Are You Absolutely Sure You're Doing Enough With Social?

I (Lori Wizdo) have just put the finishing touches on the content for tomorrow's (Wednesday, March 28 at 10am PT/1pm ET)  interactive webinar, Socialize Your Lead To Revenue Process.   B2B marketers (even tech marketers) are not sure their buyers are really engaged in social media for business purpose.  We'll see Forrester research that proves they are. We'll discuss how social marketing can address the issues I am hearing, over and over again, in client inquiries:

"How can we increase inbound?"....  "How can we increase conversions?" ... "How can we shorten nurturing cycles?"  And, most importantly, "Is social worth it?"

Despite the doubts and uncertainties, tech marketers plan to increase spending on social media for L2RM in 2012: 43% plan to increase social media spend for lead origination; 41% for lead nurturing.  Tomorrow's webinar hopes to give some very pragmatic advice to help you jumpstart or scale-up your social marketing program.

If you can join us, you can register here.

Proving Theodore Levitt Wrong About Sales

I (Lori Wizdo) am on a plane, flying to San Francisco, to participate in Forrester’s Technology Sales Enablement Forum. As I was prepping for my (limited) role in the event, I had a flashback to one of the most famous disses of the sales profession ever written. 

It’s contained in the 1960’s article "Marketing Myopia”, written by Theodore Levitt, which has become one of the best known and most quoted of Harvard Business Review's articles. The article is essentially about having a business strategy that concentrates on meeting customer needs rather than selling products. A key take away, which most marketing or business school grads remember, is the observation that “had railroad executives seen themselves as being in the transportation business rather than the railroad business, they would have continued to grow.”

However, it is also in this article that Levitt was breathtakingly critical of the sales profession: "Selling concerns itself with the tricks and techniques of getting people to exchange their cash for your product. It is not concerned with the values that the exchange is all about." He went on to explain that sales "does not...view the entire business process as consisting of a tightly integrated effort to discover, create, arouse, and satisfy customer needs. The customer is somebody 'out there' who, with proper cunning, can be separated from his or her loose change."

Well, that might have been true then (who I am to disagree with a marketing legend) but it’s definitely not true now – and certainly not in the tech industry. 

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Cisco Partner Velocity 2012: Leveraging Marketing Enablement As A Differentiator

Cisco’s annual partner marketing conference, Partner Velocity, wrapped up in Las Vegas last week. Two hundred and thirty-five partners from 24 countries were in attendance to witness Cisco’s recently appointed VP of global partner marketing, Amanda Jobbins, sing her heart out during the closing ceremony. I can confidently confirm that she passed her trial by fire with flying colors and her future at Cisco (or Glee, if she decides to pursue that path) is fully secured.

I had the pleasure to sit down with approximately 15 partners over the course of the three-day event. Here’s what the event looked like throughthe lens of partners’ marketing professionals:

  • “As a member of a tiny marketing team, I have a lot of responsibility and very little support. Velocity helps bring me up to speed on the latest-and-greatest marketing trends and best practices.”
  • “The marketing experts that speak at Velocity are top-notch. The only thing more valuable is the peer-to-peer network that the event cultivates. Cisco sure knows how to bring the marketing community together.”
  • “I’d like to see Cisco create marketing education-for-dummies and align it more specifically to my business.”
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Everybody Has The Same Three Strategic ISVs

 

I (Peter O'Neill here again) had the pleasure of visiting Twickenham rugby stadium in London last week – sadly, not on the Saturday to watch my national team beat England but on the following Monday to meet Dell executives and hear about their Enterprise Spring Launch of new products and services. As I listened to the speeches about new servers, storage, networking, and end-to-end applications, I kept thinking to myself how difficult it is these days to sound different from other infrastructure vendors who do the same thing - and often with the same technologies. I remember making those same speeches over 15 years ago and it was difficult enough then! My colleague Richard Fichera has commented on the product details, so I’d like to review the most important one, for me: Dell’s solution program. As far as I am concerned, only those IT infrastructure vendors who market at the business technology level will enjoy success in the future – and that means solutions marketing with commitment.  

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Q&A With Tamara Schenk, Vice President Of Sales Enablement - T-Systems

Many of our clients are building named account or strategic customer programs in order to drive more revenue from their existing customers.   Unfortunately, few are even close to realizing their expected results. Understanding the challenges associated with cross-selling within large account structures is one of the track sessions at our upcoming Sales Enablement Forum

Joining me in my track will be Tamara Schenk, VP of sales enablement at T-Systems. Tamara has definitely followed the path of the manager of “broken things” to evolving sales enablement as a more strategic function within her company.  Here are some of her thoughts:

1. How has the role of sales enablement changed inside your company?

The role of sales enablement changed fundamentally inside T-Systems. We started with sales enablement three years ago after the consolidation of many different portfolio views to ONE portfolio. Consequently, we also consolidated the variety of different sales portals by implementing one cross-functional multidimensional sales enablement platform called SPOT ON. The hard work behind SPOT ON was to analyze existing sales content, to be brave enough to throw away thousands of documents and to define everything else in terms of target groups, content, purpose, mapping to sales outcomes, RACI matrix for each content type, content generation and content publishing activities including a content localization process.

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