4 Steps to do lead nurturing that helps more customers buy

Find out about lead nurturing. Learn the 4 steps of walking through the buying journey with your customer to help them progress.

The post 4 Steps to do lead nurturing that helps more customers buy appeared first on B2B Lead Blog.

4 Hacks You Need to Know to Amplify Your B2B Sales

For instance, do you know the difference between upselling and cross-selling?

The Simple Reason Entrepreneurs Are Embracing the Wonky, Unsexy World of B2B

Should you make the switch?

What can B2B Marketers Adopt from Growth Hacking?

GrowthHackingB2BWhat can you learn from growth hacking and how can it help you develop a mindset to better your B2B marketing?

To help answer this question, I interviewed Neil Patel (@neilpatel), co-founder of Crazy ENeilPatelgg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics. He also helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue.

As marketers, we can reject having a growth mindset without realizing it.

What does this mean?

First, marketers generally follow this approach: We plan, then, we execute. Do you see what’s missing?

We’re missing a test stage in the middle.

Second, we expect peak performance from ourselves (and others) while attempting new things and having little time to practice. I don’t know about you, but when I try something new, I don’t do as well the first time.

Consider professional athletes for a moment. They have time to train and practice before the season starts. They practice during the season, and they even get an offseason.

As a marketing pro, do you get an offseason? Heck no.

Finally, I find marketers struggle with perfectionism or fear of failure. This challenge can get in the way of your growth too. Personally, I struggle with perfectionism more than I’d like to admit. As I talk with other marketers, I know I’m not alone.

So, what can you do?

Growth hacking = Growth Mindset

According to Chip Heath and Dan Heath in their best-selling book, Switch, “The answer may sound strange: You need to create the expectation of failure- not the failure of the mission itself, but failure en route.”

“Think like a software developer – build, test then iterate,” said Martin Jones, Senior Marketing Manager at Cox Communications. You need to create the expectation that failure is part of the marketing process. And you need to test.

Instead of building campaigns where everything relies on a single successful launch. You need to adopt a more agile approach.

Traditional Marketing vs. Growth Hacking?

There’s still some confusion on this. The following infographic is helpful. The phrase below, “Make people wants the product vs. Make a product people want” sums it up pretty well.

traditional marketing vs growth hacking (infographic)
Source: Traditional marketing vs. Growth Hacking – Infographic

I interviewed Neil Patel because I wanted to get his input on growth hacking specifically because he’s rapidly grown several multimillion dollar companies and he’s written the definitive guide on the subject.

 Author’s Note: This transcript was edited for publication.

Brian: What do marketers need to know about growth hacking and what makes it different? 

Neil: The big difference in growth hacking, to some extent, is an evolution of marketing. And marketing used just to be, “Hey, I’m a person who’s going to acquire traffic, and maybe I can make it convert.” Right? Now I’m converting whether it’s AdWords, or Facebook ads or even SEO.

With growth hacking, it’s not just about, ‘Hey, can I get traffic from SEO or paid advertising?’ A lot of it is that can you leverage your existing community members (customers), and your product itself.


#GrowthHacking uses the product itself as a distribution channel
Click To Tweet


Dropbox is one of those cornerstone examples of growth hacking, right? Refer friends and get more space. Tweet about it, get more space. Connect a device to multiple devices and get more space.

And the funny thing is, most people don’t see connecting the device to multiple devices and giving free space a technique to grow the business, but it is because if something gets linked to multiple devices, it makes the product stickier for Dropbox. The unit increases, the storage use increases, and that increases the likelihood of that customer willing to pay for the service later down the road.

Brian: So, it’s about looking creatively at ways of seeing your customer relationships and how you can leverage the relationships you already have in a way that benefits the customer and helps growth.

How can someone get started in thinking like this and develop a growth mindset?

Neil: You’ve got to start thinking outside the box. Don’t just stick to conventional channels. Try to tap into your creativity. What could you do creatively with the product, the design, your sales, etc.? Right? You can grow a business in many ways. It’s not just driving traffic.

