  SAL (Sales accepted lead): A lead that has met the basic tenets of qualification and that sales has agreed to engage. (@cjablonski)

53.  SQL (Sales qualified lead): A prospect confirmed by sales as a true revenue opportunity and entered into the pipeline. (@cjablonski)

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

210 B2B Marketing Tips for 2010

Drumroll please …  I present the 210 B2B marketing tips for 2010. Let me tell you, this was quite an adventure, one that I will certainly do differently in the future.

Basically, the sequence of events went like this:

  1. Decide on topic: 210 tips for 2010
  2. Start writing them off the top of my head
  3. Get to 65
  4. Still determined, decide to ask for help
  5. @scottalbro, @cjablonski, @tlotl, @mschmier and @damphoux come to the rescue

Much of what you see below is attributed. Some, however, like the input from @scottalbro, were fed to me conversationally through stream of consciousness, so I didn’t attribute them. He is a great writer and would not be crazy about my translation.

So, without further ado, here they are. I hope you enjoy them.

  1. Contribute to the conversation (@tlotl)
  2. Create remarkable content (lots of it) (@tlotl)
  3. Distribute remarkable content (@tlotl)
  4. Evolve beyond managing CPL (@tlotl)
  5. Bring data to Sales management (@tlotl)
  6. Talk to in-market prospects (@tlotl)
  7. Close the buyer loop (@tlotl)
  8. Talk to people who have bought/customers (@tlotl)
  9. Talk to people who chose a competitor (@tlotl)
  10. Sit in on a sales call once a week
  11. Sit in on a prospecting call
  12. Create a lead scoring system
  13. Implement a lead scoring system
  14. BTW, if you are just starting on scoring, don’t get too extreme. Scoring means deciding which leads are better than others.
  15. Implement a lead nurturing program
  16. Judge lead nurturing progress via the conversion rate after 1 month metrics
  17. Buy a marketing automation platform
  18. Implement a marketing automation platform (no shelf-ware)
  19. Create a unified lead definition
  20. Get the unified lead definition signed off by sales
  21. Don’t agree to restrictive BANT criteria without considering all the people you won’t have sales talk to (if you think about it, they probably do)
  22. And if you are in a hyper-targeted market (e.g., are focused on managed service providers only), your unified lead definition should be only: the right person with interest. Anything more restrictive means one lead a month, and your organization in trouble
  23. Meet with sales weekly/bi-weekly for anecdotal closed loop feedback
  24. Make a decision based on metrics
  25. Make lots of decisions based on metrics
  26. Over-rule a metrics-driven decision with a decision made from the gut
  27. Basically: Balance metrics with intuition
  28. Oh, and track everything you can
  29. Oh, and yes, the numbers will never be perfect, but they should be enough to help you make decisions
  30. Follow the top marketing mavens on twitter
  31. Read content from top marketing mavens on twitter
  32. Ask a question you want answered on Focus.com (OK, you can ask it on LinkedIn, too)
  33. Create a lead management plan that starts from the top (lead generation) to a passed lead (P.S., based on your unified lead definition)
  34. Read your competitors marketing materials
  35. Fill out a lead form on your competitors site and see how they qualify, convert and nurture you
  36. Do a at least one webinar a month
  37. Make the webinar focused on business pains and issues, NOT a demo for your product
  38. Leverage experts and thought leaders in your industry to speak
  39. P.S., have those same experts create white papers, blog posts, etc. for you
  40. Think of webinars for ALL aspects: quantifiable lead generation, lead nurturing, education, thought leadership
  41. Create a lead qualification organization (dedicated phone-based team focused on following up on leads)
  42. Optimize your lead qualification organization
  43. Read scripts, emails etc.
  44. Send an email to your clients that doesn’t sell them anything but instead helps them do their job
  45. Then send these helpful emails monthly
  46. Then use the marketing automation system you bought to track efficiency
  47. Don’t forget your current customers, or to put it another way, market and foster goodwill with your customers
