The Second Step to Marketing Greatness in 2015 – Content Marketing

hör mir zuBy Robert Pease, CMO Practice Lead for Heinz Marketing

This is part two in an eight-part series on the keys to marketing greatness in 2015.  Part one focused on demand generation.

in 2015 and leading up to our webinar on November 6 where we will cover them in detail, today we are covering the topic of Content Marketing.

Content is the lifeblood of the modern sales cycle with prospects gathering and consuming information earlier in the process then ever before.  Your content needs to be able to stand alone without the assistance of a sales representative yet still achieve the desired end state when it is consumed be that the next piece of content or direct engagement in a buying process.

What you provide and how is definitely important but more important is mapping your content marketing efforts to the buyer’s journey and the personas that navigate it.  This is easier said than done with differences in the ways people buy and even who is involved in the purchase decision.

Focus on the persona and tailor your content to them are great rules of thumb.  Always write or create with this profile in mind and anticipate what the next question or concern might be.  Avoid being too salesy or writing rigid marketing copy.  Rather focus on the conversation and realize, especially in more complex B2B buying scenarios, that there will many points of engagement before a decision is made.  Make the most of each of those opportunities with great content that is tightly targeted at defined audiences and carries your message clearly.

Now that you understand these dimensions of the sales and marketing content equation focus on optimizing “how” content is consumed.

Short videos, shareable links, visual ebooks all map to consumer content consumption behaviors.  We watch our activity stream in Facebook with images, videos, and other quickly actionable inputs so where appropriate map your content development efforts to this model.

Track and measure how your content is used and even what pieces contribute to accelerating a prospect through the sales cycle to closed customer.  This closed loop view is rare but understand that the whole reason you are creating content is to drive interest at the top of the funnel and remove friction as a prospect journeys through buying decision in the sales pipeline.

Know what works where and design sales playbooks to give your sales team the best odds of having meaningful engagement and shortened sales cycles.

Join us November 6th for more on this and seven more keys to marketing domination in 2015.

Everything the light touches is content

everything the light touchesTwo weeks ago Ann Handley joined us in Seattle for two amazing events, in part to promote her new book Everybody Writes.  I still think it’s one of the most important content marketing books I’ve ever read, not only because it encourage everybody (no matter your background or skill set) to become better writers, but it also significantly expands what most people consider to be content.

To reinforce that last point, Ann’s presentation featured a still image from the original animated movie The Lion King, in which a young Simba sits atop a cliff with his father overlooking their kingdom.  The line Ann plays off of from the movie (“Everything light touches is your kingdom”) clearly applies to what content is as well.

Think about it, well beyond your next blog post or white paper or video.

That email you’ll write in a few minutes?  It’s content.

The copy you throw onto your product order form? Content.

The chochkie you choose for your next trade show?  How you choose to decorate your office or cubicle? What’s included in your email signature? How you answer the phone?

All content.  All opportunities to impress and motivate and mobilize your customers and prospects.

It’s often the content we don’t typically think of as content that becomes our weak point.  That diminishes the value and strength of our overall message and brand.

All of it matters. All of it is content.

Matt’s App of the Week: theSkimm

appoftheweek-300x284This is the latest in a series of weekend posts highlighting a wide variety of applications we think are pretty cool. Most have to do with sales, marketing and productivity. Check out past featured apps here.

I have my morning reading rituals.  I’m a big fan of the daily Quartz email, I scan the Wall Street Journal and New York Times email headlines, and have a handful of other morning news summaries (Digg, SmartBrief, etc.) I look at if I have time.

But very quickly, the first and most important of those has become theSkimm.

It’s a fast read.  Very well and entertainingly written.  It summarizes the key news, why it’s important, and what people think about it.

If you want to sound smart at the water cooler, or just get the gist of the overnight news in about two minutes, theSkimm is for you.

Worth a look.

B2B Reads: Productivity Powerhouse & Dreamforce Takeaways

best-blogsIn addition to our Sunday App of the Week feature, we also summarize some of our favorite B2B sales & marketing posts from around the Web each week. We’ll miss a ton of great stuff, so if you found something you think is worth sharing please add it to the comments below.

