Another fantastic SiriusDecisions Summit wrapped up this morning, following three days of great content and connections.
A true recap of the event would require more than a blog post, and there are several themes, trends and B2B frameworks I’ll write about more specifically in the coming weeks.
For now, here are a few things I’m thinking about before heading to the airport.
You often need to put your self in harm’s way to succeed
General Stanley McChrystal spoke Wednesday about leadership, and gave numerous inspiring examples of how great leaders know that proactively engaging in conflict often is the path to success. You can’t succeed or innovate by taking the safe route. That’s rarely where opportunity lies.
Sales & marketing should share not just goals, but anxiety as well
It’s one thing to have a joint set of metrics, and common definitions of qualified leads and such. It’s quite another thing to ride the rollercoaster together. If marketing can’t sleep at the end of the month and quarter, then they’re starting to “share the terror” of the sales process as well. It’s not always fun, but it’s a great way to ensure all parties are aligned around and focused on what it takes to win.
Sales is a partner, not a customer, of marketing
Too often marketing is seen as a service bureau for the sales organization. And while it’s true that successful B2B marketing organizations are supporting the sales effort, they should be doing that as an equal partner, not a subservient customer. That’s a big difference in both approach and execution, and can be key to driving the kind of collaboration required to succeed in more crowded & complex marketplaces.
Social still has a loooong way to go
Social selling was addressed this week, but lightly. It was clear that most companies are still struggling to figure out how to define, execute and scale a true social selling strategy that isn’t run by the PR team, isn’t just focused on followers & likes, and isn’t treated as a disparate, disconnected part of the demand generation plan.
Audience-centric content was the underlying theme in most sessions
Almost every session explicitly or implicitly talked about the vital role content has in fueling success of B2B demand engines for companies of all shapes and sizes. Too often we create content for ourselves, and not for the intended audience. All content needs to be audience-centric, no matter which part of the demand funnel it’s serving.
Stories and case studies are critical to bring this stuff to life
The best presentations, even with the most complex frameworks, worked well because they were coupled with examples, stories, use cases and even theoretical scenarios that helped us take theory and understand how it might look in practice. this is a critical skill for sales & marketing professionals in all contexts. Stories get your audience to engage, help them understand, and make it easier to take action.
Even enterprises need to dumb it down sometimes
I loved that Dell uses spreadsheets to help manage their campaigns and determine next steps. Why? Because sometimes the best solution isn’t the right solution. There are far better ROI and measurement tools than Excel, but sometimes the ideal scenario can take far too long to choose and implement. Sometimes the fastest, easiest tool is the best tool.