Tag Archives: B2B Marketers

What Does a CMO Need to Know About Lead Generation?

19 Sep


Mastering lead generation is a sort of holy grail for all B2B marketers. The CMO position should be attuned to new methods in lead generation, especially new digital channels. These methods of outreach will help to expand a business more quickly than perhaps any other method.

Here are a few of the most important aspects of lead generation a CMO should prioritize.

The Self Directed Customer

The proliferation of information online has led to more buyers who are completely self directed. This is true of vendors in a supply chain or bulk customers. Even if the selection in your industry is limited, the prospect will make their decision based on a sales funnel that is alternative to the mainstream.

How your customer finds you is just as important as finding you in the first place. If your lead comes through a website that is not reputable, your business looks bad. Most customers have their own processes to vet vendors, suppliers and other partners. Your CMO should be trying to find out what this process is and get into it rather than trying to generate leads through a generalized opt-in procedure.

Cutting Through the Noise

Marketing volume is not the answer to digital noise, and your CMO must understand this for the sake of your marketing and finance departments. The Internet is growing faster than any single company can scale. Companies literally enter the digital space to the tune of thousands of new companies per day.

Part of the CMO position is about learning how to pick your prospects out of a crowd. Lead generation is a targeted practice – you are not selling commercial services. Email blasts and mass advertising is becoming less effective every year. Placing ads in targeted locations associates you with the right customer from the start, helping you unqualified prospects, which reduces the chance of a low ROI interaction.

Learning Attention Economics

The basic rule of attention economics, or keeping the attention of a qualified prospect, is this: An abundance of information equals a scarcity of attention. There are 5 exabytes of new information being created and placed on the Internet every 2 days, according to Google. It is essential that your CMO learn how to keep the attention of a prospect even within the scope of a qualified ad space.

Your messages must relate to the immediate need of a prospect – these immediate needs are the focus of that prospect’s attention at that time. Learning what these needs are is a function of social media. Prospects will actually tell you straightforwardly what they need if you just listen. Do not be afraid to do a bit of research on a highly qualified prospect before your first engagement. The CMO should lead a concerted effort to discern behavioral trends from a prospect’s social media posts and past purchase history.

The CMO position is quietly but assuredly becoming more expansive as the need for targeted lead generation becomes more prevalent. Make sure that your CMO is empowered with the tools to follow the directives above for best results during the lead generation process. Your CMO should also look to constantly improve the lead generation process as the market changes – you can bet that prospects will only become more picky as the Internet continues to grow and create more noise.

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Learn Something New from These B2B Marketing Accounts

15 Mar

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Your B2B Crash Course Is Just a Follow Away

Guest Contributor:
Jenee Meyer, Office Administrator

After 15 years building my career in advertising and account service, I took 14 years off to be a stay-at-home mom. Needless to say, my focus changed dramatically. Snacks and play dates became much more important to me than Facebook, Twitter, search engine optimization, and blogs.

Now I’m back in the advertising world as an office administrator at ER Marketing, and it can sometimes be scary teaching myself new things. But in marketing—and especially in ever-changing industries like building—it’s important to always strive to learn and try new things.

While I was a stay-at-home mom, I took my daughter and son to a Google® event called CoderDojo. The kids would sit at long tables and the mentors would write a few words on the whiteboard stating what the goal was for the day. Maybe it was creating a weather page or maybe it was making a simple game. The beginners had some on-line lessons they could work through to get started while the more advanced kids just started working on their projects, asking questions of mentors when they were needed. At the end of three hours, two or three kids would come up to the front and show what they had created.

No elaborate instructions were given. No one was “taught” anything by listening to an instructor standing up front. It was up to kids who were 10+ years old to figure out how they were going to create something. It was amazing to watch how kids aren’t afraid to teach themselves new skills. So why, as adults, are we often afraid to learn new skills ourselves? More importantly—what can we do to learn them?

For me, I’ve turned to content: blogs, tweets, whitepapers, studies—anything I can get my hands on. Admittedly, the amount of content there is on the web can be intimidating. It can feel like everyone is talking and no one is listening. If I want to listen, how do I find the blogs and posts that will nurture my career and mind vs. ones that will leave me feeling like I’ve eaten too much candy? It’s a conundrum.

