As part of Green Lead's recent acquisition of Target 250, a portion of our European team is based in Ireland. Linda and I are here this week working with the team on transition issues, and while heading out for dinner last night we walked by the Bank of Ireland in the center of Dublin, where President Barack Obama's gave a speech just a few weeks ago.
When it comes to sales and marketing tips, the President is loaded with examples. Here are but a few:
- Brand - Obama has a solid understanding of Branding. Every word, action and event is organized with a consistent brand of quality and authority. Stay on target with all your brand messaging.
- Opportunity - I'm not sure who planned their trip first, but the combination of the Monarchy and the US Presidency visiting within weeks of each other was a one-two punch for both. The buzz from our colleagues in Ireland is one of progress, respect and excitement from the two visits. Take advantage of opportunistic moments as it pertains to marketing.
- Disruption - Be it the President shutting down the Dublin airport and delaying my Irish team from flying to Andover, or you making a disruptive sales or marketing statement, consider your messaging and consider the impact of authority and disruption to the norm. The market reacts to this and it allows you to stand apart from the crowd.
- Dress to Sell - If you are not sure of the casual nature of a sales or marketing event, you'll never go wrong in an Obama class suit and tie. I was recently at the SiriusDecisions Summit in Scottsdale and although the crowd was predominantly in business casual attire, suits and ties for men and suits for women were not uncommon--especially for the sales types. If you opt for a blazer, just make sure you have the best looking shirt/blazer combination in the room. Keep the golf shirts on the golf course. Even the ones with logos on them.
...and a snapshot for the photo album. Linda and I in front of the Bank of Ireland in downtown Dublin, right where Obama spoke.
B2B Marketing Experts have an ideal opportunity during the Holiday Season to do some old fashioned "feel good" marketing and help some folks along the way. Green Leads ran two internal contests that resulted in charitable giving.
Toy drive. We ran a contest last week during a one hour ConnectAndSell session. For each appointment booked during the session, Green Leads bought a toy for our local toy drive run by some friends at the Lawrence Police Department.
Kiva Microloans. A second contest we ran allowed our top performer to pick a recipient of a Kiva Microloan to join the Green Leads portfolio. We've been lending on Kiva for quite some time and allow our team to select the recipients on an ongoing basis. This now makes 15 loans.
Fun. And don't forget to have a little fun. The Green Leads management team pulled together this cute B2B Mashup Holiday Greeting video on our youtube channel.
It's all about:
- Branding (internally and externally
- Doing what's right
- Having some fun
I was fortunate enough to be asked by Gerhard Gschwandtner, of Selling Power to speak this week at his Sales Leadership Conference in Philadelphia. The highlight of my day was listening to Seth Godin, blogger and author on topics b2b sales and marketing folks devour.
One part of Seth's talk was on building a tribe. Not sure I've got the quote verbatim, but basically he was saying "marketers that build tribes of loyal prospects and customers will win." He cited the Apple tribe -- all of us who rush out and buy new apple products just because. I happen to be a member of that tribe.
It got me thinking, though. How can b2b marketers, especially those who DON'T have audiences of millions or hundreds of thousands, build a tribe? How can upstart, small- to mid-sized companies build a tribe? How can even large companies with very specific offerings build a tribe?
I was bouncing the topic around with my friend and colleague, Tim Dempsey (@tdempsey) of Elastic Brands, and he shared, "First and foremost, you have to define and articulate your tribe’s essence or mission. A tribe is not a random pack of individuals – a tribe shares a bond, whether that’s around design and usability, like Apple, or around a technology like an open source project. Tribe members are joining something. Before going out to build your tribe, identify what it is that will bind your tribe members together. And repeat that message throughout your communication with prospects and members."
- Bring value to tribal prospects who aren't customers yet. Give away lots of relevant info through blogs, twitter, industry events, etc. Just follow the HubSpot marketing machine for how they spread the Orange Kool Aid and built a large and loyal tribe of inbound marketers.
- Gather, grasp and retain every prospect or client, every user or remote individual who touches your company and bring them together virtually. LinkedIn Groups. Build an online community.
- Create buzz. Recruit those who create buzz for you and reward them through rebuzz or other methods. Most buzzers love to be pumped up socially. Retweet. Quote them in blog articles. Write success stories with them. Prop them up. Thank them for buzzing.
- Encourage buzzers and tribe members to share stories. As soon as you find out a tribe member has a blog, find a way to help them with a blog article. Get them to interview your CEO or Evangelist.
- Make it cool to be in the tribe. Be different. Create awesome reasons for people to like you. Be hip. Youtube videos. Viral fun. Send fun gifts to known tribe members.
- Network. Introduce tribe members to each other. Host tweet-ups, or networking events. Build that online community.
- Be genuine. If you find yourself trying too hard, your audience will sniff you out. Don't look like you hired an agency. I recently saw a Fortune 500 company do this and, whadda ya know, 55 unique twitter addresses tweeted the exact same text at the exact same moment (sounds like an ingenious agency idea to me).
- Lead with leaders. Find the leaders of your tribe and get them to lead by example. Encourage them to step out in front of you occasionally. Trust them.
- Create cool. Be it a t-shirt or cap or stickers or water bottles. People like cool. SxSW is filled with hip tribal attendees who would give their right arm for the coolest t-shirt of the week.
- Invite two friends. Every time you run anything, make your tribe members bring two friends. Grow exponentially.
- Share. Make it easy for your tribe to share ideas. Be it Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn Groups, or your blog. Sharing spreads the word.
What thoughts do you have for tribe building in a smaller universe than companies such as Apple?
The Catcher in the Rye. Moby Dick. Pride and Prejudice. The Grapes of Wrath. A Tale of Two Cities.
If there's one thing those books have in common for me, it's that they were part of my high school summer reading lists. Remember those? You'd receive a list of books before the end of your school year that you'd have to read in preparation for the next school year.
Maybe you were excited by all of that reading; maybe you weren't. Maybe you cleared your list well before summer's end, or maybe you were running to the local bookstore to find the Cliffs Notes versions of the books on your list (not that I know anything about that). Since we're so close to the beginning of summer, I thought I'd share with you what should be on every good B2B marketing and sales careerist's list this summer. It's a bit more geared to the marketer, but every good sales professional is their own marketer too.
If you're reading this and you've just graduated from college hoping to find yourself in sales and marketing, take heed! This list is the tip of the iceberg for you. If you're like me and you've read these books, take heed and read them again; they're just that good. Note that all of the links are to Amazon, should you choose to purchase them.
| ||The New Rules of Marketing and PR, 2nd Edition - David Meerman Scott's book on completely changing the way marketing and PR is handled effectively today. David's book is worth reading time and again to be reminded of how the Internet and social media can radically improve your business. This book is a Marketing 401 class in 320 pages.|
|Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs - Written by the founders of HubSpot, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, Inbound Marketing delivers on its promise to get your organization found. Brian and Dharmesh talk about just what "inbound marketing" is, how you can get found by the prospects you want to do business with, and how to convert those prospects into customers.|
| ||SNAP Selling - Jill Konrath's latest book is a must-read. This new book teaches its readers how to better handle prospects who, today, have shrinking budgets and more "to-do's" on their plates than they've ever had before. Oh yeah, and she teaches you how to close them, too. Jill is a master saleswoman, and she artfully delivers a message to improve the sales processes of her readers.|
|Ogilvy on Advertising - David Ogilvy's book, now celebrating its 25th year in print, is a classic and one that I revisit time and again. Ogilvy teaches that advertisement is salesmanship, and he couldn't be more right. His lessons on buyer personas (though not necessarily called that) are just as relevant today as they've ever been. In fact, he calls out the lazy marketers who do not go about this process and warns about "skidding about on what my brother Francis called 'the slippery slope of irrelevant brilliance.'"|
| ||eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale - Ardath Albee's book on eMarketing is a great book that teaches its readers how to differentiate themselves from every other organization in their space. Ardath sets a great tone throughout the book, and the lessons in the book aren't just things marketers should be doing but rather things they must be doing. Ardath spends a considerable amount of time discussing what she calls "Contagious Content," and with good reason - she understands the importance of content that spurs the prospect to move from reading to engaging.|
| ||Digital Body Language - Steven Woods' book explores how today's marketers can market better to their target audiences, taking into consideration all of the intricacies of 21st century sales and sales processes. Woods' idea that marketers and sales folks can now "read" a prospect's digital body language (i.e. their web behavior) is on point and is sure to help shape readers' effectiveness in their chosen professions. Pick this one up.|
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Obviously there are more books that I could place on the B2B Sales and Marketing summer reading list, but these are my "must reads." What about you? What would you add to the list?
A while back, I read an article by Chris Brogan that discussed 19 chores we could each do daily to help us maintain an online presence. I was already doing a majority of the list, but then it got me thinking. What if I had my browser setup so when I wake up in the AM all my daily tasks for maintaining my social media prowess were just lined up waiting for me to get my coffee? Here's my Lead Generation Tip for today.
I've never been one to clutter up toolbars in a browser, but this seemed like a great reason to do it. So I bookmarked the following links and turned on the bookmarks toolbar. This allows me to wake up, sip my Greenest Bean coffee (organic, locally roasted), and make my presence known. I come back to it during the day when I need a break and hit them again.
- HootSuite - been using this since I uninstalled tweetdeck for locking up my system every day. I've got it all decked out with columns, tabs, subjects, friends, you name it
- Google Reader - still the easiest RSS reader going. Read up, schedule the best for tweets on HootSuite with Send Later. Comment on a few relevant articles
- Hubspot Dashboard - finds daily chores for me to do around blogging, keywords, search rankings, etc.
- LinkedIn Q&A - to maintain my top Lead Gen Expert status and to accept invites and other LinkedIn goodness
- Personal Facebook - post some drivel
- Company Facebook Fan Page - post some value
- Fast Company Blog - share an article
- Smashmouth Marketing Blog - write an article
- FriendFeed - check out friends thoughts
- SocialOomph - vet my new twitter followers
During the process, I usually digg or stumble a few articles as well.
ps. Look at the other top experts in the Lead Generation section of LinkedIn. I'm in good company!
What other daily tasks do you do to keep yourself in the frontlines? Leave a comment
What can Obama teach us b2b marketers? I was recently in a debate with a friend about Obama's marketing efforts. He had read an article about how the campaign was based on three simple tenants: Simplicity, Consistency and Relevance. I started exploring how the same three guidelines can be applied to marketing, especially as it pertains to demand generation. The examples I used were Cold Calling and Blog Marketing.
Blog Marketing - Writing a blog for business purposes isn't just a process of putting thoughts on the internet. It's about branding, educating the market, and thought leadership. It's about delivering messages that inspire conversation and allows readers to inform themselves and if interested, engage.
- Don't overwhelm a blog topic. Keep it simple. Provide basic information to open the knowledge share, provide links to other information, and keep it short enough that someone can scan it and/or absorb it at the pace they desire. Whitepapers and analyst reports are for lengthy detail.
- Be consistent about delivering content and messaging and presence. There is nothing worse than following someone's blog for months and then seeing it go blank for weeks. Or to see the shift from "Web 2.0" to "Social Media" overnight. Stay consistent, or at least emerge and grow with consistency.
- Stay on topic and be relevant. Stick with what you know. It is debatable whether a blogger should build some level of personal brand with off-topic content. But maybe put a relevant twist to it. For example, I'm passionate about Family and living a Green lifestyle, so I tie it into a post here and there, such as this article on Market Research, or this one on Father's Day.
Cold Calling - delivering a message to someone in a cold call is a process. Many people misunderstand the process of a cold call and lose the attention of the prospect. The same three pillars apply.
- First, it's not that the lead is cold, it's that you are catching the prospect "cold". You can take control of the call at that point. How do you take control? You only have 30 seconds to keep them from hanging up. Keep your opening simple. Enough said.
- The next 30 seconds allow you to continue to the real pitch. So make that 30 seconds relevant to what a prospect wants to hear. If you are calling to tell a CTO how your security software will help comply with Sarbanes Oxley, say that along with why they would want to continue the call. Don't bother with "How are you today?" (do you really care?) or "We're a leader in security software" (do they believe you?). Imagine Barack opening with "I'm the candidate everyone is voting for" (not interested?).
- Lastly, if you've gotten this far, then have the conversation, and stay consistent with your objective. If you are calling a C-level executive to set an appointment, then keep coming back to the appointment. If you are calling to invite the prospect to an event, keep inviting them. Don't waste time on the phone telling them how good the event will be. Just give them relevant info, consistently remind them why you are calling (appointment or invite) and let them decide. Barack didn't sell us, he informed us and we made decisions.
The world has changed. Buyers view the buying process in a different way. They are more sophisticated. They make decisions differently. They listen to their peers and the industry more than they used to. Help them through this process by giving them what they need and want. They will reach out to you, and they will be receptive.