Three Tips for Turning B-to-B Employees into Content Creators

Social media is playing a bigger role in the B-to-B buying process, but motivating your employees to contribute content for social media can be a challenge.


A great reminder that your employees can be a great source of content for any B2B company. There are very simple ways to get them involved in content marketing that can really improve your marketing efforts. I am always a big fan of letting employees use their own voice in marketing. After all, you hired them to add their own expertise to your company.


See on Scoop.itDigital and Social Media Marketing for B2B

SalesforceVoice: Why Salespeople Miss Their Numbers

On Monday, September 17, 2012, Peyton Manning had just completed one of his worst games as an NFL quarterback. The four-time MVP had thrown three interceptions in the first quarter alone, on the way to a 27-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. It was assumed that Manning’s poor play was attributable […]


Takes a bit before the article gets to the point but I think overall the idea is great. Are sales managers paying attention to who their sales reps are selling to? In my experience it seems like a lot of companies promote a process where there is a focus on quantity of leads rather than quality. They follow a process that says X calls = X appointments = X sales. Probably not the most profitable strategy…

See on Scoop.itDigital and Social Media Marketing for B2B

Too Much Information – The Confused Customer

information overloadMore information is not always better. I am reminded of this constantly when I make more expensive purchases (such as when I bought my latest camera). It is interesting to me how complex some stores both online and offline make the purchase decision. Most consumers are not experts, especially for products they purchase very infrequently. Yet, it seems that retailers often want to tell us everything there is to know about the product.

However, this really isn’t the way to help consumers make better decisions. In fact it is a good way to drive customers away. Most people begin with a short list of attributes that are important and they use these attributes to weed out the first set of choices. Then based on secondary attributes they further whittle down their choices until they come to their final choice. It seems to me that in many cases sellers offer too much information up front and try to let the consumer figure it out. This can lead to the customer second guessing whether the attributes that they thought were important actually are. Studies have shown that consumers are likely to use only information presented and in the way it is presented when their experience with the product is low. As doubt in the customer’s mind then increases purchase likelihood begins to fall. I think a really good example of this is how Amazon displays products. If I know what I want to buy I always use Amazon. However, if I am doing comparison shopping on anything other than price I am likely to go somewhere else as the amount of information thrown at you can get kind of ridiculous. The results are then the increased likelihood that I am going to purchase at a different location too.

Since more information is not always better here are some relevant questions to ask yourself when you are presenting product information:

Do I know what attributes my customer thinks are most important?

Do my customers know which attributes should be considered?

Am I presenting that information in a way that can easily be processed by the customer?

Am I providing too little or too much information?


Using Buyer Personas to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy

content-marketing-wheelDo you understand the buyer personas within your industry? To really understand how to develop your content marketing strategy you need to understand the buyer persona and the sales value chain within the industry you work. In this article I am going to discuss the buyer persona and how it can help you develop better content by understanding this key component of the sales value chain.

Buyer Persona – Buyer personas encapsulate your business’ knowledge and understanding about the types of people marketing and sales speak to in the sales process.

Many people think of buyer personas as simply segmentation but I believe that they are so much more than that. Robert Wright wrote a great post on buyer personas titled “Building Buyer Personas: A Checklist for High-Tech Marketers” on where he highlighted four main topics you need to understand about your audience to build a solid buyer persona: Background, Market Dynamics and Challenges, Motivation, and Decision-Making Process.

Background helps you understand the person that you are marketing to. How did they get to where they are? What drives them in their current position? How fast does the company the person works for move within the changing market conditions? I think the old adage that you can’t understand where we’re going without understanding where we’ve been is a great way of understanding the Background element.

Market Dynamics and Challenges is pretty fundamental when doing any type of marketing and especially with content marketing. Understanding what market dynamics are causing your target buyers to make a purchase decision and to what affect it has on the information necessary to make a decision is extremely important.

Motivation is what is driving the decision maker to make a purchase. How will the buyer personally gain from buying your product? Will it make his or her boss happy? Is he or she looking to keep up with competitors in the industry? Are there relationships with internal stakeholders affecting the decision? Understanding motivation behind a buyer’s decision will give you great insight into how active you will need to be in order to motivate the buyer into letting you on the list of potential business partners.

Decision-Making Process is the end to end of the sales value chain in my opinion. Who has the ultimate authority to make a purchase decision? Who are the influencers to making the decision? In most B2B transactions there is usually a team of people who make the final decision. The question to understand is if there is someone who has more weight on the committee than everyone else?

Here is a great resource for “10 Rules for Buyer Persona Development from Goal Centric if you need more help on developing buyer personas. So how does this help you develop a better content marketing strategy? I like to ask myself the basic five W’s when developing my content: who, what, when, where, and why.

Who: Who am I targeting with my content?

What: What type of content are they consuming?

When: When are they consuming content within my average sales timeline?

Where: Where are they going to get content?

Why: Why are they consuming the types of content that they are?

