About scott.gillum

Scott heads the DC Office for gyro, a global advertising agency, and leads the Channel Marketing practice. Prior to joining gyro, he spent a dozen years at a professional services firm that specializes in B2B sales and marketing. Scott also writes for Forbes CMO Network, and his blog B2B KnowledgeSharing, feeds sites such as Sales Blog, B2B Marketing Zone and TechnologyMarketer. Follow him on Twitter @sgillum

Jeff Bezos’ Secret Message for Marketers

Marketers, channeling their inner Maverick (Tom Cruise’s character in ‘Top Gun’) often find themselves thinking “I feel the need, the need for speed” but are plagued by internal speed bumps and stop signs. Little do they know that buried in Jeff Bezos’ annual shareholder letter is an approach for helping them accelerate marketing efforts, and navigate past internal road blocks.

Working with hi-tech clients, I learned the necessity for quick execution. Pipelines must be filled, leads progressed and converted, and quotas achieved. IBM had two “mantras” when it came to accelerating marketing execution. The first was the rule of “70%” and the second was “Fail Fast.” Once you had roughly 70% of what you needed (information, insight, etc.) to execute you then got into the market, letting the results refine your program and thus quickly course correcting. Built on the idea of the yield curve, the greatest gains in progress were made during the first 70% of effort, refining the remaining 30% being too costly and time consuming.

“Failing fast” was built on the idea of quickly testing “concepts” or theories. If IBM wanted to experiment with something new or different it would construct tests to quickly measure results to either scale or kill the program. These two guide points have influenced my thinking over the many years.

So it was interesting to see Jeff Bezos picking up on these same principals in his annual shareholder letter. Except he added his own twist. In his letter he warns of becoming a “Day 2” company. He defines Day 1 companies as obsessed with customers, skeptical of proxies, eager to adopt new external trends, and perhaps most importantly, their ability to make high velocity decisions. For him, Day 2 companies become static, quickly becoming irrelevant and out of business eventually. The key to staying in “Day 1” is the ability to move quickly, experiment patiently, accept failures, and “double down when you see customers delight.”

Bezos believes that there is no “one-size-fits-all” to decision making but rather “two-way doors” where decision can be reversed. Those decisions in his words use a “lightweight” process. It starts with what he phases as “disagree and commit.” Given the growing number of stakeholders in the decision-making process, could this be the secret marketers have been searching for to eliminate speed bumps?

As Bezos describes it, “If you have conviction on a particular direction even though there’s no consensus, it’s helpful to say, ‘Look, I know we disagree on this but will you gamble with me on it? Disagree and commit?’ By the time you’re at this point, no one can know the answer for sure, and you’ll probably get a quick yes.”

Giving the success of Amazon, this is a piece of advice we should all heed. For marketers, the key to making this approach work is “conviction.” It means doing your homework, having the facts to support your point of view, and the courage to take a risk. Going fast brings with it the risk of failure, but as Bezos states “being wrong may be less costly than you think, whereas being slow is going to be expensive for sure.”

And Mr. Bezos knows a thing or two about flying fast. On the day he released his annual shareholder letter, Amazon stock closed over $900, up 50% over the year. Need any more proof that this “maverick” got it right?

How Endpoint Computing Could Dehumanize Communication

Where does the signal to pull your hand away from heat originate? If your answer is the brain, you’ve already been burned. Instinctively, we pull our hand back without conscious thought, because the response to the stimulus takes a short cut and originates in the spinal cord because the need for quick action.

According to venture capitalist Peter Levine the need for this same type of short cut may be happening soon with computing. Mr. Levine said thathe saw a shift in computing coming from the cloud (centralized) to the return of edge computing (decentralized) because the wave of innovations from IoT, and AI, are driving the need to have decisions made in milliseconds.

As Mr. Levine points out, a connected car is basically a data center on wheels “it has 200 plus central processing units…doing all of it’s computations at the endpoint and only pass back to the cloud.” Just like you hand doesn’t have time to send a signal to the brain, autonomous vehicles need to react instantaneously to the situation.