Who are some examples of companies that use growth hacking? 

Uber’s doing well. Sidekick from Hubspot has done well. Those are all creative companies that are marketing growth hacking.


What are the obstacles that get in the way of growth hacking?

Neil: You need a lot of people, team members, a company behind it. Growth hacking doesn’t happen just with one person. You need people from different teams involved to do it.

Brian: Okay. I’m a customer of Buffer, and they seem like they’ve been growth hacking.

Neil: I would say Buffer’s using a lot of growth stuff, right? Just look at their homepage. They use lots of education. It actually helps create sign-ups.

What advice would you give those utilizing traditional marketing who want to start?

Yeah. I would say with growth hacking, what ends up happening is when you get a few people doing it within an organization, it just starts happening right? You don’t have to really get everyone in the group involved. You want a team that could feed off a pizza. If it takes more than one pie, you have too many people. When Facebook does a lot of changes, it’s not a big team. It’s usually like a team that eats off one pizza.

Can you share some resources for marketers to learn more about growth hacking?

You can check out growthhackers.com I don’t contribute much to it, but I know that’s a great resource.

Is there anything else you wanted to share with readers? 

Neil: The big thing that I would focus on is creativity. The opportunity lies in what people aren’t tapping into already. I don’t believe that channels like Google, Facebook, or SEO, video, etc. are going to be the end all be all. And I always believe there are new opportunities and channels out there and creative ways to grow a business. You’ve just got to continually think of them.

Brian: In some cases, I’m hearing that could be alternative channels, or it could be putting a twist on or looking at existing channels in a different way that others might not be seeing.

Neil: Yes. Like looking at new channels that people aren’t seeing. I’m just saying try to think outside the box.

 

Conclusion

As you can see, growth hacking isn’t a fixed strategy. It requires a growth mindset. Thinking this way, and adopting lessons from growth hacking, you’ll achieve more and dwell less on failure.

“People with a growth mindset- those who stretch themselves, take risks, accept feedback, and take the long-term view- can’t help but progress in their lives and careers” – Chip Heath and Dan Heath

How will using a growth hacking mindset benefit you and your company?

You May Also Like:

Neil Patel: What is growth hacking?
Quick Sprout: The Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking

The post What can B2B Marketers Adopt from Growth Hacking? appeared first on B2B Lead Blog.

What Can B2B Marketers Gain from Growth Hacking?

growthhackingb2bWhat can you gain from growth hacking and how can you develop a mindset to be better at B2B marketing?

To help answer this question, I interviewed Neil Patel (@neilpatel), co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics. He also helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue.

As marketers, we can reject having a growth mindset without realizing it. Here’s why.

First, marketers generally follow this approach: We plan, then, we execute.

Do you see what’s missing?

We’re missing a test stage in the middle.

Second, we expect peak performance from ourselves (and others) while attempting new things and having little time to practice. I don’t know about you, but when I try something new, I don’t do as well the first time.

Consider professional athletes for a moment. They have time to train and practice before the season starts. They practice during the season, and they even get an offseason.

As a marketing pro, do you get an offseason? Heck no.

Finally, I find marketers struggle with perfectionism or fear of failure. This challenge can get in the way of your growth too. Personally, I struggle with perfectionism more than I’d like to admit. As I talk with other marketers, I know I’m not alone.

So, what can you do?

Start with a Growth Mindset

According to Chip Heath and Dan Heath in their best-selling book, Switch, “The answer may sound strange: You need to create the expectation of failure- not the failure of the mission itself, but failure en route.”

“Think like a software developer – build, test then iterate,” said Martin Jones, Senior Marketing Manager at Cox Communications.

You need to create the expectation that failure is part of the marketing process. And you need to test. Instead of building campaigns where everything relies on a single successful launch. You need to adopt a more agile approach.

Traditional Marketing vs. Growth Hacking?

There’s still some confusion about the difference between marketing and growth hacking. I think following infographic is helpful.
Growth_Hacking_vs.B2B_Marketing

Source: Traditional marketing vs. Growth Hacking – Infographic

The phrase, “Make people want the product vs. Make a product people want,” sums it up well.

It all starts with how we think and that’s why having growth mindset is important.

Interview with Neil Patel on Growth Hacking

I interviewed Neil Patel a while back to get his insights on growth hacking because he’s rapidly grown several multimillion dollar companies and he’s written the definitive guide on the subject.

Author’s Note: This transcript was edited for publication.

Brian: What do marketers need to know about growth hacking and what makes it different? 

Neil: The big difference in growth hacking, to some extent, is an evolution of marketing. And marketing used just to be, “Hey, I’m a person who’s going to acquire traffic, and maybe I can make it convert.” Right? Now I’m converting whether it’s AdWords, or Facebook ads or even SEO.

With growth hacking, it’s not just about, ‘Hey, can I get traffic from SEO or paid advertising?’ A lot of it is that can you leverage your existing community members (customers), and your product itself.


#GrowthHacking uses the product itself as a distribution channel
Click To Tweet


Dropbox is one of those cornerstone examples of growth hacking, right? Refer friends and get more space. Tweet about it, get more space. Connect a device to multiple devices and get more space.

And the funny thing is, most people don’t see connecting the device to multiple devices and giving free space a technique to grow the business, but it is because if something gets linked to multiple devices, it makes the product stickier for Dropbox. The unit increases, the storage use increases, and that increases the likelihood of that customer willing to pay for the service later down the road.

Brian: So, it’s about looking creatively at ways of seeing your customer relationships and how you can leverage the relationships you already have in a way that benefits the customer and helps growth?

Neil: Yep.

How can someone get started in thinking like this and develop a growth mindset?

Neil: You’ve got to start thinking outside the box. Don’t just stick to conventional channels. Try to tap into your creativity. What could you do creatively with the product, the design, your sales, etc.? Right? You can grow a business in many ways. It’s not just driving traffic.

Who are some examples of companies that use growth hacking? 

Uber’s doing well. Sidekick from Hubspot has done well. Those are all creative companies that are marketing growth hacking.

Authors note: check out HubSpot – How to Grow a Billion Dollar B2B Growth Engine

What are the obstacles that get in the way of growth hacking?

Neil: You need a lot of people, team members, a company behind it. Growth hacking doesn’t happen just with one person. You need people from different teams involved to do it.

Brian: Okay. I’m a customer of Buffer, and they seem like they’ve been growth hacking.

Neil: I would say Buffer’s using a lot of growth stuff, right? Just look at their homepage. They use lots of education. It actually helps create sign-ups.

What advice would you give those utilizing traditional marketing who want to start?

Yeah. I would say with growth hacking, what ends up happening is when you get a few people doing it within an organization, it just starts happening right? You don’t have to really get everyone in the group involved. You want a team that could feed off a pizza. If it takes more than one pie, you have too many people. When Facebook does a lot of changes, it’s not a big team. It’s usually like a team that eats off one pizza.

Can you share some resources for marketers to learn more about growth hacking?

You can check out growthhackers.com I don’t contribute much to it, but I know that’s a great resource.

Is there anything else you wanted to share with readers? 

Neil: The big thing that I would focus on is creativity. The opportunity lies in what people aren’t tapping into already. I don’t believe that channels like Google, Facebook, or SEO, video, etc. are going to be the end all be all. And I always believe there are new opportunities and channels out there and creative ways to grow a business. You’ve just got to continually think of them.

Brian: In some cases, I’m hearing that could be alternative channels, or it could be putting a twist on or looking at existing channels in a different way that others might not be seeing.

Neil: Yes. Like looking at new channels that people aren’t seeing. I’m just saying try to think outside the box.