  48. Update your social media profiles for completeness and marketability even if you aren’t looking for a job (LinkedIn, Focus.com, Facebook)
  49. Start a blog
  50. Update your blog weekly minimum
  51. Don’t write about yourself, your company, etc. on the blog, except once in awhile
  52. Put marketing, lead generation blogs into your Google reader
  53. Allot 22 minutes a day to reading industry-related content
  54. Respect every single lead (@cjablonski)
  55. “Systems design” your programs (@cjablonski)
  56. Make calculated risks routinely (@cjablonski)
  57. Delight the most loyal (@cjablonski)
  58. Surprise your customers (@cjablonski)
  59. Be your target audience (@cjablonski)
  60. Rip and replace your strategies (@cjablonski)
  61. Manage your brand symbols (@cjablonski)
  62. Nurture as if you meant it (@cjablonski)
  63. Cleanse your sales pipeline (@cjablonski)
  64. Be authoritative
  65. Track your metrics based on opportunities created and opportunities
  66. Get everyone on CRM (seriously — Its 2010)
  67. Get a sales 2.0 tool
  68. Increasing connects increases conversion
  69. Don’t complain about what sales is doing with your leads
  70. Don’t complain about sales in general
  71. Urgency. Just be urgent
  72. Call your lead generation vendors and optimize the program with real data
  73. Post your content on third-party Web sites to capture traffic not going to your Web site
  74. Get tweetdeck, hootsuite or something to manage your twitter content
  75. Re-evaluate your Web site. Chances are it sucks
  76. Clearly define what your product is and the use case it solves for in buyer language on your Web site, in materials, etc. — how many Web sites do you go do and you can’t figure out what the f*** the vendor does?) (@mschmier)
  77. Optimize your landing pages for conversion
  78. Considering pulling fields OFF your landing pages to get more people to download
  79. Go to one of the following trade shows: Marketing Sherpa or Sirius Decisions.
  80. Stop going to industry trade shows that don’t work
  81. However, don’t think about immediate conversion, judge the show by important meetings had (could be with customers) and the “right” people. If you are looking at short-term conversion rates, you will cancel them all.
  82. Test a new lead generation source whenever you can (or you’ll never know what works)
  83. Not sure what to do about Facebook — if you can get business there, write me back for next year
  84. Read the book: eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale by Ardath Albee
  85. Read the book: Digital Body Language by Steven Woods
  86. Buying a list is not a lead generation strategy
  87. Buying leads is not a lead generation strategy
  88. Instead, figure how to convert leads, then buy leads or lists — if you know how to convert, you can buy till the cows come home
  89. Remember: white paper leads are the start of a conversation, not the end of the conversation
  90. Try new things, always (I think I already said that)
  91. Channel partners are terrible at following up on leads; if you pass them leads, run them through a lead qual team first or buy appointments
  92. Replace “always be closing” with “always be helping”
  93. Map and understand how your buyers make decisions
  94. Re-evaluate your target buyer persona.
  95. Confirm the target buyer persona and tell everyone in your organization till they tell you to shut up (it’s that important that they know)
  96. Make your written content one page. Buyers are busy
  97. Consider simplifying your message — bring back “simple as 1-2-3” messaging
  98. Buyers love lists, they just do. Lists are easy to read and set an expectation with the reader that it will only be “X” number of points in the offer
  99. Create a diverse mix of content (webinars, white papers, podcasts)
  100. When following up on leads, combine phone and email
  101. Optimize everything about the phone and email process: scripts, emails, sequencing
  102. Meet with sales leadership and get them on board. Act like a sales person. They will barf on you at first, but don’t quit — get buyoff
  103. Spend some time and money, and you WILL make more money
  104. Metrics aren’t just cool, use them to make you better (and look better!)
  105. Warning on all this: Sales will always be from Mars, and marketing will always be from Venus
