Tag Archives: B2B

If You Are a B2B Tech Marketing Exec, Get Ready to Increase Content Production by 300%

Most Prospects Purchasing B2B Tech Do Their Research BEFORE They Talk to Any Vendors – Content is the Lynch Pin to Ignite Sales

10Fold recently commissioned a survey with Dimensional Research to better understand U.S. tech marketing executives’ plans for content as part of their marketing initiatives for the coming year. We uncovered five interesting trends – all that surprised us, and will definitely surprise you too!  In this first blog, we’ll be discussing the amount of content marketing execs have planned for the next 12 months.

First, a bit about our research.
Survey respondents included 172 U.S. technology marketing executives that had both budget and approval authority over content development. Vice Presidents of Marketing, CMOs, and CEOs all qualified as participants. Responses were evaluated as a whole and based on company revenues, vertical market focus, and headquarters location.

But, here’s the punch line.
Seventy-six percent of tech marketing executives expect to TRIPLE content production in the next 12 months. Let that sink in for a moment.

10Fold had a hunch that demand for content was increasing, but even we were surprised that these tech marketers were planning an increase of 300 percent. We think that it’s largely based on the pivotal role content is having in the B2B sales process.  A new report from Forrester suggests that prospects have completed more than 50 percent of their buying process BEFORE they ever speak with the vendors they are considering.

Dig In: Content is Still the King!

The line of site is pretty clear:  Companies need to produce more videos, blogs, and articles detailing customer successes, technology differentiation, and vendor stability so that when the research is complete their name ends up on the short list for that RFP.

But how are they going to produce all that content? Over 40 percent of our respondents claimed they plan to have at least a $250,000 budget dedicated to content next year and 90 percent suggest that will be an increase in budget.

 

One more thing: It’s not just the big companies that plan to spend on content – small companies also have aggressive plans to produce content.

For additional information about content quantities and budgeting, including budgets for small companies, check out our full report here. As we approach 2018 and begin to finalize marketing plan and budgets, consider taking your content marketing to the next level.

This blog is the first in the series, Content is Still King.

By Sarah Thorson

Need more valuable insights from pieces like this? Check out some of our other content here.

3 Best Practices for B2B Social Media

Are you like so many others who have had trouble succeeding in the social media realm? We all know that social media marketing is a must-have component in any communications strategy, but without a game plan to drive growth and engagement you are unlikely to succeed. Social media strategy is incredibly important to keep your profile front and center in your prospects’ view and in reaffirming your expertise with current customers.

Platforms
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn should be your primary platforms in distributing content, getting your message across, and building relationships with followers. These three have been found to be the most used social sites by B2B firms, and this is where you will need to be the most competitive and most active.

Frequency and Timing
You should aim to post at least once every week day, and don’t forget weekend’s if you see that’s when your followers (or would be followers) are most active. Posts for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for any one day do not have to be different articles. It’s fine to use one article across all social platforms per day, but do take the time to customize your actual posts – each platform has a slightly different style and of course, length for content. This will allow you to maintain your clout in your follower’s feed when they tend to be most active.

FollowerWonk offers many services, including graphs of follower data.

So how do you find out when to post for the biggest impact on growing your social profile and influence? There are many third-party applications available that are both free and paid that allow for in-depth analysis of your follower activity across different social platforms. Buffer has put together a comprehensive list of many of these applications here.

RELATED: Content Is Still the King!

Content
Social content should not just be all about you. Try to keep self-promotional content to about two days per week, or no more than around 25 per cent of your posts. This can be promoting your company’s product or services, or a particular section of your website. Posts about you at an industry event, depending how you craft them, can fit under industry news.

Thought leadership posts are another way to establish credibility and authority over the issues that your clients or prospects care about. While still self-promotional, showcasing your or your firms expertise in a niche industry or subject demonstrates proficiency in your services and give a sense of authenticity to your target audience.

Industry news articles, especially when you add commentary versus a simple retweet, share or like, should be the majority of the social content that you post. Try to keep up with trending topics and news coverage so your posts are “fresh” and relevant – basically no more than about one week old. This will allow you to stay on top of current events and move with the news cycle to maximize the attention your posts receive.

Stay tuned for more of these B2B think pieces, including information on video marketing, content curation, and much more!

Gain some good insights from this piece? Check out some of our other content here.

Contributions from Fran Lowe.

Increasing ROI from Your Gartner Subscription

If you are a technology company selling to the data center, no doubt you are thinking about how industry analysts may be an important part of your marketing strategy and/or your product development strategy. Over the last ten years, consolidation has separated one analyst firm, Gartner Group, from the rest of the pack. With more than 32 acquisitions since going public in 1993 – including notable firms such as Meta Group, Burton Group and AMR Research – Gartner Group is considered the most influential of all the analyst firms with the end-user community.

