Our market researcher, Tammy Duggan-Herd, attended the 3-day B2B Marketing Exchange Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona! So we thought we’d put together a little compilation of some of the keynotes and workshops she attended covering B2B Account Based Marketing, Demand Gen and Sales.
This blog post is part of "Your Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing" blog series.
Alicia Esposito: Long form, more traditional formats like E-books, research reports, white papers, a lot of the top performing campaigns had derivative content that was more bite size, more snackable and had interactive elements to it to really engage buyers. That's something you're going to be hearing a lot about over the course of the show.
Another trend is the shifting expectations around content experiences. What we're experiencing in our day to day lives as people, as consumers, we're coming to expect in our professional lives as well.
Tim Riesterer: That when prospects engage with you when they move through the funnel, the presumption is they want to change, they want to do something, they're live opportunity. Then sales gets a hold of it, qualifies it in the pipeline only to find out that 60% of the pipeline goes to no decision status quo. Literally 60% on average of your qualified pipeline, not even top of funnel NQLs and SALs, qualified pipeline ends up in making no decision.
The majority of the people that you're talking to are in a different place than you think they are. Many companies go in once there is a lead and you start trying to tell them about why they should choose you and not your competitors. You build competitive matrices and all these other things. You know the competitive matrix, right? You have you and your competitors, then you have all the features and all the benefits and then you give yourself full moons and your competitors half moons. Then you say, "We win! We have more full moons!"
It turns out that 60% of the people who are actually talking to your sales force, leads that you generated, don't care about you, whether you are better than the competition. The reason they stick with the status quo is they have not answered this question: Why should even change? Why should I do anything different? The installed competitor is inertia, not your named arch rival. They're not seeing it as you against the competitor that you see in their company, they're seeing it as you against them not wanting to change.
Identified as those folks who create the buying vision versus those people who come in and show up and win in a competitive bake off. You have a three out of four chance of winning if you help inspire the decision to change. You have a one in four chance if you show up later when there is an active sort of cycle going on.
What that identified was if you can be the company who has the 'why change' conversation, you convince them that their status quo is no longer as safe and secure and solid as possible, now has some leaks and some squeaks in it, you're the one who can win more than your fair share of the business.
Increase in people's positive attitudes towards you by actually reinforcing these four common causes of status quo bias. As you get less potential positive attitudes if you start to stir the pot. Then we ask questions about your intentions to renew. This is where it got really interesting. Based on what you heard, remember they were each in separate groups, they weren't comparing them, the ones who were in the reinforce the status quo bias were 13.3% more likely to renew. You actually had a lower interest level in renewing from those you were telling and sharing something new with. I think it goes without saying that the provocative message with the upsell and the price increase was their least favorable.
Kathleen Schaub: In your mailbox you get a flyer from the local Honda dealership. You personally could be in any stage of your buyers journey. You could be at the beginning. Maybe your car is getting a little old or you just had a baby, and you're thinking maybe I should get a new car. You could be farther in. You could be actively looking for some alternatives. You could be right at the end. You could be eager to buy today or maybe you bought a few months ago and you're not in the market at all. You can be at any point in your buyers journey, but you are only one place in the funnel which is at the top, because you received this flyer. While there are leakages between the two, they really are a different perspective.
Base marketing, I think a lot of you know what that is. Take, instead of going wide, you're going narrow. You're going narrow around a specific set of accounts. You're developing custom programs around those accounts, custom campaigns and you're also having sales and marketing work in lock step together.
Concierge selling, probably a term you haven't heard before, but what this is basically the next generation of what might be inside sales or an SDR, but it's not going to be in my quota people. Its not people who are churn and burn on the phone. These are at the genius bar. The reason why we put it in a marketing strategy is that these folks are really a true hybrid between digital marketing and a human being who actually is helping. Think of them as sort of like air traffic controllers, but instead of taking an airline through to a safe landing, you're using things like social and artificial intelligence and predictive analytics and pitch perfect content that's delivered by assistance to usher a buyer through their journey.
Analytics driven engagement. Again, something I think most of you are probably deep into having analytics be a part of what your demand structure is about, but I'm talking about the next generation. I'm talking about cognitive. I'm talking about predictive to create a high propensity segments at the top so that again, you're narrowing down and using behavioral monitoring for nurturing. It's sort of the next generation of where analytics is going.
Then royalty first marketing. Again, something you probably haven't heard of before, but something that's moving over from the consumer world. A lot of the top consumer brands are starting to create communities that build fans and then monetize that fan base. In this case, there's no leads at all. That community sells for you.
A lot of marketing competencies across the board. These are IDC's five product marketing competencies. It's not whether you're going to invest in content marketing or account based marketing ...
Matt Heinz: What would happen if you can get your sales team from 25 to 33%, just 25 to 33% across your entire sales team? Do the math on the productivity gain you would get from that, the level to which they could follow up on more leads, do deeper follow up on leads, do deeper research and deeper engagement with your target accounts.
The three biggest things you can focus on there: One, minimizing time in CRM; Two, creating content for them, more of the content they need, not just collateral, not just blog posts, email templates, voicemail scripts; Three is making it easier to find that content. We'll get into those in a second.
Number two is tools integration. If you see the wrong metric in a report, the metric you don't want to see and you can't action on that, if you don't have a next step on something to fix it, then someone is wasting their time adding it, someones wasting their time looking at it, someone is wasting their time building it.
Think about, I was never, early in my career, I was not a big process guy. I thought process was getting in my way of being creative and agile and just draconian and I didn't want to do it. I've the hard way over the years that the opposite is true. You think about the checklist you can have for yourself, think about the processes you can put in front of your sales team that can make them more successful, that can help them spend less time doing the task they have to do and more time being creative, more time in front of their process.
Sometimes this is a simple checklist. I think it's, I've got a daily to-do list that I've been following for years. It's a combination of networking and prospecting and lead followup tasks. It's stuff I've been doing for years. You would think it would be hardwired into my head, but I'm doing a bunch of other stuff. Literally, I look at it every morning. I have a laminated version that I travel with. Instead of spending like half the day meandering through these tasks, they're all done in 15, 20 minutes.
Your sales time is constantly evolving. No matter what process you put in front of your sales team, the best sales reps are going to game the system. Find the reps that are gaming it well. Find the reps that are making your system better and train the rest of the organization on that. Probably more importantly than identifying the best practice is reinforcing the storing, it's whether people can find them.
Andy Eninger: To help put pen to paper, we just put the audience in the room and hear what they have to say. We get a suggestion, we try it out, we get that immediate feedback. Doesn't work, awesome. We'll try something else. We'll give you some of the ways that we do that, ways we put the audience at the forefront for ourselves. Again, it's two fold, so you can use that when you're selling your stories internally when you're talking about the data and the learning that you have, but also so that you can consider other creative ways to work with your audience, people that ultimately want to move to purchase. How you can get them into the room, how you can find that insight and that wisdom and that humanness on top of that amazing data that you're gathering so efficiently.
... Upon that idea. I truly understand it, and then seeing where it goes. Often, I might fall in love with the idea. I might find some real value in the idea. At the very least, you feel acknowledged. When someone feels like that the ideas that they bring to any organization are acknowledged, built on and at least heard, they're much more likely to bring that next idea which could be the million dollar golden idea.
Megan O’Brien: We've touched on a lot of them. The idea of adapting and pivoting, the idea of holding loosely to your ideas with the idea that you can pivot and adapt in that moment when you need to. When someone else says something and you realize, we're not going to talk about what I thought we were going to talk about today. Are you okay letting go of that and being in the moment?
In improvisation, when we're training young students, and we actually have to remind ourselves of this a lot, we tell them to play they're in and not the scene that they want to be in, because you get actors in a room and we have a lot of egos and we have to let those go sometimes. We have to let our ideas go and go with what's in the moment.
That's what this exercise touches on, that idea of letting go of some of those ideas and being able to fail. What ways do you set yourselves up to fail, because at Second City in improvisation, it's an act of failing constantly.
Andy Eninger: In this case, don't think of hero as like the Arnold Schwarzenegger that comes in and kicks butt and changes the whole scene, think rather of the who or what actually gets transformed in the story.
Often when people tell, for example, a case study about a success, they focus on the company itself. We did this. Then we did this. Then we allowed this to happen. They're not the interesting hero. Who's the interesting hero in the case study? The customer. The client. Sometimes it's society. Sometimes it's some other element. There's so much more opportunity to be creative in how you locate the hero, even in talking about the future of the industry.
Jonah Berger:7% of word of mouth is online, and I think it's really important to put that number in context. Does that mean that online word of mouth is not important? No. Online is a valuable channel through which word of mouth flows. It spreads faster and sometimes more effectively than offline word of mouth, but most word of mouth is face to face. One person talking to another. At a conference like this. Grabbing beers with a friend after work. Most word of mouth is face to face.
Jeff Marcoux: When was the last time you had a bad customer experience? I had one flying out here. Airlines are notorious for that. Why is this so important? It is because we all still suck at customer experience. We have so much data that's supposed to make us good at this this. You've got email, you've got social, you've got predictive, you've got intent. You've got all these data points yet, we still suck at customer experience. There's all these tools, and I'm waiting for the next one of these to come out here soon, that are supposed to help us with our marketing, yet every time we add a new tool, we add more data, we add more silos, and that leads to dashboards. We've all done that right? Dashboards lead to analysts, which lead to cost which still has not worked. We still suck at customer experience.
Now is a little bit of a marketing realization. A marketing reckoning. It's time to really talk about how you approach transformation in your companies. I'm here to say, it's not going to be the most popular thing with the vendors in the room, but technology alone is not the answer. Transformation is part technology, you've got to get your processes, dial in on that, and part culture. If you don't have these three things, you will fail.
The problem with us as marketers is we have shiny objects in the room. We're always looking for that next silver bullet. First it was pay per click, then it was SEO, just got to be number one in Google. The Microsoft guy said, "Google". Then it was email marketing and then marketing automation. These were all the things we were chasing. Then it was content marketing. Content is king. Now we're in account based marketing. You've heard more than ... You're probably throwing up because you've heard it so much at this conference. Predictive and intense, these are all the next things that you need to solve your problems. These are all legitimate strategies. These are all legitimate tactics, but one of our problems is we need to mature in where we are today with the tools that we have and realize the value that we have behind that and focus on customer experience. There is no core silver bullet that's going to solve all of your problems.
Getting into where we're headed with the journey, I wanted to start with a fundamental question. What is that journey as we go through it? A lot of us have a product centric view of the world as we look at these with our companies. Most of us have a funnel in some way, shape or form as we go through this.
We at Microsoft, we've adopted a couple of the serious decisions frameworks as well and you can find a lot of these great solutions that are out there, different customer journeys as they go through these different items here, but you define your process where somebody is today. I'm going to get a more challenging market, whatever it is, I'm going to go through and I'm going to move them down this funnel.
The problem is they journey has changed. The journey has gotten a lot bigger than we think it has. We now have things like in product social and onboarding content that we as marketers need to look at. We need to think about key activation points as we're going through that. There's chat bots. This going to be an incredible new wave of brand interaction that we need to be thinking about as marketers. These chat bots have an incredible ability to understand the questions our customers are asking, search the biggest knowledge databases in the world that our companies have and return an answer that actually makes sense. This is going to become a core way that we have to start thinking about. This is a touch point in our journey.
We've got these new sales technologies coming out there like sales navigator and all these other ones that are coming out to the forefront, and when is the right time to interject that into the customer journey. What's the right time to have that sales team reach out and with what content in that context.
... Every single class. Who is my customer? It's a really fundamental question, but I'm amazed by how many people don't actually know the answer to that as we go through it.
One of the first things I make all my students do is really zeroing in on who your customer is and we typically approach these through personas. Some of you are like, "Personas, that's so old school." The reality is you can do this with phenomenal technology. A lot of great vendors in here help you design those profiles, but not everybody has access to those and that capability. You can also build this out by hand. You also have to take a look at this, are you a product centric company or a customer centric company? Are you building a product and finding a market that fits it or are you taking a look at the market needs and things like that and then building your product to address that? That's core and fundamental market.
You have those that are not a good fit, period. It might be because of geo, it might be because of culture, it might be because of language. There's just a group that's just not going to be a good fit for you right now. Then you have those that are a fit and we have those that are actively engaged. Out of those engaged, you have, these are my customers, they're obviously a good fit, they bought from me. I have my competitors customers. They're obviously a good fit, they bought from my competitor. I have those that I don't know about. This is a concept called "Unconscious incompetence", essentially, I don't know what I don't know. There's all these business that are forming, they're up and coming, they might [inaudible 00:16:43] total addressable market. It's a constantly changing and dynamic set of businesses as you're going through that.
