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.
Well, it finally got published by Forrester! Peter O'Neill here and my long-promised overview of lead-to-revenue management (L2RM) vendors "Made in Europe" got out last week. We were delayed because I had to wait for my US colleague to publish on some of our research ideas on L2RM automation in her introductory report, to which I refer in my report - and she had to negotiate her text around the wishful thinking of around 45 different vendors, all of whom have their own view of a L2RM architecture. That meant that my research done in the summer of this year may look a little out of date. But I fully expect to be able to update this report for Q2 2012 in response to many other European software vendors briefing me on their experience with tech marketing customers.
Anyway, without any further ado, here is the list of European vendors I did feature. The report goes into more detail, of course, on each vendor. I have also included a list of those North American L2RM automaton vendors who have offices in Europe.
My first job, writes Peter O'Neill, after university was as a business analyst at Ford Motor Company, assisting an executive who sat on the monthly Project Appropriation Committee (PAC) where investments were approved. I learned to calculate the time-averaged rate of return and net present value for a project, proving it was better to invest in it than keeping the money in the bank. My executive ran an organization called General Services, which in those days (1978) included generating our own electricity within the factory complex in Dagenham, England. Now they take their power from the national grid and the generating plant is no more.
Now this is not a discussion of cloud computing and where enterprise IT will end up. What I most remember from those monthly PAC briefing books at Ford was the marketing project submissions. They also had documented TARR and NPV numbers. They would predict that by investing a sum of money in a promotional campaign (e.g., a special car model, dealer incentive, discounts), their market share would go up by, say, 0.7 percentage points – Ford was the UK market share leader in those days at around 30%, selling mostly company cars to businesses. I often checked out whether or not the predicted market share change actually happened and it mostly did – marketing was able to quantify its contribution very well indeed.
Peter O'Neill here. I took advantage of an invitation to dine with around 15 CIOs this week in Frankfurt and our topic of conversation was “Managing The Online Customer Journey.” This is the regular event organized by CIO Magazine, and I go along, calendar permitting, when I am invited to present or if the topic interests me. In this case, my fascination was to hear what these CIOs think about the prevailing trends of IT consumerization and social media.
But I was most interested in their ideas on how marketing aligns with the IT organization; a concept that I’ve encountered a lot recently in my engagements with tech marketers as well as working with tech automation vendors in their go-to-market activities. Forrester has published a lot on this recently, led by my illustrious colleagues Nigel Fenwick and Luca Paderni who serve the CIO and CMO, respectively.
My fascination with the topic is that I see a new business opportunity for savvy systems integrators. I am calling it the “emerging digital marketing service provider,” and I will focus my next Forrester Teleconference on this observation next week. That provider will need to be tooled with marketing creative skills plus IT skills and services and it will sell to the CMO and CIO equally: a new market coming together out of the marketing budget and the IT budget, as the figure shows.
Hurray! Peter O'Neill here, and it’s great to be back in my home office for a couple of weeks after some hectic weeks of travelling. During the last weeks, we’ve hosted research reviews in several cities; we met over a hundred tech channel professionals to match our 2012 research agenda against their topics of interest; there has been other client business; and we held our latest Marketing & Strategy Forum in London. This is the third year that I have been involved in our EMEA Marketing Forum, always in London. Perhaps we might want to go somewhere else in 2012 — there are already so many marketing events in that city, and I’ve noted that over half of the attendees were from outside the UK. Please let me know if you have any ideas of where to meet.
I am also waiting here at my desk with bated breath for the preliminary results of our latest Marketing Organization and Investment (MOI) survey — I cannot wait to see how things have changed since our last marketing-spend benchmarking exercise last year. Our team wrote several reports off the Q1 2011 survey (e.g., I discussed how European tech marketing is different and why) showing how tech marketing executives were spreading their resources among eight different categories. In the next quarter, in addition to updating those reports, we also hope to be able to be able to map and understand the marketing differences between small, medium, and large tech vendors.
Last week Forrester published a further report in my name (Peter O'Neill here) based on some great insightful work done by my illustrious researcher colleague Zachary Reiss-Davis. We had discussed this type of analysis the last time I was in our San Francisco office the other month but he did all the work. Our Q1 2011 US And European B2B Social Technographics® Online Survey For Business Technology Buyers marked the third year we've conducted this survey, so it is interesting to observe some trends over that period of time by looking at the Social Technographics® ladder profile in more detail. Interesting conclusions we could make from our drill-down include:
Many Creator* behaviors are not engagement after all (see below), they are broadcasting opinions
Critic* behaviors are often collaborative – and this demonstrates the biggest growth
Collector* behaviors are actually somewhat misleading – they are not really “collecting”
While the high Spectator* numbers might imply that most people are just browsing, that is wrong
Joiners* and Conversationalists* behavior is tailing off as decision makers fail to see the value
Lurking in the tech channel shadows are the various manifestations of the newly emerging e-channel: online application stores, online communities, group buying sites, and e-purchasing services. For example, the number of small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) that sourced software products from online application stores increased almost 40% from 2009 to 2010. (I’ll publish the 2011 channel numbers next quarter.)