At $2 billion in revenues, Gartner Group has a worldwide presence and is best known for connecting CIOs, architects and data center executives with companies that have the best solutions to solve their technology challenges. This translates to a simple, but powerful advantage for technology vendors: approval from a Gartner analyst (in a call with a prospect or in a research report) can mean instant credibility and a major new revenue opportunity for a vendor mentioned. As companies build traction with customers, their annual strategic initiatives often include securing a favorable position in the Gartner Magic Quadrant. The Magic Quadrant is designed to inform buyers of the pros and cons of the vendors they might consider when making a purchase. With all these benefits, it’s no wonder that so many technology companies are trying to develop the best possible relationship with Gartner analysts.

Now that we’ve established that having a relationship with Gartner is advantageous, the big question is what should you buy. Gartner services have always been sold at a premium, and that premium has only increased as Gartner has become even more powerful. Years ago, simply being a Gartner client was enough to establish a relationship with an influential Gartner analyst. With so many firms vying for a position or mindshare with the analysts, just purchasing a Gartner subscription has proved to not be enough to make an impact on Gartner analysts. What’s more, Gartner has changed the game by establishing new rules for analysts, parsing up the time an analyst has for individual companies and dramatically limiting what the analysts are allowed to do for companies that purchase only a base subscription. After some investigation with former Gartner sales staff, we have put together some thoughts that may inform your strategy for spending marketing dollars with Gartner. Below are seven tips for better understanding the way Gartner structures client engagements and three ideas for making the most of Gartner’s supplemental services.

Seven Simple Guidelines for Working with Gartner

1. The structure for analyst compensation has changed dramatically over time
Analysts are now paid only for research. This means that they are no longer paid for extra consulting they call SAS days that previously added bonuses to analysts’ pockets for half-day or day-long client visits to advise on strategy, product roll-out, or marketing initiatives. What surprised us is that Gartner analysts also do not receive bonuses on orders for reprints or licensing agreements of their reports. Similarly, they do not receive additional compensation for webinars. However, webinars do offer promotional benefits for individual analysts and groups of analysts, and do not require the grueling travel that other services require.

2. How to begin a solid relationship with a Gartner analyst
Most companies buy a base-level service from Gartner that includes unlimited inquiries with the analysts. Inquiries are exactly as they sound: questions that can reasonably be discussed or answered in a 30-minute time slot by the analyst. Asking questions that demonstrate strategic thinking is one great way to make a good impression on an analyst. In fact, our sources suggest the seat holder (the owner of the inquiry service) has to remain fierce about reading and finding research on which they can base questions and approach the analysts. In short, setting up frequent inquiries is key. And, there is a best practice for making an inquiry: send your questions via email before the inquiry appointment. This way the analyst can prepare and articulate a thoughtful response.

3. Analysts no longer like SAS days
While analysts were once eager to support SAS days, this is not true today. SAS days typically require brutal travel, and analysts no longer receive additional compensation for their effort. What you may not know is that you must establish your salesperson as an advocate for you if you really want a SAS day. Our sources suggest that a salesperson has to insist strongly that you get your SAS day, because analysts will do their best to avoid delivering on a SAS day, or will try to send a less qualified analyst in their place.

4. Reprints from a Gartner report make an impact and have staying power
Every growing company has an insatiable need for credible content – and all the better if the content educates or offers credible third-party guidance on investing in technology solutions. If your company has been featured in a Gartner Group report or Magic Quadrant in a flattering way, this single piece of content may carry you a long, long way. Be prepared, however; licensing Gartner content isn’t cheap – but it’s extremely beneficial for impressing new prospects or helping those already in your pipeline make a decision to purchase your product.

5. Analysts appreciate most webinar opportunities
Webinars can offer advantages to the analyst because vendors typically advertise the webinar widely and name the analyst leading the webinar. According to our sources, analysts love webinars because they get impressive exposure without having to travel, and because the added work is minimal, as they are able to use their existing body of research as the basis for their webinar participation. What’s more, the discussion topics in webinars inform attendees and create new possibilities for research. Webinars also afford analysts the opportunity to interface with end users – which often inspires valuable ideas for their next research topics.

Just one note of caution: don’t expect Gartner to promote your solution or be swayed to make over-zealous statements on the webinar. Gartner analysts play by a very strict set of rules, and, if they don’t believe you are the market leader, the fact that you hired them for a webinar (or any other project) won’t change their minds.