Conclusion

As you can see, growth hacking isn’t a fixed strategy. It’s a mindset. Thinking this way, and adopting lessons from growth hacking, you’ll achieve more and dwell less on failure. Also, you’ll focus more on your customer’s motivation (with empathy) running tests, and iterate quickly.

People with a growth mindset- those who stretch themselves, take risks, accept feedback, and take the long-term view- can’t help but progress in their lives and careers  – Chip Heath and Dan Heath

How will a growth hacking as a mindset benefit you and your company?

The post What Can B2B Marketers Gain from Growth Hacking? appeared first on B2B Lead Blog.

Humanized Marketing: Rethink marketing automation to build relationships

 

humanizedmarketing1We need to stop treating our customers like objects and treat them like people. So how do you humanize your marketing?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve become weary of all the “personalized” emails that I’m receiving lately. It’s not that they’re all bad (but plenty of them are); it’s because, at the core, there’s something deeper going on.

What if you put your full attention on one customer, one buyer, one potential at a time? Would you do a better job connecting and a building a relationship? Think about it.

The pendulum has swung. We have all this technology to connect with our customers, but they’re tuning us out because they feel it’s not authentic. Marketers of today are using marketing automation in a way that confuses the bigger picture.

It Doesn’t Take a Marketer to Know When It’s NOT Humanized Marketing

Marketing technology, machine learning, and tools become increasingly smarter, but so are modern consumers. Both you and your customers know what real feels like. And customers know when you’re sending them an artificial or generalized message.

For example, virtually all the polished emails sent to me use marketing automation. They’re mostly focused on getting me to do something. In most cases, that something is a click. I’m given a call to action link or a button to click on.

But as a marketer, I know better. A real human being wrote a template. The email (even if it’s well written) and personalized in a few places, still feels hollow. Why? Because it’s scaled. And I know the game.  And, our wise customers do too.

Here’s the thing: as your sophistication grows, your customers become even savvier. Customers know authentic- sincere – communication from the scaled messages you send. They feel it. And as customers, we’re aware of it too.

Marketing Dehumanized: What It Feels Like to Be an Object

At its core, marketing is about building relationships. To do that we need to build trust.

So why is it we do things in marketing that ignore this truth? Why do we do things that we think scale when at its core relationships are not scalable?

In this post, Jon Westenberg writes:

Treating people like leads instead of humans just doesn’t work. It doesn’t sell. It doesn’t push you to any level of success. You want to suck at marketing or sales? Dehumanize your prospects. And dehumanize your interactions with them.

For example, we can feel when someone’s trying to push us to do something. We know when we’re treated as objects (we’re just a conversion, a click, or an increase in lead score). It’s dehumanizing.

We also recognize when someone cares. We know when a person wants to help us, and they’re not trying to push an agenda or manipulate us to action.

How to Humanize Marketing for Your Customer

To humanize marketing, apply this truth from neuroscientist Antonio Damasio. He said, “We are not thinking machines that feel; rather, we are feeling machines that think.”  Successful marketers are starting to recognize this truth.

When you are marketing to people, you’re trying to get them to do something or buy something. But when you’re marketing for people, you’re advocating for them. You’re doing something that helps and may make a difference. It’s time to become an advocate, rather than a marketer.


Marketing isn’t something you do to people. It’s something you do for people.
Click To Tweet


How often are you trying to move your customers to do something that will benefit you i.e. click, sign up, register and buy? Our marketing efforts are driven by our goal, our KPI, our quarterly income or profits. There’s nothing wrong with those measurements. It’s just that our intentions may become twisted when we start with our personal agendas as a driver.

What do you measure?  When you measure the wrong thing, your marketing can become wonky quickly. We’re not just seeking clicks. We want to connect and form lasting relationships with our clients.

4 Ways to Humanize Marketing to Fit Your Buyer’s Journey

When you think about your buyer’s journey, consider being sincere about helping them. If you automate your engagement, you need to emphasize the human touch more. That means that both you and your sales team need to have actual conversations with your buyers.

