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Marketing and Sales Alignment for Grown-Ups Lisa Dennis

President

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is part of our “Smarter Sales and Marketing” series, a regular feature where technology marketing and sales experts will be sharing insight, tools, and best practices to help today’s leaders better integrate marketing and sales strategies for maximum success.

As I was thinking about the topic of marketing and sales alignment, I wondered if everything hasn’t already been said…

There are literally piles of technology solutions that claim to do the alignment for you. There are hundreds and hundreds of articles on the top five, ten, twenty ways to “align” the two teams. Good research data abounds from all the industry experts on how alignment, and misalignment, will impact the business. There are a thousand opinions about the age-old tug-of-war on lead generation, passing and conversion. Yet this is still a major challenge for too many companies.

Maybe it is just time to grow up.

We are trying to fix a challenge that is really organizational in nature. Most of the time, they are separate departments who are trying to hit the same goal. Think about it: same goal, two departments – going at it from different perspectives, opinions, and skill sets. Am I over simplifying the problem? Maybe. But the fact remains, even now when the buying premise has changed so dramatically, marketing is one department and sales is another. It doesn’t work as well as it should. And it’s a very old organizational model. Period. An entire industry has sprung up trying to address this basic challenge. One goal – one target – two departments. If you think about it, most of the tools, processes, and technologies are about the “hand-off.”   How do we streamline, fix, integrate, upgrade, aggregate, consolidate, manage, measure, and motivate the hand-off?

What if there was no hand-off?

So let’s grow up and admit that “blurring the boundaries” , and “aligning the teams” are challenges that keep bumping up against the reality that having two separate, organizational functions isn’t working. I have talked in the past about how selling is a partnership but I think now that what has changed is that we must focus on partnering with the buyer  which means fundamental changes in how we fuel their initial journey, listen for their experiences,  share what we know and communicate how we can assist.

Partnering with ourselves should be a given.

That means really thinking about and actualizing what marketing and sales alignment is really about. Chipping away at what it isn’t might be a good place to start:

It is not about technology.

It is not just about the sales function.

It is not just about the marketing function.

It is definitely not about more content.

It is not about more tools or less tools.

It’s not about any of these things. It’s about being ONE.

There is one buyer between us and a sale. So let’s really go one-to-one. Let’s combine marketing and sales into a single entity. Remove the organizational barrier and redefine the strategies, tasks and activities. Be one in the way it matters to a potential customer. It should be seamless, collaborative and relevant. The customer should not feel or notice the hand-off – because there should no longer be a hand-off.

One head is better than two.

As I was working on this post, I did a bit of preliminary review of what has been written on alignment. I found an article in the Harvard Business Review written back in 2006 that made a great point:  “All too often, organizations find that they have a marketing function inside Sales, and a sales function inside Marketing.” What does that tell you? Nine years later, this is even more true with the use of field marketing teams and  sales enablement teams all trying to work in the field. Maybe we should stop trying to kind-of work as one team and just be one team. If we did that, what should the imperatives be? Consider these:

Jointly define the customer value conversation and build all interactions around that. It should no longer be about orchestrating two integrated conversations. It’s about the only conversation the customer wants to have – which is about their needs.

Install leadership who have served in BOTH marketing and sales roles and make it a condition of employment at the director level up.

Make sure everyone on the team has joint experience, whether they come in the door with it, or they acquire it during their tenure with you.

Redesign the compensation structure for everyone, with individual and team performance metrics tied directly to revenue generation and meeting quota. Move from marketing team and sales team to Revenue Team.

Redesign communications so that everyone on the team knows what’s happening in the field, and how prospect/customer interactions are going.

Be transparent with metrics so everyone is looking at a clear set that defines the entire group’s performance on a monthly basis.

Coordinate prospect and customer outreach so everyone knows what is going out and how it reached or didn’t reach the targets, and how the prospect engaged.

If you looked at redesign from some of these imperatives, what might your ONE organization look like? Let’s just grow up already, and redesign the function to reflect the current reality out there defined by our prospects and customers. It isn’t about aligning with ourselves, it is ALL about aligning with them.