6. You can change your salesperson
Not feeling confident about the value of the service you receive from Gartner? Arguably, this could happen more often today than it did just a few years ago because the Gartner salesforce has become noticeably younger and less experienced. They often don’t have the experience to know when to push for their clients – especially if it means going toe-to-toe with a grumpy analyst. Our sources suggest that you contact Michael Yoo, who is a senior Gartner executive and part of the Gartner operating committee. He can help you find the sales rep who will give you the experience with Gartner that you need.

7. Sales reps and quotas
As is the case with most sales organizations, the Gartner salesforce is required to sell a variety of services. Their quotas include a percentage of revenue to come from custom consulting, a percentage from one-off projects (SAS days included), and a percentage from standard licenses. Learn to recognize if your sales rep is pushing something overly aggressively as a potential ploy to make quota for that service line. And, remember that there are considerable challenges associated with in-person custom consulting.

Three Ways to Make the Most of Gartner Services

1. Buy an advisory seat and use it!
Make an inquiry at least once a month (if not more often) and ensure that the questions you present are well thought out and sent in advance to the analyst ahead of time.

2. Webinars are a smart spend
Webinars help analysts have valuable interactions with end users, discover new research topics, and offer free publicity or advertising for them and their service. Schedule webinars after 1) you have had a number of inquiry sessions so that the analyst understands you and your company’s unique advantages, and 2) once you understand how the analyst will position your product and company.

3. How to best engage with a SAS day
Instead of asking an analyst to fly to your location (assuming they do not live near you), consider scheduling a SAS day near the analyst. Let’s face it, most start-ups don’t have impressive, differentiated offices, and these analysts have seen almost every iteration of a cool office anyway! You’ll earn far more good will by going to the analyst rather than having them endure the travel. As a side note: many analysts work out of their homes, so booking a conference room at a nice nearby hotel will likely be your best strategy.

By Susan Thomas

Attention Skeptics: Why B2B Marketers Should Worship the World of Mobile Marketing

By Sophorn Chhay

In the infinitely interesting words of industry experts, mobile marketing movement is inevitable, so says industry experts. We’re all moving onward together towards digital excellence, but as the march continues, there are those who are sprinting forward and others who are falling behind. Why? It all comes down to confidence in and understanding of the world of mobile marketing. Are you on board? Here’s why you should be:

Customers Demand It

The old adage “the customer is always right” is just about annoying as it is, well, correct, but it’s not so much about cowering at the feet of demanding clients as it is simply giving the people what they want. And what do the people want? In short, they want convenience. They want access to products and services that solve their problems, they want that access to be easy and intuitive, and they don’t want to have to break their stride – or their budgets – in order to get it. Check this out:

10 FOLD ICON 15x15 An impressive 90 percent of mobile users enrolled in SMS rewards programs said their participation was beneficial.

10 FOLD ICON 15x15 SMS coupons are redeemed 10 times more often than print coupons – probably because no one can remember where they put that little slip of paper they cut out from the Sunday inserts and almost everyone can remember exactly where they put their phone. Well, eventually, anyways.

10 FOLD ICON 15x15 Of all the text messages people receive, only 10 percent are considered (by the consumers themselves) to be spam.

Numbers don’t lie. There is real value in mobile marketing, and you don’t want to be the only company still protesting that you can’t see it.

SMS is Everything, More or Less

 

First, text revolutionized how we talk to our friends and loved ones. Now, it’s doing the same thing for how we communicate with businesses, both from a B2C and B2B point of view. Who wants to sit on hold for an hour just to get the answer to a simple question like “When is my order going to be delivered?” or “Are we still on for that meeting on Friday? And where is it again?” SMS is simple, efficient, immediate, and it doesn’t even have to be completely text based anymore. You can send coupons via text, links to your weekly blogs, automated information regarding scheduling updates or order confirmations – the possibilities are practically (if not literally) endless.

In fact, a text sent right after a phone conversation increases your chance for a conversion by 40%.

Text is revolutionizing customer service, too. Did you know that 52 percent of those surveyed preferred communicating with customer support via text than by email or phone? If that isn’t enough, consider that it’s a heck of a lot cheaper to set up a mobile marketing automation system than it is to staff an office full of customer service agents.

It’s the Very Best Way to Connect

Everywhere you go, there’s your cell phone. A (not-so) shocking 75 percent of people confess to bringing their phone in the bathroom with them – what other advertising method gets you so up close and personal with current and prospective customers alike? Don’t waste a golden opportunity; approach consumers from a variety of channels, be active on social media, develop killer content, and constantly encourage client feedback. It’s the only way, and it truly works.