  106. Consider all the touch points in a campaign not just the messaging — message, landing page, follow-up, etc.
  107. When considering, draw a process map to represent the various touch points
  108. Create metrics for each touch point
  109. But pick three overall metrics you will look at every day
  110. Did I mention social media? Have a twitter strategy, use LinkedIn too
  111. Do things on social media, but if you move money away from pure demand generation for social media, that is bad, because …
  112. Social media is not a “down the funnel” lead generation strategy, measure social media buy link-backs and traffic, not people ready to buy tomorrow
  113. Oh yeah, and if you’re judged only by finding people ready to buy tomorrow, warm up the resume
  114. Run a VITO campaign. They still work if you combine phone follow-up with the marketing portion
  115. Throw your hands in the air and wave them like you just don’t care.
  116. Talk to your CEO more than the VP of Sales does
  117. Talk to your prospects using case studies
  118. Peers are the most trusted source of information for other buyers — leverage your customer network via webcasts and references to re-enforce your value proposition (@mschmier)
  119. Online vs. offline is very 2009 (@scottalbro)
  120. Online AND offline is very 2010 (@scottalbro)
  121. Create a list of 210 tips for your target buyer
  122. Do email campaigns — they still work.
  123. I know I mentioned podcasts earlier, but don’t do them. They don’t work
  124. Choose someone in your company who will be your voice online
  125. Stop advertising in trade magazines
  126. If you are fortunate to sponsor a big sporting event, make sure you get tickets as well because you should at least get personal ROI
  127. Make sure you provide a demo. The self-service buyer craves it (this falls under “down the funnel” content)
  128. Understand your competition and give sales real competitive language, not high-level outdated, irrelevant stuff (everyone considers more)
  129. Where are your users online? Figure out where your users are online and create a strategy as appropriate. Hint, most SMB buyers probably aren’t tweeting all day. (@mschmier)
  130. The phone is still the most important tool for conversion to opportunity.
  131. Go to sales training — if you can sell, you can market
  132. Read a sales book, see above
  133. Try emails using the exact opposite of best practices
  134. Oh, and send an email on Sunday morning. People will open it
  135. Social media is not a panacea (@cjablonski)
  136. Improve field-to-headquarters information flow (@cjablonski)
  137. Research your industry buying cycles (@cjablonski)
  138. Deliver on your intent, daily (@cjablonski)
  139. If you don’t believe in your value proposition, rewrite it (@cjablonski)
  140. If the average person can’t understand your value prop, rewrite it
  141. Social media is WOM on steroids (@cjablonski)
  142. Keep emerging submarkets on your radar (@cjablonski)
  143. If you pay for impressions, then you will get impressions(@cjablonski)
  144. Give away your best content for free (@cjablonski)
  145. Learn your company’s elevator pitch (@tlotl)
  146. Write your personal elevator pitch (@tlotl)
  147. Claim your area of unique expertise (@tlotl)
  148. Challenge any assumption more than 9 months old (@tlotl)
  149. Learn how to (effectively) explain social media to executive management (@tlotl)
  150. Don’t let the bastards drag you down (@tlotl)
  151. Don’t get defensive
  152. Append your house list. Why wouldn’t you?
  153. Be the first to develop a Google Wave marketing strategy (@cjablonski)
  154. Throw your hands in the air and Google Wave them like you just don’t care
  155. If you spend more money on promotional items like t-shirts and pens than you did on demand gen, then shame on you
  156. Facilitate conversations between experts (@tlotl)
  157. Create content for every buyer persona you create (business users want something different than technical)
  158. Consumer marketers are light years ahead of B2B marketers. If you want to know what’s cutting edge, it’s them.
  159. Don’t overvalue title filters with content syndication; identifying organizational interest is the goal.
  160. P.S., Directors and VPs don’t download white papers online.
