3D2B - 3D2B - Marketing Services & Systems http://3d2b.com Mon, 22 May 2017 15:33:00 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Do Emotions Matter in B2B Sales? http://3d2b.com/blog/marketing-services-systems/b2b-sales-emotions.html http://3d2b.com/blog/marketing-services-systems/b2b-sales-emotions.html Do Emotions Matter in B2B Sales?

Humans are wired to connect with each other. And we connect with one another by feeling, not thinking. …Emotion is now increasingly recognized as the key to moving hearts and minds,” Helio Fred Garcia, author of The Power of Communication

B2B buyers are a rational bunch. After all, they’re making decisions about business. That’s not emotional. That’s not personal. It’s simply a matter of tallying up the business benefits, weighing them against the price, making some tradeoffs and coming up with a sound business decision.

So says traditional thinking.

There is, however, a problem—it’s not true. And there’s research from The Corporate Executive Board Company (CEB) to prove this. They conducted an extensive study, including responses from 3,000 B2B buyers. It showed that personal considerations, including emotions, trump business considerations in decision making.

Business versus Personal Value in Decision Making

Yes, B2B buyers want to know that the product they buy will have a tangible and positive impact on the company—a.k.a. “business value.” But it goes beyond that. There’s also an area of concern called “personal value.” It’s the old “what’s in it for me?” or WIFM. “What’s in it for the business?” is not the only question business buyers are asking.

Personal value includes concerns about professional benefits. Buyers might wonder, for example, whether buying a software solution will save time, make their lives easier and have a positive impact on their careers.

Also, wrapped into personal value are the emotional benefits. For instance, will the software make the buyer a star because it would give him or her the intelligence required to make insightful decisions? Will it increase his or her confidence and popularity? On the negative side, they might be concerned that the software may not work as they expected, which could have an undesirable impact on their careers and reputation. In fact, risk aversion makes a hefty contribution to inertia in business purchase making. CEB notes that 48% of B2B customers say they have wanted to buy a new product but have not spoken up about it because they were scared of the associated risks.

The research found that personal value is about twice as important in business decisions as business value. In other words, while you may think that you’re selling to other firms, the truth is, you’re selling to people. First and foremost, people are concerned about “me.”

Why does it matter? Because it means you may need to adjust how you appeal to your prospects.

Emotions and the Buyer’s Journey

For instance, let’s take a look at an insight that CEB discovered about the B2B buying journey. Once again, it turns traditional thinking on its head. We tend to think that as buyers move through the buying cycle, they become more likely to purchase our products. Not so, says the research

Surprisingly, buyers have the highest level of enthusiasm about purchasing a product when they start the buying process. Once they’ve decided that they’re interested in buying a product or service to solve a problem, they will go through a series of steps. They’ll set their purchase criteria, search for suppliers and evaluate them. As they move through these steps, their likelihood of completing a purchase wanes. It’s not until they move into the vendor negotiation phase that purchase intent increases again. Even at this point, however, the likelihood of purchase is not as high as it was at the beginning of the buying journey.

Why is this? To find out, CEB juxtaposed suppliers’ messaging tactics on the buyer’s journey. They discovered that while it may not be the cause, the nature of business messaging is certainly adding to the problem. Initially, companies want to capture attention. To do so, they use emotional communications. Once they move into the nurturing phase, however, they switch to business value messaging. Towards the end of the process, when a salesperson becomes involved, there’s an upswing in the likelihood of purchase. This change could be spurred by the introduction of the human touch. There are emotions involved in talking with a company representative on a personal, emotional level and building a relationship.

PurchaseProbability

As shown in the chart, prospects who engaged in more personal messaging throughout the buying cycle via social media and video had a much higher level of purchase probability throughout their buying journey. Once again, this points to the value of the human touch.

Based on this research, it’s probable that anything you can do to make the buying journey more personal and “human,” connecting with an individual’s emotions, will increase the chances of a sale. To learn more about how to add the human touch to your sales and marketing process (without adding an army of field salespeople) check out our white paper “Human Touch in a Digital World.”

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sabrina.ferraioli@3d2b.com (Sabrina Ferraioli) Marketing Services & Systems Wed, 03 Feb 2016 00:00:00 +0000
How to Maximize Results from the Most Effective B2B Content Marketing Tactic http://3d2b.com/blog/marketing-services-systems/b2b-content-marketing-tactic.html http://3d2b.com/blog/marketing-services-systems/b2b-content-marketing-tactic.html How to Maximize Results from the Most Effective B2B Content Marketing Tactic

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort,” Paul. J. Meyer, founder of the Success Motivation Institute

The Most Effective Content Marketing Tactic

When you think of content marketing, do online tactics come to mind—e-books, white papers, emails and more? If so, it’s not surprising. That’s where a lot of the marketing action is today.

