Wednesday, May 30, 2012

So Much Content, So Little Time

In the world of content marketing, we are used to hearing the phrase, “Content is King”.  Although I wouldn’t argue with that statement in theory, one of the problems now is that there is so much content out there, how do you find what you are looking for and what is most meaningful to you in a reasonable amount of time?

Tell me if you can relate: you have a twitter feed that you check multiple times a day, you use Google alerts, you check Facebook, LinkedIn, RSS feeds and the plethora of news sources all for content you think might help you do your job more efficiently. “Efficiently” being the key word.  Is your process truly efficient, meaning a good use of your time and the company’s money?   For marketers this means discovering relevant topics that you can share with leads and clients and developing the right campaigns to drive more business.  For sales this means narrowing in on the right prospects to begin the sales cycle.  It can seem overwhelming, even if you are like me, and have processes in place to consume all this content. 

It is both, incredibly exciting to live in a time of mass content consumption, and also can be littered with a lot of BS (if you don’t mind be saying). But, either way, it is now part of our jobs in marketing and sales; we must stay tuned in to all the platforms that allow for this diaspora of information or we risk latency or worse, irrelevancy. 

Ever hear the phrase, “Necessity is the mother of invention”? For me, I have learned to function with this influx of content and my limited time, by using event triggers to see what is happening in the companies that I care about.  I use that information to provide the right messaging to the groups I am interested in targeting.  This means fine-tuning all the content into the filters and triggers that I care about—eliminating the BS.

Trigger data about specific companies allows you to focus in on their events in order to narrow in on relevant event data, and in turn, decide what messaging you want to push out in your lead’s direction.

There is a difference between informative content that can help you get a pulse into the sense of the business sector you are interested in, and there is actionable content that lets you narrow in on companies that have pain points in tandem with your products and services.  Event data actually helps with both: allowing you to see the temporal events and content that have occurred in the companies that you track, as well as giving you the context you require to decide what to action on next. 

What’s the take away here?

Time is truly of the essence. First, we could all use a whole lot more of it, but hey, it probably isn’t going to happen.  So… using event triggers gives you your 30 minutes back, so you can get back to marketing and selling.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

You Walk into a Bar. What do you do Next? (This is Sales and Marketing Related)

I promise this isn’t a bar joke.

 You walk into a bar, there are a group of people in a circle talking to each other; they all seem to know one another. You are by yourself and are looking to make some new friends. What do you do?  Do you run up to the crowd of 20 and say, "HI! I’m X. I live in X and I drive X and I love to play X and I just did X."  This would not only be extremely off-putting to the group you are announcing it to, but also not adhere to social norms of communication. Instead of assaulting the group of people, hoping that one might bite at your proclamations, why not wait for a point-of-entry? Or even better, listen to what the group is discussing and think of an engaging question that will trigger some of the folks to answer and engage with you?

There are two adages that most marketing and sales folks know: “Market to One” and “People Buy From People”.  Why don’t we try to create meaningful digital conversations that make emotional appeals and build relationships where both parties benefit and actually want to listen to one another?

Ever get an email where you are invited to a webinar from a sales rep and have no idea why you were put on a list cluttering your mailbox?  We all know that we are inundated with emails, so it is infuriating to get one more that just doesn’t relate to you and frankly, is wasting your time.

In the age of technology, we not only need, but also depend on automation software to organize, measure, create and stream our process for lead generation, segmentation and lead nurturing. But, with so much volume, there is potential for proclamations to the wrong person at the wrong time.  Using automation infused with event triggers and data allows you to mimic real human interaction, by allowing you to LISTEN for triggers that you can relate to and also letting you bring something relevant to add to the conversation when the time is right. In other words, don’t be Bob.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Anyone for Tennis? How Does Sales and Marketing Create Forehand Winners?

Grand slam season is kicking into full gear and the spring weather has arrived.  It doesn’t matter what level you are at, there are few things more invigorating then getting outside to whack the tennis ball. 

The sales and marketing cycles are like a really good rally on the tennis court.  Back-and-forth, back-and-forth until the key moment you decide to change directions and go for the winner.

What makes you go for the winner?  What are the triggers in the cycle that give you the confidence to change directions and drive it down the line, or take a swinging ground stroke in the air to come to net and finish off the point with a crushing volley?  In marketing, lead scoring clearly defines what stage your lead is in the cycle. Did they attend a webinar, download a white paper, or request a demo? At this point, your CRM or marketing automation system of choice pushes this MQL to sales saying, “Needs Demo - STAT!” In sales, although the moment when they agree to sign on that dotted line is defined, the moment the you decide to go for the close is subjective.  You need enough conditional data in order to provide context to individual information about your prospect.  In other words, when do you crush the forehand down the line for the unforgettable winner?  Not only is it important to read the body language of your prospect, but also to know the entire picture of the company and the triggers that have occurred to lead the prospect to you. 

What’s the point of making this analogy?  Because we all know that it isn’t always this easy.  We need to work for those points.  We need to carefully construct the point to set up that winning opportunity.  We also need to react to the shots that are given to us.  If they force us into the corner we need to know when to lob it up so we have time to recover and get back into the point; this isn’t the time to go for a low percentage drive.  Try to think of every sales and marketing interaction like a game.  Knowing when to react is equally as important as when to step up and set up the point.  Think about the moves that it takes to get you in the right position, while also realizing that triggered events could change your course.  In other words, be willing to adapt and be flexible in your cycle.  The best matches are when you equally challenge each other to be better players pushing your skill sets to the next level. The next match you play – you will have learned how to perform at your best level.

At iLantern we say – Know, Act, Close. But we could also say – Game, Set, Match!

Go Gettem’ tiger!

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