  161. Keep voicemails under 30 seconds
  162. In voicemails, don’t sell the product, sell the next step (e.g., just ask them to read your email), because …
  163. You should send an email after you leave a voicemail. You will get an exponentially higher open rate.
  164. Speaking of which, in lead gen and marketing, you should sell the meeting, demo, or next step not the product
  165. If you throw a party , invite the neighborhood — don’t filter webinars
  166. Keep marketing and generating demand in December, or you’ll end up with no pipeline in January.
  167. Understand common prospect objections and help attack them in your collateral.
  168. Assess the ROI of your fixation on ROI (@cjablonski)
  169. Elevate your marketing database hygiene (@cjablonski)
  170. Shoot for viral when you have the talent (@cjablonski)
  171. Make a contingency plan for your guerilla marketing idea (@cjablonski)
  172. Don’t write off direct mail (@cjablonski)
  173. Work with “frenemies” to serve the community (@cjablonski)
  174. Don’t hire someone to write your blog (@cjablonski)
  175. Be interesting by being interested (@cjablonski)
  176. Help make sales people be trusted expert advisers(@cjablonski)
  177. Don’t begin a survey with demographic questions (@cjablonski)
  178. Have conversations not sales pitches (@cjablonski)
  179. Create versatile content: Can you use this content in a white paper, webinar, blog post, etc.?
  180. Marketing is either a critical advantage against your competitors or nothing at all (obsolete, ineffective, etc.). Think like sales when you build your marketing strategy — build it to compete
  181. When considering everything you can do in 2010, remember you will be judged by pipeline created for sales
  182. Knowing the above, when trying to figure out whether to put money into lead gen or branding and you can’t afford to do both, I think you know the answer now
  183. Repurpose old content (@damphoux)
  184. Measure CPO (Cost per Opportunity) (@damphoux)
  185. It’s not a sales process, it’s a buying process (@damphoux)
  186. Interview candidates from competition (@damphoux)
  187. Ask prospects which competitor you lost a deal to (@damphoux)
  188. Ask them why (@damphoux)
  189. Pounce on a Web lead if they abandoned their visit on the Contact Us page (@damphoux)
  190. Make the goal of the first sales call to get a second (@damphoux)
  191. Different sales reps at the same company can benefit by different leads (introductory appointments for one, qualified leads for others) (@damphoux)
  192. Not all sales people know what’s right for them — think of them as teens and give them what you think is right for them (@damphoux)
  193. Log into your webinar platform an hour early and get all presenters set up early (@damphoux)
  194. Do demand gen programs targeting your existing and past clients (@damphoux)
  195. Never pay a lead gen team by the hour, pay for results (@damphoux)
  196. Spend a day with your lead gen team or vendor (@damphoux)
  197. Teach your sales team the best practices of handling the leads you worked so hard to generate (@damphoux)
  198. Learn how to use a tweet scheduler, but still be personal most of the time (@damphoux)
  199. Your most important landing page is your home page (@damphoux)
  200. One of the highest converting forms is the Subscribe to Blog by Email form (@damphoux)
  201. Selling doesn’t start until sales is talking with a prospect. Set introductory appointments for them (@damphoux)
  202. Do AB testing with a simple 3 line email, instead of a formal email marketing piece (@damphoux)
  203. Read the Pounce, Pause, Nurture or Wait debate (@damphoux)
  204. You spend thousands, if not millions of dollars building your contact database, so invest a little bit to maintain it with dedupes and validation (@damphoux)
  205. Attend a tweetup (@damphoux)
  206. Create a simple slideshare presentation and make every marketing and sales member of your team loads it into their LinkedIn profiles. Stagger them so they continually go live (@damphoux)
  207. Favorite, Like, Retweet people promoting your offering (@damphoux)
  208. Build a twitter “List” (@damphoux)
  209. If you see business cards lying on a sales rep’s desk, get them entered into a spreadsheet/CSV for free (@damphoux)
  210. Never try to do a list over 10 by yourself (especially 210)

Thanks, @scottalbro, @cjablonski, @tlotl, @mschmier, @damphoux.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Thought Leadership Interview #8: The Jason Stewart Show: Demand Gen from the Demandbases’ Chief Blogger

This interview was a late grab for me.  I read demandblog: Best Practices in B2B Demand Generation frequently and decided I would just contact the author, Jason Stewart, and see if he wanted in. He did, and we got a great interview out of it. Jason leads online marketing programs for Demandbase Inc.  He founded and leads the Salesforce.com user group in San Francisco and was one of the first 500 people to complete the Salesforce.com Certified Administrator process. He has a great real-world background in B2B telesales, demand generation, lead management and marketing operations with a variety of public and privately held software companies.  Demandbase is hot and Jason’s blog is top-notch, so I’m excited to have him aboard.

Here’s what he had to say:

1.    What are the three trends you see emerging in 2009?

The first trend is that marketing budgets are going to shift more toward online and inbound marketing, and by “inbound marketing” I mean those prospects that are out there proactively searching for your products or solutions. B2B marketers are paying closer attention to inbound marketing in a number of ways – focusing on organic search optimization and creating more content that’s going to capture the eye of that long-tail searcher with a specific need, right now. Improving online conversion rates is also key, and I think closer attention is going to be paid to the “silent majority” of folks who visit a site but don’t convert. What sorts of businesses do they represent, what were they looking for and what do I need to do to get them to take the next step and identify themselves?

The second thing is an increased adoption of social-network marketing . Businesses are beginning to figure out how to get the word out about themselves in a very tricky landscape filled with dos and don’ts – and more importantly how to track the effectiveness of  campaigns they might run on Twitter or Facebook.

The third is an increase in the need to measure and account for the effectiveness of every dollar spent on marketing. ROI (return on investment) is key, and while businesses might be excited to try new things the tools need to be in place to measure return quickly and efficiently so that marketers can make changes on the fly.

2.    What are the biggest challenges for 2009?

Budgets may shrink, but performance expectations rarely do. We’re all going to need to do more with less.

3.    What are three metrics that B2B marketers should care about and why?

This is a hard one, and I might defer to one general metric that changes from Web page to landing page to email campaign. What was the goal, and how successful were you at accomplishing it?

For example, if you’re running an email campaign with a goal of getting people to register for a Webinar, set your goal for the number of registrations in advance and don’t sweat open rates or click-throughs – as long as you hit your goal. Let’s be clear – I’m not suggesting that you mass email irrelevant contacts in order to hit you goal. Rather, with the right messaging to the right people your goal will come naturally even if your open rates are lower than you are used to. I receive online communications every day with no clear call to action, sent out by marketers who are just “spraying and praying.” If I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, then how are you going to measure whether or not I did it?

4.    What are the top oversights marketers are making regarding lead generation?

This ties back to the previous question, as the most obvious mistake is focusing on the wrong metrics. For example, looking at the cost per conversion of a pay-per-click campaign rather than the quality of the conversion (or how much closed business can be attributed to that specific keyword or ad group) is a big mistake.

Also, not understanding the demographics of the businesses visiting your Web site or landing page – or even in your list rentals or email campaigns –  is a big problem. What if you have a high CPM for an email campaign, or you are paying for a lot of expensive clicks but it turns out the people who are responding are nowhere near your target markets? Insight into that can lead to simple adjustments in list composition or ad copy or keywords that could not only save a lot of money but improve performance of your campaigns.

5.    What will you prescribe to marketers to carry out effective lead generation?

Test and measure, test and measure – and then test and measure some more. There are simply too many great tools out there helping B2B marketers understand what is working and what isn’t for us to have any excuse to keep throwing money at marketing mediums without proven return.

6.    What three Web 2.0 applications, cutting-edge technologies or lead generation sources do marketers HAVE to consider to be successful?

I’ll share four:

  • Marketing automation or lead management systems are becoming vital to maintaining that constant drip of attention that prospects need in order to mature into viable selling opportunities.
  • My CRM/SFA (sales force automation) system has become irreplaceable in helping me to understand which lead sources or marketing campaigns are actually driving revenue. If you’re not tying your marketing campaigns directly to your sales opportunities, you’re missing the boat.
  • A healthy inbound marketing strategy is vital, with realistic social network marketing  and content creation aspects woven in to it. Business blogging is a great forum for content creation as long as it is not limited to product pitching and provides helpful and relevant content in which your prospects are interested. And a simple search on Twitter might uncover dozens of people asking their social network about you or your company. Are you there to answer their questions?
  • Finally, an improved post-click strategy that includes tools like Demandbase Professional, helping to better understand more about the “silent majority” of your Web-site or landing-page visitors that don’t convert, and put mechanisms in place to identify, reach and convert more of them.

7.    What do you hope for in B2B sales and marketing for the new year?

My sincere hope is that tighter budgets will spawn creativity, and not handcuff marketers into “tried and true” types of messaging. While there is more pressure than ever to prove ROI, that doesn’t mean you aren’t obligated to try and be creative. I hope to be wowed this year.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter