Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs’ B2B Content Marketing 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends–North America uncovered the alarming fact that of the 93% of B2B marketers surveyed who engage in content marketing, only 44% say that they have a well–documented strategy.
That means that 56% of marketers are unintentionally planning to fail. Finding time to make a content marketing plan, though, can be difficult because it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day.
Anyone who pays any attention to marketing these days has heard the phrase “content marketing.” It is the new poster child of marketing in an era where data is king, digital methods rule, and the CMO is rapidly gaining increased share of the IT budget. The ironic thing though, is that content marketing itself is not new.
In fact, in some form or another it has been around for decades. The advent of CRM, marketing automation integration and the corresponding analytics is what…
No one starts a business with visions of failure, but it is no secret that many startups never make it. There are numerous reasons for startups’ failures, not least of which is a lack of understanding of what Mark Leslie and Charles Holloway dubbed the “Sales Learning Curve.”
In their Harvard Business Review article by the same name, the two break the curve into three phases: the initiation phase, the transition phase and the execution phase. They then highlight the need to…
Low up front costs, short subscription periods and reasonable monthly fees make the SaaS model extremely attractive to any end-user trying to proactively secure their costs of doing business.
Ironically, however, those same attributes also put unique complexity in growing and scaling a SaaS business. Because the true monetary value of the customer is realized over time, instead of in large infusions of cash each time a deal is closed, it is critical to the health of the business…
In the good old days before the digital revolution transformed the face of B2B sales and marketing, the last thing any marketer would have considered essential for a successful marketing campaign would be Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.
In today’s world, however, although it can’t be used to create glitzy graphics or come up with snappy slogans, CRM is
arguably the most important marketing tool of all. The biggest reason for that shift is…
No company can bring it’s “A game” unless it has all the right pieces and players place. Skip one, or substitute with a “relief player” that isn’t on board with the system, and the synergy that’s essential for moving quickly isn’t there.
There is no doubt that the way goods and services are bought and sold is changing. Geographic boundaries matter less and less as an increasing amount of business is conducted over the web. Face–to-face interaction isn’t as important at the early stage of the pipeline, and, not surprisingly, the demand for inside sales professionals is increasing steadily. There’s even a new buzzword on the street, “Sales 2.0,” to describe how sales people can use today’s new online tools to sell more effectively.
Wooden built a dynasty brick by brick, proving in the process that when all the little details are done right, greatness will follow. As he wrote in Wooden on Leadership, “There was no single big thing that made our UCLA basketball teams effective, not the press or the fast break, not size, not condition— no single big thing. Instead it was hundreds of small things done the right way, and done consistently.”
What can sales leaders learn from Wooden’s example?
Gartner’s recent prediction that by 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO, is telling. Digital marketing is growing by leaps and bounds for the singular reason that it allows companies to do what its glitzier predecessors could not: quantitatively measure results.
If, as we hear so often, the web has created a more educated buyer, marketing automation tools are producing a more informed seller. Not only do they make it possible to build, launch, and measure very targeted outbound email campaigns and get real insight based on actions taken on the web, today’s tools provide visibility into the prospects’ online behavior that is a game changer in the hands of a strong business development team.
Engage a hundred well-qualified prospects and at any given point in time there will only be a handful ready to buy. There will also be another handful considering buying but not quite ready to pull the trigger, another that recognizes they have a need but are not sure how to fill it, and another who has a need, they just don’t know it yet.
How do you take each of these handfuls and draw them into the next stage in the sales cycle? Two words: professional persistence—relationship building through consistent, focused business development efforts supported by content rich lead generation marketing.
Sometimes the most common sense observations are the most powerful.
Take this one, by William T. Brooks in the intro to Perfect Phrases for Lead Generation, for example. “The secret to selling is to be in front of a qualified prospective customer when he or she is ready to buy, not when you need to make a sale.”
So true, so seemingly obvious, yet so often overlooked.
No matter how powerful your product or service, there’s just no getting around the fact that at any given time, there are more people who are NOT ready to buy than that ARE ready to buy. If you are not a believer in lead generation and lead nurturing, that statement alone should convince you. You need a strategy to stay top of mind so that when your prospects are ready to buy, your solution is the first one that comes to mind. And you need a methodology that lets you track the effectiveness of your efforts. Digital lead gen does both.
Though an argument could be made that they are subsets of the same species, B2B marketing and B2C marketing are completely different animals. If B2C is the lion coming at you with full roar, B2B is more of the house cat, coming around frequently and worming its way into your heart.
With B2C, the loader you roar, the more people will hear you. The hope is that eventually someone will bite—and the more the better. With B2B, there just aren’t quite as many people ready to purchase at any given time. So if you roar, you roar within a much smaller space where the noise is not likely to be appreciated. What is appreciated is steady relationship building and good, quality content that educates, informs and quietly helps to bring the prospect down the buying path.
While anyone can win once in awhile, consistent sales growth does not happen by accident. It does not happen by luck. It does not happen because you have the biggest payroll. It happens because the right players are in the right positions, following the right playbook and led by the right management team.
If consistent growth is not taking place in your organization, it might be time to make some changes in how your sales department is structured. Specifically, it might be time to specialize.
Does your organization put a high priority on sales?
TIP 1: Create a sales culture from the top down
Faster growing (and more successful) organizations make sales a key focus. Sales is not and cannot be considered “a necessary evil.” It is the primary means of driving new business growth. It is the driver for customer retention. It is the people, the processes and the systems needed to continually generate new revenue for an organization. And it needs to start at the top. Without the support of upper management, none of the rest really matters.
Most people would agree that the day you meet your future spouse is not the right day to propose. Why is it then, that marketers are always asking prospects to buy before they’ve even had a first date? Why are they sending the same messaging to the guy who has never heard of them as to the guy who has been in serious discussions with the team for months? Doesn’t make much sense does it?
One size fits all marketing doesn’t work for a complex B2B sales process for the same reason that a marriage proposal doesn’t usually work on a first date. You have to build trust and get to know each other first.
Small market team – big market results
Michael Lewis’ non-fiction best seller, Moneyball, chronicles how Oakland Athletics’ GM, Billy Beane and Assistant GM Peter Brand used a scientific method of player analysis called sabermetrics to take a small market team with a bleak outlook all the way to the ALCS, setting an American League 20 game win-streak record in the process.
Tossing aside the traditional, more subjective, means of assessing players in favor of using more objective evidence and statistics measuring in-game activity, they identified undervalued players and acquired the assets needed to compete on the same level as the big spenders – demonstrating that in major league baseball a big spend isn’t necessary to win, using the right system and putting the right players in the right places, is. Ditto for sales.
The term “business development” means a lot of things to a lot of people. To some, it’s LeadGen robo calls – the more dials, the better. To others it is pure appointment setting. At NuGrowth Solutions, however, we maintain that real business development goes far beyond lead generation or appointment setting.
When sitting down with Venture Capitalists to pitch their product or service, many entrepreneurs come to the table with big ideas and plans for sales that will go through the roof. They put it all on paper with an optimistic hockey stick shaped revenue forecast that has investors making money in no time – the shorter the flat portion of the stick, the faster the company and its investors start making money.
That hockey stick growth pattern is easier said than done, however, and a very large portion of businesses fail within their first four years.
When launching a new company, product or service or expanding into a new territory, the temptation is often to hire a new VP of sales, some enterprise reps and build a high powered sales force as quickly as possible. It has been demonstrated, however, that ramping up a sales force too quickly can have a very negative impact on the bottom line.
As founding Chairman and CEO of Veritas Software and current Stanford University Lecturer Mark Leslie wrote with Charles Holloway in their 2006 Harvard Business Review article, The Sales Learning Curve, “Smart companies give themselves time and money enough to climb the sales learning curve before ramping up the sales force”….
