Mi6 Round Up | July 2020

What Is a Round Up?

Every month we pick articles from our B2B Sales and Marketing Digest and drill further down for you. We’ll give you a quick summary of the article – The Gist, give you our thoughts on why it’s important at this point in time and some advice. 

It’s our way of helping you further sift through the firehose of content we experience daily! Enjoy! Oh, and by the way… comments are welcomed. Also, if you’d like to be a contributor to an upcoming round up just pick an article from our digest and let Chris know.

What Types of Content Generate Leads that Convert?

By: Lisa Denis, Partner, Mi6 Agency

The Gist

In a survey of 260 marketers, the top 3 tactics that prove the most effective for generating quality leads are social media, website and SEO and email marketing.  Engaging content is the base requirement for all of these tactics, separate from content marketing activities that scored a fourth place finish in the poll.

The 3 types of content preferred by these marketers are video, webinars and virtual events and this type of content will continue to be important in the wake of COVID-19.  Also getting results are original research/data and blog posts, with less emphasis on some traditionally favoured templates and tools, case studies/whitepapers/ebooks and podcasts.

The major challenges cited are a lack of budget, a lack of data on leads and crafting creative and messaging that works to generate a larger quantity of quality leads.

Why is This an Important Article Now?

It’s all about timing.  This survey was completed in June 2020, 3 months into the pandemic lockdown, so it is no surprise that marketers are experiencing tighter budgets as organizations paused marketing activities, a lack of in depth data on their targets, who have new and evolving challenges to solve and figuring out how to provide messaging that supports the empathetic tone expected and advances the key messages of the solutions being offered.

Also, no surprise that virtual engagement options are visual and interactive – tactics that may require more significant investment.  However, good content across all channels can also create engagement with quality leads, and marketers will need to shift their understanding of how their target audience is buying.

What Advice Can I Offer?

First, in the short to medium term, content needs to reflect your organization’s understanding of the immediate pain of your clients and prospective clients.  Once marketers have that understanding and can communicate it effectively, content should tie that pain to the solution – not just any solution – your solution needs to be positioned as a ‘must-have’ against that acute pain, not a ‘nice-to-have.’

Second, content in all of its forms and across all channels, from social posts to blog posts to webinars, needs to be consistent and connective.  Your target leads are looking for a pathway to interact with you, to trust your organization with their contact information and to offer more insights into their needs.  Extend the life of content that is working by offering it in multiple formats and updating with insights from your clients and prospects.  Running a connective thread through all of your content will make it easier to manage and create new options from measured results.

5 Big Obstacles Encountered by B2B Content Marketers

By: Chris Herbert, Managing Partner, Mi6 Agency

The Gist

The 105 B2B marketers surveyed for this article have one fundamental challenge: a lack of alignment with key people within their companies. 

The five content marketing obstacles they face all point to a lack of alignment. 

The five are 1) changing priorities and unclear briefs, 2) “stakeholder interference”; 3) lack of budget, resources and time; 4) lack of cooperation from other departments, and 5) inadequate access to customers. 

The article proposes some solutions which are worth a read but the fundamental problem is the lack of alignment with sales, marketing and customer services/support. Plus, the support of the most senior leader in the company, to commit the organization to a content marketing strategy over the long run. 

Why Is This an Important Article Now?

In the past, B2B sales teams controlled the access and flow of information to customers and prospects. Product specs, how to guides, best practice presentations and industry/case study examples were held close to the vest. Customers need to book an appointment to access this content. 

In case you’ve been under a rock for the past 15 years that content is now available via search, on social media and from trusted peers. 

The bottom line is content has always been important, strategic and necessary to inform, educate and persuade someone to buy your product, service or solution. But what is different is the buyer is now in control. 

What Advice Can I Offer?

I remember over 15 years ago, as a Director of Marketing at a Technology Solution provider,  having to convince sales reps that it was their job (as much as marketing’s), to put bums in seats for an upcoming seminar. The sales manager and I demonstrated how they could use the event strategically to uncover, advance and close deals. They saw how it would make them more successful and our events were always full. 

Alignment is the key regardless of the marketing tactic you are using to achieve your business objectives. Value exchange needs to exist for internal stakeholders (sales, support, marketing, executive management) and external ones (customers, prospects, partners).

B2B Buyers Value These Traits in Salespeople

By: Karen Kelly, Managing Partner, K2 Performance Consulting

The Gist

There is a disconnect between what buyers value and what managers are hiring for, as shown by buyers listing active listening as the  #1 valued trait for sales reps.

 This leads me to question the calibre of managers hiring sales reps? What is their level of EQ?

Prior to becoming a manager where did active listening sit on their list? Managers that model the desired behaviour highlight the expectations for their team.

Why Is This an Important Article Now?

With everyone forced to work online, it is difficult to nurture existing clients and more difficult to engage with new ones. There is a lot of online noise and minimal time to filter through it, so most outreaches get deleted due to sheer volume and lack of personalization.

This is relevant now as people continue to struggle financially, emotionally and perhaps physically, uncertainty remains high.

In this landscape, trust is placed at a higher level than normal. If you are not building trust with your clients to connect and truly understand their needs, the gap will continue to widen. 

What Advice Can I Offer?

My advice is, take the time to research your client, understand their role, the problem they are trying to solve and the problem their clients are trying to solve.

Ask thought provoking questions to drive engagement, show them you are genuinely interested in helping them, then…Listen. 

Do not interrupt. Put your technology down, make eye contact, get them to go deeper and gain clarity into their situation. Throughout the process you will have managed to build trust.

What Do You Think?

B2B sales and marketing professionals around the world are seeking to learn and get better. So are we! Our hope is that you refer to these monthly round ups to help you do just that. If you’d like to be contributor to an upcoming round up just let Chris know.