Here are a few of the Twitter accounts I’ve followed that help teach me new things and give me the B2B marketing information I need to get back in the game:

  • @ERMarketing, @EltonMayfield, @RenaeGonner: Okay, so it’s a bit of a shameless plug, but the founders of ER Marketing, Elton and Renae, are all over this stuff. Their accounts are focused on B2B marketing, with a slant towards the building products industry—but the insights are applicable for any industry.
  • @MarketingB2B: Not only does this account keep you up-to-date with helpful articles and trends, it also tweets helpful news roundups of the latest in B2B marketing.
  • @B2Community: Business 2 Community is all content, all the time. They have an open community of contributors, meaning that you’re getting insights collected from people across industries, careers, and experiences.
  • @MarketingProfs: Run by Ann Handley of Marketing Profs, this account is all about content. What I like about it is that it doesn’t just grab any random article—it’s carefully curated so no matter what you click, you get good, useful content.
  • @CMIContent: This account is great because it gives you a breadth of topics—everything from social media to search engine marketing to paid search. For someone like me, trying to jump in and give myself a crash course on what’s current in the marketing game, it’s very helpful.

Whether you’re new to B2B marketing, trying to jump back in, or just trying to stay current on the latest industry trends, it’s important to remind yourself that there is no right or wrong way to go about this. Just start following blogs and Twitter accounts, and if something isn’t working for you, you can always unsubscribe or unfollow with a simple click.

After taking 14 years to raise my family, I’m back in—and my game plan is to follow more people on Twitter and subscribe to more blogs. But most importantly, I’m going to actually take time to read those tweets and blogs. I can subscribe to everything in the world, but if I’m not reading it, it does me no good.

That’s my game plan. What’s yours?


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What Building Products Marketers Need to Know About Millennials (Part 2/2)

14 Jan

Lip Service Ain’t Gonna Cut It

Last week, my business partner wrote about the changes coming to the building products industry as more and more Millennials step into a new role as homebuyer. It’s important for building products marketers to plan and adapt their marketing accordingly, but it’s equally important to consider how Millennials will impact the industry as employees.

In one of my presentations, I discuss how the Millennial values that mark their habits as consumers also have an impact on the places where they work. Those expectations, demands, and values translate in very real ways to their lives as employees. Here are a few of the most important things to consider as an employer of Millennials:

  • Millennials are on a mission to end the traditional 9 to 5; 45% choose workplace flexibility over pay. Flex time is becoming standard as a company benefit.
  • Millennials want to see a culture change away from traditional employee management to reflect their values; 60% who left their company indicated that the primary reason was “cultural fit.”
  • 80% of Millennials want regular feedback from their boss.
  • One of the top four qualities Millennials desire most in a leader is transparency.
  • 79% of Millennials want to work for a company that cares about how it impacts or contributes to society.
  • Evolving to Millennial-friendly, participative marketing models will usually require actual structural reorganization. With access to more information than ever, lip service won’t work for this generation.

Millennials are the most connected generation to date. They like to be involved in—and informed about—the world around them. That includes the companies they buy from and the brands they’re loyal to. They do their research, they ask for recommendations and referrals, and they’re extremely conscious of where their money is going.

So what does that mean for companies who prefer to stick to traditional methods of employee management? My thought—they may just see the impact of that decision trickle all the way down to the consumer. In other words, companies that don’t treat their employees in a way that reflects these new and emerging values will likely experience a disconnect with their Millennial consumers as well.

For more Millennial employee insights, view the PowerPoint on SlideShare here.

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B2B Marketers: It’s Okay to Be an Enabler. (Sometimes.)

15 Oct

New Findings Prove the Effectiveness of Sales Enablement


I’m an enabler.

No, not the kind you’re thinking—a different kind of enabler.

I’m referring, of course, to one of my favorite topics: sales enablement. I’m an enabler in that anyone who knows me knows that I talk about this topic a lot because I have seen the difference it can make. I’ve also written before about how important this is for B2B marketers, especially in an industry like building, where there’s no shortage of products and innovations that sales people need to be experts on at any given moment. (Refer to the end of this blog post for some other posts I’ve written about this topic.) And although I might talk and blog about it a lot, it’s for good reason—and some newly-released numbers prove just that.

A recent article from marketingland.com entitled “Don’t Waste Marketing Leads: Achieve Revenue Goals With Sales Enablement” discusses some new findings from a recent study that no B2B marketer should ignore. Most notably, that a recent survey of more than 400 B2B sales and marketing professionals found that 57% of respondents with a sales enablement function ranked their sales efforts as either “effective” or “very effective.” That’s a massive jump in effectiveness, and it’s all thanks to B2B marketers working with their sales teams to create the content and tools they need to be successful with today’s increasingly educated and empowered buyers.