Given our focus on all things web-related, it may come as a surprise to discover that the number one content marketing tactic is good old-fashioned in-person events. That’s according to research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute and their partners. When they asked B2B marketers what their most effective content marketing tactics were, in-person events topped the list. Seventy-five percent of survey respondents said event marketing was the most effective form of content marketing.

While in-person events are impactful, they are also a significant investment. So, how do you ensure a positive return on investment?

Plan for Success

It starts with a dose of planning. Yes, I know you’re likely already spending a lot of time on everything that’s highly visible at your events—the booth, giveaways, entertainment, food, drink and presentation. After all, you want to wow your prospects and customers and outshine your competition at the tradeshow or conference.

At many companies, event planning is all about the sizzle. But who is taking care of the steak—your plan for lead generation and turning prospects into clients?

Think about who you want your company representatives to interact with at the event. You may have some ideal prospects and key customers with whom you’d like to deepen your relationship. So don’t just hope that they stop by your booth. Be proactive. Send an invitation. How you send it is up to you. You might choose email, or to make a bigger impact, you could send a physical letter. Since so few companies are sending snail mail anymore, it may give you an advantage.

Don’t rely on the written invitation to do all the heavy lifting. Reinforce it with a phone call. This one-on-one interaction gives you the opportunity to have a conversation, find out the prospects’ needs, explain the relevance of meeting with you at the event and book appointments. Don’t forget, it’s not only the impressive booth, well-catered cocktail party and engaging presentation that make you stand out, it’s also adding a human touch.

When you plan ahead, think beyond the event. Be prepared for post-event follow-up. Research shows that the vendor who responds first is going to attain 35 to 50% of the sales. Hopefully, you are going to collect a lot of leads. What do you plan to send them? If you want to send an e-book, white paper, brochure or newsletter, you’ll need to create it before the event to ensure fast response.

Follow Up or Fail

If you lack a systematic plan for lead follow-up, all your hard work could go to waste. Surprisingly, the statistics show that salespeople don’t follow up with 70 to 80% of leads. That’s because they want the leads that are ready to buy. Realistically, that may only be a small portion of the names you collected at the event. You will need to nurture many of the leads before they are ready to be turned over to a salesperson.

Think about what you need to know about each of your leads to follow up effectively, making sure that you provide relevant information. To do so, you may need to ask questions at the event and tabulate the answers. If you need detailed information, put together an attendee questionnaire that will enable you to gather it in an organized way.

Your first step after or during the show is to prioritize your leads. You should have a sense of whether they are hot, lukewarm or cold. Sort them to make sure you follow up first on those that are furthest along in the buying journey.

Determine how you plan to nurture your leads. It likely will take a series of steps, each contingent on prospect needs and where they are in the buying cycle. So, decide how you’re going to use emails, phone calls, content, sales calls and more to educate and convert leads.

To learn more about getting the most out of trade shows, conferences and other B2B events get your free white paper: “The Complete Guide to Calculating and Maximizing Event ROI.”

 

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jeff.kalter@3d2b.com (Jeff Kalter) Marketing Services & Systems Wed, 20 Jan 2016 00:00:00 +0000
2016: The Year of the Human Touch in B2B Marketing http://3d2b.com/blog/marketing-services-systems/human-touch-in-b2b-marketing.html http://3d2b.com/blog/marketing-services-systems/human-touch-in-b2b-marketing.html 2016: The Year of the Human Touch in B2B Marketing

In his newly debuting book, “The Human Brand,” Chris Malone and Susan Fiske talk about how human beings developed the split-second ability to judge people on their intentions and capabilities. It was a matter of survival for our ancestors. Today they write, we still judge people based on “these same two categories of social perception, which are known as warmth and competence.”

When someone exhibits both qualities, trust develops. If warmth is lacking, suspicions and envy take over. If competence is not evident, we feel sympathetic. In the worst case, when someone is neither warm nor capable, there’s little chance for a budding relationship.

The research presented in this book goes beyond the human-to-human relationship to the human-to-brand relationship. We judge brands by their warmth and competence too. Those perceived to have both attributes are more likely to develop deep, enduring relationships with their customers.

Now that’s something to aspire to.

So, here’s the first thing that B2B marketers need to do: stop thinking that they’re marketing to emotionless businesses. While there may be disagreement on the concept that corporations are people, few would argue that people run them. And that’s who B2B companies are marketing to…people.

Companies must display both warmth and competence to connect with their customers and be successful. They must market human-to-human, not business-to-business.

Add the Human Touch

It’s easy to say “be more human,” but how do you make it happen? To add the human touch, you first need to understand your buyers. After all, solid relationships always start with getting to know each other.

Do people in your company truly understand how customers make their buying decisions? What questions do they wrestle with as they start to explore solutions to their problems? Why does solving the problem even become a priority with everything else that’s on their desk? How do they weigh the benefits of one solution over the other? And what makes some people become brand advocates?

Learning the answers to these questions takes in-depth customer research. Once done, you can create buyer personas — profiles of your customers. These profiles put a name and face to the people to whom you’re marketing. They humanize them and enable those in your company who interact with prospects and buyers to empathize with them.

Once done, you can develop content that helps buyers move through the buying journeys a step at a time. Also, develop a plan for when the human-to-human interactions will occur. Buyers want to do a lot of research on their terms, but they also need to connect with someone who can answer their questions and help them to shape a solution that meets their needs. They would like to feel the warmth of a human relationship. They must personalize their approach online and off.

Get Personal

The buyer profiles are just a starting point. As prospects start to interact with you, you want to personalize their experience as much as possible. You can do this using the following tactics:

• Website Personalization

Tools, powered by algorithms, enable you to customize what a visitor sees on your website based on how they interact with it. Think Amazon—the site that tells you what else you might like based on what you’ve viewed. It works in the B2B world too because, as we discussed, it’s still all about people.

• Retargeting

Even if you have not used retargeting, you’ve likely experienced it. One day you’re on a website searching for that vacation you need to the Virgin Islands. Next, wherever you surf the web, you see ads featuring sandy beaches and turquoise waters.

It’s all courtesy of the cookie-based technology that enables companies to follow their visitors as they move around the web and offer up ads when the opportunity arises.

The theory behind retargeting is that if somebody visits your website, they have some level of interest in the product or service that your company provides. So, just because they hopped on and left, it doesn’t mean they have solved their problem without you. Like you, they are probably juggling a lot.

Retarget your audience with personalized content offers, demos and free trials to turn them into leads. Or use retargeting to nurture existing leads and solidify your relationship.

• Account Based Marketing

For many B2B companies, the potential for sales is concentrated in a few large accounts. So, instead of focusing on overall market penetration, it’s better for them to view each of these large accounts as its own market and emphasize expanding their reach with target companies. After all, some Fortune 500 companies have revenues greater than the GDP of some countries. This strategy is called account based marketing.

Salespeople have been trying to develop accounts for decades. However, marketing organizations have not been aligned with this sales strategy. Now they have the tools they need to follow suit.

How does it work on the web? Once you develop your list of target accounts, you can use reverse-IP-lookup tools to determine if any of your website visitors come from these companies. If so, you can serve up content relevant to people at that organization. So, even if an individual from one of these target organizations has never visited your website before, you’re able to tailor their experience.

• Go Beyond Technology

Clearly, there are all kinds of fun tools that can help us be more personal with our prospects and customers. But remember, we are talking about human-to-human relationships. That means that we cannot rely on technology alone. To understand an individual on a deeper level, you need to talk with them.

The most cost-effective, efficient way to do this is to pick up the phone. Use inside sales (also known as remote sales or telemarketing) to learn about a prospect’s problem, the decision-making process within their organization, and the role that each person plays. This good old-fashioned tactic will put you ahead of the game as it enables you to help the prospect define their requirements and together find the best solution. Also, it provides the intelligence your salespeople need to navigate the account and close the sale.

Call us at +1 718-709-0900 (US) or +39 06 978446 60 (EMEA), or contact us online to learn how to add the human touch and improve B2B sales.

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jeff.kalter@3d2b.com (Jeff Kalter) Marketing Services & Systems Wed, 16 Dec 2015 00:00:00 +0000
New Year’s Resolutions for B2B Lead Generation http://3d2b.com/blog/marketing-services-systems/lead-management/new-years-resolutions-for-lead-generation.html http://3d2b.com/blog/marketing-services-systems/lead-management/new-years-resolutions-for-lead-generation.html New Year’s Resolutions for B2B Lead Generation

Here are a few B2B lead generation New Year’s resolutions that will get you off on the right foot for 2015.

  1. I Will Build a Bridge Between Sales and Marketing
  2. Are sales and marketing associates in your organization marching in the same direction? Or are they on divergent paths? Even though they have shared goals to grow an organization, sales and marketing are often out of sync.

    So, resolve to work together. What does that mean?

    You need to agree on your marching orders. Marketing must deliver leads to sales. Field sales must call on those leads and maximize sales conversions.

    These marching orders, however, are not specific enough to create results without a shared definition of a lead. If the marketing team doesn’t do its job of nurturing and qualifying leads according to that mutually agreed upon definition, sales will likely lose interest in following up on the leads.

    Thus, to put this resolution into action: 

    • Schedule a meeting between marketing and sales leaders to draw up a common definition of a qualified lead
    • Set up rules for scoring and qualifying leads
    • Define your process for nurturing leads that are not ready yet for a sales call
    • Outline data to be included with leads when they are handed off to sales
    • Set timeframes for each step in the process, so all team members understand expectations

    If you’re unable to complete these steps internally, check out B2B telemarketing companies that are pros at developing lead management strategies and handling all associated tactics.

  3. I Will Include the Human Touch in Marketing
  4. We hear a lot today about the ‘brand experience.’ The experience doesn’t start when someone becomes a customer. It encompasses the whole buying cycle from initial awareness to buyer and brand advocate. The human touch has a powerful impact on the brand experience.

    The human touch also increases sales. That’s because it enables businesses to break through the clutter to establish a genuine connection, build trust, gain credibility, and maintain valuable relationships.

    While marketers are on the right track by using technology and automation to increase the efficiency of routine processes, real one-on-one personalized marketing cannot be fully automated. To bring people into the equation, you need telemarketing or inside sales.

  5. I Will Embrace Technology
  6. The Chief Marketing Technology Officer is now an essential position for many B2B organizations. That’s because even in a world where the human touch is essential, you have to stay ahead of the curve on technology. Every day there are new marketing tools that can increase efficiency and improve the customers’ experience.

    That’s one reason marketing plans are no longer set in stone for a whole year. Marketers need to set aside money to try new tools and tactics as they become available, remaining agile enough to respond as the market and technology changes.

So move into 2015 with gusto. Build a bridge between marketing and sales, treat your prospects and customers to the human touch and be ready to use technology wherever appropriate.

For a free consultation on B2B lead generation and telemarketing, call us now at +1 718-709-0900 (Americas) / +39 06-978446-60 (EMEA).

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bob.davies@3d2b.com (Bob Davies) Lead Management Wed, 28 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0000
How to Segment Your Market and Increase B2B Conversions by 355% http://3d2b.com/blog/marketing-services-systems/data-services-list-management/how-to-segment-your-market-and-increase-b2b-conversions.html http://3d2b.com/blog/marketing-services-systems/data-services-list-management/how-to-segment-your-market-and-increase-b2b-conversions.html How to Segment Your Market and Increase B2B Conversions by 355%

Do you want to increase your conversion rates by 355%? Of course you do.

What’s the secret? Well, according to a study by Jupiter Research, companies that segment their databases increase their conversion rates on average by 355%.

It makes sense.

Since your prospects and clients don’t all have the same problems and needs, you can’t expect a broad message to appeal to your entire database. To create a robust, successful marketing campaign you need to provide content and messaging that’s relevant. You need to segment your list so you can, for example, send targeted emails and structure tailored telemarketing programs.

Getting Over the Initial Hurdle

You’d think all business managers would be clamoring to slice and dice their list into micro-segments for marketing campaigns. But they’re not doing this! The same Jupiter Research study found that only 11% of companies are using a segmentation strategy. Why are 89% of businesses missing the boat? 

That’s simple. It’s because nothing worthwhile is ever easy. That oft-cited quote is an accurate reflection of B2B segmentation. B2B segmentation is more challenging than B2C segmentation because:

  • Products tend to be complicated and, thus, require more tailored approaches
  • Decision making is complex and often requires multiple purchase influencers
  • Buying cycles are long
  • It’s harder to define distinct behavioral and needs-based segments
  • Audiences are smaller which requires micro-campaigns
  • Most companies have not allocated enough resources to make segmentation possible.

So it’s difficult. But if companies calculated the return on investment (ROI) of a 355% increase in conversion rates, most would discover that the hard work on segmentation was worthwhile.

Start Small

How do you launch a segmentation initiative? Start small, measure success and move incrementally towards optimal segmentation. While you may eventually want to segment based on demographics, buyer behavior, and needs, you can start with a simple demographic segmentation.

