Marketing + Sales Alignment. Non-Linear Buyer Journeys. ABM. Social Selling. Predictive Analytics. Full-Funnel Marketing.
As B2B marketers in 2017, we’re hearing about these concepts all the time. We know that we need to be more customer obsessed and figure out how to get buyers’ attention when they simply don’t care about us. We know that we need to find ways to send our sales teams better quality leads and increase Marketing’s contribution to pipeline growth and revenue.
But the question is how do we get there?
If you are trying to figure it all out, you may want to attend the B2B Marketing Exchange later this month (February 20-22).
This conference is organized by Demand Gen Report and brings together the top marketing industry influencers, analysts and practitioners to share best practices, case studies and ideas on all things B2B marketing.
The focus at this year’s conference really resonates with us – it’s all about how marketing and sales organizations should be coming together to optimize the demand generation process and create customer lifetime value.
Here are the sessions we are most excited about.
1. Get Over It… Your Customers Don’t Care About You: Lenovo’s Intent-Driven Digital Marketing
This session seems to encapsulate the theme of the conference: hey your customers don’t care about you, aren’t interested in talking to your sale team just because they visited your website, and they don’t buy on your timeline. You need to change your marketing and sales approach if you don’t want to get left behind.
The speaker of this session – Michael Ballard – is a Senior Marketing Manager at Lenovo. He manages a team that oversees all digital demand generation activities and campaigns for the North America B2B market. Michael is also a Socedo customer, and we’ve heard a bit about what his team has been up to.
The Marketing team at Lenovo knows that relying on data insights collected through their own digital properties (i.e. websites, emails, social media posts, etc.) isn’t enough. They’re looking to leverage a much wider set of intent data to figure out “when” customers and prospects are in market and “what” they’re researching, outside of Lenovo’s company-owned properties.
Using third-party intent data to figure out the right timing and content for communicating with prospects and customers is something we’re focusing on here at Socedo too. The way we’re doing this is using social media activities to trigger real-time emails (You can read about our own story on our blog, Conquer Email Marketing Like a Boss). It’ll be very interesting to hear more about how Lenovo is using intent-based data and what their intent-based campaigns look like.
2. 8 Ways Marketing Can Double Their Sales Team’s Productivity
Here at Socedo, our marketing team is always looking to find ways to improve our sales team’s productivity. It’ll be great to hear what Matt Heinz has to say on this topic.
Matt takes a no non-sense approach to helping B2B organizations ramp up their sales and marketing engines (we know Matt as a customer and as an advisor to our marketing and sales organizations). He believes that the marketing function should be a profit center (instead of a cost center), and is constantly helping B2B marketing leaders change the way their function is viewed, prioritized and funded.
According to Matt, there are three things that Marketing and Sales need to be committed to if they want to improve their relationship:
“Those that are most successful put three things at the foundation of those relationships: one shared set of numbers/objectives, a common definition of what qualifies as a lead, and a deeper understanding of the buyer’s journey. Sales and Marketing need to be jointly committed to all of these.” (Forbes, Navigating Through B2B’s Biggest Commercial Problems with Matt Heinz)
Last year, Matt consolidated his insights into a book called Full Funnel Marketing. This book lays out a roadmap for marketers who want to drive more results and increase their team’s influence and pipeline growth and revenue, and explains how marketers can work side-by-side with the sales team throughout every stage of the buying journey.
Matt’s work has had a big influence on our marketing team. Based on his recommendations, our marketing team has implemented new processes and goals to ensure that we are helping sales generate predictable revenue. For example, we’ve set up weekly business reviews where Marketing and Sales are in the room. Our marketing team has monthly goals that tie back to sales’ revenue target. We track full funnel metrics so that we can quickly diagnose problems at every stage of the funnel. If you want to see how we’ve put this approach into practice, see our webinar Socedo Marketing Team’s Journey to Predictable MQLs and Revenue).
If you aren’t able to make it to Matt’s session, definitely do check out his book.
3. B2B Buyers Mandate a New Charter For Marketing and Sales
This session is led by Mary Shea, who is one of the lead analysts within Forrester’s B2B Marketing Practice. Mary writes for and advises B2B marketing leaders on how they can arm their sales colleagues with the right content and tools to have effective and business-relevant conversations.
In the past year, Mary has pointed B2B marketers to a new reality: customers aren’t paying attention to traditional marketing and sales tactics anymore, because they now “have more choices around how, when and where they engage with vendors than ever before”.
“B2B buyer is neither concerned with how your organization is structured, nor are they interested in talking to a sales rep simply because they downloaded a whitepaper,” Mary wrote in a recent column. Instead, they want “contextual interactions with both human and digital assets across a holistic but non-linear journey.”
While it will be a long journey to fully re-align marketing and sales to support the new paradigm, Mary’s session should offer some guidance on how to get started. She’s already done a lot of research on how organizations are implementing buyer centric initiatives like social selling and account based marketing. We’ll be paying close attention to her findings on how these newer methods and approaches are working.
4. Customer Advocacy & Account-Based Marketing
Laura Ramos is a Principal Analyst within Forrester’s B2B Marketing Practice. She’s someone who talks to B2B CMOs every day and has a lot to say about how to improve customer experiences.
Laura has predicted that in 2017, B2B marketers will get more serious about Account Based Marketing because companies that “try to win the right [customers], serve them up a great customer experience and retain them through a great customer experience… are the ones that will thrive.”
Recent research from Forrester has found that that 37% of marketing decision makers said improving customer experience is a critical priority, second only to growing revenue.
Here at Socedo, we’re definitely in the 37%. Every department here is being challenged with the question what can I and my team do to deliver a better customer experience?
We’ll definitely be paying attention to Laura’s insights on how customer advocacy programs like customer advisory boards and user meetings can boost account-based success and create greater lifetime customer value.
Are you going to B2B Marketing Exchange? If you are attending and you want to network effectively with attendees, consider using Socedo to find and connect with folks who are engaging with the same topics you care about. Try it for free for 7 days.