Monday, July 26, 2010

Strategies For Staying Relevant During The Sales & Marketing Revolution

By Lisa Arthur, CMO, Aprimo
The sales and marketing disciplines are both in the midst of extraordinary change. So, as marketers, we now face a major dilemma:  drive change or become irrelevant. Old practices and processes just aren’t enough anymore.

Pressure to generate more qualified leads, deliver ROI and, at the same time, integrate our departments, our data and our channels — all in the face of shrinking budgets and a lagging economy — are forcing sales and marketing to reinvent the way we do our jobs. And the way we work together.

For example, sales and marketing departments today are forced to do more with less, necessitating better partnerships with each other to ensure joint goals are met. Sales and marketing both sign up for a revenue goal and both are tasked with generating demand — lead generation isn’t just a responsibility for marketing and revenue isn’t just a responsibility for sales. As our teams become more integrated, we are each taking on greater responsibility and challenging traditional ways of thinking. We need to innovate together. We need to be accountable to the bottom line. And, as always, we need to raise awareness, communicate with the buyer and generate leads as well.

New approaches to generating leads and driving business growth make us directly responsible for the success of our companies, and marketing today is about more than supporting the sales effort, just as sales is about more than  selling a product or service. Our roles are to facilitate the buying process and influence buying decisions, and in today’s multi-channel environment that means we must equip our buyers and consumers with information and empower them to take control of the brand. It’s about engaging the consumer in two-way conversational campaigns.  And, it’s about whether sales and marketing departments are engaging via these new channels or watching from the sidelines.

Even the way we undertake our most fundamental objectives has expanded.  For example, go to market can no longer be about mass targeting and one size fits all.  We need to segment markets — something both marketing and sales have traditionally resisted. We need to leverage segmentation to create an integrated marketing and sales approach that aligns relevant messages and value props and creates offers and sales follow-ups accordingly. Relevance is in. Siloed demand generation is out.

In addition to improving integration and facilitating the customer experience, sales and marketing must also be more accountable. We can no longer afford to waste money, people and time pouring over spreadsheets and disparate data in an attempt to prove ROI. Yet, we can’t ignore ROI, either. In today’s business climate, proving ROI is essential, and to do so, we have to automate the science of proving marketing ROI and integrating measurements across all channels, not just the easy ones. Times have changed, and marketers no longer need to run from crunching numbers, just as sales teams aren’t meeting every customer by traveling door-to-door. Today’s heads of sales and marketing often have seats in the boardroom and are just as responsible for results as the CEO and the CFO.

At Aprimo, we’re embracing all that’s changing in marketing and sales. And what’s more, we’re working with CMOs and marketers around the globe to actually drive the change.  Last summer, we worked with a market research firm to survey hundreds of marketers about what is important to them in the field of marketing.  We then continued this work at a customer event we hosted earlier this year in Texas, where we gathered together some truly revolutionary marketing leaders to discuss what’s happening in the field today. Over the course of this research, two things became clear: First, we realized that the marketing function must change or risk becoming irrelevant. And second, we realized that in order for marketers to evolve towards that new function, certain guiding principles are vital.

From these discussions, our customers helped us identify “The Imperatives of the Marketing Revolution,” 10 bold steps to help marketers navigate the changing role of marketing while providing a holistic view of best practices from the marketers themselves who are leading this revolution.

The first Imperative, “Marketing Must Be Accountable,” discusses how marketers can lead the revolution within their own organizations. It is our responsibility to take control of our brands to modernize, simplify, integrate and engage.  In this first Imperative, industry leaders, including Harvard Business School marketing professor John Quelch and others at leading BtoC and BtoB brands, offer their advice on how to foster better marketing practices within your organization.

Future topics will cover a variety of today’s hot-button topics, such as the impact of the CMO, consumers’ ability to take control of brands, customer engagement and balancing and managing multichannel approaches to marketing.

Ultimately, the goal of “The Imperatives of the Marketing Revolution” series is to provide advice and commentary from marketers, to marketers. In order to ensure that Aprimo is addressing every aspect of the marketing landscape and making sure that real-world marketers’ voices are heard, I invite marketers from every industry, at every level and from every marketing medium to share their opinions and take part in the conversation.