From virtual storefronts to virtual apps to virtual sales and marketing, the world is changing – particularly when it comes to how things are bought and sold. And while the charge was initially led in the B2C spectrum, B2B is not far behind.
Cloud based tools like salesforce.com, Dropbox and GoToMeeting make it possible to work effectively anywhere, any time. Smart companies are relying on Inside Sales more and more heavily to handle functions that until recently were left to their “more expensive” field counterparts. And, with this shift, the idea of a virtual sales office is….
Warmest holiday wishes to you and yours…. [e-card]
NuGrowth Solutions is a team of innovative, seasoned business development professionals passionately committed to helping you grow your business through outsourced marketing and sales services.
We have an extensive collection of articles here in the Library on a number of sales and marketing topics that we wanted to share. Check out the Blog as well for up to date insights on the ever-changing sales and marketing landscapes. Because, no matter how much you know, there is always room for GROWTH.
Done correctly, CRM is about discipline – the discipline to record key information about customers and prospects, to analyze and interpret that information and to act upon what you have learned. It’s also about results – about having real-time data at your fingertips and being able to move on a dime if you notice things are trending in a new direction….
Since it first swept onto the scene over two decades ago, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software has become increasingly more mainstream. More and more companies are using it as a means to track key data, log conversations with prospects and clients, share knowledge across…
When it comes to getting to from point A to point B, the navigational process has evolved considerably over the years. While early settlers looked to the sun and the moon for guidance, nowadays we just turn on our GPS, plug in the address of our destination and mindlessly follow directions. The only hitch?
Allegiant Marketing Group (AMG) is a full service direct mail company located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Founded in 2000, the company has expanded exponentially and is now doing over six million dollars in sales annually.
Their unique approach to direct mail extends beyond design, printing and mailing, to encompass full program management, creative marketing research, influential messaging and uniquely targeted lists.
Done correctly, lead generation is about creating opportunities for b2b sales growth. It is about uncovering leads – finding real people or companies who have a need for your goods and services, capturing their information and…
Change is inevitable – good, bad and everything in between. The trick is to have the ability to recognize it, the flexibility to adapt to it and the foresight to jump out ahead of the curve and create it yourself.
Effective lead generation campaigns are a critical component of any good sales organization’s tool chest. Done right, you will increase the productivity of your sales force, drive sales, and see positive ROI.
If you have a viable product or service, don’t want to divert resources to explore new markets, and are in need of speed to market, outsourcing might be the right choice for your organization.
Hit sales goals, gain market share, and grow your business faster, by leveraging the pace and purpose of a results-oriented, mature sales and marketing organization dedicated exclusively to new business acquisition through inside sales, business development, and lead generation marketing.
May your holidays be filled with health, happiness, peace and prosperity.
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Effective lead generation campaigns are a critical component of any good sales organization’s tool chest. Done right, you will increase the productivity of your sales force, drive sales, and see positive ROI.
Can you say, “I am executing the perfect, affordable marketing campaign that will double my business in the next 12 months,” and mean it? Don’t waste time and money on ineffective marketing. Be selective and strategic with who you target and how you approach them. Read on for SIX STEPS to implementing a push-pull drip marketing program that works.
Nowadays there is increased pressure to compete in the global economy. Customers are price shopping and demanding faster service. Competition is fierce with more and more players entering the marketplace.
You’ve got a great product or service and have systematically hired the best sales talent out there, but sometimes that just isn’t enough. If your sales are stagnant, your team building and execution strategies may not be working as well as they should.
Be prepared to take your business to the next level.
Jack Welch wrote that, “Hiring good people is hard. Hiring great people is brutally hard. And yet nothing matters more in winning than getting the right people in the field.”
We believe that finding and retaining the right people is a matter of understanding the key characteristics of top salespeople, knowing how to recognize them in an applicant, fully understanding the requirements of the position, and matching skill sets to the job at hand.
