A B2B case study must have quantified benefits in order to be effective . . . well, maybe not

There’s no doubt that a customer-reference case study with a slew of well-proven results, such as ROI and cost-savings,  makes a strong argument for a particular solution or company. So it’s worth it to make the effort to start tracking results and getting metrics as early as possible.

But what if you don’t have robust metrics yet? What if you have customers who are really happy with your solutions and are happy to recommend you but don’t have the metrics yet?

According to long time marcom writer Tami Demayo, that may be fine with your potential customers. “They don’t expect every case study they read to have benefits in the order of six-figure savings and 100 percent ROI in two months.” Demayo says that a sincere rationale from pleased customers can  “can make a significant contribution to closing a sale.”

Read the whole article here http://bit.ly/12K3XfQ

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B2B campaign winner – “For Dummies”

One look at this piece for Limelight Networks and  it’s got your attention, seducing you into reading it right away.

content-for-cloudIt uses the sticky content technique called triggering. As Joshua Berger, author of “Contagious,” explains it, triggering works by associating your message with something people know about.

In this case, it’s the famous For Dummy series, something everyone associates with simplifying subjects you want to know more about. The writing in these books is clear and they explain new subjects in an easy manner. So you immediately assume the material in this piece will be clear and easy to understand. And it is.

The table of contents here is a very smart way to present bolded copy bullets. They both summarize the content and tease the reader into finding more. In these bullets, the reader gets a compelling preview of the cloud services Limelight Network offers  and some of the features and benefits.

Company: Limelight Networks. Results: nearly 10,000 social media and news release views and $200k+ worth of sales opportunities.

Looking for content that sticks to your prospects? Contact us


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Sales and lead nurturing role reversal leads to 75% increase in leads

It was interesting to see in a recent case study in Marketing Sherpa how one company reverolesrsed the roles of lead nurturing and sales.

Typically in the B2B sales cycle, leads are nurtured before handing off to the sales team. At Managed Maintenance, Inc. (MMI), a provider of professional management services for technology assets for mid- and large-sized companies, once a lead hits the 40 point scoring threshold they are first turned over to sales. The sales team then has 60 days to turn the prospect into “sales stage two.”

If that doesn’t succeed, then the lead is entered into their lead nurturing process which consists of content marketing focused on thought leadership.

The “role reversal” strategy resulted in 75% more leads.


Looking for a lead nurturing campaign before or after hand-off to sales? Click contact me

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Unlocking an expert’s expertise by a nonexpert

As I listened to a new client talk about the intricacies of his company’s fund management solution I could tell this would be challenging writing assignment. I needed to take a complex topic and turn it into a white paper and other marketing materials.

Now the point in creating these materials is not to go into  exhaustive detail about the technology  and systems behind the solution but instead  find a compelling story about the solution that grabs decision makers and makes my client’s company the inevitable choice after reading the material.

So where to find that story? As usual it was locked away. Locked away in the clients’ expertise and knowledge. Often it takes a non-expert who has more distance from the topic to unlock the story.

Whether on the C-suite level  or on a manager level, clients know more about their business than any outside writer does. But they are often so close, so deep into the details, they can’t see the compelling story. Or they  let the story get bogged down in  details and side issues.

A good way to start writing for such a client is to first  read all the available material. And I certainly did that for my fund management project. But the real secret in unlocking the story is to talk to the expert(s). An interview with carefully planned questions is the best way to capture the elusive core of the story. Ideally the interview should be recorded with a transcript so you can go over it again and again.

The interview can be tricky and needs to be done right. Certainly come in with a  list of standard questions. For example: What do you think the prospect’s problem is? What makes your solution unique?

After listening closely and absorbing the material I find it beneficial to bounce some ideas off the client. Such as:

“As I hear it, the main story here is……… Does that sound right to you?”

Or,  “so what we need to do here is convince the prospect that ………….Correct?”

This kind of feedback points the expert to the story itself and not the details.  And it gives the expert something to react to.  It leads him to clarify the most important issues.

Then always ask for  some success stories. You’re not looking for complete case histories (unless that is the task), but summaries that are part of the overall narrative.

