(Here is the first takeaway if you missed it.)
The B2B marketer’s role is no longer just getting prospects “sales ready”
The modern marketer’s role is to help “sales convert at a higher rate,” says Nancy Nardin, Founder of Smart Selling Tools and the host of “Evolving from Demand Gen to Revenue Gen” with panelists Brian Vass of Paycor and Susana Landiera of Microsoft. Gone are the days when marketing would just bring in MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads), and pass the baton to sales when the leads become SALs (Sales Accepted Leads). The modern marketer now has a much greater influence through content and programming that would help shorten the gap between SAL and a closed sale.
There are many ways that marketers can do through various sales/marketing alignment approaches. One way is ABM, Account-Based Marketing. You can’t throw a rock and not expect to hit one at this year’s B2B/C2C Conference.
Sydney Sloan, CMO of of Alfresco, breaks down her company’s strategy in “5 Critical Steps in Creating the ideal ABM Program” and it’s a great one to model after, if you’re wondering how ABM looks like in action:
- They created Agile Teams for ABM with representatives from Sales, Product Marketing, Campaigns, Digital Team
- Laid down the framework: Who are the target four personas? What’s our messaging?
- Met every week to progress the MVP (minimum viable prospecting) project(s). They looked at the accounts that they wanted to go after, what content pieces would be suitable (white paper or webcast?), figured out how they could personalize web experiences
- Every quarter, they would conduct account reviews with all stakeholders and go over the reception of their campaigns: leads, views, which accounts are being contacted, etc
Results from their MVP
- Content conversion: 30%, Views jumped from 500 to 2800 views on the page. Banner ads conversion rate: 1.65%
- Looked at the final sales numbers man than marketing’s sourcing %. Sydney says, “It doesn’t matter if you’re sourcing 50%, but if you’re not winning, then it doesn’t matter”
- Used tools to go over data, contact, and account plan.
- Measured Program impact by the number of target accounts registered for marketing programs, not just registered leads. Less people. Higher quality.
- Looked at the growth of top accounts, deal velocity, customer satisfaction, etc
Whether it’s ABM, or any other sales/marketing alignment tactics you are employing, the key is to not look at marketing programs as information you’re communicating, but rather, insights that speak deeply to your account’s personal pain points, to make easier for them to buy in, or to sell up to the decision-makers of their companies.
Remember the human on the other end!
Technology helps, a lot. But in the end, we are marketing and selling to humans. Yes I work for a company that offers AI-powered assistants to engage with leads, but we are transparent about our AI’s limitations, and ultimately know that it’s our human sales teams — who picks up the baton of communicating to leads, once they’re ready to talk — that will make the kind of connection that wins sales.
Jonah Berger, the author of “Contagious”, reminds us that most word-of-mouth is face-to-face. Only 7% of word-of-mouth is from social media. Technology platforms will change, but what will remain constant the human interactions that happen offline. So the question we have to ask is, what makes human beings want to share? According to Berger, it’s these two things:
- People share if they can be seen as smart, special, or in-the-know. We’re all human and we like the social currency that offers this to us.
- Top of mind means tip of tongue. Do they think about you? Why do we always think about Coronas when we think of sandy beaches. Jelly when we think of Peanut? These brands have very successful in creating “triggers” that wires us to keep them in mind. So what’s the trigger for your product?
In Scott Donaton’s (DigtasLBi) session, “Bypass Boring: B2B Storytelling For A Bite-sized World,” he says that marketers try to appeal to the rational brain, but “the fastest way to the human mind is through stories.”
Unsure what your story is? Go back to your WHY. What role does your product play in people’s lives?
John Deere, an American manufacturing company that specializes in agricultural, construction, and forestry machinery went back to their WHY when they came out with this advertising series — connecting humans with their tools. To John Deere, the well-made tools are not of value without the strength of their human counterparts that operate them.
That concludes my 3 takeaways from the B2B/C2C Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. Here is the first takeaway if you missed it.
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