I want to hear your thoughts on how the sales and marketing industries are changing. What do you think marketers must do to adapt and succeed? To join the discussion and help lead the marketing revolution, please visit:

As Aprimo’s Chief Marketing Officer, Lisa Arthur drives global market and brand strategy, demand generation and customer-centric initiatives. Arthur has served as CMO for Internet leader Akamai Technologies and B2B2C application provider Mindjet. Arthur spent nearly 7 years at Oracle where she managed the market entry and growth for Oracle CRM. Most recently, as the founder for Cinterim, Arthur applied her market-centric processes and insight to provide strategic counsel for Silicon Valley start-ups and Fortune 50 technology companies. Arthur is a seasoned keynote speaker addressing diverse topics at Web 2.0, Office 2.0, American Marketing Association (AMA) Strategy Confer­ence, Stanford University and MIT Sloan CMO Summit.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

“SNAP Selling” Author Talks New Rules of Selling to Crazy-Busy Prospects

The time-starved buyer needs to be particularly nurtured, and the rules are getting “snappy” for marketers to message quickly and efficiently.

Recently we interviewed sales strategist Jill Konrath about her new number Amazon sales book, “SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales & Win More Business with Today's Frazzled Customers.” Konrath’s first book, “Selling to Big Companies,” was selected a "must read" by Fortune magazine. We caught up with Konrath for more details how customers think and the “Buyer’s Matrix.”

DemandGen Report: SNAP Selling offers 4 SNAP rules to effectively improve business, which have been drawn from your years of selling experience. Can you briefly describe them for the DemandGen Report audience?

Jill Konrath: Today's crazy-busy prospects evaluate every single interaction with salespeople by asking these four questions: Is this relevant? How urgent is it? Does this person provide value? And, will it take lots of effort?

If the seller adequately addresses these concerns, the conversation continues and the sale advances. If not, they get deleted and opportunities get derailed. That's why it's imperative to always follow these new SNAP rules of selling.

Rule 1: Keep It Simple
Complexity grinds busy people to a screeching halt, so ensure maximum simplicity in everything you do. When you keep it simple, you make it easier for them to buy from you.

Rule 2: Be iNvaluable
People want to work with sellers who “know their stuff” and bring them fresh ideas on a regular basis. Today it's essential to turn yourself into the competitive differentiator.

Rule 3: Always Align
This is all about relevance and risk. When you're aligned with their critical business objectives and core beliefs, clients want to work with you.

Rule 4: Raise Priorities
With your prospects constantly changing priorities, you need to be alert to what's going on in your prospect's organization and shift your approach to keep top of mind.

DGR: In “SNAP Selling,” you emphasize that “sales is an outcome, not a goal,” and that sellers must take the proper steps to finalize a deal. In today's economy, how important is it for the seller to abide by this statement to avoid rushing a prospective buyer?

Konrath: Prospects can smell self-serving salespeople a mile away. They're the ones who don't understand much about their business, spend a lot of time talking about their products/services, and push to get an order as quickly as possible.
Funny thing is, these salespeople don't even realize that they're doing anything differently from their more successful colleagues. Yet they have a much more difficult time setting up meetings and an even tougher time getting a second meeting.
Here's the deal. When sellers rush to closure, prospect's feel like their decision-making process has been violated. They need ideas and insights on how other companies address the same challenges the face. They need to assess the value of changing from the status quo. They need to determine if it's worth the effort to get buy-in from their colleagues, disrupt the workflow, and handle the obstacles they're sure to run into. They need guidance on how to get this to happen fast and minimize disruption along the way.
Sellers who take time to do this create personal value. They become integral to the decision. People want to work with them. And, as a result, they get the business.

DGR: “SNAP Selling” emphasizes the importance of “getting inside your customer's head" and that having product, service or solution knowledge is no longer sufficient to get the sale. Could you break down the “Buyer's Matrix” and the steps to effectively get inside customers minds?

