The CEO-CMO 1:1 Post-Event Stress Test

Tony Compton, Managing Director

One business week after any trade show, conference, or regional event concludes, a 60-minute 1:1 meeting between the CEO and CMO should be held. Not a 61-minute meeting, or 90, or 120. 60 minutes, and a not one second more.

Of course, the CMO can (and should) prepare for this meeting and have notes, but no slides, computers, or mobile devices. No technology whatsoever. A whiteboard or a flip chart with markers is acceptable.

During that meeting, the CEO should ask the CMO:

  • All-in, what did it cost us to do that event?
  • How do those costs breakdown?

…tell me about our sponsorships, exhibits, travel, marketing, content, and event technology.

  • What quantifiable business benefits did we get out of that event, for that investment?
  • How many qualified business opportunities were sourced from that investment?

…tell me about them: by industry, region, products, services of interest…

  • What are those revenue opportunities worth?
  • Who is following up on those opportunities?

…how and when?

  • How many qualified business opportunities were helped by that event?
  • Who is following up on those opportunities?

…how and when?

  • How many leads were sourced from that investment?
  • Who is following up on those leads?

…how and when?

  • Which accounts and customers did we strengthen – and protect – by attending?
  • What’s the economic value of those accounts?


  • Are all of the event leads, opportunities, and new contacts in our CRM/CX/Marketing/Customer Service tools?

…including all relevant individual contact and account information?


  • What was our partner involvement in the event?


  • Do we have the content and technology to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in follow-up?
  • Can those in sales and marketing pursuits effectively communicate, and close business?

…without using technology?

  • If not, what do we need, why, and how much will it cost?
  • What will sales say about what you just told me about the business benefits of that event?


  • How effective was our exhibit hall booth, and other branded/supporting locations on-site?

…how do you know?

  • What did we do to drive show attendance, and promote our appearance at this event?
  • How was traffic in our company locations, and the number of visitors?
  • What were there job titles? …from which companies, in which regions, in which industries?
  • Which days and what hours did you work staffing the booth?
  • Which show provider shipped, installed, dismantled, returned, and is storing the physical elements we used?
  • Who from our team helped them before, during, and after the show?
  • Is that company doing a good job?
  • Do we need any additional external event professionals to help produce our next event appearance?


  • How many staff members did we send to that event?
  • What were their specific, individual, on-site responsibilities?
  • Did any of our people speak or present at the event?

…about what topic and with whom?

  • What did their session evaluations reveal?
  • Did you attend our sessions?
  • How many general attendees were in attendance in their sessions?
  • What questions did they ask our presenters?
  • How did our presenters prepare for their sessions?
  • Were our session attendees welcomed at the door by our staff?
  • What did those interactions reveal, and what intel did we gain?
  • What additional market, prospect, customer and competitive intelligence was gathered at the event? …how did you gather that information?


  • What did you personally learn about our industry/marketing/other business areas?
  • Which members of the media did you meet on-site?
  • Did you meet with any industry analysts at the event?


  • What worked and what didn’t work for us at this event?
  • How about for the event itself?
  • Could we have achieved similar results by just sending one or two people to attend?


  • When is next year’s event and where is it being held?
  • Did you sign a contract for next year’s event?
  • Why, and how much will that cost, and when is the first payment due?


  • When is your next meeting with sales about following-up on this show’s activity?
  • Which customers and prospects from the show will you be seeing first, and when?


  • When will you share these event results with the sales, marketing, executive, and general company teams?
  • How are you going to do that?
  • How are you thanking each of your event team members for their personal contributions?


  • If you could brag about any of your colleagues, customers, vendors, or partners who helped to produce and deliver a successful event, what would you say?

Time’s up.

This is a general list that I broke up into sections on the fly that assumes the CEO didn’t attend the most recent corporate event. Not a big deal. There are a few other assumptions, too. But it really doesn’t matter. As you read through this list, you can modify the wording if the CEO did attend the event and make any necessary adjustments in the line of questioning. And if the CMO didn’t attend the most recent event, bigger problems may exist. I would expect most any CMO to attend major company events.

That’s enough for a rapid fire, post-event, 60-minute stress test meeting between a CEO and a CMO. Yes, this back and forth can be achieved in an hour. It’s one hell of a stress test.

The Chief Marketing Officer needs to know the answers to those questions well beforethis meeting. If the CMO doesn’t, or doesn’t want to know, get a new CMO. The Chief Executive Officer should want to know the answers to each and every one of those questions. If the CEO doesn’t want to know, get a new CEO. And if sales doesn’t want to cooperate with marketing (and vice versa) find new business leaders who will implement the lead and revenue-generating processes required for success. You know the process, where sales and marketing actually work together.

I’m sure #sales, #marketing, and #event professionals can add to the list I provided. While you do that, I’ll work on a rapid-fire list of questions investors can ask CEOs about their marketing and event activities, and a third list of questions sales leaders can ask marketers about business development, #content, #communication, and enabling #technology at the end of any quarter.

Oh, and if it looks as if marketers are being given the excessive third degree about the business results of their activities, damn right. They should be.

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B2B’s New and Ridiculously Obvious Social Media Revenue Stream

Tony Compton, Managing Director

Today’s good news? A new revenue stream is staring you in the face.

Today’s even better news? Anecdotally, I’ve seen no company tap into this new source of revenue. Yet.

Today’s best news? Many executives won’t go after this new source of revenue. They’ll either be out of their comfort zone, claim it’s not a core competency, or want to invest in outdated sales and marketing programs. A number of execs simply won’t know what to do, or how to do it. Social video technology is throwing them off of their traditional game.

All of the above equals tremendous room for opportunity for those who can connect the revenue dots which I will lay out for you.

The Outdated Model of Hosted, In-Person Customer Conferences

I’ve produced numerous business conferences and company events, and I’ll challenge anybody on identifying the most important aspect of an event. My contention is that attendees want to hear about, and learn from, industry peers who have faced similar business and technological challenges. That’s it. That’s what drives attendance. That’s what drives value. Everything else pales in comparison. The CEO keynote, the analyst sessions, the thinly-veiled vendor demos are fine, but they’re not what drives the most interest. Nor do 6:00 am yoga classes, open bar happy hours, private concerts, fun runs on the beach, weekend golf outings, or your chance to win yet another iPad from your favorite exhibitor.

Moreover, customers don’t really need to see you. Not in-person anyway. You may have great products and fantastic services, but few need to see you in-person at a customer event, especially when travel is involved. Sales and account executives must be on client sites, and meaningful personal and professional relationships are developed over time, but they’re no reason to support an outdated model of customer event production.

Whether you’re hosting your own customer event, or participating in another company’s get-together, you know that they can be fun, and yield some return.
On the flip side, they’re exhausting, time consuming, expensive one-off events.

Imagine continuous customer roundtables and industry interactions throughout the year, and not waiting until your once a year event to bring everybody together.

The New Social Media Revenue Stream

It’s easy to understand how using the Periscope or Meerkat live video streaming apps can create a very healthy and steady new revenue stream. It’s a three-step process:

  1. Sunset outdated methods for producing, or participating in, outdated customer events.
  2. Develop video content and regular programming on Periscope and/or Meerkat to attract industry-specific audiences.
  3. Market and sell access to that audience to partner companies which would normally sponsor your customer events, and anybody else interested in accessing that audience.

From 3-Day Events to Year Round Participation

Now the pushback on this idea begins. I’m an advocate of taking the five-, six- and seven-figures (or more) invested in every exhausting customer boondoggle conference, and placing it in creating dynamic, interactive, continuous, and reliable Periscope or Meerkat video content.

(Disclosure: I’m not advocating any one video app. In fact a third app, Blab has also been making its way onto the scene, and is worthy of further investigation.)

Place yourself in the boardroom while examining sales and marketing proposals for the 2016. Either you can have one, three-day customer conference at the end of September at a heavy cost, or you can develop programming and live streaming video content throughout the year at a similar or lower cost. And once you develop your social video audience, you can turn and sell access to it to the same sponsors which would normally participate in your once-a-year event. Only now there will be a growing and timely audience to sell throughout the year.

