3 Reasons Your B2B Sales is Failing (Part 1)

BankruptcyMany B2B companies have started to catch on to the fact that marketing in the digital space is dramatically different than marketing of the past. Selling in this space means playing by different rules (i.e. the buyer runs the show), however, many companies have not taken the time to understand the complexities and intricacies these new rules contain.

So, if you have tried to adapt to B2B marketing in the digital world, but have found little success, here are three reasons your B2B sales and marketing strategy might be failing:

  1. Your lead gen campaigns lack intelligent strategy.

By now, many B2B marketers have learned they need to develop digital content to keep up with their competitors.  Many marketers have now busied themselves by creating white papers, social media accounts, blogs, webcasts and more to reach their customers in the new digital space.  However, the part that many B2B marketers have missed is the need for strategy and content management.

Simply throwing out a bunch of sales collateral and hoping for a sale is not going to work.  Buyers are looking to engage with content that speaks directly to their needs and business challenges.  This requires research and planning.  By looking at data like customer demographics, SEO analytics and website traffic, you can create an ideal customer profile. An ideal customer profile is comprised of factors like geographic region, job title, industry, size of company, etc. and will tell you what type of prospects your marketing content should target.

Once you know the basic demographics of the buyer you would like to sell to, you can start thinking strategically about content. What are the main objections this type of buyer would have? Are they concerned more about price or quality? Does this buyer like to watch short videos or read long white papers? Once you have answered these questions, marketing content development is no longer random and is instead backed by logic and data.

For the second half of this blog, click here.

For more B2B sales tips, click here.

Examples of B2B Sales Videos

b2b video content marketingAs B2B sales and marketing continues to adapt to paradigm shifts in technology and culture, marketers are finding new ways to communicate with prospects and deliver engaging content.

One of the most popular ways to deliver messages in the new digital sales space is through the use of B2B sales or marketing videos. Videos can be effective for B2B sales for many reasons.

The first reason is that unlike a white paper or text-heavy blog article, videos can make use of color, motion and sound to grab and hold your viewers attention. Second, you can use infographics and visually engaging representations of data to tell your brand story in a completely new way. Third, by putting your voice and or face on screen, your prospects feel that they are getting to know you, which will help you earn their trust.

The first thing you need to do when creating a B2B sales or marketing video is determine what you want the video to do for your company. Do you want to educate, entertain, build trust, differentiate or sell?  Once you have decided your desired function for the video, you need to pick a structure and format conducive to your choice.

Are you trying to position yourself as a thought leader in the industry? Then you need an educational video that talks about industry news, trends or insights.  In the example below from Gabriel Sales, CEO Glen Springer addresses the recent purchase of SalesForce by ExactTarget.  His video answers a question many people in the industry are currently asking (“Why did Salesforce Buy ExactTarget for 2.5B?”) in a way that also demonstrates value for Gabriel Sales’ services. This video is therefore able to showcase Springer’s industry expertise while simultaneously educating prospects for Gabriel Sales.

Another way to educate your prospects with video is to simply explain what you do.  In the B2B world, many products and services are not self-explanatory and require a fair amount of education to get the prospect to understand value. In the example below, Gabriel Sales’ COO Carol Springer explains what B2B demand generation is and the process Gabriel Sales goes through to generate demand for our clients.  While the video does attempt to sell Gabriel Sales services, it is still educational in tone and content.

Click here to watch the video. 

If your aim with B2B video is instead to build trust or convince your prospect to transact, client testimonials are a great option.  By having someone else sing your praises, you get to sell without being the annoying and pushy salesman that everyone hates. In the example below, Gabriel Sales’ customer Solution Dynamics talks about the value that Gabriel Sales services have brought to the company during their 18-month relationship.

Click here to watch the video.

In summary, creating B2B sales videos can be an effective way to engage new customers and even close deals.  It is important to remember to determine the purpose or function of the video you want to create and then match the tone and content accordingly.

If you would like more information on B2B sales videos, or have any questions about Gabriel Sales services, please feel free to contact us.

B2B Sales in 2013 – Trust the Experts (Part 4)

b2b sales tacticThis is Part 2 of a 4-part blog series discussing the need for expert solutions for B2B sales and marketing in 2013.

In the third part of this blog series, we explained that sales expertise, technological capabilities, the ability to produce a mountain of marketing content, a little bit of storytelling and some social intuition are required for successful B2B sales in 2013.

In light of this daunting and expensive list, many companies have turned to experts for help.

Here are some analogies to illustrate this point: If you had a cockroach infestation in your home, would you buy the equipment and get the training to do the exterminating yourself, or would you call an expert? Or, if you or your partner goes into labor, do you think, “I can handle this on my own,” or do you call a doctor or midwife that has been delivering children for years?

Similarly, by hiring a B2B sales and marketing outsourcing company, you get the benefit of new insights, technologies and capabilities without having to learn everything yourself. Sales and marketing outsourcing companies have been paying attention to how the rules of buying and selling have evolved because that is the water they are swimming in.

At Gabriel Sales, we have been helping B2B companies increase sales and revenue and close more deals, faster for over 13 years. We have been closely monitoring industry trends and are using the most up-to-date and efficient internet technologies available.

We have a streamlined discovery process to help you quickly plan and execute integrated and scalable B2B Sales, Content Marketing, Lead Management and Pipeline Development Programs. We make the complex simple by combining your knowledge of your customer, market and business with our best practices, sales tools, marketing technologies, database expertise and industry benchmarks. We then create a program that meets your needs, hits your targets and gives both sales and marketing a shared “Sales Quota Scorecard” across tactics.

To learn more about how we can help, you can visit our services page or download our white paper called, “Integrate Sales and Marketing in 2013 & Beyond”.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

B2B Sales in 2013 – Trust the Experts (Part 3)

b2b sales tacticThis is Part 3 of a 4-part blog series discussing the need for expert solutions for B2B sales and marketing in 2013. For Part 1, please click here and for Part 2, please click here.

In the first two parts of this blog series, we explained how technological innovations have dramatically changed the way we communicate with one another as well as how we buy and sell things.

To briefly review, we explained that the internet and internet-based technologies have changed communication from a transmission model to a participation model. For B2B sales in 2013, this means that you can no longer simply ‘transmit’ sales material or sell hard upfront. This is because your buyer wants to ‘participate’ in the sales process every step of the way.

By creating digital marketing content and running content marketing campaigns using a marketing automation platform, you can simultaneously give your prospects something to participate in and monitor their buying behaviors.

Using the information you gather from your marketing automation solution, you can intuitively guess how each prospect would like to participate with your brand as they move down the sales/buying cycle. For example, if they have been reading all of your educational blog posts, they might also enjoy downloading a white paper. If they have been clicking on “pricing” or “comparison” type pages, they might be ready for a phone call.

Understanding how the new participatory communication model works, and integrating this information with B2B selling and buying cycles is not a simple task.  It requires sales expertise, technological capabilities, the ability to produce a mountain of marketing content, a little bit of storytelling and some social intuition.

In light of this, many companies have realized they do not have the internal capacity to revamp their sales and marketing to fit the new communication model and buying cycle. Instead, they have turned to the experts.

In the last part of this blog series, we explain why trusting the experts makes sense for B2B sales and marketing outsourcing in 2013. Click here for Part 4.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Why Did Salesforce.com Pay $2.5 Billion for Exact Target?

This week, we have received a lot of questions from our clients, potential customers and friends asking us two questions:

  1. How do we feel about the acquisition of ExactTarget by Salesforce.com?
  2. How did they get that kind of multiple? (Salesforce.com paid $2.5 billion with ExactTarget’s expected revenues of $120M for fiscal year 2014).

How do we feel about the acquisition?

As a company, we couldn’t be more pleased!

A year ago to date, we made the decision that we would no longer take clients on without a marketing automation implementation because of the productivity increase we witnessed with our first three implementations. We have done a dozen marketing automation implementations over the past 18 months for our clients. 100% have been with ExactTarget’s Pardot, and 90% have been with Pardot and Salesforce.com. So to pat ourselves on the back, we strategically picked the winners for our customers.

This acquisition is going to make our ability to serve our clients even more productive and powerful, especially as Pardot and Salesforce.com start to fold even more powerful Social Media and Analytics Tools into the mix over the coming years.

How did they get that kind of multiple?

Marketing is undergoing a radical and accelerating transformation where more and more products and services are bought and not sold. This is because self-directed B2B consumers can now leverage a broad variety of digital content instantly available to provide the information they need online.

As a company, this means you now need to fundamentally change how you engage with prospects and customers, which requires a new kind of technology solution – one that allows you to create ongoing dialogue with your buyers across channels.  A technology solution that allows your sales team and your marketing team to focus on the needs of your buyers is critical.  The combination of Pardot and Salesforce.com makes it easier for your teams to serve your buyers and to hold each other accountable with deep insights and analytics. The combination of Salesforce.com and ExactTarget and Pardot simply make serving this new buyer easier for your sales team, your marketing and your executives.  ExactTarget got that multiple because the combination of Salesforce.com and Marketing Automation works for its customers.

Here are several supporting pieces of data:

Market Adoption of the integrated platforms (across both CRMs and Marketing Automation) is still somewhere between 14% to 18% depending on whose numbers you look at. Of those with the platforms (and this is anecdotal talking to other marketers, service firms etc. that we know), less than 25% of the companies using the platforms are pushing them hard and with focus, which means we are still early in market adoption.

It takes about a year to 18 months to have your engine humming, but once it is, we are seeing three significant jumps in conversion numbers.

  • Leads properly nurtured convert to Sales Accepted Leads with far less outbound phone calls.  With no nurturing, it would typically take 850 to 1000 phone calls to put the same percentage of Sales Accepted Leads you can now put in the pipe with only 120 to 200 phone calls.   This makes for an 8X increase in the efficiency of the middle stage of your pipeline development.
  • This also transfers to closing at the bottom part of the funnel.  Well-nurtured leads are converting into 3X more closes.  This doesn’t happen overnight, but when it does, teams are pumped.
  • Combining the two points above – according to several studies we have seen, (and some of the numbers we are seeing internally) within 18 months, companies that have done solid implementation are seeing a 157% increase in sales and a lower cost of sales %.

Analysts are predicting that the CMO is expected to spend more on technology than the CIO by 2017.   And, according to one analyst report we read in one fell swoop, “Salesforce did what it had to do so they now can call their solution the first Marketing Cloud.”

If you are struggling with your marketing automation implementation,  struggling with getting your sales team fully integrated, or just curious and want to learn more, feel free to contact us for a quick consultation to learn more.     You can also download our whitepaper Increase Revenue by 157% with Integrated Sales and Marketing .  Or check out this quick video for more details about Why Did Salesforce Pay 2.5B for Exact Target?

Watch the video now