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The B2B Value Sale is Actually Three Distinct Sales

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Companies trying to execute a B2B solution or value sale must overcome selling problems that start at the prospecting stage and persist to the end. Symptoms include too few quality additions to the sales pipeline, protracted and lengthening sales cycles, and low win rates. significant cause is sellers haven’t realigned messages, sales conversations, and sales process to the way buyers buy.

How Do Audiences Assess Your Marketing Content?

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What if you could assess your marketing content the same way your audiences do? How would that improve content quality, audience relevance, performance? Of course. Makes sense. But what exactly does this mean — in practice? invite you to collaborate in this real-time case example. have a video for you to view, assess, and provide feedback for recommended improvements.

Is Content Operations Your Next Focus Area?

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The traditional, project oriented, creative craftsman approach to content cannot meet new requirements.  Business-to-business enterprise marketing executives are accountable for uniting all customer facing activities associated with capturing new customers, growing revenue, and creating exceptional customer experiences across all touch points and the entire customer lifecycle.

New Sales Competency – Use Content to Sell

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The digital era has ushered in many behavior changes, especially for B2B buyers. Sales professionals have been slower to change their sales methods to adapt and align with new buying processes and the expectations of buyers. Those who are not actively and effectively using content to sell are missing an important opportunity to capture a selling advantage, lower selling time and costs, and accelerate successful sales outcomes. “Social selling” while new and popular, doesn’t yet represent a significant breakthrough in the way B2B sales people sell.

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Lead Generation Checklist

Selling into the “hidden opportunity market”

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We used to say, “sell ahead of the RFP.” ” Then, for more than a decade we’ve been telling clients, “sell ahead of your competitive herd.” ” Now we’re telling them, “sell into the ‘hidden opportunity market’ ” As a result of recent client work, I’ve re-examined CEB’s Challenger Customer for clues on how to improve B2B sales practices, especially for sales content. I’ve re-read Challenger Customer in detail at least 5 times. Each time I get a deeper appreciation for the insights their research provides.

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Continuum and Process vs. Event, Project or Campaign Thinking

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The consensus is clear. It’s past time to shift your thinking about your approach to marketing activities as an event, project or campaign, to continuum and process thinking. In my mail yesterday I received my hot-off-the-press copy of Ardath Albee’s new book, Digital Relevance: Developing Marketing Content and Strategies that Drive Results. While

How Content Operations Can Create Marketing and Selling Breakthroughs

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Marketing and selling content operations isn’t sexy. But it could be one of the most important focus areas for marketing leaders. See Is Content Operations Your Next Focus Area? Almost every week I see fresh survey results that continue to reflect the long-standing challenges that B2B marketers face (Content Marketing Institute). They are operational in nature.

Changing Your Sales Mindset

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In my view selling is 85% mindset and 15% technique. Unfortunately, most sales professionals focus primarily on learning sales techniques. Adopting a better sales mindset might be what’s required. With the typical sales mindset, techniques might be even be experienced by prospects as gimmicks. What is Selling? You’re in conflict with the buyer. And in one sense this makes sense.

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B2B Marketing Trends for 2016

An All Too Typical Sales Prospecting Phone Message

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I attended a lead nurturing webinar recently. I’m always looking for insights, especially about how companies are thinking about content to support their many use cases. also like to experience selling from a buyers perspective. I get many sales prospecting calls, but usually for products or services I could care less about. delete and forget. Now let’s compare.

Why Content Creation Isn’t Everyone’s Job

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I read with interest John Jantsch’s Duct Tape Marketing blog Why Content Creation Is Everyone’s Job. The post raises good ideas with, in my opinion, the wrong conclusion.  It’s a short post, I suggest you read it. I’d like to offer a different perspective and approach. This is a teachable moment. The lesson involves the difference between thinking like a marketer, and thinking like a publisher. It illustrates a new reality all organizations face, but is especially important for enterprise marketers.

B2B Customer Content Operations Manifesto

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The custom content business is a difficult business. It’s a difficult business due to the economics of the underlying content operations model, as well as poor inputs from inefficient clients. Agencies and production companies that produce good work products, and are profitable, do so by exploiting poor inputs and inefficient clients. And clients pay dearly for this.

