Don’t Miss Focus B2B Marketing Week, July 11-15

From Monday, July 11, through Friday, July 15, Focus.com is presenting Focus B2B Marketing Week, rolling out a bunch of webinars and roundtable panels that will bring together the top experts in their fields to discuss the state of B2B marketing today.

Couple things to note:

  • Wednesday at 10 am PT is a webinar with Ardath Albee and me. Everything else is a roundtable.
  • You can catch all the action by clicking here.
  • Ask questions before, during and after the event in the event interfaces.

For speaker details and to attend, click the event links below.

Monday July 11

1 pm PT/4 pm ET: How to Set Up an Effective Marketing Organization

Tuesday July 12

11 am PT/2 pm ET: B2B Marketing Tactics That Work (And the Ones That Don’t)

1 pm PT/4 pm ET: Modern B2B Marketing Strategies

Wednesday July 13

10 am PT/1 pm ET: The Four Types of Prospect Attention and How They Affect Demand Generation

1 pm PT/4 pm ET: B2B Lead Generation: How To Use the Phone to Drive High Quality Leads

Thursday July 14

9 am PT/12 pm ET: The Key to Sales and Marketing Alignment

1 pm PT/4 pm ET: Expert Best Practices in Content Marketing

Friday July 15

11 am PT/2 pm ET: B2B Marketing 3.0: What’s Next for B2B Marketers?

1 pm PT/4 pm ET: Tips on Generating Leads for Yourself

Sign up to attend now — it should be awesome.

HubSpot and the Phone: A Recap of My Weekly Adventures

I just moderated the Focus Roundtable: How Important is the Phone to Growing Revenues, and it was off the hook. Lori Richardson put it together, and what was really cool is she brought people together from two camps: the “calling” camp (herself and Trish Bertuzzi), and the “content” camp (Ardath Albee and Kirsten Knipp). You should listen to the MP3 file when you get the chance; meanwhile, here are my top take-away messages:

HubSpot generated 40,000 inbound leads last month (via Kirsten Knipp). What the hell? Dude, when I heard that I fell to the floor. That is the definition of “eating your own dog food.” Here is your Funnelholic tip of the day: Copy them. Period. Whenever people ask me for advice, the one thing I always suggest is to find someone else (a competitor) who is performing exceptionally and copy them. For some reason, that concept is really hard for b2b folks. The b2c guys do it all the time. They copy landing pages, whatever. Why wouldn’t you? Oh and BTW, HubSpot tells you how they do it. Their content is their playbook. They want you to copy them. Those lead numbers are absurd.

The Phone is not dead ‑ it’s more effective than ever. Speaking of HubSpot, they call people to sell them s#!*. That’s right. We had another Roundtable, Inside Sales Tune Up, with Chad Levitt. Mike Damphousse was the moderator and the big point is: To convert prospects from lead to opportunity and from opportunity to sale, you have to call them. Inbound marketing is not defined as “sales that fall in your lap.” They are leads that require the leveraging of outbound sales skills to convert.

Phone Pt. II: It’s never been easier to reach prospects over the phone (via Trish Bertuzzi). There is a hidden benefit to the inbound marketing craze: The phone has been freed up. Trish believes because organizations are “sitting back” and waiting for people to come to them, that it has never been easier to get people on the phone. It’s a great quote, but more importantly, what a great opportunity! This doesn’t mean to call stupidly. Make sure you are relevant (which takes research) and professional (which takes training). There is a great conversation on Focus.com on the topic.

Net-net: you want inbound leads,  copy Hubspot because you can. And if you want to turn leads into revenue — call them.  It’s it and that’s that.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

Focus Funnel Expert: Ardath Albee of Marketing Interactions

Today, we’re delving deeper into the Focus Experts’ Guide: Sales and Marketing Pipeline and Funnel Models, so I’d like to introduce another of the industry thought-leaders who contributed to the Focus Experts’ Guide.

Meet Ardath Albee, CEO and B2B Marketing Strategist at Marketing Interactions. Ardath brings over 20 years of business management and marketing experience to help B2B companies with complex sales create e-marketing strategies, using contagious content to turn prospects into buyers. She shares her insights on the Marketing Interactions blog, and is the author of the book eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale.

The Funnelholic: Explain your approach to the funnel.

Ardath: I approached the funnel from how the buyer might experience it. If organizations are truly going to achieve customer-centric orientation, they need to start thinking from the buyers’ perspective, not their company’s.

The labeling of a buyer as a contact, lead, prospect, marketing qualified lead, sales accepted lead, etc., is a company construct that emphasizes our interests in selling to them, not theirs in buying from us. What might make an interesting experiment is to overlay the buyer perspective funnel on top of a company perspective funnel and take a look at how the stages line up. We might learn something.

The Funnelholic: Besides your own, were there any other funnels that resonated with you?

Ardath: Several. I really enjoyed Mike Damphousse’s take on the demand-gen cloud as a funnel. There’s definitely a lot more going on these days than there used to be, and “harnessing the chaos” is definitely now within marketing’s purview. That said, I think “managing the demand-gen cloud” is a tall order. We need to embrace it, learn from it and proactively work to engage in all the channels that our prospects spend time in, as Mike discusses, but control is firmly in the hands of buyers.

The statement that the funnel “is a living object that changes as business conditions evolve,” made by Christopher Doran also resonated with me. We would all be well served to pay attention to how fast our marketplaces are changing to make sure we change in parallel. Barbra Gago’s funnel focused on community to the point of involving all customer-facing departments within the organization; that got me thinking about some new opportunities. I also liked the fact that she went beyond purchase, as did Matt Heinz and Matt West, to loyalty, lifetime value and evangelism. I actually found something unique to consider in all the funnels. Each of them had points I found well worth considering.

The Funnelholic: What did you learn from the exercise?

Ardath: That designing a funnel is challenging. Especially — as a practicing marketer — to separate the strategic from the tactical in order to draw the funnel to support a specific perspective. And, not being a graphic designer, it was frustrating trying to determine just how to depict my funnel so that what I visualized in my head would get my point across to the audience.

I think I created and discarded five or six funnels before I landed on my final version. It made me think about the process from different angles and also challenged me to look for a new way of presenting a funnel that might help others look at the concept of a funnel differently.

The Funnelholic: If everyone needs to create a funnel to model their business, what are best practices for creating it?

Ardath: That’s a tough question. Here are a few insights from my experience that may be helpful. I’m just not sure they should be called “best practices.”

Play. Allow yourself to toss out a number of ideas that are not traditional for your company.

Start from a blank page. Trying to change the funnel you already have by working within that construct will limit your ability to envision things differently.

Make sure each section of your funnel makes a logical transition. If you see gaps, insert another stage to fill them.

Describe your funnel in 100 words or less. You made us do that, and it caused me to really think about what I needed to say to get my point across. If you can’t describe your funnel so that people understand it in 100 words or less, go back to the drawing table.

Invite people with various perspectives to participate. I drew my funnel by myself. After seeing other Focus Experts’ funnels, I realized there were a few things that I hadn’t considered that I’ll now incorporate into my funnel.

Consider your funnel’s application. Once you have your funnel, take a look at your processes and determine how they might be modified to smooth the transitions from one stage to the next — or better connect them. If you’ve flipped your funnel on its head, this could be a really enlightening exercise.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter