Restrictive Policies

Today, the biggest differentiator between competitors seems to be coming down to service. As companies grow, processes and structure are put into place that standardizes how employees interact with customers. I can understand the reasoning behind this:
 

 

 

 

 

  • Structure training
  • Protect the company from potential issues
  • Allow employees to be measured equally

  • Set customer expectations

  • Provide structure to what employees can and can’t do

 

It’s the last one on that list that is concerning. How are employees expected to go above and beyond when there are restrictions being placed on them? This impacts your customers and incidentally the bottom line. Allow employees to have some enjoyment and creativity in what they do. Come to a consensus on what decisions will not negatively affect the company financially, create an unsafe environment, or set the stage for a lawsuit. More then often you will find that employees truly want to help customers … so let them.

 

B2B Content Creation

As you may know, we are deep in the process of selecting a marketing automation software. We have it narrowed down to two firms we are doing a trial with and will have probably made our decision within the month.

As this process is coming to a close, I am getting excited at the possibilities and looking ahead to the future. One of my main responsibilities here are the nurturing programs; as such I am constantly looking at content that can effectively move a prospect through the sales pipeline. It occurred to me that what made content effective was the relevance of the message and the timing. Thus, as I was creating a framework for my content, I decided to mirror the B2B buying cycle. I created the diagram below to illustrate the framework.(Click on the image to see a larger version.)

Content framework for B2B

In order to create effective content, you need to do 5 things:

  • Talk to your sales team and find out what content is most effective and what content is not used. Throw away the content that is never used.
  • Put the remaining content into each of the categories listed in the diagram. Again, get sales input into this process.
  • Outline a content plan based upon your missing areas. What categories are you lacking in? What categories do the sales people feel are most important?
  • Remember to include all types of content in your creation plan: whitepapers, blog posts, article links,web seminar recordings, podcasts etc.
  • Begin creating always keeping in mind where the piece fits into the B2B buying cycle.

 

I would love to hear some more ideas on how you created an effective content strategy plan.

[tags] B2B, web seminars , whitepapers, B2B content [/tags]

Learn as You Grow

I’ve recently celebrated my three month anniversary…with ReadyTalk. So far, we seem to make a good pair and I foresee a bright and promising future ahead of us. Hand in hand we are tackling the vast and expansive world of web and audio conferencing, specifically in the area of campaign planning for our web seminar series.

I digress. My role in this relationship that has developed over the last three months has been a learning process – as are most relationships, I’ve discovered. Luckily, I’ve been able to work along side some bright minds and creative gurus. They have attempted to teach me the multi-faceted process of project planning, coordination, campaign management and a plethora of other marketing strategies that I hadn’t even heard of up until now. (Sidenote: isn’t it amazing how much stuff they manage to skip over in college that would prove to be quite useful in the workforce…  ) It’s all about the experience. It’s not how many assignments or papers you’ve turned in; rather, it comes down to the daily process of practice, trial & error, and mirroring individuals that have done this for years who you’d be lost without. Thus far it appears as though the attempts of my mentors have been successful and I’m adding new insight daily to my ever-expanding warehouse of knowledge.

Next time I'll cover the methodology that we are attempting to put together to give the series a larger pull and more value to the publics we are trying to reach. We are slowly but surely revamping our approach and I think the outcome will be a solid move towards our ultimate goal.

Writing Again

I took a break from blogging for awhile, and now I'm ready to join Mike in writing more frequently. ReadyTalk has been growing rapidly over these past few months resulting in new faces and names to learn, new needs for processes where they didn't previously exist, more dogs, more dishes in the kitchen, more activity. I've been living lead generation, producing campaigns, learning the ins and outs of Salesforce, dreaming about marketing automation software, presenting web seminars, reaching out to new partners and brainstorming how we can use conferencing to start intelligent, meaningful conversations.

During this little blogging rebirth, let's revisit the fundamental reason why we are here, or the primary reason why I love what I do. It is this: your ReadyTalk account is a space full of power and potential. Choose your words well and be persistent and intelligent in bringing communities together, and you will fundamentally affect positive change in your unique way. Think about what you'd like to share with thousands of people around the world, and we can help you make it happen.

Setting Customer Expectations

Last week I went into a department store with my three kids in tow. All I needed was a watch battery, so I assumed that it would be a quick trip.

I went to the watch counter and nobody was there so I pressed the help button. An automated recording informed me that someone would be there in 60 seconds or less. I thought this was a great way to set expectations of when a customer would be assisted and improve the customer experience. Until it didn’t work.

After 4 minutes, I pushed the button again. Same automated voice stated someone would be there in 60 seconds or less. Not so much. Waited another 5 minutes and pushed the button. By this time, my 3 kids are getting almost more restless then me.

Setting customer expectations from the start is crucial in any business. While I’m sure the department store installed the recorded message with good intentions, it setup an opportunity for failure, rather then an opportunity for success. Too often, we forget how customers will respond and react to processes that are put in place.
Ways to ensure customers have a positive experience:

 

 

 

 

  • Engage current customers when creating new processes
  • Determine if there is a need for a change
  • Make it simple

 

 

To get a watch battery, I had to hunt down someone to assist me, but it wasn’t “their area.” So they had to find someone else.

Don’t make it difficult for your customers to give you their money.