Someone asked me why, as a marketer and head of a market research firm, am I attending a sales conference. I thought my response to her question would provide some insights into what I hope to gain from the conference and what this means for B2B marketers. Here are my top expectations from the conference.
The majority of the work we have been doing lately is with B2B clients. Marketing’s alignment with sales is a critical element in B2B marketing success. When I first started my career in B2B marketing I would often consult my college marketing textbooks (the handful I didn’t sell at the end of the semester!) for answers and inspiration. I was often frustrated as the examples and case studies were so consumer focused. I had a hard time applying lessons from Proctor & Gamble’s launch strategy for Crest toothpaste to problems I was trying to solve in my role in B2B product marketing. I have been a fan of Selling Power Magazine and the writings of its founder, Gerhard Gschwandtner, for some time now in helping me bridge this gap.
Development such as Salesforce.com’s Einstein platform, and more recently in 2018, the launch of Einstein Voice are key disruptive forces. How will these technologies impact marketing efforts? Marketing research and the role of customer voice? How we collect and mine customer data for insights? These are some of the question for which I hope to come away with insights that we can apply to our client work.
At Silicon Valley Research Group, we have always considered the role of B2B marketing as one of equipping the sales force with situational fluency and conversational guidance in engaging directly with customers. We have used data from a variety of sources including win/loss analysis, competitive intelligence and customer interviews & focus groups to help marketing departments create sales battle cards and other content to be used by their field sales and partners. Sales force development philosophies change from time to time. We go through phases with best selling books such as Solution Selling, Sell or Be Sold, or The Challenger Sale, and sales training trends like PSS (Professional Selling Skills), The Counselor Sales Person, Sandler Sales Training etc. But the essential soft skills are evergreen. Staying current with these soft skills has been key for me and my staff at Silicon Valley Research in enabling our work. The conference speaker line-up promises to be a good reinforcement and source of new ideas on this front. The classic two-wheel bicycle where the front wheel is product knowledge backed by a strong back wheel of interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence remains the backbone of all customer engagement whether from marketing or sales.
A powerful market differentiator that marketers are well tuned into, and a proven financial performance booster (see our blog post titled: Wall street Loves Great Product Design). Looking forward to insights from Tiffani Bova, Evangelist at Salesforce and others on customer experience as a competitive differentiator and the importance of designing multi-channel customer experiences
Looking forward to exhibits and demos for new B2B marketing and sales technologies including the following:
Keep an eye out for my post-conference post where I'll share my top takeaways from the conference.
Alan Nazarelli is President and CEO of Silicon Valley Research Group, a global market research and strategy development firm focused on the needs of technology companies. You can schedule a consultation with Mr. Nazarelli here.
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