Trust and the Big Lie of Lead Generation


B2B Lead Generation: Capturing Accurate Information on Forms

Last Friday, someone filled out this form to download content. It’s exactly the theme of this post. People lie.

(By the way, we no longer deliver the content after the form is completed, we email a link to the content. This ensures they use a valid email address.)

First Name : zxzx
Last Name : zxzx
Email (valid corporate email address is required) : zxzxzxzx@ssds.sds
Job Title : Sales Leader
Phone # : sdsd
Web Site URL : dsds

Vince Giorgi writes the blog TouchPoint City and he recently wrote a very

Pinocchio

provocative post called The Big Lie of Lead Generation.

I wish to comment about it there.

The big lie Vince cites is this.

People put fictitious information on registration forms on your landing pages. Why? They don’t want to opt in to your telemarketing and email campaigns.

More than 1/2 admit to faking phone numbers. When asked why they put in fake information, almost 3 out of 4 cited “Avoid follow-up sales calls or marketing contacts.”

Even IBM screws up. In a recent CMO study, they ask for not only name and email, but phone number, company size, street address and phone number.

I abandoned it and I bet a lot of other people did too. Really dumb move by IBM - asking WAY too much.

What’s the marketing take-away here?

Earn trust and use progressive profiling.

It’s not enough to capture information - a people who don’t trust your company don’t provide accurate information. Your brand is important, people must trust it.

This is why you need a good, frequently updated blog (this blog posts 7 days a week) and to be active on social media - listening and sharing.

Becoming a thought leader and establishing a trusted company, like Find New Customers, (who’s motto is “Always be helping”) is key in getting accurate information.

What do you think? We love comments and our subscribers.

How many leads will you need to make your quota? Use our free calculator.

Please note that our wonderful free “cheat sheet” on lead nurturing “The 7 Keys to Lead Nurturing Success” is a small taste of what you get in our terrific white paper, How to Find New Customers.

Jeff Ogden is President of the B2B lead generation consultancy, Find New Customers. Find New Customers helps companies rapidly grow revenue by transforming how they attract, engage and win new customers. Contact Find New Customers by calling (516) 495-9350 or by emailing sales at findnewcustomers.com.

Surprise - powerful way to engage prospective buyers


B2B Lead Generation | Harnessing the Power of Surprise

In an earlier article, we discussed how doing the unexpected is a great way to engage the minds of prospective buyers in your B2B demand generation programs.  This is so important, we should look at other examples.

Let’s look at an illustration from the book Made to Stick.

The television commercial for the new Enclave minivan opens in a familiar way — sitting in front of a park.  A young boy with a football helmet climbs in, followed by his younger sisters.  Dad’s driving and Mom’s in the passenger seat.  It looks very comfortable — with cup-holders everywhere.  “Introducing the all-new Enclave” begins a woman’s voice-over.

Dad pulls away from the curb “It’s a minivan to the max.”  They begin cruising through quiet, tree-lined streets.  “With features like remote-controlled sliding doors, 150 cable channels, a sky-view roof, temperature controlled cup-holders, and a six point navigation system…it’s a minivan for families on the go.”

The minivan stops at an intersection and the camera zooms in on the face of the young boy — staring out the window at leafy trees.  The picture of serenity.  Dad pull into the intersection.

That’s when it happens.  A speeding car barrels into the intersection and slams into the side of the minivan.  There’s a terrible crash with smashing glass and buckling metal.

The screen fades to black.  A message appears.  “Didn’t see that coming?

The message fades and a new one appears:

No one ever does.

With the sound of a stuck horn blaring, a final message appears on the screen.  “Buckle up….always.

What’s going on here? It’s not an ad for a minivan. It’s a public service ad to get people to wear seat belts.

There is no Enclave minivan. The ad was created by The Ad Council, a government agency founded in 1942.

This technique, of doing the unexpected, is a powerful marketing concept and a key element in getting attention. It would serve you well in B2B marketing and lead nurturing.

How can you duplicate this?  How can you do something unexpected with your products and services?  Find a quiet place and think.