An experienced salesperson and marketer, Lisa Dennis is president and founder of Knowledgence Associates, a sales and marketing consultancy. Pairing hands-on marketing and selling of information and high technology products and services, she understands what the customer imperative needs to be for communicating information about products and services to varied audiences. Lisa’s philosophy is that the core of successful marketing and sales initiatives is “doing the homework” – making sure that the information side of programs and campaigns are solid.

b2b sales, b2b technology buyers, lead follow-up, lead management, marketing and sales alignment, marketing strategies, sales and marketing alignment, sales and marketing strategies

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Techtarget Wins 2023 Siia Codie Award For Best Sales & Marketing Intelligence Solution

TechTarget, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTGT), the global leader in B2B technology purchase intent data and services today announced that its Priority Engine™ platform won a 2023 SIIA CODiE™ Award in the Best Sales and Marketing Intelligence Solution category. The prestigious CODiE Awards, hosted by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), recognize the companies producing the most innovative business technology products across the country, and around the world. TechTarget’s Priority Engine previously won the Best Sales & Marketing Intelligence Solution award in 2023 and has been named a CODiE finalist or winner in the category for 4 consecutive years.

TechTarget’s Priority Engine, the industry’s only opt-in, prospect-level purchase intent intelligence platform, gives technology sales and marketing professionals direct access to the most active accounts and prospects researching technologies that their companies provide. The platform delivers essential insights on the topical interests of accounts and prospects, the recency and relevancy of their activity, the vendors they are considering and the technologies that they currently have installed. With this intelligence in hand, sales and marketing teams can vastly improve ABM performance, drive more sales productivity & effectiveness, and maximize qualified opportunities in their market.

“We are very proud to once again be recognized by SIIA’s CODiE Awards for our leadership in Sales & Marketing Intelligence,” said Michael Cotoia, CEO, TechTarget. “As marketing and sales organizations transform to meet the needs of buyers who are increasingly digital, they need the right tools and data to identify and pursue opportunities with in-market buying teams. Our continued investment in the decision-support content that attracts highly targeted, opt-in audiences of technology buyers is what drives the unique strength of the real purchase intent data within our Priority Engine platform. We provide modern sellers and marketers with essential intelligence to find and engage buyers, and the actionable insights to convert them to real opportunities and pipeline.”

The SIIA CODiE Awards have been recognizing product excellence for 36 years and are the industry’s only peer-reviewed awards program. The first-round review of all nominees is conducted by software and business technology experts with considerable industry expertise, including members of the industry, analysts, media, influencers, bankers and investors. The scores from the expert judge review determine the finalists. SIIA members then vote on the finalist products, and the scores from both rounds are tabulated to select the winners. 46 awards were given this year for products and services deployed specifically for B2B software, information and media companies. TechTarget joins other important companies recognized at this year’s awards such as: Red Hat, IBM, Accenture and LogMeIn.

“The 2023 CODiE Award winners continued to innovate, pivot and grow to develop truly remarkable products during a historically challenging year. Winners maintain the vital legacy of the CODiEs in spotlighting the best and most impactful apps, services and products serving the business tech market. Congratulations to this year’s winners on this well-deserved recognition,” said Jeff Joseph, SIIA President.

TechTarget is a leader in the market because of its continuous innovation & growth and the significant value and ROI its customers achieve. TechTarget purchase intent intelligence is uniquely powerful because of how it is made and how it is delivered to B2B tech marketers and sales professionals. The actionable insights for clients within the Priority Engine platform are achievable because of the depth of original decision-support content spanning TechTarget’s expansive network. Our customer success is further bolstered by our robust suite of marketing, sales engagement and go-to-market services.

About the SIIA CODiE Awards

The SIIA CODiE Awards is the only peer-reviewed program to showcase business and education technology’s finest products and services. Since 1986, thousands of products, services and solutions have been recognized for achieving excellence.  For more information, visit siia.net/CODiE.