In the meantime, here’s some of what we’re reading:

Top 4 reasons a great salesperson can fail at your company
Have you ever hired a great salesperson who still failed? Most people have. Here are some reasons why. Great stuff Dave Kurlan.

5 presentation mistakes not to make
Presentations can be highly successful with a strong delivery and powerful design. Make sure all of your boxed are checked so you can ensure a successful deliver to your audience. Thanks Scott Schwertly.

3 steps to help you find the best time to send email messages
There are so many different things to worry about with email marketing. Have you been focusing enough time on making sure you send your email at the right time? Great advice Janelle Johnson!

44 apps that turn your smartphone into a productivity powerhouse (infographic)
No one goes anywhere anymore without their smartphone. Instead of only using it for social, why not try one of these apps to boost your productivity. Of course, there’s an app for that. Good stuff Geoff Weiss.

What is not a buying signal
There is a lot of confusion around what is a buying signal and what isn’t. What do you consider a buying signal? Does it matter where it came from? Thanks Anthony Iannarino.

7 popular content marketing myths you need to stop following
There are a lot of different notions about what you should be doing with content marketing. Some of them might not be the right tactic for you. Check it out. Thanks Neil Patel!

Let’s fix it: kill the weekly meeting
Are you wasting valuable time in meetings? If your productivity levels are declining, your weekly meeting might need to be re-evaluated. Good point Jeff Denneen.

The sales pro’s semi-colossal guide to social selling
Social selling has become a big deal in the seven or eight years. Here’s a whole guide dedicated to all things social enjoy. Thanks Alyson Stone.

Why listening communities belong in your marketing strategy
Have you ever been in a meeting with those people that just don’t stop talking? Don’t be like them. Take advantage of listening and you might find some hidden gems. Good stuff Vanessa Dimauro.

5 marketing takeaways from Dreamforce 2014
Downtown San Francisco was taken over this last week by Dreamforce attendees. Here are just five great marketing takeaways from the event. Thanks Cami Winding!

The First Step to Marketing Greatness in 2015 – Demand Generation

Nike_Find_Your_Greatness_Diver_largeBy Robert Pease, CMO Practice Lead for Heinz Marketing

As we roll into the 4th quarter of 2014, the days get shorter, the leaves are changing colors, and it is time to take inventory on how you can improve your marketing efforts in 2015.

We believe a continual assessment of marketing objectives and outcomes defines a high performance business and have developed a frame of reference for any company to use to analyze current performance, identify areas of improvement, and build out a roadmap to success.

We’ll be going into detail on the 8 Keys to Marketing Greatness in 2015 webinar on November 6 and will be discussing each of the 8 here on the blog as we approach the event.

The first topic we’ll examine is Demand Generation and the elements that make for best in class customer acquisition machine.

How you find, engage, and convert prospects is a core marketing activity in any organization.  Regardless of your business, you need to think through elements of both inbound marketing and outbound marketing tactics.  When deployed together and targeted at the right audience you will see results in your sales funnel.

The key is to understand what the buyer’s journey looks like and how you can best enable it.  Where do your target prospects get information, how do they like research products or services, do you have the right mix of content that anticipates the questions that come up in the sales process?

Knowing in detail who you are trying to reach and the dynamics of how they purchase is essential.  Is the “user buyer” the same as the “economic buyer?”  Does one person make a decision or many?  Answers to these questions guide the strategy and tactics around the campaigns used at the top, middle, and bottom of the sales funnel.

Once in place, do you have good measurements in place to understand conversion rates, sales-accepted leads, what contributes to forecast sales opportunities and what actually contributes to revenue?

Focus your demand generation activities on your target persona, use a blend of inbound and outbound tactics to reach them, and measure each step of the way and you’ll be on your way to marketing greatness in 2015.

Join us November 6th for more on this and seven more keys to marketing domination in 2015.

“How I Work”: Lisa Gschwandtner, Editorial Director – Selling Power

LisaG_2

“How I Work” is one of my favorite recurring features in Inc Magazine as well as via Lifehacker’s This Is How I Work Series, and recently several sales experts (including  Anthony IannarinoDave Brock and Trish Bertuzzi) participated as well.

Periodically moving forward we will feature a new B2B sales, marketing or business leader here answering what have become the standard “How I Work” questions.  You can catch up on everyone we’ve featured thus far in the “How I Work” series here.