Data, insight, and now action, will be moving to the point of engagement in this future view. Now think about the potential challenges that present marketers in staying on brand, and controlling the message with thousands, or even millions, of touchpoints acting independently. Today, the best messaging and value proposition work can (and usually does) go off the track the moment it makes its way to sales and service reps.

Marketers live with the daily issue of cross channel attribution, add cross channel communication to the mix and we better have really good tracking tools! Sure, we can pre-set the messages, designed algorithms to present them at the right moment in the buying cycle, but controlling and tracking the delivery of each message in the context of an overall brand story will be the challenge.

And keep in mind, machines aren’t the only things that learn. As research has shown, the buying process is a highly emotional roller coaster. With machines entering that process we risk driving efficiency at the expense of dehumanizing the experience. As machines learn, we also begin to sense whether we are dealing with a human or a machine.

For example, do you really get the “warm fuzzies” from all those “HBD” messages on Facebook, or the “Congrats on the New Job” on LinkedIn? Machines have been great at helping us be more informed, but they have also have made it easy to turn highly personalized interactions into transactional tasks, void of any emotional connection.

The first wave of machine learning has been about improved efficiencies, productivity and predictability. As Jeff Bezos stated in his brilliant letter to shareholders,  “Machine learning drives our algorithms for demand forecasting, product search ranking, product and deal recommendations…much of the impact of learning will be of this type – quietly, but meaningfully, improving core operation.”

As the next wave approaches, we should be cautious on how it is applied to the buying process. The focus should be on making humans more human, becoming more instinctive, so potential customers don’t getting burned.

11 Things To Do in Your 40’s

I posted this on LInkedIn last month. Surprised by the response, so I thought I’d share it here.

One day you wake up and you’re 50. You’re the old guy you used make fun of because of his lack of fashion sense, various hair issues/challenges, and “dad bod” …before it became cool. What you may have lost in physical prowess you can more than make up with life experiences (the reason I’m given 11 not 10 tips, old guys can do that). Now that I’m that “guy,” here’s a list of the things I wish someone would of told me when I was in my 40’s. I’m no expert, just the guy with the dad bod who has learned some important lessons after the fact.