Understanding the four elements of Buyer Persona will help answer all five W’s but how will it help you develop your marketing content strategy? Now that you have built your buyer persona you should have a clear idea of who will be involved in making the purchase decision from the direct decision maker on down to key influencers. You should also have a clear idea of the type of content that each key player uses to make decisions. The final piece is developing an idea of how involved each decision maker and influencer is in making the final decision. I would weight the amount of content focused on each person in the decision in direct proportion to the final decision. Again it is important to understand if there is someone on the team who has more authority (like a CFO) then a majority of content should be developed and targeted there (say 60%), with 30% focused on other members of the decision team. Although the big focus is on the ultimate decision maker don’t forget to make sure you have content developed for influencers as well! Being seen by everyone along the value chain is important as in many cases information gets passed along through so many different channels.

How Buyer Personas Can Sharpen B2B Marketing | Business 2 Community

See on Scoop.itDigital and Social Media Marketing for B2B

B2B marketers who develop a composite picture of the real people who buy, or might buy their products can form a bond of customer trust that most rivals can not

Kevin Chase‘s insight:

This is a great precursor to my blog post upcoming next week focusing on B2B purchasing and marketing within that value chain. To understand how businesses make purchase decisions you first need to understand the people behind these decisions and how they make purchase decisions on a personal level. After you understand this you can move on to better understanding of how purchase decisions are made across teams.

See on

Four Steps to Convince CEOs that Demand Generation Should be a Marketing, Not a Sales, Function

See on Scoop.itDigital and Social Media Marketing for B2B

TweetFor most of us, the phrase “demand generation” conjures up things like campaigns, trade shows, and the corporate website. But what about sales prospecting?

Kevin Chase‘s insight:

Great article highlighting how you can quantify the direct impact to sales of prospecting and attach a real dollar value. The post builds highlights exactly why demand generation belongs in marketing.

See on

Developing Content Marketing Strategy

brimageI’m currently working on developing a new campaign for my company which got me thinking about the sales value chain and how content marketing should be targeted to hit key stakeholders along this chain. This prompted me to launch a survey on how people are using social media in their personal lives versus for business. I know that I personally have completely separated Facebook from my business life and don’t really use it for anything other than to connect with friends, i.e. I don’t go around liking my favorite brands. I use LinkedIn, Twitter, WordPress, and Pinterest pretty regularly for business as I am constantly doing market research and trying to connect with others in my industry. I use Reddit,, YouTube, and others for both business and pleasure.

The question that I started thinking about was, well, how do I use social media to educate myself on products both personally and professionally? A great example is that my company is currently implementing a new task management program. My process for this was to check out the website, watch a video on YouTube demonstrating the software, read some reviews, and visited a forum to see what people were saying about their experience.

What process would an accounting manager go through to analyze the same product? Are they more likely to weight product reviews higher than reviews posted by actual users on a forum? Would they be more interested in a white paper on how the task program fit in the accounting market? These are great questions that I would like to find an answer to; how, when, and what type of content are key stakeholders using to make decisions?

If you have any great resources you would like to share I would love to hear about them! Also feel free to take my short 9 question survey on Personal and Business Use of Social Media.

Social Media Survey on Private and Business Use

social-mediaTake my new 9 question survey on social media use!

The reason for this survey is that over the next couple of months I am going to be talking in depth about the sales and marketing value chain. The reason for my interest in this is due to the somewhat disjointed content marketing strategy I have noticed of late. Marketers need to have a strong grasp on exactly who they are marketing to and what types of content they are consuming; a CFO is most likely consuming data in a different way than is a CMO. There are multiple factors that I believe make this relevant to study in further detail as a marketer.

Develop Your Content Strategy Now!

In reading about marketing trends for 20131 you’ll notice content marketing is the wave of the future. I am a strong believer that this is definitely true. The amount of information being produced is absolutely staggering; at Word Press alone they note over 30 million blog posts per month2. The problem that I see is that more than 90% tends to be junk. There are not a lot of people out there who are truly experts in what it is they are discussing. I read a lot of articles that focus on the basics of this or that. These articles are great and all but what happens when you want to dive deeper? I have found that there is a steady drop-off in quality content beyond introductory information.

So what does this mean for content marketing? Find your niche. There it is right there, I just provided my own pet peeve. However, here is why I say this; think of content marketing much like you would a business environment. There are a ton of competitors out there doing the same thing you are for most likely the same price (free!).   If people are paying for your content then good for you, you are not the target of this post as you have already shown yourself as such an expert someone is willing to pay for what you produce.

If we look at many industries over the last 100 years or so, we see the boom and bust of countless companies trying to figure out where they fit. There were over 2,000 US automakers at one time, 80 companies making computers in 1992 no longer exist, and there are countless other industries with the same result. Content marketing will go the same route. I look at my twitter feed and see it jam packed with links to content every day.  What I have come to find out is that there are really only a few people I follow that provide the information which is really valuable. So what do I do? I find myself constantly visiting their feeds directly to see what it is they are reading and positing.

As content marketing evolves I believe that there will be those who figure out how to do it successfully and those who will get left in the dust. I’m not saying that you won’t be able to produce something really great that will reach a lot of people, I’m just saying that I think it will be hard to get consistent interaction from a mass amount of people if you haven’t defined your niche. In the end it all depends on what it is you are trying to do. If you are working in B2B then I think that finding out the issues that trouble your customers should be addressed. I’m a big believer that when producing content it’s not all about you. It is encouraging to customers when you talk about their problems and see that these are the issues you regularly tackle. This is what will keep customers coming back for more.