Funny question. The answer seems so obvious, right? True that when it comes to tangible stuff with clear intrinsic attributes which are, well, easy to value. Gold goes for $1,390 as of 3:16 pm Eastern time today, and we all know why. It's a commodity, a scarce one at that, and gold here, same as gold where you are. Obvious.
But what about intangible stuff? How valuable is fame, how valuable is professional success, leadership, or maybe a strategy? Well, we also know that depends on who is doing the buying and why, which means that value is in the eye of the beholder, just like beauty. So putting a price on some things is tricky. How much were you looking to pay for that success? And maybe price is not really an issue when a strategy for turning around your $15b company is the goal and its your head if that strategy does not work in the next 18 months, so that will cost you $6m, few questions asked.
So why am I asking such a simple question?
In our research with business and IT executives we ask them simple questions, like what's valuable to them, and they are quite clear. And their answers tend toward the intangibles versus the tangibles. For example, when we ask, "What would you consider to be a valuable meeting with a vendor salesperson?" the number one reply is "The salesperson clearly shows they understand my business issues and can clearly articulate to me how to solve them." That's an intangible value forged in the cauldron of empathy, credibility, expertise, experience. Also obvious, but perhaps not so easy to deliver.
Funny question, until you think about it a bit more. With all the focus on the changed buyer who finds online or from peers much of what she needs to make a decision, on just about everything, including what to buy, why do we still have salespeople on the payroll?
Because your customers require them.
Funny answer, until you think about it a bit more.
Work with me here. If your company is in the business of converting assets, like a patent, or skilled craftspeople, or molten metal, or a process you understand well, into something of potential value to others, that is step one. Next, you have to communicate that value to other people so they can decide to get some, or not. To do that, you have people crafting all sorts of messages about your value; some of those messages you send out to the world online, some in traditional ads, others on blogs, some into communities, maybe a book, and those messages are the simpler ones. Simpler because these are messages the target recipient must be able to decode, absorb, and assimilate unaided into his or her personal value equation. Does the value I perceive exceed the cost and is the risk to realizing that value manageable and acceptable? "I like what I hear and read about this iPhone well enough, the cost seems worth it, and I think I can figure out how to make it work." Like that.
Then there are more complex messages, to go with more involved decisions, for stuff, the value of which you created to solve more involved problems than retrieving and sending texts or booking a table for dinner.
I was encouraged to see that Huawei had a proper track session on its channel strategy during its 10th Global analyst summit in Shenzhen. The track is another sign that the company’s enterprise division is maturing and taking the right steps to expand its activities in China as well as globally.
In 2012, Huawei recruited 1,289 distributors, VAPs, and tier 2 channel partners to reach around 3,789 worldwide, which represents growth of 52% in China, Europe, and 26 other key countries globally. Huawei’s enterprise share of channel sales was around 55% (excludes Operator resale) of its total revenue in 2012, a 32% revenue growth through channels from 2011. Huawei is also starting to build its services and software ecosystems with 700 authorized service partners and 200 ISVs.
Overall, three key things that stood out to me about Huawei’s partner programs are:
A more structured and well-defined partner program: The partner program has evolved considerably since last year and Huawei is working towards mapping its key accounts and streamlining the account management process. Through the segregation of 5000+ named accounts (key accounts based on deal size) and defining the customer engagement model for high value accounts, Huawei can bring about the clearer channel architecture that will be required to build an open and successful channel ecosystem.
Peter O’Neill here with some comments about being truly effective at content marketing. Did you know that B2B buyers say that 70% of the content they read and study before making a purchase decision is actually found by themselves; as opposed to being given to them by marketing or sales? At Forrester, we like to talk about the new interaction model of need-match-engage, where the buyers now initiate the interaction and spend a major part of their buyer journey doing their own research before calling in potential suppliers.
Content marketing has therefore become much more than product and solutions collateral, campaigns, mailings, and fulfillment. B2B marketers have to be great at being found by buyers in their early research phase (the phases we call discover and explore). In a way, successful marketers will “fool” their buyers into consuming their thought-leadership and educational content in stages 1 through 5 — while hardly realizing its source. And the most successful marketers will learn how to mix their brand "scent" into that content without appearing to be selling — to the extent that buyers will count it as part of their 70%.