I've recently been on the conference circuit, speaking and tweeting whatever sales and marketing goodness I can find. One topic that came up at each conference was the quality of the content presented by the various speakers. Some sessions were brilliant; some were nothing more than veiled commercials.
- The key as an attendee is to be able to pull the brilliant content out of the commercials.
- The key as a presenter is to avoid the commercials and present brilliant content.
Let's face it. It doesn't matter if you're at an analyst-sponsored event or an industrywide event with multiple sponsors, the companies buying the hors d'oeuvres and beer want to deliver their messages. And as attendees, we kind of owe it to them to listen. That said, we want to hear value.
Vendors can deliver their message themselves, or they can put customers or industry experts on stage to do it for them. Either way, as we b2b demand gen folks know, it's all about the content, so let's provide it. I challenge all the vendors -- bring value to the audience.
Tips for earning respect as a vendor:
- Consider using industry experts and/or customers to present your message.
- If you're going to use one of your own executives, make them tell a compelling story.
- Keep the commercials to a minimum. Talk about real issues and real solutions.
- Invite conversation, questions and provocative thought. Engage the audience.
- Entertain a tiny bit. Conferences are hard to sit through. So while delivering valuable content, make the crowd smile.
- Carry the conversation to other mediums. Tweet and blog, record videos, post your slides on slideshare.
Just remember -- when someone is done listening to your 45 minutes of fame, do they walk away thinking, "I got some great nuggets from this appointment setting tips session. And hmmm ... he uses Green Leads, I might check them out" ?
In a perfect world, all of our marketing efforts work exactly to plan, don't they?
Unfortunately, our world isn't perfect, and as great as our plans may seem at the beginning, sometimes they're going to fail. Sometimes, they're going to fail miserably. But, much like a rising star in the boxing circuit, the victory comes not from how many times you get knocked down, but rather, how many times you can get back up. So in that regard, what do you do when your outbound marketing efforts fall flat?
First of all, evaluate the current plan. A pretty simple step, but sometimes one that gets overlooked because of the severity of a failed marketing plan. In a race to fix the problem (especially if it's a big one) we can neglect the evaluation process:
- Did you target the wrong audience with the "right" message?
- Did you target the right audience, period?
- Did you take the time to put your buyer personas together?
- Did the list you marketed to contain data that, at the outset, should have been cleansed?
- Was the content or offer valuable to the prospects?"
- Were the calls to action clear? Were there calls to action at all?
- Was the implementation team spread too thin?
- Was it the right team for the job?
Measure and Review KPIs
There really isn't time to overlook details. Hopefully, you'd determined the metrics that you'd hope to hit and have measured and evaluated them. No stone is to be left unturned. When you think you've asked all the questions, it's time to go back and ask some more.
Regroup, Replan and Share, Share Alike
The plan may not be worthy of a total re-write, but make adjustments. Realize that you cannot do everything yourself. Mike Volpe, VP of Inbound Marketing at HubSpot, shares that, "...all of [HubSpot's] implementation and support consultants also sit among sales and marketing, so we have sales, marketing and post-sales all together, helping to build even more cross-functional communication." HubSpot shares ideas and accepts input from others so that they can build a better all-around offering.
Augment with Experts
Don't be afraid to look outside of your own organization. If you have a new product launch or new sales reps being added to your team, you may need assistance. Use these opportunities to work with good outsourced vendors. They aren't specialists at lead gen and appointment setting just because they stumbled upon it -- they have a playbook that works and they are experts at what they do. Take advantage of it.
Lastly, it's time to execute the modified plan. Having spent time evaluating what went wrong with your original campaign, regrouping and replanning, now you're ready to try again. Be confident in your new plan. If you're not, how can you expect anyone else to be!?
What do you do to ensure success in your marketing efforts?
Photo Credit: Chris Devers via Flickr
During the opening of the Sales & Marketing 2.0 Conference this week, Gerhard "G-Ice" Gschwandtner promised that he would perform a RAP to close the event Tuesday night. He did just that with comic Jeff Applebaum during the Sales & Marketing 2.0 Awards Ceremony, of which Green Leads was a finalist in two categories--Sales & Marketing Alignment and Social Media.
The ultimate reward for those diehards that lasted till the end of the day was watching G-Ice bringing down the house!
The Sales Lead Management Association has opened up voting for the 50 Most Influential People in Sales Lead Management. I'm on the list, so if I've earned your respect in the world of demand gen and lead generation, I'd love your vote.
The list is vast and full of some fantastic peers of mine, and you can only choose 3. So choose wisely. Members of SLMA and non-members are allowed to vote.
Here is the list. If you find someone you want to vote for, click through and place your vote.
Trish Bertuzzi - The Bridge Group
Karla Blalock - PointClear
Bob Bly - Bly.com
April Brown - Rubicon Marketing Group
Michael Brown - Purple Pig Consulting
Michael A. Brown - Business to Business by Phone Troy Burk - Right On Interactive
Brian Carroll - InTouch
Jep Castelein - LeadSloth
Elisa Ciarametaro - Exceed Sales
John Coe - The Sales and Marketing Institute
Greg Coleman - LeadQual
Lisa Cramer - LeadLife Solutions
Richard Cunningham - Right On Interactive
Mike Damphousse - Green Leads
Debra DeCosta - Direct Marketing Partners
Mary Dedrick - Performark Inc
John Doerr - Wellesley Hills Group
Mike Falkson - eti Sales Support
Bob Felsenthal - BtoB Magazine
Phil Fernandez - Marketo
Susan Friedmann - The Trade Show Coach
Andrew Gaffney - DemandGen Report
Sanjay Gala - SMARTe Inc.
Bill Goldsmith - BP Productions
Pete Gracey - AG Salesworks
Bernice Grossman - DMRS Group Inc.
Gerhard Gschwandtner - Selling Power
Ann Handley - Marketingprofs
John Hasbrouck - NewLeads C
arlos Hidalgo - The Annuitas Group
Jay Hidalgo - Annuitas Group
Christopher Hosford - BtoB
Tom Judge - Direct Marketing Partners
Russell Kern - The Kern Organization
Russ King - LeadMaster
Victor Kippes - Validar
Jill Konrath - Selling to Big Companies
Hilarie Koplow-McAdams - salesforce.com
Jim LaBelle - LeadTrack
Cliff Langston - Leads To Sales
Joe Lethert - Performark
Dan McDade - PointClear
JT McDonald - MarketNet Services Inc
Laura McGuire - Saligent dba SmartTracks
Mac McIntosh - Mac McIntosh Inc.
Mark McIntosh - Interlink1
Robert B Miller- Miller Heiman Inc.
Dan Morefield - Leads360
Ken Murray - VanillaSoft Inc
Bill Nussey - Silverpop
Kirtan Patel - LeadOrganizer
Joe Payne - Eloqua
Jeff Pedowitz - The Pedowitz Group
James Pennington - Anderson Direct Marketing
Maria Pergolino - Marketo Barbara Pfeiffer - Nurture Institute Debbie Pierce - NitroMojo
Eric Rabinowitz - Nurture Institute
Sam Reese - Miller Heiman Inc.
Bill Rice - Kaleidico
Jose Raul Rodriguez - Aon
Dan Rogers - SmartLead by The AdTrack Corporation
Anneke Seley - Phone Works LLC
Tibor Shanto - Renbor Sales Solutions Inc.
Karen Sheehey - interlinkONE
Gary Skidmore - Harte Hanks
Jeff Solomon - Leads360
Paul Staelin - Birst
Jim Steele - salesforce.com
Drew Stevens – Drew Stevens
Ruth P. Stevens - eMarketing Strategy
Chris Tremblay - Event Technologies
Tann Tueller - Harte Hanks
Frank van Veenendaal - salesforce.com
Jenny Vance - LeadGen
Mari Anne Vanella - The Vanella Group
Chris Williams - Compusystems
Keith Wolf - Virtual Appoint
Steve Woods - Eloqua
Fred Yee - ActiveConversion
Scott Zimmerman - The Cyrano Group
If you don't see the name of your favorite Lead Gen Experts, drop us a comment...
Craig Rosenberg, the demand gen expert from Focus.com recently asked me to participate in putting together the eBook, The Focus Experts Guide: Sales and Marketing Pipeline and Funnel.
Despite my whimsical title for this blog article (little link-baiting), the eBook is full of industry expert's takes on today's sales and marketing's demand gen and selling flow -- the path from universe to prospect to client. I took a different approach to the discussion, and came up with the concept of a Demand Gen Cloud:
With the advent of Social, Sales and Marketing 2.0 techniques and tools, optimized Inbound Marketing strategies, and a much more sophisticated buyer, the days of a funnel are gone.
Buyers put themselves in the funnel where they want to be. They jump around. The influence of content and word of mouth jumps them from side to side to back and down again.
The demand gen funnel is now in the cloud. As marketers, we must constantly measure the status of the cloud and make adjustments. Combine strategies and tactics in order to maximize our results.
Harness the chaos to our advantage. Control the Demand Gen Cloud.
Get the eBook and read what these other experts had to say about Pipelines and Funnels:
Ardath Albee, CEO and B2B Marketing Strategist at Marketing Interactions
Michael Brenner, Director of Online/Social Media at SAP North America
Michael Damphousse, CEO/CMO of Green Leads LLC
Christopher Doran, VP of Marketing at Manticore Technology
Barbra Gago, Social Media Manager of Cloud9 Analytics
Steve Gershik, CEO of 28Marketing
Sue Hay, CEO of BeWhys Marketing Inc.
Matt Heinz, Principal at Heinz Marketing LLC
Carlos Hidalgo, President of The Annuitas Group
Jon Miller, Vice President of Marketing at Marketo
Adam Needles, VP of Demand Generation Strategy at Left Brain Marketing
Tom Scearce, Principal at Scearce Market Development
Matt West, Director of Marketing at Genius.com
Steve Woods, Chief Technology Officer of Eloqua
Written by Craig Rosenberg - The Funnelholic
Get the eBook here: The Focus Experts Guide: Sales and Marketing Pipeline and Funnel.
Today I'm attending New Marketing Lab's Inbound Marketing Summit at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro (killer spot for a conference, btw).
Highlight of the day is always Chris Brogan's down to earth, almost "stand up" quality talks. He is always insightful, practical, and spot on with his delivery.
I thought it would be useful to create a Twitter List of the #IMS10 Speakers.
Here you go: http://twitter.com/damphoux/ims10-speakers
|Alex Beauchamp, Citrix Online
|Alex Howard, O'Reilly Media
|Amber Naslund, Radian6
|Audrey McClelland, Mom Generations
|Benjamin Diggles, Webtrends
|Bernie Borges, Find & Convert
|Bettina Hein, Pixability
|Brad Blake, Office of Governor Deval Patrick
|Brian Halligan, Hubspot
|Byron White, ideaLaunch
|C.C. Chapman, Digital Dads
|Chris Brogan, New Marketing Labs
|Claire Spina-Russell, PerkettPR
|David Meerman Scott, Freshspot Marketing
|Deb Orton, SAS
|Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot
|Erica Brookes, Vitrue
|Erica McClenny, Expion
|Gail Goodman, Constant Contact
|Greg Cangialosi, Blue Sky Factory
|Jamus Driscoll, Demandware
|Jeanne Connon, Daily Grommet
|Jess Weiss, Office of Governor Deval Patrick
|John Doyle, Alure Home Improvements
|John Jantsch, Duct Tape Marketing
|Justin Levy, New Marketing Labs
|Kiki Mills, MITx
|Lisa Horner, Citrix Online
|Maria Pergolino, Marketo
|Mark Chaves, SAS
|Matt Cutler, Visible Measures
|Michael Damphousse, Green Leads
|Michael Pranikoff, PR Newswire
|Michael Weiss, Imagistic
|Mike Schneider, Allen & Gerritsen
|Nichole Kelly, CareOne Services
|Pamela Meek, SAS
|Patrick Attallah, 90:10 Group
|Patti Fousek, Mind Search Marketing
|Paul Gillin, Paul Gillin Communications
|Pawan Deshpande, HiveFire
|Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz
|Ric Pratte, JitterJam
|Robbie Vorhaus, Vorhaus & Company
|Robert Brosnan, Seton Hall University
|Ron West, PaperThin
|Sal Ferro, Alure Home Improvements
|Scott Stratten, Un-Marketing
|Steve Garfield, SteveGarfield.com
|Tim Hayden, Blue Clover Studios
|Tim Washer, Cisco
|Tom Webster, Edison Research
|Valeria Maltoni, Powered
|Vern Imrich, Percussion Software
|Wayne Sutton, TriOut
If I missed someone or they made a last minute change in speakers, let me know and I'll update the list.
As many of you would expect, Green Leads consumes prospect lists at a rate that far exceeds most outbound marketing efforts. With over 30 clients running their appointment setting programs through us, having volumes of accurate contact names is essential to our business. As a result, we've got licenses with Jigsaw, OneSource and NetProspex, and we use LinkedIn and other contact discovery services. We love them all and use them all in parallel.
NetProspex recently shined when we heard about the new addition to their service. Users can search on meta-data of specific attributes at companies such as what software system their organization is using, for instance Salesforce.com, NetSuite or Oracle.
This is such a HUGE addition to the world of data services. I asked NetProspex what the future is for additional attribute data like this.
"We've always been a big proponent of metadata. NetProspex has the most job title meta-data in the industry so that instead of only being able to target broad categories like 'Marketing,' you can get really granular and target specific job categories like 'Advertising' or 'Product Management.' We are also investing heavily in social media and our future plans have it front and center. We launched SocialStep -- the first social media prospecting and appending service earlier this year. The interest level -- from customers, the media and even the general public -- has been greater than for any product we've ever launched," shared Mark Feldman, COO of NetProspex.
General NetProspex highlights:
- User-contributed data
- In-house data verification ensures high accuracy
- Customizable list-building tools where users can manage multiple projects and list variations
- Job title search that is based on more than department and keywords -- there are 100+ functions to help you zero in on the specific function you are looking for. See the breakdown to the right just for Marketing contacts. This is much more granular than the competition.
- Pricing is similar to the other services. You can trade contacts for credit, or purchase credits, and there are corporate licenses available.
Smashmouth Rating: Thumbs Up!
What features, tips and best practices can you share?
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?
Sometimes I think George Lucas just didn’t “get it” when he made the Star Wars prequels. You know, the “other” Star Wars movies? He had made the greatest trilogy in the world in Star Wars
, The Empire Strikes Back
, and Return of the Jedi
. For years, with fans clamoring for more movies, Lucas said that either he wasn’t ready to make them or the technology in cinematography just wasn’t ready. Then stars aligned and he was ready to make the rest of his story; three movies to be set before Episode IV (1977), to tell the story of how things led up to where they did. To fans of the original trilogy, Lucas fell woefully short with Episodes I-III. He didn’t get that what made the original movies was story, not special effects. Sure, the newer movies had better effects, but the end result was miserable.
If you’ve spent any amount of time on Twitter, specifically in the B2B Sales and Marketing arena, you’re sure to see some people on there that deliver fantastic information. This is information that I’m very thankful for, as are my colleagues in the industry. However, with all of the good, there are still some on Twitter who just don’t “get it.” I’d like to share with you some ideas on how you can “get it” and keep yourself from becoming a Demand Gen Twit:
- Remember, it’s not always about you -- If there’s one thing that burns me up about Twitter, it's the people who are shameless self-promoters. SHAMELESS. Twitter is a great self-promotion tool, however, it’s an even better word-of-mouth tool. It’s one thing to tweet about something you’ve done or your most recent blog entry, but it’s another if someone else does it for you. What does that mean for you? It means you’ve got to be writing great content. Keep in mind what Chris Brogan says: “[promote] the heck out of others”
- Start the conversation -- One of the best parts about Twitter is the ability to have long-running conversations with a bunch of people. That’s a great way to share new ideas (and get some, too) while keeping in mind my first point. Get involved and get people talking. A number of people do this well; and for a great example, check out Mack Collier’s blog chat (#blogchat) that occurs most Sunday nights.
- Learn -- If there’s one thing that I love about Twitter, it’s that for the most part the folks that “get it” share a wealth of new information -- new information that is relevant to you because others finding and sharing it have similar interests to you. The opportunity to have great content and data at my fingertips, throughout any part of my day, is exciting for me. The more you read, the more you’ll be able to share, and the more you share, the more you’ll keep yourself from becoming another Twit.
There are a lot of ways to be a better B2B tweeter, and these ideas are for me as much as they are for you (maybe even more so). So, help me keep the conversation going, and share with the rest us some other ways we can keep from being a Twit.Photo Credit: PhotoJonny via Flickr
It's amazing that there's so much great content out there surrounding demand generation and B2B sales and marketing! Here are a few that stand out to the Smashmouth crowd from last week:
Are Your Inside Sales Reps Good Detectives? A guest post on AG Salesworks' Sales Prospecting Perspectives blog provided an interesting comparison to inside sales reps and detectives. The author likens his approach to that of Columbo and collects as much detail from his prospects as he can.
"I find that people are willing to share one more thing with me in order to get me off the phone. This one thing may turn into a longer conversation that could bring out more pains and needs from the prospect and in time, turning this ‘not interested’ person into an opportunity for our clients."
Whatever You Do, Don't Do This During a Sales Meeting. Jill Konrath, sales strategist and author of SNAP Selling, has an article on ScLoHo's Collective Wisdom blog about limiting the amount of time you speak during a sales call and keeping quiet during that most critical meeting -- replacing your competitor!
"Top sellers realize that replacing an incumbent is a slow, deliberate process. They understand it takes time to demonstrate value and develop strong relationships. Knowing this, they put together a one-step-at-a-time account-entry strategy that advances the sales process much faster than if they tried to do everything in a single call."
7 Fluff-Free Reasons Your Online Content Isn't Spreading. David Siteman Garland, author and entrepreneur from The Rise to the Top website, wrote a guest post over at inbound marketing evangelist HubSpot's blog. Garland shares some great thoughts as to why your content may not be as aflame as you'd like it to be.
"Normally there isn’t just one answer and it isn’t black-and-white. Some things directly matter and others go a little bit deeper with more abstract, yet equally important ideas like trust and authority. But, everything adds up."
Like I said, there's a lot of great information out there; what would you have added from the week?
Photo Credit: steve.wilde via Flickr