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Seven Important Takeaways from the 2011 MarketingSherpa B2B Summit

Last week, I attended  the MarketingSherpa B2B Summit in Boston. The line-up of speakers was fabulous including Jay Baer, Kristin Zhivago and numerous experts from MECLABS; all of them providing fascinating information on how to optimize the B2B lead generation funnel.  Here are a few things that resonated with me:

The biggest challenges for B2B marketers are 1) generating high-quality sales leads, 2) providing a sufficient volume of leads to sales, and 3) accommodating lengthening sales cycles. No real surprise there. I’m sure all of us experience these challenges.

What is surprising is that B2B marketers don’t appear to be adapting new marketing practices that can help to address these challenges. According to research from MarketingSherpa, 61% of marketers send all leads directly to sales but only 27% of these leads are actually qualified.  68% of marketers have not identified a sales funnel, 79% are not scoring their leads and 65% have no nurturing campaigns in place.  Clearly, there is an opportunity for us to address  the premature handoff of leads to sales,  identify and articulate a lead funnel  that we can support with marketing , and begin to develop lead scoring and nurturing processes. 

The value proposition is the essence of marketing.  Your value proposition should address two key questions: What does your company do? and Why should a buyer that meets your ideal customer profile buy from you and not one of your competitors?  It’s important to include at least one key differentiator in your value proposition that identifies what makes your solution or service unique and better than your competition.

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Marketing Collateral & The IT Buyer

As a technology marketer, do you ever wonder how (or if) the marketing collateral you work hard to create is used by IT buyers in their purchasing decisions? What influence does this material actually have?

According to a report by Eccolo Media (Eccolo Media 2010 B2B Technology Survey Report, www.eccollomedia.com), the quality, format, length and topic of marketing collateral substantially affects the purchase decision. The delivery channel through which assets are made available is also a factor.  

Here are four points that I thought particularly interesting from this report:

1)  A wide range of collateral types are used by decision-makers and influencers during a technology purchase, but not all are created equal in terms of influencing power.

Data sheets  were the most frequently utilized type of collateral by IT buyers (83%), followed closely by white papers (76%), case studies and success stories (67%), videos (59%), and podcasts (40%).

Interesting side  note – The use of video and podcasts/audio content continues to grow significantly with an increase of 8% for each of these vehicles over the prior year results.

What are the types of collateral that influence a purchasing decision the most? Read More »

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