About TechTarget

TechTarget (Nasdaq: TTGT) is the global leader in purchase intent-driven marketing and sales services that deliver business impact for enterprise technology companies. By creating abundant, high-quality editorial content across more than 140 highly targeted technology-specific websites, TechTarget attracts and nurtures communities of technology buyers researching their companies’ information technology needs. By understanding these buyers’ content consumption behaviors, TechTarget creates the purchase intent insights that fuel efficient and effective marketing and sales activities for clients around the world.

Enterprise Strategy Group™ (ESG®) is a division of TechTarget and BrightTALK Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary of TechTarget.

TechTarget has offices in Boston, London, Munich, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Singapore and Sydney. For more information, visit chúng tôi and follow us on Twitter @TechTarget.

(C) 2023 TechTarget, Inc. All rights reserved. TechTarget, the TechTarget logo and ESG are registered trademarks and Priority Engine, BrightTALK and Enterprise Strategy Group are trademarks of TechTarget. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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Why Windows Rt Is Crucial For Microsoft Despite Sagging Sales

Don’t shed a tear for Windows RT, the neutered operating system cursed to be the red-headed stepchild of the Windows family (to Windows Phone’s great relief). While the OS’s rocky birth has since led to an even rockier childhood, its very existence is a clever ploy for the future by Microsoft—even though you can’t give Windows RT tablets away today.

Body blow after body blow

It’s all too easy to feel bad for Windows RT. Designed specifically for use with mobile-focused ARM processors rather than with the x86-based chips that traditional computers use, Windows RT devices can run only apps designed for the touch-friendly modern UI. Classic desktop programs simply won’t work on Windows RT.

But beyond those technical restrictions, the OS has suffered from an astounding level of neglect. The Windows Store—the very lifeblood of Windows RT and the entire modern UI—still fails to impress. With few stellar apps to attract users and no ability to run desktop software, Windows RT hasn’t been a hit with consumers. IDC estimates that just 200,000 Windows RT devices shipped in the first quarter, and most of those were Microsoft’s own Surface RT tablet.

A tablet with the Windows Store open, sitting on a big, empty expanse—now there’s an appropriate visual metaphor.

Unable to sell Windows RT slates, many manufacturers have stopped making them altogether. Software developers aren’t exactly lining up to support the modern UI, either. Big-name game studios have turned up their noses at the Windows Store’s walled garden. Apple recently dismissed the idea of porting iTunes to Windows 8/RT. The OS was shunned at CES, Computex, and Microsoft’s own Build 2013 keynote.

The hits just keep coming for Windows RT. But here’s the thing: Even though ARM-powered tablets have flopped on the market thus far, they’ve already had a huge impact on Windows tablets overall, and their role can only increase going forward.

Sipping power

“For Microsoft, Windows RT is a long-term, strategic play,” says Patrick Moorhead, founder and principal analyst of Moor Insights and Strategy.

That long-term play is already paying dividends in the short term, however. Part of the reason ARM is so successful in the mobile realm is because the reference chips it designs and licenses to manufacturers are absolute wonders of energy efficiency.

Dell’s Ivy Bridge-based XPS 12 was a wonderful hybrid—but compared to tablets, it delivered atrocious battery life.

Battery life isn’t everything to smartphones and tablets, but it’s definitely at the top of the list—and the x86 processors that Intel and AMD traditionally made weren’t competitive on the power front. The Intel Core processor-powered hybrids available at around the time of Windows 8’s launch struggled to reach 5 hours of battery life. (See: Microsoft’s Surface Pro, Dell’s XPS 12, Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga 13, and many more.) That’s decent longevity for an Ultrabook, but it doesn’t cut it for a tablet. Stand-alone Android and Apple slates routinely last longer than 8 hours on a single charge.

Shortly after Windows 8 and Windows RT launched, however, Intel released its x86-based “Clover Trail” Atom chip, which runs the full Windows 8 operating system and lasts all day long. Soon, slates like the Samsung ATIV Smart PC and the Acer Iconia W510 appeared, offering classic desktop functionality and 8-plus hours of endurance. Windows 8 tablets suddenly boomed, while Windows RT tablets waned, robbed of their major point of differentiation.

Don’t think Intel’s sudden energy expertise was a stroke of serendipity, though.