  1. Focus on your fitness – fat and happy, you betcha! Men, the years of feeling like you have to eat what’s left over on the kid’s plate are over. Your job, lifestyle, and offspring have helped you pack on an extra 10-20 pounds (or more) over the last decade. Hit the gym, or the road with your feet or bike. Ladies, it’s time to put the focus back on you. You gave your time, energy and focus to the little ones, but now they’re in school…reserve some time for yourself. Head to the gym, outdoors or both.
  2. Reconnect with your significant other – kids can suck the energy out of a relationship, and as good parents, you’re willing let them. You went from “us” to “them” in a flash; make an effort to bring sexy back. Put some intimacy back in the relationship by finding time to reignite the flames that drew you together. Yes, the kids will get in the way, but that can be exciting, find ways to sneak in your “special time.” Think back to your teenage days when Mom and Dad were upstairs.
  3. Be who you are – Men, you know who you are now so it’s time to accept it. Embrace your “suckiness” be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Ladies – we love you for who you are, and not who you think we want you to be. Be comfortable in your skin, it’s a turn on.
  4. Be completely honest – you’re a grown ass man/woman now, if you have bad news to deliver don’t sugar coat it, get to it. In business, stop telling clients what you thing they want to hear, and tell them the truth. By this point, you’re established in your career and should have the confidence to stop caring about how others feel about you. You might just find that they like you better when you’re giving it to them straight. This is the same on the home front, stop BS’ing and get to the point. It may get uncomfortable, but you’re old enough to handle it the truth.
  5. Grow something – it’s time to work the soil. Get out in the yard and put down roots. Use the same nurturing instinct that you’ve developed to bear fruit, literally. Try eating something that you grow everyday in the summer. The satisfaction you’ll feel is well worth the fights you have with deer, chipmunks, and bugs of every variety.
  6. See the world – spend your money on travel, and not “things.” There is a diaper load of research that proves the pleasure and satisfaction you’ll get out of travel trumps that of physical things, and it grows in value over the years. Expose your children to the world. You’ll plant the seeds of discovery and exploration that will grow as they do.
  7. Eat dinner together as a family – teach your children how to cook, and the art of the conversation. They will understand the value of togetherness, if you make the time. Explore new food, cuisines and culture. If they only want to eat pizza and chicken nuggets – it’s not just because they like it, it’s because you let them.
  8. Plan for college now! – even though they may still be in diapers they grow up extremely fast, but not as fast as the cost of tuition. Save now, and plan on saving more than you ever expected. College comes quickly and it doesn’t come cheap.
  9. Live beneath your means – the thirties to mid-forties you are typically the “golden years” of income acceleration. As you climb the career ladder, the number of high paying jobs gets smaller, and the pool of available candidates grows. Keep the pace of spending below the pay percentage increase. As your children get older, they become more expensive…travel sports, camps, private schools, etc. Save, save, save…
  10. Stay connected – you had college friends, single friends, couple friends, and now friends with kids. Each phase of your life brings with it new friends and a struggle to keep connected with the old ones. Making things more complicated, your work and family schedules will never be busier which means keeping in touch even with family members will be a challenge. You’ve been warned, social media is a nice surrogate, but it’s not a substitute for a phone call…as your Mom will tell you.
  11. Teach your child to sell – it could be Girl Scout cookies, a raffle for school or a donation for the fun run, kids need to know that Mom and Dad aren’t going to do everything for them. It helps them learn self-confidence, determination and that rejection is a part of life. Don’t shelter them from hearing “no” it’s an important opportunity to teach them resilience

I’d love to hear what you would add, especially any advice for a guy with hair issues on what to do when he hits the 50’s.

Why We Are Ripe For AI

It’s coming, the “futurists” are saying that the hype about Artificial Intelligence is real. The reason according to Andrew Ng, chief scientist at Baidu, is that AI is no long a “magical thing” but is now creating real value for companies, like Google and Baidu. Companies are now finding “pockets of opportunity” to invest in AI. But there is also something else at play that is also making the timing right for AI.

Americans are now living in highly polarized political environment. We’ve seen it play out in TV commercials, “resistance movements,” and daily news coverage.

At the same time, researchers have recently shown that it’s more than a person’s mindset that determines their political beliefs; it’s their actual mind itself. More specifically, the physical structure of the brain of those people on the ”right” and the “left” are different, and it impacts how information is interpreted, decision are made and how you see the world.

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People who describe themselves as “liberals” tend to have a larger anterior cingulate cortex, the area that is responsible for taking in new information and that impact of the new information on decision-making. Meanwhile, “conservatives” tend to have a larger right amygdala being a deeper brain structure that processes more emotional information, in particular, fear-based information.

As a result, the adult world is made up of, to a certain degree, two hard-wired types of people, who see and interpret the world differently. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center there has been a dramatic political polarization of Americans over the last 20 years (see the graph below).

Put it all together and you have a perfect scenario for AI machine learning. Machines look for consistency in patterns to make predictions, and apparently we have become more predictable than ever before. Using psychographic segmentation along with online research tools, machines can more accurate and effective target and message to unique audience segments.

Our minds are already predisposed to interpret information differently. Layer on that our opinions and beliefs are becoming more distinctly aligned with other like individuals and you’re seeing the “middle” is disappear.

These distinct groups also use unique channels for information and communication that reinforce their beliefs and opinions, making it easier to find and message to them. In the end, the target, channel and message are all becoming increasingly more defined as a result.

While polarization is making it more difficult for one group to understand the other, it is making humans a lot easier for machines to understand.

