A Healthy Future Welcomes Consultative B2B Sellers

 

Mark Twain unknowingly echoed the state of today’s B2B sellers when he said, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” As Mary Shea writes in her newest report, “B2B Consultant Sellers Reign In The 21st Century,” it’s a selective sickness that ails today’s sales professionals. Those at greatest risk of the displacement as we described in another recent Forrester report, “Death Of A (B2B) Salesman: Two Years Later,” are those high-volume, low-value transactional sellers who suffer listless interest from self-educated buyers who are purchasing online at an increasing pace. But for customers who are uncertain about solutions that best suit their needs or ones with complex challenges, there remains healthy growth for sellers who possess the right attributes and who adopt the rigor of a new regimen.

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How Is Your B2B Marketing Garden Growing? Prune And Plant With Our B2B Marketing Spring Webinar Series

My former neighbor bought the house next door primarily due to its 9-acre potential. Over the years, I got to see his garden develop from a razed backyard to a well-orchestrated, nearly year-round landscape of seasonal beauty. He’d continually prune out the anemic and plant new varietals that he deemed would more likely thrive in our climate. I was amazed at the ongoing evolution of his garden — and how much of it ended up on his burn pile. But he focused on the success of his garden overall and didn’t overly invest in any one plant, bush, or tree.

Despite his move to the West Coast, I was reminded of my neighbor as I sought a theme that would adequately represent Forrester’s spring webinar series. Today’s marketing leaders’ success depends on their ability to continually balance their investments and programs. So we’ve selected five areas of focus for Forrester’s B2B marketing spring webinar series that balance planting new ideas with pruning existing programs. I hope that you can join us live for them all!

Planting New Ideas: Social Selling And Programmatic Ad Platforms

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It’s Time To Take Flight With Social Selling

The logistics of business travel can be nightmarish, especially when productivity is most crucial, which is business as usual for today’s business-to-business (B2B) sellers. On the surface, million-mile platinum status is evidence of rock-star sellers who are willing to jump on a plane at a moment’s notice to build new and enrich existing relationships on behalf of their firm. But what about when prospects and customers don’t want to see you?

Whether it’s increasing workloads, the ability to be more efficient by participating in remote meetings, or the fact that buyers prefer to self-educate in the early phases of the evaluation process, today’s B2B buyers are less inclined to take sales meetings. Many don’t want to engage directly with sellers until they are further along with their own self-discovery. And when they do, expectations are high for sellers to show up in an advisory capacity and provide consultative expertise.

How then can you be present as a recognized expert with prospects and customers who want to spend less time with you? Mary Shea’s newest report, “Add Social Selling To Your B2B Marketing Repertoire,” explains how B2B sellers who add social selling activities to their daily routine can do this — and much more.

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Thank you if you bothered [formerly 'Why Bother']

If you had a chance to participate in our survey, thank you so much.  We have now closed the survey.  

If you didn't get a chance to but are interested in becoming a panel member, please e-mail Matt Camuso at mcamuso@forrester.com and we'll be happy to include you in our panel so you can receive regular updates and participate in our next survey.

Original Blog Post:

We've recently gone live with our most recent primary research panel survey through which we are investigating the progress of ABM, Seller enablement and B2B Branding. If you’ve seen the invitation and completed our B2B Marketing survey, thank you.  

If you haven’t, the biggest question you likely have is ‘Why Bother?’  Here’s what your input helps us do for you;

  • Tune our research agenda to your most important imperatives
  • Give you the context of where you stand in relation to other B2B marketing leaders
  • Create fact-based research to guide your decisions and influence your constituents
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Ironic Discontinuity — Today’s Typical B2B Events Experience

Back in my early days as an industry analyst, one of my first client events was, in essence, a field trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to take a tour of C.S. Longlines (which AT&T’s analyst relations [AR] team arranged). It was the ship from which tens of thousands of fiber optic cable was laid. I was barely over the US legal drinking age and just learning what bandwidth even meant. So as you can imagine at first, I had some serious doubts about how interesting this would be. It was actually fascinating. And that’s something I can say about only a few of the hundreds of events that I’ve attended since.

I was reminded of this trip after editing Laura Ramos’ newest report “Increase The Payoff For B2B Events With Digital Immersion” because the digital best practices that she writes about surprisingly parallel the most memorable attributes of my Longlines visit:

  • I was engaged before I even started. I knew enough about what we were going to see, and it piqued my interest.
  • It was immersive. We were on a big ship in a harbor — enough said.
  • My experience was customized. There was no predefined path throughout the ship. We toured what we wanted to see versus what AT&T’s AR team wanted to show us (though I am sure that the team eventually showed us all of it)
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Forrester’s Top 10 B2B Marketing Blogs Of 2016

As the number of days in 2016 winds down, my own days at Forrester are adding up. I recently joined Forrester as a new B2B marketing research director, working alongside Peter O’Neill. I appreciate how your appreciation of the insights and guidance from our team led to the need for more leadership, and I am thrilled to be here. So as I’ve been immersing myself in the team’s work, I thought that it would be as interesting to you as it was to me to see what our top 10 B2B marketing blogs of the year were. There were more than a quarter of a million reads of the team’s blogs in 2016, and I wanted to share the top 10 with you by readership.

10. Your B2B Prospects Don’t Want You To Call Them

Steve Casey, principal analyst, shared a fundamental truth of the post-digital world in this blog post. B2B buyers now strongly prefer to conduct their own research, without ever speaking with a sales rep. He recommends that marketers embrace this uncomfortable truth and spend more time considering how to make information readily available to these self-service buyers.

9. Marketo Goes Private: A New Epoch In Marketing Software May Have Just Begun

This blog by Peter O’Neill provided perspective on Marketo’s acquisition by Vista Equity Partners, which it announced inMay 2016. Lori Wizdo, principal analyst, also predicted this kind of move in April 2016 during an interview with CMSWire.

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