On November 7th, I facilitated Forrester’s second sales enablement roundtable – this time in Foster City,California.Joining us were sales and marketing executives from:Intel, NetApp, Borland, Informatica, Sun, Interwoven, Microchip, Renesas, Juniper Networks, Trend Micro, and Thoughtworks.
Overall, we had an extremely high energy session, even though I lost my voice the previous week.It’s hard to summarize a whole day of intense discussion into a blog post, but I’ll give it a try.
General George Patton’s unparalleled ability to execute in WWII sometimes gets overshadowed by his colorful (and stupid) public relations. Because of his quick strike abilities, the Axis leaders feared him more than any other Allied general.What made him truly unique, and someone still studied in military academies throughout the world today, was his formula for success.Patton had a voracious appetite for history and believed that humanity already had a master inventory of all of the strategies and tactics for winning a battle.
Join Brad Holmes and I for a look at what can be done to drive sales results in a down economy. Forrester views "Sales Enablement" as a cross-functional disipline requiring product, marketing, and sales teams to work together to optimize results.
According to the 2008 JupiterResearch Executive Survey results, online retailers continue to put search engine marketing spending at the top of their holiday sales driving tactics. Nonetheless, this trend is more subdued when compared to previous years. The JupiterResearch US Paid Search Forecast, 2008 to 2013 notes that paid search will grow 26 percent in 2008 (to $11.4 billion) and continue at a compound annual growth rate of 13 percent, however attention is starting to shift from paid search to more aggressive search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns.
15 percent less online retailers cite increasing their search engine marketing spending for the holiday season among the top three sales-driving tactics. According to the 2008 JupiterResearch Retail Executive Survey, 40 percent of online retailers will increase search marketing spending as a holiday sales-driving tactic this year. Though a high overall total percentage, this is still 15 points less retailers than the previous year. Online retailers already spend 40 percent of their budgets on search, thus the slowing of this spending increase signals a wider focus on other tactics.
If you (and the CEO) thought that investment was "the answer" to improving sales performance, we have some bad news. There is no such thing as a sales effectiveness silver bullet.
While, there are many different types of organizations that claim they can help you improve your sales productivity, few of these solutions can offer measurable gains in productivity on their own. For example:
•CRM vendors argue that implementing their software will help you drive more business by providing better structure to the sales process and improving the accuracy of your forecasting.
•Sales training firms suggest that you can improve your sales fundamentals by teaching a common sales methodology and best practices.
•Market intelligence firms claim that better and more up-to-date information about market trends and your competitors' actions will do the trick.
However, companies that have implemented these solutions report that they are not realizing the desired impact of these investments.
Wow. I am overwhelmed by the response I received from my first post on this subject. Looks like I hit a nerve and inspired some great commentary. In particular, I'd like to call attention to the thoughful response from Arthur Einstein, who is the VP of Marketing at Loyalty Builders. I wanted to comment briefly on what I am hearing from all of you so far. To avoid obsolescence, readers believe B2B marketers must focus on:
Today marks the beginning of my 8th year at Forrester and my 4th year researching B2B marketing.
I’d like to use this anniversary to start a blog conversation about what I see happening in B2B marketing and to think about what’s next. And, frankly, I am concerned about the future of the business marketing profession.In particular, for those of us marketing high technology products and services.
With an economic crisis looming, marketers must find new means to cut costs and deliver returns. Many interactive marketing tools can actually provide cost-effective ways for firms to increase sales and deepen customer relationships.
I hope you will join me for a complimentary Webinar where we discuss how interactive marketing can help you battle budget cuts or slagging sales due to the slowing economy. In this Webinar, I'm planning to define how interactive marketing should be a mandate for all marketers to stay relevant to their end consumers. I'm also going to tackle why interactive marketing matters, how your firm should approach it and how Forrester can help you craft meaningful interactive marketing strategies.
Chang makes the point that social media need a more robust system of identity and reputation to support online interaction -- so that communities have ways to freeze out irresponsible and hateful individuals.
I think this is a particularly serious issue in countries like Korea and Japan. In these countries, where "real life" society is quite buttoned up, people turn to online forums to let off steam anonymously. For example, Japan's social networks (such as Mixi) tend to be anonymous and the most famous bulletin board, 2-channel is full of posts under the identity "No Name". Many Japanese people feel that this anonymity protects their privacy and liberates them to say what they really think.
I remember a conversation that I had a few months ago with a Japanese technology blogger who hides his "real life" identity. His technology blogging struck me as inoffensive (and brilliant), so I couldn't understand why he asks people to refrain from taking his photograph and why he dons a disguise before making a speech in public. (It sounds like a comedy about the mafia... right?) He told me that he feels a need to stay anonymous, even for his politically neutral blog.
I wonder if it will always be this way? I hope that more people in Japan will see the value of social media where online identities are associated with offline identities. That seems to be the surest way to ensure that people behave responsibly.
[On an unrelated note - I have heard that the email subscription software on this blog has been sending out multiple emails with the same information. I'm trying to get that fixed as soon as possible].