CEB Challenger Marketing Webcast – March 8th

Last September, Pat Spenner, co-author of The Challenger Customer and I presented a webcast entitled Lessons from the Challenger Marketing Trenches. During the webcast Pat and I shared our key learnings on executing Challenger across a multitude of marketing activities: customer understanding, marketing messaging, content strategy development, content and sales tool production, and lead generation.

On March 8th at 11 am (EST) Jessica Cash and I will be presenting Using B2B Content to Drive Alignment & Accountability, details on the event and registration below.

Overview: With increased budgets comes increased calls for accountability. Today’s top marketers are using Commercial Insight, personal value, and help from peers to craft content strategies that result in more than just customer engagement. Learn best practices and ways to avoid common pitfalls that often leave marketers struggling to improve lead quality.

Join Jessica Cash, Head of Sales and Marketing Solutions Product Development at CEB, and Scott Gillum, President of gyro in Washington, D.C. as they answer questions, such as:

  • How can marketers avoid always defining their business solely from the legacy perspective?
  • How does redefining themselves allow for better alignment with customers?
  • How can value drive customer action?

Jessica and Scott will be holding up the mirror in order to show how CEB is applying these best practices and principles in their own marketing efforts, so come ready with questions!

When: Wednesday, March 8 at 11 am (EST)

Click here to register

A Breakdown of the Strategy Behind Bud’s Controversial Super Bowl Ad

We are emotional creatures living in a highly emotional world as recent events have shown. It’s a time when people often act, or react first without having any, or all, of the facts. And the media may (or may not) be reading more into things than are actually there.

Take for example, Budweiser’s “Born the Hard Way” Super Bowl ad. It tells the story of Adolphus Busch’s journey from Germany. The ad, released last Tuesday hit the air at the height of the controversy surrounding President Trump’s travel ban. The 60-second ad starts with a shot of Busch and a voice in the distance saying “You don’t look like you’re from around here.” Whether it’s intentional or not, the immigration themed ad struck a cord with many.

Although Anheuser-Busch InBev denies any political connections, others have used it as rallying cry. As an ad, it ‘s well done and hits many of the important elements of quality advertising. It’s an authentic (despite being somewhat fictionalized) story of the American success story told through the founder’s journey to St. Louis as a German immigrant.

The challenge is that it may not connect with its audience. More bluntly, it may have pissed off a lot of Bud drinkers. Here’s what the agency strategists and A-B InBev may have missed during the creative concept process.

Overlay the map below with 2016 Presidential election results map (by country) above and you will see that of the 13 states where Bud Light is the most popular beer, Trump won 9, and of the remaining four, Trump won the rural vote. In fact, the profile of a Bud drinker is almost identical to a Trump voter.

The risk for Budweiser, in its desire to reach and connect with Millennials (77% drink something other than Bud), is that they may have alienated and/or offended traditional Bud drinkers. The day before the Super Bowl saw a ground swell loyalists threatening to #boycottbudwiser (yes, spelled incorrectly). The hashtag trended the night of the Super Bowl and the following day after. Once corrected, the hashtag became a lightening rod for comments both supportive and critical of the theme. Bud fans seemingly upset at what they see as Budweiser making a political statement.

It’s a classic big company conundrum. In order to ensure growth, Bud had to swift its messaging towards a younger audience at the risk of alienating its loyal customer base. The question for Budweiser now is did the ad do its job. It was voted as one of the “Winners” of the evening but did it convert non-Bud drinkers? And in this highly competitive marketplace, will the ad be effective in bringing new younger buyers to the brand at a rate to cover the loss of consumers who may be switching their allegiance because of their outrage over its political overtone?

The takeaway for agencies: We now have to consider the potential for ads to be “hijacked” by a political controversy. As a result of the polarization of America, agencies and companies may know have to consider how their audience voted (see the campaign map) when crafted campaigns. The other insight is that we may have found a new way to use emotions to trigger action, for better…or worse.

10 Tips for Fixing Your Conversion Problem — Permantly

The organization has a short-term ‘sales culture’ so almost everything marketing does is oriented to creating a lead. You know that there are larger system/infrastructure issues that are impacting performance but you can’t anyone to invest/focus on them. You’re on a trend mill running as fast as you can, but going nowhere.

