Reshaping Field Marketing. in a Digital World

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1 Reshaping Field Marketing in a Digital World

2 CONTENTS Introduction... 2 Challenge... 3 Reshaping Field Marketing for a Digital World Digital World Introduction The increasing use of the Internet and social media in the early stages of the purchase process, and, the declining buyer interest in and funds for "sales-driven" events are putting the squeeze on Field Marketing efforts and reducing ROI. Traditionally the role of B2B Field Marketing teams has been to provide localized support for corporate communications and branding efforts to support sales by running events and campaigns, arranging appointments with prospects and by creating sales collateral. In many locations, Field Marketing also takes on the role of "local product expert" when product marketing support is unavailable. However, the changes in buyer behavior now require Field Marketing to take a more significant role in the lead generation process for new business and for sales to take a back seat until prospective customers are willing to engage with them. In enterprise organizations that sell complex technology solutions, marketing has traditionally produced less than 50% of the unqualified leads. That percentage drops to less than 25% for sales qualified leads. Yet Field Marketing, with its closer proximity to the market, is really the most appropriate function to drive lead generation and undertake lead management in the new paradigm. They are in a good position to understand the local (i.e. geo) requirements of their customers, direct the creation of solution-oriented (versus, individual product or service) content, and deliver that content via the channels most appropriate to their target audience. In fact, in this white paper we suggest broadening Field Marketing responsibilities to include the following areas: 1. Online customer relationships and engagement 2. Online lead generation 3. Campaign modification and adaption to local/geo/industry etc. market conditions 4. Lead nurturing 5. Sales support 6. Internal communications around customer acquisition and the marketing campaign 7. Voice of the "local" customer Page 2

3 The Growing Marketing Challenge The growing challenge for marketers is to understand their customers and prospects better than ever. Only then can they hope to truly engage with them. The traditional ways of attracting new prospects, in particular, are becoming less effective. The response rates on untargeted advertising are dropping. Interest in technology white papers have moved to the later stages of the buying process. Success rates on cold calls have succumbed to caller ID. And with the avalanche of free content now hitting buyers who use online sources to inform their buying decisions (over 80% of all business buyers), only by developing an in depth understanding of their needs and catering to them, will it be possible to create marketing messages and offers that will be opened, looked at and considered. Changing Field Marketing's Focus The Field Marketing team is perhaps in the best position of all marketing groups to help both customers and prospects alike by driving: the creation and delivery of thought leadership content and best practices tailored to their specific needs, the creation of and invitations to participate in, enduser social media/community groups, the delivery of relevant case studies, reference stories and trials/pocs at the appropriate stage in each prospects buying process lead nurturing and customer retention programs and by providing access to the most appropriate sales person, when a prospect is ready to engage. Engaging and converting potential customers is getting harder. Notwithstanding the economy, the buying process is now frequently initiated online. The purchase approval process frequently involves multiple personnel and these "decision committees" are growing in size at each budget level. The risk of project implementation failure has increased and with it so has the buyer's need to reduce the unknowns by seeking peer advice and gaining access to existing customers/users. Social media and user groups can help meet these needs but Field Marketing must take a proactive role in establishing the necessary online relationships with both the existing and potential customers in their geography. Leave this responsibility to Corporate or Product Marketing alone, and there may only be a "one-size-fits-all strategy. Plus without these relationships, Field Marketing will eventually be unable to support sales' need for leads and contacts. Furthermore, the nature of online marketing requires that vendors allow customers to opt-in to receive content and participate in campaigns. Not all will proceed at the same pace so it's important to find online ways to nurture both leads and existing customers who need more time. Sales must still play their role in establishing trust and maintaining personal relationships, but with buyers' preference for online research, thought leadership etc, marketing has moved to the front lines. Field Marketing, with its closer proximity to the customer and stronger relationship with the sales team, must now take the lead. It should be the one that welcomes newly converted customers to the fold, introducing them to the user community and enrolling them in the appropriate user/social media groups. Field Marketing should coordinate the delivery of appropriate content through these groups, keeping customers engaged and being a marketing contact point for the enterprise. With these relationships, Field Marketing will also be in a strong position to advise both corporate and product strategy, based on their geo/region/territory customers' needs, and to be able to engage and introduce new prospects seeking advice from the existing user community. Finally, with its traditional skills in communications and events, Field Marketing is also in the perfect position to meld the attributes of push and pull marketing by, for example, making sure events are not only truly educational but they appeal to both existing customers and prospects alike, and, provide venues where customers get to evangelize about the company and its products and solutions. Existing customers can be far more effective promoters of a brand than either marketing or sales. Page 3

