Trends in Sales, Web Marketing, and Business Development


Last Thursday I attended B2B Marketing University in Atlanta that was sponsored by Silverpop. It was an interesting concept – invite your target audience to an educational seminar in which there are NO product pitches whatsoever (having it at a top-notch hotel and feeding attendees doesn’t hurt either). Genius. Certainly companies and backgrounds were mentioned but it seemed done more so from the standpoint of establishing credentials.

Over the course of three hours I took five pages of notes, front and back, which I’ll be sharing on this blog. Although I’m no longer in B2B Marketing, it was important for me to be there to learn what the “big boys” are talking about and see how this translates to Small/Medium Businesses (SMB). It is ESSENTIAL in this day and age to stay updated on trends that affect a business owner’s market. One of the speakers even uttered my mantra: “change is the only constant.” Companies that resist change and evolving are going to quickly get left behind.

A few themes developed for me as I was reviewing my notes, and instead of writing one gi-normous post I’ll write a future post on “Tips and Information for SMB.” So below are a few of the trends that everyone should become familiar with, according to Silverpop and its comrades:

• The buyer is changing – companies/freelancers are shortlisted before they’re ever called
• Social media is critical to making buyer decisions. So why should a business owner have a blog, submit articles to content-sharing sites, have a Twitter account? Because if he/she doesn’t and their competitor does, it’s an easy decision for the buyer.
• If you can’t be “found” easily, it sends up red flags. When I google a company and can’t find it, it screams out “sketchy” to me.
• There is a fundamental shift focusing on raw leads to managing buyer dialogue to nurture sales-ready relationships
• A trendy new term is “inbound marketing.” Inbound is the ability to 1) Get found and 2) shape community dialogue (this is done via a blog, social media site, etc)
o A fictional example, but one that people can identify with is Dunder Mifflin’s failed “Infinity 2.0” social media project from the popular TV show The Office
• Static websites are dead; websites need fresh, relevant information for SEO purposes. What does this mean for people who have to continuously pay webmasters to update? I don’t know. But for those who don’t have sites yet, keep that in mind.
• Trending words are “manage,” “manage,” and “manage.” Manage the process. Again, back to entrepreneurship 101 of having a proactive not reactive business model.
• Change is the only constant. Get onboard and stop resisting/whining. I tell my husband this all the time as he hates FaceBook, LinkedIn, etc.
• More ROI pressure is being put on vendors. Example: I gave you a $1, now how much is your service giving back?
• Marketers have to adapt, but it is not completely out with the old, in with the new
• Buyers want relationships
o I disagree. I think the word ‘relationships’ is getting old, fast. Buyers want a company with personality. They don’t want you to be their best friend and you shouldn’t like that. But you should stand for something, know how to communicate that, and show up (meaning, be found). • Trend: do to your customers what you’re doing to them. If they mention you on twitter, you do the same. If they comment on your blog, you do the same. Mirror
• Lastly and very important, the difference between “Email Marketing” and “Marketing Automation:”
-EMAIL MARKETING: is more B2C
-MARKETING AUTOMATION: B2B or Complex sales process

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Jenny Munn

Jenny Munn is an SEO Strategist who helps organizations get more leads from their website and integrate SEO into their marketing mix. She consults with in-house marketing managers, agencies, and small businesses. Jenny has taught SEO at WordCamp Atlanta, Digital Atlanta, Solo PR Summit, Business Marketing Association, Atlanta Tech Village, and various content marketing and social media organizations.

Comments

  1. Bill C, Atlanta says:

    Great summary of an intersting program. Jenny is right on the money on the business "relationship" concept.

  2. Adam Needles says:

    Enjoyed your summary of the day, and glad to see you had so many take-aways. That was really our goal in putting it on. Pleased to see 'mission accomplished.'

    Also, good callout on the relationship point. I tend to agree with your assessment. It's not that customers want relationships, per se, but they want the relationship to be respected. There is a difference between a personal and a business relationship in my mind. SLAs — whether overt or implied — govern business relationships. The real key is to live up to them and to maintain proactive communication with prospective buyers and customers. Increasingly marketing plays a key role in this interchange, so that's the other learning — so that as B2B marketers we're ready for this new expectation on our time and resources.

    Again, great post.

    Also, as an update for your readers, our 2009 series is just about finished. We did Palo Alto, Boston and Atlanta. Seattle is December 1, and then we'll be working out our 2010 tour schedule, which will include another ATL stop. So join us in Seattle or see us on next year's tour — either way, the latest on B2B Marketing University will always be available here:

    http://www.silverpop.com/marketing-resources/marketing-university-b2b/index.html

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