This week I’m excited to feature Lisa Gschwandtner, Editorial Director for Selling Power Magazine.  Lisa is an incredible writer, managing a large team of writers and contributors for the magazine and Web site, and is helping the company drive participation in several Sales 2.0 Conferences each year.

She manages an editorial team, social activity, coordination with the business team and advertisers, as well as sales industry influencers on a daily basis. Lisa, suffice it to say, gets stuff done.  Here, in her own words, is how she works.

Location:  Oakland, California

Current computers:  MacBook Pro

Current mobile devices:  An iPhone 5 (2-3 software updates behind) and an iPad (version ????)

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

  • Google Drive
  • Twenty Cubed  — Chrome extension that reminds me to look away from my computer screen every 20 minutes (which I ALWAYS DO or at least that’s what I tell my eye doctor)
  • LastPass  — to generate “stronger” (?? supposedly but who are we kidding the hackers are coming for us no matter what) passwords and keep track of them because I have lost years of my life to resetting passwords
  • Postagram  — one of my favorite iPhone apps!
  • Hootsuite
  • aText

What’s your workspace like?  On my walls:

1) this framed photograph taken by my very talented photographer friend Neil Maclean

2) a framed line drawing by my very talented artist friend Lisa Marie Thalhammer

3) a painting of a teapot by Paula Rose (who is also very talented but I don’t know her)

4) various pictures and postcards and notes and things

My biggest organizational goal is to know where my headset is at all times so I’m not late dialing in to conference calls.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack?  5-20 minute breaks during the day for a walk or some yoga. I love Esther Ekhart’s yoga videos!  Also, aText is great. It helps me avoid typing the same words/phrases/emails by auto-completing words, sentences, and full paragraphs. I don’t know if it actually saves that much time but it FEELS like I’m saving a lot of time, which is just as important.

What everyday thing are you better at than anybody else?  Instagramming sunsets. Boarding a plane according to my assigned group like a decent human being.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?  I am so grateful to our operations manager, Courtney, for creating a spreadsheet to track all our editorial projects. She and I review this once a week and I also use it to prioritize my to-do list.

What do you listen to while at work?  Playlists on Songza (I like Classical for Studying)

What are you currently reading?  I just finished The Post-Office Girl by Stefan Zweig. A beautiful novel with a VERY surprising ending

What’s your sleep routine like?  Shut off all electronics by 10. Read. Fall asleep. Wake up in the AM feeling energetic and confident.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?   “Do not waste your time on people who have shown you they mean no good for you.” — Oprah

Anything else you want to add?  Thank you for inviting me to participate!

Fill in the Blank: I’d love to see BLANK answer these questions.

Awesome Business Owner:  Anneke Seley
Person I’m Frequently Mistaken For, Especially Over Email:  Larissa Gschwandtner
One of My Top Three Favorite Salespeople:  Steve Hawes
Famous Person:  John Oliver
Reclusive Author:  Donna Tartt
Joke Person:  Abraham Lincoln

Social selling from the trenches: A quota-killer shares all

socialsellinghypeToday’s guest post is from Philip Bokan, regional sales director for RainKing.  He’s a no-nonsense but very successful enterprise sales professional, and I was fascinated with how he’s interpreted and leveraged the social selling opportunity in combination with “traditional” sales techniques to consistently hit his number.

Social Media can be an instrument of good in your career, but it can also backfire. This all depends on how you play it. I’ve been an astute user of social media since it came about and have seen much more sales damage through others’ behavior than good.

A few weeks ago, I met with some former coworkers for drinks. A lot of time has passed and at one point we were competing in the marketing sales tools space. Amongst all the laughs of how it “used to be” we got on the topic of social media. “Social selling”, specifically. We got on a topic that I couldn’t tell them when we were competitors; it was an eye opener for them.

Me: “Wow… you guys gave away everything. I knew every prospect that your firm was working with due to your tweets.”

Them: “Uhhh, yea, we didn’t even realize it at the time.”

I firmly believe there is not one ounce of selling product involved in effective Social Selling, but rather it’s more about selling yourself (brand) and minding your business/protecting your own interests.

