This blog series is updated every week with charts that focus on: B2B sales and marketing, industrial technologies (no consumer stuff) and areas that we play in! Two charts will be featured each week with some insights and thoughts from the author.

Week of August 1st

Tech Innovation’s Most Recognized Brands

Branding, often attributed greater weight in a B2C setting, is equally important for B2B marketers, especially when brand strength is correlated to the business model and reach.  In the realm of brands who are perceived to be to most forward-thinking in tech innovation by B2B marketers, there have been some winners and some losers in the past year.  Salesforce.com makes it’s debut at #10 as Samsung falls out of the top 5.  GE makes to second largest leap in the wake of significant partnerships and their push to open development channels.  Siemens also made a big jump into the top 5, meeting the technology expectations of B2B consumers.

What’s the Most Effective Content for B2B Sales Reps?

This is a useful study by CSO insights, a research firm that surveys thousands of sales executives yearly to provide sales effectiveness benchmarking and trends. The study results are based on the responses of 375 B2B enterprises exploring how “effective” customer facing content is (or isn’t). Sales reps want and need content that helps them generate more revenue (up sell and cross sell), improve their chances of closing a sales opportunity, acquire new accounts and reduce the sales/buying cycle. The study also uncovered some challenges facing marketing leaders and departments that need to be solved especially around collaboration with the sales team. In some instances sales executives are creating their own content because marketing is falling short. The solution: marketing needs to lead and sell the sales organization on what they can and will do to help brand the company, generate awareness and help sales reps be successful. They need to take studies like this one and develop a content development plan that works for the reps and delivers value to B2B tech buyers.

SEE ALSO: Do IT Buyers Depend on Content to Make Buying Decisions? | How Should Technology Companies Best Inform, Educate and Engage with IT Buyers?

Week of August 8th

More Comprehensive Analytics for B2B Marketers

Predictive analytics top the list of measurement tools for B2B Marketers in 2016, with only 15% employing anything currently.  Social engagement and website analytics, though in common use, do not appear to be providing the expected return in data detail and round out the top 3 in analytics requiring more attention.  B2B Marketers seem satisfied with their campaign automation tools and spreadsheets and, not surprisingly, better mobile analytics resonated with nearly half of the survey respondents.  As an aside, 86% of those surveyed consider themselves successful in tracking ROI from analytics data and 82% plan to invest in improving their analytic capabilities.

Marketers Doing a Poor Job When It Comes to Content and Thought Leadership

Here’s a wake up call for B2B technology marketers, sales leaders and reps. Your prospects and customers are overwhelmed by the amount of “thought leadership” content they are exposed to.  It’s a wake up call for all of us. Here’s some key facts from a recent study of 1,600 executives and marketers worldwide by The Economist Group:

  • 2 out of 3 C-suite executives (buyers) are confused or overwhelmed by the volume of content
  • 75% of C-suite executives are more selective about the thought leadership they consume because there is too much content

But, here’s the issue. Over 80 percent of the marketers also surveyed for this study intend to increase the amount of content they develop to stay “top of mind”. So, you have buyers who are confused and overwhelmed becoming more selective about whose content they consume and how much. Yet, marketers plan to pump out more content!

The study also provides great insights as to why marketers and companies, in general, are having trouble developing quality content.  Below are two key charts that you can use when developing and evaluating your thought leadership content for your prospects and customers. You can hire my agency to help you as well!

If you wonder whether developing thought leadership content makes sense (or dollars) consider these facts from the Economist Group Study. According to c-suite executives:

  • 76% say truly engaging thought leadership content influences purchasing decisions
  • 67% say they are willing to advocate for the organization or brand
  • 83% say it factors into choosing the organization as a business partner

The key is to have in place the right program that produces thought leadership content that delivers value and engages key people, networks and communities.

Week of August 15th

Thought Leadership and Influencer Marketing Advice

Two very popular terms being used today amongst marketers are “thought leadership” and “influencer marketing”. Thought leadership is about demonstrating that you and your company are credible experts. You prove this, in part,  by producing valuable original content, speaking at events (and/or creating your own) and establishing yourself as a leader in your industry. You share what you know and think, what you’re learning and you help others leverage your knowledge, expertise and experiences. Over time you and your company may become an influencer as you build a following, a network and even a community.

While you develop your thought leadership and influencer chops you also should develop your own influencer network. An influencer is a person who has a presence, a following, credibility, might be admired and in some cases emotionally connects with others.

An influencer will have some sort of impact on people when they say, ask, recommend or do something. The chart below gives you some idea on what the most effective marketing tactics being used with influencers. We’re not sure what “effective” means in this case but it’s important that you’re influencer network and program is uniquely designed to address the needs of your company and the influencers you approach. Also, you need to be very clear when defining a qualified influencer. Justin Bieber may influence young people to buy a type of shirt but he’ll never influence a CTO or CEO to buy a new emerging technology solution. perceived and measurable impact of the social selling tools in your toolbox.

Many Marketers Unclear on the Benefits of Social Selling Tools

In a sales enablement optimization study this past July, B2B marketers seem clear that their objectives for utilizing social selling tools included lead development and account research, but a large number of them – 38% –  could not identify a single benefit from their use.  Either the social selling toolsets in use are not working, or the marketers in this study are unable to measure results in a way that allows them to pinpoint the benefits.  It’s likely a little of both – tools that do not quite fit a marketer’s objectives and a lack of analytical metrics to say for sure.  A bit of a wake up call – time to take a look at the perceived and measurable impact of the social selling tools in your toolbox.

Week of August 22nd

Senior Execs Confused About IoT

The most over hyped word and misunderstood technology has got to be IoT. In concept many senior executives are interested in the potential IoT has to offer but the technology industry is doing a poor job defining what it is, what value it delivers and why companies should care. We see tech marketers, sales reps and executives sharing articles on how IoT will revolutionize business models and redefine how companies operate. What a crock of shiitake mushrooms! We hear from telcos how they’re leaders in IoT based based on how many active SIM cards they have on their network. A vast amount of those SIM cards are in smartphones NOT things that act as sensors to measure, monitor and gather data. Executives want to know how their business model will evolve and where it’s going to help them cut costs, generate more and new sources of revenue and innovate.

The chart below, from the Internet of Things Institue, provides clear direction and opportunity for IoT companies who need to get their shiitake together!

Influencers Represent Brand Authenticity

Influencers and ambassadors who have gained trust and engagement with an audience that fits the right target market composition for a brand, are most likely to be used as valuable tools to building brand authenticity, according to TapInfluence supported survey.  Additional results show brands are not interested in the size of an audience, but on how that audience matches their targeted market and how they can be moved by an influencer or ambassador. Marketers do not expect or report better brand reach or better returns on marketing dollar investment from their influencer programs – just an opportunity for a more human story.

Sources

These Are the Marketing Analytics Tools Senior B2B Marketers Want to Pay More Attention to This Year.” MarketingCharts. N.p., 8 Aug. 2016. Web. 15 Aug. 2016. 

B2B Execs Say Sales Needs Better Content. Here’s What They Think Works Best.” MarketingCharts. N.p., 02 Aug. 2016. Web. 18 Aug. 2016. 

These Are the Brands That Spring to Mind When B2B Consumers Think of Tech Innovation.” MarketingCharts. N.p., 01 Aug. 2016. Web. 15 Aug. 2016. 

Thought Leadership Content: Standing Out in A Sea of Noise.MarketingCharts. N.p., 10 Aug. 2016. Web. 21 Aug. 2016.

Occupy Thought Leadership.” Economist Group. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Aug. 2016.

How Can Marketers Benefit from Using Social Selling Tools? –  EMarketer. N.p., 3 Aug. 2016. Web. 22 Aug. 2016. 

Search for Authenticity Drives Influencer Marketing Trend.MarketingCharts. N.p., 03 Aug. 2016. Web. 22 Aug. 2016. 

What’s the Most Effective Means of Influencer Marketing? – EMarketer.”  EMarketer. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Aug. 2016. 

Global Execs on IoT: Optimistic, But Questions Remain” – EMarketer.”  EMarketer. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Aug. 2016. 

Chris HerbertChris Herbert is the founder of Mi6. Mi6 is a B2B (Business to Business) marketing and business development agency dedicated to helping companies build their brands and develop commercial relationships. He is the founder of ProductCamp Toronto and the Hi-tech community Silicon Halton. He tweets under the handle @B2Bspecialist.

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