It’s a nightmare thousand of marketers are living everyday, so let’s get to fixing this issue, permanently. The problem, at its core, is money. Yes, resources and time are also issue but the bigger challenge is that you have is a budget loaded with program dollars intended to be spent on media, events and other lead generating activities. Unfortunately, little are earmarked to fix the web infrastructure, navigation and content issues that are keeping leads from converting. You have a system problem, without system dollars to fix it.

Step one in the process is to get a capex budget. Just like the one used to build the corporate website. And get a big one, depending on size of the website you’ll need at least $500K, and perhaps over $1M, to build a “system” that will improve conversion rates. Here’s how you’re going to spend it.

  1. Assessing Search – does the organization know what it wants to be known for (what topics, products, solutions) and how audiences search for those items? If not, pull together a top 10 list and get to work finding out. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, Moz Open Site Explorer and Moz Keyword Explorer to gauge popularity and set priorities from your existing website.
  2. Increasing SEM spend – after assessing your top 10 priorities you’ll most likely find you need to increase your spend to improve your position. Determine how much, and for how long.
  3. Inventorying & Assessing Content – while your marketing dollars are working to help audience find you, the next step is to help visitors find the information they are looking for quickly. Assess the content on the following criteria: relevance (is it current, audience aligned, and insightful), accessibility (clicks and public view), and scanablity (ease of assessing key points)
  4. Evaluating Readability – time to take a hard look at the content you’re producing. Is it written in the audience language or your engineers? Is it compelling, will it engage audiences. Use tools like Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease and the Gunning Fog Index to help score content.
  5. Modifying Content – this could be painful. Try to leverage existing material. If you have videos, carve them up into 2 minute or less “snackable” insights. Long form content like white papers, etc., do the same. Chunk content into smaller more digestible bits. Next, create templates and guidelines for producers to follow so they know the type of content that will work best for marketing needs.
  6. Investing in UX – find out how visitors really navigate your site. You may be shocked by their lack of sophistication, and patience. Use tools like Validately to help assess users experience with your web properties.
  7. Optimization Everything – create pilot pages based on the UX findings and watch how visitors navigate and consume content. Use tools like Hot Jar to help track visitor clicks. Set performance metrics for bounce rates, time on page and conversion rates. Performance optimization is an ongoing effort so become comfortable with constant experimentation.
  8. Training Everyone – to produce the right content, invest the time and resources to train on how to use the new templates — product marketers on how to produce audience focused content, marketing folks on how to write ad copy that’s compelling, etc. Use insights gathered in steps 5 and 7 to convince folks to get onboard.
  9. Hiring an advisor – if this sounds like a lot of work, it is. If you don’t have the staff, the time, or the desire to take it on get someone to help you. You have a day job producing leads so put someone else on a parallel path of improving the process and performance. Chunk up the work plan mentioned above into quarters, align it to the marketing and the organizations priorities and set reasonable expectation on making progress.

Inbound marketing, content marketing, digital marketing, whatever you want to call it is not a marketing “tactic,” it is an ecosystem built from the outside in and requires a system thinking approach. The steps above will help you pinpoint issues within the system. “Digitalizing” an organization starts with audience facing sites so try to align this effort with any organizational effort related to digital transformation.

Getting the funding, use data points to prove the value of building a robust inbound lead generation capability. According to CEB, 71% of buyers start their purchase journey on the web. Build a market visibility index using your pipeline/waterfall metrics and market share. Reverse the numbers and find out what percent of the total opportunities available are in your pipeline. If you need more benchmarks, download Hubspot latest report on inbound marketing.

Need a case study? The process I just describe was implemented at a client this year. The results of the investment and effort have produced a 95% increased in MQL’s and an improvement in conversion rates by 65%. Inbound is now the top lead source in volume and performance. This organization has a hardcore outbound sales culture…which now, believes in the power of inbound marketing.

