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Building B2B Communities in a Low Trust World


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B2B communities exist to help companies attract and retain customers, improve productivity, decrease costs, and more. Learn how to create a trusted business community environment where relationships …

B2B communities exist to help companies attract and retain customers, improve productivity, decrease costs, and more. Learn how to create a trusted business community environment where relationships and opportunities flourish.

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  • Businesses are slow to hire, worried about the economy
    photo: NYC 2009 marathon
  • Photo: Covent Garden
  • According to the 2009 Edelman Trust Barometer, more than 50% of respondents said they trusted corporations less than last year.
  • RMS is run as a P&L center
  • Start with the structures that are currently in place. Leverage!
  • Peter Block writes about the foundation in his book Community: The Structure of Belonging
  • Transcript

    • 1. Building B2B Communities in a Low Trust World Lou Ordorica Social Networking Conference Senior Community Manager 2010 Reseller Marketing Services
    • 2. Agenda • Business climate, business drivers, and business values • Case Study: • Construct a B2B community for $3B Hi-Tech distributor • Building the community — methodology • Lessons learned
    • 3. A Challenging Business Climate • “Flat is the new growth.” • “Necessity buying” patterns taking hold • Doing more with less is the new normal • Margins are under pressure • Work much today harder to earn the same dollars • Weaker companies disappearing • Customers putting off large purchases
    • 4. Business Drivers • ROI • Gaining net new business • Protecting customer base and margins • Filling the pipeline with qualified leads • Converting leads to paying clients • Achieving market differentiation • Reducing costs and improving efficiencies
    • 5. Business Values • Trust in corporations is deteriorating in the U.S. • People buy from people they know • “This is a relationship business.” • Success or failure in relationships occurs “one conversation at a time” • Golden Rule deviations usually end in tears Our opportunity: to create a business community environment where trusted relationships flourish
    • 6. Case Study • $3B specialty distributor of data networking and phone systems with 1,500 employees • Customer base comprised of resellers, VARs, and ISVs • Rebooted marketing organization • Created a marketing joint venture with channel-focused conference organizer in March 2009 • Spending less on traditional marketing and investing in community resources • Hired Community Manager and invested in Telligent community platform
    • 7. Business Goals • Enable resellers to grow their businesses profitably • Develop “Silver” level dealers into higher revenue producing “Gold” and “Platinum” levels • Double revenue in 5 years • Grow wallet share — and take it from competitors • Gain competitive advantage through innovation and differentiation • Develop high margin professional services business
    • 8. Community Model
    • 9. Community Model physical events 1 per month Boot Camps Partner Councils Customer Appreciation Events High Cost
    • 10. Community Model physical + webinars events 1 per month 8 - 12 per month Boot Camps Cisco WebEx Partner Councils Meeting Center Customer Citrix GoToWebinar Appreciation Events High Cost Medium Cost
    • 11. Community Model physical + + online webinars community events 1 per month 8 - 12 per month 7x24 Boot Camps Cisco WebEx Private Partner Councils Meeting Center Branded Customer Citrix GoToWebinar Discussion Groups Appreciation Events Managed High Cost Medium Cost Low Cost
    • 12. Building the Community: Describe the Problem • Who is the executive sponsor? Who are your champions? • Who are your buyers? Partners? Competitors? • What are the “people places”? • Web sites • Conferences • Meetings — physical and online • What keeps your community up at night?
    • 13. Reaching Out to the Community • Get guidance from executive sponsors and people invested in business goals • What is generating the most calls? • What are the big trends? • Who can speak to issues and opportunities facing the community? • Group and prioritize the resulting list of topics and people • Conduct interviews • Listen generously!
    • 14. Capture the Community Vision • Clearly articulated, memorable, and easily repeatable • “We want the online community to be your Google — a starting point for information, best sales practices, and networking.” • “Enable our customers to grow their businesses with practical advice they can put to work right away.” • “A tool that brings closer to our customers and partners— one conversation at a time.” • Group brainstorming is best to capture and refine the community vision.
    • 15. Selling the Community • A B2B Community exists for business — customers, profits, productivity • Make the community relevant to executives. How will the community: • Make it easier to find new customers? • Increase customer loyalty? • Improve employee productivity? • Decrease costs?
    • 16. Make the Community Relevant to Executives Benefits Area Business Impact Reducing Support Costs • Ask the Experts • Reduce Support Calls • Discussion Forums • Fewer FTEs • Blogs • Decrease OPEX • Wikis • Improve OI
    • 17. What Makes a Business Community? • Community building blocks are the same • Identity • Belonging • Connectedness • Social capital • Caring for the whole
    • 18. Create Business Community Structures • Primary audience is C-level business executive • A “gated” community: • Exclusive • Controlled access • Segmented, based on roles — very important! • Managed • Long-term growth
    • 19. Create Community Member Personas • Personas are fictions rooted in reality • Describe roles, motivators, pain points, trigger words • Use personas to guide editorial decisions — microcopy, too • Example: William Smith is a CIO at a Fortune 500 company. • Priorities: Growth (acquisition / retention), Controlling costs, Improving productivity • Trigger Words: Cover Capital Costs (NPV), Internal Rate of Return (IRR), Payback, Cash Flows
    • 20. Select Tools for the Business Community • Focus on the building blocks — identity, belonging, connectedness • Leverage mass social media where it makes sense • Survey the landscape — look at competitors • Focus on requirements, but be prepared to wear many hats • Design • User Experience • Usability and User Acceptance Testing
    • 21. To Brand or Not to Brand? • Does your company possess brand equity? Protect the brand. • Trademarked names of products and technologies • Logos, colors, shapes • No or little brand equity? • Build the community first • Let your customer’s needs dictate choices
    • 22. Build the Community Plan • Audience definition — primary, secondary, tertiary • Content — taxonomies that define topics and relationships • Data sources • Moderators • Working Groups • Steering Committees • Editorial Calendar
    • 23. Drive Participation with Content Aggregated tools and Timely, productive, and information covering visible dialogue that helps business functions — sell, people run their Effort quote, configure businesses Repurposed web pages, Market research — best white papers, podcasts, practices, competitive videos covering products analysis, insights and solutions Value
    • 24. Content Taxonomy Community Category Name Description NPV, IRR, Evaluating Payback, Cash Investments Flows Capital Costs, Business CEO ROI Risk Enablement Management Business Process Improving Refactoring Productivity
    • 25. Establish a Social Proof • Follow people and adoption patterns • Implement structures and processes that spur interest and growth • Leverage sponsors and existing community base • Roll up your sleeves — this is hard work! • Create interesting profiles for your “starter” members • Start discussion threads, write blog posts, set up wiki pages • Get people interested and excited, and ask for their participation
    • 26. Market the Business Community • Market within the organization and externally • B2B outbound marketing is alive and well • Leverage communication channels and customer touch points • Email: Newsletters, Email Signatures • Direct Mail, Tele Marketing, On-Hold Messages • Webinars • Tap into existing systems used for digital marketing — SEO, CRM, SEM
    • 27. Measure and Report • Be sure to tell the stories • Unsolicited member praise or criticism is gold • Don’t fixate on activity — it is not the only measure of business impact • Perceptions matter — be persistent, talk up the community at every opportunity • Enlist champions — people who believe and can convert others • The most useful feedback is rooted in truth. Be open and avoid defensive postures.
    • 28. Lessons Learned • Manage expectations early and often • Delivering high value content is critical • Embrace your role as a sales person • Expect course corrections, sometimes mid-stream • Guard your time and attention with vigilance • Be courageous and take risks • Leverage will get you to your goal faster and with less effort
    • 29. Thank You Lou Ordorica @lordorica Subscribe to my blog: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.