Open Enrollment | Subscribe to Target Marketing HERE
Connect
Follow us on
Advertisement
 
Ruth P. Stevens

Ruthless B-to-B Marketing

By Ruth P. Stevens

About Ruth

Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, and teaches marketing at companies and business schools around the world. She is past chair of the DMA Business-to-Business Council, and past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York. Ruth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain's BtoB magazine, and one of 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. She is the author of Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, and Trade Show and Event Marketing. Ruth serves as a director of Edmund Optics, Inc. She has held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, Ziff-Davis, and IBM and holds an MBA from Columbia University.

Ruth is a guest blogger at Biznology, the digital marketing blog. Email Ruth at ruth@ruthstevens.com, follow her on Twitter at @RuthPStevens, or visit her website, www.ruthstevens.com.

 

The Power Punch

Carolyn Goodman
Mistake or Clever Test?
Aug 29, 2014

As marketers, we know that consumers are accustomed to providing personal information in exchange for something free. As business-to-business marketers,...



Muscle Marketing

Wendy Montes de Oca
Penguin 3.0 Is Coming and It’s Time to Clean House
Aug 28, 2014

Anyone who's involved in Internet marketing can tell you that Penguin is more than a cute little seabird that lives...



Triple Venti Dolce Data...

Vince Pickett
Clue Me In, Please
Aug 21, 2013

So here we are, halfway through 2013. You, along with everyone, are still trying to find that magic formula to...



Mobile-First Marketing

Greg Hoy
Why Contextual Advertising Is Still Hard
Aug 27, 2014

Contextualized advertising is serving the right message to the right person at the right time. Standing in the way of...



Marketing Sustainably

Chet Dalzell
Should USPS Retrofit Facilities for E-commerce Fulfillment?
Aug 18, 2014

Three trends make me wonder if there's money to be found in U.S. Postal Service real estate. First, the Postal...



Reinventing Direct

Gary Hennerberg
10 Storytelling-in-Content Marketing Lessons Learned
Aug 20, 2014

Storytelling lifts content marketing into more powerful messaging. Today we share 10 lessons learned as a result of a content...



Who's Your Data?

Rio Longacre
Instagram: Does It Matter That It Will Make Money on Your Pics?
Dec 19, 2012

Instagram announced the company will soon begin using your content to sell targeted advertising products to the highest bidder. Does...



Making Social Sell

Jeff Molander
Writing Effective InMail and Sales Emails: Don't Ask for the Appointment
Aug 22, 2014

Here's my best tip on writing effective sales emails or LinkedIn InMail messages: Don't ask for the appointment. Instead, earn...



SEO & Content Marketing Revue

Heather Lloyd-Martin
5 Tips for Top Positioning (And Converting) Page Titles
Aug 11, 2010

Wondering about a SEO content strategy that offers the biggest impact in the shortest time? Try tweaking your page titles....



Here's What Counts

Chuck McLeester
Planning ROI? Turn the Funnel Upside-Down
Aug 26, 2014

Many marketers use a funnel to illustrate the progression from prospect to buyer because the narrowing graphic neatly shows the...



The Integrated Email

Cyndie Shaffstall
When All Hell Breaks Loose
Aug 25, 2014

With automation comes risk. In the course of drafting, testing and deploying automated programs, many of us have suffered through...



Direct Mail for the Modern Marketer

Summer Gould
Empower Your Direct Mail With Mobile
Aug 21, 2014

Direct mail marketing has been around for a long time; it's sometimes thought of as the "old goat" of marketing....



Brand Matters

Andrea Syverson
Season's Greetings!
Aug 21, 2014

Perhaps like me, you love summer and all it entails: longer days, outdoor play, flip-flop casualness, patio grilling, hummingbirds, wildflowers...



Yblog

Yory Wurmser
Privacy in the Age of Big Data
Jul 10, 2013

Consumers reveal more than ever before consciously through social media and, just as importantly, unconsciously through their behaviors. This data...



The Whole Magilla

Ken Magill
What Marketers Can Learn From Maine's Political Email Idiocy
Feb 24, 2012

It finally happened. Politicians' idiotic email practices had a measurable negative effect. "Maine Republican Party chairman Charlie Webster has admitted...



Big Data, Small Data, Clean Data, Messy Data

Stephen  H. Yu
Beyond RFM Data
Aug 14, 2014

In the world of predictive analytics, the transaction data is the king of the hill. The master of the domain....



Marketing Nuggets

Michael Lowenstein
When Viral Marketing Goes Too Far
Aug 12, 2014

A couple of years ago, our local newspaper, The Philadelphia Inquirer, ran a disturbing story about how a mortgage loan...