Use your marketing technology, database, and ability to segment to refine your initial understanding of your target audience’s needs. Focus on helping your future customers achieve what they’re trying to do at each step of the journey. Is this hard work? Yes. That said, I believe this is where marketers must focus their energy to make sure the buyer’s journey stays personal at each touch point.

There are things that customers expect to be scalable. For example, email newsletters. Still, they want relevant content. They don’t expect that every single newsletter personalized to their interests. That said, if enough of the content is irrelevant, they’ll unsubscribe.

People mentally unsubscribe before they finally remove us from their inbox. Customers move from interested, to ambivalent, and ultimately apathetic quickly.

Next, I’m going to suggest a few ideas on doing things that don’t scale. Why? Because they involve effort and our customer’s, appreciate and can feel it when we invest extra energy.

1. Think like a concierge

If you want to know how to approach applying empathy to your marketing efforts, consider how a hotel concierge operates. What is their goal? To help meet the needs and be helpful to guests. Why can’t we approach our marketing and sales the same way?

Do concierges give the same advice and input to all hotel guests? Of course not. They do things that don’t scale. Still, they’ve prepared themselves to answer some of the same questions.  For example, what are the best shows? Where are the best restaurants for each occasion? How can I get a reservation on short notice? Where are the grocery or liquor stores etc.?

But the key is that they listen, they’re available, and their goal is to help. What can we learn? We can approach our customers by doing things intentionally that don’t scale.

2. Do things that don’t scale

Our sales people do things that don’t scale all the time. If we don’t change our approach, we’re going to kill the value of marketing automation. You can’t automate trust. But you can build it over time by being intentional and seeking to add value with each touch. That’s at the core of doing things that don’t scale.

That might be opening Outlook and actually sending a personal message. Or picking up the phone talk to your potential customers. It is critical to know what customers want to serve them better. For more on this read, How to Put the Customer First in Lead Generation.

Our job is to make each person we engage with feel as if they are the most important person in the room. Think like a concierge.

3. Shift your focus to relationships

All marketing, selling and lead generation is about one word: relationships. It’s not about technology; it’s about people. We need to take the time to do things that don’t scale. This is from a terrific book, The Passion Conversation:

We form relationships in two ways. The first way is through dialogue, a virtuous circle of interacting through listening and responding that causes more interaction, listening, and responding. Relationships grow through conversation. The second way we form relationships is through a process called reciprocal altruism. That’s a fancy term to explain where people freely give to others with nothing expected in return.

Check out Lead Nurturing: 4 Steps to walking the buying path with your customers

4. Use applied empathy now

Empathy is your marketing intuition. Use your empathy to move out of your mind and into the mind of the client.  What’s the bottom line? Move away from me-first thinking to customer-centric thinking and speak specifically to their motivations.

If you don’t do this, you’re treating potential customers (aka leads) as objects and not as people. If you do that, your goal is to get them do so something. Instead, I advocate that you seek to understand them first; to know their motivation and learn what interests them. And even better, to know what might be helpful to them to get what they really want. For more read, How Empathy Will Grow Your Sales and Marketing Pipeline.

Ask this as you approach your marketing: Is that how we’d like someone to treat us? Is this how we’d like a friend or loved one to be treated? Finally, if you are in doubt follow this: Do unto others as you’d like to have done onto you.

Conclusion

Humanized marketing is about building people-first relationships.  Remember this: When you are marketing to people, you’re trying to get them to do something. But when you’re marketing for people, you’re advocating for them. You’re doing something that could help and make a difference. By following these suggestions, you’ll make a huge improvement in how you connect with your customers.

It’s your turn now. Have you humanized marketing for your company and if you did, how did it impact your use of marketing automation? Also, did I forget to mention any key points or components in the article? Let me know in the comments below.

The post Humanized Marketing: Rethink marketing automation to build relationships appeared first on B2B Lead Blog.

