Why Did Forrester's 2012 B2B Groundswell Award Winners Win?

Now that the confetti has been swept off the floor of our eBusiness Forum in Chicago, its time to offer a behind the scenes look at who won our 2012 B2B Groundswell Awards and why.  Mark you calendar and register today for our upcoming Webinar on November 8th in which the judges will dish on the companies and social strategies that knocked their socks off.  Who knows, you might get an inside track on winning next year, or better yet, knocking out a winning social strategy of your own.  Register here to save your space on this one time reveal on the best of the best in B2B social.

The Tech Industry Channel Is Cloud-Confused; Colt Technology Services Is Well Into It

 

There continues to be a cacophony of marketing noise from technology vendors about their cloud strategies; while the announcements sometimes include messaging for their channel, many partners are still unsure of their future role in the industry. Nearly two years ago, Tim Harmon and I (Peter O'Neill here) published two reports on this, and earlier this year the Cloud and Technology Transformation Alliance (CCTA) reported that its survey of 229 channel partners in North America revealed that 13% of the partners still lack a cloud strategy altogether and 42% describe their strategy as “nascent” or “evolving.” CCTA also collected the alarming statistic that 65% of channel partners know that they’re losing business because of their cloud shortcomings; that is, the partners know that their customers are asking for cloud services but cannot react.

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Q&A with Jesper Thomsen, VP Sales & Customer Service, Maersk Line on B2B Customer Experience

Peter O'Neill here. I hope that most of you would agree that mastering customer experience is just as valuable for B2B firms as it is in B2C. And yet, there isn’t much information around on B2B customer experience, let alone case studies providing practical advice on how to get B2B customer experience right.  Well, at Forrester’s upcoming EMEA Forum dedicated to Customer Experience (London, November 6-7), I am hosting a “virtual track” of four sessions that debunks myths about customer experience for B2B companies. In one of the presentations, Jesper Thomsen, VP Sales & Customer Experience, Maersk Line, one of the largest shipping companies in the world, will discuss how his company improved its Net Promoter score from -10 to +30 over 30 months – an improvement program that involved staff throughout the enterprise. I recently caught up with Jesper in preparation for his session – for a sneak peak on how Maersk mastered B2B customer experience, check out our conversation below. I hope to see you in London where Jesper will share the full story!

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Join the Conversation on Valuable Sales Conversations

Regardless of a salesperson's conversational skills, buyers have to care about what those salespeople have to say.

So how likely is it that an executive is going to agree to meet with someone who is geared up to talk about her product or service?  

Its even less likely that the executive will invest the time then to see demos, evaluate your value, and compare you to competitors.  Why would they?  They’ve got people doing that for them.

If you’d like to know more about this problem - Scott Santucci is going to host a Forrester Webinar on Tuesday, October 30  at 11:00 am Eastern:

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Buyer Behavior Helps B2B Marketers Guide The Buyer's Journey

Today’s buyers control their journey through the buying cycle much more than today’s vendors control the selling cycle. Although it varies greatly with product complexity and market maturity, today’s buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their journey before they reach out to the vendor. For many product categories, buyers now put off talking with salespeople until they are ready for price quotes. 

This buyer dynamic changes the role of B2B marketing in a fundamental way. Marketing now owns a much bigger piece of the lead-to-revenue cycle. And B2B marketers must take responsibility for engaging with the customer through most of the buying cycle. 

Forrester research shows that today’s B2B buyer will find three pieces of content about a vendor for every one piece that marketing can publish or sales can deliver. They are finding this content in an ever-expanding number and variety of channels.  And they are accessing these channels from an increasingly diverse array of devices. Without debate, the business from business buyer is already much more multichannel than the business-to-business sellers are. Buyers of business products and services are online, in social channels, on YouTube, going to events, and evaluating options on their iPads and smartphones.  The buyer’s journey looks a lot more like this than the linear models (e.g., the funnel) that we usually use as a graphical representation.  

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