If you develop your streaming media audience properly, all those with an interest in promoting their products and services into your space will have an interest in sponsoring your video content. But instead of going through the mechanics of attending another customer conference, you’re providing a process which is far less taxing and potentially much more rewarding when compared to a hit-or-miss customer event.


Not only will this idea encounter resistance, some will become very territorial and overly protective of the traditional methods of producing customer events. They’ll hang onto their outdated customer conferences as if it’s their only lifeline. Understandable, but times are changing and social media is pushing the boundaries.

On the 1990s side of the executive table, some will be vocal about the need for hosting traditional customer events, and how they bring everybody together. Part of the talking points list is that sales brings prospects to the event, relationships are strengthened with partner companies, product people sit with clients, the company gives its roadmap, etc. If pushed, the 1990s side of the table will want to compromise and include live video streaming as part of a traditional event. Some will claim they already do this. Be careful. In this case, interactive video is not meant to complement outdated customer events, but to replace them with more meaningful social media experiences.

On the 2016 side of the same executive table, visionaries will describe how ongoing, interactive social media channels of video communication will cultivate specific target audiences throughout the year, and into the next. Real-time feedback is gained, case studies are creatively shared, and demand is more than generated. The audience is actually much stronger than the one that made it to last year’s in-person event, and holds outstanding value to an impressive lineup of sponsors. The value embedded in all aspects of pioneering live streaming media content greatly outweighs the taxing,
all-in approach to the once a year event endeavor.

What You’ll Quickly Need to Learn

Have you ever seen the movie Quiz Show? Do you recall how television commercials were presented in the 1950s, live, by a host? If you or members of your team find it difficult to stand in front of a camera to deliver interesting content, learn. And do so quickly. Because one way of generating revenue in this new age of B2B Social Media Marketing is to sell commercials to your company’s exclusive audience. Commercials and sponsored content which will have to be delivered by your on-camera talent, live, to your audience.

The new Apple TV material I saw yesterday states that apps are the future of the way we watch television. Periscope is among those apps featured by Apple.

Ready or not, all of us are now in the television business.

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Six Anti-Establishment Marketing Rules for Sales-Driven Competitiveness

Tony Compton, Managing Partner

Last Tuesday morning saw me sitting in my car in Chicago. Parked on the side of the road killing five minutes, I tuned into a sports talk radio station. The discussion centered on this season’s success of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. The story behind their playoff-bound team has the city buzzing, and is the talk of the town.

In 2009 the Cubs were sold, and over the past several seasons new team owners tore down the old way of doing things in favor of a comprehensive new approach. New players, new prospects, a new team manager, and new ballpark renovations have highlighted the team’s resurgence. The Cubs are now headed back to the playoffs, and the new way of doing business at Wrigley Field has earned respect on both the North and South sides of town.

This is coming from a competitive and lifelong Chicago White Sox fan.
(No, I’m not defecting to the North Side!)

Back on the radio, the conversation turned to an aspect of the Cubs’ rebuilding process that sparked debates over the last several seasons. Fan Impatience. Most sports fans don’t want to wait to rebuild their team. They want to win, now!

To that notion, I thought that a comment by one of the sports talkers was great. He recalled a conversation with a rebuilding skeptic and said, “(They’ve) tried it one way for 106 years with no success. Don’t you think it’s time to try something new?”

1908 was the last time the Chicago Cubs won a championship.

Well Established Marketing, Well-Established Criticism of the Same

I read it again, and heard it again this week. The beat goes on. Another article, and another conversation about the marketing silo. Little sales support. No messaging. No content. No plan. Outdated. Disconnected. Well-established criticism, with more well-established complaining.

How long has it been this way between sales and marketing at your company? Don’t you think it’s time you tried something new with marketing? Get marketing off of the sidelines, and into the sales game.