Chip development takes years, and Intel was no doubt dreamed up Clover Trail shortly after it became apparent that tablets were here to stay, but the Windows RT stick provided a harsh counterpoint to the Windows 8 carrot. Intel had two years to bolster its power efficiency in the wake of Windows RT’s unveiling.

Both AMD and Intel have doubled down on power efficiency to combat the threat of ARM and Windows RT.

“Windows RT is designed to give Intel something to think about in terms of their power efficiency and performance at that lower power level,” says Moorhead. “In essence, to keep them a little bit honest. I did see a remarkable improvement in Intel’s low-power silicon as soon as Windows RT and [Microsoft’s] support for the ARM architecture was announced.”

Funny how that happened—and how it’s continuing to happen, in the form of Intel’s upcoming “Silvermont” Atom architecture as well as its recently released Haswell processor, both of which emphasize power efficiency. AMD is sharpening its mobile focus, too.

Yes, we’re nearing the point where hybrids may quench your thirst for tablets—and it wouldn’t have happened quite so quickly without Windows RT.

How WinRT will help Windows RT

Windows RT is playing another crucial role in the future of the Windows ecosystem, though that future looks bleak today. Yes, I’m talking about the Windows Store.

All the talk of cross-platform bliss that permeated the Build 2013 conference and a substantial portion of Microsoft’s recent efforts revolve around the ability of various bits of the Windows ecosystem to talk with one another. The modern UI and all of its apps run on the Windows Runtime/WinRT application architecture. Not to be confused with the Windows RT operating system (curse your naming schemes, Microsoft!), Windows Runtime supports several programming languages and runs just fine on x86 and ARM processors alike. (Microsoft handsets run a variant dubbed Windows Phone Runtime.) Michael HomnickIf Windows Phone and Windows desktop ever unite their app stores, it’ll be thanks to the underlying WinRT structure.

That’s crucial. As modern apps become available, they’ll be able to run on a much more varied array of hardware, especially as Microsoft ties Windows proper ever closer to the rest of its ecosystem.

Not only does that mean more choice for consumers in the long run, it also means more flexibility for Microsoft. As such longstanding partners of the company as Intel and AMD flirt with Android, Windows RT and the modern UI’s underlying WinRT application architecture help Microsoft build for a future with open options.

Therein lies the genius of Microsoft’s Trojan horse. Every copy of Windows 8 sold includes that somewhat tacked-on modern interface. The more Windows 8 users there are, the more likely developers are to stuff the Windows Store with apps—and since the Windows Store (mostly) features WinRT apps rather than classic x86-based programs, Windows RT becomes stronger over time even if no one buys the tablets today.

“Over the long term, I think within three years we’ll most likely see a full catalog of Metro-based Windows applications,” says Moorhead.

Like I said: Genius. And Microsoft is pushing the Windows Store hard.

At Build, Microsoft announced modern versions of big-name apps like Facebook, Flipboard, and Foursquare for Windows. And while Windows RT specifically wasn’t on show at Microsoft’s Build keynote, a key cornerstone of its future was, in the form of an alpha build of modern-style Office apps.

Windows co-chief Julie Larson-Green showing off modern PowerPoint at the Build 2013 keynote.

“Microsoft announcing Metro Office, or at least showing PowerPoint for Windows RT in the modern UI, is—to me—the absolute message that Metro is the future, and the desktop is the past [for Microsoft],” says Moorhead. “While I think that Microsoft may have said that previously, their actions speak a lot louder than their words. In a way, Microsoft was hedging their bets with the desktop. But them doing Office in Metro speaks volumes.”

Onward and touchward

The death of the desktop isn’t imminent, but it’s not hard to see its ending writ large in Microsoft’s actions.

Microsoft is in it for the long haul with Windows 8 and the modern UI. Windows RT’s own star will shine more brightly as that duo ascends. In the meantime, Windows RT’s mere existence spurs traditional Windows laptops and hybrids toward longer-lasting charges and better cross-platform compatibility. Not bad for a platform that should, by most measures, be languishing on the vine.

In fact, its future boils down to a simple war of wills: Can Microsoft’s stubborn modern focus outlast consumer demand for the desktop? Only time can answer that question.