The Importance of Finding “False Positive” Brand Advocates

‘Tis the season for Christmas catalogs. Tons of them roll into mailboxes across the country and, shortly thereafter, into recycling bins. In our house, two catalogs escape this fate but for different reasons.

I am an “all-in” fan boy of the Patagonia brand. In my opinion, Patagonia is THE most authentic brand in the world. “Worn Wear” is probably its best brand cam
paign ever, and “Unbroken Ground” the best product launch campaign. I believe in the company’s causes, point of view on the world, anti-consumerism message – all of it! The catalogs are as much about adventure and causes as they are about the clothing.

The other catalog that escapes the recycling bin, at least temporarily, is Orvis. Its prominently-displayed coupons on the cover have me at “hello.” “Free money” works for me – so much so, I’m conditioned to respond to a coupon that the last time I bought something without one I developed a rash. Yes, I know the discount is baked into the price, but it works. I peruse the catalog looking for an item to apply the discount as soon as the catalog arrives.

So here’s the difference: while I spend more time reading the Patagonia catalog, I buy more from Orvis. In fact, despite my love for the brand, I don’t own any Patagonia clothing. In the business-to-business (B2B) world, I am what you would call a “false positive.” I’ll consume your content all day long but I won’t convert. And in today’s world of deep targeting and conversion-focused metrics, I might get missed.

Brand advocates, like me, are incredibly important for B2B brands. In the book, “The Challenger Customer” by Brent Adamson and others, I would be described to as a “mobilizer.” Mobilizers advocate for brands with other decision makers within the decision-making team. In fact, the likelihood of a closed deal increases dramatically if you can find one to champion your brand.

In our home, I’m the brand advocate and economic buyer and my son is the user. The reason I don’t buy Patagonia is that I believe their clothing is more of a fit for a teenager who refers to it as “Fratagonia.” I’m more the Orvis generation, but I alert my son to things I think he would like because, unlike me, he spends zero time looking at “old school” offline catalogs.

This same pattern is repeated in the business-buying world. Brand advocates will spend hours reading your content, watching your videos, and attending your events. They’ll show up in Salesforce as leads but will never advance, causing frustration for sales reps and managers. So why shouldn’t we dismiss them? They’re also the ones who will recommend your brand to a colleague who is searching for a vendor to fit a need.

The challenge has been identifying and targeting “mobilizers” as described by Adamson and his colleagues. After spending about a year trying to figure this out, we’ve discovered three “markers” that might help lead you to these mystical influencers.

  1. Consumption of long form content. In a world moving to shorter and shorter content, mobilizers will invest time with your content. They’ll spend the seven, or even twenty minutes, to view a video if it’s well done. And don’t take all of the long form content off the website just yet. These folks will consume and summarize key points for others. Pay special attention to time spent on the page, along with visitor viewing habits on heavier content pages.
  2. Repeat visits over a longer period of time. Buyers who are in the decision-making process have a tendency to “burst” visits. They’ll hit your site in rapid succession and consume a large quantity of content over a brief period of time. Brand advocates – like mobilizers – consume content more consistently over a longer period of time. Watch and track your repeat visitors, and see if they are also subscribing to your e-newsletter, attending webcasts, etc. You need to track and trend these visitors over the year (or even two).
  3. Sharing habits. Another trigger for tracking these influencers is the sharing of habits. They’ll share content they find to be meaningful. Take a look at consistent content sharers. Make sure you have them identified in your ABM programs. Build email campaigns with content links that are intended to travel, and watch where they land.

Make sure you can aggregate all of the activity mentioned above against a single profile. You’ll need all the data to identify mobilizers. The other homework assignment is to take a hard look at your organization and ask if you have the type of content that would create and energize brand advocates. What does the organization stand for? What is its point of view, its purpose? If it’s “to sell something” or “to make money,” you don’t have it.

Does Sales Need a New Model to Fix Its Performance Problems?