Six Anti-Establishment Marketing Rules

1. Put That Coffee Down!

Though I’ve watched Glengarry Glen Ross numerous times, this isn’t another Alec Baldwin rip-off. Years ago, I attended a marketing conference that opened one morning with a man who held a cup of coffee while he stood next to a flip chart and condescendingly smiled and spoke about high-minded marketing concepts. I’m hard-pressed to recall more than two lines spoken at that event, but my imagination runs wild as I picture marketers huddled in a similar meeting room today, self-indulging on ornate material which is largely useless to salespeople under pressure to hit their numbers. Salespeople are pounding on that conference room door – right now – trying to get marketing’s attention. That marketing conference was years and years ago, yet the same sales and marketing disconnects continue. I have profound respect for marketing practitioners, analysts, and academics, but nobody should carry that elitist cup of coffee and preach utopian theory while a sales team needs immediate help. Marketing must get involved with what sales needs: messaging, content, and the opportunity and ability to deliver it. Today.

2. Introduce Competition Among Marketers

Oh, do I have your attention now? Competitions among salespeople are common, but what about marketing? Get marketers in the incentives game by offering them competitive opportunities. Create meaningful competitions based on their results: acquired contacts, qualified leads, the number and size of opportunities generated, and net-new closed deals. Competitions can be created among individual marketers, or by creating sales and marketing teams. You may employ digital, event, product, regional, and traditional marketers, and may have relationships with marketers at alliance or channel partners. Most would love the competition. While marketing is connected to sales, and performance is measured, competition can be introduced.

Keep score, and reward.

3. OOO, and On the Road

Get marketers out of the office and on the road with salespeople. Frequently, from the CMO down. Part of the frustration with marketing is that the department is disconnected from sales reality. Going on the road to visit with prospects is an excellent way to learn about sales pursuits, and what’s required from marketing to acquire, and protect, customers.

4. Mandatory Two-Hour Marketing Meeting, Last Day of Every Quarter, at 4:00 pm

Gather around marketers, and watch the sales contracts come in by the close of business on the last day of the quarter. Or not. Get the marketing team together at 4:00 pm on the last business day of the quarter to see how it ends. It’s not to hover over a fax machine to watch for signed contracts, but to witness the time up to, and immediately after, the deadline. It’s observing the aftermath, and its impact on coworkers. It may be a time for celebration, or it may be a time to take stock. Either way, there’s no arguing with the numbers, and marketing’s measured contribution.

5. Compensate Marketers for Opportunity and Revenue-Generating Performance

Some marketers may already be compensated on some form of opportunity and revenue performance. But programs vary wildly, and not all marketers are compensated for things such as marketing-sourced opportunities, or the size of new deals closed with the help of credited marketing efforts. Remove marketers from the once-a-year company bonus program based on vague appraisals and general profit and loss figures, and create a quarterly, marketing-sourced, opportunity and revenue performance-based compensation program.

6. One Body, One Script – ZERO Technology

I’m told that great storytellers are essential to sales and marketing’s future, but where are they? I’ve seen some, and know of others, but they’re the exception, not the rule. The rule seems to be that presenters can get by with standing and talking in front of text-heavy slides, and think that they’re doing a great job at storytelling!

To address this missing persons issue, marketing teams should lead by example. Every marketer should learn how to tell great business stories, and enable others to do the same. All can start to work on becoming a storyteller by practicing with what each of us has in common while we’re talking to an audience: one body, and one script. Set aside the standard conventions of automatically using technology and PowerPoint slides to bolster a presentation. At first, leave everything else behind. Once you’ve nailed down how you look and sound, how you’ll tell a story, and relate to an audience, only then should you consider bringing back any supporting technical elements.

When you realize what can be accomplished by only using your body and your script, the dependency on technical support, including the use of slides, will dramatically diminish.

One Additional Anti-Establishment Rule, for Sales

If marketers get into the sales game, welcome them, and teach them how to close. Show them what goes into negotiating, getting a deal done, and sitting across a table from a decision maker. Demonstrate how to spin around a contract, and offer a pen to an about-to-become new customer. Marketing can be fantastic at demand generation and uncovering qualified leads, but they’ll handsomely benefit from witnessing the last mile of a successful pursuit. Marketers may not realize it, but all can use sales skills to improve their performance. Teach marketers how to close, and you’ll be teaching them how to compete, and win deals, with a view from front lines.

