Thought Leadership: Aligning with...The Buyer Cycle Revolution

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Company that are looking to engage with their buying audience will need to look at how people are buyer buying products now vs how they used to and how to engage with your buyers before they become …

Company that are looking to engage with their buying audience will need to look at how people are buyer buying products now vs how they used to and how to engage with your buyers before they become customers How? By engaging buyers with the information they’re looking for, when they need it, and where they need it most.

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  • 1. Aligning The Buyer CycleAligning The Buyer Cycle & Content Marketing& Content Marketing Content Marketing Lead Management Thought Leadership Audience Engagement Buyer CycleBuyer Cycle SellingSelling A Strategic Roadmap for Sales and MarketingA Strategic Roadmap for Sales and Marketing www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 2. Buyers areBuyers are revoltingrevolting againstagainst traditional salestraditional sales methodsmethods…… www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 3. ……and itand it’’s goings going to take moreto take more than just socialthan just social media tomedia to engage & sellengage & sell to themto them…… www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 4. ItIt’’s going tos going to take a newtake a new way ofway of sellingselling…… ……a new waya new way of engagingof engaging with buyerswith buyers…… www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 5. ItIt’’s going to take the creation of ans going to take the creation of an integrated B2B or B2C Buyer Cycleintegrated B2B or B2C Buyer Cycle Selling StrategySelling Strategy www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 6. Buyer engages sales early in the buying cycle (by necessity) Seller has control of information Focus on convincing & persuading Focus on seller requirements for offers of feature & benefits Repetitive touch points - contacting buyer randomly only to find out if buyer is ready to purchase Main delivery channels: DM, email, ads -broadcast; print; online, events Buyer engages seller late in the buying cycle Buyer has more control of information earlier on in buying cycle Focus on delivering objective information in a Permission- oriented manner that addresses buyer needs and issues Seller engages earlier on with buyer thru use of thought leadership content relevant to market and buyer issues Personalized Buyer cycle touch point engagement Main delivery channels; online/social media platforms – events, and all other traditional channels Old Model New Model A fundamental shift is underway in how we purchaseA fundamental shift is underway in how we purchase…… www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 7. Time spent by prospects and salespeopleTime spent by prospects and salespeople in the Buying Cycle stages is strongly misalignedin the Buying Cycle stages is strongly misaligned…… www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com Is there a need? Criteria for selection? Available vendor/service options? SatisfiedSatisfied with thewith the purchase?purchase? If ‘Yes’, buying cycle starts Purchase Selection process Sales reps spend 95% of their time in this stage Prospects spend 95% of their time in these stages Buying CycleBuying Cycle The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 8. ……with a majority of prospects initiating the search for products,with a majority of prospects initiating the search for products, services and vendors onlineservices and vendors online…… www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 9. ……long before they are ready to talk to a sales replong before they are ready to talk to a sales rep They exchange information with their peers on Social forums & platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and a multitude of blogs Prospective Buyers spend a lot of time online, researching – and it’s not just your website… They do all that long before they even consider talking to a sales rep Part of the Buyer’s Cycle www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 10. Content Marketing Lead Management Thought Leadership Audience Engagement Buyer CycleBuyer Cycle SellingSelling So how do you begin to leverage this new buyer cycle shift forSo how do you begin to leverage this new buyer cycle shift for maximum bottom line results?maximum bottom line results? www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 11. • By developing a thought leadership program for yourBy developing a thought leadership program for your organizationorganization www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com HereHere’’s how and whys how and why…… The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 12. • Thought leadership gets buyersThought leadership gets buyers’’ attention EARLY in theattention EARLY in the buyer cycle processbuyer cycle process…… www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 13. ……building visibility during these critical early stages of thebuilding visibility during these critical early stages of the buying cycle processbuying cycle process…… Registers for vendor webinar/demo Buyer Cycle Touch Points Vendor response Contact data entered Thought leadership opportunity Does online market research Visits industry blogs Follows Twitter feeds Inquires with peers Downloads white papers www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 14. • Thought leadership centers on earning trust and credibility • This is earned through the delivery of unique, relevant and captivating content; information, insights and ideas • It positions you over time as an industry authority, resource and trusted advisor “Simple, great thought leadership means never having to ‘pitch’ or ’sell’ for business. You become a trusted advisor, counselor and partner, not just a vendor.” Gautam Ghosh - Accenture www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com ……when generating exposure is essentialwhen generating exposure is essential…… The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 15. Thought leadership marketing therefore tops marketersThought leadership marketing therefore tops marketers’’ listslists…… "Traditional approaches to B2B marketing are losing their impact. Today, B2B marketers are turning towards thought leadership as a way to differentiate their products and services in an increasingly competitive market.“ - Survey, Economist Intelligence Unit, 2008 www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 16. ……as among their top objectives over the next 3as among their top objectives over the next 3--5 years5 years 56% of survey sample ranked 'positioning their company as a thought leader' as their top priority, second only to 'building new business.' www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 17. Market maturity Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 1 HIGH LOW Year 4 Time Content curation White papers 3rd party research Events sponsorships Business games - concepts Unique content development Partnerships with other thought leaders Thought leadership evolves as markets evolveThought leadership evolves as markets evolve –– It isnIt isn’’t just about delivering white paperst just about delivering white papers Community content development Thought Leadership Content & Development Strategy over TimeThought Leadership Content & Development Strategy over Time www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 18. Content Marketing Lead Management Thought Leadership Audience Engagement Buyer CycleBuyer Cycle SellingSelling Follow withFollow with…… www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 19. How can you use content marketing?How can you use content marketing? By combining thought leadership with content marketing you can deliver the right information at the right time to buyers during the different stages of their buying cycle… www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 20. Information needs of buyers vary as they progress through theInformation needs of buyers vary as they progress through the stages of the Buying Cyclestages of the Buying Cycle…… www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com Is there a need? CriteriaCriteria for selection?for selection? AvailableAvailable vendor/servicevendor/service options?options? SatisfiedSatisfied with thewith the purchase?purchase? If ‘Yes’, buying cycle starts Purchase Selection process The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 21. …… by aligning thought leadership content delivery with specificby aligning thought leadership content delivery with specific stages of the Buying Cycle it helps to give maximum impactstages of the Buying Cycle it helps to give maximum impact www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com Is there a need? Criteria for selection? Available vendor/service options? Satisfied with the purchase? If ‘yes’, buying process starts Purchase selection process Buying Cycle StagesBuying Cycle Stages Offer CategoriesOffer Categories How to Guides White papers Blogs/Articles Webinars/Podcasts Case studies Decision tools Product comparisons ROI calculators Demos ~ Presentations Seminars Consultations Free trials Testimonials The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 22. Buying Stages Where Use of Online Games is Considered Relevant In addition to traditional thought leadership contentIn addition to traditional thought leadership content …… Consider creating online business games & tools that engage B2BConsider creating online business games & tools that engage B2B buyers and also generate qualified leadsbuyers and also generate qualified leads…… Evaluation-Implementation Scenarios = 60% Building A Business Case = 58% General Education = 55% Shortlist Creation = 43% Final Decisions = 36% Source Survey: IDG Connect 2010 www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 23. Marketers increasingly see the value of userMarketers increasingly see the value of user--generated contentgenerated content…… Up from 83 million in 2008, eMarketer estimates the number of UGC creators will grow to 115 million in 2013 More important, rising from 116 million in 2008, in 2013 the number of US Internet users consuming some form of UGC will reach 155 million www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 24. ……as survey results showing that branded content is moreas survey results showing that branded content is more effective than other forms of marketingeffective than other forms of marketing Marketers consider branded content more effective than other leading forms of advertising and marketing • More effective than TV advertising (70%) • More effective than direct mail (61%) • More effective than PR (57%) Total spending on branded content: over $1.8 million per company • Print publications (51%) • Internet media (27% • Video/audio (22%) –Study, Custom Publishing Council (CPC), 2009 www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 25. Optimize content for SEO purposesOptimize content for SEO purposes –– as inbound links will helpas inbound links will help elevate your ranking in the search engineselevate your ranking in the search engines…… Source: TopRank Marketing www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 26. Content Marketing Lead Management Thought Leadership Audience Engagement Buyer CycleBuyer Cycle SellingSelling Deliver throughDeliver through…… www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 27. • Engagement Model: Engage with your audiences via allEngagement Model: Engage with your audiences via all available online and offline channelsavailable online and offline channels…… Source:Source: The Thought Net, LLCThe Thought Net, LLC www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com blogs Website or portal Social networks Micro blogging Corporate Newsletter(s) Corporate Blog(s) Events video Doc sharing widgets Book marking Offline Conferences Online Webinars The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection Website or portal Conversion points Photo sharing podcasts communities
  • 28. • There is a growing trend away from traditional advertising and media channels to user generated content • Prospects use social media channels more and more to do their research, and long before they are ready to engage with your sales force • Prospects and clients increasingly exchange information about you and your competitors’ services via these channels • Social media channels allow you to interact and engage directly with your audience – and it won’t be long before this engagement will be an expectation from your customers and prospects • Inbound marketing leads will come primarily from these sources ……but increasingly focus on social media outreachbut increasingly focus on social media outreach –– WHY?WHY? www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 29. WordWord--ofof--mouth marketing can be done most effectively usingmouth marketing can be done most effectively using social media channelssocial media channels…… www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 30. ……so branded content marketing programs using social mediaso branded content marketing programs using social media channels are on the risechannels are on the rise www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 31. Content Marketing Lead Management Thought Leadership Audience Engagement Buyer CycleBuyer Cycle SellingSelling Increase ROI withIncrease ROI with…… www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 32. Buyers now engage with Sales late in the buying cycleBuyers now engage with Sales late in the buying cycle…… Registers for vendor webinar/demo Buyer Cycle Touch Points Vendor response Contact data entered Does online market research Visits industry blogs Follows Twitter feeds Inquires with peers Downloads white papers www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 33. • I believe this is the information you have been looking for… This is great! Wow, finally a company that gets me what I need, and isn’t bugging me with a ton of calls and emails before I’m ready to buy… ……so nurturing your prospects throughout the later stages of theso nurturing your prospects throughout the later stages of the cycle is keycycle is key…… www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 34. • …here are the proposal options based on your feedback … …yes, this exactly fits our needs! You’ve really helped me with my research… …these guys have shown they know this market… ……entering the close phase with an educated buyer AND sellerentering the close phase with an educated buyer AND seller www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 35. • Well… Ready to sign the contract yet? Uh oh, need to get out of here fast… Instead of focusing exclusively on how to meet sales quota..Instead of focusing exclusively on how to meet sales quota.. www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 36. ……focus on the Buyer Cycle instead of the sales cycle!focus on the Buyer Cycle instead of the sales cycle! It will give you a better understanding of: • How customers & prospects want to buy • Which information they need at various points in the buying cycle • You will be pro-active, and won’t be waiting to engage them only at the point of purchase – this will help move them forward faster in the buying cycle www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 37. A few ways of measuring program successA few ways of measuring program success…… www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com • Qualified leads • Inbound leads • Conversions Revenue • Likes/Mentions • Media mentions • Inbound links • Downloads Visibility • Customer satisfaction • Customer retention Reputation • Subscriptions • Blog comments/Responses • Contest entries • Participants • Event attendance Engagement Performance Measurement IndicatorObjective The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 38. – It allows for the identification, qualification, routing and nurturing of prospective leads with the appropriate follow up activity – Automated Lead tracking allows for visibility into / and engagement with prospects during the various stages of the buying cycle process – It will make clear what prospect interests are, which will enable you to deliver the right content at the right time in the buying cycle – Your company can then hand off qualified leads to the sales department at the right time, increasing the efficiency of sales ……with lead management among the most critical measures ofwith lead management among the most critical measures of successsuccess …… www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 39. Successful lead management requires theSuccessful lead management requires the integration of sales & marketingintegration of sales & marketing SalesSales MarketingMarketing AgreementAgreement what =what = QualifiedQualified LeadLead AgreementAgreement on What =on What = EffectiveEffective CollateralCollateral Incentives forIncentives for Sales toSales to to provideto provide marketingmarketing with reportingwith reporting on Leadon Lead follow upfollow up UnifiedUnified ContactContact DatabaseDatabase To avoidTo avoid duplicationduplication Marketing needsMarketing needs to includeto include Sales in theSales in the creation ofcreation of BuyerBuyer OffersOffers www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 40. Content Marketing Lead Management Thought Leadership Audience Engagement Buyer CycleBuyer Cycle SellingSelling Leverage Buyer Cycle selling for maximum ROILeverage Buyer Cycle selling for maximum ROI…… www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 41. For more information on how your company can leverage new trends and develop a thought leadership position with programs that deliver targeted results, please contact us at: The Thought Net, LLC Phone: 415.425.7124 Web: www.TheThoughtNet.com Contact: Natalie L. Wood – President, email: natalie@thethoughtnet.com Thank You! www.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com The Thought Net™ The Thought Leadership Connection
  • 42. Source: The Thought Net, LLCSource: The Thought Net, LLCwww.TheThoughtNet.comwww.TheThoughtNet.com blogs Website or portal Social networks Micro blogging Corporate Newsletter(s) Corporate Blog(s) Events video Doc sharing widgets Book marking Offline Conferences Online Webinars Website or portal Conversion points Photo sharing podcasts communities The Thought Net Audience Engagement & Distribution Model