When Twitter started to be prominent as a marketing device and potential lead channel, sales reps in the beginning all thought they were doing their prospects a favor by tweeting complementary messages or even retweeting interesting content. What the majority of people didn’t realize is that they were actually opening up their playbook. “Look at me” has never been more prevalent and annoying in the social forum. However, there are still some valuable lessons you can learn from social listening.

I’ve spoken with hundreds of reps at Fortune 500 companies and they all say the same thing. They “hope” they can get something from social selling, but haven’t seen an order as a result yet. Pretty sure they are all still waiting. You won’t win, but can easily lose a deal and an exponential amount more (ie. your job, family life, etc, which is a different topic altogether) if you aren’t mindful.

So while “social selling experts” are pandering to executives, trying to push this snake-oil, it brings me back to watching a close college friend. There was one particular night that said friend called this girl he met briefly at the bar, 27 times in one evening, thinking it will get him somewhere… ANYWHERE! Messaging today is out in the open for everyone to see, always remember that.

My personal do’s and don’ts:

Twitter.

Twitter is great forum to tap into potential synergies with the people you want to sell to. Finding that common bond can be powerful; perhaps your prospect loves the Pittsburgh Steelers, cheers for the Duke Blue Devils, maybe likes adventure sports or you can find other commonalities. These are always good ways to build personal bridges and add color to personalize your facetime with them.

Tweet approved topics from your place of business. If you work for a public company you can potentially (negatively) influence areas that you have no business talking about. Accidentally speak on a subject that can swing revenue in a bad direction, there can be a lot of collateral damage, from which you may end up in a legal issue.

Do not tweet directly to executives asking for their time. You may be able to engage them on a topic, but don’t overstep that engagement publicly.

Tweetjack.

Tweet smartly timed messaging countering a competitor’s message, without saying anything negative. We all have particularly aggressive competitors that don’t “play fair”. Don’t be afraid to leverage their messaging against them, in a respectful way.

Mind your tone.

This one is tough. Twitter is the snarkiest arena in social; it can be fun to spar. Since you can never tell the tone in an email, it’s fair to assume that someone will always misread what you posted or make an assumption of tone.

Listen with your eyes, not your fingers.

A complementary tool like TweetDeck allows you to follow multiple topics and companies, without actually following them. Smart competitors can see who you follow and may make assumptions on your client base. That’s the paranoid sales guy in me speaking, but it’s also an unfortunate reality.

Tweet at your own risk.

You can never take it back, ever. Say the wrong thing and you can be fired. This goes way beyond tone and is in a literal sense. Whatever you say is now out there, even if it’s been deleted, it’s not going anywhere… unless you work for the IRS. Kidding aside, future employers will also potentially see your messaging.

Some points on other useful social channel pitfalls:

Facebook.

I tend to steer clear on business topics if possible. Contributing to likes on company pushed info is legitimate. In my experience, people view this as a personal space and you are basically shilling if you do post business information on the facebooker outside of a company page… so tread lightly.

Google+.

Fire away on posting business topics. It’s a true public forum on the Googlemachine, you can privatize your personal messaging and compartmentalize your work life balance.

LinkedIn

The dreaded roundfile. Ever happen to look over a power Executive’s shoulder at their Linkedin header?

They probably have many more than the 90 unopened InMails. Always assume that a LinkedIn message will not reach your target. With the overwhelming majority of email through LinkedIn going directly to peoples’ personal email, high probability that it may be sitting in with the countless other pieces of spam they receive.

LinkedIn is a valuable tool, the connections and correlations you can gain are immense.  But also keep in mind that this site was designed as a job board for recruiters. Of note on this subject, the phone number that is listed on someone’s LinkedIn page is often their personal number. Do not ever dial that number without permission.

Finally, Pick.Up.the.Damn.Phone.

When you see something interesting about one of your prospects (a funding event for their company, a promotion, them being featured somewhere socially), it’s a reason to call. In that process, complement them genuinely.

In my follow up emails, I will usually reference the post that I saw of them and even take a small screengrab and include it in that email. Being attentive and caring about your prospects helps to win business.  Like the classic Roosevelt quote states, “People don’t care how much you know until they know that you care”…. Truer now, than ever before.

In closing, your presence on social media is what you make of it. Listen carefully for hints on how you can speak in an educated fashion and personalize your interactions.