Then we have those that you're going to find through traditional marketing, you're inbound outbound, all that kind of work, and then you have this little sliver. I couldn't make it really small enough, I wanted you guys to see it, but that are actively looking. You've heard a lot about intent at this conference.
How do we reach these? We've got kind of our general air cover in that customer journey as we're going through that. Again, we've got things where we can be doing predictive lead gen with ABM, we've got ... To your customers you should be doing things like loyalty, education, expansion marketing inside of that. If you're not thinking about expansion and loyalty marketing to keep those customers, that's a huge area you should be investing in.
For your competitor's customers, there's a thing I actually don't see a lot of companies do and they leave this to their sales reps to try to unseat their competition by really doing dissatisfaction and value campaigns to start seeding seeds of doubt about your competitors and those customers you want to get into. Then we've got ABM with intent detection. Pending the size of your company and your maturity, you may not be able to take advantage of all of these, but actually having the view and knowing that you have customers who fit inside of these different boxes is a very smart way to think about it. Each one of these has a slightly different journey.
The last one I'll call out that a lot of people don't talk about, and we can do some of the stuff in the world's most adopted marketing technology everywhere called "Excel", is your big fish. This is those where you're like, "I want to be in these five accounts." You can do targeted planning, targeted ABM, really zeroed campaigns around those. You might want to unseat your competitors, lighthouse customer, and win them over from that perspective.
The way I look at TAM is a bit different, and each one of these has an approach that you can take to it.
There's a bunch of jam on one end cap and three choices of jam on a different end cap. While the bunch of jam got a bunch more traffic, had way less purchasing and conversion rates around that people's psyche is overwhelmed by the volume of choices that they had. It overwhelmed them and it was easier to not make a choice and walk away, versus if you presented them with fewer choices, they would actually purchase more. It'd have less traffic but higher conversion rate. Simple thing you can be doing to help your customer brains not be on overload, is simplify your process and the choices that you're presenting to them. Make it easy.
Another one called "The default effect". We as human beings, the vast majority of us are what we call, "Satisfied [inaudible 00:19:05] people". We look for the best value with the least amount of risk, which is kind of that aspect of that experiencing, "What's my peer group going to say about my choices and decision?" That feeds into this default effect concept which is essentially looking at how I assume, whatever the default is is what everybody does, so that's a safe choice. This is why if you have an auto opt in when the box is checked, you see huge signups on your emails, versus if they have to check it to opt in then they assume most people don't check it, but you can apply this in things like the services that you're bundling into your packages, if you have them that they need to opt out of the services. We see this also as when you do good, better, best and this one is the most popular, you're helping people see what the default is. It's a key psychological principal that we can really take as we go through these different pieces here.
The last is the forgetting curve. There's a study I really want to do around this a bit more but we can start with this as a fundamental piece, which is the that after we're exposed to a concept, and you'll see it at this conference as well, after about three days, that drops off our brain. The idea of the forgetting curve is that you want to be in front of customers in some way, shape or form, even your existing customers and your prospect, at least once every three days as you're going through that. You want to stay that top of mind especially as you're going through a sales cycle and things like that, which is why it's pivotal for marketing to be tied in with sales and actually know where the customer is in that sales journey so you can continue dripping and feeding content to make sure you're staying top of mind. That could be simply an ad impression, that could be an email. There's lots of different ways to get in front of somebody without it being intrusive and seen as spam, but that's a core piece as well to stay top of mind as you run through that.
8... Every single class. Who is my customer? It's a really fundamental question, but I'm amazed by how many people don't actually know the answer to that as we go through it.
One of the first things I make all my students do is really zeroing in on who your customer is and we typically approach these through personas. Some of you are like, "Personas, that's so old school." The reality is you can do this with phenomenal technology. A lot of great vendors in here help you design those profiles, but not everybody has access to those and that capability. You can also build this out by hand. You also have to take a look at this, are you a product centric company or a customer centric company? Are you building a product and finding a market that fits it or are you taking a look at the market needs and things like that and then building your product to address that? That's core ...
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