4 With these factors in mind, new and existing Field Marketing responsibilities must be combined to create a marketing function that has a primary responsibility for the online relationships with customers and prospects that is measured on pipeline contribution, revenue or both. Field. Marketing Responsibilities In The Digital Age While it may never be entirely possible, an additional goal of B2B marketers should be to market to prospective customers as individuals with unique requirements. Marketing technology continues to improve, allowing not only different messages to be sent to different market segments and sub-segments, but also to vary messages and content depending on where a prospect is in their buying process. Website visitors need no longer be directed to content they have already consumed but can instead be moved along the funnel to the next level by revealing additional content or offers. This requires considerable customer knowledge and the testing of online assets in order to use those that have the most impact. The ability to adapt and personalize comes from that knowledge of the customer coupled with the responsibility to craft the campaigns needed to drive customers along the sales funnel at each stage of their buying process. Accordingly Field Marketing's role must evolve to encompass the range of online activities as follows: 1. Online customer relationships and engagement - Prospects rarely join the online community groups of vendors that they don't do business with. Yet they do like to communicate with existing users of more complex technologies or services before they buy. Many companies create user groups to help their customers get and share advice on their more challenging issues. This provides the vendor with feedback on existing solutions and input on new directions. Field Marketing does not need to run these groups but it can use their existence to engage with customers in its area by inviting them to participate. By establishing an online relationship they can provide useful content and be able to leverage the knowledge gained of current customer needs and issues to inform the creation of campaigns and the development of content targeted at prospective customers. They'll also be able to connect prospects with enthusiastic customers during the consideration phase of the buying process. 2. Online lead generation - Although every enterprise has a website, surprisingly, only recently has the idea of capturing leads online taken off. For many years, enterprise marketers simply expected visitors to read the contact information and to call if they were interested. Instead of generating leads though their website they relied on outbound marketing and telesales to drive the process. In reality, the number of prospects that actually do call is miniscule. Nowadays, outbound marketing techniques such as advertizing, conventions and telesales are far more effective when coupled with online campaigns. Prospects that opt-in to receive content or participate in webinars etc. are better qualified and easier to communicate with. To be effective marketers need to create integrated campaigns where prospects can be encouraged to opt-in online and be invited to participate in outbound events. Field Marketing, with responsibility for outbound activities within its territory, must now be given the online capabilities to create integrated campaigns. Beyond campaign integration and effectiveness however, the early stages of the buying process have moved totally online. Therefore, if Field Marketing is to retain responsibility for developing leads, it must become responsible for online lead generation within its geographic markets. 3. Campaign localization and adaption - Regardless of whether the buyer is B2B or B2C, everyone prefers more personalized service. Online personalization is becoming more important too. The examples of Amazon.com and Netflix are well known. These companies' websites record what books and movies are of interest to their customers and then make individual/personalized recommendations at each subsequent visit. Consequently, site visitors are not presented with the same offer; neither do they have to complete the same multi-field contact form on each subsequent visit. The site knows who they are from their user ID. Page 4

5 While sites without ecommerce capabilities may not be able to mirror these capabilities, it is becoming increasingly important to customize online messages and offers for each target audience and to ensure that site visitors are offered different and increasingly valuable/relevant content at each visit. To be truly relevant requires the local market knowledge and customer understanding that marketers in the field develop. Field Marketing must be involved in online campaign development to ensure prospective customers receive the level of customization they increasingly expect. 4. Lead nurturing - By working closely with sales, Field Marketing must update the criteria for Marketing Qualified and Sales Qualified Leads (MQLs and SQLs) to incorporate the data about prospects use of online assets. What assets must qualified leads have consumed, what web pages viewed etc. However, leads move through the online pipeline at differing speeds and not all are ready to engage with sales at the same time, for a whole variety of reasons. Some may look ready but may push back when the phone calls start. In these cases it's important to have nurturing campaigns in place that will retain interest, educate and continue to move potential prospects along the funnel using online techniques. As with other aspects of online lead generation, having strong customer knowledge and being able to integrate online and offline activities is vital to nurturing success. 6. Internal communications around customer acquisition and the marketing campaigns - In today's virtual world there are a large number of online customer touch points within any enterprise organization - marketing, sales, customer service, finance, operations and logistics etc. In addition, the need to produce a constant stream of timely and interesting content via articles, white papers, blog posts, websites etc. requires a strong team effort from functions across the organization - engineering, product marketing, customer support, public relations. Getting everyone on the same page when it comes to messaging requires significant effort and frequent internal communications. Field Marketing with its new online responsibilities must also ensure the consistency of content and communications across the organization so that everyone is singing the same tune and supporting the same end goals. 7. The voice of the local customer - Of course, with its key responsibility for online customer and prospect relationships Field Marketing should also be the go-to function for those groups who need a better understanding of customer needs - the corporate strategy and messaging, product design and development, media planning etc. 5. Sales support - In addition to their traditional sales support roles - enablement, collateral, local expert - responsibility for online lead generation will enable Field Marketing to develop and share with sales more detailed lead intelligence. Marketing automation systems not only track website visits and content downloads etc, they also pull in a wealth of information from social media sites which can be used to help sales better engage with qualified leads. Page 5

6 Summary and Conclusion The business world is changing fast and organizations that want to survive and thrive must adapt to satisfy the new customer requirements. The buying process has moved substantially online and marketing needs to not only innovate to find ways to create the thought leadership and other online assets but must step up to take on enhanced responsibilities. No longer can marketing simply take a passive role in lead generation. Online lead generation requires marketing to take a very active and responsible role. Then the question becomes, which part of marketing? This paper suggests that the lead role for online lead generation should be the Field Marketing team. Special Offer: 25 Free Hard-to-Discover Contacts Provide us with your hard to discover titles, functions or roles and a list of up to ten key target accounts (and their locations). We ll you 25 contact records free of charge (one time per company only). SimplyDIRECT helps you identify, engage and qualify prospects with maximum precision through custom database building into your target accounts. We specialize in account penetration by delivering accurate, highlevel contact information for Director, Vice President and C-level decision makers as-well-as managers. We focus on: Key account marketing: Our account-based approach focuses on the right contacts with the roles you need to target, in the accounts you d like to win. We phone verify our contacts to ensure accuracy. Survey based demand generation: Identifying not only prospects but also details about their need for your product or service. Those with appropriate needs are invited to opt-in to be contacted by your sales force. Find out how we can help. Take advantage of our offer of 25 free contact records for the titles/roles you want to engage within up to ten target accounts of your choice. For more information contact us at: Phone Clock Tower Place, Suite 320, Maynard, MA SimplyDIRECT has but one goal - Your Success! Page 6

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