Some Busy Weeks Researching Content Management

Peter O'Neill

Peter O'Neill here. As well as working the end of our fiscal quarter (yes, we analysts must also meet targets), I’ve been busy in the past few weeks getting ready for our upcoming Marketing Forum, where I am co-presenting a session on the rising importance of the customer retention and expansion phase with my colleague Tim Harmon. A Forrester Forum always presents me with a dilemma: I’d like to have as many client one-on-one sessions as possible — it’s always great to meet people that I often only know from the telephone — but then again, I’d also like to enjoy and learn from the other presentations at the conference.

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

Lori Wizdo

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

Lori Wizdo

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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Everybody Has The Same Three Strategic ISVs

Peter O'Neill


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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My First Tech Marketing Letter From Germany: "CeBIT Reinvented"

Peter O'Neill


Those of you who know me (Peter O’Neill) know that I’ve lived in Germany since 30 years. Now, when I grew up in the UK, I remember so well the BBC journalist Alistair Cooke reading his “Letter From America” each Sunday night on the wireless (as we called radio then!): It was a great familiarization exercise and stood me in good stead when I visited and worked in the US many years later. As I do at least one inquiry per week for Forrester clients describing the state of the European and/or German tech market, I thought I’d kick off a regular blog in the same vein – probably bi-monthly – where I highlight something I think is important for you that has or is about to happen in Germany.  

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New Channels Track At Forrester's TSE Forum

Tim Harmon

This year (next month) Forrester’s Technology Sales Enablement Forum will sport a new channels track.  With a theme of “Bridging the Strategy-to-Execution Gap,” we will drill into the issues vexing channel professionals on why “perfect” strategies, involving partner recruitment, partner enablement, and partner loyalty, often fall flat with channel partners.

I’m particularly excited by being joined on stage, not just by my colleagues Dane Anderson and Michael Speyer, but by [yes, real live] channel execs Jon Roskill of Microsoft and Wendy Bahr of Cisco. Jon and Wendy are going to share their insights and their most effective techniques around channel enablement – i.e., how their companies’ channel teams empower their channel partners to effect maximum productivity.  Attendees will have plenty of opportunity to grill Jon and Wendy with their particular issues.

Moreover, Dane, Michael, and I are going to bring “the voice of the channel partner” directly into our explorations of partner management execution.  I’m sure you’re going to take away some valuable, actionable ideas for boosting your own channel strategy-to-execution map.  Check it out:


Forrester’s Technology Sales Enablement Forum 2012

Bridging The Strategy-to-Execution Gap

March 19-20, San Francisco,9179,2586,00.html


See you there!

If The Market Is Changing, So Must Your Market Research Sources And Processes

Peter O'Neill


As mentioned in my last blog, I (Peter O'Neill) was at the Distree EMEA event last week and met with many executives from tech industry vendors and distributors. I also swapped impressions about market trends with colleagues in other research organizations, such as Context, GfK, IDC, and Regent. 

The most discussed section of my keynote presentation was “Apple takes a bite at B2B business,” where I quoted research from my illustrious colleague Frank E. Gillett. I said that Apple had an 8% share of new “corporate PCs” in 2011, which we predict will grow to 13% in 2013. Apparently, many vendors and distributors haven’t noticed this: They aren’t getting the same message from their usual research providers. Later in the week, I listened to such a presentation in which it was reported that “the PC market slowed in 2011 but will pick up again in 2012.” Another researcher made a similar observation in his presentation. No mentioned of any new vendors or devices: “Not significant” was the tenor.

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Overhauling Battle Cards (And Transforming Other Sales Tools)

Dean Davison

As part of Forrester’s research into sales enablement, I recently took a journey to “plumb the depths” of sales battle cards. Why?

Sales reps at technology companies tell Forrester that they must understand their competitors if so that they can outmaneuver them during the sales cycle; but, these same sales professionals tell Forrester that, despite the best efforts of product managers, competitive teams, and sales operations, current battle cards are not consistent, instrumental tools that help win more deals.

And thus, my journey into battle cards begins.

During my career, I’ve worked in competitive intelligence at two technology companies, so I already had some strong opinions about battle cards. I tried to set my own views aside, though, and adopted Forrester’s methods of developing a hypothesis and interviewing professionals in the industry.

My initial research looked at the “thing” called a battle card – the layout, structure, and content with the goal of building battle cards that helped sales reps address competitive issues during customer conversations. While testing some really good ideas that came out of the interviews, I could see that the improved battle cards still weren’t enough to meet our objective – routinely helping reps win more deals. 

I turned my attention to the “process” of building battle cards – specifically, how sales enablement professionals identify the competitive issues that merit battle cards, how they work with product managers and marketing teams to create the content for battle cards, and how they deliver battle cards to sales reps. While testing some really good process ideas that came out of the interviews, I could see that even when the groups creating battle cards actively work with sales, their points of view and professional skills are so different, that they miss important details.

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Upcoming Keynote On Channel Enablement At Distree EMEA Next Week

Peter O'Neill


Peter O'Neill here. I’ve been invited to speak, again, at the annual Distree EMEA event in Monte Carlo next week. Now in its tenth year, Distree gathers together top executives from tech industry vendors and distributors plus, in recent years, retailers from around EMEA for three days that include a trade show, presentation sessions, and meetings to discuss industry-specific channel topics. The 2011 event drew 950 delegates from 127 tech vendors and over 400 distributors. One of the event highlights for everybody is a process to request and set up formal one-on-one meetings between the various players, similar to our own one-on-one sessions at the Forrester Forums (only their software is better). A total of 5,000 such sessions are scheduled: some at tables in larger rooms around the trade show, many others in private meeting rooms elsewhere in the conference center.  I still have some slots open for those of you who are interested and are going to the event.

My keynote presentation continues on from my speech last year (still being watched on YouTube, I am told) where I described what changes we see happening in the channel due to recent industry trends.  The title is "The Emerging Engagement Channel Model” and leans heavily on Tim Harmon’s October reports with his permission. I will discuss the effect of industry trends such as cloud, consumerization of IT, app stores, and “Apple takes a bite at B2B business” (see below for the agenda).  

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Yes, Content Must Be Managed Internally As Well

Peter O'Neill


Peter O'Neill here. My first report on content management came out last week and it has already generated several conversations – please keep those comments and inquiry requests coming. Content management was also a significant part of a one-day workshop I delivered to a client in Lisbon last week. They offer eProcurement and eMarketing software-as-a-service. So an interesting discussion we had was, “Do you need different content as a SaaS provider compared to a product vendor?” We concluded that the information would be the same, but the sense of urgency about delivering digital content to a SaaS audience is greater than a more conventional buyer community, which changes the content style and vehicles. This question is on my 2012 research calendar and will be the basis for a report later in the year, so I would love to hear your opinions on that one.

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