What do you think? We love comments and people who share.

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Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is the President of the B2B lead generation consultancy Find New Customers. Find New Customers helps companies dramatically improve revenue results by transforming the way they attract, engage and win new customers. Contact Find New Customers by calling (516) 495-9350 or sending an email to sales at findnewcustomers.com.

“If more companies listened to (Find New Customers) a lot more would be sold.” Dan McDade, Pointclear.

12 Marketing-Takeways from the B2B Marketing Manifesto


B2B Demand Generation | 12 Marketing Take-Aways

One of our favorite content marketing firms is Velocity Partners in London, creators of a 42 page “rant” called the B2B Marketing Manifesto.

Doug Kessler, an American living over there, recently participated in a webinar with Bob Apollo, Inflexion-Point Strategy Partners and John Sweeney of DemandGen in which he shared lessons learned from marketing that content.

I’d like to share Doug’s lessons with our fans.

First Doug and his team combined great content with marketing automation (Marketo). Having both is critical, because the great content is bait and marketing automation becomes the way of measuring and monitoring what’s happening.

Now that the project is finished, Doug was able to share 12 key marketing-takeaways:

  1. Target just one persona
    Don’t try to be all things to all people. Be very specific.
  2. Give influencers a preview
    Reach out to thought leaders with an earlier release of the content. Get their input and support. (They support, advise and promote it.) Doug said this was critical. He also said it is the step most businesses miss.
  3. Create spin-offs
    The B2B Marketing Manifesto became a Playbook, blog posts, etc. Take one piece of content and re-imagine it. Include “shameless plugs” and share on Docstoc, Scribd, Slideshare, YouTube, Linkedin, and Blogs.
  4. Guest blog
    Writing articles for other blogs generates tons of good things, like traffic, backlinks Googlejuice. (This is why Find New Customers also writes for SandHill.com, PostclickMarketingBlog, CustomerCollective, blogs for Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot, etc.)
  5. Test, test, test
    Should you have a form or not? Should you use Auto Direct Messages in Twitter? Should emails be text or HTML? Don’t guess! Do an A/B test.
  6. Set up analytics first
    Think it through before you start. Create trackable tagged URL’s. Think of what you will want to track so you can include it in Google Analytics.
  7. Include the search keyphrase in the title
    They could have called it the Content Marketing Manifesto, but one of the keyphrases they wanted to use was “B2B Marketing,” so it became the B2B Marketing Manifesto.
  8. Set targets before you begin
    Document all the things you want to measure before you begin.  #downloads, conversion rates, inbound links created, all the way to prospect meetings set. If you don’t have firm goal, just make an educated guess.
  9. Add a survey question to your form
    By adding “The hardest part of B2B Marketing is….” they were shocked at the number of people who answered it.
  10. Get personal
    They make a point of responding personally to every comment and contact. They found that people appreciated the personal touch and responded in kind.
  11. Capture and share learnings
    As you move through the process, you will learn a lot. Write things down and discuss them. Writing them down is very important.
  12. Put in your whole head and heart
    It works best if you are truly committed and believe in what you are doing. Velocity believed in their content. You should too.

What do you think? We love your comments and appreciate it when you share our content on social networks.
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Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is the President of the B2B lead generation consultancy Find New Customers. Find New Customers helps companies dramatically improve revenue results by transforming the way they attract, engage and win new customers. Contact Find New Customers by calling (516) 495-9350 or sending an email to sales at findnewcustomers.com.

“If more companies listened to (Find New Customers) a lot more would be sold.” Dan McDade, Pointclear.

How to make your 2012 sales quota (or look for a new job)


B2B Lead Generation | How to Find New Customers

Here are a few facts to cause deep concerns (Data from CSO Insights):

(For a related post, check out Why SalesSalesperson Needs Content Marketing and Marketing Automation.)

  • Over 9 out 10 companies (95%) raised sales quotas in 2011. They will undoubtedly go up again in 2012. Quota increases are accelerating too.
  • Out of 10 salespeople, only 6 made quota in 2010. With higher quotas, fewer than 6 will make quota next year - unless something changes.
  • The economy is a disaster and it looks like it will stay that way for some time. It won’t help you make quota or find a new job. Not only are prospective customers not buying, but salespeople (and sales executives) who lose their jobs are unlikely to be re-hired soon.

The conclusion is clear:

If you want to make quota in 2012, you MUST implement a best-practices demand generation program today. 

How? Start with this awesome white paper.

How to Find New Customers was called “the simple guide to B2B demand generation and a must-read.” by the B2B demand generation expert, Craig Rosenberg, also known as The Funnelholic.

How to Find New Customers

How to Find New Customers

It’s 100% free, so why don’t you click the image and download it right now? (We only share your contact info with the sponsor, Marketo.)

We’re fortunate that so many people had nice things to say.

Let’s review them here.

“This How to Find New Customers white paper is GREAT! I’m going to tweet and re-tweet it as much as I can!”

Paige O’Neill, VP of Demand Generation at Aprimo


“I created my company’s entire Go to Market strategy based on How to Find New Customers.  You’re exactly right.  It’s the right way to find and acquire new customers today.”

Software Company CEO


“So much has been written about demand generation, but How to Find New Customers makes it simple — which makes it a Must Read!”

The Funnelholic


“In my recent Dun and Bradstreet post, I shared some unexpected finds.  Jeff Ogden‘s How to Find New Customers white paper is excellent!

FastCompany blogger


“You’ve written a terrific white paper, How to Find New Customers, for our Chief Marketing Officers.”

The CMO Club


“Ogden’s How to Find New Customers white paper is terrific.”

Jeff Gaus, CEO, Prolifiq Software


“It’s a great read.  I printed it and gave it to my entire marketing team.”

Chief Marketing Officer, the Hay Group


“Real page-turner.  I couldn’t put it down till I finished it.”

CEO, Communications Strategy Group


“Very interesting and common sense based.”

Acxiom Global Marketing


“Loved the white paper (How to Find New Customers)  So much great information.”

CEO, Studio 525

Thanks for the kind words, everyone. Why don’t you tell us what you think by entering your comment below? And we appreciate you spreading the word too.

Check out the Full Demand Generation program offering from Find New Customers.

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Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is President of the B2B lead generation consultancy, Find New Customers. Find New Customers helps companies rapidly grow revenue by transforming how they attract, engage and win new customers. Contact Find New Customers at (516) 495-9350 or by sending an email to sales at findnewcustomers.com.

“Find New Customers can certainly help your business dramatically improve the flow of sales-ready leads to salespeople.” Paul Dunay, Buzz Marketing for Technology.

Buying software is easy. Fixing Lead Generation is hard.


B2B Lead Generation | Buying stuff is easy - fixing problems is hard.

If you want to make sales quota in 2012, get started today! Right now! Immediately!

SaaS marketing automation products like Marketo, Hubspot, Eloqua and the like are very, very easy to buy. Give them a credit card, they give you a login. Done. The transaction can be completed in minutes.

It’s actually way too easy, I believe.Lose weight fast Too many companies believe purchasing software fixes B2B lead generation. It does not.

Fixing your B2B lead generation challenges is a lot like losing weight. Most everyone wants to do it but promises don’t match reality.

Look at this image. “Scientists discover rare weight loss ‘Wonder Herb.‘” That sounds like the sales pitch of software vendors, promising all that ROI the comes from their software. (That ROI is possible - just like weight loss is possible - if done right.)

I’m sure you don’t buy that. You know full well that there’s no “Wonder Herb” in dieting. BiggestLoserDieting is hard and arduous. Watch “The Biggest Loser” to see how hard it is.

Unfortunately, there’s no “Wonder Herb” in B2B lead generation and marketing either.

Want to hear what it’s really like to buy marketing automation? Read an actual user story in Marketing automation—lower your expectations.

The author, Liz McCellan writes “Don’t get me wrong. I think marketing automation is a smart tool to invest in, but I want to give some candid advice about setting the right expectations.” She goes to compare marketing automation to becoming a parent - everyone congratulates you, but you are in for hard work. One recommendation: She urges you to set realistic dates - and then add at least 6 more months.

Liz makes a great point in her article. What does your software purchase do toward fixing your company’s problems with generating quality sales leads? Absolutely nothing! (This is not a knock on products from companies such as Marketo, Eloqua, Silverpop, Neolane, Aprimo, and Pardot. They are all fine products from solid companies.)

The only way to REALLY fix your lead generation challenges is to do a LOT of hard work - the diet and exercise, if you will - which we summarize in these 10 steps.

Are you ready to do what it takes? Then complete these ten steps.

  1. Craft deep buyer personas - a deep understanding of prospective buyers and concerns.
  2. Define your keywords - the words buyers use to search for solutions.
  3. Agree on the common definition of a lead and identify key trigger events which drive decisions. (So sales will get fewer, better leads.)
  4. Map content to the buyer personas and buyer variables (using keywords) (So you can take buyers on a journey and you do well in search)
  5. Fill in the gaps with new content (using keywords) (No gaps in the journey.)
  6. Optimize the website, blog and social media based on keywords (so you rank well in search.)
  7. Design lead nurturing campaigns in a Problem to Solution story-telling format using your content. (Earn trust till they are ready to buy.)
  8. Using the agreed lead definition, agree on the behaviors and demographics that indicate buying propensity (lead scoring). (Remember, we need fewer and better leads for sales.)
  9. Create metrics to measure the effectiveness of your programs. (So we can refine it over time.)
  10. Deploy everything in your new marketing automation software.

Notice that the real use for the software you bought first appears in Step 10?

Unless you are ready to invest in those 10 steps using internal and/or resources like Find New Customers, you will never really fix your problem with sales lead quality.

We invite you to check out the Lead Nurturing and Scoring service from Find New Customers.

What do you think? Is buying software a panacea for fixing real problems in most companies? We love your comments and sharing.

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Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is the President of the B2B lead generation consultancy Find New Customers. Find New Customers helps companies dramatically improve revenue results by transforming the way they attract, engage and win new customers. Contact Find New Customers by calling (516) 495-9350 or sending an email to sales at findnewcustomers.com.

“If more companies listened to (Find New Customers) a lot more would be sold.” Dan McDade, Pointclear.

How to Write a Highly Effective Subject Line


B2B Demand Generation | Crafting Email Subject Lines that Work

By Jill Konrath (We’re honored to share this great article by Jill. We especially like her

Jill Konrath

Jill Konrath

advice to avoid company and product info, use a referral and mention a trigger event. All sage advice. And since the main tool for lead nurturing is email, this post is spot on)

As Jill requested, her info follows the post.

______

If you’re like most sellers, you don’t pay a lot of attention to the subject lines. They’re an afterthought. No big deal, right?

Totally wrong. Your subject line is the most important part of your message. If it’s not a good one, your email gets trashed in a nanosecond. In fact, research by ExactTarget (my email newsletter service) show that the average person spends only 2.7 seconds on a message before deciding if they’ll delete it, forward it or read it.

Just 2.7 seconds. That’s all the time you have to capture a readers attention. That’s why your subject line is so darn critical.

First, let’s talk about what you don’t put in a subject line. In order to avoid auto-deletes, it’s imperative for you to:

  • Avoid salesy verbiage. Get rid of words like excited, hot new product, free offer or special pricing.
  • Avoid info on your company. No one is interested in your new product announcements or company updates except you. Want to see how not to do this? Check out A Terrible Prospecting Email.
  • Avoid capital letters. Just the first word should be capped. Otherwise it seems like a headline, not a personal message.

Now, let’s talk about what works in your prospecting emails. Here are several options that have proven effective with today’s crazy-busy prospects.

  • Use a referral. If someone has referred you to this person, put that in your subject line. They’ll want to know why. For example, you might write: Terry Jones said to get in touch.
  • Ask a quick question. If your prospect feels it’s simple and relevant, they’ll take a look. Your subject line might read: Quick question re: new client acquisition challenges.
  • Tempt with ideas or information. My prospects are always interested in subject lines like this: Idea to reduce your sales cycle time or How XYZ company increased sales to Fortune 500 companies by 127%.
  • Mention a trigger event. If something is happening within the company or in their greater business environment that’s relevant to your offering, bring that up. For example, if you read about a recent merger, you might write: Impact of XYZ merger on (insert relevant business issue you address.)

Get the picture? To work, your subject lines must focus on something your prospect cares about. If you do that, they’ll keep reading.

Here’s a major caveat though. When they start reading your message, it needs to deliver exactly what you promised in your subject line.

If you move into salesy mode or talk about your company, you’ll trigger your prospect’s auto-delete reaction. They can’t control it. And you’ve lost the opportunity to open the conversation.

Hopefully by now you understand just how critical those simple little subject lines are to your sales success. I’d suggest you sit down right now and create 10 new ones you can use in the upcoming weeks.

Finally, start your experiment.
See if you can tell which subject lines are most effective with your prospects. Then create variations off the same theme. You’ll immediately see the difference in your sale success.

Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies, helps sellers get more prospects in their pipeline, speed up sales cycles and land bigger contracts. She’s a frequent speaker at sales conferences. For more fresh sales strategies that work with crazy-busy prospects, visit www.jillkonrath.com.

We invite you to check out the Lead Nurturing and Scoring Service offered by Find New Customers.

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Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is the President of the B2B lead generation consultancy Find New Customers. Find New Customers helps companies dramatically improve revenue results by transforming the way they attract, engage and win new customers. Contact Find New Customers by calling (516) 495-9350 or sending an email to sales at findnewcustomers.com.

“If more companies listened to (Find New Customers) a lot more would be sold.” Dan McDade, Pointclear.

The Secret to Effective Voice Mail Messages—with Kelley Robertson


B2B Demand Generation | Leaving Effective Voice-mail Messages

Good B2B demand generation relies on the phone. Emails are not two-way, so the phone

Kelley Robertson

Kelley Robertson

plays a critical role in uncovering buyer needs and preferences.

This means they leave lots and lots of voice mail messages. Improving the effectiveness of those messages would help a lot. So we want to share this post by a good friend that ran at RainToday. The permalink to the original post is here.

All effective voice mail messages have one thing in common: they focus on a potential problem that the prospect might have. Stay away from talking about you, your company, or your services, stresses Kelley Robertson in this excerpt from his webinar Ditch the Sales Pitch: How to Master Sales Conversations and Win More Deals.

For an example of how a big technology company blew this, read this blog post A Terrible Prospecting Email Message. Talking products is a big no-no.

Most of the messages [that executives receive] focus on the selling company or the seller’s company—there’s no reference to the prospect’s company and potential problems,” Robertson says. “So, focus on the potential problem that your prospect might be experiencing, allude to how you might be able to give them a solution, and keep it really short.” Amen, Kelley.

Master Sales Conversations
Learn more about how to lead effective sales conversations. Watch Kelley Robertson’s webinar Ditch the Sales Pitch: How to Master Sales Conversations and Win More Deals

And before you leave a voice mail, call your own phone and leave it and listen to it. If you wouldn’t answer or return your phone call, the prospect won’t either, he says.

Listen as Robertson provides an example of a good voice mail, discusses the best times to call prospects, and explains how to conduct sales conversations that are not face to face.

Listen to the Recording:

(Time: 11:11)

Download the MP3
(Right click and ‘Save Target As’)

(Note: It is a large file and may take several minutes to download)

We love your comments and respond to every one. We also appreciate you sharing our content on social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Delicious, Digg, Tumblr, etc.

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Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is the President of the B2B lead generation consultancy Find New Customers. Find New Customers helps companies dramatically improve revenue results by transforming the way they attract, engage and win new customers. Contact Find New Customers by calling (516) 495-9350 or sending an email to sales at findnewcustomers.com.

“If more companies listened to (Find New Customers) a lot more would be sold.” Dan McDade, Pointclear.

Why Sales needs Content Marketing and Marketing Automation


B2B Demand Generation | The Benefit to Sales

If you’re in BtoB Sales, you may be thinking that this great content stuff and demand generation talk belongs in marketing. After all, you need to close deals! “This mumbo-jumbo’s not for Sales On Phoneme. I need to be out there talking to prospective customers.”

I think the problem is us. We’ve been talking about the marketing point of view for a long time. Now let’s talk about your world in Sales.

Let’s examine a Sales scenario to illustrate the power of content marketing and marketing automation software. The point we want to make clear is this:

The primary beneficiary of content marketing and marketing automation is Sales.

Sales Scenario 1: Without content marketing and marketing automation

Sally Smith, a Sales rep for us, calls target customer and leaves a message. Sally waits a few days and leaves another voice-mail message. Sally sends an email. After a few weeks, after more voice-mails and e-mails - with no response, Sally gives up.

Sales Scenario 2: With content marketing and marketing automation

Sally calls prospect and leaves a message. Prospect visits website and checks out the company. Though he did not fill out a form, Sally knows who it is and edits the anonymous visitor record with the contact name and company.

Seeing what the prospect did, Sally calls again and leaves a personalized message. Prospect visits again and downloads a white paper - completing a form. (And since she edited the record, both visits are captured. The prospect is automatically added into lead nurturing - and valuable information is shared over time. Because we’ve implemented lead scoring we’re able us to see exactly when they are sales-ready - ready to talk to Sales.

45 days later, Sally is notified that she has a new lead. She calls the prospect and the prospect answers. “Sally, great to hear from you. I’ve been getting so much great information from your company and I’m convinced you can help me. I look forward to meeting you.”

I hope you can now see how content marketing and marketing automation actually benefits Sales.

If you’re in B2B Sales and you feel you’re not getting the quality leads you really need, please share this post with your Vice President of Sales.

What do you think? We love comments and those who share. And we’re proud to be syndicated by many services like CustomerCollective, B2C, and many others.

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Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is the President of the B2B lead generation consultancy Find New Customers. Find New Customers helps companies dramatically improve revenue results by transforming the way they attract, engage and win new customers. Contact Find New Customers by calling (516) 495-9350 or sending an email to sales at findnewcustomers.com.

“If more companies listened to (Find New Customers) a lot more would be sold.” Dan McDade, Pointclear.

3 Reasons Qlikview is killing Microstrategy


B2B Demand Generation | Why an upstart is killing the incumbent

I recently met with Microstrategy and their marketing leadership expressed concerns about a new competitor, Qlikview. I thought it might be helpful if I analyzed the justification for their concerns.

Microstrategy is a big, established player in business intelligence, but lately a company called Qlikview has been growing much, much faster. Why is this happening?

I believe there are 3 reasons why this is happening:

  1. Qlikview has no internal challenges.
    Microstrategy has an in-house developed CRM, (no compatibility with other applications), no marketing automation and no content marketing. Building B2B demand generation from scratch is tough. Qlikview had none of those obstacles.
  2. Qlikview has savvy, aggressive marketing leadership.Microstrategy does not. While they have new marketing leadership, not much seems to be happening there.Qlikview won the Marketo Revenue Performance Excellence Award for Global Revenue Performance Excellence. They are also expanding globally very quickly.(Here is the definition of Most Successful Global RPM Execution):Honors an organization with successful Marketo implementations across multiple countries or regions, as well as unprecedented results within those deployments, including increased revenue, marketing ROI, global alignment and overall business impact.)
  3. Qlikview is a modern marketing firm
    They are big into B2B demand generation, including social, content marketing, lead nurturing, lead scoring, etc. Microstrategy is doing none of those to any degree that I can see.

What do you think? Why do you think savvy young companies damage established players so much? We love comments and those who share.

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Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is the President of the B2B lead generation consultancy Find New Customers. Find New Customers helps companies dramatically improve revenue results by transforming the way they attract, engage and win new customers. Contact Find New Customers by calling (516) 495-9350 or sending an email to sales at findnewcustomers.com.

“If more companies listened to (Find New Customers) a lot more would be sold.” Dan McDade, Pointclear.

How, When and Where Buyers Want Content


B2B Lead Generation | Content Marketing Tips

Content marketing is huge today. As my friend Paul Dunay said “Companies are in an arms-race around content.” And Inside the Mind of the B2B Buyer found “Companies look for content at EVERY stage of the buying process.”

I’ve been on my soapbox, talking about the importance of story-telling. (I’m still struck by the number of B2B sellers lacking customer-focused content today. It’s shocking how bad most companies are today.)

Sorry to give a plug here, but we recommend our Content Marketing Workshop. And you should also download the great white paper from our friends in the UK at Velocity Partners too - the BtoB Marketing Manifesto. (below) (Later this month we ‘ll share the marketing take-aways from that campaign.)

Prospects consume content in every stage of the buying process, so lead generation depends on content. The formula is simple - great content = sales leads. And the opposite is true - no content, no leads.

On the Stories that Sell blog, it said “When it comes to customer success stories and case studies, real research comes few and far between. Not many have tried to measure the impact of stories on the sales process.”

Yet, Eccolo Media is about as close as anyone gets to measuring the impact of stories.

For the past three years, the organization has spearheaded a B2B Technology Collateral Survey, basically asking buyers of B2B technology what marketing materials they consume during the decision-making process.

The 2010 survey report offered insight specifically on how influencers and decision-makers use 5 different types of collateral: white papers, case studies/success stories, podcasts, video, and brochures/datasheets.

Here is what they found:

  • 67 percent recently consumed customer stories – Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed said they consumed case studies/success stories in the preceding six months, coming in #2 after white papers
  • Nearly 80 percent say case studies/success stories are influential - Seventy-nine percent said case studies are moderately to very influential.
  • More prefer written – Sixty-five percent said they prefer a written case study while 33 percent prefer video and two percent audio testimonials. Savvy companies today create both to appeal to different audiences and different times in the sales cycle. (Editor’s Note - Publish content in text, video and audio to engage as broad an audience as possible in their preferred format.)
  • Longer stories are trending – In 2008, respondents preferred two-page case studies. This year, 37 percent prefer four pages, 35 percent said two pages or less and 28 percent said six pages. Clearly, they want detailed stories.
  • Survey says…
    “In general, the larger the company, the longer they prefer their case studies to be, with the largest percentage of respondents from small companies (33 percent) preferring two-page case studies, the largest percentage from middle-market firms (40 percent) and large enterprises (39 percent) preferring four-page case studies.”
  • More download/print customer stories than last year (vs. reading online) – In last year’s survey, 84 percent said they read case studies online. This year, however, 74 percent say they read online. The rest download/print them to read.
  • They share case studies with colleagues – Eighty-seven percent share customer stories with at least 1 other person, with some sharing them with up to five or more.
  • Video and audio are being embedded and clicked in written case studies – Sixty-six percent said they have consumed case studies that have video and audio links embedded in them, which is higher than for any of the other collateral types in the survey. Moreover, 93 percent said they clicked to that content.
  • Corporate websites are the #1 source for case studies – The greatest percentage of respondents indicated they obtained case studies from company web sites, compared to receiving them from colleagues, sales reps, a direct response campaign or through social media.
  • They consume case studies early in the cycle – Forty-nine percent consume customer stories for the first time during the pre-sales exploration phase, with 34 percent during the initial sales process.

What do you think? We love comments and people who share our content on social networks. Thank you for your support.

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Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is the President of the B2B lead generation consultancy Find New Customers. Find New Customers helps companies dramatically improve revenue results by transforming the way they attract, engage and win new customers. Contact Find New Customers by calling (516) 495-9350 or sending an email to sales at findnewcustomers.com.

“If more companies listened to (Find New Customers) a lot more would be sold.” Dan McDade, Pointclear.