Joining the application store ranks of Intuit Marktplace, NetSuite SuiteApp.com, and salesforce.com AppExchange this year have been Adobe Marketplace, Cisco AppHQ, Constant Contact Marketplace, Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace, and Microsoft Office 365 Marketplace. Online communities OfficeArrow, OpenForum, and Spiceworks now offer software products. You could imagine e-purchasing services, like Rearden Commerce and Concur, expanding their travel services domain to other B2B products and services (like software). And this is just the tip of the iceberg – believe me, there are a lot more tech vendors and communities that will launch e-channels in the next six months.
All this e-channel activity, from both the provider and customer sides, has got to toll a warning bell for traditional channel companies – and their vendor partners, who have to keep them appeased. Perhaps most vulnerable are the DMRs (direct market resellers) (although the DMR gorilla, CDW, is taking strategic steps to expand its services portfolio in becoming more of a solutions provider).
I’ll be researching the impact of this emerging e-channel further, so if you have ideas or perspective to help guide my research, please share.
Tech marketers often fret over their marketing mix, but it’s usually couched in terms of “how” – e.g., “How do customers get information about us?” or, “Do we have the right mix of web content, events, blogs and [now, of course] social media conversations?”
We know that all those “how” things are not equal. Customers utilize web content more than events, and events more than blogs. But every bit as important (if not more), and sometimes not taken into consideration, is the “who” of the “how.” In general, customers highly value tech vendors’ websites and events, industry analysts’ research reports and blogs, channel partners’ online videos, and social media conversations with peers. But customers’ go-to information source preferences vary by industry, company size, and geography. [For more information, see the Forrester report on “The Who And How of Influencing Customers’ BT Decisions.”]
With social media stacked on top of websites stacked on top of events stacked on top of collateral … well, I don’t have to tell you how complex marketing-mix allocation budgeting has come to be. But designing your mix model on a “who-what” framework simplifies the model, and goes a long way to ensuring that you’re investing in the information sources that customers are tapping.
For those of you following Forrester’s project to create industry standards for battle cards, I want to give you a glimpse into the group’s progress and remind you about Forrester’s public webinar on September 7, where I’ll touch on battle card standards in more depth.
Each member of the standards group has success stories with their battle cards, but each member also struggles to change battle cards from being “random acts of sales support” to providing consistent, reliable support that helps sales reps win more deals. The purpose of our standards initiative is to do just that – identify and repeat how battle cards help sales reps win competitive deals.
Last week, the standards group reviewed the first draft of specifications for battle cards. Getting these definitions correct is important because all the downstream work we will do depends on these specifications. Our working document defines for battle cards the:
Purpose. Battle cards help sales reps anticipate and respond to competitive obstacles in the later stages of competitive deals.
Scope. Battle cards build on a point-counterpoint structure by identifying the competitor’s claims and equipping sales reps with responses.
Intersections. Battle cards must be consistent with competitive positions established in market overviews, pitch decks, and “marketectures,” RFP responses, and other sales tools.
Design point. Battle cards fuel customer conversations by addressing competitive issues through the lens of solving the customer’s problem, focusing topics that are core to the customers purchase decision.
For months, I’ve blogged about the reasons why battle cards are important, ways to evaluate battle cards, and most recently, the need for standards to tighten their value and give battle card creators and users common ground. In an upcoming webinar, that is open to the public and free of charge. I will tie this theme together with a focus on business impact.
Join me on September 7 for a public webinar by Forrester – Register here.
On the webinar, I’ll tackle a straightforward question:
“How do sales enablement professionals work cross-functionally to optimize sales content about competitors for reps so they can improve the win rate in competitive deals?”
I’ll outline the path forward for sales enablement professionals to collaborate with their peers in marketing, product management, and competitive intelligence to build better battle cards by:
Focusing on the problems that buyers are trying to solve
Prioritizing the criteria that drive buyer choices in purchase scenarios
Shaping your content based on how buyers perceive your company and competitors
Communicating the benefits and results that buyers care about