Guest post by Samantha McCormick from BuyerZone's SEO team.
Top sales guy, lead generation expert, B2B marketing guru. Did you ever wonder what makes a 'guru' a guru? At what point is someone deemed an 'expert' in their field? Sometimes it takes a bit of exposure for a sales or marketing professional to reach expert status. Below are four experts that we at BuyerZone follow for insight into sales, lead generation, and marketing.
We asked them about a piece of their content that made waves in the B2B community. We also picked their brains on their area of expertise. Check out the blog posts that made them - and comment with the post that made you!
The Sales MachineGeoffrey James, Author and Sales Machine BNET columnist
Most sales blogs induce cringes, catnaps, or a weird combination of the two. Geoffrey James does neither -- often using sharp wit, brutal honesty, and political commentary in his BNET articles. Insightful and intelligent, the blogs are fun to read yet always leave us with practical take-away knowledge. The post that made him garnered over a thousand Facebook likes, spurred a heated comment discussion, and sent the little Twitter bird into a tailspin.
The post that made him: The 8 Stupidest Management Fads of All Time
BuyerZone: In your post, "Why Your B2B Marketing Sucks," you talk about how a B2B company's marketing department should "sit at the feet" of the sales team, and "compensate marketing based upon its ability to generate qualified leads that the sales team can close." Is there a company or industry that does this effectively?
James: Sales 2.0 companies (mostly applications layered atop Salesforce.com) do a really good job of it, mostly because their own products force marketing to be measured in ways that make sense to the bottom line. Brainshark is a poster child for effective use of technology to measure marketing appropriately.
BZ: You seem to have a sour outlook on MBA programs. Is there an institution that's doing it well?
James: Wharton and a few other schools are now offering sales courses, which are generally swamped with applicants. Overall, though, prospects are bleak because academia hates sales: MBA programs were built upon the concept that marketing was everything and sales was either a detail or a soon-to-be-obsolescent remnant of the bad old days.
The B2B Marketing ExpertDianna Huff, B2B Marketing Consultant and President of DH Communications
Tapped for ideas on how to connect with your target market? Dianna Huff's B2B Marcom Writer Blog might get the cogs turning again. Dianna doesn't just write about new marketing tools like videos and free ebooks, she shows us how to use them. Her blog reads like a book you can't put down.
The post that made her: The Top 10 Marketing Writing Mistakes
BuyerZone: Your sales and marketing blog posts are fun to read. How can someone who doesn't have a talent for writing engage in online marketing for his or her business?
Dianna: Start with what you know best -- the mistakes you see people making [in your field]. I created The Top 10 Marketing Writing Mistakes simply by listing out the mistakes I saw companies making with regard to copy. It was very easy to create.
BZ: What tools do you recommend for measuring social media success?
Dianna: I personally don't use a whole lot of tools -- Hootsuite, the FB "Like" button, and the Twitter button are the main ones I use. I'm not out to get leads via social media. I'm more concerned with ensuring my content reaches a broad audience. So getting lots of retweets and blog comments are my way of knowing I'm writing content that people enjoy.
The Online Marketing GuruDan Garfield, Online Marketing Manager at OrangeSoda
As Online Marketing Manager of OrangeSoda, a Utah-based online marketing firm, Dan Garfield is a key contributor to the company's online marketing blog. He writes for the small business crowd, often giving us tips on lead generation and posting cool infographics about trends in social media, search engine usage, and more.
The post that made him: What Google Leaves in China
BuyerZone: What is a recent conference that was useful to you?
Dan: Pubcon. Not necessarily for the presentations but more for the chance to find out what works for other people and other companies, and thinking about how we can cater it to OrangeSoda.
BZ: Our readers work for companies that sell phone systems, payroll services, and other B2B products. Even here at BuyerZone, we have trouble deciding what's too silly to share with our Twitter followers and on our other social media outlets. Do you have any advice for B2B companies that use social media like Twitter and Facebook?
Dan: "When you're marketing to a business, you're still marketing to people." Chris Brogan said that. A lot of times we think we need to have a certain decorum or style when we're talking to people - but they're still people. Try to think about how you can influence sharers. There is a difference between marketing to sharers and marketing to readers. A car salesman sells a car, Apple sells a lifestyle, a culture. Get people to talk about an experience.
BZ: What is your go-to source for industry news?
Dan: Buzz Out Loud [a podcast].
The Marketing Technology ExpertDavid Raab, B2B Technology Consultant and Principal of Raab Associates, Inc.
David Raab's Raab Guide to Demand Generation Systems has received widespread recognition throughout the B2B community for its comprehensive analysis of B2B marketing solutions by Eloqua, Marketo, Market2Lead, and more. On his Customer Experience Matrix blog, David keeps tabs on new advances in marketing and sales technology and evaluates the strengths and features of the newest products.
The post that made him: Demand Generation Vendors and their Target Customers
BZ: In one of your blog posts, you show customer returns quoted by various leaders in marketing automation (Eloqua, Marketo, and the like). As a marketing technology consultant, what is the greatest return you have seen a client experience after implementing a marketing automation system?
We see the greatest return in the ability to run and evaluate many more campaigns with the same staff. This allows marketers to deliver better targeted messages.
BZ: What technology solution is a must-have for a small B2B company?
I suppose I'm biased but I do think marketing automation is a must-have. At the minimum, you want to build an email list and retain a reasonable level of contact with its members. You definitely need to avoid spam but basic email is the best way to keep your product top-of-mind for potential buyers. Once you have a reasonable email program in place, you can move on to more advanced nurture streams, lead scoring, behavior tracking, etc.
What is the post that made you - or should have?