Elden Ring Sales, The Fastest

Elden Ring sales, the fastest-selling multiplatform Japanese game of all time

Check out Elden Ring sales as the game enters a new exciting chapter

Elden Ring sales are here to celebrate it’s recent recognition as the fastest-selling multiplatform Japanese game of all time.

We’re going to be looking at some great Elden Ring sales as the game adds a new record to it’s list of accomplishments. Since the release of Elden Ring in February earlier this year, it’s also maintained it’s lead as the biggest selling game of the year – fighting away massive competition thus far.

Recently, it’s added ‘the fastest-selling multiplatform Japanese game of all time’ to it’s trophy cabinet. Quite a lengthy title, but you can’t ignore the prestige of it. As of September 2023, Elden Ring has sold a milestone of 17.5 million units. This is the figure that allows them to claim this impressive title. It had already become the developer’s (FromSoftware) best-selling game, just three months after it’s initial release, even after the success of their other games.

Now with that title claimed, will we be seeing any nice sales on this FromSoftware masterpiece? Well, we’ve found a few for you to take a look at, no matter which platform you’ll be gaming on this December.

Elden Ring had an incredibly amount of hype surrounding it back when it released, and much of that hype has still stuck around – even as we reach the end of 2023. One big catalyst of that right now is the release of the new Colosseum DLC – more on that later.

Where can I find the best Elden Ring sales?

You can find some of the best Elden Ring sales right here on this page. We’ve covered all relevant platforms in order to make your shopping quick and easy. We’ve featured some useful links to console versions from over on Amazon, who are having their last minute Christmas deals event right now! So it’s a great time to head over there and see what’s on offer. For PC gamers, we’ve found some great deals from GreenManGaming, who are always great for sales, even when Steam sales aren’t currently happening.

Best Elden Ring sales available right now

If you’re looking to get in on the action, then there are some deals to look towards at the moment. Any kind of discount you can grab on this December is well worth your time, especially if you’ve been putting off buying this title until now.

Do Elden Ring sales make the game worth buying?

If you haven’t already tried out Elden Ring, you’re missing out. There’s plenty of good reason why it’s the best selling game on the year right now, as well as the fastest-selling multiplatform Japanese game of all time. Any kind of discount you can find makes a purchase much more appealing, so take a look above and see if anything catches your interest.

This interest should only be heightened by the recent Colosseum update, which was announced on December 6th for release on the following day. There’s a lot to get excited about with Elden Ring as 2023 comes to a close and the holiday season is in full swing.

The Colosseum update released on December 7th, and is generating a massive amount of excitement among current players who have been eagerly awaiting new game content. Even though Elden Ring featured an enormous amount of content on release, that doesn’t stop fans wanting more. This DLC brings much more in the way of PvP, something that players have missed a little following Dark Souls.

One of the best things about this new DLC is that it’s completely free-to-play and available on all platforms. The trailer was only released one day before release, so check it out now while it’s still fresh.

The Five Ps Of Marketing For 2024

How data, technology and changing consumer expectations are shaping the marketing mix

All of these technologies have the potential to give marketers new opportunities to meet and surpass consumer expectations. However, this is only possible if marketers can keep their skill-sets up to date and look at ways to integrate new ways of working into existing processes, for example through an effective digital transformation agenda.

Many businesses are struggling to keep up and it’s therefore interesting to take note of the innovations making the biggest impact. In an excellent article for the CIM, David Benady  recently outlined how these innovations fall into categories that form what he refers to as the new ‘Five Ps’ of marketing:

– Payments

– Products

– Promotion

– Place

– People

It’s worth reviewing each of these in turn and the different implications and opportunities for marketers:

Payments

As frictionless commerce continues to grow and transform the shopping experience, Apple Pay, Amazon, Google’s Android Pay and many other platforms will provide more opportunities for consumers to make mobile payments in ways that reflect their needs and lifestyles.

Google’s ‘Hands free’ app will potentially offer further, more transformative opportunities for consumers, whilst overall the trend is clear that mobile payments will only continue to grow. More and more payments are taking place on smartphones and tablets as they become increasingly ubiquitous in our daily lives.

Source: A.T. Kearney 2024

Opportunities for marketers Promotion

The data already indicates that consumers are using messenger apps more than social networks and chatbots may give brands an opportunity to create more meaningful content to engage and connect with consumers within these channels and make commerce more interactive.

Creating more personalised, one-to-one experiences is one way to create more relevant connections and the key platforms for marketers to be aware of include WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Google Hangouts and Viber.

It’s also worth reflecting that the days of creating a half-hearted brand profile on a social network that simply broadcasts mass messages to users may be coming to an end. Chatbots, by contrast, have the ability to use natural language processing and AI to learn from conversations and therefore enable brands to offer exclusive new deals and promotions that are tailored to specific customer groups and followers.

Opportunities for marketers

Although it’s a valid strategy to create a presence across multiple channels, we’re seeing today that customers are using fewer apps more regularly. Of these, messaging apps are some of the most popular and therefore one of the big opportunities for brands will be to create services and content within these apps to reach consumers in the places that matter.

As part of KPCB’s internet trends briefing, Mary Meeker called voice “the most efficient form of computing input”. After all, we can speak 150 words per minute compared to typing just 40. Voice interfaces can learn about us and therefore improve their understanding and prediction of our intent. 

Products

One way of connecting with consumers is by becoming smarter through the use of different forms of data. For example, biometric heart data from a wearable wristband or piece of clothing could provide feedback on an ad or product on a website, which can then be tailored or adjusted accordingly depending on the signals.

The trend away from ownership with the rise of the sharing economy is another factor that is influencing people’s relationship with products:

Millennials in particular are more likely to use Uber or Airbnb to get around and stay somewhere respectively. We can also see this in the demand for streaming television, films and music via Netflix, iTunes or Amazon rather than owning DVDs or CDs.

It will be interesting to see how this trend develops and we could one day see this spread to other areas of life, including household appliances, furniture and technology.

Opportunities for marketers

Wearable tech gives marketers the opportunity to create new and extended brand experiences. Wearables are devices we use nearly all the time, everyday, and therefore loyalty is an area that could be explored further. The technology that wearables use also enables links and connections to other apps and services, providing real-time consumer behaviour data that could be harnessed (in a responsible and ethical way) by partner brands to develop more integrated customer experiences.

The sharing economy is another area of huge potential, with peer-to-peer finance, online staffing, accommodation, car sharing and video streaming all continuing to disrupt traditional markets and savvy marketers should learn from how these new disruptors are challenging the status quo and communicating the benefits to consumers.

Place

Place will become an increasingly important element of the marketing mix as people look for context and convenience. Location is a major indicator of purchase intent and it’s unsurprising that consumers are increasingly using ‘near me’ when searching for shops or services.

Beacon technology allows brands to connect with consumers when they enter a particular location and to target them in more meaningful ways. A few years ago Google published research around ‘Micro-moments’ that encouraged marketers to consider how mobile has shaped changing consumer behaviours. The demand for relevance is a key facet of this research and something location can help marketers to use as they develop more meaningful propositions.

Opportunities for marketers

As programmatic marketing becomes more sophisticated, marketers will find greater opportunities to target the right people, at the right moments, in the right context. With the right balance, consumers will experience better relevance and brands will realise better results.

People

Customer relationship management (CRM) is no longer about storing just basic customer data and keeping track of emails. CRM technology is beginning to impact the entire organisation, from managing communication internally between employees to building a detailed picture of the customer through multiple datapoints.

Technology has transformed customer expectations. With all the data companies have, customers expect more from the marketing they receive, particularly in terms of the frequency and relevancy of messaging:

Brands must therefore listen to and communicate across multiple channels, including websites, apps, email and social media, to build a truly 3600 view of the customer.

Marketers are now entering the boardroom and becoming a vital part of the sales process through the customer insights they’re able to obtain. It’s therefore likely that the role of the marketer will change, becoming more strategic by identifying ways to connect with consumers via multiple touchpoints.

Opportunities for marketers

CRM gives brands the opportunity to engage with consumers across multiple touchpoints and become more responsive and agile to market demands. Marketers must identify ways to use data and insight to build a more detailed and nuanced picture of the customer and map the customer journey accordingly.