That’s right—creating effective sales enablement tools requires a cohesive effort between sales and marketing, which is another topic that my business partner recently wrote about for the October 2015 edition of Dealer Digest, a digital publication from Huttig Building Products. (Read that article here.) It can be challenging, but results like these prove that the time, money, and effort is more than worth it. ROI like that is hard to ignore.

After all, if you could increase the perception of your marketing and sales effectiveness by more than 20%, wouldn’t you do everything you could to make that happen?

Well, now the numbers show that you can.

Here is a roundup of some of our more recent posts about sales enablement, an important topic that continues to impact the B2B world—particularly in building products:


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2015’s Top 5 Building Product Dealers and Lumberyards to Follow on Pinterest

8 Oct

Stick a Pin in These Ones—You’ll Want to Come Back to Them Later


Just as social media has taken the B2C world by storm, it is already impacting the B2B world—especially in building products marketing, which offers countless content possibilities such as home renovation, inspiration pictures, DIY information, and more. In previous posts (here and here), we outlined 2015’s Top Building Products Dealers and Lumberyards to Follow on Twitter. But one of the best social media platforms to market building products might not be one that immediately comes to mind when you think of the biggest platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

The platform I’m talking about is Pinterest, which boasts a 38% adoption rate among B2B marketers, with 41% planning to increase their use.[1] As it will become even more important for B2B marketers to not only target the right audience, but to target them at the right point in their buyer journey, it is critical that building products marketers have content available on social networks like Pinterest. Here are the top five dealers and lumberyards paving the way on Pinterest:

  1. Lumber Liquidators: There’s a reason why Lumber Liquidator has almost 8,000 followers. With 4,000+ tweets spanning 40 boards, there are ideas broken down by budget, products, seasons, and even color. Plus, Lumber Liquidator even has a special board for current trends in the industry. This is a great way to use a visual platform to keep followers in the know when it comes to import design and product trends, rather than simply posting an article that they might not have time to read.
  2. Voyageur Lumber: Voyageur takes a smart approach with a couple of boards that focus on product and location-specific projects. For example, one of their boards features “AZEK® Projects,” which showcases the unique decking designs that can be completed with those specific products. But my favorite is a board featuring only homes by Ely contractors (the town where Voyageur is located). In this way, they combine the aspirational nature of Pinterest home improvement ideals with the realism of projects completed locally in their market.
  3. Advantage Lumber: If there’s one thing you come away with after spending a few minutes on the Advantage Lumber Pinterest, it’s that the outdoor living trend is alive and well. From fire pits to porches to decking galore, this Pinterest is cram-packed with ideas for those wanting to up their outdoors game. But the best touch is their customer submissions board, which features a gallery of project images taken by customers of the lumberyard.
  4. Cedar Creek Lumber: Most Pinterest accounts do a lot of re-pinning but fail to post their own content. What stands out about Cedar Creek’s Pinterest is their willingness to create their own content on the platform. From wood carving instructions to completed projects to a board in which they walk users through steps to create their own giant Jenga set, Cedar Creek isn’t just showcasing DIY—they’re leading by example.
  5. 84 Lumber: Although 84 Lumber has a more modest following than some of the other accounts, they do a great job of creating boards that reflect their specific business rather than industry trends that showcase larger scale projects their products have been used for—perfect for a B2B audience. That said, they also mix it up with some unique boards including throwback pictures from their business’s history and one featuring holiday décor ideas using building materials.

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room. The building industry is often considered a male-dominated field (although hey, I’m writing this blog post); meanwhile, Pinterest is viewed as a female-dominated social network. But here’s the truth: so is almost every social media network in existence.[2] In the case of Pinterest, though, the only thing you need to know is that Pinterest doubled its number of male users in 2014, and a full 1/3 of all registrations now come from men.[3] And no surprises here—at the top of the most popular categories for men is DIY, home, and building.[4]

In an industry as visual as building, it’s important to find new ways to showcase your products and expertise. Pinterest is excellent at doing just that. And it’s only growing, offering even more opportunities for you to reach your audience. While these are just a few of the dealers and lumberyards out there using Pinterest, they set a strong example of what social media marketing can mean for building products.


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