Unpacking Challenger Customer Insights

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The CEB book Challenger Customer, released in September 2015, will continue to garner support for its many insights. They provide important considerations for all B2B marketing and selling professionals, especially sales executives. Despite a breezy writing style, there are many dense sections. This post is not a book review. It assumes you have read CEB’s Challenger Customer.

How to Leverage Content Marketing to Power Your B2B Marketing Automation Funnel

Elevate B2B Content Strategy to Business Level Execution

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B2B Content Strategy for Messages, Conversations and Content This post speaks to why B2B organizations should elevate content strategy from siloed functions to the business level, with executive accountability. This is about content that addresses external audiences we generally refer to as “customers” B2B CEOs, CFOs and Sales leaders have a lot at stake in getting this right.

Shift from Repository to Content, Communication and Collaboration Ecosystem

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People responsible for sales and channel enablement, marketing and content operations, or supporting groups that use content, face many challenges. We have identified a solvable challenge that immediately improves productivity, efficiency, and, most of all, business outcomes. This is a basic and solvable challenge. Your Content Constituents When this ability is missing, business outcomes suffer.

Use Knowledge Delivered Strategy to Show Content Value

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A Different Approach to Content Marketing Justification B2B content marketers must continually defend budgets and tactics, especially content investments, by proving performance. This is part of a persistent struggle to raise marketing credibility and awareness of its impact in the business. Too many executives, and especially the sales organization, still don’t see it. Or does it?

What is Strategy?

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Lack of clarity about content strategy might have roots in a universal confusion about strategy. See Robert Rose in Content Marketing Institute.)  In the business world, Michael Porter of Harvard Business School is a preeminent authority of business strategy. He points out “most businesses don’t have a strategy for their organization.” Well, no wonder we struggle with content strategy.

The B2B Demand Gen Marketing Playbook

Knowledge Delivered

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Our theme this year is Knowledge Delivered. We are all knowledge workers. Knowledge is actionable information. We operate inside organizations where knowledge creates value and competitive advantage. This makes knowledge and content strategic imperatives for any business. But we have a knowledge delivery problem.  This inevitably makes it static, only moving toward out-of-date. To […].

How to improve content performance and operations output

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Marketing leaders, and the executive team to which they are accountable, understandably want to improve performance of customer facing content, get better outputs from content operations, and better returns on content investments. At the recent Content Marketing World, content ROI was a prominent topic. We will explain our recommendation for an operational shift in the first video below.

Why You Need a B2B Sales Content Strategy

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If you sell the way you did 10 years ago, you don’t need a sales content strategy. There’s little strategy required to tell people about your company, products, features — just don’t forget those benefit statements! But if you’ve truly adopted a customer-centered sales philosophy you know you have new requirements.

Customer Facing Content as a Conversation

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The Four Cs of Content Marketing I’ve written about content as more, and different than, format. While working with clients recently, I’ve heard them wrestle with questions about what content to create, and how to make priority decisions. think some deeper distinctions about content can help here. This is a big change from the traditional approach to content creation.

A Content Formula for Complex B2B Organizations

Understanding the True Cost of Content in B2B Organizations

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There’s a familiar expression used to describe some people. They “know the cost of everything, but the value of nothing.” ” When it customs to B2B marketing and selling content, it appears most organizations don’t know either. The rhetoric of “data driven decisions” has become a business imperative and key B2B competency.

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B2B Sales Conversations — By Design

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To paraphrase David Packard, sales conversations are too important to leave to sales people. B2B sales conversations for key touch points should be designed. This optimizes conversation effectiveness and simplifies selling. It provides a common baseline that makes feedback and continuous improvement possible. How have you designed the sales conversations for your key touch points? How well do each of your sales people handle conversations at key touch points, or with different stakeholders? How consistent is the delivery of your messages, across your sales teams?