For example, look for where you see differences in behavior based on company demographics—by sales revenues, geographic location or industry. Perhaps companies with revenues over $50 million are more likely to be interested in all the bells and whistles of an SaaS solution. Those with revenues less than $25 million are happy with a simpler solution at a lower cost. You can also create different messaging based on the role or level of the contact.

In this situation, there’s no reason to expound on problems that don’t plague smaller companies in content you send to them. Stick to what’s relevant to them. As you become comfortable with initial segmentation, further divide your audience according to their needs or based on their actions. You’ll discover that the more granular your data, the better you’ll be able to segment to deliver results.

How We Segment Our List

Here at 3D2B, we look at the content a lead downloads to determine the initial emails to send out. Then, as we develop a relationship, we ask more questions to assess the information that they would like to receive.

This process puts the prospect in control. So, rather than feeling spammed when an email from us arrives, they click to open it and learn more. We’ve found that these targeted email campaigns have increased engagement and results.

To learn more about how to segment your market, call us now at +1 718-709-0900 (Americas) / +39 06-978446-60 (EMEA).

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shannon.cadden@3d2b.com (Shannon Cadden) Data services & List Management Wed, 10 Dec 2014 00:00:00 +0000
4 Steps to Rock Solid Marketing Lists http://3d2b.com/blog/marketing-services-systems/data-services-list-management/4-steps-to-rock-solid-marketing-lists.html http://3d2b.com/blog/marketing-services-systems/data-services-list-management/4-steps-to-rock-solid-marketing-lists.html 4 Steps to Rock Solid Marketing Lists

Preparation Precedes Performance

The saying “today’s preparation determines tomorrow’s achievement” certainly applies to the creation and maintenance of marketing lists.

After all, if you rush into a marketing campaign without cleaning up your list and collecting critical data first, you end up wasting time chasing duplicate leads, trying to reach contacts that are no longer in the company or looking for incomplete information in the midst of a campaign.

It’s like putting your revenues through the paper shredder.

To achieve a successful marketing campaign, you need to purge duplicate leads and ensure your list has complete, accurate data so you can reach your targets easily and with the right message.

The 4 Steps to Success

Take these four steps and get all the information you need at your fingertips for successful marketing campaigns.

  • Match and Merge
  • You may have many sources of data when executing a marketing campaign. But if you run your campaigns on each list separately, instead of complementing each other, your efforts may overlap and conflict.

    You don’t want three lists, one from each source. You want a comprehensive resource that includes everything you know about a prospect.

    So, take advantage of advanced software that enables you to match and merge duplicate records into a consolidated record. Sophisticated software acts as a detective, determining, for example, that Bill Brown, William Brown and Mr. Brown, who all reside at the same street address, may be the same person masquerading under different names.

    The software can take multiple incomplete records and combine the information, producing a much more robust database than any one of your individual lists.

    Alternatively, you can outsource your list management.

  • Destroy Duplicate Data
  • Of course, you don’t need three separate records for—Bill, William and Mr. Brown.

    Therefore, an essential task is de-duping the data. This process enables you to avoid wasting time and money reaching out to the same person two or three times with each tactic: direct mail (expensive), telemarketing (time-consuming), email (annoying), etc. You can then plan campaigns that build on each other, enhancing interest in your products and services.

  • Append Data
  • Sometimes you just don’t have all the information you need in-house for stellar campaigns.
    If not, you’ll want to append data from outside sources. Start by determining exactly what fields of information you want to add. For example, you might want to append data on company revenues and industries.

    Before appending data, you want to make sure that your current data is in perfect shape. Run it through a hygiene process that, for example, ensures state abbreviations and zip codes are correctly formatted.

  • Segment and Prioritize Your Data to Maximize Results
  • Once you have additional demographic and contact data, you’ll be able to reach contacts by telephone, email, or mail; segment your list; have the right message go to the right person, and prioritize who to contact based on your profile of the ideal client.

    If you need help with data and list management, call 3D2B at +1 718-709-0900 (US) or +39 06 978446 60 (EMEA), or contact us online.

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    shannon.cadden@3d2b.com (Shannon Cadden) Data services & List Management Thu, 09 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0000
    How to Increase Email Response Rates http://3d2b.com/blog/marketing-services-systems/email-marketing/how-to-increase-email-response-rates.html http://3d2b.com/blog/marketing-services-systems/email-marketing/how-to-increase-email-response-rates.html How to Increase Email Response Rates

    Email marketing isn’t dead, but to make it work you need a sound email marketing strategy.