4 Ways You Can Humanize Marketing and Build Relationships

Humanized_MarketingWe need to stop treating our customers like objects with our marketing and treat them like people. Be human first by recognizing their humanity. So how do you humanize marketing?

Let me explain.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve become weary of all the “personalized” emails that I’m receiving lately. It’s not that they’re all bad (but plenty of them are); it’s because, at the core, there’s something deeper going on. In sum, I’m treated as an object to convert rather than a person who may need help. Can you relate?

Virtually all the polished emails sent to me use marketing automation. And they’re mostly focused on getting me to do something. In most cases, that something is a click. I’m given a call to action link or a button to click on.

According to the CMO Council, “Only 20% of marketers are able to predict the next best action for their customers.” Additionally, Forrester Consulting discovered, “65 percent of marketers struggle to employ emotional marketing as they turn to automation to improve customer engagement.”

We have all this technology to connect with our customers, but they’re increasingly tuning us out. Why? Because they don’t feel it’s authentic, or emotionally relevant, and marketers are using marketing automation in a way that misses the bigger picture.

What if you put your full attention on one customer, one buyer, one potential at a time? Could you do a better job connecting and a building a relationship? Think about it.

It Doesn’t Take a Marketer to Know When It’s NOT Humanized Marketing

As our marketing technology, machine learning, and tools become increasingly smarter, so are our customers. Your customers know what real feels like. And they feel it when you’re sending them an artificial or generalized message.

But as a marketer, I know better. A real human being wrote a template. The email (even if it’s well written) and personalized in a few places, still feels hollow. Why? Because it’s scaled. And I know the game.  And, our wise customers do too.

Here’s the thing: as your sophistication grows, your customers become even savvier. Customers know authentic- sincere – communication from the scaled messages you send. They feel it. And as customers, we’re aware of it too.

Marketing Dehumanized: What It Feels Like to Be an Object

At its core, marketing is about building relationships. To do that we need to build trust. So why is it we do things in marketing that ignore this truth? Why do we do things that we think scale when at their core relationships are not scalable?

In this post, Jon Westenberg writes:

Treating people like leads instead of humans just doesn’t work. It doesn’t sell. It doesn’t push you to any level of success. You want to suck at marketing or sales? Dehumanize your prospects. And dehumanize your interactions with them.

For example, we can feel it when someone’s trying to push us to do something. We know when we’re treated as objects (we’re just a conversion, a click, or an increase in lead score). It’s dehumanizing.

We also recognize when someone cares. We know when a person wants to help us, and they’re not trying to push an agenda or manipulate us to action.

How to Humanize Marketing for Your Customer

To humanize marketing, apply this truth from neuroscientist Antonio Damasio. He said, “We are not thinking machines that feel; rather, we are feeling machines that think.”  Successful marketers are starting to recognize this truth.

When you are marketing to people, you’re trying to get them to do something or buy something. But when you’re marketing for people, you’re advocating for them. You’re doing something that helps and may make a difference. It’s time to become an advocate, rather than a marketer.

Marketing isn’t something you do to people. It’s something you do for people.

How often are you trying to move your customers to do something that will benefit you i.e. click, sign up, register and buy? Our marketing efforts are driven by our goal, our KPI, our quarterly income or profits. There’s nothing wrong with those measurements. It’s just that our intentions may become twisted when we start with our personal agendas as a driver.

What do you measure?  When you measure the wrong thing, your marketing can become wonky quickly. We’re not just seeking clicks. We want to connect and form lasting relationships with our clients.

Four Ways to Humanize Marketing to Fit Your Buyer’s Journey

When you think about your buyer’s journey, consider being sincere about helping them. If you automate your engagement, you need to emphasize the human touch more. That means that both you and your sales team need to have actual conversations with your buyers.

Use your marketing technology, database, and ability to segment to refine your initial understanding of your target audience’s needs. Focus on helping your future customers achieve what they’re trying to do at each step of the journey. Is this hard work? Yes. That said, I believe this is where marketers must focus their energy to make sure the buyer’s journey stays personal at each touch point.