Keeping Search Profitable

Amanda G. Watlington, Ph.D.
Is Your Content Fresh, Frequent and Unique?
Aug 5, 2014

Today, your content plays a much larger role in getting top search results than ever before; therefore, it may be...



Online Video Marketing Deep Dive

Eve Grey
Are Your Videos Champions of Your Brand?
Feb 3, 2014

If you advertise in an ordinary way, it's safe to expect ordinary results. However, when you take the extreme and...



Think Mobility

Greg Hickman
‘I Can't Because, I Need ... ’
Oct 7, 2013

Does this sound like you? Have you ever set up a goal, but then realized (either quickly or too late)...



Denny Hatch's Blog

Denny Hatch
The Internet Can Make You a Chump—Forever!
Sep 25, 2010

Trouble is, the Internet is rife with misinformation and if you get caught advertently or inadvertently propagating this nonsense in...



B-to-B Marketing Mythbusting, Redux

1
 
With a tip of the hat to Bob Bly, whose June article in Target Marketing magazine dispelled seven B-to-B marketing myths, I'd like to tackle some mythbusting of my own. 

Myth No. 1:  Lead Generation is the Top Job of B-to-B Marketers
There is overwhelming evidence that B-to-B marketers consider lead generation their most important contribution.

So why, you may rightly wonder, am I calling this a myth? Well, maybe it's more of a misconception than a myth. I am arguing that the true top job of B-to-B marketers should be customer retention, or customer penetration, which is where all the profit lies. 

Of course, we need to feed the funnel, and lead generation is certainly a close second priority. But for delivering real value to shareholders, marketing should be spending considerably more effort on supporting the goal of extracting value from the customer relationship. 

In B-to-B, this might mean strategies like:

  • Identifying potential needs in current accounts through data analytics, and providing sales people with reasons to call into the account and pursue those opportunities.
  • Setting up advisory boards by key customer segment to gain insight into customer needs and future buying trends.
  • Producing ongoing outbound marketing touches to expand the reach of the sales force in communicating value to current accounts.

My point is that retention should be viewed as a top priority—dispelling the myth that if marketing generates tons of leads, they've done their job. 

Myth No. 2: Social Media is a Flash in the Pan
B-to-B marketers are embracing social media with gusto, but many still view it as a toy—something to play around with, most likely in the corporate communications or PR departments.   

Wrong. These channels are ready for revenue generation.

I ran across a fascinating example of this at the DMA12 conference in Las Vegas last month, where Cheryl Mikovch of IBM shared the story of how the marketing team that supports inside sales has enabled reps over the past couple of years to use social media to identify opportunity and deepen their account relationships. The result? For one of IBM's public cloud offerings, 15 percent of the closes via inside sales could be attributed to the social selling effort. When it comes to IBM revenue levels ($107 billion, worldwide, through all channels), that's a lot of money.

The IBM social selling journey began with a market audit that showed 37 percent of IBM buyers had used social media to engage with IT vendors, and that 77 percent of customers were very or somewhat likely to do so in the future. So IBM understood they had to be there, with vigor.

The next step was to build a scalable, replicable social selling process, beginning with listening and engaging clients and prospects, and getting involved in the discussion—earlier than the competition.

Tactically, the process features a "rep page," where every inside sales rep (this means lead development teams and product specialists, as well as quota-bearing account reps) has a dedicated URL, filled with social media tools, to build his or her web presence and engage in direct communications. The marketing department provides professionally written content, some fed automatically to the rep page and some available for the reps to pick up according to their needs. 

The marketing team also provides training to the inside sales reps, showing them how to engage effectively at groups and discussion boards, to listen and contribute, to compose tweets and create their own video messages. 

Word of social selling's success has spread among IBM reps on 170 countries, primarily through rep word of mouth. Helping drive 15 percent of public cloud inside sales, this thing is no myth.

Myth No. 3: Old Media Are Dead
Au contraire. We're now in an integrated marketing communications world, and each medium has a role to play. Companies go 100 percent digital at their peril. 

Direct mail, for example, is still an excellent prospecting tool due to the wide availability of highly targeted business lists, and the impact of corporate spam filters and the dear old delete key, which reduces the productivity of email for cold prospecting. Trade shows are making a comeback, with higher quality attendance and happier exhibitors as a result. 

Got any B-to-B marketing myths to add to the "Busted" list?

A version of this post appeared in Biznology, the digital marketing blog.

 

Companies Mentioned:

1

COMMENTS

Click here to leave a comment...
Comment *
Most Recent Comments: