Blog Post From ANA/BMA Members-Only Event @ SEI
Local B2B marketers came together at an educational event hosted by SEI in Oaks, PA, last Thursday to learn from a CMO of an investment company, a marketing agency president, and a NY Times best-selling author/partner of a media company. The topic? A B2B marketer’s new job – selling. The day concluded with a tour of SEI’s art collection, the West Collection.
Three unique speakers brought new perspectives on the role of sales in the marketing domain. Mark Samuels, CEO of SEI; Ted Birkhahn, President and Partner, Peppercomm; and Tim Sanders, former CSO of Yahoo, Author and now Partner at Deeper Media covered three very different yet crucial insights on how the role of B2B marketers has evolved into strategic sales.
Mark Samuels, CMO of SEI
“Selling” the power of a marketing-driven company internally
SEI’s Mark Samuels highlighted key behaviors that drive success:
- Being a change agent is key to B2B. Anticipating change and making adjustments, practicing and proving, and overcoming skepticism define this role.
- Creating the brand and communicating it. Answer the tough question: “Who are we?”
- Always look at things and see if there is a better way to do what we’re doing.
- Don’t sell a concept – promote a solution!
Mark shared that he took on a big challenge trying to make SEI a marketing-driven company. He advised to make “big changes in small increments.” He felt that it took special attributes for a marketer to take this on and succeed, specifically the “3 Ps”: Passion, Persistence, and Patience. His last note of advice? Run your marketing team like it is your own business within the greater organization, focus on making “big changes in small increments,” and build momentum and credibility along the way.
Ted Birkhahn, President and Partner, Peppercomm
How to stop “selling” product to business executives, and instead start helping them do their jobs better
The message from global business executives to global marketers is clear, “Stop marketing to me!” Global business executives are seeking substance. They have complex problems to solve and want content that will help them do their job better or make better decisions. However, marketers are still focusing on general marketing. Ted talked to us about a recent survey of business executives that examined how well B2B marketers are “hitting the mark.” The result, a majority of marketers connect their content directly to a product or service, while business executives see this approach as a sales pitch.
Ted highlighted key advice for content marketers who want to be relevant and strategic:
- Because more and more time is spent on internet research before purchase, we know that audiences are deep into their search for solutions.
- If you are using content that is merely campaign driven, think again. Leveraging content today must be a long-term strategy.
- Marketers must shift their thinking to how their content can be part of the buyer’s journey.
Buyers are looking for category solutions early in the funnel. Later in the funnel, brands become more important as buyers are looking for specific solutions and comparisons.
Key goals to work towards follow:
- Always add value.
- Shift to transparency.
- Trust is synonymous to thought leadership.
- Know enough about the competition so as to create your differentiator.
The market research that Ted shared tells marketers what our audience wants – and expects. Learn more about the survey feelings.
Tim Sanders, New York Times Best-Selling Author and Partner at Deeper Media
How to breakthrough “Selling Deadlock” with sales innovation
As a B2B marketer, we know that despite your team's best efforts, some deals will inevitably get stuck or key relationships will go sour. Tim Sanders demonstratively outlined his "Dealstorming" structured, scalable, repeatable process that can help teams break through any sales deadlock. Tim’s process drives sales innovation by combining the wisdom and creativity of everyone who has a stake in the sale.
Let’s face it – the level of complexity is rising. Along the buy cycle (Contact, Conceive, Convince, Contract) there are dozens of layers of problems. It starts with the number of people it takes to seal the deal – 5.4, and there are 2.4 that you never get in front of. Marketers need to get more creative in demonstrating the USP to everyone on the team. Tim shared these key take-aways:
- Collaboration is critical.
- Research has proven what works better – a great idea? No, a good team.
- Systematic rapid problem solving wins the deal.
- Avoid the “goat rodeo” and invite people to “prepare” for meetings with real ideas and solutions, not passive listening.
Tim is full of energy and great insights, such as “Genius is in the work, not the person”, and “Ideas can come from anywhere – where people don’t know what they don’t know,” and a BMAPhilly favorite, “A problem well-defined is half solved.”
Attendees got a complimentary edition of Tim’s latest book “Dealstorming,” made available by BMA and BlueWhale Research.
A Great Conclusion to a Great Day: Tour of West Art Collection at SEI
The day concluded with a tour of the West Collection artworks that are on long-term loan to SEI. Al West, the founder of SEI and his daughter Paige have spent the last 21 years collecting 3,100 compelling contemporary works by over 700 leading international artists. The goal of the West Collection is to share challenging and inventive work of emerging artists with the SEI audience and the public.
At any given time 1,500 works from the West Collection are installed at the SEI Corporate Campus in Oaks, PA, and other works are displayed in rotating exhibitions at the nearby West Collection Warehouse. Artworks are also loaned to various international and local museums and universities for exhibition.
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