There are things that customers expect to be scalable. For example, email newsletters. Still, they want relevant content. They don’t expect that every single newsletter personalized to their interests. That said, if enough of the content is irrelevant, they’ll unsubscribe.

People mentally unsubscribe before they finally remove us from their inbox. Customers move from interested, to ambivalent, and ultimately apathetic quickly.

Next, I’m going to suggest a few ideas on doing things that don’t scale. Why? Because they involve effort and our customer’s, appreciate and they can feel it when we invest extra energy.

1. Help like a concierge

If you want to know how to approach applying empathy to your marketing efforts, consider how a hotel concierge operates. What is their goal? To help meet the needs and be helpful to guests. Why can’t we approach our marketing and sales the same way?

Do concierges give the same advice and input to all hotel guests? Of course not. They do things that don’t scale. Still, they’ve prepared themselves to answer some of the same questions.  For example, what are the best shows? Where are the best restaurants for each occasion? How can I get a reservation on short notice? Where are the grocery or liquor stores etc.?

But the key is that they listen, they’re available, and their goal is to help. What can we learn? We can approach our customers by doing things intentionally like a concierge.

2. Do things that don’t scale

Our sales people do things that don’t scale all the time. If we don’t change our approach, we’re going to kill the value of marketing automation. You can’t automate trust. But you can build it over time by being intentional and seeking to add value with each touch. That’s at the core of doing things that don’t scale.

That might be opening Outlook and actually sending a personal message. Or picking up the phone talk to your potential customers. It is critical to know what customers want to serve them better. For more on this read, How to Put the Customer First in Lead Generation.

Our job is to make each person we engage with feel as if they are the most important person in the room.

3. Shift your focus to relationships

All marketing, selling and lead generation is about one word: relationships. It’s not about technology; it’s about people. We need to take the time to do things that don’t scale. This is from a terrific book, The Passion Conversation:

We form relationships in two ways. The first way is through dialogue, a virtuous circle of interacting through listening and responding that causes more interaction, listening, and responding. Relationships grow through conversation. The second way we form relationships is through a process called reciprocal altruism. That’s a fancy term to explain where people freely give to others with nothing expected in return.

Check out Lead Nurturing: 4 Steps to walking the buying path with your customers

4. Use applied empathy now

Empathy is your marketing intuition. Use your empathy to move out of your mind and into the mind of the client.  What’s the bottom line? Move away from me-first thinking to customer-centric thinking and speak specifically to their motivations.

If you don’t do this, you’re treating potential customers (aka leads) as objects and not as people. If you do that, your goal is to get them do so something. Instead, I advocate that you seek to understand them first; to know their motivation and learn what interests them. And even better, to know what might be helpful to them to get what they really want. For more read, How Empathy Will Grow Your Sales and Marketing Pipeline.

Ask this as you approach your marketing: Is that how we’d like someone to treat us? Is this how we’d like a friend or loved one to be treated? Finally, if you are in doubt follow this: Do unto others as you’d like to have done onto you.

Conclusion

Humanized marketing is about building people-first relationships.  Remember this: When you are marketing to people, you’re trying to get them to do something. But when you’re marketing for people, you’re advocating for them. You’re doing something that could help and make a difference. By following these suggestions, you’ll make a huge improvement in how you connect with your customers.

It’s your turn now. Have you humanized marketing for your company and if you did, how did it impact your use of marketing technology? Also, did I forget to mention any key points or components in the article? Let me know in the comments below.

The post 4 Ways You Can Humanize Marketing and Build Relationships appeared first on B2B Lead Blog.

How B2B sales leaders can reach Michelin star levels of customer experience

Have you ever been to a Michelin-starred restaurant? The Michelin Guide was created in 1900 to recognize world-renowned restaurants. Today, its highest-rated 3-star establishments total only 84 worldwide.