We believe that you have something totally worthwhile to sell, and if you could sit down and have a face-to-face with every potential customer in the world, you’d probably have a decent conversion rate, but that’s simply not possible.

Don’t waste a golden opportunity; approach consumers from a variety of channels, be active on social media, develop killer content, and constantly encourage client feedback.

What you can do is reach an incredibly diverse and far-flung array of consumers wherever they happen to be, and the only way you can do that is by figuring out your winning mobile marketing strategy and joining the march forward.

What’s Next?

How do you ensure that your customer is getting the best mobile experience possible when interacting with your brand? Make sure to share them with us in the comments below. I would love to read them.

Author Biography

Sophorn Chhay

Sophorn is the marketing guy at  Trumpia, the most complete SMS software with mass text messaging, smart targeting and automation.

10 FOLD ICON 15x15 Follow Sophorn on Twitter(@Trumpia), LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+

10 FOLD ICON 15x15 Jumpstart your business by grabbing your free copy of his powerful Mobile Marketing Success Kit.

10 FOLD ICON 15x15 Watch Trumpia’s 5-Minute Demo on how to execute an effective mobile marketing strategy.

3 Tips to Excel at What You Do

Staying on top of your game can be a tricky task for many people in the fast-paced field of Public Relations. Moving at a rapid pace and constantly evolving, getting and staying on top in the field is much easier said – than done. Here is a quick list of pointers to help you get there.

Love It
Who wants to work a job they don’t enjoy? Having a genuine interest in what you’re doing is critical in being engaged and the most productive you can be. Nothing compares to the level of quality when you have real dedication for the work that you do. The passion you hold for your job is what will focus and drive you toward success while keeping you actively engaged.

Embrace Your Mistakes
Difficulties are not exactly motivational. Failing at your task is not a goal to be aimed for, however it is critical to approach the situation in the right way. Nobody is perfect, and we will all inevitably make mistakes at some point in our professional careers. It is up to you to either allow failures to bog you down or to accept them as a learning experience.

th (1)

Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone!
Have you ever been frustrated with someone who refuses to see a different point-of-view, no matter how convincing another may be? It’s difficult to think outside the box if you won’t take a step out of it to experience new ideas! Allowing yourself to be subjected to new ideas is the key to expanding viewpoints and understanding how best to resolve new challenges.

comfortzone

How many of these do you incorporate? If you find yourself questioning your choices while reading this, it may be time to re-think your approach.

Enjoy your read? Browse our other blogs as well!

 

 

 

3 Key Qualities of Leadership

Many understand the advantages of a good leader, but few truly understand what it takes to be an effective and motivating director. This is related not only to success in work, but to one’s personal aspirations as well. Three qualities of compelling leaders are:

Exceptional Communication Skills

Communicating effectively with your team clearly illustrates your objectives as a business and allows their goals to be understood as well. At 10Fold, we have a daily huddle where we discuss industry trends and company news to make sure that each individual is on the same page and to share future plans for our business.  Scorecards are maintained to track the contributions each person makes, and we utilize a “No Secrets Policy” to confirm no one misunderstands company objectives. Transparency is our goal, with our leadership and team members.  

Being A Role Model

There are two types of guiding personalities; Bosses and Leaders. The former emphasizes their control over others and uses it to their benefit to complete a task. Thus breeds resentment and general disdain for the workplace. A leader, while still establishing themselves as a director for official activities, will also show reasonability and listen to their subordinates. Simply giving advice and constructively advising your team can go a long way in ensuring future productivity and trust in your abilities. 10Fold CEO Susan Thomas comments: “I would never ask someone to do something I would not do myself,” and ensures the rest of 10Fold management does the same. Acknowledging that each team member works most competently when they are mutually understood, our business has had the capability to exponentially expand over the last twenty years.

boss v leader

Working With Change In the Environment

A leader is able to quickly and confidently adapt to developing situations. Thinking on your feet is crucial in being able to direct your team in an inventive direction when circumstances change beyond your control. Your organization will look to you for an answer, and your goal is to deliver one as efficient my as possible. As a business, 10Fold understands that things that may work for awhile will inevitably change. This constant need for adaptation has led us to create a metrics driven business plan, incorporating a conservative “Pain Threshold” that, once met, indicates an immediate need to switch strategies and convert ourselves to a new approach. This practice has overseen significant growth in the last year alone, with over 24% increase.

culture

Applying and maintaining these aspects of leadership in business allow for greater expansion and a sense of trust between team members. At 10Fold we work hard to assure that these are continually and successfully achieved.

Enjoy your read? Browse our other blogs as well!