Last week Tibor Shanto from Renbor Sales Solutions mentioned in his post that I questioned the value of the sales organization. Given the information shared with us at the CEB Sales and Marketing Roundtable meeting we attended, the question was relevant. He goes on to state that what I was really asking is why are so many sales reps struggling and what could marketing do to help them succeed. If the sales organization struggles, most likely marketers will struggle, and they may be the ones who will get the blame.

The more I thought about it the more convinced I became that the issue goes beyond sales and marketing, and their ability to correct it. I don’t think marketing can fix what ails sales, and vise versa. To illustrate the issue, I have created a framework that oversimplifies an organization go-to-market model. The core of the GTM model is the operating model, the product and services group and the organizations long-term vision.

 

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Each part of the model plays an important role in determining the success of an organization. Additional detail on each group is contained below.

  • Operational Model – the core of the business, how it delivers value to customers. It is also focused on driving efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery model.
  • Product/Services – the physical manifestation of the value.
  • Vision – how the company articulates their view of the world, now and in the future based on consumer/customer, competitor and market trends and needs.

Marketing develops and articulates the organization’s vision. It should be forward looking (at least three years), and challenge the product organization to “catch up.” It should enable the sales force to sell new solutions, enter new markets and differentiate the organization against competitors.

The product group builds, tests and perfects products, services and solutions that meet the needs of buyers today, and in the future. It should be able to define the market opportunity and the best route to capture it.

The “operating model” should be constantly evaluating those products and services most strategic to the organization (revenue, profit, etc.) and how to scale them. In some of the best organizations I’ve seen, this group enable the “visionary” solution sales reps to sell whatever they want early in a “wave,” as it works to pair down offerings to the few that are the most desired (market demand and/or profitability) As a result, choice, selection and pricing are simplified which helps them scale and enables the sales force to sell efficiently.

Aligning The Sales Organization

Solution Sales team – the solution selling team should be aligned to the front end of the go-to-market model. They have the capability, experience and navigation skills to configure and sell the vision and complex solution, both to internal and external audiences.

Product Specialist and Account Management teams – AM’s or PS’s are aligned to existing accounts and/or products and may be aligned by industry or type of solution. Their goal is to keep and expand the account. Reps that excel in this role are adept at understanding how to navigate the internal workings of the client — how to work the procurement process, position their products/organization against competitors, gain access to new buyers/opportunities, and how to anticipate future needs.

Telesales and Online Portals – the back end of the go-to-market framework where the “operating model” has shifted low margin “simple” products, to align with knowledgeable buyers. Allowing them to make a purchase transaction at the lowest cost and in the most convenient way possible. Sales reps may also dealing with “laggard” first time buyers who come late to a product or solution and have simple requirements.

Marketing’s role across this continuum varies. For the solution sellers, content marketing is critical and as Tibor states “insights built around business objectives.” Marketing has to help the sales organization articulate the organization’s vision (“air cover”) and the value of the product to the buyer, professionally and personally.

So what’s different about the sales model I laid out? Nothing. Does sales need a new model? Maybe, maybe not, but what it needs right now is the organizations commitment to executing the model that I just described. It isn’t throwing more resources and technology at sales, as the CEB research points out. Almost all (98%) of the sales leaders surveyed by CEB had added resources for sales support over the last four years, yet 76% of sales reps said that they have experienced an increase in the complexity of the support they are receiving.

Organizations have to commit to being good at all parts of the go-to-market model. Many of the organizations shortcomings and/or dysfunctional behavior become sales inhibitors. For example, organizations that are operationally efficient often lack the ability to articulate a long-term vision. On the other end, companies that have their heads in the future often miss simple things like scaling down the number of products sold, or simplifying financing terms or compensation plans.

What I took away from the meeting is, in today’s complex business environment, those organization that can simplify buying will win. The problem is that it’s easier to add and feel like you’re making a difference than it is to subtract or reduce and know that you making progress. It’s time to stop feeling like you’re making a difference and start putting a shoulder to making it happen.