While the cuisine gets these restaurants on the Michelin map, it’s not always what keeps them there. It takes innovation, exceptional service, and most importantly, the right people to ensure a restaurant keeps its Michelin stars. The Wall Street Journal has reported on the attention to detail required to retain a position as a server at these restaurants:

“Waiters are expected to be at ease and in command of a wide range of facts and skills. In a 16-course dinner at Eleven Madison Park, a single plate might have 15 ingredients and five preparations. … Servers are expected to have accurate answers to specific questions about food allergens, the type of sea salt in a particular dish or the origin of the duck. Service of one dessert, a seasonal cheesecake with chocolate, requires the server to perform a card trick.”

There are few industries in addition to Michelin-level restaurants in which outstanding service is always expected; one of them is B2B sales. Effective B2B sales and restaurant managers alike evaluate their teams on their ability to recognize each unique customer interaction and execute superiorly every time. Successful restaurant servers and salespeople differentiate themselves by displaying an unparalleled understanding of customers combined with a high level of creativity. They are able to adjust on the fly, recognize the subtle dynamics of a group of customers, and deliver the level of satisfaction that guarantees return visits and thus return sales.

It takes a very special person to own some of these attributes, let alone all of them.

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Credit: Pixabay

These two careers — B2B sales representative and restaurant server — share another major characteristic. The difference between average and world-class talent is their situational intelligence: how a candidate responds to and executes in various group dynamics, individuals and scenarios. Buyers have come to expect a world-class, highly personalized experience from Michelin restaurants and B2B salespeople.

Like restaurant patrons, each B2B prospect brings a unique background, level of preparation, experiences and preferences to the table. Some prospects have a more in-depth knowledge of the product or service than others, some have preconceived opinions of that product or service based on online reviews or conversations with others, and some like having their hand held from the get-go.

Sales reps with high levels of situational and emotional intelligence can quickly assess the prospect’s emotional state and accommodate it. From my experience, the most effective sales reps are the ones who can quickly and easily read a room, aren’t afraid of stepping outside the box, and use creativity to properly execute on every detail (They’re also some of the most competitive people I know.)

But why does situational intelligence matter? Today’s B2B buying process is very different from that of even 10 years ago. Old-school selling typically required wining and dining a single prospect who was prepared to listen to a pitch and evaluate a product on this single experience. But today, when it takes an average of 5.4 decision makers to sign-off on a single purchase, it takes a skilled salesperson to satisfy the needs and priorities of a wide range of buyers.

Most buyers’ inboxes are chock-full of generic emails from sales reps who mention a few product features and blue-chip logos, and so many in-person meetings get derailed by broad, impersonal sales presentations. Effective sales reps require high levels of situational intelligence to stand out from the clutter. Much like the one server you had many years ago at a favorite restaurant that was immediately able to develop a rapport with you — the one you always think of when deciding where to dine in the evening — the best sales reps are the ones that come to mind when it’s time to make another purchase, often even before the product itself.

The Wall Street Journal article goes on to say that in the restaurant industry, details matter. From preparation to bidding customers adieu, every detail is executed without a single slip. Sales leaders must instill the same level of attention and preparation in their sales reps, and ensure they have the tools they need to execute properly with every customer. When sales leaders hire reps that are situationally intelligent and enable those reps with the customer-first mentality necessary to deliver unparalleled levels of satisfaction, they will build a rapport similar to that of a Michelin-starred restaurant.

When it comes to world-class establishments — in restaurants and sales — word travels fast. Especially today, with the expansion of online reviews and social media, customers talk fast. Sales teams have no choice but to deliver exceptional service to each prospect every time.

Ed Calnan is the president of Seismic Software, a leading end-to-end sales enablement solution. Calnan brings 20 years of sales leadership experience from ADP, Thomson Financial, S&P Capital IQ, Document Sciences, and EMC. He holds a B.A, in political science from St. Michael’s College.

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