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Arguing Marketing’s Social Media Business Case for Using Live Video Apps

Tony Compton, Managing Partner

Contacts. Good, Solid Contacts.
Leads. Warm, Sales-Ready, and Accepted Leads.
Opportunities. Qualified Opportunities.

Of course, everybody wants them!

Repeated Question to the CXO: How do you measure marketing’s performance?
Inevitable Answer: Leads. Demand Gen. Marketing-Sourced Qualified Opportunities!

You’ve read a lot about what the Periscope and Meerkat live video apps can do for sales, marketing, and customer service. Articles, blogs, and web postings are filled with great tips and advice about streaming “behind the scenes” content, executive presentations, product demos, and more. A lot of what has been written, said, and shown is creative, insightful, and very timely. But how one may tactically use the apps should come second. First, it must be stated what proficient usage of these apps must strategically do. Generate leads and produce qualified revenue opportunities.
I don’t recall seeing or hearing much, if anything, about that important piece of this social media puzzle. Unfortunate, because I contend that the expert use of these apps will not only generate leads and qualified business opportunities, but the those who embrace the potential of this new social media arena will realize better and faster programmatic returns when compared to many of the sales, marketing, and customer service initiatives already in use.

Few CEOs, CMOs, Sales VPs, or investors are going to care about anybody’s creative ability to stream content on live video apps if measurable business opportunities are nonexistent. And rightfully so. If a business case for integrating live video content is absent from your go-to-market game plan, so too will be the funding for it.

But, what if you could quickly secure a greater number of marketing-sourced opportunities, act on them earlier in the sales cycle, and do so at a lower cost? With a social media strategy that includes using Periscope and/or Meerkat, you can. And that’s exactly how you’ll get the executive team’s interest, and buy-in.

You Never Even Call Me By My (User) Name

Consider my recent experience. The other day, I decided to check out some of the live videos on Periscope. You could say I was “scoping,” but I wasn’t being very interactive. Fact is, I was merely channel surfing. Mindlessly channel surfing. With my iPhone and my scrolling right thumb, I momentarily settled on one stream which featured a man who appeared to be simultaneously driving and hosting a live video. (Disclaimer: I do not endorse streaming a live video and driving.) I’m ashamed to admit that I can’t remember the title of the man’s video, nor can I even recall his name. But for a moment, he knew my name, and it made a big difference.

One-half second after joining the video, the host mentioned my username and acknowledged my presence. Since my personal username is the same as my real name, its usage briefly startled me, but pleasantly caught my attention. It was in that instant that I realized I wasn’t watching Cable TV anymore. Nor was I watching an elongated and difficult-to-follow demo on YouTube. And I certainly wasn’t watching another garden-variety corporate video uploaded to a company website. No tuning in and tuning out this time. I wasn’t able to hide, and I wasn’t alone. The immediacy of the new experience caught me off-guard, and snapped me out of my mindless channel surfing. The man on the screen was actually talking to me.

Hearing Your Name is Music to Your Ears

The operative word in the line above is hearing. Out of the countess sales and marketing programs in existence, when was the last time you heard your name when you were on the receiving end of a live, welcoming, and interactive marketing effort, or a customized communication activity? (Pre-scripted, intrusive, and cold sales calls with “your name here” inserted in the beginning don’t count!) You won’t hear your name when you receive an email, text, tweet, or piece of junk mail – even if they are customized to autofill your <FirstName> and <LastName>. You probably won’t hear your name when you join a webinar (if you do, it’ll be near the end because you asked a question.) If you avoid human contact at a trade show, nobody will know you even exist. (For the purposes of this post, that’s not good!) And although a piece of pushed campaign media could conceivably be recorded with your name being mentioned, that’s not a live interaction.

  • Think about your current live audience interactions.
  • Consider the cost of those programs, and the results.
  • What if you had agile, and more cost-effective, live audience interactions?
  • Earlier the sales and marketing cycle?
  • Faster, and more effective than tired and obsolete methods?
  • That created a sense of urgency and forged a crispness to your messaging and positioning?
  • Now think about what you could have done with more timely data and information.
  • Especially at the end of this Quarter.