    Email marketing is actually alive and kicking harder than ever. The Q1 Email Trends and Benchmarking Report by Epsilon reports that open rates in Q1 2014 climbed 5.7% over the previous year.

    That’s good news, but how do you increase your response rates? Like everything else in marketing today, it requires processes and advanced systems that enable you to deliver relevant and timely content to prospects and customers. Also, rather than thinking of email marketing in a vacuum you have to blend it with other marketing tactics, such as telemarketing, for optimal results.

    One of the most rewarding aspects of email marketing is that, unlike its more glamorous cousin, social media, it’s measurable. This means you can analyze results and work for continuous improvement. 

    How to Take Your Email Campaigns from Okay to Awesome

    • Measure the Basics
    • There are a few key measurements that give you quick insights into how well your email marketing campaign is working. Take a look at:

      • Delivery rates — what percentage of your emails are delivered?
      • The majority of deliverability problems are related to the sender’s emailing reputation. In other words, are you perceived as a spammer? So, if your emails are not reaching valid email addresses of people who’ve opted in, you need to figure out what’s weighing down your credibility.

        The other issue affecting deliverability is bounce rates — emails that aren’t delivered because email addresses have changed. As people move around in the business world, they shed their email addresses at rapid speed. If you email infrequently, you’re more likely to have a high bounce rate because you have less opportunity to eliminate undeliverable addresses from your list.

        So, make sure you email on a regular schedule and take advantage of every email campaign to improve your list. Simply set up rules to remove bounced emails.

      • Open rates — what percentage of the emails are opened?
      • When you look at open rates, you’re getting a read on your contact’s split-second evaluation of your “from” and “subject” line as well as the email’s timing. Check out the subject-line research to bolster your results.

        Click throughs — what percentage of readers click through to your landing page? There are a lot of variables that influence the click throughs: the offer, the number of links, whether or not the copywriting is compelling, the design and more.

    • Optimize Campaigns With A/B Testing
    • With so many variables how do you know what’s working? It takes a series of tests. Take your best performing emails (controls) and test them with alternative subject lines, at different times of the day, with varying designs and more.

      The key to success with A/B testing is only to test one thing at a time. For example, if you’re testing different subject lines, make sure you split your list and send the emails at the same time rather than sending the control email one week and the test email the next week.

    • Increase Conversions With Personalization
    • Segment your list and personalize messages based on their needs and interests. Segmentation enables you to send fewer, more-targeted messages to each person on your list and increase response rates.

    Call us at +1 718-709-0900 (US) or +39 06 978446 60 (EMEA), or contact us online to find out how you can develop an email marketing strategy to generate and nurture leads.

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    shannon.cadden@3d2b.com (Shannon Cadden) Email Marketing Thu, 18 Sep 2014 00:00:00 +0000
    5 Ways to Grow Your Business with Salesforce.com http://3d2b.com/blog/marketing-services-systems/crm-systems/5-ways-to-grow-your-business-with-salesforce.html http://3d2b.com/blog/marketing-services-systems/crm-systems/5-ways-to-grow-your-business-with-salesforce.html 5 Ways to Grow Your Business with Salesforce.com

    “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer,” said writer and management consultant Peter F. Drucker. And today, thanks to technology, we have more tools than ever to help us with lead generation, conversion and customer retention.

    One of these tools is Salesforce, the highly popular customer relationship management application. There are many ways you can use Salesforce to automate routine aspects of your business, enable collaboration, and make associates more productive. By doing so, you empower employees to focus on areas that make the best use of their skills, such as reaching out to prospects and customers with a human touch at just the right moment.

    Here are just a few ways to use Salesforce to free up your associates to do what they do best. 

    1. Set Up Reminders
    2. Salesforce can act as a personal assistant for each and every employee, reminding them of important engagements with prospects and clients, as well as other tasks they need to stay on top of in order to provide excellent service. Associates can set up their own reminders, and their managers can assign specific tasks to them. 

      Because all reminders, new and old, appear in the reminder window when a user logs into Salesforce, there’s no excuse for forgetting a “to do,” assuring that critical tasks don’t slip through the cracks.

    3. Create Email Templates
    4. There’s no reason your associates should be struggling for words when they send a follow-up email after a phone call. Nor should they need to copy and paste from an old email. If you set up email templates, they can access what they need with a couple of clicks. What makes this even better is that you can use merge fields in the email that allow you to customize the template so it feels like a personal communication.

    5. Capture Web Leads
    6. You probably want to capture leads from your website. If so, you can use Salesforce’s web-to-lead form. When someone enters their information in a web-form, Salesforce automatically creates a new lead, putting an end to manual data entry errors, as well as time delays in lead generation. You can associate the lead with a campaign and set it up to receive an automatic email response.

    7. Track Leads
    8. Salesforce can help you understand the status of every lead. You can determine if a lead is open (has not yet been contacted), or is being worked (a sales associate has contacted them). You’ll also see when a lead is closed. This happens when they’ve purchased from you and become a “contact” or an “account.” Another possibility is that they haven’t bought your product, service or solution, and probably will not do so in your established timeframe. With lead tracking, you’ll be able to monitor every step along the way from lead creation to sales conversion.

    9. Create At-a-Glance Dashboards of Your Sales Pipeline
    10. There’s no need to be crunching numbers to figure out what’s in your sales pipeline because you create dashboards in Salesforce that tell the whole story. Dashboards facilitate sales and marketing alignment as well as the ability to identify potential weaknesses in your pipeline. Perhaps you’re having difficulty with lead generation. Or, maybe your sales force isn’t converting leads to sales. Discover the problem areas and address them.

    Call us at +1 718-709-0900 (US) or +39 06 978446 60 (EMEA), or contact us online to learn how we can help you meet your lead qualification goals with Salesforce.com.

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    shannon.cadden@3d2b.com (Shannon Cadden) CRM Systems Wed, 04 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0000
    Creating Personas for an Awesome B2B Content Marketing Strategy http://3d2b.com/blog/marketing-services-systems/marketing-automation/creating-personas-for-b2b-content-marketing-strategy.html http://3d2b.com/blog/marketing-services-systems/marketing-automation/creating-personas-for-b2b-content-marketing-strategy.html Creating Personas for an Awesome B2B Content Marketing Strategy

    Are you guessing or do you know how your prospects make buying decisions? If you don’t know, don’t guess. Why? Because when you make assumptions about how your target audience makes decisions, you give up the opportunity to develop a B2B marketing strategy that gives your business a competitive advantage.

    You need to create buyer personas that describe your prospects’ buying cycle, the questions they ask and the reasons why they decide to buy. When you have a buyer persona, it’s like going to MapQuest®, typing the “to” and “from” addresses, and getting detailed instructions on how to get from “creating awareness” to “sales.” 

    I’m not talking about personas conjured up out of the best of “internal thinking,” or what Adele Revella, founder of the Buyer Persona Institute, calls “making stuff up.” This route to personas leads you astray and is often the foundation for lackluster marketing. You need to talk with clients who have recently purchased your product or solution, as well as a few prospects that wandered over to the competition or decided not to buy at all.

    What Should You Include in a Buyer Persona?

    In a buyer persona, you need to answer the following questions.

    1. What Pushed the Business Leaders to Deal with the Problem?

      Business leaders working in lean corporate environments are juggling multiple priorities and have to sift through them to decide which to address first. You want to understand what triggers leaders to move from “living with the pain” to “dealing with the pain.” For example, perhaps their decision to invest in a new marketing automation solution resulted from losing market share to a competitor. Or maybe a lower return on investment at a trade show spurred marketing managers to hire a telemarketing company to build awareness of the company’s trade show attendance and set appointments with decision makers at the show.

    2. What Are Buyers Hoping to Accomplish?
    3. You need to understand what the prospect or buyer wants to achieve. In other words, how do they define a successful purchase? How will their business change for the better as a result of this purchase? In the case of the organization that invested in telemarketing, success would likely be a return of a specific percentage on their trade show investment.

    4. What Obstacles Stand in the Way of a Purchase?
    5. Many buying decisions do not go smoothly from initial awareness to the sale. Obstacles litter the path to purchase—internal politics, budget limitations, and poor messaging that causes confusion about product features and benefits. The more you know, the more you can empathize with the prospect’s challenges and help them through the process.

    6. What is the Buyer’s Journey?
    7. When you’re selling to other business people, it’s usually not one person who’s making the buying decision. There are usually several people who influence the final “yea” or “nay," and you need to know who they are, the roles they play, and the questions they ask along the way. You may discover that you need to develop a few personas based on the parts that people play. For example, an engineer may be all for a piece of equipment that will make his life easier, but the owner of his company likely will be more focused on the return on investment he can achieve. Each of these individuals needs to be approached differently in your marketing outreach.