Often the  expert gets animated here because he or she  is relating how the solution works in real life situations. In that animated state, the expert reveals key parts of the story. And that’s gold for the writer.

(photo: Johan Larsson   Flickr)

For b2b writing services, go here


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Is B2B selling harder than B2C?

According to a recent article in “Sales Machine,” B2B selling is not only harder than B2C it’s massively harder.  Here are some of the reasons according to the article:

REASON #1: The B2B buyer is vastly more sophisticated. For instance, because the Internet makes comparative pricing information publicly available, it is not at all unusual for a buyer in a B2B transaction to know more about the product category and the competition than the sales professionals who are trying to sell that type of product.

REASON #2: The stakes are much higher. B2B buyers and decision-maker are being paid – often quite high salaries — to understand what they’re buying and how it will be used. They can lose career points and get fired if they make a wrong decision, something that never happens when a consumer purchases a consumer product.

REASON #3: B2B selling requires more knowledge. It’s not enough just to understand a product and be able to present it coherently. B2B selling generally involves diagnosing a customer’s challenges and then coming up with a customized solution that may very well involve a long-term business partnership.

REASON #4: B2B selling demands better people skills. When consumers buy a product, typically there’s only one or two decision-makers involved (like a husband and wife). Corporate buying decisions can involve dozens of decision-maker, influences, stakeholders, and nay-sayers.

REASON #5: B2B selling involves more patience. While even “big-ticket” consumer sales (like homes and cars) can be completed in a day or a week (at most), many B2B deals involve weeks and months of intermittent activity, meetings, phone calls, back-and-forth documents, along with all the politics and persuasion that characterizes large bureaucracies.

Here’s the entire article http://bit.ly/dXhbQp

What do you think? Is it massively harder?

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How software provider Sword Ciboodle markets on Twitter

Sword Ciboodle, which sells software to facilitate call centers and online FAQs, uses multiple Twitter streams to leverage the power of  Twitter. At any one time the company has 5 to 7 people tweeting on the company’s behalf on their accounts.For instance, the analyst relations manager follows all the analysts that follow the company offline, while someone else  focuses on competitors’ tweets.

More at  http://bit.ly/fJ8I6s

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Use YouTube Analytics to determine your most engaging content

Which of your videos on YouTube are the most engaging? Easy. Check your YouTube analystics platform. It will tell you the number of views your videos attracted as well as how long they held people’s attentin. Analyze the factors in those videos which  proved to be  most engaging and develop more content around those

Videos for your website

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Is email better than social media for your business?

Nowadays it seems like social media is the attention-getting young athlete performing on the field while email is the grandfather watching quietly in the stands. But which really gets more action for your brand? Here’s some surprising analysis from social media rockstar Chris Brogan.

According to Brogan, “93% of people have a daily opt-in relationship with at least one consumer brand. 15% on Facebook. 4% on Twitter.”

For more on Brogan’s take on email, click    http://bit.ly/cTX3vg

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What is the value of a Facebook “liker”?

Facebook released some studies on the value of a “liker.” There are a number of benefits, but to me this appears to be the key one:

“ They are also more interested in exploring content they discover on Facebook — they click on 5.3x more links to external sites than the typical Facebook user.”

In other words, “likers” are more likely to go to your website – which means more chances to have them join your list.

See Facebook’s suggestions: http://on.fb.me/9axsRw

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The Rodney Dangerfield of B2B marketing

B2b autoresponders don’t get the respect they deserve. Sometimes they get lumped in and confused with email newsletters. They are  related but different. Email newsletters work on an ongoing editorial calendar and are  usually formatted as html.

Autoresponders often work best as text emails , providing a more intimate feeling. They should feel and read as if they are written for one person as opposed to a broadcast message.

Often b2b autoresponders are simply used as a one email follow-up to people who have opted in to receive a report or other offer. That’s missing multiple opportunities to engage the prospect and bring them closer  to a meeting.

Or because good consumer autoresponders can be so engaging, writers sometimes write the same kind of autoresponder for a b2b audience, even though the degree of personal revelation  found in consumer emails doesn’t quite fit b2b marketing.

It’s clear that b2b autoresponders are misunderstood or relegated to a marketing afterthought.

So what  should b2b autoresponders be? [Read more…]

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