Establishing Your Social Media Business Case

Live interactions with prospects and customers cost money. Sponsor a webinar? That’s at least $10,000. Trade show? That’s four to seven figures. On-site sales visits? That’s travel, time, and personnel, plus it’s one at a time. The Periscope and Meerkat apps are interactive, and better yet, free. Yes, you must prepare your team before going on-camera, and you will need a game plan in place for how to efficiently and effectively use live video apps. This social media initiative also requires investment, but anybody with a calculator and a blank 2016 business plan should start to compare the features, benefits, potential returns, and costs among the menu of sales, marketing, and customer service programmatic options.

I’m not advocating a rip and replace attitude to lead gen activities. Webinars, trade shows, sales calls, and other programs definitely have their place. But the live video apps are genuine game changers. You’ll have to adapt. Using live video apps is frightening to some, and this new method of audience interaction will be seen as a threat to the established ways of doing things. Many will resist change in favor of the status quo.

But for those unwilling or unable to change, and for those who lack vision, business will suffer.

There are tangible economic benefits to obtaining valuable information from live audience interactions early in the sales and marketing cycle, versus gathering and compiling lagging data from impersonal sales, marketing, and service channels.
And I would rather choose to interact with an expert business storyteller on my mobile device today, versus receiving yet another outdated communication that I’ll inevitably delete, discard, disconnect, lose, or turn off, tomorrow.

You may have wondered, “What can be done with the new live video apps?” First things first. You should use the apps to generate leads and produce qualified revenue opportunities.

Exactly how? Stay tuned.

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Field Marketing and Sales Teams: Global Cover Bands Performing Your Corporate Songs!

Tony Compton, Managing Partner

It takes guts to go on stage and sing a song. Or play a musical instrument. Or do both. But many perform, and do it well. Over the years, talented singer-songwriters have penned and delivered classics, and their work is so beloved that soloists and cover bands perform their songs in bars, nightclubs, concert halls, parking lots, and yes, annual corporate gatherings in swanky resort locations. Unfortunately, we’ve all seen and heard song performances that have fallen a bit short. Cover bands and performers who didn’t quite get somebody’s else’s song right. Maybe the singer didn’t have the voice for a particular tune, lacked rhythm and timing, or flubbed the lyrics. Maybe the band’s instruments weren’t tuned, or the group didn’t properly rehearse. It could’ve been anything, but the fact remained that something was off.

Think back to a time you were walking down the street, and the door to the corner pub was open while the band inside loudly botched one of your favorites. You probably tuned out, walked away, and shook your head in disappointment. It was a complete turnoff. Conversely, what’s been your reaction when a cover band nails one of your favorite songs? Moreover, what’s been the reaction of the audience? I’ve seen standing ovations when a singer nails a song. It’s a treat, and a real pleasure to watch a great performance.

Your Global Cover Bands Are Looking at You, Kid

You’ve analyzed. You’ve strategized. You’ve organized a smashing go-to-market plan which will dominate the planet and crush the competition. Wonderful. Next comes the task of getting sales and marketing content to your internal audience so that your people in the field can execute their part of the plan and be successful, no matter where they are, which industry they serve, or which language they speak. They’re looking at you, as the HQ point person to deliver awesome content. They have a healthy appetite, and they want that content. And one size does not fit all.

For those who support regional, national, and global sales and marketing teams with vertical and cross-industry messaging, territorial collateral, presentation slides, social media content, customer success stories, product videos, demos, and any type of sales enablement material used anywhere in the world, your sales and marketing teams are very similar to cover bands, performing your material. You’re the songwriter, and possibly the original singer.

The work of truly enabling your teams doesn’t end with simply updating the generic company slide deck and run-of-the-mill United States English-based pdfs. On the contrary. It’s up to you to work domestically and internationally, across all partners and industries, to create effective localized content. Furthermore, you must ensure that your “performers” are communicating the content in a method conducive to their specific markets, and that they are fluent in the “words and music” of the content.