    8. How Do Buyers Make the Final Decision?
    9. Last but not least you want to understand how your buyer makes the final buying decision. What features or attributes of your product, service or solution allowed it to float to the top or, on the other hand, pushed it out of consideration.

    Creating Content Based on Buyer Personas

    Once you understand your customers and every aspect of their buying decision, you can craft content that truly speaks to them, answers their questions and moves them step by step through the buying process. They are a core element of your B2B marketing strategy because fleshed out personas enable you to create content that resonates with prospects, setting your company apart from your competition.

    For information about how 3D2B can help you with business to business content marketing, call +1 718 709 0900 or +39 06 978 446 60 (EMEA).

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    jeff.kalter@3d2b.com (Jeff Kalter) Marketing Automation Thu, 29 May 2014 00:00:00 +0000
    Are You Sabotaging the Magic of Marketing Automation? http://3d2b.com/blog/marketing-services-systems/marketing-automation/are-you-sabotaging-the-magic-of-marketing-automation.html http://3d2b.com/blog/marketing-services-systems/marketing-automation/are-you-sabotaging-the-magic-of-marketing-automation.html Are You Sabotaging the Magic of Marketing Automation?

    It’s only natural for marketers involved in business-to-business lead generation to be attracted to the lure of marketing automation. It’s easy to be mesmerized by software, such as Act-On, HubSpot, Marketo and Eloqua, that tracks how Web visitors find your website, the pages they look at, the path they take from one page to the next, where they spend the most time, and what content they download. All of this creates a myriad of data points that marketing can use to optimize the website, attract more traffic, and provide more of the content that Web visitors love.

    It doesn’t stop there. The software captures leads and sends emails to Web visitors based on the content they download. And it collects all the juicy tidbits marketers love to know about the leads and clients in a database.

    Thus, once these software programs are configured correctly for an organization, they take care of all the repetitive tasks, and essentially become a marketing machine.

    It’s easy to sabotage the success of these miraculous marketing machines. The word “automation” lures marketers into a false sense of security. They think that the software can do everything for them and they don’t have to lift a finger.

    Not so!

    A machine needs raw materials in order to produce an end product. And the raw material that marketing automation machines hunger for is content. Not just any content. Content that will act as a magnetic force to attract visitors and create awareness. Content that will answer your target audience’s burning questions, position the company as a thought leader, and transform visitors into prospects. And content that nurtures leads and helps to convert them into clients.

    This is where marketing automation often fails. There either isn’t enough content, or it’s not the right content. The problem is that content creation is not a repetitive task. It requires creativity and thought leadership—something that cannot be delegated to a machine.

    But while it’s not automatic, you can make it easier. Like anything else in business, the first step is to create a process for content creation. This means whether you offer super-duper widgets or complex consulting services, you now also have to start thinking like a publisher.

    A publisher researches their audience, understands them inside out, and discovers the kind of content they savor. They then create an editorial plan that covers their readers’ needs, and assign writers to cover the topics. That’s exactly what you need to do to create content that will keep your marketing machine humming along, producing leads and prospects.

    The 4-Step Content Creation Plan

    1. Create Personas

      By immersing yourself in your buyer’s thinking you can create a persona that gives you the edge over your competition. You learn what motivates and frustrates them, and often discover the unexpected. The key is to understand what triggers your client to start looking for a solution to the problem your product or service solves, how they go about the buying-decision, the questions they ask along the way, and the impact they want your product to have on their business.

    2. Content Plan

      Once you understand your buyer, you can create a plan for content tailored to attract, engage, nurture, and convert your buyer. This plan will likely include blog posts, white papers, e-books, webinars, videos, Web content and more.

    3. Content Audit

      You may be a little overwhelmed by all the content that you need to create. Here’s a secret from the publishing world: You don’t have to start from scratch. You can repurpose existing content. So do an audit of all your content. Find out what you have, bump it up against what you need, and you have a gap analysis—what you need to create. 

    4. Create It

      You now know what content you need. You can use your in-house content creation team or assign content creation to experts on the selected topics. Don’t expect the experts to be writers though—someone may have to edit their content to make it engaging and easy to digest. And if you don’t have the right resources on hand, outsource the task to a company that focuses on content creation.

    When you fuel your marketing automation system with content, you accelerate the success of your business-to-business lead generation initiatives. For help with content creation learn about our Marketing-Automation-Made-Easy Packages.

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    jeff.kalter@3d2b.com (Jeff Kalter) Marketing Automation Fri, 31 Jan 2014 12:07:59 +0000