I always look forward to reading HubSpot’s annual State of Inbound report. It’s full of interesting sales and marketing information and statistics, including top priorities and challenges from more than 6,000 respondents. More on this to come. First, let’s examine why these statistics are important.
Meeting the needs of today’s B2B buyers.
A common-sense approach to designing an effective sales strategy involves meeting two time-tested variables: relevancy and timeliness. Merriam-Webster defines relevant as “having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand”, and timely as “coming early or at the right time”. For those selling through sales channel partners, there is complexity in making this happen.
Channel sales organizations can’t afford to be disconnected. With so many options available online, in practically every B2B field, both direct- and indirect-sale operations are competing on a relatively level playing field. An indirect sales system needs to provide a seamless consistent buyer experience to build a strong customer base. If not, buyers are likely to go with the option that provides the smoothest experience.
That is exactly what a Partner Relationship Management (PRM) solution like ours can help you achieve. PRM takes the principles behind Customer Relationship Management programs, but goes to the next level, allowing you to monitor, manage, and support your sales partners almost as closely as if they were in-house. In turn, PRM can also make you more attractive to sales partners as well by making their lives easier!
Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software is the most powerful tool currently available for vendors to oversee, document and improve the performance of their sales partners. In the past, running an indirect sales ecosystem often meant simply trusting partners to get their sales accomplished, without too much ability for direct oversight. Today, however, PRM allows partners to be managed almost as closely as a department in your own company. There are numerous ways that PRM can improve vendor\partner efficiency, below we listed a select few.
1. Data tracking and analytics. PRM has all the data-crunching power of a customer relationship management (CRM)system, but rather than only tracking customers, it can track customers and partners. This gives you the ability to see exactly what is happening with your partners’ leads and sales in granular detail, along with the ability to share those insights with the partners themselves.
Keeping track of the success of your vendor ecosystem can be difficult, particularly as it grows. A channel manager may be tasked with keeping track of dozens, even hundreds of sales partners. Even with data-crunching partner management software on your side having a quick overview of how things are running can be very valuable.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are one of the best ways of doing this. KPIs are hand-picked metrics which are selected specifically because they’re considered a good indicator of overall performance. An obvious KPI in most cases would be monthly sales numbers. KPIs are often individualistic to a company, however, simply depending on their own short- and long-term goals. Here are some tips for finding the right KPIs for your ecosystem.
The great thing about online video is that it can be done quite cheaply. One belief to dispel is that B2B content videos need to be slick and professionally-produced - they don't.Some (largely anecdotal) evidence even suggests that more rough “homemade” videos tend to be trusted over videos that appear too flashy. A decent iPhone or similar smartphone is really all that’s needed to make a decent web video, although better equipment is nice if you have access.
Whether your company has chosen to develop a corporate video, product demo, or a how-to video, keep in mind the list of guidelines provided below. These tips will ensure that you end up with engaging, low-cost marketing content to distribute through your channels.
While it previously lagged behind B2C applications, B2B content marketing is now a robust and mature method for companies looking to reach new customers. Current studies show that the vast majority of B2B organizations are now utilizing content marketing, and most to significant success.
This is particularly relevant to vendors utilizing indirect-sales channels, because B2B content marketing can serve two purposes. It can be utilized to help drive new buyers to their websites - or those of their sales partners - in addition to being used for recruting new partners. We encourage our own partners, as well as businesses that work with our consulting team, to utilize content marketing to good effect in both aspects.
Based on our own experiences, and our thoughts on best practices in the industry, we have some tips on how to make the most of your own B2B content campaigns for 2017 and beyond.
It’s an exciting time to be in business, with new techniques coming along every day. The rapid progress of technology is turning into equally-rapid changes to how we do business, meaning the field is wide open for nearly any company in any field to succeed. Those who can stay ahead of the curve by paying close attention to -and meeting - their customers’ wants and needs will be the ones who thrive. This can be especially important for those that rely on reaching the customer through their sales channel partners.
What strategies should you be adopting into your own sales ecosystem to keep up with the times while providing innovative solutions? Below are some of the trends we’re following closely here at LogicBay, and we'll continue to keep an eye on their impact in the world of B2B sales throughout 2017.
Chief Marketing Officers have a lot on their plate these days. Markets and technology are changing rapidly. Their job is to stay on top of both and find ways to keep their organizations on track toward better ways of doing business.
Recently, SiriusDecisions conducted a survey of CMOs around the world, and got a lot of insights into what’s on their mind these days. We found it very interesting, in large part because many of the challenges facing CMOs today are magnified by the complexities of supporting a sales channel. They have a lot of opportunities to improve performance, and are continually looking for creative solutions to help support them.
As channel marketing evolves at an increasingly rapid pace, one underlying truth remains: The sales organizations that remain agile and stay on top of shifts in marketing are going to reap the most rewards. Those who are unable to adapt, and continue using 20th Century methods, are going to find themselves falling further behind. This is every bit as true for SMB as it is for global enterprises.
There has never been a more dynamic time in the history of marketing, with more opportunities for companies to adapt and stand out from the competition.
One of the key factors, therefore, is just being able to recognize when older methods are no longer working as they should. In the next few blogs, we're going to look at some of these changes, and what steps your organization can take to adapt in time and embrace the future.
For years, one of the biggest pain points in the sales process for both companies and their buyers has been the fundamental disconnect that too many organizations have between their sales and marketing departments. Both are usually treated as separate entities, with separate budgets, and often with mis-aligned - or worse, competing - goals. Combined with a general lack of communication, it creates a situation leaving both sides equally dissatisfied.
The internal conflicts that result are hard to resolve. Sales staff often feel that the leads being sent to them by marketing weren't well qualified (often due to conflicting messaging), or that marketing was taking a “quantity over quality” approach to lead-generation. This, of course, can often be counterproductive, making it difficult for sales to prioritize the best leads, or spending too much time chasing poorly-qualified leads.
In an indirect sale channel, these problems are amplified. Mismatches between the marketing initiatives of the vendor, and the ground-level sales activities by partners, can create even more miscues.
That's why it's vital for a flexible, inbound-focused indirect sales organization to begin practicing smarketing. This term, first coined by HubSpot, refers to the smart alignmentof sales and marketing to ensure the best possible experience for customers, and the highest possible conversion rates from leads to sales.