For Those Supporting Virtual Teams, Launch Your Efforts By:

  • Reading a map, and knowing where your colleagues reside and travel throughout the world. You can access a map within seconds on your computer. This basic step goes a long way in supporting long-distance domestic and international business relationships. If you’re based in the USA, it’s a positive difference-maker to the EMEA team when you can discuss the location of Eastern and Western European countries, to the North American team if you can identify the location of Canadian customers in their provinces, not states, to the APAC team if you can pinpoint Australia and New Zealand, and to the LATAM team, confident that you know that Argentina and Brazil are in South America. No matter where on Earth you are, you get the Continental Drift. It’s ridiculously obvious that your regional sales and marketing teams must know where the customers are. In a support capacity from another country, not knowing the geography of your competitive landscape is a huge disadvantage, and hinders the success of disseminating quality marketing and sales enablement content. In order to properly map the B2B Buyer Journey, it helps to know where your buyers are on the planet.
  • Getting up early, staying late, and remaining open for the occasional Midnight conference call. If you’re in the Continental United States, from time to time you must wake up early to talk to your European team, stay after work to speak to your colleagues just starting the next day in Australia, and be open to that weekly conference call with the team halfway around the world in India. (If outside of the USA, apply the same time zone math and work ethic.)
  • Recognizing that global sales and marketing excellence requires more than the simple language translation of HQ-developed content. Stop the periodic uploading and blind dumping of content on your global teams with the expectation that they will go it alone to translate the material into territorial languages. Craft a proactive, comprehensive, and team-based framework to interact, and efficiently use supporting technologies.
  • Listening to your global teams when reviewing, translating, customizing, and presenting content. Step through the content together, and understand how it will be used for branding, awareness, demand generation and closing new business – in every part of the world.
  • Rehearsing presentations. Unless your name is Jackie Gleason, you’ll need to rehearse the communication of content, and do it more than once. Practice effective communication techniques to solidify outstanding performance behaviors.

Imagine This Poor Course of Action, and the Consequences

One day, everybody you support, all over the world, got on the phone and decided to call you. They wanted to work with you on developing and communicating content which will help them succeed in their territorial sales and marketing efforts. However, you decided to only go through the motions of the call just to placate the team because you created cookie-cutter-corporate-content which you believe should suffice. It’s been emailed over and over, all around the world, and has found a comfortable home in the online corporate repository. All can download, translate, present, and use the content as they see fit. The result? The phone may ring once or twice more. A follow-up email or two will appear requesting help. But with little or no action, all will eventually go quiet. Your colleagues won’t call again. They won’t ask for your help again. They’ll forget about you, move on, and start to do their own thing. Then you’ll hope that they don’t stand in front of customers with the presence of a poor karaoke singer, sheepishly mirroring lyrics from a dimly-lit computer screen while attempting to keep the beat of a computer-generated music track. Strange versions of your corporate content will begin to take shape, and reside in local laptops in distant lands. Recovery will seem impossible.

About Knowing that “Music”

No, most don’t actually play instruments or use music while giving a presentation. (But, on occasion, I have seen a few get very creative.) Adding the “music” is just another way of saying that a presenter should not solely focus on the content itself. One must consider appearance, physical skills, the tone, strength, and character of the voice used during a presentation, and the give and take interaction with an audience. It’s the effective combination of how a presenter looks and sounds, coupled with the content, that will win the day.

So do yourself, and everybody with whom you work a favor. Answer that phone call from your global colleagues, and get involved with your sales and marketing cover bands to make them the outstanding performers your internal and external audiences want, and deserve.

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Proudly Wired-In, But Severely Disconnected B2B Marketers

Tony Compton, Managing Partner

For those B2B salespeople whose Q1 ended on March 31st, what was marketing’s measurable contribution to your revenue report card? Did marketing partner with you to hit your numbers? Did your marketers possess the ability to truly partner with you in all facets of the sales game, and did they really know your business?

B2B marketing’s zombie walk into the cozy online world of keywords, social media, product-centric websites, and mind-numbing data dumps is well underway. Ironically, for those marketers who claim that they’re always wired-in, this condition has been creating more and more disconnected marketers. Too many marketers are spending too much time in the online world, and their work is becoming increasingly seen as foreign and irrelevant by the business developers they’re supposed to support.

Shake Up Marketing. Start by Taking Away The Security Blanket!

The days of allowing B2B marketing to be disconnected from sales has been over for years, and no company should suffer from this problem. As a salesperson committed to hitting your numbers, the next time you get a fresh 90 days, do yourself a favor and pull marketing’s collective nose out from behind the security blanket of monitors, keyboards, tablets and smartphones. Online, email and social media efforts help, but it’s not enough. You need a robust marketing team which acts as a true partner to sales, comprehensively fluent in all areas of the business. Don’t just accept a marketing team that’s complacent and limited by electronic channels. You deserve a marketing unit that’s not caught up in an online comfort zone.

The Widening Gap

While business developers are fighting battles, too many marketers sit back in cubes with hot cups of coffee, tinkering away with an indecipherable avalanche of data, focused on material that does little to contribute to sales enablement, the pipeline, and the bottomline. Some marketers feel a sense of self-worth and tangible satisfaction as they post, tweet, and retweet, email, update websites, and run weekly reports which may never see the light of day. All the while oblivious to the critical sales and customer worlds around them. Problem is, this conveys a terrible message: marketing’s wired-in, but disconnected.

Face Off with Marketing, and Start on Offense

Challenge any marketer who is continually buried in a laptop, and they’re likely to sulk or squeal. “Online, Email, and Social Media Marketing are really important!“ is the natural response of the insulated marketer. Yes, we’re all aware of how important everybody says that stuff is. But this quarter, I’m asking you to create an internal exercise to shake things up. Insist that marketers temporarily put down their electronic toys. Ask them to show you what they can do in front of a live internal audience, without electronic assistance. Get marketing out of its online comfort zone, and into the world of real human interaction.

For this exercise, ask your marketers to answer straight-forward questions about your business, and do it in front of a group of stakeholders. It’s a solo performance for the marketer, but one that will help you get a handle on how well your marketing team understands messaging and positioning, customer pain points, value props, the problems you solve, and the measured results your company delivers.

Here’s a sample list of what you can ask your professional marketers:

• What does your company do?
• Who are your target customers? In which industries?
• What value do you provide your customers?
• Why did your company win (or lose) its last competitive bid?
• How would you describe your competitive landscape?
• What separates your company from your competitors?
• Describe a customer case study, and explain its usefulness to sales.
• Demo a product.

Ask your marketers to respond to the above without the use of a computer, a smartphone, or a projector. Don’t allow the use of printouts, sell sheets, or collateral, and certainly no phoning a friend. Do allow the use of a whiteboard, and flip charts. Give them some room for creativity.

“But how can I demo a product without a computer?” a marketer will cry… The bigger question is, “If you were visiting a customer, and your computer fizzled seconds before showtime, what would you do? Fold up and go home, or be a professional and rise to the challenge?”

“But I don’t talk to customers or prospects. That’s a job for sales!” If you hear that, find another marketer.

Requiring marketers to tackle this modest set of questions in front of a live audience should be standard operating procedure. It’s an eye-opening exercise, and a very healthy one. Remember, you deserve a high-performing marketing team, one that is not only connected online, but also intimately connected to daily sales pursuits.

Let’s End Complicit Executive Management

The word is out. It’s no secret that the migration of B2B marketing into a world dominated by online activities is a less expensive corporate route to take. Few, if any, events, no direct customer contact, no travel, no public appearances, no coaching, and no involvement by marketing with external sales activities equals greatly reduced expenses. Got it. But naively rushing into a romantic relationship with marketing technology doesn’t change the fact that marketers must possess the personal ability to stand and tell a company’s story: who you are, what you do, and how and why you do it. Your marketer’s ability to convincingly tell your corporate story – inside and outside of the electronic comfort zone – is precisely what will help drive demand, power sales enablement, generate new business and protect your customer base. That human ability will also strengthen your company presence in online, email and social media channels.

Only then will marketing be wired-in and connected.

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