For Sales Blogging and Social Selling – Think Like a Publisher

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The practice of social selling has crossed the chasm and entered the tornado stage. Huffington Post, see Mike Kunkle’s excellent webinar) To fuel this content dependent activity, many are urging sales people to blog, and to become thought leaders. Lori Richardson, John Jantsch,  ITSMA) This is a logical extension from a belief that sales people must think more like marketers. In my view, “think like marketers” means sales people must approach selling from a buyer perspective. But I also know that thinking like a marketer does not mean thinking like a journalist.

Create Customer Content in Multiple Languages

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The requirement to deliver customer content in multiple languages is further evidence of how new realities are introducing new requirements that demand new approaches. It’s also an example of how new requirements raise the importance of the ability to scale content operations. Content in multiple languages isn’t new. But that’s exactly the point. You don’t know you say?

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Six Key Steps to Successful Marketing Automation Adoption

Are You Communicating Synchronously in an Asynchronous World?

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We live in a world that prefers to receive information asynchronously. But we tend to focus on using live, synchronous delivery methods. This is a key source of high costs and low results in every area of a business. cannot overstate the importance of this idea and distinction, as well as the implication for individuals and organizations. First, some simple definitions. Synchronous communications happen at the same time with all participants. Synchronous communications tend to be traditional voice-based conversations to deliver intended messages. According to Gerhard Gschwandtner from Selling.

Reframing Content ROI and the Case for B2B Content

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Despite a plethora of articles recommending methods to determine content ROI, this continues to be a hot and confusing topic for many B2B marketers. Why is this? There are different purposes and uses for ROI. Content performance, at an asset or campaign level, is typically the way marketers think of content ROI. While difficult to measure, marketers need performance measures to tweak execution.

Continuously Acquire Customer Stories, Insights, and Ideas

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If content is the fuel for inbound marketing then customer stories or insights are the active performance enhancing ingredients.  Well-developed messages targeted to address key buyer questions are better understood when contextualized with customer stories. Trying to find stories when you need them is not easy.  Sometimes this works well.  Just as often the stories are not compelling or inspiring. 

An Executive Summary for 6 Competencies for Enterprise Content Strategy

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Enterprise organizations face a serious challenge with the creation and management of content that impacts the success of new customer acquisition and profitable revenue growth, as well as tactical marketing and selling initiatives. Companies require an enterprise content strategy that spans functions and tactics, and goes beyond project oriented campaigns, websites and other content projects.

8 Ways to Create More Effective Lead Generation Programs

Content Management – Aggregate Don’t Upload

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As a content operations consultancy and service provider we occasionally find ourselves in the embarrassing position of the “cobbler’s children.” ” This syndrome reared its ugly head when we realized that our spreadsheet based content inventory wasn’t really working as a good way to discover and access the right content for specific sales, marketing or content requirements. The spreadsheet was the right tool for the initial content inventory job we conducted a few years ago. But the hassle factor for daily use was too high. And this is what it looked like.

Engagement and Eloqua Experience

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For the Eloqua Experience preparation webinar sponsored by Televerde, I was asked to speak to the topic of Engagement. This is one of six topics that comprise the agenda for Eloqua Experience. As a concept, engagement means something a little different to everyone. often hear clients talk about engagement as: touches, email opens, click-thrus, event visits, content views or even downloads.

Beware Out-of-context Content Marketing Prescriptions

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Post Header Summary: Content marketing advice outside the context of understanding your business, goals, strategies and plans can be misleading, even dangerous. Audience: B2B content, inbound and social marketers; demand managers Topic: Content marketing practices and techniques Purpose: Educate, advice Post I regularly receive calls and emails from clients and colleagues who ask my opinion concerning advice they read about content marketing tactics. Two points:  1) What to do is widely understood and generally accepted. But here things also get dicey.

Content Is A Strategic Imperative for B2B Selling Organizations

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Most business enterprises engaged in B2B selling have adopted content marketing as “the only marketing there is.” ” (Seth Godin) It is reported to be the top B2B marketing priority for 2014. This is why we say: Content is a strategic imperative. But most executive teams don’t realize this — yet. Click Content marketing has evolved as new tactics.

Why B2B Content Strategies Are Paramount for Generating Quality Leads