However CRM isn’t just about connecting with customers. There are now opportunities for multiple departments, from finance to HR and client services, to use CRM to build deeper relationships with internal teams and in the process improve collaboration, processes and new ways of working.

Using Content Marketing For Agency Business Development

4 key issues to consider in raising your profile through your online content marketing

The pitch process has changed out of all recognition. The days of agencies pitching for each project and clients constantly searching for new agencies are (thankfully) a thing of the past.

Clients are looking for longer term partnerships with fewer agencies. That is a great thing for client retention and agency financial planning. But, it is potentially bad news for the new business development team. With fewer pitches, the game has changed.

The role of business development is to build long term relationships with the Marketing Directors and Procurement teams who manage the tenders, so that they are on the next long list to be considered for the pitch. These relationships are ideally built on personal interactions, but inevitably they will start with virtual interactions of some type.

Using online content to build your online reputation

So, if your task is to get onto the consideration list of agencies for the pitch, it means a change of focus.

You need to be found when clients are searching and you need to represent an agency brand that is respected and trusted, ideally with a reputation for thought leadership and expertise.

Online content plays a vital role in building your reputation as an agency. It also covers a huge range of channels and tools. You have to “practice what you preach” in your tender documents and pitches. You have to “walk the talk”. Here are 4 issues to consider to get your house in order.

1. Effective use of your web site

Your most important asset is your web site. Every client will review it and scrutinise it before they contact you.  So what do you need to consider?

Consider not only how you are positioning yourself and the case studies and services you choose to promote, but also what the site says about your understanding of the digital world

Is it optimised for search?

Is it optimised for mobile?

Does it contain thought leading content?

Does it enable readers to share your content in social media?

Does it capture data in an effective and legally correct way?.

I am a huge Advocate of blogging as a way of sharing your expertise and knowledge.

2. Blogging

1. Consider who the best person is to write it. Who has the expert knowledge? Who has the time? Who has the enthusiasm to do it and stick to it?

2. Your blog is there to demonstrate your expertise, not to sell (that is what the web site does). So, talk about wider industry issues, share best practice, share research, share your opinion. Don’t just write up case studies.

3. Be provocative. That doesn’t mean being deliberately confrontational or controversial. It means, give an opinion and ask for your readers’ opinions too.

4. Write in plain, conversational English. Don’t get it copy written. It must be authentic. The odd typing mistake or grammatical error is not a disaster.

5. Write as often as you can, but only say something when you have something interesting to say. It doesn’t have to be every week as long as you don’t leave it too long between posts.

6. Integrate it with the other social channels – host video content on YouTube, tweet a link when you update your blog, have the latest blog posts feed onto the web site home page, feed blog titles and links onto your Linked In profile.

3. Use of Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation is key and the good news is that all of the social sharing that you do will help SEO by building links from other sites to yours.

Make sure all content is tagged for search too, so that Google can find it.

Your social media strategy should be to share and amplify your content programmes. All of your content should be sharable, opinion forming, provocative and original. That is a great start. Then you need to proactively spread the coverage of your content into digital channels.

4. Use of Earned Media

Earned media is the most powerful. Use your PR skills to make sure that all of your content, be it digital, video or printed is made available to Thought Leaders such as Trade Journalists, key industry analysts, respected bloggers and social media influencers (such as people with plenty of Twitter followers).

Then use your own social media channels to promote the content. Top B2B channels are Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus and Linked In. Google Plus is probably most useful as a way of improving search performance for your content.

Image source: Gavin Llewellyn’s post on Social media marketing priorities for 2013

Nick Baggott is a Marketing Consultant and Trainer with over 20 years experience. Nick has been running his own consultancy, Navigate Consulting Ltd, since 2006. Previously, he was Client Service Director at Chemistry, an agency that he set up with 3 colleagues in 1994. Nick is a Course Director and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and is also on the Google global faculty. Nick is passionate about using digital marketing to build engaging marketing programmes and is an expert in CRM, segmentation, social media, marketing strategy and communications You can follow him on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn and read his blog

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