Konrath: First of all, let me state unequivocally that very few companies have any sustainable competitive advantage. They may think they do, but prospects don't believe it. They can easily find numerous "comparable" offerings with a simple Google search.
What this essentially boils down to then is that the seller him/herself has become the key differentiator. Their ability to communicate their expertise, ideas and insights ultimately becomes a primary decision factor.

The Buyer's Matrix is a tool I developed to ensure that salespeople knew the "essential" prospect knowledge required to do their jobs well. It covers their prospect's roles and responsibilities, objectives, strategic initiatives, obstacles and challenges, the status quo relevant to their offering, and reasons for change.

Once a seller understands this, they have a better concept of their true value proposition, the messaging they can use, the questions they should ask and more.
But to extend this even further, they can do what I call a "mind meld,” which essentially enables them to actually see and hear their own approaches, presentations and more from their customer's point of view. This enables them to see any flaws or glitches in their strategy before they meet with customer — and make adjustments to increase their effectiveness.

DGR: In chapter 8, “Getting in the Game,” you provide the reader with email and voicemail samples of “less-than-perfect” messages that all marketers are likely guilty of leaving customers or potential clients. How can marketers impress a client/customer with an effective email/voicemail while straying from self-promoting lingo?

Konrath: The first thing they need to get rid of is all "marketing" speak. By this, I mean self-promoting puffery (leading, unique, innovating, premier); technical trip (next-gen, robust, world class); and creative crap (outside the box, dramatic, strategic). These words cause messages to get deleted.
Then, they need to stop sounding like a gracious, consultative rep who would love to meet with them to learn how the company is handling their needs and share a bit about their offering.
To impress today's prospects, each message must convey three things:

1. Establish credibility: by referencing a referral or showing that you've invested time understanding their business or industry.
2. Pique curiosity: by sharing a strong value proposition, ideas to improve their business, information that would be of value.
3. Collegial status: by sounding as if you're a busy person, with lots to offer and your time is valuable too.

When sellers change their messaging, they can transform their ability to get their foot in the door. But it requires a radical rethinking of what they're doing.

DGR: In chapter 20, “Invaluable: Become the Expert They Can't Live Without,” you emphasize that it's really not about the product but about the person selling the product. Besides demonstrating extensive knowledge of the subject, how can marketers stand out to clients and customers?

Konrath: Being an invaluable resource is definitely a recurring theme in “SNAP Selling.” The reality of it is that there are so many ways a person can become the go-to resource. Here are just a few:
•      Focus all your attention on helping your customers achieve their desired objectives;
•      Challenge your prospect's thinking; expand their ideas of what's possible;
•      Share with them how other similar businesses are addressing the same challenges they face;
•      Bring them synthesized information on relevant industry trends;
•      Help them understand the impact of continuing with the status quo.

Also, I believe that everyone has unique talents and interests that they bring to their client relationships. Some people are great at building alliances. Others really get into processes, while still others are incredibly creative.

The ultimate goal is to become invaluable in a way that leverages your personal strengths.

For more of Jill’s thoughts on “SNAP Selling,” register for the upcoming webinar, “Using Content To Establish Sales Credibilty,” brought to you by Demand Creation Specialists. You’ll hear more from Konrath on how successful sales executives can be “invaluable” by using relevant content and thought leadership to sell value and “become the expert clients can’t live without.”

August 12, 2010 1:00- 2:00 p.m EDT - Register Here

To download two free chapters of “SNAP Selling,” visit DemandGen Report readers can obtain a free copy of the Buyer's Matrix by signing up at

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Metrics That Matter

My section in The Quintessential Marketing Automation Guidebook, has been posted this week. The chapter, Focus on the Marketing Metrics that Matter, gives marketers insights to 3 areas that are often overlooked due to the traditional focus on volume of leads and sales handoffs. These three areas are designed to provide a foundation for the longer-term marketing view that companies must adopt as buyers take more control over their buying process.