Emotional Experience Mapping

Imagine this; you’ve booked a three-day trip to Miami. Would it make a difference in how you pack, the airline or hotel you select, even your mindset, based on whether the trip was for a vacation or a business meeting? Of course it does, and any reasonable person would start with the purpose of the trip and then plan from there.

With the intense focus on developing personas and mapping the buyers’ journey, many marketers are skipping that first piece of the journey, or the “purpose.” Marketers may know the buyer and their purchase behaviors – but they don’t fully understand their “why” or what motivates them to choose their organization.

Based on research from a group of clients representing hi-tech, financial and information services with more than $1B in revenue, I’ve pulled together four common buyer groups. This is not intended to be “statistically significant,” but rather a framework for considering the uniqueness of buyer motivations. Try matching your customers to the segments (below). They should be easily identifiable and you may find a similar distribution.

Buyer Segments

Here is a short description of each group.

  • The Lucky (10-15%) – prospects that your outbound sales and marketing efforts have reached with the right message at a time when they were open to discussing how you could solve a specific problem or need – a new acquisition.
  • The Looker (15-20%) – buyers who are actively searching for information/solution that can help them with a need or problem. They find you and decide to engage in the sales process – a new acquisition.
  • The Loyalists (25-30%) – your “champions” that have used your products or services in the past and faithfully bring you with them wherever their career takes them.
  • The Legacies – (30-35%) they inherit the existing relationship and may, or may not, be familiar with your products and services.

Each group ventures through the journey and engages with sales and marketing channels with a different mindset and set of motivators. It impacts how they interact with the decision-making group and perhaps, most importantly, their willingness to advocate for your brand and/or product. Hence, why you need to consider their emotional involvement in the process. Why? Because emotions fuel the wheels of motivation; they can drive them forward or put them in reverse.

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Mapping emotional involvement by segment from strongest to weakest will help you develop an engagement strategy. “The Loyalist” group is motivated to advocate for your brand because they feel an emotional connection. It may have been formed by a past experience, or how it makes them feel about themselves and/or their role. CEB calls this “Identity Value.”

Your communication should reinforce their decision to work with you. Any awards or recognition received should be passed along immediately thanking them for their contribution. Any bad news should be quickly communicated and explained via a call, not digitally. Know this group thoroughly, understand their social engagement and make sure to track their career progress. The relationship is personal, so recognize and reward it.

On the opposite end is the “The Legacy” group. Although they inherited the relationship, they may not be motivated to keep it. The potential issue, according to Sirius Decisions 2016 B2B Customer Experience Study, is that “80% of B2B purchasing decisions are influenced by past customer relationships” and that experience, most likely, was not with your organization.

Assume low emotional involvement and do your homework on this audience. Here are some helpful hints on engaging them. We know from our research on the emotions executives experience in their careers that four emotions are always present, 1) excitement, 2) anxiety, 3) confidence, and 4) pride.

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The “word cloud” is taken from research on the emotions experienced when an executive moves into a new role. Take advantage of a “Legacy” person being new to the role and leverage the excitement they feel by communicating how your product or service can benefit them professionally, and personally. Additionally, emphasize how your products and/or services may reduce their anxiety or apprehension that comes with the new responsibilities.

“The Looker” is motivated but may not yet be emotionally engaged with your organization. The thrill of discovery quickly fuels emotions. Continue to feed it by understanding their behaviors and journey. Give them reasons to personally connect to your solution or brand. Use insights to teach them something new about their business, needs, and/or their customers.

The “Lucky” become aware much later, and may never really become emotionally involved. For them this may be purely a transactional relationship. Focus on reducing risk that they may associate with making a bad decision. Use industry-specific case studies and customer testimonials to build their confidence in your capabilities.

If you’ve ever said, “I don’t feel like doing it” you get how emotions impact motivation. Your task now is to understand why your customers take the “journey.” Pushing an organization forward to a purchase decision is a struggle. Your advocate will become fatigued along the way. To win, you have to understand the emotions involved at key moments to motivate them to keep moving because at some point, they won’t feel like doing it either.