Be mindful, it’s easier to slit your own throat than you think. Social media is a great tool to personalize your interactions and the best mechanism to listen… just don’t assume you are winning anything with it. Nothing trumps value and benefit when you are speaking with your potential buyers. Small talk about personal preferences assists, but how you can make/save money and/or time is what your prospect really wants to hear.

4 Keys to Successful B2B Webinars (infographic)

Today’s post is provided by Amanda Nelson, Director of Marketing for RingLead.

Webinars are powerful tools for B2B marketers to connect and engage with potential and existing customers. But many B2B marketers struggle with webinars because they don’t know all the necessary steps to increase their webinar program success.

RingLead and Heinz Marketing put together the secrets of an excellent B2B webinar in this infographic below, based on Heinz Marketing’s great ebook available here. Here are the highlights.

1. Plan
Determine your desired outcomes, including goals, audience, call to action, etc. Approach webinars with a bias for action. Focus on achieving your goals versus being 100% perfect. Test different days of the week, times of day, and webinar lengths. Learn, improve, execute and keep going.

2. Execute
Focus on education, not selling. Don’t preach, teach! Compelling content will create interest. A webinar full of product demos will be an epic fail. Try polls, Q&A and other ways to interact with your audience live and in real time. This keeps them engaged and with you throughout the duration of the webinar.

3. Promote
Not everyone will be interested in your webinar topic, so segment you audience for promotion based on roles, industry, and previous levels of engagement with your content. Email is the workhorse for webinar promotion. Focus heavily on compelling subject lines and clear copy. Reach out on social channels, to colleagues and customers, and use your blog to share key webinar takeaways and highlights.

4. Follow Up
You’re not home free after your webinar concludes. Record it and post the video on YouTube, share the slides on Slideshare, and follow up with emails to attendees and those who registered but did not attend. Transcribe the video and use that content for future blog posts, ebooks and social posts. Include the video in your marketing automation nurture journey, and even use it for sales enablement.

Check out the infographic for a look at these 4 key steps to successful webinars.

 

Amanda Nelson - RingLeadAmanda Nelson is Director of Marketing at RingLead where she leads the content marketing strategy and execution. She has spent the last three years in content marketing and community management at salesforce.com and Radian6, and has a background in account management for interactive and full service advertising agencies. Follow her on Twitter at @amandalnelson.

Download this infographic.

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The 50 most influential people in the Dreamforce community #DF14

df14influencersLast year we published a list of the most influential 2013 Dreamforce attendees, and it generated a ton of discussion as well a little bit of controversy. Some of the smartest Salesforce users didn’t make the list, and others who claimed enormous networks of followers were left off as well.

So, of course, we decided to do it all again this year. Thanks to our friends at Little Bird, below is a ranking of the most influential people in the Dreamforce community. It’s compiled not by measuring likes and followers and activity, but rather is based on how active, influential and interactive these people are within the Dreamforce community itself.

This is an important distinction, and particularly valuable if you’re developing your own influencer strategy. You don’t want to just engage those with high follower counts. You want to engage those who have true credibility with their peers, who not only publish but respond and interact with others. You’re looking for those who have been authenticated and endorsed (by proxy of direct engagement) by others on the same list of influential people.

That’s why some of the brightest Salesforce.com MVPs aren’t on the list. It’s why high follower counts but low participation and “give back” scores won’t help you rank either.

The Little Bird platform has evolved significantly since we did the first version of this list last year. I encourage you to check out the short report from Heinz Marketing and Little Bird via SlideShare below for more detail on this year’s top 50 most influential Dreamforce attendees, which also details more of the methodology behind the list.

Interested in seeing how your personal or corporate brand relates to this list, and where you sit within the Dreamforce community directly? Click here and Little Bird will create your own personalized report highlighting where you’re likely to get the most traction among Dreamforce influencers & attendees this week.

The full “top 50″ list is below (you can also follow them all at once via the Twitter list here).