From McBassi & Company comes this perspective on the significance — and rarity — of innovation in today’s business environment. Where does it come from? And how can leaders increase the likelihood it will occur?
Here are seven simple suggestions to foster innovation in your organization…
As Josh Bersin blogged in The Business of Talent, “If you accept the fact that change is one of the biggest issues a business faces, then the ability to continuously adapt to change is one of the most important parts of a long term business strategy. Unfortunately, many organizations don’t internalize this.”
We believe a learning culture gives any organization an advantage in the face of change…
Last month’s article on social media elicited lots of questions. So we asked networking pioneer and practitioner Dan Harris to take us all to the next step by providing processes and structure we can all learn and do. Find out why Harris says, “Systematically capitalizing on social media is pure common sense.”
Like you, we’ve heard all the hype, read articles and postings, played with personal accounts and wondered who really cared what strangers had for breakfast…
What we hadn’t done was begin to test the business communication potential of social media from a strategic perspective – until this month, that is. In January we tried an experiment using Facebook™ to reach prospects in a relatively conservative field, and in just three days were more successful than we ever imagined…
As a whirlwind year comes to a close, we gratefully pause to thank our clients and wish you all the blessings of the holiday season.
Sometimes it seems like we are all moving at Mach II with our hair on fire. But we have found that taking time to give back enriches our lives and helps us move from success to significance. This month we’d like to share some information about the Timmy Foundation, an extraordinary organization founded by a former pro wrestler who is now a doctor living his passion.
We consider ourselves very fortunate to work with them as part of our philanthropic commitment.
No, what do you really want for yourself or your organization? Whatever it is, there’s no easy road there. Discipline and it’s corporate counterpart, structure, are the means to that end. And since your greatest resources are your people, when you invest in developing their discipline you’re ultimately investing in your organization’s success.
In today’s tough economic market, leaders of organizations understand that their challenges are often greater, and more delicate, than those faced by their predecessors. Many of these challenges begin with employees’ engagement and their trust in top management. Do we, as leaders, understand what impact this can have on the success of our organization? Would you follow you?
Strategic Insurance Software had a great product, but was not realizing results commensurate with their huge market potential. According to COO Mark Miller, “For less money than we were spending for inside sales, NuGrowth created the sales team and systems for SIS that are more successful in generating business than we could ever be.”
Chances are, your organization is not the same now as it was when you joined it. And, chances are, it is not where you’d like it to be. As the leader, you can better direct its future, and grow its people along the way.
In today’s survival-of-the-fittest business environment, your website can make the difference. Our primary goal is to increase clients’ effective use of the Internet in support of customer acquisition and retention. Don’t just let nature take its course.
The phone is still the number one tool for great sales success…all sales start with a phone call. Anyone can dial a phone, but not everyone knows how to use it strategically. The right training can exponentially increase the effectiveness of phone outreach, right from the very first call. With no relationship, an outbound sales person has 15-30 seconds to present a compressed summation of the “value-added proposition” on the initial call: who he is, whom he represents, how the company helps clients, and why he’s calling.
Now is the time to move. Let everyone else pull back, but I’m investing in new business development and growing my sales efforts so that when things do turn, I’ll have a healthy market share. Organizations with this perspective know that to capitalize on the current environment they must martial the best resources and move quickly. Because timing is so critical many are taking the initiative to outsource key components to accelerate sales performance and improve results.
“Email marketing is one of the most effective ways of reaching current and prospective clients with specific, measurable results. Effective email marketing can help an organization position itself within its area of expertise and show leadership by sharing what it knows.”
“If you’re a product or service driven company, and you want to increase sales but you’re not sure how to do it, talk to NuGrowth. They can make it happen for you.”
We said, “Here’s what we want to do; help us get there,’ and they did. NuGrowth took on our need, then showed us how to do it, which is always what I’m looking for in a partner to help grow our business.”