As we discussed in the piece, it’s important for  marketers to move beyond activity monitoring to behavioral qualification and Progressive Profiling supported by deeper intelligence that enables marketers to prove influence during the buying process. Our section suggests marketers focus on strengthening these three core areas that can help marketers improve accountability:
  1. Database Enrichment
  2. Pipeline Conversions
  3. Revenue Impact
Click here to read the Metrics that Matter section.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

BtoB Mobile Marketing: There’s An App For That

By Joan Damico, Marketing Communications Consultant
It’s predicted that nearly 6 billion mobile app downloads will occur in 2010 according to Marketing Charts and ABI Research. Of course the growth in smartphone sales (up 20% in 2009) is driving the development of apps.

So I started thinking about how BtoB marketers could benefit from apps beyond increasing brand engagement. A more powerful use of BtoB apps is to enable greater personal productivity and connectivity. Find out what would make your customers and prospects more productive.

Let’s say you provide a BtoB software application. Is there a dashboard or other view that would simplify a process for your customer?  For example, a busy plant manager spends a lot of time working throughout the plant. Could an app connect that person to his or her desktop and your software application from a mobile phone or device?  Most likely, the answer is yes.

In a similar manufacturing setting, could a mobile app enable more efficient equipment reliability and maintenance?   For example, the use of a mobile application that would allow a machine operator to connect to the equipment manufacturer for troubleshooting.

In regulated industries such as food and pharmaceutical, could a mobile app help streamline regulatory compliance or avoid non-compliance for processes such as commissioning and qualification, hazmat handling, etc.?

Connect your app to location-based services such as Foursquare and Gowalla, where it can enhance productivity by optimizing support resources and improving customer response time. (Ok… that one may seem like a stretch today, but not in the near future.)

Calculators and reference tools are popular BtoB apps, especially for the technical audience. Whether it’s ROI, popular engineering formulae or productivity/efficiency calculations, calculators can be an effective BtoB app for boosting your brand and your customers’ productivity.

How much does a BtoB mobile app cost?
BtoB mobile app development costs vary widely. Apps can range from $10K to $300+K depending on the complexity of the app, number of platforms on which it will operate (iPhone, Android or Blackberry) and interface with other platforms or systems such as a CRM sytem, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Typical rates for developers range from $50 per hour to $100 per hour. Despite the wide range of pricing, the average cost to develop a robust app appears to be around $30K, although I’ve heard of less robust apps coming in at around $5K.

Consider how the app will be used to determine whether it should be free or fee-based. If your BtoB mobile app is designed to help further engage prospects within the buying cycle, then a free app may be justifiable based on the potential return on investment. If the mobile app is an integral part of your product offering or a value-added service, then consider a fee-based mobile app or a free trial period.

When determining the cost of a BtoB mobile app, you should also factor in promotional costs. After your app is developed, you’ll need a marcom plan for promoting the app and driving users to download it.

Should you be “app agnostic?”
With more than 125,000 apps and growing, the Apple iPhone is one of the most popular destinations for apps. However Google’s Android OS is quickly gaining popularity along with Blackberry and other devices. As BtoB marketers, consider what device your customers are primarily using for business connectivity. The Blackberry is a popular device among enterprise users and a likely destination for BtoB apps. You may wish to consider other devices such as iPads and Windows Mobile OS devices as viable alternatives. You’ll have to weigh the development costs of each to determine what is feasible. 

Measure the success of your BtoB mobile app
The number of downloads is one metric, but it only tells part of the story. Consider the category in which your mobile app will reside and seek to be in the top for your category. For example, the “lifestyle” category is one of the most popular. Of course, the more specialized the app, the less crowded the space. When developing your app, consider building in tools to monitor usage such as AppViz, Heartbeat, or Pinch Media.

A BtoB mobile app can be another element in your marcom mix designed to move prospects to the next step in the buying cycle or as an added value to your product.

Joan is a marketing communications (marcom) consultant/copywriter with more than 15 years’ experience in B2B marcom for high tech and industrial companies. She helps them leverage social media and traditional media to build brands, boost leads and drive sales. Joan is the author of Integrated Marcom Minute blog and newsletter and a contributing author to B2B Bloggers. She manages LinkedIn Group, B2B Social Media. Connect with Joan: ; follow @copywriter4u;;