  1. Marc Benioff @Benioff
  2. Jeremiah Owyang @jowyang
  3. R Ray Wang @rwang0
  4. Charlie Isaacs @charlieisaacs
  5. Peter Coffee @petercoffee
  6. Jeff Grosse @CRMFYI
  7. Ann Handley @MarketingProfs
  8. Dan Darcy @dandarcy
  9. Christopher Penn @cspenn
  10. Mike Gerholdt @MikeGerholdt
  11. Paul Greenberg @pgreenbe
  12. Erica Kuhl @ericakuhl
  13. Geraldine Gray @GeraldineGray
  14. Marcus Nelson @marcusnelson
  15. Matt Heinz @heinzmarketing
  16. Michael Farrington @michaelforce
  17. Jill Rowley @jill_rowley
  18. Charlene Li @charleneli
  19. David Schach @dschach
  20. Becka Dente @sfdc_nerd
  21. Nick Hamm @hammnick
  22. Parker Harris @parkerharris
  23. Reid Carlberg @ReidCarlberg
  24. Matthew Lamb @SFDCMatt
  25. John Taschek @jtaschek
  26. Koka Sexton @kokasexton
  27. George Hu @GeorgeHuSF
  28. Narinder Singh @singhns
  29. Vala Afshar @ValaAfshar
  30. Zachary Jeans @ZacharyJeans
  31. Jon Miller @jonmiller
  32. Brandy Colmer @forceDotMom
  33. Michael Krigsman @mkrigsman
  34. Marcel LeBrun @lebrun
  35. Matt Brown @mattybme
  36. Adam Seligman @adamse
  37. Amber Boaz @amber9904
  38. Tristan Bishop @KnowledgeBishop
  39. Dave Carroll @dcarroll
  40. Kraig Swensrud @kswensrud
  41. Pat Patterson @metadaddy
  42. Jeff Douglas @jeffdonthemic
  43. Gordon Evans @GordonEvans
  44. Kevin Swiggum @KevinSwiggum
  45. Natalie Petouhoff @drnatalie
  46. Eric T. Tung @EricTTung
  47. Dharmesh Shah @dharmesh
  48. Kyle Lacy @kyleplacy
  49. Joshua Hoskins @jhoskins
  50. Laura Fitton @Pistachio

Maria’s App of the Week: Tellwise

appoftheweek-300x284This week’s app of the week is provided by Maria Geokezas, Director of Client Services at Heinz Marketing. Check out past featured apps here.

The Smart Way to Prospect

I spent two solid days this past week at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum. Along with the inspirational keynotes and educational sessions, I always appreciate the opportunity to walk the tradeshow floor and learn about new products and services. But, it’s hard to break the ice with the sales person that’s tethered to their booth.

Which got me thinking about Tellwise. If these sales reps had used Tellwise, it would have been easier for them to develop relationships with their prospects in advance of the show and get more people to engage with them at this event.

In the nature of full disclosure, Tellwise is a client of Heinz Marketing.  They didn’t ask me to feature them on our blog, but I believe in what they are doing and think sales people (and their prospects) could truly benefit from Tellwise’s approach.    

Tellwise makes it easier for sales people to turn prospects into relationships into business.

With Tellwise, sales people can connect with their customers and potential buyers via rich, content-heavy and personalized communications. It’s the perfect combination of content marketing and personalized sales communications.

To show you why Tellwise is so great – let’s compare two different situations.

The Current Sales Process

A typical sales rep will spend time to put together a text-heavy “are you ready to buy” solicitation email…. and then wait. For some kind of sign. The sales rep has no way of determining the prospect’s interest level, or if their email was even opened. It’s a very inefficient process that elongates the sales cycle unnecessarily.

The Tellwise Sales Process

The sales rep can very quickly put together a professional-looking, content-rich, personalized “Smart Message” for their prospects. When the prospect receives the email and accesses the content, the rep is alerted. The rep can see what piece of content a prospect is reading and engage with the prospect directly via an integrated instant message. The rep has immediate insights about the subject matter of interest as well as their prospects’ level of interest – creating a more relevant experience for the prospect and a more efficient sales process.

Tellwise allows the seller to engage in real time in a much lighter weight approach via instant message. As the sales process moves along, decision makers and SMEs can be added to the experience while the sales rep gets to stay in control of the experience. Objections and discussions can be addressed instantly. Tellwise even integrates with DocuSign so that when the time comes, an electronic contract can be dropped into the environment.

But don’t take my word for it. Check them out for yourself: www.Tellwise.com